Archive | Activities RSS feed for this section

My 20 Favorite Facebook Quotes from 2012

13 Dec

My favorites are not Facebook’s favorites.

Facebook gathers information about all of us as we use it. What we like, comment on and share is all collected in a database and analyzed by advertisers. BOOK Cover Facebook Logo

As this year comes to a close, the collections are being shared. Facebook will share some of what they gathered about you and what their formula has concluded to be your “20 Biggest Moments”. Go to your Facebook home page and check it out. Do you agree with what they came up with?

Yesterday, I watched as Katie Couric hosted an episode of Katie where these “biggest” stories were discussed. The stories that had the most shares, likes and which were mentioned the most. Then today, on Facebook, I read a quote from claypotideas that let me see all this information with a new perspective;

“What people think about you is none of your business.”

So much of our time is wasted worrying about what others think about us. Facebook’s “20 Biggest Moments” feature is reinforcing this destructive behavior by selecting out only the stuff that your friends have liked, shared and commented on.

Define Yourself

Young children, on the other hand, like, share and comment on everything that is emotionally important to them. Kids feel everything and will most likely tell you all about it. “My neck is itchy”, “I have to go pee”, “I have balls in this box” etc. The examples go on and on. In my book Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them this is :

Lesson 25: If you see value in it, share it.

The key word above is “you“. If you see value in it. So, I test out this theory of the importance of personal value.

I ask my preschooler, “If you think back about this entire year, what do you remember the most?”

“You!” He says quickly, pointing at me with his entire arm.

I know that’s not an answer that would score high up on the Facebook charts, but it’s one that scores high up on mine. For while it will calm our hearts to free ourselves from what others think, it can also empower and inspire us. Even negative comments have something to teach us, as long as we can manage not to let them hurt us or be roadblocks to our growth. It’s all about our perspective and how we choose to take it.

My Top 20 Favorite Facebook Quotes for 2012

I’ve gained a lot of insight and inspiration from quotes that have come to me through Facebook and which I have shared there. Facebook didn’t however and most aren’t accessible from there anymore.  I see defining value in them however, so I have dug through some of my favorite pages and here I am sharing these quotes with you. Enjoy.

1. “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” –Life Tastes Well

2. “Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it.” -Epicurious reposted by PositiveAtmosphere.com

3.”If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution. Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighborhood.” -Maya Angelou

4. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

5. “An anthropologist proposed a game to children of an African tribe. He put a basket of fruit near a tree and told the children the first one to reach the fruit would win them all. When he told them to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying the fruits. When asked why they ran like that, as one could’ve taken all the fruit for oneself, they said, “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?” ‘UBUNTU’ is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am because we are.” -The Great Spirit

6. “What screws us up in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” -posted by Zen Parening Radio

7.”Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~Eckhart Tolle

8. “I Love You. I am your PARENT, you are my CHILD. I am your QUIET PLACE, you are my WILD. I am your CALM FACE, you are my GIGGLE. I am your WAIT, you are my WIGGLE. I am your DINNER, you are my CHOCOLATE CAKE. I am your BEDTIME, you are my WIDE AWAKE. I am your LULLABYE, you are my PEEKABOO. I am your GOOD NIGHT KISS, you are my I LOVE YOU.” – Joy of Mom

9. ‎”It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”
~Ann Landers reposted by I Love Being a Mom

10.”The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” ~Peggy O’Mara reposted by I Love Being a Mom

11. “When nothing goes right, go left.” -Daily Dose

12. “Do not educate your child to be rich, educate them to be happy, so when he grows up he’ll know the value of things, not the price.” -Page101

13. “People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” -Open Mind

14. “Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.” -Zen Parenting Radio

15. “Read this slowly: LIFEISNOWHERE. What did you read? “life is no where” or “life is now here”? My friends, life is all about how we look at it! -Daily Gratitude Challenge

16. “It doesn’t matter how old or gangster you are- if a toddler hands you a phone, you answer that shit!” -George Takei

17. “Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest.”

18. “Food reform begins in your kitchen, not in Washington.”

