How to discipline with love

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I’m a really firm believer in gentle parenting (also called attachment parenting).
You know? The ‘we don’t ‘discipline’ our children’ type (said tongue firmly in cheek 😉 ‘


Seriously- I believe in getting down to the child’s level. Hearing them out. Listening before reacting. Being open to alternative suggestions. Doing ‘time in’ instead of time out. Hugging it out. I really do love my kids deeply, and believe that they deserve to be treated with respect, like I would treat any other human being. They are little people struggling with big emotions, and it’s normal for them to lash out (even, or especially, when they hit tween stage…) Just because they’re smaller or younger than me does not diminish their worth in any way.

 

BUT… (and this is a big but) there are times when I expect absolute obedience, no questions asked, and I’m totally willing to give a wallop on the bum to get my point across.

Examples include, but are not limited to:
Trying to put fingers into wall sockets.
Running in front of moving cars.
Running in a parking lot.

I HATE spanking my kids. I truly despise it.
But there are times, like the ‘life and death’ situations mentioned above, when a gentle (or even stern) talking-to simply doesn’t cut it.

Would this make me unpopular in certain circles? Sure.
Could it safe my kid’s life because they understand the gravity of the situation? Probs.

Obviously we’ll try doing the whole ‘Ohhh noooo, we shouldn’t run in front of moving cars because then we would go ‘splat’ and it would hurt so we shouldn’t do it’ talk first, but who has time for that the split second before that little speedster takes off over a busy road?

 

 

In the end, you need to discipline with your kid’s best interests at heart.
If you spank them because you enjoy it or ‘they had it coming’ or you need to blow off steam, you need to go and see a professional. If you say ‘no’ to EVERYTHING to show them who’s the boss, you are a bully.

 

BUT (yep, there it is again 😉 ) if you say ‘no’ to sweets and other ‘nice things’ because you care about their health and wellbeing, it makes you a good parent. Say ‘yes’ to the apples and healthy stuff. Let them watch one episode of Winnie the Pooh (NOT binge watch Cartoon Network!) Moderation is key. In discipline as well as life (and chocolate!)

 

If your intentions are pure, your discipline will be effective too. Well, it should.

Give your kids boundaries. Boundaries make us feel safe. Take, for example, the analogy of children in a park. If there is no physical boundary around a park, like a fence, but the park’s grass runs directly onto a road, the children tend to stay close to the parent. They don’t play freely, and they don’t venture very far from the safety of the parent. They don’t explore. They tend to be timid.
Contrast this with a park with a clear physical boundary line, like a fence. The kids run around, sometimes far from the parent, yet within eyeshot. They feel safe, because they know up to which point they are allowed to play. How far they can go until they get to the ‘danger zone’ (in this case- the road). They know that if they remain within the boundary line, they’re safe.
Boundaries= safety.
When your kids know which things are debateable (chicken or beef for supper) and which are not (drinking dad’s whiskey and running in parking lots), they feel safe. They know where the line is.

 
Where are your boundary lines? What do you/don’t you allow? How do you discipline with love? Let me know in the comments!

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What to give this Valentine’s Day

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Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and each and every shop is drowned in pink frilly hearts and red plastic roses. Everyone is starting to think about what they’re getting that special person- the youngsters with giddy butterflies in their tummies and married couples with a desperate ‘I can’t get the same thing as last year, so what now?!’ Okay, I’m joking. It’s not that bad (for me, anyway!)

So, how do you figure out what to get/make for your special person?
Firstly, figure out their love language!
Not sure where to even start?
Try this nifty quiz.

Some people like gifts. Physical things. Like teddy bears, flowers, a new gadget, chocolate, a hand-knitted sweater… They like something they can touch and hold and smell and cuddle with.
Some like it when you take them on adventures! You could take them ice skating, tenpin bowling, mini golf or even something crazy like a hot air balloon picnic… They treasure memories, and carry those with them for a lifetime. They remember life in snippets, pockets, of things they DID with people they love.
Others like it when you serve them, like re-doing the bedroom, washing dishes, changing the car’s oil! This seems like the most un-romantic thing for those that like gifts, for example. But for someone who appreciates gestures, this is seriously the most romantic thing you could do!
Some people even appreciate it most when you simply spend time with them. Switch off your phone, and watch a series marathon with them. Do a spa day. Take a walk together. Have a chat over coffee. Even relaxing on the couch with a bag of chips and good conversation would be more appreciated than 10 boxes of chocolates. In this technology-driven disconnected age, switching off the tech and really connecting with another human is a priceless gift…
Figure out what your person needs (even if it isn’t necessarily what you would choose), and roll with it!

