mindful living, effortless style

Are you guys’ big planters? I have to admit, I never really thought about planting until we moved into our forever home. Now when spring rolls around, I just can’t wait to start adding bold, beautiful colors to the yard via a few artfully designed pots.

In the past my mother-in-law has graciously done my pots for me as an anniversary present to my husband and I. This year, though, my kindergartner’s elementary school was having a massive plant sale so he and I are going to attempt the task together.

I’ll soon be up to my neck in coleus, potato vines, petunias, and snap dragons! Keep an eye on our instagram account for updates and read on for more info. from our contributor Kristin on the method we’re using to ensure big and beautiful plant pots this year!

P.S. Along with getting excited about flowers – I also can’t wait to dig into projects from this book with the kids this summer!

The weather’s getting warm and I’m starting to focus my attention to my yard.  Winter months are great for inside paint jobs and organizing shelves, but spring is a perfect time to spice up the yard!

I used to be a little intimidated by gardening, especially mixing different types of plants AND making them look beautiful.  My thumb tends to be more black than green.

But after looking at this Patio Perk-Ups article on Better Homes and Gardens, I got inspired and turned to the internet and a few friends that love to garden to find out if there was a method to the madness.

A beautiful potted plant looks organic. It looks as though the different types of plants were found like that in nature.

Nevertheless, it turns out that there IS a method!  Seasoned gardeners typically mix three different types of plants together in a pot and the result looks effortless.

Here’s how it works:  You start with a ‘thriller’, add a ‘filler’ and end with a ‘spiller.’  Easy to remember, right?

 

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The Thriller

Thrillers are the divas of the plant world.  They are tall and the types of plants that people are drawn to in the rows at Home Depot.

A thriller might also be structurally impressive or just unique in color.  You’ll know when you see a thriller!  Some examples are Ornamental Grasses, Tall Growing Succulents and Cannas.  Start by planting the Thriller first – typically in the middle of the pot.

The Filler

Fillers tend to be billowy and lighter in texture.  They are there to Read More

We’re back today with Janssen’s follow-up post on what it was really like taking her regular old home and turning it into a “smart home”. Did you see her first post on the topic?

Full disclosure: after reading Janssen’s review, I am more than a little jealous that I gave this post to her instead of keeping the Iris by Lowe’s system for myself. I could really use the ability to turn off my son’s star light with my phone after he falls asleep at night.

And a smart fob I can just put on the kids backpack and always be able to know where they are? Amazing.

Here’s Janssen with all the details…

I’ll admit, I was intimidated by the Iris system.

I mean, could it really be that easy to turn my regular house into a smart house?

You guys, it really was that easy.

I couldn’t believe it. I feel like invariably, with an electronic product or something you install yourself, something ends up not working as you expect it to, or you get half-way through and discover that batteries AREN’T included, and suddenly your hour-long project turns into a never-finished product because it’s so frustrating.

Iris was NOTHING like that.

I opened up the box for the Smart Hub and it says “Download the App” and then “Follow the Setup Instructions,” followed by “You are going to love it.”

077A7289

That pithy and charming introduction immediately put my mind at ease.

I pulled up the Iris App in the App Store, and 90 seconds later it was on my phone and ready to go.

Iris for Lowe's App

I added my info, and then it walked me step-by-step through connecting my Smart Hub. There were photos and it was just as simple as it said (and the backup batteries were in the box too, so I didn’t have to go hunting through my closet to find some).

Five minutes later, I was ready to start adding devices.

We went with a Smart Button for turning off the reading light in my daughter’s room and the Smart Fob, which I love sending with my kids when they leave the house so I know where they are (it’s so easy to just hook on their backpacks).

Smart Button-001

And in Arizona, where the temperature rises and falls dramatically, the Motion Sensor is amazing for saving electricity by only cooling rooms where people are active– how smart is that?

The Keypad means you can issue unique PIN numbers to anyone you want (a family member, a neighbor, or a housekeeper), so they can get into the house and you know if and when they came. Brilliant.

I also am in love with the Smart Plug we put on our family room light. It’s in the far corner of the room, behind the library basket, and it’s invariably the one we forget to turn on so the room looks like a cave once the natural light is gone.

Now I don’t have to think about it, because it’s automatically programmed to come on as the evening approaches, my room looks cozy and welcoming and I don’t have to climb over a basket of books to turn it on and off.