19. “Metal bits in your cereal. Yummy!”

and last but certainly not least….

20. “Super-risk-it”: when something is good, super good, super, super, super good, as in terrific. -Adam Potter, 2012

DSC00740

Craft so good, do it twice!

1 Aug

You know a craft project is good when A) a preschooler uses the lesson learned from it in everyday activities; and B) when he wants to do it again the next day.

That’s what this craft was for us this week.

We spend a lot of time at the beach and normally putting sunscreen on my child consists of corralling him long enough from the pleasures of sand and cooling water to smear the stuff on while gripping onto his arm so he doesn’t run away.  Which is why this craft project appealed to me.

Basically, you take some dark-colored paper and paint on it with sunscreen. You can add on interesting shapes and then place it in the sun for the day. By dinnertime, the paper has been bleached by the sun everywhere except for where the shapes or the sunscreen has been.

You compare the paper to your skin and boom! lesson learned.

How do I know?

Because after we did this little sunscreen craft project we went to the beach. My boy voluntarily stopped playing, ran up to me and asked for sunscreen!

Amazing. It was a request that sounded as sweet as music to my mom-ified ears.

Then when he woke up this morning he wanted to do it again.

As the summer paces along, the sunburns don’t have to. Try this and other crafts from I Can Teach My Child, a site that has given me some great ideas.

Kinda Cool Daisy Blue

28 Jun
A quick activity perfect for this time of year; dying roadside daisies couldn’t be easier.

I really like picking a few flowers outside in the summertime. Sometimes the picking is the most engaging part of the process, other times it’s bringing those blooms indoors and seeing their joyful and fragile smiles daily as I pass by.

Just Once? Why?

Having already picked a few daisies  this year when they first started popping up, I was surprised to see they were still standing strong in bursts of white and yellow along the roadside.

That’s when I found this simple idea of doing a little at home science project.

Getting Daisied Up

The day I actually picked our second set of daisies it was rainy and dirt had splashed up on them, but I didn’t mind.  They were all bent up by the time I got them home, so I wasn’t sure whether the experiment would still work, but we gave it a shot.

With a sentence or two about how flowers suck up the water up through their stems, I plunked the buds in an inch of water mixed with a couple of drops of blue food coloring.

Allowing other things to take my attention and time, just an hour or a few later, the tips of the petals were seeped with color.

Overnight, the flowers kept drinking and by the next morning they had absorbed the bright blue coloring to catch my child’s attention.

“Huh?” he asked with his head cocked to the side, walking towards the flowers as if he was drawn to the oddity like a magnet.

“Isn’t it cool how the flowers sucked up the water?” I asked, pleased by his voluntary interest.

“Kinda” he responded.

“Did you know they did that?” I probed.

“Yep” he said, nonchalantly.

I ran my fingers along the tips of the blue petals and walked over to him, whispering with a shrug, “I didn’t know that when a flower drinks water it collects at the tips first.”

My casual demeanor mirrored his and he gave the flowers a second look, noticing them differently, and learning.

 

 

Seeing Stars

10 May

Let creativity fly! It inspires imagination and empowerment.

 This is our ceiling. On a recent rainy day I was working on it. The constellation placement isn’t perfect but it encourages us all to look up. We are getting out of our box and seeing the possibilities all around us.

What can you see around you where there once was just a blank space?

Enjoy.

 

 

Natural Easter Egg Dye Results

10 Apr

As this was my first year attempting the natural Easter egg dyes, I decided to let you all know how they turned out.

The first step was to prepare the dyes and boil the eggs. I was so excited about trying out the natural Easter egg food coloring dyes that I forgot to boil the eggs so this step took twice as long as it needed to be, but alas, it all got done in the end.

From left to right: blackberries, paprika, dill weed seed and turmeric. I also used purple cabbage to make blue, which is not pictured here.

The general recipe is 1 cup boiling water, 2 TBSP spice and 2 tsp white vinegar.

As you can see, the dyes look very bright in the cups. I’m lazy so I didn’t actually measure anything and didn’t strain the dyes after letting them soak for a bit.

