Such a proud mama I am, plus, collard wrap recipe

My little one has always been the type to jump around and do tricks on the bed and couch as soon as she was able. Before we moved some furniture downstairs, our house rule was jumping on the couch is okay, as long as the couches are pushed together so she had plenty of room if she did an elaborate trick, which required a lot of space. Now that the couches are separated by a whole floor, she is no longer allowed to jump on the couch for her safety. Yet, we still let her jump on our king sized bed, which is not on a frame it’s just laying on the floor.

I don’t like inhibiting her play, so about a month ago, we decided to see if she would be interested in joining gymnastics. Not only does she love doing tricks and jumping around, I felt it would be good to get her in a group that allows her to have some scheduled interaction with other kids. I feel like this is especially important now since she only hangs out with adults, other than Mondays for her 50 minute gymnastics class.

The first day, my mom and I hauled her off to the gym and were able to view her and her other classmates through a tinted glass toddler area. This area has mats, a trampoline, bars, and more. My mom and I watched with enthusiasm as she was doing each task instructed by the teacher. She was very patient and waited her turn, while the other kids cut their turns and so on. I was beaming the whole 50 minutes, so proud of what she could do, but most of all, because she found pride in herself with each task she was able to complete or attempt. (Not trying to toot her horn, because no she isn’t a child prodigy gymnastics star, but she does really well for her age and for having no prior instruction but mostly, because she’s having fun!) Every day, she is excited to go to gymnastics and more recently, she’s been asking when she gets to go again, even if it’s right after her class. Right now, we are taking it week by week. Before, we had her in swimming lessons last summer, and she didn’t like it. I wish I would have listened to her and took her out right after she expressed her disdain, but I thought it was necessary to keep her in. Now I know, that I should trust her and know not to force anything. I learned that I need to know that at certain times in a child’s life, they will want to learn a task and if they loose interest, move on to the next thing. This will allow them to gain trust in themselves and you. And no matter how long they are engaged in an activity, they got whatever they needed to.

So for now, my little one will attend gymnastics and once she has learned what she wanted from it, we will find something else that she is interested in. This will boost her self confidence and will allow her to thrive.

Summer Meal:
Hummus Collard Wraps – I like to steam my cruciferous veggies (cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower) and wraps (collard greens, kale or Swiss chard) before I load them up. You can follow these ingredients listed in the recipe link to fill the wrap, but the possibilities are endless!

The power of oils… Plus, No sugar Paleo Chocolate chip cookies recipe

When I was younger, I got a gross wart on the top of my dominant hand thumb. It was embarrassing and I wanted it gone ASAP! My mom took me to a dermatologist and had it “frozen off.” Well it didn’t work the greatest because it came back. Again, back to the dermatologist. This time, the area blistered up the width of my thumb and at the time, I played volleyball and it ended up getting in the way and oozed and it was just a nasty happening. Finally, I heard about using non-coated aspirin to clear away warts. I wet down the aspirin, placed it on the wart and covered it with a band-aide at night and after a couple nights of doing that the pestery wart was out of my life.

I never really thought about it again until a few days ago. I have a history of eczema ever since the birth of my daughter in the winters so when I started noticing bumps on my dominant middle finger, I thought maybe it was just that. I was wrong… shortly after their appearance they started getting more obvious and I realized that I have a cluster of warts on my finger! Yuck! I have been putting Thieves and oregano essential oils on them to kill them and it seems to be working slowly. I will continue to do this through out the day for a week, which seemed to be the normal time for natural remedies to completely work. After I recognized these bumps to be warts, I decided to research them and didn’t realize that warts are actually a virus, similar to HPV. Double yuck!

Along with learning this, I found some other natural remedies to try, which I will if the essential oils don’t work. These include topical vitamin C, vinegar compress at night using a band-aide, and castor oil. I’m going to still use my Thieves oil in the mornings since it’s antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. Important to note: If you have warts on your body- DO NOT PICK them, it will allow this virus to be spread to other people. Virus’s aren’t something we want to share with others… leave the sharing for delicious food, great company, and love!

Have you ever suffered from warts? How did you treat them?

No sugar Paleo Chocolate chip cookie recipe

Another new sitter? Ehhh… (Plus, sugar-free maple fudge recipe)

I can’t believe we are facing this again… the dreaded search for a sitter! Throughout my daughters short 3 years, she has been in the care of 8 different babysitters starting at 3 months of age. The first few were people who moved away, others were friends who helped out when needed, a few were unable to continue care due to finances and there was one questionable experience in which my daughter never returned as soon as I had a bad feeling.

This is something that parents shouldn’t have to worry about… trusting that their vulnerable children will be taken well cared for when we need to work to provide for our family. It’s a shame that in 30 or so years, our country went from one working parent in the house to a now standard two working parents in the home too soon after a baby is born. In various countries around the world, not only are mothers granted paid maternity leave along with job protected leave, but the father is allowed paternity leave as well. Could you imagine how strong the child(ren)/parent bond would be if we were allowed this same necessary time with our children? There’s an article that states some specific family leave information, click here, and at the bottom, the USA is one of few countries which have no mandated paid maternity leave. Instead, we are forced to either sacrifice our time with our babies, which leads to the daycare/nanny search or struggle financially.

