Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Positive Parenting with the Gold Standard"

Have you ever had one of those moments as a parent when you have had enough and you just want to quit?  I definitely have.  Several months ago I had a whole week of days like that and I was desperate.  I finally got the dishes washed and laundry folded and decided that something had to change or I just wasn't going to make it.  It was past midnight and I sat down to the computer to look up parenting advice.

Now, I love to read and read a lot.  When I was pregnant, I read everything about pregnancy that I could get my hands on.  When I had a newborn I read everything about newborns.  With each new phase, I have done the same.  So trust me when I say I have read a LOT of parenting books.  All of them had good ideas, and some of them even worked, but none of them "fixed" my parenting dilemmas.

I realize that parenting has its ups and downs.  I think it is compounded when you have multiples or lots of kids close together (like me).  It is especially hard when your kids are little and aren't able to communicate very well.  Add the lack of sleep that accompanies being a mom to young kids, and it is a recipe for hard times.

This particular night I found something that intrigued me.  It is an e-book written by a woman named Wendy Jensen called "Positive Parenting with the Gold Standard".  She has 7, yes 7 children, and she said that by following the techniques in her book, you could parent your children without yelling, spanking, nagging, or time outs.  As soon as I read that, I was sold.  The book cost just under $25 if I remember correctly and I was able to download it immediately.

She uses a ticket system for rewards and punishments.  If you do what you are supposed to, you earn tickets.  If you don't do what you are supposed to, you loose tickets.  You can use your tickets to play on the computer or have special one-on-one time with mom or dad, or any other number of things.  It makes the child responsible for themselves and allows the parents to guide their children instead of being the "good guy" or the "bad guy".

I loved everything about the book and was convinced that we had to try it.  I knew that B and C wouldn't be able to do it, but I thought for sure that E and J could.  I took a couple of days to digest it all and to make our tickets.  Then we started.  After about a week and a half, I mournfully realized that my E and J just didn't seem to get it.  The concept was a little too old for them and I was disappointed.   However, I knew it was a good idea and so we put it away for when they were a little older.

A couple of months later E came home from school talking about "bucket fillers" and "bucket dippers".  She told me that when you do something nice for people you are filling their buckets and when you do something mean you are dipping from their buckets.  In a matter of days, my 3 oldest children were all about being bucket fillers instead of bucket dippers.  I was amazed.

I emailed E's teacher and asked her what E was talking about. She told me about a book called, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids ", by Carol McCloud.  It is geared at school age children and it gives them a visual concept of how to be nice to people.

A few days later I saw our tickets from "Positive Parenting" and wondered if we got some buckets to put them in if my kids would get it.  I got some buckets (thanks to a friend who found them at the hardware store) and it worked!!!

Here is a picture of our buckets with the tickets inside.  I wrote the kid's names on them with a permanent marker, and they do really well with it.  Of course there are still moments when things don't go well, but I have been really happy with it.  It does take effort on my part.  I have to be consistent for it to work, but isn't that how everything goes with parenting?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

I LOVE pumpkins...I know big surprise!  When I was little my dad used to call me "punkin".  I have read hair and so I always thought he was calling me a pumpkin because we are the same color.  :)  I remember being excited to have "pumpkins" of my own.  Now I have 4...my very own pumpkin patch.

Anyway, I found this recipe on allrecipes.com a while ago.  I have altered it a little bit to fit our family's tastes.  We make them regularly and we love them.  I always make a HUGE batch of them and freeze the leftovers.  You can pop them into the toaster in the morning for a quick, homemade, and filling breakfast for your own pumpkins.

Pumpkin Pancakes

4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp and 1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
3 cups milk
2 cups pumpkin (1 15 oz. can)
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar

1.  In a separate bowl mix the milk (you can use powdered milk too), pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.
2.  Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
3.  Heat a lightly oiled griddle or fry pan at just below medium high heat.  Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle using aproximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve warm with maple syrup.

**This is very thick batter.  I use a 1/4 cup scoop and sort of spread them out a bit when I put them on the fry pan.  You have to make sure the heat is just below medium high or they will brown too quickly and the middle will still be a little bit doughy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Need some help with your daughter's hair?

My girls ask for "church hair" every day.  When they were little I used to just pull it back on each side and put butterfly barrettes over the elastic.  Well, those days or over.  E told me a little while ago that she NEEDS to have big girl hair for school.  Apparently butterfly barrettes are for babies.

I have done a ton of research on "big girl" hair and have come across several hair blogs that are extremely helpful.  I am linking to a couple of them.  You can find them at Babes in Hairland and Cutie Pie Hair Creations.  There are tons of hair blogs, but I like these two the best.  They give easy to follow directions and the hairdo's are pretty simple, but look great.

I also have some friends who sell handmade hair accessories on etsy.com and you can find them at Cherry Blossoms Design and A Joyful Baby Bowtique.   I love both stores.  I think each of them does such a nice job.  Again, there are tons of people who offer handmade hair accessories, so have fun looking.

I'm including some pictures of my girls with some of the hairdo's that I have tried from these sites and with some bows and flowers that a friend of mine made for them.  Of course they are wearing them with "big girl " hair too.  I am currently looking for some online tutorials on how to make your own bows and flowers.  Once I find some good ones, I'll post them as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

All about me...

My name is Sarah. I am barely into my 30's and I have 4 kids. I have been married 8 years. We live in the suburbs in the northern Midwest. We just bought our first house a couple of years ago and we love it. My husband is in a volatile industry and may very well loose his job this year. We certainly hope not, but it is a possibility. I am a stay at home mom.  I love my children and I love being home with them. I do not regret my decision to stay home with them. However, there are times when I wonder why it was such a good idea. :) I love to sew and read and do crafts. I also love to bake any and everything. I don't really love to scrub toilets or to iron.

