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  • Parenting Styles: Guidance vs Control

    In today’s unpredictable world, the route to raising kids who are kind, cooperative and happy can be hard to navigate.

    For parents, there’s an underlying pressure to bring up well-behaved children that meet societal expectations, while also providing them the space to become who they are meant to be. At times, these two concepts seem to be at odds.

    While doing research on the subject, I discovered a method to parenting that emphasizes guidance over control.

    As a positive parenting advocate, I have to say the distinction is a game changer, and I’m a huge fan of the guiding approach. It was a real eye opener to discover that most of my parenting was done via control!

    Guiding a child (rather than controlling) encourages their autonomy and agency as an individual, while allowing the parent to be in control of the situation. 

    Guidance can improve relationships and offer kids the room to explore their own choices within clearly defined boundaries.

    Guidance vs Control Parenting Styles Defined:

    Guidance: Encouraging a child to be their best self, while allowing them to make choices and decisions, with parental support and love.

    Control: Can be coercive, authoritative, manipulative or critical. Controlling a child may hinder their ability to build important decision making skills and impede self identity.

    A critical aspect of guiding a child is respect. Remember, your child is an individual with their own thoughts, feelings and ideas. Respecting their autonomy will instill trust in your relationship.

    It’s also important to have discussions with empathy. Get down on your child’s level to better understand their behavior, before immediately reacting and inflicting consequence. Follow the positive parenting mantra, to share calm, without contributing to escalation.

    Let’s break it down via conversation styles.

    Ordering vs Explaining:

    Examples:

    Order: Clean your room right now.

    Instead, try this:

    Explain: When your room is clean, it’s easier to find things when you need them. It also sets the tone for a good day, to wake up in an organized bedroom. Want to give it a try?

    Cooperation vs Coercion:

    Examples:

    Coercion: Clean your room or I’m going to take your tablet away.

    Instead, try this:

    Cooperation: Let’s clean your room together, and get it done faster.

    Criticism vs Feedback:

    Examples:

    Criticism: Your room is a disaster. You’re messy.

    Instead, try this:

    Feedback: I’ve noticed that your room is a little messy. You may find that you feel more organized if you keep your room clean.

    Dictate vs Discuss

    Examples:

    Dictate: You better have your room cleaned by the time I get home.

    Instead, try this:

    Discuss: Let’s come up with ways to organize your room so it is easier to keep clean.

    Notice the difference?

    Talk to kids about the “why” of what you are requesting. Help them understand, for example, why having a clean room will positively affect them, without criticizing for being messy.

    It’s important to note that yes, while controlling a child, temporary results are possible. For example, most children will act swiftly when a parent threatens removal of a favorite toy or game.

    However, if we place emphasis on raising kids with a growth mindset, control no longer fits in the equation.

    Children with a growth mindset know they can overcome challenges and learn new ways to accomplish things. It is resilience that we want to build, not concession. Ask yourself, do you want your child to comply out of fear? Or because it is the right thing to do?

    If guidance is the key, kids will come to their own conclusions about making good choices, as it is what they’ve been trained to do.

    positive parenting

    Lastly, use your best judgement to determine when control is absolutely necessary. In dangerous situations control over a child becomes paramount. If the behavior is risky or malicious, guidance may not be the correct approach. 

    There are times when controlling a child is the natural parental reaction, and that’s okay too! It’s not practical to assume guidance will always be the go-to method. These tools are meant to guide, not to guilt us into feeling like bad parents.

    And remember, we’re all in this together. 

    For more positive parenting techniques, read up on Positive Language Alternatives

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  • 40 Fall Activities to Bring Your Family Closer Together

    You could say I’m a Fall enthusiast, but that would probably be the understatement of the year. I’ve had my Fall decorations up since the beginning of September. Pumpkins, leaves and harvest signs are taking up most of the space in our humble abode, and I’m not one bit sorry about it!

    The Fall traditions run thick in this household, and I can’t think of a better time for family activities than during this festive, gratitude-rich season.

    In order to galvanize your family members and get the Fall flare going, we’ve compiled a list of our 40 favorite Fall activities that will bring your family closer together. All of these ideas are family friendly for kids of varying ages, and can easily become traditions for the harvest season. Eventually, they become activities to look forward to year after year!

    So why are family activities and traditions important?

    A review in the December issues of American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Family Psychology states that “family routines and rituals are alive and well and are associated with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement and stronger family relationships.” We couldn’t agree more!

