Saturday, January 28, 2012

Parenting Tip - Use a checklist

It's been a week since I informed my daughters that I quit. You can read that story here at ParentSociety, where I contribute. The short story is after too many days of fussing and fighting and running late, I quit participating in my children's fits and fights.

I should have done this long ago, but I'm an interventionist. Always trying to use tense moments between my children for teaching. One might also say I am a control freak. Yes, after nearly 7 years of parenting, I have finally admitted to myself that I have control issues. I'm working on it with a little help from great Law of Attraction teachers like Joe Vitale and Michael Beckwith and one who specializes in children and parents, Denny Hagel (I'll be reviewing one of her books within the next couple of weeks, so watch for it).

Since last weekend, instead of telling my girls that it's time to get ready and telling them what to do and having to repeat myself numerous times, I have instead given them a checklist. They are 5 and 6 and both reading at about a middle first grade level. Each morning and each evening, I simply hand them their checklists. I am learning that slight variations in my wording can have a great impact on their behavior.

For instance, most checklists read something like this:

1. Brush teeth
2. Get dressed - long sleeve shirt, jeans, socks
3. Brush hair

We leave at 8:40AM.

I tell them the current time when I hand it to them and then they refer to the digital clock in the kitchen and in the bedroom they share. When I write the checklist like that, they do the necessary without me having to remind them of anything. They just go and do it. I'm still in awe of this change of routine for us. I love it!

However, when I make just a minor change in my wording and write,

"By 8:40AM"

something interesting happens. They do not respond as well. I have to remind them. A simple change of one word causes a certain change in their response. Instead of being informed, they are being directed. They don't like being directed. Neither do I, so I get it and will adjust accordingly henceforth!

You can try a checklist even if your kids aren't readers yet! Just draw a picture of a toothbrush, pajamas and a bed. Keep it to 3 items, or your little one will feel overwhelmed and the checklist will quickly turn to scrap paper. Depending on their age, you may still need to help with one or more of the items, but your little kid will feel like a big kid when you hand over responsibility. You'll feel good, too, because you're no longer the one who has to do it all.

Have you tried checklists? How have they worked for you? What behavioral changes have you noticed and how have you tweaked the checklist to make it a more effective parenting tool?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lovable Labels Review and Giveaway

It makes perfect sense that Lovable Labels was founded by a mom! Once we start packing the kids off to daycare or school everything from shoes to coats to extra underwear needs to bear our children's names. Perhaps you've noticed, as I have, that permanent marker doesn't do a very good job and it's not that permanent!

This is where Lovable Labels come in. You can label anything with these super durable and very cute labels! They have sticker labels, shoe labels, and even iron on labels that survive the washer and dryer! They have bag tags, metal tags and even medical and ID wristbands (great for travel & crowds!! I would have loved this one for our trip to France last summer!).

I was given the opportunity to review Lovable Labels new Friendship Pack. Of course, I ordered for my two daughters. Each label has a symbol along with the name and there are about 45 to choose from. My little animal rescuer got the dinosaur, my artist the heart.

The girls are thrilled with their labels!! I've sent cups through the dishwasher and the labels came out in perfect condition. They really do stick! Not like those, "Hello, My Name Is" stickers we all get for school parties and presentations.

I have to note that one of the names was spelled wrong. My animal lover's name was missing the last letter. I don't know if I typed it in wrong, distracted by my crazy toddler, or if it was a mistake on the company's part. Fortunately, it doesn't matter because they shipped out a corrected set of label within a day of me emailing them about it. That's great customer service!

The Giveaway:

Lovable Labels has generously supplied (aspiring) Domestic Goddess Mommy with a "Friendship Pack" for one lucky winner!  Thanks, Lovable Labels!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3 Reasons I Refuse to Potty Train


potty training
Photo Credit: Valentina Powers
Creative Commons License
Potty Training is a hot topic for the toddler set. Well, for their mothers anyway, though my boy has certainly developed a potty mouth! "Me pee pee," and "Big kaka" are just a couple of the phrases frequently pouring from his mouth these days.

He's showing all the signs of readiness for potty training: interest in the toilet, telling me when he needs a change, even going potty on the toilet once every day or two, and frequently staying dry during naps. Yet, I refuse to train him, just as I refused to train his two sisters before him.

That's right. I never potty-trained his sisters. But, prepare for a shock - they exclusively use the toilet for their potty and poo-poo needs! It's true!



Why do I refuse to potty train? I'll share with you my top 3 reasons:

1. Time - My daily schedule changes daily, and therefore the schedules of my children. One is in school full-time, the other half-time and their Papa and I irregularly split shifts at our retail store.