With gifts, you could easily step into the big, fat, clichéd pothole of red, roses, hearts, generic cards and cheap chocolate…
Be original!
You still have some time. Put a bit of thought into it!

Do something unusual.
How about a cool video professing your undying love (the Viva Video App or Lumen8, an online program, are great ideas! Powtoon, another online resource, even enables you to make a cartoon video! )
How about an ebook or ecard? You could use Canva (app or online) or Cymera (app) to create some amazing, personalized graphics.
Maybe a homemade treat is more up their alley. Cookies, cakes, marshmallows or even homemade jams could also go down a treat. Even a shop bought chocolate, melted down and poured into a different mould gives it that bit of a personal touch.
You could even put on a production/play for the family a la Winnie the Pooh!
A passion-based gift is also a very good idea, especially for the kiddos. Minecraft coasters, anyone?

Secret Valentines is something I’m planning on doing this year. Almost like Secret Santa- everyone draws a name out of a hat, and then has to write a letter to the chosen person to tell them what they like about them, what nice characteristics they have, and how they have impacted our lives in a positive way. This is a non-romantic way for friends to show appreciation for each other, and it’s a pretty cool homeschool craft (and gets a bit of letter-writing practice in there without them noticing 😉 )

 

All in all, just like Christmas is a time of giving and good spirits, so Valentine’s Day is a time of love. Everyone (well, mostly everyone) is giddy and happy and in a romantic mood. It’s the perfect time to connect (or re-connect) with a crush (for the kiddos), your spouse (if you’re the parent) and family.

 

Valentine’s Day is, if nothing else, the perfect excuse to spread some love in this unhappy world!
Go visit that old age home. Bake cookies for your sour grandma. Encourage your daughter to tell that boy she likes him. Even help her write a poem! Go on, get crazy with it! Everyone else is!

As Jesus said, go and love the world ❤

 

How are you spreading some love this Valentine’s Day? Tell me allllll about it in the comments!

Teaching with grace

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One of the definitions of ‘grace’ is ‘the condition or fact of being favoured by someone.’

 

The latin root of the word ‘grace’ is ‘gratus’, meaning ‘pleasing’ and ‘thankful’. This is also linked to the English ‘grateful’.

 
Okay, I’m done with the dictionary stuff now!

 
The point I’m trying to make, is this: Teaching with grace means (to me) to be grateful for your kid, and to ‘favour’, or to remember to love them while teaching!


This is easy when they’re working as they should. Being good, respectful and industrious. Not so much when they’re banging on their big sister’s drum instead of singing along like a good little girl… Or painting your walls while you’re busy with math in the next room.
Kids are not always loveable… Yet we need to still CHOOSE to love them. You see, love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. A choice you make even when things are hard. When you’ve had a rough day. When your kids are being impossible. When you really just don’t feel like adulating.

 
Kids are funny things… Their little hearts are as fragile as a spider web covered in early-morning dew, yet they can fall off the jungle gym and bounce back like a rubber ball.

They cry for no apparent reason at times, yet they can be as strong as a rock when you need a shoulder to cry on. They can refuse to share their candy bar with a sibling, yet lend you their last R10 to buy a bread for the household.

 

Kids are such amazing, intricate, marvellous and beautiful little creatures…

 

Remember this when working with them. They’re ‘good’ and ‘bad’ woven together, and both parts of your child are a part of the package. You need to love their WHOLE little soul. Everyone has ‘bad days’. Forgive them when they wrong you, and you will have the most beautiful and grace-filled relationship you could ever dream of.


On that note- remember to also have grace with yourself.

 

You won’t have only perfect days. You will have days when you muck it all up. Where you rant and scream, and swear in front of the kids, and shove them in front of the TV for a marathon session of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

 

This doesn’t make you a bad mom or teacher. It makes you human. Those days happen to all of us one time or another. NOBODY is perfect, contrary to what it might look like on Facebook. Nobody has it ALL together, all the time. They just don’t share the messy bits on the mommy groups 😉

 
When (and I say ‘when’ because it WILL happen!) you have one of these days, dust it off and come back better and stronger tomorrow.

