Showing posts with label Blog Carnival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog Carnival. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

building a tinker tent: {carnival of natural mothering}


Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.


I recently wrote an article in the holiday edition of Rhythm of the Home about how we are trying to limit the amount of stuff we accumulate, both during the holidays and year-round. I have gotten such great positive feedback from y'all that I decided to share some of what we're doing gift-wise for the kids this year.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

we are the FDA

Welcome to the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and tips about protecting our families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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FDA Quotes

I steer clear of giving too much advice to new parents; what I know, they either won't understand or aren't ready to hear yet. Besides, being a mom for five years doesn't make me a parenting expert, and I am far too aware of the foibles I've made along the way to feel I would be any good at telling others what to do. There is an exception to this no-advice rule, and it's concerning the food and drug choices we make as parents. Here is the sum total of that advice: as a parent, you are the funnel by which all materials will reach your children. You are the screen, the poison detector, the regulation. In essence, YOU are the FDA.

One difficult truth I learned in public health graduate school is that the FDA is an agency under extreme political pressure to make profit-based rather than evidence-based decisions. The integrity of their decision-making process has come under scrutiny in recent years for good reasons. The FDA has repeatedly been accused of or directly confessed to succumbing to pressure by Congress, whose members are funded by big companies peddling myriad faulty products.

Note that this pressure isn't exerted by one political party or another; it is a problem that crosses the aisle. Even easier to demonstrate than the political pressure is the whacky organizational make-up of the agency where food is concerned. Let's take frozen pizza as an example; if you want inspection information about a frozen pepperoni pizza, you should seek out the USDA, but if you want the same information about a cheese pizza, go to the FDA. The same could be said about egg regulation, which this article cutely and aptly calls "scrambled."

The problems in FDA regulation aren't limited to processed food but rather extend to sunscreen (see EWG's July 2013 letter to the FDA here), cleaning products, produce, seafood, vitamins*--which the FDA doesn't currently regulate at all (see footnote about vitamins below)--etc. Problems aren't limited to the FDA either. There's bad news for other regulatory agencies as well. Take the FTC (please!), which regulates all advertising, including for children's and infant products, but chooses to provide less regulation and more frustrating "guidance."

A particularly frustrating example of this lack of adequate FTC regulation concerns infant formula. Back in the late 1980's, pediatricians were outraged at a change in formula advertising to direct-to consumer-as opposed to doctors; some pediatricians even went so far as to boycott formula companies. The AAP then and now recommends against direct-to-consumer advertising, but they wield no regulatory power, and even though other countries have banned the practice, the US (via the FTC) continues to allow it.

Why were pediatricians so up in arms? They knew what could (and did) happen; formula companies now manage the information you receive and lead women to believe failure to succeed at breastfeeding is normal and expected. The hazard boils down to this likelihood: if you don't do your own research to become educated, you know only what they want you to know. Perhaps more importantly, you don't know what they don't want you to know.

What all this evidence means, unfortunately, is that parents can't rely on the federal agencies** to protect us; we need to do our own research when making decisions about purchases, particularly when they are for our children. If you're looking for a place to do such parenting research, Environmental Working Group is a good place to start.

*Should you take a multivitamin? This Harvard School of Public Health website discusses the evidence both for and against synthetic supplemental vitamins.

**It's not all bad news at the federal agencies of health protection. The CDC does a fantastic job of relaying transparent and evidenced-based data to the public. I highly recommend checking out their website for child-related health and safety information.