Floor Lamp-001

One thing I especially loved is that you can easily add a piece at a time. Once your smart hub is plugged in, you can add one smart device or twenty, but you don’t feel like you have to commit to picking everything right now, or even if you’ve bought all the pieces you want, you can start using one or two immediately before adding more in.

As a busy mom who has lots of pockets of 5-10 minutes but not many hour-long blocks,  this made my life so easy (although, I’ll admit that it was so fun to add devices, I ended up doing several in a row – it’s just so easy and satisfying!).

Any questions about Iris? I’d love to try to help!

*This post is sponsored by Iris of Lowe’s, all opinions are 100% our own.

 

I think you’re really going to enjoy this installment of our column, Parenting Styles. It resonated so much with me and what I’ve experienced this year with both my 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. I’ve found that it can go both ways as far as unwanted attention and it’s something parents don’t seem to know how to address…

Something happened a few weeks ago, and I’m still mulling it over.

My daughter, a first grader, invited us to her classroom presentation, some goats and trolls thing with cute songs and clapping and, somewhat unrelated but still sweet, every child individually announcing reasons they have to be thankful.

We applauded everyone for the usual lists – “my family,” “my house,” “my teacher,” but then, at the end of one little boy’s turn, we heard, “I’m thankful for my girlfriend!”

Around us, parents laughed and clapped as the first graders breathed a collective “oooooh!!” and turned to look pointedly at our daughter, who stood there grimly, eyebrows raised and mouth pursed.

My husband gave me a look that said, I’m going to kill that kid, just as the mother in front of us turned around to coo, “Oh my goodness, that is the cutest thing!”

I tried to smile.

After school that day, we got the scoop: This little boy had been insisting for weeks that our daughter G was his girlfriend. He chased her at recess to give her hugs that she told us she didn’t want. She said she told him to stop it every time, but he wouldn’t and so she just outran him whenever she could.

While my husband instructed her, in all seriousness, to Thai kick his head the next time he bothered her, I had a flashback to a few weeks prior. We were on the playground after school. I chatted with a few other moms while the kids ran off some energy, and suddenly, G made a beeline to me, screaming, “Mom! Mom!” She collided with me, wrapping her arms around me, just as a little boy came racing up.

“Hug, hug!” he shouted, arms already out wide. G turned her face toward me, squeezing tighter, saying “No!”

I put my hand out and spoke without thinking.

“Hey. When a girl tells you to stop, you stop. Do you understand?” Read More

I told you guys last week about my collaboration with Tom’s of Maine as a member of their Goodness Circle. Today, I wanted to share with you about a special collaboration Tom’s is involved in with one of my favorite places in the world – Target.

Have you heard of their Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target Program?

It’s Target’s mission to build strong partnerships with purpose-driven brands in the wellness space to make natural, organic and sustainable products more accessible.

This year, they’re going even further, inclusion in the Made to Matter 2016 program required each brand to meet one or more of 5 criteria:

  1. Reduced waste and packaging to meet the rising consumer demand for eco-friendly products that limit waste. Right now, 50 percent of U.S. waste is comprised of product packaging.
  2. Closed loop systems that utilizes a production system where the excess of one process or product is used to make another product. U.S. waste has tripled since 1960 and the average U.S. resident produces 1600 pounds of waste but only recycles or composts 35 percent of it.
  3. Clean label products that are made without additives and harsh chemicals.
  4. Dietary and allergen restrictions that accommodate the growing commonality of specialized diets and food allergies. According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
  5. Reduced sugar—plain and simple! In 1822, the average American consumed 45 grams of sugar—the amount found in one of today’s 12-oz. sodas—every five days. Today, the average American consumes that much every seven hours.

“Guests love the Made to Matter collection because it offers them a way to easily discover new products that are better for them, their families and the world around them.”

-Jeff Jones, Target CMO

So once they were hand-picked to participate in the program, what did Tom’s of Main contribute? Read More

Mother’s Day is on May 8th this year.  If you’re like me and don’t have a thing planned, first, no judgement.

We’re all juggling what feels like a million things. Second, we’re here to save the day with some adorable DIYs that your kids can make in just 10 minutes this week.

Maybe your kids will be making them for you or maybe for their grandma or that special ‘grandmotherly’ person in their life.

