Soap Making with little hands

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This project is a hundred times easier than you think!  So dive in!

Go to bulk apothecary and order a melt and pour soap base, such as Shea butter.

Once it arrives, put in Christmas music, make hot cocoa and get ready for crafting.

Line muffin tins with paper liners or use cute shaped silicone ones for bonus points.  Have essential oils (lavender is especially nice, check they are safe for use on skin), food coloring and dried flowers or herbs.

Take the giant bars of soap, chop them into smaller cubes, around 2 inches in size.  Place in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir as needed.

Once completely melted, very quickly add 8 drops of essential oils and 5 to 10 drops of food coloring depending on preference.  Don’t go too slow here or it will harden.

Pour into mold and sprinkle dried flowers or herbs.  Let it cool and use as is, or make a second layer in a different color.  Just pour it on gently and make sure the color/scent goes well together.

This is a very simple project to do with little ones, and a nice Christmas present too.

Homeschool sick day

We all struggle, it is inevitable.  But what can we do as homeschooling families when the days don’t go as planned?

D260A3B8-DCAB-41B4-B18D-49F424796C57We can choose to panic, that school won’t go as planned… much like life…. or we can have a new lesson plan for the day and live out peace… as much as we can.

35614DF0-FBFC-4F4F-8B49-40CFD0B7035CThis week, Elise broke 3 bones in her arm.  There were definitely some challenging moments.  However, we took advantage of a slower pace.  We lit candles and a fire in our fireplace.  We sang songs together, read Bible story books.  We had friends over.  And of course we did a lot of crafts.

We may not have checked every box on our curriculum list this week.  But we grew in our relationships and took some time to recover.  I hope my children will grow up and honor the seasons in which they find themselves.  Sometimes you need to dance and sometimes you need to cuddle and sing under blankets.

Why go screen free?

Have we ever let our kids play tablets or watch tv mindlessly?  Yes.

Will we ever again?  Probably not.

What happened?

It was the first practice for my girls’ competitive cheerleading team, and my boys were looking around, bored, sticky and hot in the crowded viewing area to see if there were other kids to play with.  There were, there were almost ten other boys Caleb’s age, but they all had their necks flexed as far forward as possible, transfixed by tiny flashing screens.  There were even kids as young as Owen (who is two by the way) breathlessly holding onto their parents’ cell phones as surprise egg videos played for them.  At one point, a mom was receiving a call, when she tried to retrieve her cell phone from her toddler… you would have thought she was trying to pull out her kidney!  All the moms seemed to nod, knowingly.

Hey, I am a mom of 4, I totally get public displays of bad behaviour, but can we not see a causal link here parents?  This technology is addictive and inappropriate for this age.

The day this happened, I did still allow my kids to access screens at least most week days.  When Owen napped, the other kids could have an hour or so of tablet or tv time. Although I didn’t love it, I figured it gave me a chance to catch up on work I needed to do or have some alone time.

However, watching those small children clutching onto those screens as fiercely as a drug addict would his next hit… it flipped a switch inside of me.

It has now been a month, and I can’t see us going back to screens.  The changes that I have witnessed have been spectacular and as I have researched further into screens and their impact on young people, it has solidified my decision.

Look out for part 2 on how we have removed screens.

Sleep tips

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These tips are simply what I did with my kids and should not be taken as medical advice.

 

Feeling tired?  Another mom kindly pointed out, that if I’m not willing to share sleep tips, I should not be bragging about having 4 awesome sleepers.

First off, I wasn’t always getting 12 hours of sleep from my kids, with good naps.  With my first, he had terrible colic, and I honestly had moments wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into.  I was exhausted, my baby was up screaming all night, and I could not seem to console him.

I surveyed all my friends who had good sleepers, and read every book on the market that came recommended.

Babies can be watched for signs of sleepiness right from the early days.  When they are getting sleepy, I try to put them down awake.  I also try not to rush in if they are fussing.  To clarify, that doesn’t mean I leave my baby unattended.  It means, if baby is looking sleepy, I may put them in the playpen nearby and start working on the dishes.  If they start crying, I may finish doing one or two more dishes before I go pick them up because they may fall asleep on their own.  However, under 4 months old, I pretty much cater to any whim a little one desires.  And if having them sleep in a carrier is the only way to get them to sleep at their regular naps, I am (mostly) game.

