For the Love of Noodles

My son loves noodles. Just plain spaghetti noodles with a little butter or olive oil. He doesn’t like to spoil it with any sauce. I keep trying to encourage him to try them differently- marinara, cream sauce, maybe some meatballs, but no. Just noodles. It makes me think of a photo of me as a little girl, where I’m eating spaghetti and it’s smeared everywhere. I expected this to be some sort of normal baby ritual- the spaghetti mess. But when my kid is done he just looks like he’s oiled up and ready to wrestle.

for the love of noodles
Pure Joy & Noodles

He loves them so much that when we went on a two week cruise where he could order absolutely anything he wanted for dinner, every single night he ordered plain noodles. One night he tried nuggets and sent them back in exchange for noodles.

So I’ve embraced this and now make a big batch of noodles all at once, put them in a gallon freezer bag and keep them in the fridge, ready to heat on-demand. That way, I can make noodles in 15 seconds instead of cooking them from scratch every time. I’ve also started getting those “Hidden Veggie” noodles and other healthier varieties rather than regular old pasta. So far, he likes them all the same.

To be honest, I’m just happy anytime he shows excitement about eating something besides chocolate and gummy bears. We have a lot of arguments over what consists of “real food” and why he needs to eat it. So if he loves noodles, I’ll make noodles!

He also went through a serious Puffs phase and a hot dog phase. As a first-time mom, I’m guessing this food fixation is a universal toddler (and child) trait. So what food is your kid obsessed with right now?

Spread a Little Happiness with Kindness Rocks

When we first moved to our new neighborhood at the beach, I kept running across these pretty painted rocks stuck in random places. At first I was afraid to take them. I’d pick it up and admire it and then put it back, afraid maybe it was meant for someone else. I eventually realized it was meant for me to take it! It was left there for anyone who is lucky enough to find it. If you’ve stumbled across these little painted rocks, than know they are meant to be taken and hopefully bring a little happiness to your day.

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We found a rock!

They are often called “kindness rocks” and are painted with whatever people want to put on them. Some just have nice messages on them like “smile” or “be kind,” and others may just be swirls of color. We’ve found some that look like intricate art pieces! Sometimes people use different materials like shells or rocks that appear to be shaped like something already, but the most popular rocks are medium size with a good smooth surface for painting.

Once we started collecting painted rocks, we also got into painting new ones to hide. You can use lighter colored rocks and paint or draw right on them, or paint darker ones white first. I’ve also seen light ones painted black. Acrylic paint, paint markers and Sharpies are great for doodling on rocks. You can also spray them when done with a coat of clear paint sealer.

Dark river rock painted white and ready to be transformed in a Kindness Rock

When you find a rock, be sure to look on the back for a hashtag or instructions on sharing. Most will tell you where to post on Facebook and a hashtag to include so the person who hid it can see it was found. Most people re-hide the rocks they find so they travel around. It’s OK to keep them too! We save our favorites for our garden. But if you are keeping them, make sure you are making new ones to put out so other people can enjoy them too.

If you are interested in getting started painting and hiding rocks, just search your area and add “rocks” on facebook. For example – I live in Atlantic Beach so our rock group is called Atlantic Beach Rocks and the hashtag is #rockinthebeaches. And if you don’t have any rocks handy, you can order buckets of rocks for around $20 on Amazon or even get an entire kit with ready-to-paint rocks:

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*Post contains Amazon affiliate links*

So have you found any rocks in your area or gotten into rock painting? If not, you can always start something in your area! Also, a funny thing happens once you start looking for the rocks- you’ll start seeing them a lot more. You get a little more conscious of your surroundings and notice little spots that look like a rock might be stuck there. And sometimes you’ll find spots that becomes “regulars” and you can usually find a rock there, or leave one there yourself. Rock painting, finding and hiding is a great creative activity for kids and adults and a nice way to brighten someone’s day when they run across a surprise hidden gem.

My Momologue

Mom Life gets a Momologue
Mom Life gets a Momologue

That’s right Google, this is not a typo. I meant to put in “Momologue” even though it keeps insisting on trying to sway me into searching “monologue.”

It was one of those things where you wake up early and lie there in bed thinking about what you have to do and then come up with some idea that you have to write down before you forget it.

The idea this morning was my “Momologue.”

So that’s my new category for basically just talking about mom stuff. Not pushing a product or advice…just momologueing. Just talking it all out without worrying about links, SEO, keywords or whatever.

I actually think it would make a great blog name, but I already bought the domain name here and run GeekMamas so it’s going to stay as a category for now, lol.

