This is a very useful post for anyone who wants to do fancy icing but doesn’t have a set of piping nozzles by Ann Reardon from HowtoCookThat.com.
May 2, 2015
May 2, 2015
April 1, 2015
Wordle is a great website that allows you to make cool looking word clouds like this.
March 7, 2015
I thought these suggestions were great and really work. Original post to be found here.
1. Name the Bad Feelings
Get your kid to think up a silly name for the bad feelings they’re having. For example: Bob.
Then tell your kid to boss those bad feelings around.
“Bob, stop making me feel like that!”
Or: “Go away, Bob!”
Logic doesn’t help when a child is experiencing real anxiety. Just stop talking and instead listen and give lots of hugs and kisses instead.
3. Give Your Kid a Friend
Let your kid pick a doll or stuffed animal, or even something like a bracelet.
In times of stress, encourage your child to find comfort in this special object. Research shows this helps kids with nighttime fears and sleep problems. Especially in cases of shared custody, the child can find it helpful to have an object they take between both houses that always travels with them.
4. Get a Straw and a Button
In one study, teaching kids to blow into a party blower reduced anxiety in 40 percent of the kids who tried it. If you don’t have a party blower on hand, use a straw and a button instead.
Show your child how to blow through the straw to move the button. This trick forced her to take a big deep breath and let it out slowly. Too fast, and the button would fly off the nightstand.
For more tips try What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety,
5. Make a Photo Album
When a child is feeling upset, it can help if he looks at pictures of pleasant events or people he loves.
6. Record Yourself
Record a loving and calming message on a device that your child can play when you’re not there.
7. Make a Calm-Down Jar
When anxious encourage your child to shake this glowing bedtime bottle and then count as many stars as possible as they float back down to the bottom. This can distract them from their anxiety and help them calm down. Research has shown that by practicing this and other forms of mindfullness regularly increases bloodflow and development in the areas linked to emotional control and feelings of calmness. Mindfullness in kids is easiest to achieve by asking them to focus on one of their senses, i.e. sight, sound, touch or breathing for a short period of time. This gives us brain a rest from ‘thinking’ and helps us be more in tune with our bodies.
8. Build a Toolbox
After you read through these tips to see what will be a good fit for your kid, review those ideas with your kid to make sure they understand all the tools.
Practice each one.
Then in the moment where they’re feeling anxious or scared, they’ll be confident and prepared to use their toolbox.
Original Post by Kelly J Holmes
And her’s one of my own
9. Happiness Book
My daughter was prone to the ‘negative nellies’ at bedtime so a friend, Fionnuala, suggested a happiness book. Everynight we’d write down one thing that made us happy that day. After about 3 months she didn’t need it anymore but it’s still a nice thing to do.
February 20, 2015
February 20, 2015
A simple coat of paint to stackable bamboo steam-baskets makes for a nice sewing box. Originally published on Martha Stewart’s website.
September 28, 2014
Text ‘borrowed’ from article by Smita Malholtra in Huffington Post. I think they’d apply to boys as well as girls.
These are eight lessons I want to teach my daughter. I have learned these through many mistakes, periods of introspection and learning in my life.
My hope for her is to live authentically, passionately and gracefully.
1. If someone hurts you, don’t take it personally
Chances are, they have been hurt themselves. In fact, never take anything personally. Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let criticism get you down. It is a known fact that most people can only give others what they have received themselves.
All your actions and words should come from a place of love. But not everyone will be loving back. And that is OK.
As Miguel Ruiz explained in his book The Four Agreements, when you do not take anything personally, you are in a place of liberation. You can interact with the world through the lens of an open heart, not having to worry about what others will say.
2. Keep a portion of what you earn for saving and another for giving back
Learn to see money as a tool with which you can achieve your greatest dreams. But it is also a tool that can be used to do tremendous good in the world. If you are blessed with a lot of money, do not waste this opportunity. Use it to change a social condition, to uplift a community and to inspire others.
Someone once gave me some great advice about money:
With every dollar that you earn, keep one third to spend, one third to save, and one third to give back to the world.