Either way, the recipient of one of these gifts is going to be awed that someone took the time to make something for them.  Then they’ll think, wow, this is something that I’ll useRead More

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to try a DIY project and I guarantee you’re going to adore this one. I want to make one for every mom I know! Here’s Alli with the details…

I am loving the “make your own mug” trend for two reasons:

1. There’s nothing better than a handmade gift.

2. It’s so amazingly EASY!

I mean, really. The possibilities are endless. I picked up one mug at the dollar store for this project, and I found myself wishing I’d grabbed a dozen.

I decided to go with a line from the Lorde song, “Royals.” You can call me queen bee…

To make, all you need is a mug and a Sharpee (or two). I went with black, and decided to add Read More

Since giving myself the challenge to make our home non-toxic in a year’s time, I’ve been on research overload. Once you really start looking into the myriad of products you and your kids use in daily life, it is shocking.

So much so that I needed a game plan on where to start.

To me, it made sense to start with the products that we come into contact with the most… The bed and bedding we sleep in all night, the lotions and soaps we use directly on our skin, and the toothpaste we use everyday inside our mouths (talk about direct contact).

Around the time I was diving into all of this, I was contacted by the folks at Tom’s of Maine about joining their Goodness Circle– a group of bloggers who are committed to a healthy lifestyle and who love to share their best ideas on the ways we can all take care of our health, community, and our planet.

I knew Tom’s of Maine from when I was a kid. In fact, I think it was probably the only natural product I knew about back then. But looking into the company more deeply, I was so impressed by what I found.

Started in the 1970s, the founders Tom and Kate were thinking about their kids when developing their business:

We want safe products for our kids, and we want to teach them stewardship and conservation. This is exactly how Tom’s began with the same motivation of green parenting.

The company takes pride in their naturally sourced ingredients and they really want you to know about each one of them. So much so that they even go the extra step of putting up a search feature on their website where you can look up each ingredient and see information about it’s purpose as well as it’s source.

Furthermore, Tom’s has a commitment to volunteerism.  5% of employee time is spent volunteering in local communities, and 10% of profits are given to “human and environmental goodness” projects.

After seeing all of this, I was super excited to come on board the #GoodnessCircle! Read More

If you’re new here, or you haven’t heard, my big project lately has been to totally revamp My Newsletter with the goal of making it super, super useful for moms.

My first step in the process is to ask everyone who signs up two questions:

  1. What is your biggest frustration in your average day as a parent?
  2. Where do you go online to learn about this topic?

I’ve received hundreds of replies and it’s astonishing how similar they all sound. Here’s what you guys have been telling me:

Hi Stephanie,

My biggest frustration as a mother is I feel like I never have enough time to get it all done… I never know what’s for dinner and the house is a mess. I feel like I barely spend anytime with my daughter and I feel really bad about it… It’s really frustrating to feel like you’re failing in every area of life. I don’t have any one place I go to learn about this. Would love if you had some answers to help me get it together.

-Krystle

 

Hi Stephanie,
Wow, your email really resonated with me…especially this: “Too often, this leads to your kids’ needs feeling like an interruption.” Sigh…I feel that way too often.

-Christine

 

My biggest frustration as a parent is that I feel like I can’t keep my house the way I want it to be (decorated, clean, etc), be the parent I want to be (attentive, hands on, mindful), and also take care of myself. I feel like I don’t have enough time, enough money, enough hands!

-Jenna

 

Sometimes I feel like asking my kids to leave me alone, and feel terribly guilty for wanting that, but I’m never alone!

-Polly

These emails are piling up each and every day in my inbox and they are killing me guys. Because I hear you!

I completely understand where you’re coming from. (So much so that I’ve felt compelled to try to answer each of you to let you know that you’re not alone… It’s not easy replying to that many emails, though, so if you haven’t heard back from me know that I’m hearing you and I understand.)

I’ve made it my mission to do two things this year:

  1. Help you find tools that will actually help with the overwhelm that is daily life as a mom
  2. Help you to understand that you are not alone and you are not failing.

Today I’ve got something that can help with both of these things.

I’m sure you’ve all seen, and maybe even used, the hashtag #MomFail. I know I have.

You snap a shot of your depressing laundry pile after the kids go to bed and share it on Instagram with a self-deprecating comment and the hashtag #momfail. It’s only meant as a joke, of course, but deep down it feels a little truer than you wish it did.

