Works for me Wednesday


WFMWAlright, I admit.  This is not my original idea.  I learned this very cool idea just today and I loved it so much that I rewrote (or should I save saved for another WFMW) my original post for WFMW.  Here it goes, I will pass this on to you.

I have a very stubborn and moody 2 year old.  I know you are thinking “Duh, when is a 2 year old not prone to severe mood swings and tantrums?”.  Well, pretty much never.  I think that the age of 18 months to 26 months is one of the hardest ages to deal with as a mother.  They have an opinion.  They want you to know it.  But they can’t express it with words.  So they use other means, such as screaming or throwing toys across the room.  They head butt (or is that just my 2 year old?).  I wish I could just give him the verbal tools to express himself.  Once they seem to have those skills, life gets so much better.

Well, I listened to a Music Therapist talk today about ways music can help your child communicate with you.  When your child is angry, frustrated, sad or confused but can’t explain these feelings to you, give them some musical instruments to help express their feelings.  Preferrably something that they can hit together such as rhythm sticks or a drum.  If you are daring you could use cymbals.  Encourage them to play their music for as long as they want and with as much emotion as possible.  It will allow them to feel heard and understood.  And just imagine what a great feeling that is for a child!!

One instrument that I really liked is called the boomwhacker.  They are plastic shaped tubes of different length that make individual musical notes.  Your kids can hit them on the floor or any other acceptable object and they will create beautiful music.  Okay, maybe it will be just a bunch of noise but it will be music to their ears because all those negative feelings will be “whacked” away in a positive manner.

What can beat that?  You kids will feel heard, valued and will eventually become musical prodigies?  It works for me…as always on Wednesday.

WFMWGo to fullsize imageHave you ever read the book, “The Secret Life of Bees”?  We read it for our book club a while back and it reminded me that I like honey, which in turn renewed my obsession for tea.  I used to drink tea by the buckets instead of coffee or other beverages such as juice or soda.  But, since the kiddos I have strayed over to the coffee table once again.  I have to say that I have felt this on my body.  Too much caffeine, not enough soothing.

I think that tea is the best natural medicine that you can easily find and make.  How hard is it?  You heat up some water to boiling (hmmm, my roommate in college had never boiled water before, hopefully you have) and throw a tea bag in to steep.  Then a little bit later, you remove the tea bag and put it into your little tea bag holder (you have to have one if you drink tea).  Then you drink from a cute little tea cup with your pinky extended while you eat scones.  Well, you don’t do the pinky thing but I like to.  It makes me feel rich and important.

The beauty of tea is that it has many healthful properties depending on the type.  Green Tea has wonderful antioxidants (EGCG) that contributes to protecting your cardiovascular and neurological systems.  Mint tea is great for calming the stomach.  Camomile is excellent for relaxation.  Rasberry leaf is great for reproductive health in women.  The health options are literally endless and if you don’t like a flavor, it’s cheap enough to buy another kind that works for you. 

I personally swear by tea for improving my mood.  There’s nothing more comfy than curling up with a great cup of tea and a good book on the couch.  I also think that green tea with lemon and honey is better than any cough syrup when you are battling throat irritation or cough.  Ask others what tea tastes good and works for them.  It works for me…as always on Wednesday.

Take a look at these links for other tea opinions:  http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea.htm

http://www.celestialseasonings.com/tea-health/

http://www.chinatownconnection.com/benefits-of-green-tea.htm

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/product/organictea.html

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART02854

  WFMW

Before children, my lingerie bag had a beautiful life.  Always useful, I used it almost everytime I did our wash for “my personals”.  It felt wanted and needed. It had a purpose.  After I had our first child, the lingerie bag was used a little less often.  After the second child, it started to become covered with dust on the shelf in the laundry.  Then after the third child, I completely forgot about it all together.

It wasn’t until my always wise and observant mother noticed I was getting frustrated with my laundry chore, that the lingerie bag found it’s way back into our everyday life.  She was over helping with Gret a couple weeks after she was born.  I was trying to catch up on the mountains of laundry that had accumulated since I had come home from the hospital.  We were just a picture of womanly bliss, a mother, her daughter, her granddaughter, all circled around folding laundry.  Until, I lost it and started yelling profanities about the loss of yet another baby sock. 

You see, I simply can’t stand losing my children’s socks but it happened all the time when I did their wash.  I would throw them in as a pair and somewhere in the shuffle, only one sock out of the pair would make it out alive.  Those itsy bitsy infant socks are the worst.  They disappear like a donut in my kitchen (and you know how I LOVE donuts).

Calmly, my mother said “Stace, why don’t you just put them all into a lingerie bag so they stay together?”  Duh.  Thanks mom for pointing out the almost obvious 🙂 I quickly went downstairs to resurrect my red-shirted lingerie bag.  So next time I threw a load with child socks in the washer, they were in my lingerie bag.  And guess what?  When I emptied the dryer, all the socks were there in a nice little package waiting to be paired and put away.  That’s just one more little annoyance removed from my everyday household chores (okay, so I don’t do laundry everyday in reality, but it sounds good).