3. Live every day as if it was a Friday
Speaking of money, do not trade money for meaning in your life. Hopefully you will find a career that gives you meaning and all the money that you need. Finding meaning is the only way to live every day as if it was a Friday.
You cannot live your life just waiting for the weekend. Find something that excites you. As Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “Do not die with your music still inside of you.”
Your job in this life is to find your music and go about the business of sharing it with the world.
If you have not found your music yet, keep searching. Do one thing everyday that makes you happy. Make it a Friday, every single day.
4. You do not need anyone’s approval
The need for approval is like an addiction. If you base all your actions on the approval of others, ultimately you will sacrifice your own happiness. Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket. Learn how to say “no” to people and obligations that do not add value to your life.
Your time on this earth is precious. You must invest your time like you invest money. Invest in people and activities that uplift you. As the saying goes, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”
5. In every tough situation, try kindness first
People may make ugly comments. The airline may lose your bags. Another driver may cut you off. These situations will happen everyday. How are you going to respond?
Although your first response like many others will be to get angry, why not try a different approach? Anger in these situations rarely solves problems. People are more likely to respond to kindness. And you can be kind and be firm.
Get your point across without sacrificing your integrity. It is the only response that you will not regret later. No matter how upset you are, always treat others with respect. You will be surprised at how much can be accomplished with kindness.
6. Do not complain unless you can suggest a solution
Do not be a constant complainer. No one likes that person. If you do not like your current situation, work towards changing it. But don’t sit and complain about it. Complaining will get you nowhere. In fact, it will only make others not want to be around you. Be someone that looks for the positive in every situation. And if you do find a problem, be someone that can suggest a solution.
You will never get to where you want to be by complaining about where you are now. Each step in your life is preparing you for the one that comes after it.
7. Learn to be present
While technology can be life-changing in many great ways, there is an aspect to technology that interferes with our relationships. Do not be so addicted to a screen that you miss enjoying real life happening in front of you. Learn to disconnect everyday.
Learn to slow down. Give people your full and un-divided attention. Do not seek mindless stimulation on a screen and learn to make real human connections.
8. Don’t let the world make you bitter
The world can be a difficult place. You may experience suffering, heartbreak or the loss of a loved one. All of these things can take a toll on your soul. But do not lose hope.
Think about the Yin and Yang in Chinese philosophy, which states that opposite forces are often interconnected. In suffering, you can find great strength, in heartbreak you can find resilience and in loss you can find a renewed appreciation for life.
Life comes with Yin and Yang. The two opposites are interdependent and interconnected. And you do not need to be afraid. In every difficult situation, you are being tested. If you become bitter and angry, you have lost.
Stop to notice each flower, each weed that is breaking through the cement to find the sun and each butterfly that has found it’s wings. Learn to see the beauty around you.
Iaian Thomas wrote:
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still know it to be a beautiful place.
Keep your sweetness. Be soft. And know that the world is a beautiful place. Always.
September 28, 2014
This post is ‘borrowed’ from AHA Parenting website.
We all crave those close moments with our children that make our hearts melt. Connection is as essential to us parents as it is to our children. When our relationship is strong, it’s also sweet — so we receive as much as we give. That’s what makes parenting worth all the blood, sweat and tears.
That connection is also the only reason children willingly follow our rules. Kids who feel strongly connected to their parents WANT to cooperate. They trust us to know what’s best for them, to be on their side. I hear regularly from parents that everything changes once they focus on connecting, not just correcting.
But we’re only human. There are days when all we can do is meet our children’s most basic needs: Feed them, bathe them, keep an encouraging tone, hug them, and get them to sleep at a reasonable hour so we can do it all over again tomorrow. Given that parenting is the toughest job on earth — and we often do it in our spare time, after we work at another job all day — the only way to keep a strong bond with our children is to build in daily habits of connection. What kinds of habits?
