Tag

parenting

DIY, Gifts, Inspiration, Las Vegas Kids, Las Vegas Moms

Mom, You’re the real MVP!!

IMG_0990

As you may have heard and or seen, the Golden State Warriors recently triumphed over the Cleveland Cavaliers to claim the 2017 NBA World Championship title.  My son and I are Golden State fans through and through.  He has been playing basketball for 2 seasons now and it has quickly risen to the top of his favorite sports.  Ever since our Warriors took the gold, he has been OBSESSED with that gleaming trophy they took home.  He would ask me at least once a day when he could win one of his own.  Of course I told him he’ll win it as soon as he’s drafted into the NBA!  I figured since he’s only 7 now, that’s a long time to wait for a trophy.  So I decided to make one that he could call his own.  Besides, I figure he deserves a trophy for winning the Mom’s Heart World Championship anyways.  

So I started brainstorming and looking up photos of the trophy so I could try my best to mimic it for him.  After a mix of Dollar General hunting and salvaging from old projects in the garage, I ended up with the following items.

– 1 Tall Plastic CupIMG_0969

– 1/4″ Dowel Rod

– 1 Small Square Gift Box

– 1 Can Metallic Gold Spray Paint

– Hot Glue Gun

– 1 Mini Nerf-like Basketball

 

IMG_0977I started by taking the lid off of the gift box for the base of the trophy.  I cut a hole slightly larger than the bottom of the cup so it could slide down into it for stability.  I applied the hot glue both above and below where the cup met the lid, creating a seam on either side.  Next I poked the dowel rod into the basketball and glued the combination to the inside wall of the cup.  I then cut a circle out of the bottom of the remaining piece of the gift box to enclose the opening of the cup (also cutting a small circle out of the larger circle for the dowel rod to fit through). 

 

IMG_0990After gluing the top piece, I was finally ready to paint.  I setup a small cardboard backer in the garage and went to town with the metallic gold paint.  I applied a second coat for some durability and good measure and WALLAH… this was the final product! 

Related posts
Halloweenville at Wet ‘n’ Wild
October 23, 2017
Tips for Creating a Great Summer Bucket List
May 4, 2017
{CLOSED} Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N GiveAway
March 17, 2017
Moms, Parenting

How to Raise Respectful Humans

There was something I noticed when I had my kids in preschool that I have had on my mind for a long time. It was the way in which people spoke to their children. Often parents would come into the classroom around the same time as me and I would watch their children light up with excitement to see them. The reaction of the parent would truly be saddening to me: Instead of greeting them with a big hug and smile they would be using a mean and annoyed tone and pretty much just bark at theit children to hurry up and get their stuff. This was not an isolated incident nor simply a matter of people in a rush. The more time I spent around some of these other parents, the more I would see that almost anything their child did annoyed them.

It actually got me thinking about what this could do to a child in the long run: Imagine years of the people you look up to speaking to you as if you were an annoyance. I am sure that would encourage all kinds of insecurities in a young, developing mind. The saddest part is that every child deserves to be cherished and adored by the people who chose to bring them into their lives. I know we all have our moments of feeling overwhelmed, or the times when our kids really are being annoying or bratty and they almost deserve a displeased tone, but I know that even with having a house full of kids, I take a different approach. I do my very best to speak to my kids in a way that lets them know they are important and what they have to say is important to me (even if it’s about Spongebob). If we don’t speak to our children in a respectful way, how can we expect them to speak respectfully to others? If the people who are supposed to love them most in this world speak to them with little to no regard, how would they know the proper way to speak to teachers or even friends? Children learn by example, even if you tell them differently.

So far, I have been very fortunate to have very close relationships with all my children. I feel that some of that closeness stems from the way I speak to them. They can hear that I love them by my tone and the words I use even if we don’t agree.

I hope that more parents will think about the way they speak to their kids. The truth is, I know all parents love their children more than anything, but maybe some parents developed a bad habit (we all have our weak moments when our buttons are pushed & our limits are reached!) and they don’t even realize they are talking to their kids this way. I think something seemingly so small can lead to a lot of insecurities in their children and even a lack of respect toward others. Is there anything you could improve about the way you speak to your children?