Author's Note: This post was shared with Works for Me Wednesday.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon September 10 with all the carnival links.)
  • Stranger Danger — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her approach to the topic of "strangers" and why she prefers to avoid that word, instead opting to help her 4-year-old understand what sorts of contact with adults is appropriate and whom to seek help from should she ever need it.
  • We are the FDA — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger makes the case that when it comes to food and drugs, parents are necessarily both their kids' best proponent of healthy eating and defense against unsafe products.
  • You Can't Baby Proof Mother Nature — Nicole Lauren at Mama Mermaid shares how she tackles the challenges of safety when teaching her toddler about the outdoors.
  • Bike Safety With Kids — Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs shares her tips for safe cycling with children in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • Spidey Sense — Maud at Awfully Chipper used a playground visit gone awry to teach her children about trusting their instincts.
  • Watersustainablemum explains how she has used her love of canoeing to enable her children to be confident around water
  • Safety without baby proofing — Hannabert at Hannahandhorn talks about teaching safety rather than babyproofing.
  • Coming of Age: The Safety Net of Secure AttatchmentGentle Mama Moon reflects on her own experiences of entering young adulthood and in particular the risks that many young women/girls take as turbulent hormones coincide with insecurities and for some, loneliness — a deep longing for connection.
  • Mistakes You Might Be Makings With Car Seats — Car seats are complex, and Brittany at The Pistachio Project shares ways we might be using them improperly.
  • Could your child strangle on your window blinds? — One U.S. child a month strangles to death on a window blind cord — and it's not always the obvious cords that are the danger. Lauren at Hobo Mama sends a strong message to get rid of corded blinds, and take steps to keep your children safe.
  • Tips to Help Parents Quit Smoking (and Stay Quit) — Creating a safe, smoke-free home not only gives children a healthier childhood, it also helps them make healthier choices later in life, too. Dionna at Code Name: Mama (an ex-smoker herself) offers tips to parents struggling to quit smoking, and she'll be happy to be a source of support for anyone who needs it.
  • Gradually Expanding Range — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how she is increasing the area in which her child can walk alone, a little bit at a time.
  • Safety Sense and Self Confidence — Do you hover? Are you overprotective? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses trusting your child's safety sense and how this helps your child develop self-confidence.
  • Staying Safe With Food Allergies and Intolerances — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is sharing how she taught her son about staying safe when it came to his food allergies.
  • Don't Touch That Baby!Crunchy Con Mom offers her 3 best tips for preventing unwanted touching of your baby.
  • Playground Wrangling: Handling Two Toddlers Heading in Opposite Directions — Megan at the Boho Mama shares her experience with keeping two busy toddlers safe on the playground (AKA, the Zone of Death) while also keeping her sanity.
  • Letting Go of "No" and Taking Chances — Mommy at Playing for Peace tries to accept the bumps, bruises and tears that come from letting her active and curious one-year-old explore the world and take chances.
  • Preventing Choking in Babies and Toddlers with Older Siblings — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives tips on preventing choking in babies and toddlers along with Montessori-inspired tips for preventing choking in babies and toddlers who have older siblings working with small objects.
  • Keeping Our Children Safe: A Community and National Priority — September has many days and weeks dedicated to issues of safety; however, none stir the emotions as does Patriot Day which honors those slain the terrorist attacks. Along with honoring the victims, safety officals want parents to be ready in the event of another disaster whether caused by terrorists or nature. Here are their top tips from Mary at Mary-andering Creatively.
  • A Complete Family: Merging Pets and Offspring — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the ground rules that she laid out for herself, her big brown dog, and later her baby to ensure a happy, safe, and complete family.
  • Be Brave — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about helping her kids learn to be brave so that they can stay safe, even when she's not around.
  • Catchy PhrasingMomma Jorje just shares one quick tip for helping kids learn about safety. She assures there are examples provided.
  • Know Your Kid — Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassfras refutes the idea that children are unpredictable.
  • Surprising car seat myths — Choosing a car seat is a big, important decision with lots of variables. But there are some ways to simplify it and make sure you have made the safest choice for your family. Megan at Mama Seeds shares how, plus some surprising myths that changed her approach to car seats completely!
  • I Never Tell My Kids To Be Careful — Kim is Raising Babes, Naturally, by staying present and avoiding the phrase "be careful!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

spring cleaning and preparing, part two

We love that tulips are so popular in New England spring.

Welcome to the May 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Emergency Preparedness
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their plans to keep their families safe. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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Last spring I wrote a post about how we created and maintain a bin of emergency supplies. Today I'll cover the another important part of emergency planning, creating a family communication plan. Ready.gov has a family communications website with some ideas, and I've broken those tips down for you.

Creating an emergency communication plan:
  1. Identify an out-of-state contact. In the recent Boston bombing, we had intermittent cell phone service within the city, so if we had been at the Marathon, we wouldn't have been able to reach each other. However, if you designate a person out-of-town that everyone will call, you can get updates through that intermediary. Be sure to tell that person of your communication plan.

  2. Teach your child a contact number, either your cell phone or the designated contact person's. Children ages five and up are able to memorize 10-digit phone numbers. There are some great ideas out there for how to go about helping them memorize it.