Next we colored on the cooled eggs with crayon. I made the mistake of  telling Adam about the dyes coming up next, so he rushed through the coloring part so that he could get down to the real fun part; the dye.

The cool thing about artificial Easter egg dye is that you can just touch the egg to the dye and it will immediately saturate it with bright colors. This is not the case with dyes. The eggs really need to sit in the dye for quite a while (except with the turmeric which really gets the egg a nice yellow fairly quickly).

Adam likes to take the eggs in and out over and over so they all got to sit in there for about 20 minutes in between his eager scooping.

The one thing I noticed with the blackberries is how quickly the berries dyed my fingers when I plopped them into the water. The red color did wash off easily, but next year I might try dabbing the newly colored eggs with the solid blackberries to see if I can’t get a couple of bright spots on a few.

The Results

As you can see, the natural Easter egg dyes resulted in a set of pastel colored eggs.

Many sites suggest leaving the eggs in the natural dyes overnight for deeper, richer colors, but Adam wanted to see how they turned out right away.

He was pleased with them, and I was too, especially when I saw him slobber over the entire surface of the egg before it was peeled.

We immediately took turns playing the Easter bunny, hiding the eggs and finding them. I peeled off three-quarters of the shell and we ate them for snack afterwards, using the remaining section as a holder until we had eaten down that far.

A little sad that I had to dump out all the beautiful dyes I had made, I took out some coffee filters and let him soak those in the natural Easter egg dyes as well. They dried very quickly and I smooshed them together with a pipe cleaner in the center and taped them to a bamboo pole.

Adam loved this impromptu flower and immediately went out to plant it in the ground.

Overall, our experiments with natural Easter egg dyes were pretty fun. Because I happened to have all the ingredients on hand already, I couldn’t resist. We had fun doing it and I felt good about the results. You can’t get much more Zen then that.

 

 

Easter Basket Blunders

5 Apr

Caster oil in Reese’s Cups and Twix? Chalk in Lemonheads Jellybeans? Petroleum preservatives and colors? What’s really in your Easter basket?

It was the jellybeans that started it off for me this year. Kmart had a million kinds: Sweettart, Lemonheads,  Nerds, Sour Patch etc. and I wanted to try them all! I bought one of each, way before Easter. Such an influx had me questioning my choices so I looked on the back to see what was in them.  Adam loved the Nerds jelly beans which to my surprise had Tapioca. Tapioca, go figure.

It sparked my interest so I looked up the rest of the ingredients to some of the most popular candies that we had on hand and found out that Easter looks very different than I thought it did.

easter

(click to see picture)

A mound of sugar and a river of milk I knew. Fueled by petroleum, yes. The amount of corn, soy and palm tree products, nope. The impact on others that my little Easter basket would make: I pretty much didn’t think about it at all. I mean, it’s once a year and we’re just one small family. Then it started nagging at me and wouldn’t let go.

So I decided to make a change to a more natural Easter this year. I stressed myself out yesterday trying to come up with some creative Easter ideas. I frowned at how cheap the junk candy that I normally would have gotten was. Easter was going to cost me a lot more than it normally would’ve this year. (But the cost on the planet, my karma etc will be less I tell myself.)

I despaired because as we pressed our faces against the windows of the still closed new natural food store we saw that it didn’t appear to sell any food, only lotions and junk. Three stores later I sat discouraged as I repeated the name of the candy store I was looking to call for the billionth time to the automated 411 operator.

Finally got the number and they weren’t going to be open for another 3 hours and since I’ve never been there I have no idea whether they use natural local ingredients or not. I gave up on trying to buy local and did with what I could find at Hannaford. They have natural gummy bears and fruit snacks, Annie’s crackers, different kinds of chocolate and dried fruit. Not the special Easter treats I was hoping for but it was going to have to do.

Adam felt my pain and picked up some chocolates: “No coloring in these, Mom” he said. “Yes but they have chalk and that’s not what Mom wants you to eat,” I said.

