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Just One of Those Days

Thursday was one of those days!  Do you know the kind?  One of those days that a big bowl of ice cream or a couple glasses of wine might fix – depending on your choice of self-medication. 

It was one of those days where this Zen Mama Wannabe felt like I let everyone down: my husband for not getting more done around the house, my daughter for not playing and entertaining her on a non-preschool day, my mom for not getting over to visit with her, my dog for not taking her out on a walk (which is sadly not a regular occurrence anyway) and myself for not getting the things I wanted to get done either.  What happened?  Oh I guess you could just say it was just one of those days. 

Tomorrow will be different, I tell myself.  Tomorrow my daughter goes to preschool and I might have a moment to hear myself think. Maybe my sweet, non-demanding …

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Too Much Yakking at Your House??

Do your kids keep the noise level in your house on LOUD most of the time?  Do the basic cues like, “Inside voice please” or “Lower your volume”, or even a loud “SHHH-H-H-H!” just seem not to work?  Do you ever find family members RAISING their voices to be heard over the other ones – and nobody seems aware at how LOUD their volume really is?  Welcome to my world – and if my world sounds at all like YOUR world, you may like to hear that I have a solution for you…meet the Yacker Tracker.

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The Yacker Tracker is an adjustable, sound-activated noise monitor.  We have ours prominently displayed on the counter nearest the kitchen table.  It is quite the topic of conversation when friends come over.  But I must say, everyone who has seen ours in action says they need to run out and get one for their family. 

It gets turned …

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6 Food Mistakes Parents Make

Two weeks ago an article on the New York Times website caught my eye, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make” lists common sense food errors parents make when trying to get kids to eat healthy.  Are these really “mistakes” we make with our kids?  Are you guilty of any (or most – like me)?  With a laissez-faire attitude, do kids eventually branch out and become less fussy?  Or, do healthy habits need to be diligently developed?

It is not just Ms. Parker-Pope’s article that talks about involving kids in the actual cooking process.  Experts agree that children who participate in the preparing of the meals are for the most part more interested in eating those meals.  Keeping kids out of the kitchen is not something I try to arrange.  Yet most nights I find myself cooking alone.  Oh, I have helpers when I make homemade pizza (thanks …

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Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

This Zen Mama Wannabe heard some experts talking on the radio this morning about the biggest problem facing high school students these days.  It wasn’t underage drinking or sexual experimentation.  It was (are you ready for this) cheating.  That’s right – rampant cheating going on in public and private high schools across the country.  What was once considered an intelligence issue has now developed into a moral one – and the fall-out of this affects us all.  What can we do to make sure our own kids do not join this rapidly increasing epidemic? 

Studies show that over 90% of high school students say cheating is commonplace.  In fact, there is a popular YouTube video called “How to Cheat on Any Test” where you are shown how to take the label off a Coke bottle and replace it with a new one that has test answers hidden on it.  Text messaging answers to one another is so common …

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When Your Dreams Come True

I always wanted to be a mom.  From the time I was a little girl running around with my baby dolls and stuffed animals all the way through my college years and beyond, motherhood was something I wanted most of all.  No other career seemed as important.  No other mission for my life as meaningful.  Being a mom was the pie in the sky.  But what happens when your dreams come true – and they do not quite match the Leave it To Beaver image you so intently dreamed of for so many years?

I had an entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age. When I was 4 years old, I dreamed of owning an ice cream parlor.  I still remember how vividly I could see it in my mind, down to the color and pattern of the tile floor and the fishbowl of lollipops on the tall soda fountain type counter.  Just as sure as I was of …

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What is Your Vision?

There is a lot of talk about Vision Boards lately.  Ever since they were mentioned on Oprah and in the bestselling book The Secret, more and more people are jumping on the board wagon.  It is actually not a new concept – most of us are familiar with that famous verse from the Bible, “As a Man thinketh in his mind and in his heart so is he!”   Regardless of the origin or who made it popular, vision boards are a powerful technique – for yourself AND your kids.  In fact, there is no doubt for this Zen Mama Wannabe that it could be one of the greatest gifts we share with our children!

Claude Bristol explains it simply in one of my favorite books, published back in 1954, that we don’t actually think in words…we think in pictures.

“…what you picture in your mind, if you picture it clearly and confidently and persistently enough, will

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Limits on Screen Time for Kids

Do your kids have limits on their screen time?  If so, why – and how did those limits come about??

Only the few – perhaps the crazy – would dare to argue that screen time is beneficial to kids.  The whole hand-eye coordination thing doesn’t hold water – because if that is really your concern, get outside with a ball and bat or practice bouncing a balloon in the air, counting how many times you can bop it without it touching the ground.  (The latter is a cheap, easy way to have fun indoors or out, and works for all ages, even the little ones – and yes, it really helps with eye tracking). 

The other possible argument for the whole screen time craze is fitting in with the other kids at school.  If everyone is playing the new Wii Mario Super Sluggers, do you become an outsider if you haven’t and have no idea what everyone is talking about?  …

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First Day Jitters

It is the first day of school today. After a summer that seemed to whiz by, we are back trying to remember the daily school routine we so conveniently forgot over these past few months.  I don’t know about at your house, but here we are dealing with some nervousness, a little excitement at what lies ahead, and more than a few butterflies mixed in there as well.  New people to meet, new schedules to learn…. it is enough to make me more than a little anxious if I let it.  That is right, my son is doing fine with it all – it’s ME riding this emotional rollercoaster – feeling more like a Wannabe than I care to admit. 

What happened to all the hand-holding they did in Kindergarten and even for a bit in 1st grade?  The kids may not need it anymore, but many of us parents still do.  We stood there today as our new teacher …

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When Did it Become All About the Food?

“Max can eat fruit, just no strawberries or purple grapes as they don’t seem to agree with him.  Crackers and gold fish are fine but no popcorn as the kernels stick in his teeth and it becomes a whole thing.  Trust me.  Meat and cheese roll-ups are fine, just no turkey as I think it has too many chemicals for their little bodies.  And no juice please, as we don’t do juice after 2pm.”

I am listening to Max’s mom go on and on, having no clue why she is telling me all this.  Max isn’t moving in, he’s not coming to stay with us for the weekend – and then it dawns on me – she is telling me this for the upcoming playdate we have scheduled this week.  A regular playdate – something that lasts roughly 2 hours, give or take.  Seriously?  Am I going to have to take notes??

When did it become all about the food??  …

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5 Steps to Becoming A+

School is about to start…new books to read, new things to learn….for ME, I mean.  Lately this Zen Mama Wannabe has been feeling like my parenting skills need a overhaul refresher course.  What do I do when I get a bit down about things like this  —  when my character flaws, my permanent wannabe status, leads me to feel so far away from the mom I REALLY want to be?

  1. I beat myself up a bit.  An important step, I think, as long as you don’t wallow in it.  Admit to yourself you are not where you want to be.
  2. Educate yourself.  Before you know which diet to go on, for example,
    you need to research the various ones to find the best match for you.
    So many people eliminate or avoid this step, yet I feel it is a crucial
    one.  How can you devise a plan without all the facts/information?  Go
    to your toolbox and figure out the

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