 

 

5 Tips To Make Your Child’s Bedtime Easier

Today’s post is from Mary Held, mom and maker of custom pillowcases! She shares her tips on getting kids to bed a little easier:

As a mom of 3, I know the ‘throes’ of bedtime. Whether it’s a complete meltdown because “it’s bedtime” or twenty reasons to do “one more thing” trust me, I understand. Sleep is important for both mamas and kids

Let’s face it: being a parent can be hard. By the end of the night, sometimes, we’re exhausted. And kids sometimes  want to “stay up later”. This is just a kid thing. I did it when I was a kid. Some nights are easy nights, when kids just fall asleep from playing hard that day, but there are many nights of arguing back, asking to stay up later, or excuses and rebuttals on all the reasons why they need to go “do one more thing.”

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So here are some things I found make it just a little easier for kids to go to bed:

1) Security. We’re going for peaceful, relaxing mood meets happy. How you and your kids feel when you go to bed is usually the same feeling you have when you wake up in the morning. Bedtime is a time of relaxing, chilling out, and feeling good. The challenge is to help your kid WANT to go to bed. Does your child have a personalized pillow, favorite stuffed animal, favorite story, favorite bedtime song or cd they listen to? Whatever brings your child comfort, and helps them to feel happy, safe and peaceful is incredibly valuable at  bedtime. You can find personalized pillow cases at www.marymonica.com,  enter code: MOM at checkout for 10% off. 🙂

2) Repetition. Whatever is the bedtime routine, is the same routine every night. Kids need structure. If a child listens to the same bedtime cd every night, they will naturally relax when that song plays. Their biological responses match the overall feeling they usually feel when that song plays, or when that story is read, or when they get to hold their favorite teddy bear. My kids take a warm bath after dinner every night, then we do a “family movie” then they brush their teeth and go to bed with their night light and stuffed animals. If I try to switch this routine for any reason, it’s “but what about family movie!?” So the kids need that routine and repetition. It helps them feel secure, and relax.

3) Temperature. Whatever your child does with their blankets when they sleep, that is how you determine the temperature of the house. For me, sleep is a big priority. One of my children will not sleep with a blanket. For that reason, the house stays at a temperature that is not too cold for her, but also not too warm for my other two kids (and myself) who all use blankets. (I choose 75-76 degrees, which works for my family, and we are Floridians, if I was a northerner, I might choose 72-73, or whatever feels comfortable and not too cold/too hot.)

4) Pajamas and Sheets. As common sense as it sounds, it’s important for kids to wear something loose and comfortable for bed that doesn’t let them get too cold if they kick blankets off, or too hot with the blankets. Certain outfits/nightgowns and flat sheets can all get bunched up and make things uncomfortable in sleep. I personally do not use a flat sheet anymore with my kids or myself. We all use blankets. The sheets get wrapped and bunched up or kicked to the bottom, never to be used, so now I save 30 minutes per week by not dealing with washing, folding, and/or using flat sheets. So you’re welcome for that extra time saving tip on saying adios to flat sheets. Lol. No offense, flat sheets. 🙂

5) Interest Questions. When I am putting my kids to bed, sometimes I will go through a range of questions about their interests. What’s your favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite animal? Favorite place? Favorite dessert? Who is your best friend at school? Who is your favorite teacher and why? All of these questions help your child to feel special and helps you to get to know your child and their ever changing interests. When my kids are feeling important and answering questions about their interests, I’m not only building their self-esteem, and bonding with them, but I’m also causing a positive mental distraction from the idea of a monster under their bed, a toy they need to get, one last thing they need to get/do, some shadow on the wall that looks scary, and all the other fears or distractions kids use to extend bedtime. I give my children things to think about instead of letting their minds wander. Letting minds wander is a positive and healthy thing to do (usually in the right time, like daytime when they’re free to play, etc.), but at bedtime, if there are issues of being scared of the dark, etc. I come up with a steady stream of questions to keep them mentally occupied with something positive that will actually help the relaxation process. What do you want for your birthday this year (even if it’s 6 months out). This also helps to mentally train them to think forward, which is sometimes necessary in life. Any questions that will help them be distracted in a good way, from fear or other negative feelings at bedtime, will work.

When kids don’t get enough sleep,  it affects their ability to control emotions, concentrate, and make good decisions, among other things. A kid is just learning about the world, their emotions, and social interactions. Making sleep a priority is important. Sticking to a routine, using security items (favorite stuffed animal, personalized pillow, same bedtime stories/songs, dim night light) can help create the positive and relaxing feelings for kids at bedtime. Know that if your children test you to get up “one more time” you are not alone! Stay calm and remind them it’s bedtime, everything else can wait until tomorrow. Think happy thoughts. Sweet dreams to you and yours!