 

Look at your mistakes and learn from them. If you know better, you can do better. You need to bugger things up from time to time to be able to grow. Be thankful for the messy bits. They shape you into a more awesome and epic human being than you already are. Learn to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Also learn to ask your kids for forgiveness…

 


Lastly, have grace with the process. The system.

 

Be that the curriculum you chose, your schedule, your method or just simply the way you saw things going. Find something that you love. That works for you. Some things that worked for a friend might not work for you. That does not make them WRONG.

 

It simply means that they’re not for YOU.

 

Find your thing, and then stick with it. Tweak it until it fits how/where it needs to. Don’t feel bound to something because you HAVE to make it work. It’s okay to leave it. Admit defeat and start over. Realise it’s not for you and try something new.

 

That does not make you a quitter.

 

It makes you a inventor. A pioneer.

 

Dare to venture out and test/experience and experiment with new things! Variety is the spice of life! Go boldly and fall unexpectedly in love with a new idea.

(Just avoid Typo. Stationary obsessions are better left undiscovered 😉  )

 

Tell me, do you teach with grace? Do you sometimes lose your cool and then feel like the worst mom ever? How do you fix it? Should you maybe have a little more grace with your kiddos, yourself of your chosen system? Let me know in the comments below!

How to avoid end-of-January burnout

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The year started off on all-out, full-throttle energy! Now, the initial hype is over. Things are starting to mellow out a bit, getting calmer. You’ve got more time to think. So the doubts and uncertainty starts to creep in! Did you choose the right school (or was homeschooling really the best choice)? Did you really need to spend on the new TV, or the gym membership, or that expensive December holiday? Can you even do this? What on earth have you let yourself in for?!

 

Stop. Breathe. Chill.

 
Let me quickly remind you of something- YOU, my dear, are totally epic, and you CAN do this (whatever your ‘this’ is 😉 )

 

Now that we’ve got that little pep talk out of the way, let’s move on to the important stuff!

 

Curricullum:


My best advice here is don’t buy anything! If you want to test out a new homeschooling curriculum, try the free resources first. Want to do CAPS? Download a PDF for free to give a bash before you fork out thousands for a boxed curriculum you might hate! Want to try Charlotte Mason? Do Ambleside Online. Want to do worksheets? Download and print some out. Don’t commit too much money, time or energy to something now. Try as much as possible, take it slow. Learn, experiment and re-evaluate constantly.

 

Routine:


A good routine is a solid foundation for a good day. Trust me on this one. But, as with most things, you need to find what works for your family. What works for me (getting up at 5am, for example) might not work for you!

 
Set alarms. Multiple alarms! Also, keep them far from the bed, so you have to get up to switch them off instead of just snoozing them on the nightstand. I find something like classical music a nice intro to start waking up, and then to follow that with something jarring (like a cock crowing) on another phone! Usually does the trick!

 
Have your routine written down, preferably somewhere everyone can see it, like the kitchen wall. This is especially helpful with little ones. They really like knowing what comes next. Use stickers, whiteboard markers, whatever! Just get everyone to actually look at it, and most importantly, do what it says! Every single day, until it becomes a habit. If you suck at sticking to things like this, get an accountability partner! My hubby is mine. He can be harsh at times, but I’m thankful because I know he’ll always tell me the truth and keep me on the straight and narrow!

 
Remember to eat a healthy, wholesome, low-GI breakfast every morning. This sets you up for a good day. A hungry parent or child simply can’t think the way they are meant to. And no, cereals don’t count as breakfast 😉 Try something like egg on toast, rolled oats or even a breakfast smoothie instead!

 
Drink your vitamins (let me know if you want to use what we use!), pack a water bottle, move your body (even light exercise is better than no exercise!) and make some time to be quiet. Read, meditate, pray. Even if it is only for 10 minutes. It’s really important!

 

Extra murals:


Take it slow! Don’t do too much, too quickly! Find ‘the one’ by trying different things and then focusing all your energy on it. Also, start with a cheap to free extra mural, and later move on to the more expensive stuff. Take clothing, gear, kits and petrol into account when doing your sums. If you need to save up and only start Term 3, do that. Use your kids’ extra murals to make new friends and socialize! (Or use it to catch up on work stuff so you can chill with the kids once you get home). Extra murals should be fun. They should not add even more stress to your already-crowded life.

