Family Christmas Crafting: Craft #2 Ornaments

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Beaded Candy Canes

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ChrI remember when I was young, my mom put candy canes on the Christmas Tree.  It was beautiful however the ants thought they were delicious and they were all in our tree.  So here is an ant free alternative to adding candy canes to the tree.

What you would need:

*White, red, or green pipe cleaner

*Red & White Beads

Step 1: Cut the pipe cleaner in half or measure how big you want your candy cane to be.

Step 2: Place the first bead on the pipe cleaner almost to the very end. Leaving about 1/4 of an inch.

Step 3: Fold the 1/4 of an inch of pipe cleaner that is left at the bottom around the bead.  This will help secure it and the rest of the beads you put on.

Step 4: Place the rest of the beads on the pipe cleaner leaving about a 1/4 of pipe cleaner on the opposite end.

Step 5: Fold the pipe cleaner around the last bead.

Step 6: Bend the pipe cleaner to look like a candy cane.

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Are you qualified

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qualified

For as long as I can remember I have worked with children.  When I was in daycare myself I would assist with the smaller children.  My first job at 15 years old was being and assistant teacher in daycare.  When I was 17 I became a mentor and youth leader.  And every since then children have been in my world.  I did not know that they were the purpose of my very being.  I did not know that I would be teaching parents how to love and teach their children more effectively.

But now I know.  I have known for about 4 years now.  I have wanted to be a family coach for about 4 years but talked myself out of it.  Because I was thinking about how people would embrace me and what I would teach them.  I have never birthed a child.  I have never adopted a child yet I have been a mother.  It’s weird I know.  Sometimes it is not the experiences we have that qualify us it is simply who we are.  I was created to teach, care for, love on, and empower families.  I have a gifting for nurturing, teaching, and understanding children.  I have been graced to do what I do.  And I do it very well.  Not bragging, I’m just saying.

I said all this to say just because you are parenting for the first time, just because you are single but want to be a foster parent, just because you do not have a Master’s degree hanging on your wall, you can still pursue the dreams and calling that is on your life.  You will not rest well until you do.  Validation from others does not qualify you.  The passion and the drive you have qualifies you.  The gifts that you were created with qualifies you.  God’s calling on your life qualifies you.  You were born for this. (what ever your “this” maybe).  So go and do that thing that you have been wanting to do but talked yourself out of because you felt as though you aren’t qualified.  Take a step towards that today!

Healthy Independence.

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Our jobs as parents are to mold and teach this little person that was given to us to be a functional adult.  One way that we do that is by teaching independence.  Now, I do not mean that you kick your six year old out of the house to fend for himself.  I mean preparing your child to function as an adult on his own when the time comes.  Here are some helpful tips to start teaching independence.

1. Give children appropriate responsibilities.  As adults we all know that responsibilities are one of the things that we all have day in and day out.  Your children are going to have those as well.  Having a sense of responsibility makes you feel that you have a purpose.  It makes you feel that you are needed and wanted.  Children need to feel that way as well.  When we give out responsibilities make sure it is a task that your child can successfully handle.  Do not set them up for failure. Also let them do it.  You can instruct them on how it is done but let them do it.  If Brad is responsible for the trash and he may not be coming home, it is his responsibility to get some one to take out the trash for him.

2. Let them find their way.  I know that Savanah may not make up the bed with those sharp military corners that you like. But she does get up every morning and makes up her bed to the best of her ablity.  Please do not go back and remake her bed because it is not up to your standards.  I saw a post the other day that said that 8+1=9 but so does 5+4.  We are getting the same answer but using different methods.  Same thing with your child.  They get the job completed but they may do it their way.  That is what you want for your child, for them to think for themselves.

3.Be consistent.  This is always a big thing in your parenting journey.  Children pick up on inconsistencies and they start becoming inconsistent themselves.  Be an example.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

4. Help them make healthy decisions.  Let them decide on what they want to wear shorts in 30 degree weather explain to them why this is not a good decision.  Then let them show you what would be the best thing for them to wear. Celebrate their good decisions.

