Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Parenting Tip - Daily Checklist for my Children

Are you a LIST person?  Do you make lists and check them off?  I definitely am a list person--so is my mother--so are my 3 daughters.  If I do something during the day that isn't on my list, I write it on just so I can check it off.

So you can imagine my excitement when hearing about the book: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.  It was a great read.  Atul Gawande is a surgeon in the United States.  He is concerned about the errors made by the medical field when treating patients and though he realizes the complexity and variety of medical issues and treatments there are, he wonders if some sort of "checklist" can be used to lessen the degree of errors--and deaths.

Dr. Gawande studied and interviewed people in the airline industry.  We are all acquainted with a pilot's checklist, the one he goes through before taking off.  What ideas could the medical field use from their checklist?  The author also researched the skyscraper industry; how do they ensure they are building safe skyscrapers with all the steps that are required to build something that tall?

Reading this book made me excited to apply the author's ideas into my own life.  How could a checklist help me make sure I am living my life without "error" and that I am building the best person I can build?

I remember as a young mother discussing this very idea with two close friends.  I made a list of what I wanted my children to learn before they became adults and then set goals to make sure I was teaching them properly. 

I wondered what a mother would put on a daily checklist.  Here's an idea:

There's no mention of music lessons, sports, or gymnastics on the daily checklist.  While those activities do enhance and develop your child's abilities, they certainly aren't required to produce an outstanding, responsible young adult.                                                                                                  

 So what would you put on a daily checklist?  Did I forget some essential items?

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Music Tip - Smart Phones and Piano

Here's a clever idea to motivate your children to practice.

I received a musical text of my granddaughter playing The Entertainer on the piano.  It was really well done.  I texted her back, of course, and told her what a great job she had done.  I found out she had learned the piece in two hours!  That was a lot of concentrated practicing she did. 

How about using this idea to encourage your child to practice--then record him/her and send it to grandma, or cousins or Dad at work.  It would be fun to record the way he played it on the first day, then record it again after it is polished and compare the results.  A great object lesson on the value of perseverance, working consistently, breaking down a hard thing, etc. 

My, what a wonderful mother you are to teach your child such values!

Thanks for reading, 
Cathy
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Music Tip - Music from Frozen

Here are my simplified versions of music from the movie Frozen.  There are several editions out on the internet, but none of them matched the level of some of my beginning reading students, so I decided to make my own simplified versions.  I hope your children will enjoy playing them.


Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Parenting Tip - More Summer Ideas

Do you know about Audacity? It is a free recording and editing program you can download to your computer and it will give your children tons of fun this summer.  It is easy to use (if I can use it, any kid can do it), and simple, but has the capacity to do editing, splicing and complicated things (that I can't do!).

Here are some ideas for your children to do with Audacity this summer:
1. Record funny goofy sounds and laugh (they have to do this first to get their sillies out before they can get down to some serious recording ideas)
2.  Record themselves singing a song.
3.  Record a story or book and send to someone (my grandchildren have done this each year at Christmas for me and it's fun to listen to them read.  They didn't record it all in one day, but I could not tell where and when they stopped or started)
4.  Record them playing a song they have learned on the piano or some other instrument (this is a great motivating factor to get them to practice).
5.  Record your toddler's first words, sentences and song (a treasure you will cherish).
6.  Record jokes 
7.  Record their talks they give in Primary or Church
8.  Record original songs they play or improvise on the piano (this encourages their creativity)
9.  Record interviews of grandparents
10. Record stories, poems, jokes, experiences, then burn to a CD and send to missionaries or grandparents.
11. Just let your children play around and learn the technology of recording, editing and  burning.

I'm sure you and your children will come up with a lot of other
fun ideas.

Oh yeah, one last fun thing I've done with recordings--not with Audacity but on my cell phone.  I
recorded my 4 year old grandson saying, "Grandma, you've got a text, Grandma, you've got a text, Grandma, you've got a text!"
I put that as my text alert and I love listening to him tell me I have a text several times a day.  Other people get a  kick out of it, too.

So if you don't want to download Audacity, record songs, poems, etc on your smart phone--tons of fun times for kids and adults!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy


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Monday, June 16, 2014

Parenting Tip - 37 Things to do this Summer


Several years ago I compiled the following list of Things-to-do-instead-of-watching-tv.  I mailed it to my grandchildren with an empty container and instructed them to cut the ideas apart in strips, fold the strips in half, put them in the container and then pull one idea out and do it when they were bored.  