 
Last tip- don’t live through your kids… Please don’t force your nerdy kid to play rugby because YOU always dreamed of making the 1st team. Allow them to choose things the like, and love them regardless. Try and view things from your child’s point of view. Believe me, it’s quite refreshing!

 

 

How are you keeping your eyes on the important stuff? Are you slowing down a bit or still racing ahead? Are you taking care of yourself and refreshing your soul on a regular basis? How? Let me know in the comments section below!

 

How to keep your expectations realistic…

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As humans, we tend to be overly optimistic. We have a marvellous idea, immediately start imagining all the epic ways it can go right, jump in with both feet, and BAM!- failure… Well, that’s how it normally goes with me! 😉

Thing is, looking back on most of my failures, I’m thankful. Very, very thankful. For all the lessons I’ve learned, the perseverance I’ve gained and the fact that I now know what NOT to do.

 
The most important lesson I’ve learned, by far, is this: be REALISTIC.

 
Be optimistic. Cautiously optimistic. Dream big! Impress yourself! Prepare for the best that could happen. But also prepare for the worst…

 
I’m not being a doom prophet! Pinky swear! I’m seriously one of the most optimistic people I know! But thanks to my amazingly logical husband, I’ve learned to assess situations from a more left-brain perspective.

 
Okay, let me explain.

 
Creative thought (which I’m pretty awesome at!) is a right-brain activity. That’s the artsy-fartsy side of your brain that likes music, dancing, art and impulsive actions…

 
When you want to BE creative, you need to temporarily ‘shut off’ the logical part of your brain- the left side. Doing this takes practice. You know when you start drawing, and you go into a trance-like state and ‘wake up’ a few hours later wondering where the time went? Yeah, THAT is what you want! Sort of. To do this, try some connecting words exercise. For example: dog- cat- mouse- cheese- yellow- sun- beach- waves- wet- ice cream- chocolate- Valentine’s Day. See where this leads you. Fill up a page. Seriously, DON’T sensor what you’re writing, even if it IS gibberish. Just let it flow!

 
The, after you’ve gotten it all out of your system, sit down and logically analyse it. Look critically at your ideas. Make comparisons, lists, do research.

 
Do this with all things: Use your right brain to dream, and your left, afterwards, to analyse. Plan for the best that can happen, but also prepare for the worst.

 
Academically:


When it comes to your kids’ schooling, you obviously want the best. You want for them to be top performers. Get the best grades, get into the choir and make 1st team rugby.

 

Thing is, you need to be realistic. Johnny might not make the rugby team at all. He might be a tennis guy. Or he might be into gymnastics… Let go of your expectations, and see where the wind blows. Your kids might also not perform academically as expected, especially if they’re just starting school, have moved schools recently or are just in a weird stage of their lives. Give them space, lots of love and chalk Term 1 up as a trial run. Treat them, and yourself, with grace. After Term 1, re-evaluate. What worked? What didn’t? How will you go forward from here?

 
Behaviour:


Kids can be funny things… You expect them to thrive, flourish, and be happy and smiling all the time. You know? Like they were last year? Well, surprise! Kids have a tendency to change. Suddenly and without much warning… Your sweet-faced child can turn into a moody tween in the blink of an eye. Your adorable cherub of a toddler into a little tornado that relishes saying ‘no’, ‘mine’ and ‘I don’t want to’ on a loop.

 

Try not let it get you down (I know, it’s easier said than done!), and roll with your new normal. Your kids are still the same inside, albeit covered in mucky attitude.

People, like situations, change. And we can still choose to see the good. Embrace this new chapter for your kids like you do with the new year- full of hope and optimism. This too shall pass, and then you’ll wish to have these precious moments back. Embrace and enjoy every single moment you get to spend with the kiddos…

 
Resolutions:


Oh, this is our favourite thing to be unrealistic about! We have such grand plan! ‘I’m going to get fit and lose weight and start exercising and drink more water and learn French and start knitting and launch that business I’ve dreamt of for years!’ And then you forget to exercise for a week, and just give up… Here we need to really be realistic (see the New Year’s Resolution blog post!).

 
Make reachable goals in the first place! What is reasonable? Starting to exercise, at home, by walking for 10 minutes every second day. That’s do-able. Setting a goal of losing 2kg during January. Starting to work on a business plan, a new business name and some market research is a step in the direction of your dream business! Start with small steps. They soon add up and become tangible! Great things happen when you do small things consistently.

 
Keep a record of your progress. Your hopes and dreams. Your challenges. Look back on it a year from now, and you will see how far you’ve come!