5.Help your child talk through solutions. Be a listening ear.  If you let your child talk through situations they will be able to find suitable solutions or almost suitable. They may need a nudge here and there but let them come up with the solution to their problems.

6.Create opportunities for your child to be independent.  Let them choose what is for dinner one night.  Give them a part of the grocery list and let your children go in pairs to pick those things out.  Let them redecorate their room.  Give them an opportunity to be independent.

7. Set some clear expectations.  Let them know that they are an important part of this family and with that comes expectations that they must follow.  Such as curfews, unplugging at the dinner table, or cleaning their room.  Let them know what that means to you and what those things look like. Also give them instructions and make sure that they understand fully, even if you have to repeat it a couple of times.

8.Be Open.  Be open to them figuring out the world on their own.  Give them some healthy space.  Let them work through tough situations.  When they ask you what you think about something.  A good thing to say is “I will always have advice for you and I am so glad you came to me.  However, I first want to hear what you think you should do.”  This creates dialogue between you and your child creating a strong bond between you two.

9. Let them fail to their way to success.  I know that you have been through so many life failures however those things helped to groom you into the person that you are today.  The same goes for your child.  I know that it breaks your heart to see your child hurt, disappointed, or sad.  However those emotions and situations builds character.  So sometimes you have to let them fail but be right there to comfort, talk to them about what they can do differently next time, and listen to them. Which brings me to number ten.

10. Let them know you are there for them.  You are their support system.  They look to you as an example and as a sounding board throughout their life.  Let them know that you are challenging them to be the best them that they can be, but you will always be there when they need you.  You may not always pick up the pieces however you are there to give encouragement or to be their rock.

What sort of ways do you help your child become and independent child?  I would love for you to share.  Comment below or connect with us on facebook and/or twitter.

10 Anti-Procrastination tips.

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Procrastination is not my friend.  Although we use to hang out a lot.  I have a habit of looking up frequently used words to see what they really mean.  I also check to see if I am using them in the correct context.  I looked up the word procrastination on dictionary.com and this is the definition that it gives:  Putting off or delaying, especially something that requires immediate attention. Oh boy, that was my college years in a nut shell.  Now I have gotten better with hanging around with procrastination, we might do coffee at times but no more being room mates.  Here are some of the tips that I use to make sure that my unwanted guest stays it’s distance.

1. Create a to-do list.  I create a weekly to-do list of about twenty task.  Then I break down those task into daily task.  I create my to-do list on Sundays.  That is when I reflect on my previous week and prepare for the week to come.  My mind and entire life functions with a list.  If it is not written down somewhere it does not exist in my world.

2. Prioritize your task.  Look at the tasks that you are wanting to complete.  Then put the task in a category of must and wants.  Your must category are the things that must get completed today.  Like car pool or dinner.  Your want to list may consist of cleaning out the closet or dusting.

3. Spread out task through out the week.  Once you have completed your must and your want list.  Then you will be able to know the things that you must do today and then plan for the rest of the week.  Do not think that everything has to be completed today.  That becomes very overwhelming and discouraging.

4. Create and keep a schedule.  When things are scheduled out I tend to stick to them.  They are on my calendar and I know that is what you should be doing.  For example on Thursday nights you and your family know that the bathroom gets a thorough cleaning.  It is on the cleaning schedule for Thursday’s.  Which brings me to number 5.

5.  Make some things habitual.  Just like the Thursday night bathroom cleaning. Set somethings for certain times or days and just get in the habit of doing it.  Before you know it your body will just start doing the task when it is scheduled to be completed.

6. Plan ahead for pre-scheduled events.  We all know that the holidays come every year.  Start planning early for them. I would even suggest to start planning for the next year right after this one has passed.  For example on the day after Christmas start talking about where you will spend Christmas next year.  Start budgeting for the ideas that you come up with. Or as soon as one person’s birthday has passed start planning for the up and coming birthday.

7. Cut out excessive idol time.  I know that we all have our favorite tv shows and things that we really like to just chill out and do.  However when we start to limit those things we can actually see that we have a little more time to complete other task that really need to get done.  You become less stressed out and your 24 hours are really enough.