If this sounds even remotely familiar, you need to know: You’re doing better than you think.

And I can prove it.

I’d really love for you to check out this brand new (and free!) video series created by two moms who have lived their fair share of #momfail days

It’s put together by my friends Read More

Don’t you love it when you finally find the tool you’ve been searching for to make things run more smoothly!?

For me that elusive tool has been the perfect budget-priced computer for my older kids (ages 5 and 7).

Bonus: We’re giving one away! 

All you have to do is follow these two steps:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter
  2. Be sure to click the confirmation email we send you.

You’ll automatically be entered in the giveaway and, as a bonus, I’ll also send you my Free Report: The 3 Apps I Use with My Kids Everyday (you know, to use on your new Acer Aspire R11 once you win). Official rules at the end of this post.

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED – Congrats to our winner Stacy!

Click Here to Enter!

 

I wanted something that was durable, compact so it would fit on the small desk in our kitchen, and could be used as a standard computer and as a tablet.

These aren’t just wants, they’re true needs.

Since my oldest started at a STEM elementary school last year, he has homework that involves getting on websites regularly.  I want him to be able to get online while hanging on in the kitchen as I cook dinner so I can talk to him about what he’s doing and help out when needed.

But I DO NOT want him to keep using my expensive work computer to do so. It stresses me out and instead of engaging with him over his homework, I spend most of the time nagging him to be careful.

We also make a 17-hour round trip pilgrimage to go see family every summer.

Granted, it is possible to do the trip without a tablet for the kids- but it’s not something I’d want to attempt. We mix things up with car games, audiobooks, etc. but a movie or two during the journey goes a long way in keeping everyone (including me) happy.

So I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect budget computer that can act as both a laptop and a tablet.

Enter the Acer Aspire R 11.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

It has all kinds of kid-friendly features that I really appreciate as a busy mom.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

 #1 It Converts from a Laptop to a Tablet (and everything in between)

It’s a laptop, it’s a tablet. The patented 360 degree dual-torque hinge means the kids can bend it all the way back and it will stay wobble-free while they tap and scroll.

They can also set it up facing backwards, or “tent” style and use it as a makeshift TV for group viewing. Plus it has up to 8 hours of battery life so we can use it on the go.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

#1 It’s a Touchscreen Even When it’s in Laptop Mode

The iPhone was pretty much born at the same time as my oldest child, which means all of my kids expect to get tactile with their technology. They know how to use a mouse and keyboard (and those are still important skills to teach them), but they prefer to get their fingers on the screen and can get frustrated when the program their using works that way but the computer doesn’t.

#2 You Can Talk to It

The Acer Aspire R 11 comes all set-up with Cortana, the clever personal assistant that your kids can talk to and ask to find and open-things for them.

This is actually super-helpful when I’m up to my elbows in dinner prep and they want to start a new program. Currently, their favorite thing to ask Cortana is to find new Cosmic Kid Yoga Videos.

#3 It’s Budget-Friendly

I know that it’s super important to raise computer-literate kids, but that doesn’t make the idea of ponying up $1,000 or more for a computer for my kids any easier to swallow! I really appreciate the budget-friendly price of the Acer Aspire R 11 at $350 – $399. Because, lets face it, when all three kids are in school I’m probably going to need more than one!

#4 It’s Durable

I also really love that this convertible laptop was made with durability in mind. Components like the slip-proof texture on the back and base and the damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen, give me piece of mind when I had it over to my kiddos.

Looking for a budget-friendly laptop/tablet for your kids? This is our favorite!

#5 It’s Safe

Remember how I said the kids use Cortana to look stuff up while I’m otherwise occupied cooking? Bing Safe Search is the feature that makes that possible- because, even if I’m still only a few feet away, you know there’s no way I’m letting them loose on the internet without a safety net.

Win a Acer Aspire R 11 for your family!

Ready to get one of these bad boys for your family? Entering couldn’t be more simple. All you have to do is follow these two steps:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter
  2. Be sure to click the confirmation email we send you.

You’ll automatically be entered in the giveaway and, as a bonus, I’ll also send you my Free Report: The 3 Apps I Use with My Kids Everyday.

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED – Congrats to our winner Stacy!

Click Here to Enter!

The giveaway is open to US residents and open until 9pm PST, April 22, 2016. Good luck!