  3. Make sure your child knows how to use the phone in your home. In our house, we only have cell phones, and mine automatically locks, so I had to train Genevieve how to unlock it herself and call 911, then I had to do it again this week when I got a new iPhone.

  4. Distribute your plan to your local emergency contact, a neighbor you trust, and your child's school, along with a letter to your child in case of an emergency. 
If you've made a bin of supplies and created a communications plan, consider learning additional ways to keep your home and family safe and finding escape routes. You can also make your stockpile larger in a frugal way by preserving your own food. We are trying not to eat canned food as much as possible due to concerns over BPA, so I've been storing lots of fruit jams and pickled veggies that can be canned using a boiling water bath. Get started with my round-up of canning resources.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon May 14 with all the carnival links.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

how babies are born: a conversation with my daughter

The worried look, caught on camera

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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Update (10/22/13): We've added a new favorite book to the library of sex education called It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends. It has illustrations of a bird and bee talking to each other on each page, which were cute and provided some comic relief for the material to keep the conversation light.

I was planning to write about preschool gender roles today. In fact, I had the post all ready to go on the submission deadline. That morning, my almost-five-year-old daughter actually began our first tough conversation. How's that for timing? Apropos to nothing, Genevieve turned to me with a furrowed brow at the breakfast table and said "I don't want to grow up! I want to stay a kid forever because William said that Mommies have their tummies cut open for the baby to come out. Is that how babies come out, Mommy?"

Before I get to my response, let's break down her announcement. My first reaction is "Oh, sad!" because at that time of the day, I hope for my child to ponder the best way to get more cereal on her spoon, not worry about the fate of her uterus in a few decades. My second reaction is "Thank goodness!" because I'm so happy she feels comfortable to bring up these subjects to me.

Without even a sip of coffee, I managed somehow to keep head firmly attached to shoulders. I calmly explained that first of all, having babies was not something she needed to worry about now because only grown-ups have babies. Then I told her that although some babies are cut out of their mother's womb (as I've discussed in the past, we use anatomically correct language), it's not how most babies are born. I told her that babies are usually born from a mother's vagina, and it's usually a wonderful and happy day when it happens.

She looked a tiny bit less frightened. Then I asked her if she had any more questions. Boy, did she ever.

"Yes," she replied firmly. "Sometimes I feel a rumbling in my tummy. Is that a baby floating around?"

Oh, sad! No, I reminded her, only grown-ups have babies in their wombs. Clearly we needed to go over digestion again, so I began telling her all about how food is broken down for nutrients in the stomach, and waste travels through the intestines to become poop. Her eyes widened and her expression softened to one of curiosity and wonder. Mommy was talking about poop! She had lots of questions about how poop is made and the reason we sometimes have gas (admittedly we call gas a "toot").

From this experience, I take away the importance of follow-up questions and making sure I understand why she wants to know the information and that she understood my responses. My daughter is almost five, and next year she'll be in kindergarten, so I know there are more talks to come before that first day of school. I want her to know she can always come to me when she has questions about how her body works or if kids at school tell her information she doesn't think is correct or feels needs clarification.

Later that day, I went to the library and picked up a few books that have started and continued quite a few discussions about the human body this week. To my surprise, she will sit through an entire lengthy book on the subject! This proud mama looks forward to the many more conversations to come.

In case you'd like to pick up some books, here are the ones we've read so far and liked:


Above all, I want Vivi to be excited about how amazing her body really is and hopefully never rarely embarrassed by her bodily functions. Her question was a good reminder to me that once is not enough for a discussion about her body. We're never going to sit down and have THE TALK because I plan to have many age-appropriate talks over her childhood. I consider this conversation a doorway to a new beginning for us.

Have you had "the talk" with your preschooler? What can you share about the experience?


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)
  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn't Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she's explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she's learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren't so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she's had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller's Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter's horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges--when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who'd want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn't have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

Monday, February 04, 2013

call for February carnival submissions: {finances}


Thanks to everyone who participated in the November Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, August , October, and November 2012 carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here.