You might want to use these ideas for some fun summer activities. 

  • Play with play doh or make some if you don’t have any.  Find new things to play with like toothpicks, kitchen utensils, paper cups, muffin tins, etc
  • Read books- maybe you could tape record yourself reading them.
  • Dress up in dress up clothes or old baby clothes, or Mom’s clothes
  • Play with magnets.  Go around the house and find things made of metal.
  • Play with Puzzles.  Or make your own out of a magazine picture or coloring picture.
  • Make cookies
  • Make bread
  • Wash windows in your house with a wet cloth
  • Put a small amount of  rice in a container.  Draw alphabet letters and pictures with your fingers in the rice.
  • Write your name with glue on a piece of paper, then put macaroni on top of the glue
  • Put a little bit of hair gel in a zip lock bag and squeeze it or/and practice writing alphabet letters on the outside.
  • Listen to children’s music Cds
  • Play a game with your mom for 15 minutes then it’s your turn to play alone
  • Play with empty boxes.  Find different sizes.  What can you make?
  • Make animal faces out of paper plates or masks or draw colorful designs on them.
  • Cut newspapers with scissors.  Cut long strips or squares.
  • Color with markers.  Mail your picture to Grandma.
  • Write or draw on a dry erase board.
  • Dig in the dirt.
  • Scrub floor and walls with wet sponge
  • Play with spray bottle outside
  • Write name in a fancy outline font on the computer, then print and color with crayons
  • Write numbers or the alphabet on the computer and then color them.
  • Make up a game to play with socks
  • Play store
  • Play library
  • Play school
  • Play Primary (let them discover their own microphone.)
  • Hold a mirror so it shows the ceiling and walk around on the “ceiling”
  • Make designs on sandpaper with different colors and lengths of yarn
  • Tie a clothesline on 2 chairs and hang an assortment of "clothes" with clothespins
  • Make sticky masking tape balls to throw at the wall, fridge, etc. Watch them stick!
  • Have treasure hunt in tub of cotton balls (lots of goodies can hide in a tub of cotton balls)
  • Play a game with salad tongs.  Gather several items and a big bowl.  See if you can pick up the items and place them in the bowl using the salad tongs.
  • Lay wash cloths or towels or pillows on the floor.  Jump from one to another without touching the floor in between them.  Pretend the alligators or sharks are in the water.
  • Play with a hairdressing prop box. Don’t throw away that old hairdryer, remove the cord and save it for the hairdresser box. Throw in some rollers and hairbrushes and clips and you have a great start to a salon.
  • Play with shaving foam in the bath tub or on the kitchen table.
  • Have fun this summer!
  • Thanks for reading!
  • Cathy

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Parenting Tip - Homemade Toys

 I've been experimenting with HOMEMADE TOYS.  This is a subject that I've tinkered with ever since becoming a Mom.  And now that I'm a Grandma--I still find it a passion to do with my grandchildren.

I love looking for ideas on pinterest and on blogs, and then trying them out.  A lot of times I'm disappointed because my two grandsons, who live close, don't play with them as enthusiastically as I would like.  I blame it either on their age or sex.

 That's what happened with this toy.  The blog showed a toddler (a little girl) spending lots of time enjoying putting pipe cleaners in a strainer.  What a perfect age appropriate toy for a toddler--putting things into and out of spaces.  But my 2 and 4 year old grandsons didn't give it the time of day.  I tried it another day and sat on the floor with them and said, "let's make a silly hat!" I started poking the pipe cleaners into the holes, all the while oooing and ahhing.  They each contributed about 2 pipe cleaners and were done.
I took their pictures then put everything away.  Maybe if they were younger and were girls.......?


 This next idea, however, was a great success and
my grandsons have played with it several times and with different materials.  The first idea was to hammer golf tees into an empty styrofoam egg carton.  The boys had a great time doing that.  I also let them hammer the tees into one of those green styrofoam flowers blocks.  If you keep the cellophane around the styrofoam it works great but eventually it will start to crumble.

The next time I gave my grandsons an empty cardboard box.  I poked a series of small "starter" holes in a grid pattern, then let them hammer in the golf tees.  They really enjoy this activity and it is one they continue to want to do.  Yes!  Success!

Another simple homemade toy is colored popcycle sticks.  The boys and I will make elaborate paths for them to drive their toy cars on.  This continues to be a fun activity for them to do.
 