 Official Rules

This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must enter your name and email after clicking on the “click here to enter” buttons in this post. 1 winner will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on April 22nd, 2016 at 9:00pm PST. The winner will receive an Acer Aspire R 11.  No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

*This post in sponsored by Acer, all opinions are 100% my own.

 

I’ve got a fantastic positive parenting guest post today from Annie of Motherhood and More. I discovered Annie through her hilarious and insightful facebook posts and was instantly smitten.

I absolutely love her idea of spring cleaning your parenting each year. It can be so easy to get stuck in our habits and routines without putting much thought into what we’re doing.

By putting a parenting spring clean on the calendar every year, you’re ensuring that you’re not parenting on auto-pilot!

Here’s Annie with the details…

Don’t you just love spring? Warm weather. Flowers. The world bursting into life.

While many of us take this new beginning as an opportunity to clean out closets, wipe down floorboards, and shake out throw rugs, I also like to take some time to spring clean my parenting.

Like my home, I feel like my parenting can get stagnant and cluttered. My relationships with my kids can use some freshening, and my habits can use a little sprucing up.

If you’d like to join me, here are five steps to spring clean your parenting.

Step 1: Declutter Your Time

As the school year winds to a close, it’s time to choose how our summer will be spent.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • While structured activities can be great, overdoing it can cause undue stress on you and your children.
  • Leave some free time in your schedule to just be. Sit and sip lemonade. Picnic at the playground. Go for leisurely strolls. Toss a ball back and forth. Simplifying your family’s time and activity schedule is one of the best ways to make sure you have time for meaningful connection.
  • Decluttering time suckers can help with that, too. (I’m looking at you, Facebook!) Now is a good time to set some new screen time rules for yourself as well as your kids. Moderation in all things.

Step 2: Air Out Your Expectations

Kids go through so many stages and phases, it can be hard to keep up. Now is a good time to reexamine the expectations you have of your children.

Are they ready to Read More

Looking for a quick and easy Earth Day project to do with the kids? Our contributor Janssen teamed up with our newest sponsor, Juicy Juice, for the perfect Earth Day kid craft- upcycled juice box seed starters!

It’s spring break this week around here and I can’t wait to make a whole batch with the kids this week. I also love Janssen’s idea of making them now and using them as gifts for Teacher Appreciation Day later.

spring break activity and teacher appreciation gift- who doesn’t love a two-in-oneHere’s all the details…

One of my favorite parts of spring is starting a garden.

When I was growing up, my family always had garden beds, and we grew everything from peas to strawberries to edelweiss.

Since I’ve been married, I’ve almost always had a garden, whether it’s a tiny windowsill herb garden or a backyard garden box.

And now my little girls have caught the gardening bug too. They love watching their various herbs, flowers, and vegetables pop up, and every morning, as soon as breakfast is over, they beg to go check on their plants and water them (my job is to prevent these poor plants from getting watered seven times a day). Read More

It’s really too bad Earth Day doesn’t get the same fanfare as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and the like.

The shape our environment’s in these days, we could certainly use a day where every family sits down and really talks to their children about the impact (both positive and negative) that they can have on the world they live in.

Here are 14 of our favorite ideas to help you hold an Earth Day celebration at your house.

Show Above

Clockwise from top right

Make a Plantable Paper Earth – This is the project that keeps giving. It starts as a hands-on art activity and morphs into a planting activity the kids can keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

How to Create an Upcycled Inventor’s Box for Hours of Open-Ended Play – The name just about says it all but it’s also good to note that there are handy free printable idea cards to help get the kids’ creative juices flowing.

Planting with Ice Cream Cones (via Design Mom) – This method of growing from seeds is one that is sure to excite your littles. They’ll be so intrigued by the image of dirt in an ice cream cone, they won’t be able to help but get involved.

Coffee Filter Stained Glass Earth (via I Can Teach My Child) – My favorite part about this art project is that it’s appropriate for a really wide range of ages.

The Kitchen Garden Experiment: Growing Plants from Food Scraps – This one is perfect for teaching littles about where food comes from and big kids can use the free printable observation chart to experiment with the Scientific Method.

Playdough Planet Earth (via Meet the Dubiens) – Your kids will be amazed how easy it is to make a 3D model of the Earth’s crust (and it just looks so darn cool).