So this is what I’m going to do to fill an Easter basket this year:

Make chocolate covered raisins: Bought the individual packets, a packaging waste but eh, it’s a holiday. Melt chocolate chips (which are just cocoa and sugar essentially, though not organic: organic chocolate makes us very sick even with only a little), dump raisins in, while chocolate hardens decorate mini-boxes, refill with chocolate raisins and put boxes in reused plastic eggs from last year to hide around yard.

The basket will also have the natural Annie’s crackers and fruit snacks shaped like bunnies. Putting fruit snacks in the eggs too along with little toys Adam can’t ever get enough of like pop bullets for his gun, stickers etc.

Going to fill some of the eggs with confetti that I’ll make from cut up pieces of paper and he can throw around and make a huge mess with. We’ll hop around like bunnies in the bunny ears we’ll make and plant some seeds in containers with the shovel I put in the basket and that he’ll use all summer at the beach.

For today we’ll try dying eggs the natural way: boiling red cabbage, tumeric, paprika, dill seed and squooshing blackberries. It should help get out all that frustration from the stress of trying to buy a natural fun Easter basket.

 

 

 

Beach Bunnies Unite

24 Mar

“You’ve gotten some sun,” they say to me with a smile.

“I’ve been to the beach everyday this week,” I beam back.

“Enjoy it while you can, it’ll they’re calling for snow next week,” they warn in an ominous tone.

“I enjoy each day as it comes,” I respond matter-of-factly and am met with silence.

 

Negativity fuels conversation. Without it, people rarely know what to talk about.

When something is good, it speaks for itself and there really isn’t much more to say. Could that be why no one else is at the beach?

We’ve been enjoying a beautifully warm and sunny spring here. Following a winter that was less about building snow forts then building sand castles, spring was ushered in with record high temperatures. Our summer days at the beach became spring days at the beach. Now that the water has unthawed, those sand castles have become volcanos. Running barefoot and screeching into the still frigid water, we dip in our cups and carry our water prize up to the waiting mountain on the beach, delighting in the trickle that explodes over the top and down into a river of its own making.

A fellow adventurer is a rare sight. More common is the disgruntled homeowner, scraping clean their front yard, doing the work they can commiserate with their friends about later.

But the leaves still clogging the beach do not bother us. We push them aside enough to make a path for our excursions and get right down to the fun. The seeds are left unplanted in their packets so that we might grow a great grinning day instead. Their time will come and it will be just when it should be, but this special week was all about enjoying a once-in-a-long-time summertime spring.

A huge white bunny rabbit with black spots has been gracing us with its unusual presence as well this week. An early easter bunny perhaps. Or maybe, just maybe a bunny that is visiting those of a like mind, for we are some of the only beach bunnies in town.

 

Secrets of the Pampered

7 Mar

Ahhh, the smooth skin of a fresh face.

Watch children painting their hands. They are excited, feel mischevious, are thoughtful and creative. Let that paint dry on there in its cracked and peeling form however, and watch as panic creeps in to the mind of the dirty one. “What’s this doing on my hand?” They wonder. “Is it ever going to come off?”

Lots of things in life are like that. Ugly actions, experiences and memories come in the form of aging ugly. Gray hairs slip in, long black hairs pop out in strange places, and the clay starts to warp, sliding off its mold.

 

Like with any great piece of art, the body cannot be made more desirable by pasting on as much stuff as you can find. It just looks heavy and cluttered.

“The ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquility.”                                                   -Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

I am inspired by a lucky library book sale find: Secrets of the Spas by Catherine Bardey to “Pamper & Vitalize Yourself at Home”.

After my child’s recent sickness, I could feel the dry weather etching in all the nose-wrinkling and forehead furrowing that I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.

Discouraged by all the harsh ingredients in all the lotions, revitalizers, toners, wrinkle-creams and the such at the stores I visited and the mound of these such things that I’ve already accumulated and don’t use, but can’t throw away, a natural spa treatment was just what I was looking for.