February 2013: Finances
How do you handle finances while living simply? Are your finances complex despite your simple living priorities? Do you wish your finances were simpler?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

starting holiday food traditions

Welcome to the November 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Food
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance food, family, and simplicity. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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It makes some sort of sense that after disappearing for a week I would come back to the blog talking about food. Practically nothing else (save decorating) has occupied my thoughts for the past fortnight. Just about my favorite part of this Thanksgiving--after my mom visiting, of course--is that the whole event somehow came together easily.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

call for November carnival submissions: {food}

Chocolate cookies with toppings (recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the October Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. If you’re joining us for the first time, feel free to check out the May, June, and August carnivals as well! Read more about our carnival and future topics here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY holiday fun

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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In the past I wouldn't have considered myself the crafting kind. That's an understatement, really. I tried one Martha Stewart craft project in college--creating my own criss-cross ribbon photo board--which was an abysmal failure. Lately, though, I've been enjoying taking up more craft projects with my girls. Perhaps it's the fact that they are so small that makes me adventurous. After all, who cares if a child's art project isn't perfect?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

thoughts on barbie


Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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When I ponder what a child with a good self-image might act like, I imagine a smily kid who is humble but tries hard to succeed, is happy-go-lucky, is competitive but not aggressive, and in a sense plays well with others. I don't think about their physical looks at all, but I know even despite my best efforts, looks will creep into the conversation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

mise en place: simple productivity ideas

Welcome to the August 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Productivity
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we balance simplicity and productivity, i.e. remain productive while also maintaining a slower pace of life. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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Image Credit: Ranger Mike Designs


I can't remember when I first heard of the term "mise en place;" maybe it was Julia Child, or perhaps it was Top Chef. What I can recall is that my brain automatically flagged it as a great concept not just for cooking but for many parts of my life. French for "putting in place," it's the gathering of ingredients prior to starting to cook. Preparing ingredients and equipment ahead of time is a brilliant time-saver in the kitchen. Plus it makes you feel like a celebrity chef and culinary genius, even if what you happen to be making is a simple as pesto. So could it be a metaphor for life? Could life itself be a dish that is best created when elements are designed, pondered, and crafted ahead?



Extending the notion of pre-assembling to the rest of my world took no less than a paradigm shift, the basic assumption moving from "I don't have time to plan anything ahead; I must wait until I have some time and decide what to do then" to "I don't need to do an entire project at once. I can start it and come back later." Giving myself permission to stop mid-project and switch to another task has been the kick in the pants my organized self wanted.

When I talk of preparing ahead, I'm not necessarily referring to the organizing of stuff. I probably brag too much, in fact, about my knack for organization. It's more like a thoughtfulness for the tasks ahead and a orchestration of the tasks into an efficient and productive order. I've never been great at time management, but I've been pondering some changes I could make ever since Barb's guest post on work flow a while back.

Modern technology aids me in my task of planning ahead. For example, I use Todoist to begin my day-mapping; it lets me easily add items to lists, color-code them, and switch tasks to other projects. I put the washing machine on automatic time-delay to run in the early morning hours. That way, I take the fresh laundry out of the wash when I wake in the morning rather than letting it sit there for hours and risk molding. Similarly, I set the dishwasher ahead to run after we have showered in the evening so it doesn't use up our hot water.

I set out the non-refrigerated breakfast items ahead in the evening, like bowls/spoons and cereal or oatmeal, and then get up a few minutes before the kids and pull the laundry out of the wash, start breakfast, and get the mid-morning snacks set up. While my kids have nap time and "room time" (when Vivi plays quietly for an hour), I get their afternoon activities set up; if we're going to the local beach, I prepare the bags and set up a crock-pot meal, and if we're staying home, I get paint or other art projects ready.

I apply mise en place for my meal components as well, and I plan out what I'll be preparing on any given day, from cooking meatballs to incubating yogurt to chopping carrot sticks or grating squash to freeze for future recipes. In the evening, when I'm not doing yoga or knitting while I watch TV, I use my down-time to apply mise en place to the blog, organizing and planning topics on certain dates.

My last change sounds like an easy one, but for some reason it wasn't for me: I always always wash dishes as I use them. This is a rule my dad has been following for as long as I can remember, but I just couldn't make myself do it until I forced myself to consider it a RULE. I now absolutely do not leave the kitchen until they are done. For moments that the kids need my attention while I'm cleaning, I keep special toys in a cupboard that they don't see often; you'd be surprised how long they will play with a few plastic army men and matchbox cars if you keep them hidden most of the time. Speaking of dishes, when I'm waiting on the faucet water to get hot, I fill up my watering can. It saves both water and time later when I'm ready to water my herbs.