Like I said, I have 4 children. We had them in 4.5 years (no multiples) and life gets down right crazy sometimes! Good thing we like crazy around here. With that, I'd like to introduce you to my children.
E is almost 6 years old. She is in Kindergarten and loves it.  She is really looking forward to 1st grade when she will be able to eat lunch at school.   She is about to loose her 4th tooth and can't stop messing with it.  She has lost more teeth than anyone else in her class and she is very proud of that fact. She LOVES to sing and do crafts. She really wants to learn to play the piano. I guess we will have to learn together. She is a really great big sister. She loves to help her brothers and sister. I think she also feels a lot of pressure to help me. My last pregnancy was really tough and she was only 4 when our 4th child was born. She had to grow up a little too quickly. I'm trying to help her relax and enjoy her childhood more.
J is 4.5 years old. He will start a developmental Kindergarten this fall. It is for kids who aren't quite ready for regular Kindergarten yet, but who need something. He has some speech delays, so he will be getting some speech therapy at school. He is so excited to finally be a big kid! He makes friends easily, so I know he will do well, but I am a little worried about whether his speech will be a problem. He has also had TONS of health issues since he was born. They are finally slowing down and I hope he stays healthy this school year. J has a quick smile and sometimes a quick temper. He loves doing "boy stuff" and wants to be just like his dad.
B will be 3 years old this summer. She is one of a kind for sure! She is spunky and adorable and mischievous. My mother-in-law (who I LOVE) jokes about whether there are horns hiding under B's pigtails. :) She is a total girly-girl. She always wants to wear a dress or skirt. Half the time she is wearing princess dress up clothes or her ballet clothes. She always wants her hair to be fixed and have some sort of bow or flower in it. B dances through life with giggles and twirls. She also loves to get into stuff and is the queen of making messes. She is VERY protective of her little brother, and she is taking great care in teaching him all of her mischievous ways.
C is the baby. He is 15 months old. He is a happy and lighthearted little boy. He has this smile where his eyes get all squinty and he shrugs his shoulders up and it totally melts my heart. He drags his blankie with him wherever he goes. He LOVES his siblings and wants to do everything they are doing. He pats everyone on the back...literally...when he wants to tell us he loves us and he blows raspberries when he wants to tell us he is mad at us. I can't wait to see what kind of boy he becomes. I just hope he doesn't become as proficient as B at making messes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Commission.........

This post has all of the official wording of the new rules imposed on February 10, 2009. I highlighted the part that pertains to me and my store. All of the items I offer are (or easily can be) made from all natural materials. Since these materials do not inherently contain lead, I do not need to test the things I offer in my store. YEAH!

News from the Consumer Product Safety Commission

It's been a while since I last blogged.  I have been wrapped up in knowing what to do with my etsy.com store.  See below for more information

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

February 6, 2009
Release #09-120 CPSC

Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Spells Out Enforcement Policy For New Lead Limits In Children's Products Effective February 10

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Starting on February 10, 2009, consumer products intended for children 12 and under cannot have more than 600 parts per million of lead in any accessible part. This new safety requirement is a key component of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) aimed at further reducing children's exposure to lead.

In an effort to provide clear and reasonable guidance to those impacted by this important law, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing its enforcement policy on the lead limits established by the CPSIA.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers should also be aware that CPSC will:

*Not impose penalties against anyone for making, importing, distributing, or selling

**a children's product to the extent that it is made of certain natural materials, such as wood, cotton, wool, or certain metals and alloys which the Commission has recognized rarely, if ever, contain lead;

**an ordinary children's book printed after 1985; or

**dyed or undyed textiles (not including leather, vinyl or PVC) and non-metallic thread and trim used in children's apparel and other fabric products, such as baby blankets.

(The Commission generally will not prosecute someone for making, selling or distributing items in these categories even if it turns out that such an item actually contains more than 600 ppm lead.) Sellers will not be immune from prosecution if CPSC's Office of Compliance finds that someone had actual knowledge that one of these children's products contained more than 600 ppm lead or continued to make, import, distribute or sell such a product after being put on notice. Agency staff will seek recalls of violative children's products or other corrective actions, where appropriate.

*Issue an interim final rule effective February 10, 2009, which establishes alternative lead limits for certain electronic devices, in order to prevent unnecessary removal of certain children's products from store shelves.

*Accept a manufacturer's determination that a lead-containing part on their product is inaccessible to a child and not subject to the new lead limits, if it is consistent with the Commission's proposed guidance or is based on a reasonable reading of the inaccessibility requirement. Paint and other coatings or electroplating are not considered barriers that make a component inaccessible.

This enforcement policy will remain in effect until superseded by action of the Commission.

CPSC still expects companies to meet their reporting obligation under federal law and immediately tell the Commission if they learn of a children's product that exceeds the new lead limits starting on February 10, 2009. Companies also should know that the CPSIA generally prohibits the export for sale of children's products that exceed the new lead limits.

As announced on January 30, 2009, the Commission approved a one year stay of enforcement for certain testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers. Significant to makers of children's products, the 'stay' provides limited relief from the testing and certification for total lead content limits, phthalates limits for certain products and mandatory toy standards. Manufacturers and importers - large and small - of children's products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will still need to meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements.

Certification based on testing by an accredited laboratory is still required for painted children's products and soon will be required for children's metal jewelry, as well as certain other products for non-lead issues.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at http://community.babycenter.com/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.cpsc.gov%252Ftalk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to http://community.babycenter.com/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.cpsc.gov%252Fcpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at http://community.babycenter.com/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.cpsc.gov.