Stay tuned for the light box I made.   It has turned out to be a pretty good success, but one that I've had to tweak to make them interested in.

Thanks for reading.  Share any ideas you've come up with.

Cathy

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Parenting Ideas - Summer Time!

Summer time, oh, it's summer time......

I've been asked to teach a class at church on ideas for summer fun.  I decided to post some of the ideas here.

Free/Cheap kid play activities:
Super bubbles!
6 cups water
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups Joy dishwashing soap (If using an ultra concentrated dishwashing liquid, use only 1 1/3 cups) 
In a large bowl (at least 3 quarts) stir water and corn syrup until combined.  Add dishwashing liquid and stir very gently until well mixed.
(Try not to make any bubbles.) Dip (don't stir) bubble wands into bubble liquid and blow bubbles.

Snake bubbles
Cut bottom off a water bottle. Duct tape old sock to cover bottom opening.  Dip sock in solution of dish soap mixed with a little bit of water.  Blow through mouth end of bottle and see the long snake bubbles that appear!

Paint:
rocks 
with water and brushes outside 
water color

Stores with free activities:
Bass Pro Stores Outdoor Kids Night! Tuesdays 5-8pm free kid activities
Home Depot, Lowes - Saturday free craft - check local stores for details
Fiesta Mall Thursdays 1-2pm at Center Court

Reading Programs to earn free books or prizes:
Barnes &Nobles
Pottery Barn
Pizza Hut
Local Library
Scholastic and Sylvan online activities 

Discount Movie passes:
Cinemark and Harkins Theaters

Children's Museum of Phoenix
Target Free First Friday

Things to do with food:
Mini marshmallows and pretzels (or toothpicks) - build geometric 3 D shapes
playdough - look up on pinterest
Assign older children to make breakfast/lunch or dinners
Lots of healthy snacks=happy children

Water Activities:
Splash pads at theaters, malls
Homemade slip n slides/sprinklers
Duck, duck squeeze (like duck duck goose, but squeeze sponge full of water over head)
Water in buckets/bins.  Add soap, give kids egg beaters (find at thrift stores) and watch the fun!

Summer Focus - Help children make goals to:
learn something new (sew, crochet, use drill, hammer)
practice something (cooking, musical instrument, art)
read certain number of books
create/invent something
work on scouting 
family service project

Organize your summer
Weekly focus (reading week, learn something new week, craft week, watch Disney movies week)
Daily centers (chores, reading, free play, sibling/friend play, practice time, crafts, snack time, quiet time)
Pair up older children with younger children to help with chores, playing, learning

Collect "junk" and let children create, create, create.  Play background music.
Make marble runs with toilet paper tubes

Teach children to entertain themselves or play with siblings.  Have a rule "If you're bored, you get an extra chore!"

 Go on pinterest and find some fun activities. Type in these ideas to find hundreds of ideas:
*playdough
*light boxes
*marble runs
*children's books
*children's art activities
*water play
*children and food
*children's crafts

Emphasize something your child is good at or interested in.  If your child likes dinosaurs, do lots of reading, writing, looking at and playing with dinosaurs...or rocks.....or American dolls.....or whatever!  Encourage your child to explore his interest and learn as much as there is to know.

Last idea:  do what someone on facebook posted:    Make a goal to simply 

survive summer!

 

But what a waste of 2 good months.

 

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

 Check out this website for free things to do in AZ 

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Parenting Tips - Be Nice

Summer is here.  School is out.  I'm depressed. I've been crying for no reason and can't think or plan future events, make decisions or feel excited about anything.  Classic symptoms of depression.

But why?

Well, I hate the heat.  I'm an outdoor person and crave being outside and feeling a cool breeze.

But that's not it.  Why would I cry all the time and feel so muddled in my mind just because it's hot?

Then it hit me.  Oh yea, I'm subconsciously preparing for the anniversary of when my husband passed away on August 8 three years ago.  A year later his mother, who was living with me, passed away in July.  So summer is a time of loss for me.  It's a traumatic time for me.

No wonder I'm depressed! And cry.

And now that I figured out the reason, I feel less depressed.  I understand the reasoning for my emotions, and while I still cry and can't seem to cope very well, I do feel stronger for longer periods of time.

If you talked to me or watched me right now, you would never know I am coping with depression.
That's one reason I'm writing this blog.  If YOU are feeling depressed, I am really sorry for you.  Try to see if you have a trigger that is bringing on your depression.  Try to analyze what is going on.  It helps--a little.