    Additionally, studies show family traditions are the basis in creating family culture. Some of the many benefits include nurtured bonds between siblings and parents, a further developed sense of belonging, and the making of a memorable childhood. Can’t help but love those perks!

    A few of the Fall activities require prior planning and others can be done on a whim. That’s why we love this list and encourage you to add some family fun in your busy Fall schedule.

    One of our Fall must-dos is a family hike during the weeks of foliage. It’s wonderful to behold the colorful leaves and to appreciate nature’s beauty that only comes around once a year together as a family. Again, the activity doesn’t have to be extravagant. Something as simple as backyard football can bring your family closer together.

    To make planning even more simple here are a few quick links to find Fall activities near you!

    • To find Fall festivals (broken down by state) check out Funtober.com
    • To Find an upcoming 5K near you here is Active.com
    • A list of super scary films for movie night ranked by rotten tomatoes
    • Some family Halloween costume ideas
    • To donate blood and give the gift of life as a family, find a blood drive near you

    Enjoy the season and don’t forget to check out our Grateful Tree Activity!

    What are some of your favorite fall activities? Comment below!

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  • Spring Scene Terrarium Activity for Kids

    Spring has (basically) sprung in our neck of the woods, accompanied by all of the outdoor activity we love about warmer weather. Yet with this lovely season of growth and renewal comes a fair share of rainy days as well. With that in mind, we decided to capture and bottle up our own spring scene for the days that outdoor play isn’t optimal. This Spring scene terrarium activity is the perfect creative undertaking, and a wonderful way for kids to exercise the imagination.

    Spring terrarium for kids

    A terrarium is typically a glass vessel that contains real plants and soil, sometimes used to illustrate how an ecosystem works. Because the real ingredients can get a bit messy, we’ve come up with our own kid-friendly version that is also re-usable. We’ve decided to focus on the aformentioned, blooming season of Spring as our theme.

    The best part is, all of the supplies needed to make this springy terrarium can be purchased at the dollar store for a whopping $5. Unless of course, you already have these basic supplies around the house! The base is play-dough, and can be used multiple times to create new spring filled environments. Have kids dream up their own sunny scenes, and add elements they find laying around the playroom or just outside the door.

    Below you’ll find everything needed to create a Spring Scene Terrarium for kids. May the fun ensue!

    Dollar store shopping list:

    1. Glass jars
    2. Play-dough
    3. Green moss (found in seasonal section)
    4. Rocks (or go outside and find your own!)
    5. Various spring elements (butterflies, flowers, bunnies, eggs, etc.!)

    Directions:

    1. Pack the play-dough at the bottom of the jar
    2. Add the rocks for texture
    3. Place the green moss on top of the rocks as the third layer (you can add more rocks later if desired!)
    4. Insert spring elements. Be sure to press them into the play-dough so they stay put
    5. Close the jar and your spring scene terrarium is complete!

    Spring terrarium

    The play-dough serves as a great foundation and sticking element so the eggs, butterflies, flowers, etc. stay nicely in place. Each terrarium creation has it’s own theme. You could use bugs, easter, or fairy garden as concepts; the possibilities are endless. I love watching my son’s imagination run wild while coming up with new ideas. Don’t forget to display them proudly as Spring decor until the next idea comes along!

    Stickers could also be a fun way to add life to the terrarium. Use a sun sticker, clouds or rain drops to capture typical Spring weather patterns. Include a conversation about the changing seasons for educational value.

    As you can see, we’ve done this more than once!

    The finished products!

    One proud little artist happy with the end result. A sweet Spring Scene Terrarium!

    For the sunnier Spring days, check out these 7 Ideas for Nature Activities and Exploration!

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  • DIY Valentine Bird Feeders – for Kids!

    It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I’ve been on the hunt for a homemade, candy-free, nature inspired gift that my son can hand out to relatives and classmates. These DIY Valentine Bird Feeders check all of those boxes and were super fun to make! This easy, 3 ingredient recipe is also an awesome cold weather activity for the thick of winter.

    And bonus, we’ve included some FREE Printable bird-pun tags to attach to the feeders. You’re welcome!

    I love how this project can inspire some serious bird watching and outdoor activity. We definitely kept some feeders for ourselves and our backyard is chirping! If you want to get really serious, here is a great book for bird watching beginners. Keep scrolling for a full ingredients list and step by step directions. Most importantly, enjoy!