 


What realistic expectations have you set for the year ahead? Which amazing things are you going to do? How are you going to break them into smaller, more attainable, steps? Let me know in the comments!

How to cope with “Back to School” Madness

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School is starting soon, which means that the chilled holiday vibes you have gotten so used to will come to an abrupt end! Cue missing shoes, mouldy bread being re-discovered in backpacks, the mad rush to the shops to stock up on last-minute school supplies and the general madness that comes with a new term. Think home-schooling is different? Not so much! You still need to buy supplies, stock up on stuff to feed the hungry little wolves and get back into a routine.

How on earth will you deal with it?
Oh, don’t worry!

There’s a three-part formula for success that I like to use:
1. Be prepared.
2. Remember to rest.
3. Remember to have fun!

Sounds simple? That’s because it is! Thing is, simple things are easy to do. But they’re also easy NOT to do. Let that sink in for a moment…

Be prepared.

Do what you can the evening before school. Pack the lunches, lay out the clothes – civvies or uniform (because nobody gets much done on a pyjama day. It’s a mind-set thing!), put the school bags by the door and make sure you know where the brushes and hair ties are (or is it only mine that always goes missing?).

 
Have a healthy breakfast ready to go (overnight oats, muesli, yoghurt, a shake, smoothie or even provitas are sure-fire winners). Even traditional cooked porridge or something like eggs and toast are quick to whip up! Put everything out, and make a mental note of what you’ll feed the kiddos.

 
Also put the vitamins and water bottles ready to grab after brekkies.

 
Stock up on lunch supplies like crackers, biltong, cheese, bread and healthy spreads. Popcorn is also a big lunchbox winner! Try and feed the kiddos as little artificial stuff as possible! Kids high on sugar and empty calories (not to even mention colorants, flavourings, preservatives and other nasties) really struggle to focus on schoolwork. Feed them low-GI goodies instead. You’ll see the difference when report card time comes around!

 
Make lists and notes (I LOVE my bullet journal, but if you’re a little more ‘techy’, Evernote should work like a charm!)

 
Minimize social responsibilities for the first month or two (or at least until you’re back in the swing of things). Now is not the time to book camping trips and organize family reunions. Do what is necessary and learn how to say ‘no’ (graciously) to the rest. You don’t NEED to attend 5 birthday parties on the first weekend after school starts. It really IS okay to say no. The parents will understand!

Remember to rest.

Look after yourself- body, mind and spirit. ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is a cliché’, but that’s because it’s true! You can only be the best parent, and your kids can only be their best selves, when you’re all running on proper fuel.

 
That means lots of water, good food, high quality vitamins (Pop me a message if you want to know what I use) and proper rest. Go to bed early, and if possible, take naps! Exercise, do yoga, meditate. Go for nature walks. Feed your soul.

Most importantly- limit screen time! White light (like tablets, phones and computer light) right before bed has been shown to reduce your chances of a good night’s rest. I know that latest season of Suits is tempting, but opt for a cup of Rooibos, a good book and an early night instead 😉

 
For a lot of parents, January means back to work. Even when you’re back at work, remember to take short breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your limbs. A good way to also feed your soul at work is by listening to inspirational podcasts or music while you work. Also try and keep a houseplant on your desk. A splash of green really does wonders for the soul!

 
You are important. Look after yourself!

Have fun!

It’s super easy to get overwhelmed this time of year. Routines have changed, your kids are driving you nuts, post-Christmas money stress is possibly setting in.

 
It is a time of change.

 
But change can be good! This is a new year, a new season, a new beginning! Get excited! The kiddos are exploring and feeling excited (well, it could be all the holiday sugar kicking in, but what the heck!).

 
Now is a good time to dip your toes into the pool of extra mural activities. Cautiously, though. Try them one at a time! Don’t sign poor Suzie up for tennis, gymnastics, cricket and swimming all in one go. Have the kiddos pick ONE activity and try it out. You can always re-evaluate and pick a new one later on in the year.

 
Now is also a perfect time to get social! If your kids go to a school, make an effort to meet and connect with the other parents. If you home-school, join a social club or co-op (if there isn’t one in your area, start one!)

 
Going on outings is also a wonderful way to stay connected as a family. Go on nature walks, or if you feel like braving the mall, go ice-skating with the kids! They’ll see you as the coolest parent EVER (for a few days at least 😉 ) and you’ll get some much needed down-time!