If you don't have depression, be nice to everyone around you.  Be understanding and nonjudgmental of others.

If you have gone through grief and loss, you know it is a constant battle of emotions.  People tell me I have handled my husband's death so well.  They think I've "conquered it", that I'm a whole person again. I'm not.  I'm still struggling and I still need prayers and understanding and kindness. 

I guess that's why I really wrote this blog post.  Can we all be nicer and more thoughtful to others? We don't know or understand what they are going through.  While they appear strong on the outside, they are crying and falling apart when they are alone.

Summer--get thee behind me.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Parenting Tip - Use the Internet for Good in Your Family

 Have you noticed that anything good in the world has it's opposite?  Think of the contrasts you see in music, movies and books--so much good, but also so much bad.  My mission in life is to find the good, the uplifting, the educational and share it!

I just found some wonderful uplifting videos on lds.org that would be a great addition to your Sunday-after-Church-time for your children to watch or extensions to lessons and Family Home Evenings.



video

Go to this site more tips on using media to teach your family through videos, pictures, music and even creating your own videos or photographs to share with others.

 Want to share or use quotations with art to go with it?  Check out this section of lds.org for countless illustrated uplifting quotations.
Or how about making your own illustrated quotations?  Photograph your children and add a quote.  I did this years ago in the old fashion homemade way by taking a photograph of my children on my camera, taking the film to the store to get developed, gluing the photo to cardstock, adding the quotation, then taking it to the copy store to be  laminated. 

But now look at the easy, professional results you can get by taking the picture with your smart phone, adding the quotation on the computer and sending it to Walgreens or Costco for a glossy print or poster and getting it back in one hour!!

 Want to find out other ways to use media to uplift your family?  Look here for many more ways.

What else is out there?  Please share with us other sites and ideas on using computers, media and the internet to enhance our families lives.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Parenting Tip - The Marvelous Brain

I just finished the most interesting and enlightening book called, The Spark by Kristine Barnett.

Amazon summarizes the book, in part, this way:
Kristine Barnett’s son Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. At nine he started working on an original theory in astrophysics that experts believe may someday put him in line for a Nobel Prize, and at age twelve he became a paid researcher in quantum physics. But the story of Kristine’s journey with Jake is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. At age two, when Jake was diagnosed, Kristine was told he might never be able to tie his own shoes.

The Spark is a remarkable memoir of mother and son. Surrounded by “experts” at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests—moving shadows on the wall, stars, plaid patterns on sofa fabric—Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. Kristine knew in her heart that she had to make a change. Against the advice of her husband, Michael, and the developmental specialists, Kristine followed her instincts, pulled Jake out of special ed, and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own.
I LOVED this book and can't stop thinking about it. Two ideas impacted me:

1. My brain is very limited compared to this boy's brain who can picture mathematical equations in 3D and see patterns between them. The brain is marvelous organ and I find it so exciting to learn more about it.
2.  Jake's mother followed her gut reaction to pull him out of special ed and hours of therapy at home, and instead of focusing on what he couldn't do, she focused on his interests and what he could do.  As she allowed him to freely explore his interests, he opened up and was able to acquire the new skills the therapists had failed to help him learn.

Now Jake is 15 years old.  You can see him give a talk at Ted talks here.

All children are special, though naturally not as brilliant as Jacob Barnett.  But can we learn something from his story?  His mother always had her son's best interests in mind.  She fought for what she thought was best for him.  She used her creativity to let him follow his interests, though she went against the system and traditional thinking. 

We can do that with our own children.  Fight for what we know they need.  Give them time to create and explore and let them learn things they way their brain learns best, be it visual, auditory or kinesthetic Explore and learn together as a family.  The author wanted family traditions and fought for and used her energy to provide and maintain those traditions because she felt they were so important.

We can have family traditions, be it looking at the stars in the back yard, as they did, or camping and eating s'mores or playing sports or listening to music or making cookies or whatever!

Enjoy your own little geniuses and marvel at the way they learn and connect information and create.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenting Tip - Simplify and Enjoy

After a family dinner last night where we used paper plates--I love them for a quick and easy clean up--my daughter reminisced about how after dinner, my husband would always fold his paper plate in half, then in fourths and stick it in his fork tongs to throw away.  A fun memory of Dad that we saw him do over and over every night--never realizing that after he was gone, this would become a cherished memory.