    DIY Bird feeder

    Photo of DIY bird feeder

    You will need:

    • 2 cups of birdseed
    • 2 packets of gelatin
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • Mixing bowl and spoon
    • Heart shaped cookie cutters
    • Tray covered in foil
    • Ribbon
    • Straws

    Directions:

    Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water into mixing bowl, and slowly ad the gelatin. Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, pour in the birdseed. This is where you can get the kids involved. Have them mix it up well! Be sure to cover all of the seed in the gelatin mixture, as this is what holds it together.

    Next, take the foil covered tray and place the cookie cutters on top. Then, spoon the birdseed mixture into each cutter and pack it in until it is flat. We used heart and arrow shaped cutters, but feel free to get creative! Stick the straws (see picture below) into the mixture, as this will create a hole for the ribbon hanger. Cool in refrigerator over night or until hard.

    When the feeders are good and hard, remove them from the cookie cutters carefully. Our creations popped right out of the cutters just fine. Next, remove the straw and string the hangers through the hole.

    Presto, your DIY Valentine bird feeders are complete!

    If you’d like to add the FREE printable tag to your DIY Valentine bird feeder creation, find the downloadable PDF below!


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    For some more Valentine’s Day fun check out our Fun Valentine’s Day Activities for Preschoolers!

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  • The 20 BEST Gifts for the Coffee Lover in Your Life

     

    Coffee lovers…we all know one. Coffee is one of the simple pleasures in life, and one that us sleep-deprived mamas often use for survival. Whether it’s the cute mug, the aroma, or the mood boost, coffee is one of the best waking joys.

    Each one of the gift ideas on this list are amazon prime eligible and perfect for any java drinker. Make the holidays extra special for the coffee lover in your life and order one (or more) of these fun and unique products!

    Photo of 20 best gifts for the coffee lover in your life

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

    Here is our list of the 20 best gifts for the coffee lover in your life!

     

     

    Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker & Travel Jar (here)

    This item is number one on the list and for good reason! Let me just highlight some of the awesome features of this stainless steel french press:

    • Hotter-For-Longer Thermal Brewer
    • Travel Jar included
    • Large Capacity
    • Double-Wall Insulated
    • 34oz Stainless Steel 
    • So many fun colors

    For coffee that is flavor full and piping hot, pick out a cute color and put this one in your cart. (You know you want to!)

    Premium Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer & Mug Set (here)

    Cosori’s stainless steel coffee warmer features touch-tech controls, an LED display, and a water-resistant plate. User-friendly design makes it easy to use, and the cool grip handle will keep you from burning your skin while the coffee stays hot. Perfect for home, office and easy to travel with.

     

    Coffee Art Book (here)

    Purchase on kindle or hardcover! Starting with basic skills and patterns, readers will learn how to create the crema (the froth that acts as a canvas in the coffee cup) and how to produce the hearts, rosettas and tulips that will be used as the basis to form more complicated artworks.There are 60 designs to try, including The Swan, The Unicorn, and frothy 3-D babyccino animals. Awesome!

     

    Taboo Creations 6 Piece Coffee Lovers Gift Basket Box (here)

    The ideal gift set for any coffee lover created by taboo! The beautifully packaged box includes:

    • Large Mug: Expressive white mug “Instant human, just add coffee.” 
    • Daily rise coffee beans:  Sumatra Blend 3 oz bag of hand packaged coffee beans for a perfect pot of coffee. 
    • Fun socks: Cute pair of striped socks that say “If you can read this, bring me a cup of coffee!” (One size fits most.)
    • Dish Towel: A white, 100% cotton dish towel featuring “Blah – Blah – Blah – Coffee” sentiment. 
    • Coffee clip: Durable stainless steel coffee bag clip perfect for keeping your bag of coffee fresh.
    • Gourmet coffee spoon: Turn any coffee into a gourmet chocolate flavored coffee. Simply stir the coffee spoon into hot coffee and enjoy a rich, gourmet flavored drink in no time.
    • Choose “This item is a gift” at check out to add a personalized message for free. 

     

    Cumbor French Press Coffee Maker (here)

    Skip the queue at your local coffee shop, as only 4 minutes is needed to brew a cup of pure coffee with this French press. Increase the extraction of flavors, oils and acids from your coffee beans with the 4 level filtration system that keeps coffee grounds out of your cup. Whenever you crave it, a cup of smooth and delicious coffee is just at hand.