Most of all, remember: if it's not fun, it's not sustainable. Make yourself view these preparations as a positive part of your day; do whatever it takes to make your brain see it this way. Reward yourself for a productive job well done! Play happy music and postpone the chocolate and "Facebooking" until you've completed your prep work.

Do you have secrets to making your day more productive? I'd love to hear them.


All the links on the list below will be live and updated by 3pm E.T. today! 

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Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts: SimParCarButton150x150
Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.

Editor's note: This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Your Green Resource.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

market tip: get to know your farmers

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.
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gleaners after the market
Image Credit: from a local article about "gleaning"
Have you ever looked into where your food comes from? Have you spoken to a farmer who cultivated one part of your meal today? These are questions I couldn't have answered well just a few short years ago. We began our intentional food journey by joining a vegetable CSA when we lived in Virginia. It was gratifying to know we were helping to support a farm, and we would run home with giddy excitement on CSA day to find a crate of veggies on our porch.

When we moved to Massachusetts, we weren't satisfied by simply having the food dropped off on our step. We wanted to know our farmers, by name if possible, and know the ins and outs of the farm itself. We choose to buy the bulk of our fresh meat and produce straight from two local farms so that we know the farmers and their process and support them both.

In summer time, we pick up the remainder of our fresh food at our farmer's market. Prior to this month, I couldn't tell you anything about those farms apart from the name and spot in the parking lot where they were each located. I could tell you which one had my favorite bread but not what ingredients the farmer used to bake it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

call for August carnival submissions: {productivity}

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If you feel like you're having deja vu, it's because you really have seen this post before back in July. Feeling challenged in the area of productivity, Emily and I decided to postpone this carnival a month so we could devote more thought and time to the task. We hope you will join us in our challenge to become more productive and write about your experience for our next carnival!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

call for July carnival submissions: productivity


SimParCar Button 2


Thanks to everyone who participated in the June Simplicity Parenting Carnival! It was a great success! We hope you'll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival. We are happy to announce the third month of our carnival:

July 2012: Productivity
Living simply might seem simple at first but it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the countless things you can do to simplify your life. How do you balance simplicity and productivity? How do you remain productive and maintain a slower pace of life? How do your children help and hinder your productivity?

We’d love to know how you balance (or attempt to balance) simple living, productivity, and parenting. Share your experiences with us this month!

Submission Details
If you've never read nor participated in a blog carnival before, a blog carnival is a chance for different bloggers to share posts regarding a specific theme or topic. The July submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, July 17th and the carnival will be posted Tuesday, July 24th.

Please write a new post for the carnival and do not post it until the day of the carnival. Email your blog post to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com and fill out other necessary details using the embedded Google document submission form below by 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, July 17th. We will email you with further instructions prior to the carnival day. (Note: If you need help learning how to determine a blog URL in advance, Lauren Wayne @ Hobo Mama provides a great explanation. She also has many other blogging tutorials available here.)

Finally, keep it clean, stick to the topic, check your grammar and spelling, and don't use this carnival as a platform to put others down. We want this carnival to be useful, supportive, and fun! If you have any content-related questions, feel free to email Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Technical questions go to Justine at lonehomeranger {at} gmail {dot} com. We reserve the right not to accept posts we find inappropriate for this carnival.




Thanks for your recording your submission! Don't forget to email your blog post submission to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Also feel free to share this carnival with others! We're using the Twitter hashtag #SimParCar. We are also collecting great simplicity parenting related ideas on this Pinterest board.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

back to basics

Welcome to the June 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Green Living
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we find ways to be more natural parents and stewards of the environment. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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A few months ago I wrote about my switch to the "no poo" method of washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. In case you didn't read it or my updates, I still love it and have never looked back. My hair is shiny, less greasy, and never has tangles. I also wash the girls' hair in baking soda, and when combined with Vivi's pixie hair cut, I basically never need to brush her hair. It's like magic!

Using more natural personal care products has motivated me to find other green and natural uses for these magical kitchen items that previously took a back seat on the shelf. Prior to having kids, my method of being "green" was to buy Seventh Generation and leave it at that. But once I started delving deeper into the types of products I use, I realized you can go so much further toward sustainable, earth-friendly methods of cleaning without even needing to purchase new items. A little know-how goes a long way.