   

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
{CLOSED} Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N GiveAway
March 17, 2017
{CLOSED} Blue Man Group Promotion/Giveaway
March 13, 2017
Breastfeeding, Community, Family, Fundraiser, Kid-Friendly, Live Like a Local, Moms, Moms4Moms, Parenting, Pregnancy, Things To Do, Toddler

Family to Family Connection Offers Information and Community

Girl Playing With Building Blocks

Girl Playing With Building BlocksRaising young children can be an isolating experience. It is often difficult for families to find credible information about child development and parenting. Also, it can be challenging – particularly in a transient city like Las Vegas – for moms to create strong support networks. Family to Family Connection is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to families with children ages 0-5 years. Their mission statement: “Through parent education and community networking, Family to Family empowers and supports families to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children.” With a full roster of classes, a resource library, and a lactation educator on staff, new parents have a place to learn about being even better parents. The resource library allows the checkout of books and DVDs featuring subjects such as parenting and child development. Family to Family teaches a full calendar of classes. Most are taught in English, but there are some Spanish language classes each month, too. Topics include music, nutrition, physical activity, crafts, and even infant massage. Check here for the most up-to-date offerings. (Full disclosure – I occasionally lead a class about having a healthy relationship with food.) Family to Family has also teamed up with Nevada Early Intervention Services to offer some classes addressing your child’s development. Beyond the formal programming, one of the biggest strengths of Family to Family Connection is that it provides a space for young families to connect with one another. Friendships develop among the families served. When my boys were babies, Family to Family Connection was a lifesaver! There weren’t many places where I could bring both children and still feel relaxed and comfortable. Family to Family was welcoming. I could actually talk to other moms (yay!) while my children played safely. My new-mom jitters calmed down as I learned from the classes, and I was eternally grateful for a place to escape cabin fever. Each spring, Family to Family Connection presents the fundraiser “Touch a Truck.” As the name indicates, children have the chance to see a large variety of vehicles up close. They get to climb into a fire truck, touch an Army jeep, and even chillax in a limousine (my kids’ favorite – and so quintessential Vegas).

Dune buggy action at Touch a Truck

Inside a hot air balloon at Touch a Truck

Family to Family Connection 7151 Cascade Valley Court, Suite 104 Las Vegas, NV 89128 (702) 870-9583 www.family2familylv.org

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
Marvel Universe Live: A Must-See Show For All Superheroes
July 27, 2017
{CLOSED} Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N GiveAway
March 17, 2017
Breastfeeding, Infants, Moms, Nursing, Parenting

My Breastfeeding Story: When Good Intentions Go Bad

Breastfeeding Best Intentions

Some damned if you do/damned if you don’t propositions:Baby on Blanket

Stay at home mom, or have an outside job?

Let your child cry for a little while, or cuddle her to sleep?

Bottle or breast?

Whatever you do as a parent, someone is quick to judge.

Sometimes the biggest judge is yourself.

Round 1: Nursing was so important that when my husband and I adopted our first baby, I planned to breastfeed. A supplemental system with tubes delivered formula as he suckled. This was supposed to stimulate milk production so I could eventually do this on my own. Gotta admit, I felt pretty righteous about motherhood.

Unfortunately, the system did not stimulate milk, and was cumbersome to set up.

Also, it hurt like &@?!!*! Some moms tell war stories of nursing through great discomfort and even bloody nipples. But really, how bonded, loving, and nurturing can feeding time be if you are gritting your teeth through excruciating pain?

Infant PlayingRound 2: With my second child, the pregnancy went smoothly. Labor was only 5½ hours. So why would breastfeeding go any less well? Given the full-term pregnancy, I figured my body would be better prepared to nurse this time.

Nope. Things started out semi-okay, even though I went topless 24/7 because my nipples felt like they were on fire. But baby and I kept on keeping on. I added in milk pumping because that hurt less. Despite a small fortune paid to lactation consultants, the pain got worse. And after a bout with a stomach bug, my milk dried up. No amount of herbal recipes, teas, and other rituals helped.

I had two fabulous, healthy, gorgeous children…and I felt like I failed an important part of being a good mom.

This is how the best of intentions can turn around and bite you.

In retrospect, I regret some of the efforts I made. Even after it was clear this was not working, I kept trying new strategies. Because good moms breastfeed. Right?