     

    Photo of coffee lover gift

    RISE Brewing VEGAN Oat Milk Nitro Cold Brew Latte 4 Pack (here)

    For the Vegan coffee lover in your life, order this 4 pack of award winning organic, no sugar added, nitro cold brew! Perfect grab-and-go option for those in a hurry and best served cold. Enjoy as cocktails, or mixed into shakes and smoothies. Yum!

     

    Photo of gifts for the coffee lover

    Let’s Have Coffee Together Forever Stainless Steel Espresso Spoon (here)

    Sweet and sincere, this coffee spoon is sure to delight. Engraved, so the impression will last forever. Perfect for any coffee loving, loved one!

     

    Photo of coffee sampler

    Cafe Ole’ Gourmet Coffee Gift Sampler Package (here)

    Cafe Ole Gourmet Coffee Gift Combination of Six 1.75 Ounce Coffee Sampler Packages! A little about each bag:

    • All coffees are medium bodied, medium roasts with unique blends of flavors and finishes.
    • Taste of Austin – a touch of southern pecans with a hint of cinnamon.
    • Taste of San Antonio – cinnamon, chocolate, and vanilla flavors.
    • Texas Pecan – creamy carmel and Texas pecan flavors.
    • Cinnamon Hazelnut – spicy cinnamon with German hazelnuts.
    • Breakfast Blend – beautifully balanced taste and a smooth finish.
    • Hawaiian Blend – has a slightly sweet flavor with a mild tart finish.

    Photo of coffee

    Bag of Mommee Coffee

    Perfect for the soon to be, breastfeeding, or attempting to conceive Mommee, monitoring their caffeine intake. Touting half the caffeine of a usual cup of joe, this product is low acid, organic and fair trade! 

    DANFORTH Riversong/Mocha Handcrafted Coffee Scoop (here)

    Sturdy and unique, this pewter spoon is 5 1/2 inches long and measures an exact tablespoon. Made in the USA and comes in a gift box.

     

    JoyJolt Declan Coffee Mug. Glass Coffee Mugs Set of 6 (here)

    Glass coffee mug galore right here! Shatterproof glass, easy-grip handle, dishwasher safe and a lifetime guarantee are only a few of the awesome features to this 6 piece set.

     

     

    12-Piece Coffee & Cookie Stainless Steel Gift Tumbler (here)

    How about knocking out all of your co-workers, teachers, friends, bridesmaids (you get it) gifts in one fell swoop?

     

     

    Cold Brew Coffee Maker – Large Glass Infusion Pitcher (here)

    Ever wanted to make your own cold brew at home? Look no further! This Hydracy premium pitcher is perfect for cold brewing your favorite coffee or tea. Want to get fancier? Just add mint or lemon in the mesh of your usual cold brew preparation or fill your extra fruit infuser tube with some fruits and veggies for a deliciously refreshing infusion packed with vitamins & nutrients.

    But wait… there’s more. Not only is this pitcher convenient for everyday use, it offers up to to 1.6 Quarts when used as a carafe, and it fits in even the most crowded refrigerator door thanks to its slender shape. Dishwasher safe and BPA free. Boom!

     

     

     

    Typhoon Living Airtight Coffee Storage Canister with Bamboo Lid (here)

    Unique and stylish, this ceramic coffee canister (that also comes in white) is from the Typhoon Living collection. It’s perfect for your favorite coffee and other kitchen essentials. Generous 1 liter capacity but also compact enough to fit within crowded cupboards, the bamboo lid is airtight keeping contents fresher for much longer. And just as a little tidbit for the environmentally conscious, the bamboo lid is sourced from carefully-selected, sustainable forestry. That we can all get down with!

     

    Handmade Llama (+ others!) Ceramic Coffee Mug (here)

    Como te llama? Big fan of this adorably detailed design. A perfect add to any collection, this sizable mug is made of durable hand-made ceramic, and comes in a variety of animals, (love the Pug dog) a cactus, and an ice cream cone. Sweet!

     

    LOOKISS Coffee Mug Warmer, Electric Beverage Warmer Plate (here)

    With the many demands of my kids in the morning, some days it’s a miracle if I get to my coffee before it gets cold. This sleek and portable beverage warmer is the solution to that very problem. Perfect for the desk, counter or even nightstand, the built-in temperature control has a safe auto shut off function that powers off after 8 hrs. It also boasts 2 temperature levels, lukewarm and hot for both hot coffee fans and those that enjoy it a little cooler. (Hubs, if you’re reading this, put this in my stocking!)