To potty train in the traditional sense, it is most effective to devote several days to paying very close attention to your toddler, taking him to the potty once every hour or so and having a very predictable schedule for that time-period.

2. Patience - I don't have enough. This was the case with my firstborn, and it is unfortunately still the case. My second child came just 15-months after the first, so when the first was ripe for potty-training, I was dealing with a baby. Having the two so close together threw me off my game and I did not possess the necessary patience to potty train one while nursing the other. You do? Good for you! You don't? Relax! It's ok.

With the boy seemingly ready for 'training', I now have the two girls running around, still requiring plenty of attention. It's rather a mad-house when all three are about and I have quite a lot on my plate right now with a new retail business, my writing and everything else that daily living brings. Excuses? Yes, but valid for me and I'm the only one living my life.

3. Nature - Something that comes naturally doesn't require 'training'. Unless there is a true physical or neurological issue present, all children eventually learn to hold "it", use the toilet and lose the diapers. As I mentioned previously, my daughters both do it and they are only now 5 and 6. Believe it or not, they naturally began modelling mommy and using the toilet to do their business. The first-born at around 2 1/2 and the second around age 2. Both were completely out of diapers by age 3 with no training, only gentle guidance and encouragement on my part.

How did I do it? You'll have to watch for my follow-up post: 'Taking the "Training" out of the Potty" or something like that... Suggest a good title and I'll give you credit! Follow my on Google+ and Twitter and you'll be the first to know when it's published.

Do you potty train? What works for you and your family? Leave a comment and tell me, please!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Children's Book Review - Storee Wryter Gets a Dog

Storee Wryter Gets a Dog is a delightful book about, you guessed it! A girl who gets a dog! It's not your typical girl-meets-dog tale (no pun intended!). Most kids want a puppy, but have little idea about the responsibilities that come with pet ownership.


Carducci lays it out in detail as Storee, an 8-year-old girl who loves to read and write, and her family are approached by a neighbor who has a puppy in need of a home. Kyria, the neighbor, isn't your average 12-year-old, either. She's got a puppy with a purpose. Her dog is a therapy dog who visits nursing homes and classrooms to boost morale, and she wants the puppy to follow suit. Kyria's character is based on the real-life founder of Paws4People foundation, an organization that she began at age 12.

The family discusses the pros and cons of taking on another family member, including how the matriarch, Critique the cat, might respond. Finally, they take on the task and the reader learns about puppy school and what it takes for a dog to be of service. There's a sweet scene when Storee and her dog are ready for their first day at work in a school classroom where young readers spend time quietly reading to the dog, instead of a teacher or classmate. The dog makes a heartfelt impact on one particularly reluctant reader!

Listed for emerging readers in the age range of 4 to 8, the book is better suited for 6 to 10. My young readers ages 5 and 6 sometimes found the book to be too slow moving, and the tight spacing of the words and paragraphs overwhelmed them when they read to me. It got a thumbs down from the 5-year-old, but a big thumbs up from the 6-year-old, who plans to be an animal rescuer one day. She loved hearing the interactions between Storee and her animals.

There's a lot of detail that makes this book more appropriate for a family who is strongly considering doing the same as the Wryter family, bringing a dog into the home. If you have a child who thinks they are ready for a dog, this is a great book for you!

You can find this book on Amazon (click the pic above) or at www.youngvoicesfoundation.org. Carducci is the president of this noteworthy organization that encourages and supports young writers. I love their mission!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

10 Things I Love about being a Mom

Today, I'm going to focus on 10 things I absolutely love about being a mother.
In no particular order....

1. Belly laughs.
2. Notes left by my 5-year-old that read, "I love you becus yor the best mommy ever."
3. When they read me a story!
4. The funny way first words come out and the surprise when they finally say them right.
5. Family group hugs.
6. Seeing the boy hug his injured, crying sister, asking, "Ok? Ok?" and gently stroking her hair.
7. Watching them Discover 
8. Teaching... colors, numbers, language, etc...
9. Soft, smushy cheeks and the kisses that go with them.
10. Finally understanding my own mother.
Photo Copyright held by me!
Feb 2007. Now she reads & writes.  

What do you most love about motherhood?

Friday, January 20, 2012

No More Babies

That's it. No more babies for me. Now, I have children. Little kids getting bigger each day. My youngest, the 2-year-old toddler has officially left his babyhood behind. When I call him "Baby" now, he corrects me, points to himself and says, "No. Me big boy," with big, just-learning-how-to-talk pauses between each sweet word.