Family reading.Please don’t misunderstand: I still believe that breastfeeding is best. However, my minor obsession with doing what was “best” got in the way of good enough. All the time I spent researching, brewing herbs, consulting with experts, sulking, and putting frozen cabbage leaves on my chest was time I didn’t spend singing, cooing, and playing butterfly kisses with my boys.

For so many moms, we put pressure on ourselves to do the best – when good enough is okay. In fact, good enough is often pretty darn great.

 

 

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
How to Raise Respectful Humans
March 5, 2015
Family to Family Connection Offers Information and Community
September 24, 2014
Daughters, Las Vegas Moms, Parenting

Me and My Teen

Teen Daughter Time

Teen Daughter TimeI decided that I would dedicate this summer to bonding with my 13 year old daughter. Since my 4 year old triplets are in summer camp three days a week, this allows for the days to be spent solely with my teen. Too often, I see parents go through life taking our relationship with our children for granted. We expect that we will have a healthy happy relationship without really working at it the way we may approach our marriages. I can say that I am guilty of this with my oldest child who is now 22: When he was a boy I tried hard to be a good mom to him and give him a happy life, but I didn’t really try to keep our relationship strong and close as he entered his teen years. As he pulled away, I thought I was giving him space, but that space eventually grew to a point where I felt I barely knew him. We had many hard years between us and I went through some of my deepest heartbreak as I watched him make huge mistakes. It was a hard road, but there came a time where I had to fight for my son. I had to stand by him and show him how great my love was for him through all the bad he had done. Now, my son and I are closer than ever before! He has made a complete transformation and I couldn’t be more proud of the man he is becoming. Through all this, I learned my lesson the hard way: Never allow a gap to form between me and my children.

Mother Daughter QTMy strategy has been working pretty well so far! I put in the relationship nurturing time just as I do with my marriage. I make sure that I make lots of time and special moments with my teen daughter. I make sure that I am one of her best friends. I know, I know …I hear people say that being your child’s friend is wrong, but I have to disagree. My parental discipline tends to be on the strict side in comparison to other teen parents I know, but at the same time I am my daughter’s best friend.  I always make sure that my daughter knows that out of all of my friends she is my very best friend (which, by the way, she really is). Despite what people might think about this being a bad parenting idea, right now I can honestly say I rarely see other teens give their parents the kind of love and respect my daughter gives me. Even when she is around her friends she shows me so much affection. I can’t say what the future will hold for me and my daughter, but I can say that I am going to keep working on us through dates, social media, getting to know her friends, watching movies together, asking her everyday what goes on at her school – and caring about it, being on her side, all aspects. Having a genuine interest in my daughter, her life, her decisions, her projects, and her concerns while truly caring for our friendship shows her my love in a tangible way. So this summer I want to share with all of you my journey and the big ways and little ways that I strengthen my bond with my daughter. I will be posting our adventures and hopefully at the same time showing that there are many fun things for people to do with their older kids here in Las Vegas!

Daughter and Dog

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
{CLOSED} Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N GiveAway
March 17, 2017
{CLOSED} Blue Man Group Promotion/Giveaway
March 13, 2017
Community, Daughters, Family, Parenting, Vegas Life

How To Talk To Your Kids: My Daughter & I Discuss Racy Ads in Sin City

Raising kids here in Las Vegas can be great for so many reasons, but it definitely has its challenges. There are not  many cities in America where flyers are being shoved in your hands bearing images of naked woman, where sidewalks are crowded with guys wearing bright green T-shirts that read “Girls! Girls! Girls!” or where you see billboards with sayings like “Girls Direct to You”. Having a teen daughter here in Vegas, I have had to think long and hard about the way to approach this conversation. The best thing I could come up with was to try to humanize the women who are being sold. When we are walking down the Strip or driving in the car and we see something that is objectifying a woman I try to have my daughter see her in a different light. I explain to her that most likely that woman somehow got herself into a bad place in life. Whether it had to do with bad decisions, drugs, or unwilling circumstances, I try to have my daughter see that this woman is a valuable person and that we should care about her and feel sorry that she has gotten herself in this situation.  Most likely, given the choice, this woman would not have chosen this kind of rough life for herself. Without giving too many details, I explain to my daughter that the woman in that picture is selling herself to men. I say that this lifestyle is something that this woman will always feel pain over. I don’t want to raise my daughter to hate or judge other women, even women who are doing the wrong thing. I hope that I can raise her to have compassion for others and realize that she has been given a great gift in life to be able to live in a stable home. I always try to teach her not to judge other people because you don’t know what kind of life they have been dealt. I also want her to know that there are a lot of people who are desperate and are willing to do anything to get what they need. While I would love to think her safety is guaranteed, I always remind my teenager to pay attention to her surroundings and be aware of people’s behavior. It is a fine balance trying to raise her to be sweet and compassionate, but at the same time mindful that people can be dangerous and you have to be careful who you trust. imageVegas is definitely a unique place with a lot to offer, but at the same time, this city has a very dark side that we need to protect our children from. I would love to know if you address these issues with your kids. If so, how?