Just in time for my desire to learn, I stayed with my grandmother for a week, and she gave me some great tips. My great grandmother used to work at a professional laundry service, and as a result, she passed along some wonderful cleaning advice. For instance, did you know the "treat animal with animal" stain trick? If you soak blood stains overnight in milk, they come right out!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

my birth partners: great natural labor companions

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.
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I've written before about the births of both of my daughters (here and here), but those posts were about the run-down of events, so I appreciate the chance to highlight a favorite part of my natural birth experiences to share with you today. It will be no surprise to those of you who know my recent career move (I became a birth doula this year) that I attribute most of the success of my natural births to having great birth partners. I was lucky enough to have both my mom and my husband present at my births, and in addition to their excellent support, my births were guided by intelligent midwives.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

simplicity parenting carnival: call for June "green" submissions!

SimParCar Button 2


We were so inspired by and learned so much from the participants of our first carnival! We hope you’ll join us again, Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM, for another simplicity parenting carnival.  

June 2012: Green Living
Do you strive to be eco-conscious? Do you want to raise your children to value the planet? Does being Green make it easier to live simply or does it add additional challenges?


We want to hear about how you incorporate Green living into your everyday life. What steps have you taken to reduce your footprint? How do you set your Green priorities? Do you find yourself making compromises? Do you use cloth diapers and still drive an SUV? Regardless of where you are in your journey to be Green, we’d love to hear your perspective on Green family life, raising children to be eco-conscious, and how it impacts simple living.

Submission Details
If you’ve never read nor participated in a blog carnival before, a blog carnival is a chance for different bloggers to share posts regarding a specific theme or topic. The June submission deadline is 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, June 19th and the carnival will be posted Tuesday, June 26th.

Please write a new post for the carnival, and do not post it until the day of the carnival. Email your blog post to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com and fill out other necessary details using the embedded Google document submission form below by 11:59pm EDT Tuesday, June 19th. We will email you with further instructions prior to the carnival day. (Note: If you need help learning how to determine a blog URL in advance, Lauren Wayne @ Hobo Mama provides a great explanation. She also has many other blogging tutorials available here.)


Finally, keep it clean, stick to the topic, check your grammar and spelling, and don’t use this carnival as a platform to put others down. We want this carnival to be useful, supportive, and fun! If you have any content-related questions, feel free to email Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Technical questions go to Justine at lonehomeranger {at} gmail {dot} com. We reserve the right not to accept posts we find inappropriate for this carnival.


If you want a blog carnival button, feel free to grab one on my carnival page. Happy writing!
Thanks for recording your submission! Don't forget to email your blog post submission to Emily at emilysahmiam {at} gmail {dot} com. Also feel free to share this carnival with others! We're using the Twitter hashtag #SimParCar. We are also collecting great simplicity parenting related ideas on this Pinterest board.

Editor's note: This post is part of The Homestead Barn HopTeach Me Tuesday, Your Green ResourceSimple Lives Thursday, and DIY Friday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martha and me

Welcome to the May 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Organizing
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we organize our lives. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.
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Mountains of laundry. Check.

Friday, May 25, 2012

different strokes

Welcome to May edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month’s topic is “Parenting Practices and Criticism”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!

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No, this is not a post about that TV show from the '80's (although I will share with you quickly that whenever Vivi says something silly, I usually reply "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" to which she always answers "I'm not Willis, Mommy, I'm Genevieve"). Rather, this is a post about how I help my kids understand that we do some things differently in our family from other families.



Monday, May 14, 2012

call for submissions: simplicity parenting blog carnival, May 2012

Do you strive to live a simple life? A life where you focus the essentials and cut out the excess? Have your children motivated you to simplify everything or left you feeling like life is more complex than ever? Either way, the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival is for you!

Please join Justine at The Lone Home Ranger and Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM on the fourth Tuesday of each month for a blog carnival all about simplicity parenting. Whether you already consider yourself a simplicity expert or you’ve just started taking small steps to slow down, we want to hear your about your experiences, challenges and successes. We’ll focus on a different topic each month in order to share information, learn from one another, and celebrate simple family living (or living simply or simply living)!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

our summer tribe

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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A bluegrass band playing at the pavilion

My dad and his cousins were raised together in Miami, Florida, and in the summer they would drive the fourteen or more hours to the north Georgia mountains to "escape the summer heat" for a week. As someone who now lives 1,000 miles north of the park they visited, the humor of their different interpretation of "heat escape" is not lost on me.

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