But it's his cheeks that get me. Suddenly, though they are still soft and kissable, they have lost that baby-soft texture. That silky, soft perfect baby cheek feel that I love so much. As if overnight, the boy has a child cheek. My heart, and my own cheeks, ache a little at the loss.

Yet, I am happy. Of course, I am elated! My children are growing into fine young people. I have finished my years of taking care of babies and though I hold them dear, I am pleased to be through them. Sleep has improved and diapers are on their way out! More often the boy asks to go "pee pee" or "poop" on Dahdah (his name for the Dora toddler toilet seat). It makes me smile and laugh.

That's it. No more babies for me. It is both beautiful and bittersweet. And I am happy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Finding Joy in Every Moment

I have no idea what to write about. I'm rather stuck. I rarely have a moment like this, so I've decided to link in to Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. She gives 5 writing prompts, you choose one to write about and then you link up on Thursday.

It just so happens that prompt #5 is "What brings you joy, in good times and in bad?" inspired by Oprah. Of course!

This is a question dear to my heart as I want to live an affirmative life. It can be a great challenge, but it's one that I choose to accept every single day. Especially on the really bad days (like yesterday when I wake up to cat pee all over the floor and I discover my car is dead just when the girls are buckled up and we're late for school).

In these moments I'm making a concerted effort to bring up in my mind an image or memory that is or was exceptionally joyful. I hold it in my mind until I the feelings associated with it wash over me again and I'm in a place of joy. With a heart full of love and light, I can calmly and patiently get through to a better moment. And that's what life is... just moments. One can be rough and the next can be monumentally beautiful.

When I feel overwhelmed in a bad moment, I picture my boy and hear his delicious laugh. Or, if he's the cause of the bad moment (he's two-years-old), I picture my Grandmother. She turned 100 in October and is the most incredible woman I've ever known. She's always smiling, always positive. She's inspired thousands of people over the years as an art teacher and lover of life. She is beautiful, she glows, and she absolutely embodies joy.

These are the thoughts that bring a smile to my own lips and straight through to my heart. Memories of joyful moments, and the people who are a part of those moments, are what bring me joy in good times and bad.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rafflecopter Launch Party = Serious Giveaways!

Rafflecopter is officially launching and to celebrate, they're giving away an  a 16GB Apple iPad2 and several Kindle Fires. To enter just follow the rules in the Rafflecopter widget below to tell them DGMommy at (aspiring) Domestic Goddess Mommy referred you.

You can receive additional entries by tweeting about this giveaway, following them on twitter, and giving them feedback and suggesting a name for their smiley-faced helicopter mascot. After the giveaway is over, they'll pick out their favorite suggestions for Facebook voting and if your name is chosen, you'll win a Kindle Fire. Good luck!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gift Certificate Giveaway to Babies Bonded Forever

Babies Bonded Forever is a brand new online store for breastfeeding moms. Since I'm an entrepreneur with a new store as well, I'm super excited to share this with you. It isn't easy to get new businesses off the ground and running, but Babies Bonded Forever has a good start!

Their products are beautiful and high in quality. I'm (finally!!!) past the nursing stage, but had I found this site two, four or five years ago I would have been all over it! The nursing wear is actually cute and the nursing under wear is actually sexy. You will definitely feel like a woman, not just milk supply, in these! Plus they've got all of the supplies, books, and extras that you could ever need, including super cute teething necklaces for your gummy little monkey.

Babies Bonded Forever is kindly offering a $10.00 Gift Certificate to one lucky winner!

How to enter:

Blog Directories

I've been busy this morning attempting to update my profile in every blog directory I can find! I recently (finally!) purchased my own domain name. Though I'm pleased I did so, my Google Page rank went from 2 to 0 and my Alexa went up from 200,000 something to 5 million. Not so pleased about that. Also, my Klout from 40 something to 18, though they seemed to have changed some things since I last visited and I can't get my blogger or google + accounts linked in. 

There's always work to be done in bloggyland, isn't there?! Well, back to it and Happy Saturday to you!


NBKWGSKAUQHU (Never mind that code there! It's required for one of the directories)

PvmkrlxAQgCFn_feNmq7Q4xLdSE

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Calling Mary Poppins

Have you heard the idea that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? You'll average out in income, success and even your overall mood.

It's the mood thing I'm most concerned about. I'm thinking I'm in serious trouble. There are five of us in my family. I spend 90% of my time with a temperamental toddler and two little girls with mood swings as strong as hurricanes. It's either all roses and butterflies or the whole world is stupid and everything in life is horrible and I must not love them. I thought that kind of behavior was reserved for tweens and teens.