     

    Rustic Solid Wood Wall Decor Decoration (here)

    How adorable is this rustic, hanging coffee sign perfect for the java nook in your home? Display it on the wall, in the kitchen, or use as the perfect housewarming gift. The sign itself is 6 x 12 inches and well made. 

     

    Luxury Coffee Socks with Paper Coffee Cup Gift Packaging (here)

    I’m not sure what is cuter about this one, the socks or the paper coffee cup, gift packing it arrives in! We love this one for a coffee-loving co-worker or white elephant gift. The soft and fuzzy polyester blend socks are almost like a house slipper, keeping your feet warm on every morning, night, and chilly winter’s day. Women size 6-9.5. If you can read this, order me this gift!

     

    Bean Box Deluxe Coffee & Chocolate Gift Box (here)

    I may just ship this one to myself. 8 freshly-roasted coffees and 8 chocolate bars to pair with! This awesome gift box comes with almost a pound of delicious, gourmet coffee with freshness guaranteed. Included in the box are tasting notes and roaster profiles so you know exactly what you’re getting. Enjoy!

     

    Lang Coffee 2020 Wall Calendar (here)

    Make the most of 2020 with this beautifully designed coffee calendar featuring nationally recognized artists! With 12 full color images on high quality linen embossed paper, this artfully bright month marker is a great gift or stocking stuffer.

     

    Photo of milk coffee frother

    Powerlix Milk Frother for Coffee & Foam Maker (here)

    Step your morning coffee game up with this awesome battery powered milk frother and foam maker! Yes, it’s cordless! If you love your morning coffee with lots of froth and foam, then you certainly want to have this frothing wand at home. It comes with a stand for easy storage and can be kept on the countertop. The best part is, it comes with a 100% lifetime warranty. 

     

    We hope you picked an item from our list of the 20 Best gifts for the coffee lover in your life! For more gift inspiration check out 50 CHRISTMAS GIFTS UNDER $10 (AND 75+ STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS)

    Happy Holiday Shopping!

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  • How to Add FALL Flare to any Space

    I love dressing my home in seasonal decor. The excitement of change and all the fun staples of Fall, have me pulling out the gear as soon as there’s a chill in the air. It’s a simple way to add joy to the ordinary day, especially since we’re doing an abundance of at-home activity currently.

    I find the fireplace to be the most fun to decorate. My family spends most of the time (when not outside) in our warm and rustic living room space, hence why it gets the most attention!

    For Fall, I like to add cozy accents, like pillows, blankets and candles, and I haven’t found a decorative pumpkin that I don’t like. Arranging them around the rooms according to color and texture schemes, spruces up the space with autumn spice.

    And as the days become shorter and cooler, the simple pleasures of snug and comfort carry me through the transition.

    Lighting candles helps set a relaxing mood and inspires a sense of calm. Blankets and pillows encourage rest, presence, and stillness. I also like to add that fun orange color to brighten the room, and punctuate a seasonal vibrancy.

    And if you really want to dive into the season, I’ve found a pumpkin essential oil diffuser with matching scent! However you Fall, there is an item fitting for you on our list.

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links

    Below is a compilation of Fall pieces I’ve found that warm up a room and add that charming autumnal flare. Enjoy!

    These pillows are adorable, and being a big fan of the buffalo check, I may just add them to my cart!

    This versatile piece is reversible and transitions into the holiday season (if you celebrate Christmas) with a simple flip! I only wish it was categorically more generic to be used by those who practice other holiday traditions, but love that it can move from one season to the next.

    I have these pretty, rustic fixtures hanging in my home. They add a nice, warm light to any space, and definitely help cozy it up.

    Assorted fall pumpkins with that adorable orange check! 

    Fall signage, similar to the piece I have standing next to my fireplace. They can be used indoor or outdoors.

    A flicker of light without the fear of fire! Set the mood with these flameless candles you can adorn throughout the home.

    Sunflowers are a must have Fall plant to add life and brightness to any space.

    It doesn’t get any snugglier than this cozy throw, which serves a warming purpose, but is also wonderfully decorative.

    Owls are another favorite Fall staple of mine. I have a similar piece on the fireplace mantle.

    Woven baskets can hold blankets, stuffed pumpkins, or stand alone as a simple Fall accent piece.

    This pumpkin essential oils diffuser is not only adorable, but fun to fill any room with your choice of scent. While I prefer lavender or eucalyptus for calming, I’ve linked a pumpkin spice flavor below!

    Welcome to our Patch. The perfect autumn greeting!

    For More FALL FUN Check out our Fall Family Bucket List for everyone to enjoy!

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