 

 

 

In the end, you KNOW this time of year is going to be crazy. As the saying goes- ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’! Embrace the craziness! Enjoy every minute of this new, exciting season!

 

What are your pro tips for surviving January? Which systems/routines work like a charm for you? Share them with me in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

New Year’s Resolutions- How to actually stick to them!

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It’s a new year! Woohoo! Time for change. New beginnings. New goals and aspirations. And those dreaded words- New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone always makes them, and almost no-one follows through for the whole year. There is something like a curse attached to the idea of a New Year’s Resolution… Lots of promises get made. People make grand plans. And then the failures start. And snowball.

I make them too. But in a very loose sense.

There’s a trick to actually following through on your resolutions. And it so logical, we sometimes overlook it. The key is to be realistic.

Jip. No grand plans here. Only simple guidelines. Things that are easy to implement, yet challenge me. Each small step is a victory. It’s a journey. It’s a long, winding road, filled with adventure. And your New Year’s Resolutions can be the first step!

Here is what I’m doing this year: I’m breaking my resolutions up into 3 categories. Body, mind and spirit.

So, here they are:

Body:

To start doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
How: Because my schedule is flexible, I need a flexible training program. To do this, I’ll discuss a class-to-class fee structure with coach, so I can join and pay for each class as it fits into my schedule. My daughter is currently training with THE best coach out there (Shaun Harris from Martial Way Fighting Systems, based in Centurion), and I would like to do the same. Jiu-Jitsu is not only a great workout, but also excellent for self-defence (very needed with our South African crime rates)

To tone my whole body, build muscle and definition.
How: By varying my workouts. By doing something every day, even when I really don’t feel like it (even if it is only yoga). I need to keep up the daily habit of exercise, no matter where I am and what I’m doing. I’m currently doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), weights, yoga, Capoeira (very basic, but planning on improving!) and a little bit of walking/running. I want to commit to doing more cardio and strength training in 2018.

To become healthier.
How: By being consistent with taking my supplements, saying no to junk and by planning my meals. My biggest issue is eating junk food when I’m too tired to cook, or when I’m out and about and junk is the easiest thing to get a hold of. I also get munchies at night. I need to also work on drinking more water. This I’ll do by always carrying a 1 litre water bottle with me, and setting reminders on my phone to nail down the habit of drinking frequently from it during the day. I’ll dedicate January to the forming of these new (old) habits! The key for me is planning. Having ready-to-go crockpot freezer meals, ready-made healthy snacks, pre-prepped breakfast and lunches. I intend on fixing my planning issues by actually being consistent with compiling shopping lists and prep plans. My bullet journal and a timer should help a lot with this! I also plan on joining the Neolife Be Your Best family challenge to keep myself accountable with exercise and my supplements (the best out there!)

 

Mind:

Improve our financial situation.
How: By growing and developing my Cottage School, continuing to pursue my other passions and to invest to start earning more residual income. I plan on also possibly expanding my school more in 2019, so I need to train up loyal and well-prepared staff this year in preparation for that.

Meditating more.

How: I am planning on becoming more intentional with my meditation. I plan on meditating more, at set times, during the morning and before bed. I find it important to clear the noise from my head on a regular basis. For me, meditation doesn’t mean emptying the mind, but rather being mindful and present, and focusing in on the important stuff. It helps to give me perspective on a great multitude of things. I’ll do this by downloading a meditation app, setting an alarm and having something lined up for the kiddos to do during that time. By making it a part of our morning routine.

Learning new things.
How: I plan on actively learning something new. In addition to French (one of our school subjects), I want to also push myself to learning something new every month, be it how to make a new dish, do a course through Open2Study, do a collaboration in a new and exciting field or having a new friend teach me a new skill. I truly do believe that lifelong learning and a legitimate love of learning keep you young at heart!

Putting myself ‘out there’ more.
How: By really focusing on personal development. I want to start organizing annual events for the homeschooling community (like retreats, camps and team-building events), by doing public speaking events and workshops, by saying ‘yes’ to things that scare me but that I know will challenge me to grow!

Spirit:

Reaching out more and giving back to the community.

How: As part of our school year, we plan on taking on at least one outreach project per year. After seeing the wonders it did for the homeschool group last year, and the kiddos’ mindsets, I’m determined to turn this into a social responsibility we can invest lots of love into. I also plan on helping a few others birth their dream projects throughout the year (watch my Facebook page for details!)