Did you catch that I said over and over every night?  Yes, I must confess that for about 10 years we always ate dinner on paper plates.  Now first I hasten to tell you that we didn't have a dish washer--still don't--so I was the dish washer.  And this started after my fourth baby was born.  I decided I needed some simplification in my life what with having a new baby and 3 very active young boys. I told my husband we were going to use paper plates for a months or so...just till I got back on my feet.

Many years later....and several more babies later.....I realized we were still eating on paper plates.  By this time I had older children who had become the dish washers, so we switched over to real plates.

I never felt guilty about using paper plates and clogging the garbage dump with more paper.  I never felt guilty about the expense of buying paper plates.  I just thoroughly enjoyed the ease they gave to my hectic dinner routine.

Do you have something you use that helps simplify your life, even though it could be classified as a "luxury"?  Do you use Rhodes frozen dough instead of making your own?  How about expensive spices or baby food in a jar instead of blending your own?  Do you subscribe to cable so you have a better choice of good entertainment?

There are lots of things we probably spend our money on, that we could call luxuries, and could save money if we did without them.

But.

There's a time and place for everything.  So if now is the time and place.

Enjoy your little luxuries and......

DON'T FEEL GUILTY!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
 PS.  What do you do that helps simplify your life, schedule, routine?  Leave a comment and tell us.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Parenting Tip - Dress the Dress to Walk the Walk

"If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk."

"Dress makes the man (woman)."

I've been thinking about how I dress and how I walk the walk; that is, how to dress according to what I'm doing for the day. 

Have you noticed how you feel different by what clothes you are wearing.  If you are dressed up to go shopping, you certainly don't feel like cleaning the house. On the other hand, if you're dressed in tennis shoes and work clothes, you don't mind getting more dirty by sweeping or mopping the floor .

Since I don't like cleaning very much, I have to psych myself up to do it.  I have to wear tennis shoes and clothes that aren't spic and span clean (meaning I already wore them yesterday!)  My hair still needs to be curled and combed and I don't have any make up on.  In other words, I look rather grungie, ready to work and maybe get sweaty in the process.

Then I have to turn up some music nice and loud (my favorite is "Happy Working Song" from the movie Enchanted) or listen to an interesting podcast, and I'm ready to clean.

If I'm gardening or working outside, I wear the same sort of clothing--a little soiled and definitely tennis shoes--I can't work outside in flip flops, I don't want to get my feet dirty.

But, I've noticed that I can't do other things with that particular "outfit" on--like teach piano lessons or do emailing business work or create music lesson plans.  For these type of activities, I do much better when I'm dressed in nicer clothes, my hair is done, my make up is on and I feel "presentable". 
Then I'm ready and motivated to work with my brain.

The way we dress DOES effect our behavior.  Haven't you told that to your children before?  Why do we have to dress up for Church?  Because you act more respectful and reverent; you feel more dignified. Why can't I wear shorts and flip flops to school? Because you'll feel like playing instead of listening and learning.

My husband had a beard and mustache for probably more than half of our married life.  He admitted that when he had a beard, he felt more sloppy and unkempt and behaved that way.  Oh yeah, funny story that I just remembered about my husband. 

My husband had NO sense of dress.  He would go for a walk in the morning dressed in a holy old t shirt with suspenders holding up a grubby pair of sweat pants and wearing an old, old pair of tennis shoes.  One morning while walking in the parking lot of a grocery store, a man in a car drove up to him and asked him if he needed some breakfast;  he was willing to give him some food.  The man thought he was homeless!!  I died laughing when my husband came home and told me what had happened.  It was close to Christmas so guess what my husband got for a present?  Yep, new exercise clothes.

So what do we do with this knowledge of dressing?  Dress for what you're doing that day.  If it's laundry, cleaning and scrubbing day, then you better get your tennies on.  If you need to get some cooking done, wear your apron (my daughters do) and get to cooking.  If you're running to the store, and school most of the day and will be seen by people--dress nicer.

What about if you want to parent better, hmmmmm, what to wear?  Are you more patient with your children, do you take advantage of teaching moments, and are you more loving to them when you're dressed in nicer clothes?

That would be an interesting experiment to try:  "Does what I'm wearing really affect my attitude and effectiveness as a mom?"  I know dressing appropriately certainly affects how many things I get done on my "To Do" list.