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
How to Raise Respectful Humans
March 5, 2015
Family to Family Connection Offers Information and Community
September 24, 2014
Family, Parenting

How Do You Handle Giving Kids an Allowance?

Image courtesy of suphakit73/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of suphakit73/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of suphakit73/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not every family chooses to give a regular allowance to their children. Whether or not you do is tied to your family’s values and goals.

To Work, or Not to Work?

There are two general camps regarding whether children should be expected to do chores in exchange for an allowance. (For a blog entry about kids and chores, click here.) Both ways provide life lessons.

  • Camp 1: In life, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Adults must work to earn a salary in order to support ourselves. Therefore, kids need to learn that their hard work results in financial compensation.
  • Camp 2: Allowance is not tied to doing chores; kids receive money no matter what. For many families who choose this route, the attitude is that you shouldn’t pay family members to contribute to the household duties. Everyone in the family pitches in at an age-appropriate level – just because that’s what families do.

What’s an Appropriate Amount?

How much to give your children is, of course, dependent on your own finances, as well as how you view the purpose of allowance. If you expect your kids to buy their own toiletries and clothes, then a higher amount is necessary.

Generally, experts recommend $.50 to $1 for every year of age. I just learned this, and it appears that my minions deserve a raise.

Child Superhero on top of washer dryer

This is as close as some kids get to doing the laundry.

Do You Dictate How the Money Is Spent?

Again, this varies a lot from family to family. Here are just a few possibilities of how allowance money may be treated:

  • It provides children a way to treat themselves to fun things, like a toy or video game.
  • Even for “fun” money, there is variation. Some families view allowance as weekly spending money, while others encourage saving up for larger-ticket items.
  • Older children, especially teenagers, may be expected to buy their school clothes and toiletries out of their allowance.
  • Some families teach financial responsibility by dividing the allowance into three parts: saving, charity, and spending. Children can decide for themselves which charity they’d like to support.
  • I have even seen (on TV, but that counts, right?) families give allowance money, but then have the kids pay it back bit by bit for household expenses. Of course, this is not really helping to pay the bills, but gives children an idea of how much it costs to live. This helps dispel the common kid belief that adults can run amok with total freedom.

Pros and Cons

Like everything, there are pros and cons. For example, if you tie chores and allowance together, children do learn that they have to work for money. However, they may be willing to give up allowance from time to time in order to get out of doing a chore they don’t like. Also, they may become extrinsically motivated, and not willing to be helpful unless they are paid for it.

Treating allowance as fun spending money can create a whimsical, lighthearted environment. However, it doesn’t teach patience and goal-setting, like an emphasis on saving money does.

In our family, we separate allowance from chores. Our values are that everyone helps around the house, because that’s part of working together as a family. The boys have age-appropriate cleaning they do weekly, with the intent that they will have intrinsic pride in a job well done. We hope that some responsibility now will help them be better roommates and partners/spouses in the future.

One Dollar BillThe kids get to make their own decisions about how they would like to spend their allowance. Sometimes the money burns a hole in their pocket and they ask to go to Target or the sporting good store. Sometimes, they have their eye on something bigger, and have to save for it. (Then there is the friendly wager my husband has with our older son that he can’t save his allowance until Christmas, but that is another story.)

So far, we don’t charge our children rent, or for the electricity they use. The closest we come is when there is a teachable moment. For example, our younger son had to repay us for the woodwind reed he gave to a bandmate (generous gesture) – but then he didn’t have one for himself when he needed it (oops – bad planning).

But after researching how some other families handle allowance, I am wondering how much I should charge my son for dropping everything to chauffeur him to Rocket Fizz so he can spend his money.