It's a constant see-saw of emotion. Add to it a whirlwind of mess and a never-ending to do list that's got me feeling harried.

So, I'm putting in my request to the Universe: Please send me Mary Poppins. Or Super Nanny. They're basically the same thing anyway.

Mom readers (especially those of you with two or more children), how do you maintain a positive outlook and mood with the blazing emotions of your children? I'm on a bit of a quest to find out (that is, I'm writing a book), so I truly appreciate your feedback on this one. If you'd rather comment in private, I welcome your email at adgmommy (at) gmail (dot) com. Give me permission, or not, to one day use your comments in print.

Thanks!
DGMommy

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Totally Tuesday Blog Hop - I'm the featured blog!

Whooo hoo! I am the featured blogger for todays Totally Tuesday blog hop over at Frugal Living and More. Check it out, follow her, please follow me, link up, leave a thoughtful comment and we'll follow you back! Happy Hopping!


 

Boys are different

I had my two daughters just 15 months apart. The boy came along three years later. I had rather gotten used to girls. They can get loud and obnoxious (like their mom), but they aren't overly physical and they are rarely destructive.

The boy is now 2-years-old. Every 2-year-old is a whirlwind of activity, curiosity and discovery, but boy, are boys different than girls.

My boy is like the Energizer Bunny. Remember those commercials? He just keeps going and going and going. My house is a complete disaster 3 seconds after I've tidied it! And he loves to "help Mama." You moms know what this means! He wants to unload the dishwasher (wine glasses and knives, oh my!), vacuum the floor (or the wall, or the chairs) and see how far he can throw every toy he has (don't throw hard things!)... at glass tables or his sisters.

By 6pm on days when I've stayed home with him, which frankly is most days, my head is ready to explode! He's just so busy. The girls can literally spend hours coloring and drawing. He draws for about one-minute and then throws the crayons all over the room, rips up all the paper and stands on the table. I swear that happens in under 10 seconds.

Boys are different. But, I've discovered that they are special, too. I have never been looked at the way that boy looks at me. That sweet smile, those bright eyes and those kissable cheeks make me melt no matter how big of a mess he makes. Boy, I love my boy!


Just look at those cheeks! Who could resist?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Affordable Invitations for your event

It seems like there is always a good reason for a celebration! We're just through Christmas and New Years and now Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Straight on from that we're headed into weddings and graduations! If you've got birthdays or other events going on as well, costs can start to add up!

Beautiful invitations to your events don't have to cost a fortune. Wedding-Needs.com offers a variety of price points and designs to meet any budget. Planning weddings or other important celebrations is often time-consuming, but this site makes it easy to select and personalize invitations without ever needing to leave the house! Plus, their processing time is ridiculously fast! Most invitations ship within 24 to 48 hours after your order is processed.

They have a fabulous selection of invitations. Elegant and inexpensive cards are available for weddings, showers, birthdays and other once-in-a-lifetime events. I particularly love their Naturally Ever After(tm) line, which is made from recycled paper and perfect for the eco-friendly party planner!

If you are planning a wedding or know someone who is, I invite you to pass along this piece of DGMommy's advice: The wedding is but one day of your life, the marriage is for a lifetime. Keep your focus the marriage and the rest will fall into place.


*** This post was brought to you by my friends at www.wedding-needs.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Age of No

Do your children treat you like their maid-servant? I swear mine do. At least the girls, but they're teaching their little brother a few tricks already. When you ask them to do something, do they just tell you, "No," and go right back to what they're doing? Or if not, they throw themselves down as if the world has fallen into pieces around them and they'll never recover from the tragedy of being told it's time to get ready for bed?!

My apologies for the run-on sentence. Perhaps I was not at all meant for motherhood, but it's too late now. They won't be going back where they came from anytime soon. The womb is closed! Therefore, we have to soldier on together. Papa, the 3 children and me.

Apparently around the age of 6, the "No" word comes back (remember that 2-year-old 'no' stage?) as a favorite. Children at this age also work on perfecting the art of ignoring their parents. This is a stage that tries a parent's patience, but it is compounded when there are younger siblings around. Remember when your sweet, little baby modeled you? Now the younger children prefer to model the elder sibling.

I can handle one child ignoring me, telling me no or even throwing a tantrum. What causes the steam to rise in my head until it feels that it may literally burst off and fly off into space is when I have three children defying me. They join forces and suddenly there is "Team No-To-Mommy" in the room.

