Life Lessons for Mommy: #145:

Playroom for kids with Teepee and garlands

Playtime Tents!

My daughters been making forts and making tents these days. I don’t know what it is with forts and kids, but we all made them and gosh darnit they were good old fun! It’s always with blankets and pillows and using furniture to hold it all up. And then her little brother comes and godzilla’s it breaking her little heart.

She still didn’t ask for a tent just help with building one and making sure her little brother didn’t come and bulldoze it. I would help her make it, and it barely fit both of us and any slight movement always forced it down. She was getting frustrated.ย  And I felt bad. Like iI posted earlier, I did a major overhaul of her toys and now she’s forced to create a more imaginative play time, so I felt like she needed something to pull her space together.

I got the idea finally that I should just buy her a tent! A little space of her own that can’t be bulldozed down by a curious little brother. A cute little spot in her room where she can serve tea to her dolly and teddy bear. Or read books, or draw! It really was the perfect idea! When I told her about it, she was ecstatic!

So I went on the hunt for a cute little tent! And found out pretty fast that tents for kids are pretty pricey! Really cute one like this are like crazy expensive and didn’t have as much space as the picture looks.

Cute but crazy Pricey!!!

And even though I said it was for her, she wanted something my son could play inside too (such a big heart!). So it had to be somewhat gender neutral and big enough for 2 toddlers but also compact enough to fit in a small space. Since they’re kids, they’re going to be rough with it so honestly I didn’t focus on quality too much, just something sturdy and would last a few years.

I also found really easy to follow DIY on making a teepee – this one is crazy easy! I might still do this for my son!

I spent time like a crazy budget momma on the hunt for the best price for the right tent. The options were:

1) This awesome tent, that could fit multiple kids, but not tall enough and lets face it this tent is more outdoors not really for a bedroom.
2) This was perfect in size and thought for sure this was the one- but my daughter pointed out it didn’t look like a tent.

Finally, I found the right one for my daughter! It looked like a little teepee tent. It was the perfect size for both kids, and tall enough too! And the price was just right. Because come on, it’s a tent, and as much as I want to give her the best of the best, I don’t want to drop her school tuition for the future for a tent today- am I right!? It’s more of a teepee then a tent but it still fit ‘fort like’ theme she wanted. And with tons of options for girls or boys or neutral colours like white.

I purchased it and like 3 days it was here! And it’s not that hard to set up!

We decided not to buy play balls for it, and decided to keep her space tidy and free of a lot of clutter- she has troubles with clutter. I think the tent makes a nice addition to her room. Only downside is that it’s not foldable or portable, but I know myself, I’m not going to be taking tents to many places so no big deal.

I honestly bought the cheapest and best tent I could find on amazon, but you can go through and find the one that’s right for you. Keep in mind though, kids can get rough and it might break so don’t break the bank just for a kids tent.

Oh here’s a link to the one I got, it’s right here– it’s really pretty!

Neutral and cute for any room!
Neutral and cute for any room!

My daughter still does make forts- because lets face it, forts are fun! But with this little tent, its a cozy little spot to make imaginative play even more creative and fun!

Good Luck!
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Life Lesson for Mommy #144:

Small and colorful table and chairs for little kids

Cluttered Environment Creates a Cluttered Mind

My daughter is 4 years old and is going to a private Montessori preschool and we recently had a parent/teacher conference. Now before I get into the conference, I want to touch base on what is Montessori.

Montessori is a hands on form of learning. It is very well recognized and really gets the children engaged in what they are learning through a series of different toys that are tailored for education-such as math and reading. A famous child going to Montessori right now is Prince George! So that’s a plus!

But you really need to learn more about it before deciding if it’s right for your child. And you also should consider that not all Montessori schools are the same, some have more play time, some have less. Some are more tailored to reading some are more for math. If you are interested in the Montessori approach it’s best to talk to the teacher and see the work other students have done; and take your toddler along with you to see how they like it.

M

If you want to start giving your child the montessori experience there are a ton of free DIY activities on pinterest
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/170081323405870908/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/52495151882682507/

Tons of awesome ways to get their little minds working! Or you can take a trip down to amazon and purchase these
Math & Numbers
Counting & Math
Upper & Lower Case Letters
Building words

Trust me, don’t spend the money and DIY it! The process of making it yourself is like craft time and also saves a ton of money! And it does the same thing with the added flexibility of tailoring it to your child.

Anyways, continuing on. My daughter goes to a Montessori preschool as I stated, but it is also coupled with drilling on good old fashioned pen and paper. Because life is not all games and play time. I believe that learning should be fun but taken seriously. It’s what will set them up for the rest of their life, it should be something you help create love for! So don’t badger and push them, encourage and engage them!

So on to the parent/teacher conference! The teacher asked me if she can be blunt so right away I was nervous. I mean I knew my daughter had focus issues and always just wanted to play instead of sitting down to read with me or practice her numbers, but I was not prepared to hear this.