~Mary Held

www.marymonica.com

Coupon code for 10% off personalized pillow cases: MOM

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3 Reasons This Mom Loves to Listen to Heavy Metal with Her Baby

I’m happy to welcome Momtastic guest poster Allie Diltz, who blogs at Hey Mom, Now What?, with an interesting perspective about babies and music choices:

blue-jeans-boy-child-164835It seems like so long ago now that I was pregnant with my first baby. I was 23 years old, fresh out of college, and had my first real job working in the Pathology Department at a large medical center about an hour away from my house. I had this long morning commute down I-89 in Vermont, all interstate driving, newly pregnant and exhausted. This was back in 2001, pre-children, when I had extra money for things like a real kick-ass stereo system in my car. I would leave my house at the crack of dawn to be at work over an hour away, and I relied heavily on loud music to keep me awake. My favorite CD (remember those?) to listen to at the time: Machine by Static-X.

 Fast-forward eight months or so later, I had a new baby girl, all dimples and brown eyes, and she LOVED to listen to Static-X. My own mother would be astonished because there would be times that baby girl would only calm down and sleep when I put Static-X on for her to listen to. Seems a bit ridiculous, right? I’m sure that many of you are thinking two things: What the Hell was I thinking? and Why did that particular music calm her down? Well, she heard it so much in the womb while I was driving back and forth to work that she remembered it, and it was soothing to her.

Before you all decide that I must be absolutely crazy, let me explain why this makes sense to me and worked for all five of my babies.

Reason 1: Baby Mozart Was A Popular Fad, But Proven To Be A Myth

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of marketing to parents about the positive effects of classical music, specifically Mozart, on the brains of infants. The hypothesis was that when babies listened to mathematically complicated music, there was an immediate identifiable effect on their ability to identify shapes and colors. There was also some “evidence” that babies who listened to classical music were happier, calmer and overall more intelligent than non-exposed infants. And BOOM, the major industry marketing classical music in all forms to parents was born.

I bought into this myself, literally. I filled my baby shower registry with Baby Mozart, Baby Einstein and other related trendy products. I was absolutely sure that I would be able to use classical music as a platform on which to build my baby girl’s IQ and ensure that she would be a happy, well-adjusted child. I spent a lot of money on products that were being marketed towards new parents who were determined to produce the best baby that they could.

 Well, guess what? The so-called Mozart Effect stemmed from a study that was done in 1993 where the researchers were investigating the effect of music increasing IQ on college students, not infants. They were trying to determine if there was any correlation between test scores and listening to classical music while studying. They did find a positive correlation, but it typically only lasted for 15 minutes following being exposed classical music, and showed a modest increase of about 8-9 IQ points. In 1996, a meta-analysis of 16 different studies on the effects of classical music to the brain was done at Harvard University. This study determined that there was a very brief and modest effect to the brain by ALL forms of music. Another study that did use children as subjects again showed a very small positive correlation between Mozart and children being able to name shapes. This same study, however, also demonstrated that other forms of music, including the band Blur which was popular at the time, had a stronger positive correlation than classical music.

I’m sure you’re asking how Heavy Metal fits in to this discussion (I am using this term loosely to cover a wide range of metal genres). Mozart, and classical music as a whole, is renowned for the complicated mathematics behind the music. Regarding this, there is research evidence that supports the stimulating effect of mathematically complicated music to the brain. However, classical music is not the sole providing genre of mathematically complicated music.

Fun Fact: I was a classically trained Percussionist when I was younger. All through high school, I was part of Youth Orchestras, nationwide music festivals, and was even accepted to perform with the United States Youth Ensemble. I was pretty good, and preparing for college auditions in my senior year when an injury to my arms put an end to my music career. Having been a percussionist, I spent hours upon hours studying tempo, time signature and rhythm. As a Metal lover, I can attest that there are some bands that produce uncommonly mathematically complicated music. Have you ever really tried to figure out the fluctuating time signatures to Schism by Tool? Have you listened to the overlapping layers of syncopation in Do Not Look Down by Meshuggah? It makes my brain hurt trying to map it out! But I love it. It stimulates my brain, makes me really pay attention and draws me in.

Your take away from these findings: All forms of music have been shown to have positive, albeit brief, effects on cognitive functioning.

Reason 2: Lullabies Are Soothing For A Reason- Tempo and Time Signature

Why are lullabies soothing to infants? Well, think about this. Hum “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Ring Around the Rosy” to yourself… feel the similarities? Lullabies have a slow, rocking rhythm that makes you want to sway back and forth. Moms, you know what I am talking about. You’re holding your baby while standing, and you unconsciously begin to rock side to side on your feet, slightly twisting at the hips.. You’re thinking about how it feels right now, aren’t you? This motion is what I fondly call “The Mom Sway” and it’s the repetitive motion that is ubiquitous among mothers all over the globe. Why do we do it? It soothes our babies. Why is it soothing? Because it mimics the motions and sensations of being in our wombs. It’s comforting, warm, and safe. Heck, I even like it as an adult when my husband holds me and sways like that!