Re-connect with God.

How: By making time for Bible study. By meditating on the word and by becoming more involved with a local Bible study group to help keep me accountable. During 2017 my walk of faith took quite a few detours that have brought me closer to God than ever before. I want to spend 2018 strengthening that bond even more, making Him the centre of everything I do. Also plan on laying more things at His feet instead of taking them on myself, resting in His perfect plan.

Spend more time on my art.

How: I plan on being more intentional with my art, carving out time to create (without the kids around!) and learning new skills like watercolour and sculpture. I’d also like to host an installation or performance art piece during 2018.

 

So, there you go! Quite a mouthful!

What are your grand intentions for the New Year? How do you plan on making your dreams a reality? Come on, share them! You can do absolutely amazing things when you put your mind to it!

 

Through a toddler’s eyes (a poem)

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Take a moment, Mommy

Take my hand and be still…

Stoop down to my level-

Take a breath, and fill

Your mind with awe and wonder.

 

Look at heaven, reflected

In a dragonfly’s wing.

Listen to the rustle

Of an ancient oak’s breath,

And the friendly birds

As they joyfully sing.

 

Come on, Mommy, it’s okay,

The work can wait-

My little heart can’t.

Right now I need a mate

To sit down quietly with me,

To drink in creation…

 

Sometimes all of this

Gets a little too much…

Then I might shout,

Kick things and make a fuss.

Then, please, just hold me,

And help me quiet the internal ruckus.

 

Then, up, Mommy! Did you see the ladybird?! There!

Let’s follow it! Quickly, before it’s gone!

Let’s listen to the birdsong,

before it, too, is gone.

For I am only little for a little while,

So while you still are able, sit down and smile!

 

 

Homeschooling Toddlers- Curriculum (Part 2)

why we choose to use (2)

In my previous post I might’ve come across as a ‘do-gooder’ and perfect mom, always just giving the toddler wholesome, educational goodies to keep her busy while sitting right by her to give her all the attention her blessed little heart deserves. Truth is, that very rarely happens. This is real life, y’all. Like really, who has time to be perfect?

 
So, when I’m not feeding her nutritious brain-fodder, I allow twaddle. Yep, I said it. I confessed. I do…

 
A few of the non-CMy things I include in the toddler ‘curriculum’ (normally coz I’m busy with the tween or just really neeeeeeed a mommy time-out, are:

 
*Educational Apps on the tablet (French, shapes, colours, and yes, some mindless twaddle for good measure)
*I love taking her to the library, even if it is just for her to ‘read’ while I page through a magazine I would never spend my own money on, but that has pretty pictures of houses and crafts and stuff…
*I let her watch her shows. Winnie the Pooh and Jake and the Neverland Pirates are big hits. Oh, and Tinkerbell.
*I let her play outside: on the Jungle Gym, climbing trees, riding her bike, playing with the ball, playing hide-and-seek with her sister and swimming under supervision. She also loves gardening (read: digging up my wilted gardening-attempts.) I’ve given the kiddies their own part of the garden to dig around in. This eventually turned into a natural sandpit. They love it!
*Playdough. Hours of fun! You can find the recipe on the blog. (You’re welcome 😉 )
Looking after the animals. The toddler loves making animal houses with the tween, painting them (houses, not the pets 😉 ), giving them (the pets) treats and petting them. Takes a lot of work off my hands too! Yay for child labour! (Jokes, people. I love my kids to bits…)

 

So, how do you keep your little ones busy when you need a time-out?

Non-toxic Playdough- The Recipe

why we choose to use (3)

I’ve been making this lovely recipe for my kiddos for many years, and it’s pretty much fool-proof! Once you get a ‘feel’ for the dough, and you add in just enough water, you’re set! It’s a great help for kinaesthetic learners (like myself and the tween!) and keeps little minds alert and hands busy. It’s also great for toddlers. We even use it to do math!

This is the basic recipe. You can add textural elements in, sea shells, or natural food colour (I like turmeric, beetroot, coffee and cacao!)

{This also makes a great gift!}

 

Non-Toxic Playdough Recipe

2.5 Cups Flour
½ Cup Salt
3 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
1 – 1 ½ Cups Boiling Water

 

Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon till it comes together. Let it cool for a minute or two, then use your hands to knead the playdough until the consistency is right.
Keeps well at room temperature in an airtight container.