“She is stubborn and distracted”…ouch that hurts. But I had to shake off those feelings and stop myself from becoming defensive and get to the point of why she felt this way. When she showed me my daughters work I could see what she was talking about. My daughter has had some conflicting discipline issues (her grandparents don’t believe in time out or consequences just give her whatever she wants to stop the tantrums- sigh). I thought that might be the cause so I discussed what exactly does my daughter do in class, when and how much does she focus.

The teacher was very good at explaining my daughters day, and what is expected of her. And she is progressing but she does not like learning at all…she gravitates to just the play time and often starts to look around and loses focus, even during crafts. She simply just didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t playing with toys, not even drawing.

I knew right away, that this is the same things I’m noticing at home. Resistance to even read with me, or draw and do crafts. The teacher asked me about her environment at home to get a sense of why my daughter might be so unfocused and distracted. And as soon as she asked how many toys are available to her I knew that this was probably it. My daughter has a lot of toys, and a lot of it was distracting, non-motivational play…basically zombie play. She did have blocks and lego but she usually made castles and thats it. She also has loads of puzzles but she doesn’t want to do them. She also has dolls, drum set, and just a bunch of other toys way too young for her age. The teacher knew it right away, that maybe she’s unfocused because there is no focused play at home. Everything is everywhere and she has loads of stuff to play with.

So I went home and went through all the toys and started to pack up a lot of the stuff she didn’t play with, were too young for her age to play with and just loud distracting colours and sounds….I left her with her puzzles, her books, 1 doll set, her dress up box and her mouse family tree house, and thats it.

In 2 days I noticed a difference in her. She started to play with her puzzles, she even sat down and read with me. Like how long has it been since she did that, I can’t even remember! Her attitude also calmed down, she responded better when I told her no or time out.

I think she honestly needed a overhaul of her toys and all the things that distracted her. She practiced her numbers with me and was eager to see all the check marks and wanted to correct her work when she got an X – I saw that as a huge improvement instead of herย  just accepting the x mark and doing nothing about it.

So if you have a toddler who is all over the place, try to clean up your house, put away things in drawers or boxes and keep their toys limited and to things that stimulate imaginative play and not zombie play. For example a toy that you just press a button and the lights flash and a voice comes on- even if that voices is for alphabets, that’s zombie play. Get a puzzle instead, or purchase a kids boardgames that gets them excited and thinking.

Couple that with a solid routine- when is play time and when is learning time, creative time and reading time. These things should all be sectioned into different parts of the day. (Click here to Print this cute weekly schedule for preschoolers)  timetable

And when you get a doll, don’t just get a frozen doll that all they are going to do with is brush their hair. Get aย  set, that comes with some accessories like little pets or furniture. It doesn’t have to be pricey! If you don’t want to buy it, grab some dollar store felt material and cardboard and make your own accessories and get their minds going!

There are great tips and tricks on pinterest on sensory play, but try to look into creative play because nothing builds a mind better then thinking and problem solving.

And get rid of all those toys!!

Good Luck!
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Lesson for Mommy #49:

The Perfectly Imprefect You.

I spend a good chunk of my week checking out different recipes, crafts, parenting tips etc on Pinterest and Momma bloggers. And the one thing I see a lot is ‘perfection’. Iย  said this a long time ago, but I’m not perfect. And seeing so much perfection all over the net from all the mommy bloggers and pinterest creates this image that you should also be able to create this perfection.

You see white walls, clean children, a hot family dinner on the table, bento lunches for the next day, and the whole house top to bottom is clean. Um where are you finding the time to do these things? My 4 year old goes to Preschool, and I have a 13month old son- who is walking, but refusing to learn sign and just fusses all the time. I’m still breastfeeding and struggling to get things done; I’m finding it so hard to even find time to do something for myself. I try really hard to maintain everything, try to get wonderful meals, keep the house clean and tidy, and also take care of my children. But it’s really hard and I’m having to sacrifice a lot. In this time I’m also struggling to maintain some pain in my neck (from a car accident a while back) thats eating up time like crazy.

ARGH! I’m even skipping re-reading what I time and correcting spelling misteakes and snetence issues…you get the idea!

So when I pinterest, I feel awful! This image of a perfect home with the white walls, with perfect kids that just seem to do what they’re supposed to do, and meals that are just so healthy makes kale feel worthless; it all just gets me down. And a lot of times their ‘how to manage time’, ‘quick fixes’ aren’t so quick or manageable at all! Just more tips on how to be perfect.

I try to remind myself though that ‘this’ is just an image. An image of perfection, it might not be reality, not even for these perfectly perfect pictures. Sure there are some momma’s who just have it all together and just get things done like BAM BAM BAM, DONE! But with the amount of pinterest momma’s out there, it gives the illusion that they all have those white walls.