8. Do things as you go.  There are some small task that you see that need your attention and it takes little to no time to complete them.  Go ahead and do them in passing.  If you see that there are only a few dishes in the sink go ahead, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. It may take you only 10 minutes at a time to do that instead of waiting for a sink full of dishes to pile up before you do anything about it. Now that may take 30 minutes.  You just saved 20 minutes.

9.The more you put in the later pile the bigger it gets.  Just like the dishes.  The more you say “oh I can do that later” and sit in front of the tv or your tablet the more gets piled up.  Also what if something pops up that is unexpected that demands your attention at the time that you labeled as later.  The mole hill becomes a mountain very fast.

10. Empower your team.  You have a built in team that you can empower to help you with task.  Delegate somethings on your to-do list that they can do.  Give instructions and let them complete it.  Do not micro manage or this will not work.

I hope that these help you the way they helped me over come procrastination.  I really want to hear what you think.  Come and share with me on Facebook and twitter.  Come and hang out with me on Instagram.

Social Media Challenges

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social media challengesSocial media is an awesome tool. I am on some type of social media for hours in a day. No I am not a slacker, it’s my job. Guess who else maybe on social media. Our children, yes, because my God-daughter is “grown” in age I give her a little space and we live in different cities now. So I am learning more about what she is doing through social media then our conversations. To me she is my sweet baby girl but on social media she can become someone totally different. Yes I am friends with a lot of my little people on facebook because it is easier to connect with them especially those that I have moved away from. I see a whole bunch of stuff and all of it is not positive or what I think they should be posting, liking, tweeting, and sharing. My timeline often becomes my prayer list.

Recently there has been some very dangerous “challenges” videos that has me very disturbed. They are popping up on my timeline because adults are blown away by the lack of common sense that our children are displaying.  So with that said let us talk about solutions that could prevent these sorts of things from happening or getting out of control. I am going to put these questions out there and as parents let us answer them together.

 

  1. What where your thoughts when you first saw the videos of the “fire and pass out challenge”?
  2. Who did you place the blame on? The child, the parents, or social media?
  3. What would you have done if your child had been actively participating in one of these challenges?
  4. Have you talked to your child about these situations that are happening?
  5. Have you let your child watch the videos and looked at their reactions?
  6. If your child is too young to understand the challenges have you taken this awareness to talk about being a leader, peer pressure, and making their own decisions? (of course in a language they will understand) Or do you think this is not relevant to the younger ones (elementary down to four years old)

 

These are just a few questions that I was curious about when I gave thought to this awful situation that is taking over our social media youth. I really want to hear your thoughts and ideas. One thing this team can benefit from is the ideas and views of others. They are safe here, because after all we are imperfect parents. Comment below, tweet me, or let’s chat on facebook.

Discipline is a positive thing.

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Discipline the d word no one wants to talk about when it comes to their children. They feel guilty when their child is not pleased with them. As parents this is something that we should not dismiss. Discipline is not the harming of your child because he or she doesn’t do things your way. Discipline is a positive part of growing up. The definition of discipline from dictionary.com is: Training to act in accordance with the rules. If we do not discipline them at home they WILL be disciplined when they go out into the world. I know some that want to keep their child a “free spirit” ok I get it. You want your child to be expressive and not want to stifle creativity. Others may want to rule with an Iron fist and have their children on an eighteen year sentence. So let’s look at some ways to create a culture of discipline in your home that will work for you and your family.