1. Aim for 12 hugs (or physical connections) every day. Hug your child first thing in the morning, when you say goodbye, when you’re re-united, at bedtime, and often in between. If your tween or teen rebuffs your advances when she first walks in the door, realize that with older kids you have to ease into the connection. Get her settled with a cool drink, and chat as you give a foot rub. (Seem like going above and beyond? It’s a foolproof way to hear what happened in her life today. You’ll find yourself glad, many times, if you have that high on your priority list.)
2. Connect before transitions. Kids have a hard time transitioning from one thing to another. If you look her in the eye, use her name, and play a bit to get her giggling, you’ll fill her cup and make sure she has the inner resources to manage herself through a transition. Mornings go much easier when you start with a five minute snuggle upon awakening to help your child transition from sleep into the executive functions of dressing and teeth brushing.
3. Play. Laughter and rough-housing keep you connected with your child by stimulating endorphins and oxytocin in both of you. Making playfulness a daily habit also gives your child a chance to work through the anxieties and upsets that otherwise make him feel disconnected — and more likely to act out. And play helps kids want to cooperate. Which is likely to work better, “Little Gorilla, it’s time for breakfast, come eat your bugs and bananas!” and “Don’t you think your steam shovel wants to get in the car now so he can see the construction site on the way to the store?” or “Eat your breakfast now!” and “Get in the car!”
4. Turn off technology when you interact with your child. Really. Your child will remember for the rest of his life that he was important enough to his parents that they turned off phones and music to listen to him. This is particularly important in the car, because the lack of eye contact in a car takes the pressure off, so kids (and adults) are more likely to open up and share.
5. Special time. Every day, 15 minutes with each child, separately. Alternate doing what your child wants and doing what you want. On her days, just pour your love into her and let her direct. On your days resist the urge to structure the time with activities. Instead, play therapeutic “games” to help your child with whatever issues are “up” for her. (For game ideas, click here.)
6. Welcome emotion. Sure, it’s inconvenient. But your child needs to express his emotions or they’ll drive his behavior. So accept the meltdowns, don’t let the anger trigger you, and welcome the tears and fears that always hide behind the anger. Remember that you’re the one he trusts enough to cry with, and breathe your way through it. Afterwards, he’ll feel more relaxed, cooperative, and closer to you. (Yes, this is really, really hard. Regulating our own emotions is the hardest part of parenting. But that doesn’t mean we’re excused from trying.)
7. Listen, and Empathize. Connection starts with listening. Bite your tongue if you need to, except to say “Wow!….I see….Really?…How was that for you?” The habit of seeing things from your child’s perspective will ensure that you treat her with respect and look for win/win solutions. It will help you see the reasons for behavior that would otherwise drive you crazy. And it will help you regulate your own emotions so when your buttons get pushed and you find yourself in “fight or flight,” your child doesn’t look so much like the enemy.
8. Slow down and savor the moment. Share the moment with your child: let him smell the strawberrries before you put them in the smoothie. Put your hands in the running water together and share the cool rush of the water. Smell his hair. Listen to his laughter. Look him in the eyes. Connect in the magnificence of the present moment. Which is really the only way we can connect.
9. Bedtime snuggle and chat. Set your child’s bedtime a wee bit earlier with the assumption that you’ll spend some time visiting and snuggling in the dark. Those companionable, safe moments of connection invite whatever your child is currently grappling with to the surface, whether it’s something that happened at school, the way you snapped at her this morning, or her worries about tomorrow’s field trip. Do you have to resolve her problem right then? No. Just listen. Acknowledge feelings. Reassure your child that you hear her concern, and that together you’ll solve it, tomorrow. The next day, be sure to follow up. You’ll be amazed how your relationship with your child deepens. And don’t give this habit up as your child gets older. Late at night is often the only time teens will open up.
10. Show up. Most of us go through life half-present. But your child has only about 900 weeks of childhood with you before he leaves your home. He’ll be gone before you know it. Try this as a practice: When you’re engaged with your child, just be right here, right now. You won’t be able to do it all the time. But if you do it every day for a bit, you’ll find yourself doing it more and more. Because you’ll find it creates those moments with your child that make your heart melt.