I decided that money would be something I sacrificed more of, although I do work, I decided to cut my hours back from 32-40 down to 24-28 hours a week. My wage could definitely help us more if I worked full-time, but I knew that being with my children more is too important. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay home full-time, but I am not regretting any time that I am away from my job. Your babies don’t stay little for very long and that is not time that I am willing to sacrifice. Thankfully, with my mom moving in, we are being more supported but we still need to find care for 6 hours a week, when she can’t be there. So here we look again…

…while I wait to find our next caregiver for my little one, I am going to try a recipe for sugar free fudge, which was inspired by my husband. I’m going to experiment with the flavor from maple to oranges and cream, which is one of his favorite flavors, to gift him for father’s day.

 

Doing the best I can to be a great mom, Part III

I grew up in a small town, so going to movies and watching TV was about one of the only things to do and a big part of my life starting at a very young age. With current research, though, and my experience with the television sucking time away from my life, I decided it was time we needed a change. My husband is also a movie/TV watcher, and had gotten into the habit of watching TV late into the night after my daughter and I went to bed. He is an amazing and talented artist, so I always was sad to see his time spent wasted on the tele. For a while now, I have wanted to go TV free for at least one month straight. Then, after my brothers high school graduation a couple of weeks ago, I listened to one of my favorite parenting experts, Janet Lansbury, podcast about TV usage in young children and it sparked our motivation to change things up at home. Shortly after I listened to the podcast, I listened to it again, except this time, my husband tuned in with me as well. I’m so glad that he did because a few days later, we moved our TV out of our living room and it’s now downstairs creating less temptation for everyone in the household, especially my little one.

It’s been over one week now that she has had zero TV, which I’m pretty proud of! Unfortunately, she is going to a sitter today and it seems TV watching has taken place during her past times there. I voiced my objection and I’m hoping that they will respect and support us in this decision. I have written a post about this previously, but in the past 6 months, TV has increased in our home to unacceptable levels- according to my standards. And with the research apposing young children watching TV, I plan on not having my daughter watch anything until she is old enough to distinguish between reality and fantasy, which is around age 8.  At least, that is my hope. If we slip up and end up watching something, it will be pro-social (which is easier for young children to understand) or at least non-confrontational and we will watch it together so if something comes up like a confrontational scene that a young child can’t understand we can discuss it.

So far, this experiment is working really well and I am very happy to have changed up our living room. Instead of spending our time watching movies we have already seen multiple times or watching TV shows that have been engineered to get us glued to the screen, we are now listening to music, which leads to fun and comedic dancing opportunities with my daughter and movement, we have been playing more games together, and we are all reading more.

Before, our couch directly faced the TV making it very tempting to turn it on and become swept away for a few hours. It makes sense for this to happen when you are making your TV the main focus of the room. Now, we are enjoying each other more and creating more bonding and lasting memories together. Our living room is now a place to either relax or reconnect with each other. Plus, it’s summer time and I don’t want to waste away these beautiful days on TV… that can happen a little during the winter.

 

Doing the best I can to be a great mom, Part II w/ginger lime fruit salad recipe

Last week, when I went to my mom’s for my brother’s graduation, I walked into her house and was disappointed to see the work I had ahead of me for the next few days. We spent most of the time packing up odds and ends things. Things that could have been packed prior to my arrival, but my mom stretched herself too thin with work, increased responsibilities, and lack of sleep, so I don’t blame her. Unfortunately, my little one was left to her own devices, while we worked on packing. There were times she was irritated and frustrated and just wanted some interaction with us. I felt bad, but I told her that grandma and I needed to get this stuff done. Of course, I didn’t ignore her, I helped her when needed and had a little bit of down time with her, but it wasn’t enough. Rewind a few months and my mom decided that she would take my little one for a few days after graduation and before she moved down to give my husband and I some time together. I asked her multiple times throughout the months if she was still okay with taking her, as I’d need to let my sitter know and I wanted to make sure she had enough time to get done with what she needed and give my daughter the attention she needs at the same time.

After the graduation, my tot was really sad that I wasn’t taking her home with me. It broke my heart because usually she’s ecstatic to stay with grandma, but with what she had experienced the last few days, I don’t think she was eager to stay. I could have texted my sitter at that moment to see if she would take my little one for a day this week, but I decided that wasn’t the best option. I knew my mom had gotten a lot done and would be able to devote enough time to her and I knew I needed the time to myself and some with my husband before my mom moved in. There’s been tears shed from all of us missing each other, but it’s okay to miss each other. It’s okay to be away from my kiddo for a few days. It allows me to regroup and take care of myself really well.

Self-care is something that I’m constantly struggling with. In the few years my daughter has been Earth side with us, it has gotten better, but it still is a work in progress and really, that’s the most important thing as parents or caregivers that we can do for our children. We need to show them that we are important and we run at the optimal level when we are taken care of first. It’s similar to the saying, “you need to love yourself first, before someone else can love you.” It’s not easy, it requires help and continual reminders from myself and my husband and friends. Yet, it is SO important! Critical, actually! I miss my daughter to the moon and back, but tomorrow is my day off and I am so looking forward to just doing what I want and re-charging, while also getting some things accomplished, as well. In my time that I have had to myself, I also have been bettering myself as a mother by listening to podcasts from my mentor, Janet Lansbury. If you are a caregiver, I would highly recommend checking these out! We have been struggling lately with our spirited child in the last few months and her recommendations are priceless, yet these are completely free! My husband and I listened to one last night and it not only teaches us each how to be a better support for her, but it improves our bond to each other as well.

For a healthier, no added sugar snack, Try out this delicious Ginger Lime Fruit salad or if you’re looking for something creamy, there’s a Dairy-free Fruit Salad– just don’t add in the sugar!