  1. What does your child best respond to? My parents were firm believers in “spare the rod and spoil the child”. However I can count on one hand the number of spanking I received. I was no angel but I would most of the time straighten up on the first “death look” I would get from my mom. I would respond to looks and stern talking to’s. My brother on the other hand was a different story.
  2. Are the rules clear and concise in your home? You cannot fault a child for doing something that they didn’t know was off limits. Some things we as parents do not think about until they happen. When that happens lend a little grace. Say something like “ no we cannot do that and this is why….”.
  3. Which brings me to: give your children explanations as to why they do not do certain things. Most kids respond better when they know why they can’t have things or why certain actions are not tolerable. You will get a lot less attitude.
  4. Think of creative consequences for your children. Time out may not work for your little one. Or sending your child to their technology filled bedroom may not be the way to teach a lesson. For example I was just sitting around the table the other day listening to the wisdom of seasoned parents. One lady told a story of her son always slamming the door when he was upset. They had told him over and over that that was unacceptable behavior. One day he went to slam the door and there was no door to slam. They took it off the hinges. He learned not to slam doors. Extreme? I don’t think so but that is just me, I call it creative.
  5. Be consistent!!!! This is so huge! Follow through is everything when teaching and implementing discipline. If you tell your child you cannot go outside until all of your homework is finished and checked. You have to go by that rule. Even it is inconvenient to you. Because the lesson that your child will learn is that your word cannot be trusted. Or “I can get away with it because my parents will not do anything”. When those feelings and ideas come into their head, the level of respect that they have for you will diminish.

We will work on these five for now. Disciplining your child may make them salty at you at first and maybe for a couple of days. They may roll their eyes behind your back. However what is being instilled in them is that “my parents care enough to raise me the right way.”I have had so many talks with children especially in the middle school age bracket, that will say” my mom doesn’t care.“  You never want your child to think you do not care about them. Because they will start searching for someone who does and that is how gangs grow and our girls fall into the negative cycle of abuse by men. Let us show our children we care enough to teach them right from wrong.   I would love to hear your ideas. Comment below or come and connect with us on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for being part of the imperfect parent team.

Being too friendly?

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                                  Being too Friendly                                                  “OMG, Mom I totally hate you.  I can’t believe you just said that I had to clean my room before going outside.”  Have you ever been on the receiving side of this sort of comment? 

Me? Absolutely not!!  While I have never experienced this venom being spat in my direction verbally.  I am sure that it has crossed a mind or two. Wait I take that back I have had one child to tell me to go to hell.  But that was the last time he EVER said that to me.  No, he isn’t still trying to pick himself up off the floor.  He just understood what he did was wrong.  I did not yell but I did have to hold a couple of other boys from jumping on him.  That happened once.

Remember we all all imperfect parents, that’s just the truth of the matter.  However when the relationship between you and your child first begins you must set boundaries.  They have to know that you are an authority figure you are the leader. You are not a peer.  You do not have to be the iron fist of Russia but you do have to insure them that you are to be respected. 

In a time where children think that to give someone respect they must first earn it.  I can see that to a certain point.  But the time that you gave birth, or took in that child as someone you care for you earn automatic respect.  I am a little old school like that and think that you should respect your elders.  I know there are some dead beat parents out there, let’s just be truthful about it, and I bet that is hard to respect. But if I am old enough to birth you a little respect should be given. At least respond when an adult say something to you.

How do we teach respect?  Here are 3 ways that I have learned to teach respect.

1. Teach your child to say yes, or yes ma’am or no sir.  And teach them how to put a “handle” on adults names.  For example have your child address your neighbors or anyone old enough to be a parent as Ms or Mr.  My brother and I were never allowed to call adults by there first names.  Even if they told us to, our mom would give us the fiery look of death.  However growing up that set boundaries of respect for us. My mom was always complimented on how respectful we were when in public.  I, to this day, cannot get away with answering my mom with a “huh” or even a “yes” it is “yes ma’am”.  Your child will begin to be respectful in and outside of the home.

2. Be a parent FIRST.  My daughter knew that she could talk to me about anything.  She knew that it had to be in a respectful way though.  We play around and I use to let her get away with a playful “girl bye” but she knew that I am her mother.  All of my other sideline children knew that they could come to Ms. L for anything but I was not their peer, I was their youth leader, mentor, or auntie.  The boundaries were set and kept.

3. Respect them and the adults in their lives.  Children learn best by seeing.  They watch our ever moves with hawk like eyes.  So give them something to emulate.  Do not interrupt them when they are having a conversation without an “excuse me”.  Respect their property, because after all it is yours.  lol…… It is ok to knock on their door before entering.  You do not have to wait on an invitation but knocking shows that you respect their space.

 It’s really the small things that make the most impact.  It is never too late to start new behaviors and habits.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  Leave me a comment or click here to join us on facebook.