The cleanser recipe is simple:

Cleansing Oatmeal & Honey Paste

1/2 cup oatmeal

2 tbsp honey

1/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk

Grind up the oatmeal in a fun red blender that your toddler loves because of the loud, fast spinning blades at the bottom and that you let him press the button on while you hold the top.

Pour grinds back into measuring cup, stir in yogurt and top with honey. Want to eat it? Go ahead, or just smile to yourself knowing that you can. Walk excitedly to bathroom while toddler runs after you joyfully.

Explain that the lotion that comes in bottles can be made at home too, but at home it’s better because it doesn’t have any gasoline in it. Give a big glob to those little outstretched hands and tell him not to get it in his eyes or hair.

Smear all over your own face, front and back of neck.

Clean up all the glop that toddler has mushed around while smiling at the few spots he dabbed onto the apples of his cheeks and tip of his chin.

See that half of the mixture is still left and fetch the dogs who have been itching it up from dry skin too. Get down to the skin layer if possible then wash out quickly because you remember that honey is sticky stuff to get out of long hair.

Feel globs of the glop roll down your back and make mental note not to smear globs on back of neck next time.

Since it has taken about 15 minutes or so to wash the two dogs, it’s time to take all the glop off.

Be pleasantly surprised at how well the treatment works.

Make time for another recipe from the Secret of the Spas book:

Melon Bliss

1/2 cantaloupe

1/2 cup juice (they say apricot, I chose oj)

ice

Blend together and watch pleasantly as toddler who won’t eat one bite of a cantaloupe gulps down all of his glass of this bliss and slides over to drink some of yours.

Drink up the rest.

Literally.

 Feel joyful, rested, rejuvenated, clean and lucky.

America’s Parenting Problems

8 Feb

This article Why French Parents are Superior took over any other ideas I had for this blog today.

First the Chinese are superior and now the French? Was this just a spin-off for publicity I wondered but still clicked on this article, just like I read the one about why Chinese parents are superior a year ago.

So what are American parents doing that sucks? Think about the parenting challenges you face daily and you’ll likely find the answer just like author Pamela Druckerman did.

She saw her child running around a restaurant while she and her husband tried to eat their meal in relay race fashion while the French children sat calmly and realized that many Americans are falling behind in the parenting arena.

Key Points

Teaching Self-Control: Most interesting to me is Druckerman’s observation that many American parents aren’t focused on teaching their children to be independent, controlled and patient.

A known deficiency in ourselves as adults, Americans like instant gratification. If you watch the accompanying video, you’ll see Druckerman talk about how the French approach food and toddlers. French caregivers introduce a food to a toddler over and over, 30 times or more, long after many American parents would’ve given up. They don’t expect their children to immediately like a food. But more than this, the French approach food and other situations with a feeling of appreciation.

By sharing an appreciation for food and other things in life, they are teaching their children self-control and regulation. Along these same lines is that French parents expect children to play on their own. How many American children can entertain themselves for long periods of time unless they are sitting dazed and motionless watching t.v.?

Educating vs. Discipline:  Many other points are stressed in Druckerman’s book, Bringing Up Bebe, coming out soon, which I will likely read, but already, just from this one article/interview this morning, I am already trying to teach Adam to be more patient and I have renewed enthusiasm when approaching my lifetime goal of appreciating things more and teaching him to do so also.

The article emphasizes educating over discipline when approaching our children, which I think is a real key to success in the long run. I found myself using a lot of bribery based on fear this week, “Do this or you won’t get this”, a tactic that worked well but made my stomach hurt just saying it. I am releived to feel encouraged again by the education factor and hope to say goodbye to the intimidation for a while.

Support: Skimmed over in the article but not in my brain is the support that French parents are receiving from their government.

“Of course, the French have all kinds of public services that help to make having kids more appealing and less stressful. Parents don’t have to pay for preschool, worry about health insurance or save for college. Many get monthly cash allotments—wired directly into their bank accounts—just for having kids.”

Wow! I want support like that! It’s like the French appreciate their children and their caregivers as well. Revolutionary.

 

 

 

 

Kiss the Snow

23 Jan