DIY Veggie Garden Sensory Box – Whenever I post this, I get two distinct reactions. One camp loves it right away, and the other questions why you would do this with a child instead of planting actual plants.

My answer is that you don’t do it instead of planting, you do it along with planting. Young kids learn a lot through dramatic play and this is a great opportunity to utilize that while they’re waiting for their actual plants to grow. And they’ll love the sensory component too – spending lots and lots of time digging in! Read More

Ok, so the Modern Parents Messy Kids instagram account isn’t technically new but – to be honest – my passion for it is!

I initially set up the account a couple of years ago and then just kind of let it sit there, updating whenever I remembered (which wasn’t often). But not anymore.

I’ve totally gotten into the art of instagram over the last month and I’m having so much fun over there! I love it because it’s a platform that allows me to share a lot of the little things I think will really brighten your day, hit you with a dose of inspiration, or just make you laugh.

Come join us on instagram for funny/inspiring quotes, mom hacks and more!

And it’s working! Since starting to really have fun over there, my readers have more than doubled in the last month.

So if you appreciate a good mom hack or just need to laugh while you’re in the trenches each day:

I encourage you to come join us!

Parenting in the digital world is something that has been on my mind SO much lately. I’ve been wondering about everything from the best apps to keep my kids safe online and what kind of screen time limits to enforce, to how my own phone use affects my kids.

That last one is a doozy and has been especially worrying me lately as my job is online so I’m definitely on my phone more than I’d like… In fact, after I read this list from our in-house children’s librarian, Janssen, I raced to get the audible version of The Big Disconnect.

I’ll try to give you guys an update in the newsletter soon!

(P.S. Listening to parenting books is the only way I find time to actually read them. Right now Amazon is running a special where you can try Audible with two free books of your choice here.) Here’s Janssen with the goods…

A few weeks ago, my five-year-old daughter looked up from her book and asked, “Mom, what’s a dial tone?”

If you’d ever like to feel a thousand years old, this is one quick way.

I got my first email account when I was thirteen, which I shared with my two sisters, and Facebook didn’t exist until I was in college. My first cell phone had exactly one game on it (Snakes, anyone?) and I didn’t get an iPhone until I’d been married for six years.

It’s going to be very different for my children, and one of my jobs as a parent is to figure out how to help them develop a safe and healthy relationship with technology, from deciding when they get their first phone to setting limits on video games and helping them avoid being the target (or perpetrator) of cyberbullying.

Of course, like any good librarian, the first place I look for advice is from a good book. Here are eight to help you navigate the complicated digital road ahead!

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age 

by Catherine Steiner-Adair and Teresa H. Barker

This book is one of the best I’ve read on parenting in the digital age. Steiner-Adiar draws on her clinical work and research to demonstrate how constant access to the Internet and world at large is splintering families and erasing meaningful parent-child connections, resulting in children who feel alone.

She describes what children and teens really want from their parents and how to create the family bonds that parents and children long for. I like this book because not only does it focus on how technology use affects young people, but also how parent use can affect the family dynamic and alienate children.

It can be unpleasant to see yourself reflected in the parents who are addicted to their devices but it’s also eye-opening to see what an impact you can make by changing your own habits and the influence it will have on your own children’s behavior.

Parenting in the Digital World: A Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Safety

by Clayton Cranford

If you feel completely overwhelmed by all the social media apps and sites available to your children and teens, this book is just the help you need. It carefully goes through Read More

Jessica is back today discussing her parenting style when it comes to extracurricular activities. More specifically, her experience enrolling her son in a martial arts program at age 4.

When and where to start enrolling your kids in activities has to be one of the most personal choices of parenting.

There doesn’t actually seem to be a lot of routinely recited advice on the topic (other than to always, always – Dear God, Always! – be weary of over-scheduling). So I love to see what other families are doing and how it’s working for them.

Here’s Jessica…

Our four year old is kind of a pistol, and between his late August birthday, our decision to delay kindergarten and my work-from-home situation, he’s going to end up starting preschool much later than his two older siblings did. That was our choice, but it started to become a bit of an issue a few months ago.

He was bored, you see, and he needed some kind of structure I wasn’t giving him because I was eyebrow-deep in website content and deadlines.

So while the plan for preschool was next fall, when his brother and sister go back after summer break, we gave him a choice:

Preschool or karate. Read More