Between 3 and 4 months, although I am usually hoping that the baby will settle nicely into a sleep pattern, they tend to become increasingly erratic sleepers.  They require more frequent nursing to sleep, rocking or holding, and seem to wake even sooner.  The erratic sleep patterns need to be addressed ideally at this stage, because of the huge developmental milestones taking place.

Around 4 months of age, healthy  babies are able to sleep through the night.  Some may still require one feed at my bedtime, but otherwise, I count on baby sleeping from 7pm to 7am. The most important point that works for us is,  I place my babies in their crib, completely awake, in a very dark, quiet room.  We also start an age appropriate nap schedule at the same time so that my babies can grow and develop well. I use a variety of methods to teach the baby to sleep through the night, depending on each baby’s personality.  But they have all learned to sleep through the night within a few days and napped well within 2 weeks.

At our house, all 4 kids sleeping well is a high priority.  It is necessary for them to recover from their activity, be pleasant little people and grow.  It also gives my husband and I quality time together in the evening, ie binge watch something on Netflix.

Feel free to e mail me or comment if you have specific questions though.  I will do my best to help.

PS. I do consult families on getting their little ones to sleep.  I have a couple spots available in April.  E-mail or comment if you want more information.

(SleepEasy Solution, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, Happiest Baby on the Block)

Preparing your body for Pregnancy 2

Part 2: Natural Health Tips & Tricks

Today, let’s go through a few extra steps you can take at home to make your journey to motherhood a little less bumpy.

The reason I say less bumpy is because if you end up needing a fertility expert, you will most likely be introducing unnatural chemicals into your body.

Here are some vitamins and supplements for the future mom:

  1. Pre-natal.  You’re thinking, DUH!  But just hold on… For all 3 of my pregnancies, taking a pre-natal vitamin caused me to throw up within a minute.  However, I had been taking pre-natals for years just in case.  Since, I had been taking prenatals regularly, I was able to quit taking them as soon as the vitamins caused the vomiting.
  2. Folic acid.  This should be part of your pre-natal.  However, if you have any predispositions to genetic issues, (I have a heart condition), I was advised to take twice the recommended amount of folic acid leading up to and between pregnancies.  As far as research shows at the moment, taking a higher dose of folic acid is fine.  It has also been found to decrease the risk of genetic issues.  Before taking any supplement or vitamin at a dose different than the recommended amount, check with your health care provider.
  3. Chaste tree is helpful for women who have long cycles, or are having anovulatory (non ovulating) cycles.  Take it for 1 month, max 3 months while trying to conceive, and stop as soon as you find out you are growing a little person.
  4. Vitamin D.  This boosts your immune system, and no one wants to get busy with a snotty spouse… so take it and make sure your guy is taking it too! (note: if your guy is willing, give him a zinc supplement, it will boost his virility.  Some men’s vitamins have it included.)
  5. B6.  During my first pregnancy I had extreme issues with vomiting/nausea and grudgingly ended up needing to take anti-nausea medication.  However, when I got pregnant for the second time, I researched the contents of the medication (diclectin), it is essentially gravol and B6.  So as soon as I find myself pregnant, I start taking B6, and it is MAGIC!!
  6. Fish Oil.  For so many reasons, you need to be taking your omega 3’s.  It thins your blood, which is excellent for pregnancy, (note: stop taking this as you get close to your due date so you can clot easily).  But the highlight of fish oils is that it boosts your baby’s brain, and helps mom with “pregnancy brain”, which has been frequently attributed to the baby stealing all your omega 3’s.
  7. Magnesium at night for leg cramps, difficulty sleeping, and …. umm… no nice way to say it.. but bathroom challenges… *blush*

*Note: Excessive drinking, smoking and coffee should be eliminated, because they affect your absorption of nutrients.

3 Further steps to take when thinking of getting pregnant:

  1. Get your spine checked by a Chiropractor that has experience in this area.  The nerves that go to your reproductive organs come from the lower back.  If your spine is not aligned properly, it’s like the wifi signal is low in your ovaries and uterus.  They are not going to function properly, because they are not getting the signals sent from the body.
  2. Try acupuncture.  Acupuncture has been getting great results with fertility.
  3. If you are overweight, or obese, lose the weight!  Fat stores impact your hormones and can decrease your fertility.