That’s why my lingerie bags still have a life after children and that’s why it Works for Me (on Wednesday).Go to fullsize image

WFMWWait!!!  I am not really armed.  I don’t believe in owning weapons.  I don’t even like the kids to use squirt guns.  I am not hammered either.  I don’t like to impair myself with alcohol even though I do enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long day/week.  BUT now that I have your attention, I thought I would share what works for me this Wednesday.  It’s Arm and Hammer Baking Soda!!

baking Soda

Since trying to green our home, I have come to love this simple cleaning product.  You can use it about anywhere and for anything.  It can be a deodorizer, detergent or mild abrasive.  Basically, it can meet all of your cleaning needs. 

I recently bought two huge bags of Arm and Hammer at Sam’s Club.  (Yes, I frequent both Sam’s and Costco.  I am a warehouse junkie.)  Armed with this effective, nontoxic cleaner, I am hammering away at the dirt and odors in our house.  It’s been really hot and humid in Michigan lately and that makes for stinky dog smell.  Both on the dog and on the stuff they lay on.  So, I sprinkled baking soda all over the carpeting and left it for an hour.  Then vacuumed.  I next tackled the dog blankets by throwing baking soda into the washing machine when cleaning those.  I even sprinkled baking soda on the dog and rubbed it in her fur.  She loved the attention by the way.  Guess what…the doggy smell has left the building!!  Now I just have to see if I can brush her teeth with a baking soda paste to remove tartar and minimize her REALLY bad doggy breath.  I will let you know how that goes later.  But for now, if you have stinky pet issues.  Try Arm and Hammer. 

More Works for Me Wednesday here.

wfmwFive months into raising child number three, I still don’t know if I am qualified to hand out any advice on parenting.  I mostly feeling like I am flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to raising my kids.  However, I did have a big “AHA!” moment when I was potty training Zack.  Actually, it was after I thought I had potty trained Zack. 

In my haste to get him to tinkle in the toilet, I forgot to teach him to pull down his own pants and underwear.  He would say he had to go and then I would rush him to the toilet, pull down his pants, and put him on the potty.  I was just going on natural instinct and helped him with it all.  Well, it’s been officially a year since we started potty training.  He will go on the toilet just fine.  It’s pulling down his own pants that he refuses to do.  Zack is so used to having this done for him that he throws a fit if we don’t do it for him or just stands by the toilet yelling for help.  He will even wet his pants because he refuses to do it himself.  Not fun at all if you have two younger kids to take care of as well.  He knows how to put on his pants, he does it just fine for other people.  But not for mom or dad.  Can you say “stubborn”??

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So, my advice to all parents out there:  Do NOT make a habit of helping your toddler pull down their pants when potty training.  Be sure they can easily pull their own pants up and down before you begin toileting (There you go, Good Idea Momma.  I said toileting :)) .  Make this part of their potty routine and you won’t have to deal with tantrums and wet pants one year later.  (Well, in theory you should be tantrum and wet pants free.  I offer no guarantee when you have unpredictable toddlers.)  

wfmwheader.jpgGo to fullsize imageMy four year old, Zack, and my two year old, Anson, love to see their artwork on display.  We came up with a new way to make them feel proud about their favorite works of art and also provide a way for us to show off their “natural supreme talent”. 

I take their favorite picture (okay, so maybe it’s my favorite picture) and I buy a cheap poster frame that’s a little bit larger.  I then take the most recent school picture or photo and put it into the corner with scrapping letter stickers to show their name and year.  I finish it off with some “scrappy” touches. Such as a cool paper border or cool topic related stickers.  We have a wall going up our stairs where I hang our favorite family photos and these works of art.  The kids love to see them everyday as they go up and down the stairs.  I rotate the museum quality pieces of art they make throughout the year.  It adds great color and family/friends love to see what the kids have done!

Here’s the latest example: (It’s not the best picture, but it gives you an idea)

Kid Art

Works for me Wednesday is here!

wfmwheader.jpg  I don’t know if I was a little slow to figure this trick out but it has saved me a ton of time and frustration.  With the 3 kids, it’s always a struggle to get out the door. If we have an easy time leaving the house, it’s a pure miracle and I know it’s going to be a REALLY great day.  Needless to say, in my haste of arriving and leaving different locations, I tend to remember all the kids but forget the diaper bag.  So, I will be stuck at some unfortunate location with kids needing their diapers changed or messy clothes. 

To remedy this, I began packing a separate bag to keep in the car at all times.  I never take it out, I just replenish the stock.  I put diapers, wipes, a couple plastic bags, a change of clothes for each child, suntan lotion, crackers, disposable sippy cups, a few books, a bottle with single serve formula and a blanket.  You can put whatever else your kids may need.  Since I know I have this in my car, I never freak out if I forget to bring my diaper bag somewhere.  It also saves me from having to return home after being at the park for only 5 minutes!  Anyway that I can reduce stress, works for me.