Lullabies are not the only kinds of music that can make us sway and rock in this manner. There are softer forms of Heavy Metal that have tempos and time signatures very similar to lullabies and that inspire that slow rocking motion. One of my particular favorites when I think of these songs is Empress Rising by Monolord. Another that may be more recognizable to you is When The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin.

Go ahead, take a listen to those songs and get your Mom Sway on…

Reason 3: What Makes Mommy Happy Makes Baby Happy

Is there anything that your baby loves more than to see you feel joy? What better medicine is there for any child than to share something that their parent loves? My two youngest baby girls in particular are the biggest Metal lovers out of all my five children. The reason for this is that they have spent hours listening to all genres of Metal with both myself and my husband Steve. Music is a huge component in our home; there is always something playing. And nothing makes those little girls happier than to sit with Mommy or Daddy and listen to music that makes us smile and slowly bob our heads.adult-baby-boy-755049

 Babies take their cues from their parents. If they see Mom smiling and enjoying some music, they will build a positive association between happiness and that particular music. Kind of like when you do a repetitive motion and build muscle memory. Remember those studies that I referenced earlier? There was a factor that was identified in all the studies, but could not be really explained, so it wasn’t shared in the results. This was referred to as “enjoyment arousal effect.” Because it couldn’t be quantified and measured in an empirical manner, it was ruled out as a factor of why music had this effect on people. Basically, this positive arousal effect shows us that when we are feeling joy or pleasure, we function at out best overall, even if only temporarily. There can be conclusions drawn that the so-called Mozart effect was not because the music made the subjects smarter, it was because the music made them feel good. People perform better when they feel good. Maybe this is something that can’t be measured, but it can’t be denied either.

So there you go, Mama. Whatever your musical preference, share it with your children. Hold your babies and move those hips. Dance with your daughters and sway with your sons. Your babies will love you for it.

 Let me know what you think in the comments below! I would love to hear what kinds of music you listen to with your babies!

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About Allie, from Hey Mom, Now What?

ADiltzprofilepicI am a mother of five children, ages 2 to 16. I work full-time as an Emergency Mental Health Screener, but with my work schedule I am able to be both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. Through my work with families in crisis, I have a unique perspective on the challenges and problems that modern parents face. My goal is to provide parents with interesting, informative and honest content that is geared towards kids and mental health issues. 

Trying Out ABC Mouse Early Learning Academy

I’ve been seeing the ABC Mouse ads on TV since Keelan was born and the Disney channel became a constant companion. So when they recently contacted me about becoming an affiliate and giving them a try, I was excited to sign up. They are having a sale right now for 60% off the whole year, but you can also just sign up and try it out for a month for free so there’s nothing to lose!

untitledSo far Keelan is really enjoying the program. He’s a fan of Reading Eggs, but he’s gone through most of the games on there and is always asking to play on “mommy’s computer.” ABC Mouse starts out with as assessment test, but we only got through one section before he was losing interest so I quickly jumped to the games section and was happy to see there are LOTS of games!

He also liked earning the tickets, which he used to buy himself a pet bunny. I’m not sure what else you can use the tickets for yet, but he really liked feeding and bathing his new virtual pet. He also enjoyed playing a game where you feed a dinosaur and one where you count eggs. Each activity ends with earning a certain amount of tickets.

While I’ve been having trouble getting him to enjoy actual books, he’s always happy to play on the computer. I guess it’s just the new digital generation! I’m just glad to have found some sort of educational activity he enjoys.

I’m looking forward to exploring more of the ABC Mouse program! If you’d like to check them out (and try it for FREE!) just head to www.ABCmouse.com

 

 

Did You Go to Your High School Reunion?

I recently skipped out on my high school reunion. It was the 25th year, and I went to the 10 and the 20, so this wasn’t really a big one. I figured I’d wait until the 30 year reunion when everyone has REALLY changed!

Candy Keane Sew Geek Mama High School
Me in 11th grade

It’s pretty funny how at the 10 year reunion everyone is still so young, but we have no idea we are. Most people still look similar. A lot of guys still have their hair. Many people have gotten married and started families. We are all still finding our way in life, even though we feel all grown up.

Flash forward to your 20 year reunion and that’s when people are really interesting! The kids are bigger, there’s been marriages and divorces, job changes and of course, more hair loss. I think I enjoyed my 20 year reunion the most because I talked to more people that year.

So who was I in high school? A quiet nerd. I had a lot of fun not being shy and quiet for once thanks to a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio and thought it was sweet that everyone I talked to had something nice to say about shy, quiet high school me. And so who was I at my high school reunion? I guess if I had to pick something off the poster, it would be “Ugly Duckling” although I didn’t consider myself ugly. It was more of just getting over my shyness, and coming out of my shell, which is something I still work on to this day.

So did you go to your reunion? Which type of person were you?

classmates-you-will-see

https://www.classfinders.com/10-types-of-classmates-you-will-see-at-your-next-class-reunion/