Monday, December 17, 2012

Alphabet Hide and Seek

I have two great friends who started the "No Time for Flashcards" series with their children last year which inspired me to do it with Adelyn this year since she turned 2 1/2 in September.  We have made letters through H which are hanging in a line above our TV upstairs.  I have not yet taken the time to get a good photo of our fun letters but hopefully I'll get that done soon so I can post it as well.  A couple of weeks ago we decided to review the letters we learned by playing Alphabet Hide and Seek.  

Hide and Seek is one of Adelyn's very favorite games right now so this was very motivating for her (and actually I still LOVE playing hide and seek so I also had a blast.)  We picked a letter to hide and then we both took turns hiding and seeking the selected letter. I hid the letters in very simple and semi-obvious spots for my little toddler, to make the challenge achievable.  Adelyn still has not correctly recalled all of the names of the letters we have made, like many two year olds, so this easy set up was great for learning the names of one letter at a time.

For older kids you could probably hide several letters, make the hiding spots more challenging, or even try to hide it on something that starts with the same letter (that may be for 5-7 year olds).  

When you play just remember to set an alarm in case you lose track of the time :) haha. That did not really happen but we sure had fun!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Home Made Stockings

I have been trying to finish my kids' stockings for the past...mmm 4 years. Guess what?! They are finished!! Every year they had one more thing on them. Last year Adelyn's did not have a cuff and Zachary's cuff was pinned on.  Every year I waited to work on them until advent started so that was part of my problem. I am definitely a very in-experienced seamstress and these stockings are far from perfect or professional looking!  I am hoping though that the kids will not mind and know that they were definitely made with a lot of love. The embroidery on Zachary's stocking that I tried did not exactly turn out. You can make out the word but I think I'll try painting it instead.  :) 

I'm not very good at explaining sewing and I didn't take pictures for each step but here's a quick review. 

  • I used Scott's stocking as a pattern and traced it onto foam which I them traced onto fabric 2x. I traced 2x onto a piece of white fabric also. 
  • Each piece of the stocking, the front and the back with the penguin, is sewed to a white piece, with batting in between the white piece and penguin piece. i them sewed those two pieces together with the white sides facing out.
  • I turned it right side out before sewing the cuff. I'm not even sure if I can explain how to sew the cuff on but I'm sure there are plenty of You Tube explanations out there. Not my forte, but I just wanted to share my success that took more years than I anticipated. 
There was a lot of learning that went with this project but it was fun knowing that this was something the kids would treasure.  I had spent a lot of time picking the fabric hoping they would like it. They were really excited when I finished them and were perfectly happy with the fabric. I think they were just so happy that I had made them a stocking.

As parents we know that we want to be the absolute best we can possibly be to our children and hope as a result of this, that we have given them everything they need to function in our society independently when the become adults.  We also want to love, nurture and enjoy them every day that we are with them and hope that when they look back at their childhood they are filled with positive .  To get to this result we search among friends, family, books, internet sites, speakers and more to improve ourselves and the way we parent so we can reach the ultimate family life we dream of. None of us reach perfection but hopefully we are building healthy family lives and a community that all are proud to be a part of. 

Many of us while growing up, were fortunate to get experience in observing adults raise their own kids through resources such as family, friends or babysitting.  I also feel so fortunate that I had the experience in researching and learning in college before I got married and became a mother.  Without that background I may have been completely over my head in reading materials trying to quickly learn to cope with all of the parenting behavior challenges. Please except my congratulations to all parents who walk into parenting with little understanding of how behavior works, yet learn to handle their own emotions and learn to use healthy discipline techniques.  Parenting is hard work (if you are a parent, you have figured this out!)  

Over these past 5+ years I have been compiling my own set of beliefs on parenting as all parents do. There are hundreds and hundreds of parenting books out there and we have to figure out which ones to trust and what we think is the most healthy.  

I have read some fantastic books about parenting but I have to say that the book that I have posted a picture of above, Parenting with Love and Logic along with the Optimistic Child by Dr. Martin Seligman which I have previously posted about, (click on emotional health resources)  are the closest to my set of core beliefs that I have developed about parenting and behavior modification. Thank you to my friend Becca for introducing me to the program which she heard about through her MOPS group. In my studies in music therapy at Sam Houston State University, we learned about all forms of therapy and we were encouraged to develop our own beliefs, however we focused on cognitive behavioral therapy.  Parenting with Love and Logic, I believe, has excellent examples of behavior modification and ideas on what makes successful children (or raises the odds of doing so).

The book focuses on building self confidence in our children by teaching them how to make healthy and effective choices.  This book encourages us to teach our children to look at situations with the perception that everything is a choice because that's how life is.  We make hundreds, possibly thousands of choices every day.  If children do not practice the skills of choice making every day while they are young, they will have more difficulty doing so when they get older (and the consequences of mistakes humans make in our teens are much more costly than when they are small children).  We change the perception of situations from "mommy put me in time out/calm down area" to "i chose to go to the time out/calm down area when I made the choice to hit my brother". Sometimes children get to choose between 2 things that are both good.  "Would you like the green shirt or the blue shirt today?"  Sometimes they must choose between following directions or facing the consequence (chosen by the parents).  We teach them that every choice we make has consequences.  

The book has a few analogies to Christian stories, however the meat of this book is very evidence- based and scientific and any religion can benefit from the ideas and techniques in this book. I really believe this can change family life for the best and minimize frustration for all members.  Enjoy!

"The most intimate form of community is family" -Fr. Stephen Payne