I despise yelling at my children. But in these moments I don't know what else to do and out comes the shout. When I've regained my cool (and they've done what they were told to out of fear of their crazed, shouting mommy), I have shouters remorse. Then I wonder if I'm the worst mom in the world. Then I agree to shirk all of my duties and have coffee with my friend (who has two daughters exactly the same ages as mine). Then I feel better.

How do you handle being told "no" by your children? What discipline do you enforce? Tell me about it or feel free to link to your best post about it!

Blogger Morals - What would you do?

Have you heard of the law of attraction? Don't worry, I'll write a post telling you all about it, but for now I'll just say that when you focus and use it right it is amazing! I set an intention to make a viable income through my writing. I put it in writing (see my NY resolutions post) and set my mind to success. Suddenly, I'm getting numerous advertising requests everyday! It's amazing. But what would you do if your family-friendly blog was contacted by a company like EdenFantasys, an online "adult" retailer?

If you click that link, you won't want your children around (at least not the ones who can read). Yet, part of me says, "Family includes the marriage that started the family," and the products EdenFantasys offer are quite good for a marriage! They have many things that are far beyond my comfort zone. I certainly don't want to be answering questions about such things for at least 10 more years. But there are also quite a few products that I wouldn't mind trying out, such as massage lotion, oils and pretty lingerie. Plus, completely innocent items like makeup, candles and body wash. What's the big deal, right? We all use those things!

So, what would you do? Do you have a family-friendly blog? Would you write a post about a company that sells adult toys? I decided I would, because grown-ups should have fun too! And my marriage is the cornerstone of my family. Keeping my marriage in tip-top shape requires both emotional and physical intimacy and it never hurts to spice it up a bit, right?!

You can read more about how my tips for staying happily married with children here at parentsociety.com, a completely family friendly site to which I contribute!!



Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store You can contact Jenn for more information at Jenn (at) edenfantasys (dot) com

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, Clean House

Happy New Year! It's too early for spring cleaning, but I'm in the mood to vacuum! But what I'd really love is to have someone do the vacuuming for me. I love the name of this company that offers maid service in Washington, D.C.: Maid to Please. Doesn't that name just give you a good feeling?

Back in the day, before we opened our own business, I used to have housekeeping service occasionally. When you're busy having babies it helps to hire out! I thought I was really busy when I had one baby and I was pregnant. I was, for certain, tired! Pregnancy fatigue is killer. Now I'm a busier mom of three (including 1 rambunctious toddler!), retail business owner and freelance writer (about to start another business!). Needless to say, my house could use a good clean.

When one of you kind readers sends me a gift certificate to have my house cleaned, keep in mind what I'm looking for:

A cleaning service with flexibility. Some of us can afford the luxury of weekly housekeeping, some monthly and for some quarterly is enough.

A bonded service. I want to feel comfortable that nothing is leaving my house when my housekeepers do.

A service whose employees feel comfortable cleaning when I'm at home, with a kid or two! Many companies prefer you leave a key with them, but that's not happening with me. Since I work from home half of the time and always have a 2-year-old monkey running around, they need to be able to work around me.

So there you have it! What I want in maid service or housekeeping. For now, however, I'll just deal with a bit of dust and keep working on cleaning myself skinny!

*** Disclosure: I may be compensated for this post, but not enough to cover a cleaning, so go ahead and click above left to donate ;)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are you the only you out there?

Ever wonder if there is anyone out there pretending to be you? Or just borrowing “you” for a while to suit their needs? Then, on they go to the next unsuspecting individual. Sadly, for the honest majority, this is the way some people live their lives.

Over the Christmas shopping season a huge, unknown charge showed up on my Visa debit card. This was not a good time for credit card fraud and it got me thinking about identity theft. One of my daughters often gets mail for car loans, auto-insurance and other things a 5-year-old clearly doesn't need. So, I started looking into getting some protection. IdentityHawk is a leader in identity theft protection.

There are many companies out there offering their services, but what I like about Identity Hawk is that their protection is comprehensive. Instead of paying one company for credit report monitoring and another for identity theft protection, I can get both in one. Plus, they offer identity theft insurance, so if it does happen to you, you won't experience a huge financial loss on top of the emotional one.

Fortunately, my bank rocks and within a few days I had a new card and the fraudulent charges were reversed. I feel very fortunate and grateful for that. Yet, I'm still wondering if there is someone out there using my little girl's name and identity to live a life that doesn't quite belong to them. It's time for me to find out.

*** I may be compensated for this post, but all opinions and experiences noted are mine and true.