No one wants to show their dirty laundry on the internet, so instead they post the picture of their folded laundry. With this age of technology we momma’s are adding so much pressure on ourselves ‘TO LOOK GOOD”. It’s not just a body image issue now. It’s an everything issue. Way too much pressure. To look good with kids on both arms, a clean home in the background, with dinner on the table and everythings all sparkley!

I have my good days where everything just rolls and it all gets done and I’m like WOW is this how those Pinterest Momma’s feel all the time. But the point is that are we really this superficial? That we need to post ‘look how perfect I am’. And even when it’s something thats a fail they post it in such a way that it doesn’t even seem like a fail….like your minions cake looks awesome even if the yellow shade is slightly off….like wtf is that even a fail? That’s a huge accomplishment and your damn cake is so freaking awesome I wish I could eat it through my laptop !

So what is reality and what is ‘just for the internet’. The fact is that even these pinterest mom’s have tough lives. They’re just doing the best they can and posting their ‘best photo’ for social media. Some often talk about how many nights of fails and effort they put into their material. They try and try even if it means sacrificing sleep- but not all of us are like that. We don’t have an audience of readers waiting to see the next great blog post. These perfect momma’s though are maybe doing more harm to themselves then good, because they may be teaching their kids image is everything, perfection is everything. Post only your triumphs not your failures. And they may be doing harm to you as the reader, a mother who is just doing the best she can too with what she has. In this age of social media, we mommy’s are just putting more and more pressure on ourselves then we need to. Why are we doing that? You don’t see fathers doing this?

There are momma’s like me who post their failures, post their hard days and the real stuff that just can’t get any more real, so there is a balance. Because with all those pictures of perfection we need a reminder of how wonderful it is to be imprefect. How amazing that unfolded laundry is. Because I would rather sacrifice folding laundry and spend my time doing crafts with my daughter. I would rather forfeit making a super duper healthy kale on kale with guinoa dinner to let my nursing son explore the pantry with me (pulling down and disorganizing everything. I hate it sometimes, but I still do it. I feel bad about it sometimes, but I still do it.

You can be a perfect mommy and still have fails. Failures and messiness is how we know we tried, and I don’t want my daughter see me perfect, I want her to see my imperfections so she knows it’s okay to be imperfect, to have flaws and failures. Why not? In her lifetime she’s going to try and fail sometimes, she’s going to gain weight, loose weight, get pimples, have people who are better at something then her, I want to give her the emotional stability to cope with that. To accept herself. I also want the same for my son. He’s not lacking because he isn’t perfect in something.

Why do we post perfection on social media? Why do we need other people to think we are perfect and everything we do is perfect. Don’t dismay and think you’re doing something wrong, because that picture with the clean white walls might just be the only white wall in their house. Don’t fret and continue being the imperfect you.

And always, Good Luck!
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Go for Organic baby formula!

BabyOnlyFormula

About 4 months ago, I learned the horrible truth about the foods we eat, and the environment we live in- almost everything is toxic. That’s not even an exaggeration. I learned a lot about the fruits and veggies that I thought were healthy and were eating them in large doses, turns out it’s all GMO- genetically Modified Foods. And this stuff is horrible for you.

And now, as I sit here just over 7 months pregnant, I learned the harsh reality about infant formula and all the toxic things that sit in that ingredients list.

Food Babe a fantastic babe with tons of information on organic foods, healthy living and great information on how to live healthy- the real way.

Read the article about the shocking truth about formulas and Organic Infant formula
http://foodbabe.com/2013/05/28/how-to-find-the-safest-organic-infant-formula/comment-page-4/#comment-971351

And Like her facebook and join the FoodBabeArmy
http://foodbabe.com/2013/05/28/how-to-find-the-safest-organic-infant-formula/comment-page-4/#comment-971351

Excellent source for information and my inspiration to correct my ‘healthy’ habits into really actually healthy habits.

Life Lesson for Mommy #5:

Too Germ Free

 

One of the biggest mistakes I made was try to keep the environment completely clean- like no germs can survive here clean…so clean it actually made super germs.

So toss your 99.99% cleaner away and opt for a natural cleaner. And don’t panic over the floor not being cleaned every 3 days, let it go. Some germs are good for your little one and good for them to build immune resistance.

Too clean now means that when they enter the germ factory that is school, they will get sick very often because they’re bodies will not have been exposed to germs properly.

Opt for a natural cleaner from the natural aisle or making your own with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. But if you’re not into that, try diluting a couple of cap fulls of pine sol into a large cold water bucket for cleaning or washing your bath tub- do not buy into the 99.99% germ killer hype, that 1% that survives is now a super bug who is immune to the cleaner.

Don’t create more super germs, create resistance to them.

So don’t mop your floors to the point where you can see your face, don’t be wiping their hands every 30 seconds when you’re out. And just let some germs slide.
Good Luck
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