 

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
How to Raise Respectful Humans
March 5, 2015
5 Tips For Keeping a Tidy Home!
February 27, 2015
Family, Home, Las Vegas Kids, Moms, Parenting

Do You Believe in Chores?!

There was a lot of talk going around today on different social media sites on the topic of giving kids chores. It got me thinking about my own views on this subject. There were many different sides being argued and I think I fall a little more towards the side of giving my children minimal chores. I have many reasons why. My absolute first reason why is because I love being a homemaker. For me, it feels great to prepare meals, do laundry, and tidy up the house. It might sound crazy, but it is another way I show my family love. When I do simple chores I try to do them to the best of my abilities. I remember when I was in school and there were always those kids that were so put together and had a constant clean and fresh smell to them. I used to be so envious of those kids. I used to wish that my mother would put that kind of effort into me and my appearance. A simple chore like laundry is actually very important to me. I try to always have my children well-dressed and stain-free.  I have found that even if I don’t spend a lot of money on their clothing, if I put the extra effort into washing them properly and fighting the stains, they usually look great. It’s funny because some of the most rewarding comments have been when I go to my children’s school and the teachers tell me they can always tell which blankets belong to my kids because they are so soft and always smell fresh. This probably sounds crazy to about 99% of people but I guess being teased and made fun of for my clothes and cleanliness in school really stuck with me. imageNow I am not quite sure if I could give the same effort if I had a full time job or even part time job. Since I am a stay at home mom, I am able to make matters of the house my full time job. When it comes to the kids, I really just want them to focus on things that I feel are more important than doing laundry or dishes. I want them to focus on their schooling or activities. My oldest son and I were just talking the other night about the fact that when he moves out he is going to wonder, “Why is the laundry basket still full? Why doesn’t my toilet paper roll replace itself anymore? Why does my toilet have a brown ring around it?” Even though he has never really had to manage these things for himself, I am guessing that after time he will figure it out.  Kids seem to have so much more on their plates now than they did in the past: my teen daughter is swamped with homework nightly and my son has overcome many challenging hurdles. So I guess I could care less if they know how to do laundry. Now this isn’t to say that children have no responsibilities at all. They do have one main chore and that is to clean up after themselves. I want them to know that they are responsible for the mess they make. Also, we have a very clean home and if all five of the kids were leaving messes behind them, I don’t think I could possibly keep up. Where do you stand on the subject? Do you believe in giving kids chores?

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
He With the Fastest Watch Wins: Sibling Rivalry
March 9, 2015
How to Raise Respectful Humans
March 5, 2015
Health, Las Vegas Moms, Parenting

Healthy food (Yuck)!

Heathers blog pix

BruschettaI hate healthy food! The truth is, I think the majority of Americans hate healthy food too. If this was not true we wouldn’t have so many people struggling  with obesity . In fact, nearly one-third of all Americas are considered obese*.  Now this being said, I totally understand why: most healthy food taste like poop (at least to me it does)! So I have been on a quest to find healthy food that tastes ‘great’ or at least ‘good’. I will be posting a weekly product review with my honest opinion. I will not lead my fellow non-healthy food lovers astray!  What I mean by that is, there are these crazy health nuts out there who somehow like the stuff. If fact, I have this friend who loves the nastiest of healthy food. She truly hates the taste of anything that is not healthy, even donuts! Who hates donuts? So if you see something that you would like me to review, please let me know! I am hoping to help us all by finding great tasting healthy products.

Then, we can challenge ourselves to get into our food pantries and start taking out the ‘bad for us’ stuff and replace it with the ‘good for us’ stuff! I have been on this quest for a few years now so I already know of a lot of edible healthy food products that I will start sharing with you all right away!! Let’s get healthy together!

Girl Eating Peanut Butter Sandwich

It really is so important to live a healthy lifestyle. Not only is it good for us, but it is a must for our children. It’s a way we can show them how much we love them. Feeding our kids the best foods helps them feel great, helps their bodies function properly & helps them to achieve a better quality of sleep too! When we fill their bodies up with good things we are also setting them up with healthy habits they can carry all through there lives and pass down to our grandchildren too. Let’s do this!

Related posts
Mom, You’re the real MVP!!
August 17, 2017
Found a Diamond in the Desert!!!
July 6, 2017
Better Breakfast Recap! Our Featured Guests: Umpqua Oats & Coffig
April 14, 2015