Here's some quotes I found by unknown sources:

Every girl should know to dress for success. No one will take you seriously if you show up in leggings and Uggs
 
 
  Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Parenting Tip - Get Outside

This is a blog post for anyone who is a little down in the dumps.  Or sad.  Or worried.  Or stressed. Or mad.             
That's my advice.  I know it helps because I've been there before; mad, sad, stressed and worried, and every time, I'll come home from a walk feeling lighter, happier and more hopeful.


A few years ago when I turned 40, I became worried about all the candy bars I had--and was still--eating.  I decided I needed to take charge of my life, if I wanted to have a healthy old age.  So I started walking in the mornings, and I haven't quit.  I love walking!



Then when I turned 50, I started hiking once a week with a friend.  I love hiking!  You're out in nature, you see God's handiwork and you talk and talk with a friend.  It's even better than eating a candy bar!


 When I'm walking or hiking my outlook changes.  My perspective broadens and I'm not microscoping in on my problems. 


 In fact, my problems shrink in size when I look at mountain tops and gaze down into valleys.  When I walk by cacti, flowers and trees, I see God's love for me in a wide lens. I feel stronger, able to handle my situation.  I feel gratitude for God and see His tender mercies in my life.  I start to see analogies in nature and relate them to my life.  I'm energized!


But sometimes it's impossible to go for a walk either because of health issues, kid issues or time constraints.  So here are some good, better, best options when the outdoors are just not available.

Good:  Sit by the window and look outside at the sky, the clouds, the birds and the trees and flowers.
Better:  Pull up the blinds and really look outside, up and down, back and forth.
Best:  Put on some music and admire the great outdoors, thoroughly enjoying the sky, flowers and trees.

If you are able to go for a walk, here are some good, better, best options as well.

Good: Walk slow to begin with, then increase your pace.
Better:  As you walk, notice nature.  Look up and enjoy the sky and clouds. Notice the birds.  Look at the architecture of the houses and buildings you pass by.
Best:  Find a beautiful park to walk in and listen to  music or a podcast as you walk.  Jog for a few seconds, here and there during your walk.  Enjoy nature.


And finally, if you can go for a hike:

Good:  Go with a friend.  Talk about cooking, problems, frustrations.  
Better:  Notice the birds and rabbits and lizards.  Draw strength and serenity from the open sky, the mountains, the trees. Gaze down from your trail and see how small everything looks below.  Notice how far you have come.  
Best:  Suddenly your problems and cares become miniscule and your heart enlarges and expands with love and optimism. 



Thanks for reading.....
Now go walking,
Cathy

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Music Tip - The Triangle

I just received a nice comment from one of my subscribers (thank you Master P), so I decided to check out a couple of her blogs.  Since she is a musician and teacher, one of her blogs is about helping her own children practice and ideas on how to motivate them.  Today she posted a "scathingly brilliant" (know what movie that is from?  Anne of Green Gables, I love that phrase!), idea for practicing and a very sound learning principle behind the idea.

I don't want to take away her thunder, so you'll have to check it out, here.  It is a very true principle.
Also scroll down and read the idea about chocolate chips practicing.

Now here comes the point to my post today.  I, as a piano teacher, feel like my job is to teach, encourage and motivate my students to practice.  I enjoy doing that, in fact.  

BUT....I'm not the reason your child will learn to play the piano; it will take a triangle for this to happen--- Me--the teacher, you--the parent, and your child--the student.  Together we can create a musician.

You--the parent, are VITAL to this triangle.  You can't just "wish" your child to play the piano.  You can't even just "pay for piano lessons" and have your child learn to play the piano.  YOUR CHILD HAS TO PRACTICE THE PIANO. 






 




You--as the parent, have to provide enough time in the day for your child to practice. That sounds simple, but read that statement again.  

t h e r e  h a s  t o  b e  time  t o  p r a c t i c e. 
Think about it.

You--as the parent, have to help motivate your child to practice.  You have to be involved.  You can't just provide piano lessons, you have to help make learning it, happen.

So, there you have it.  Me.  You.  Your child.

It's a journey all 3 of us are on together.  Let's have fun on the journey!  Let's be creative!  Let's enjoy it---cause let me tell you, music is a gift from God, and it is one of the most beautiful gifts He has given us.  

Let us say, "thank you" by using this beautiful power to enrich and bless our lives.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Parenting Tip - An Amazing Mother

Aubrey Kleinschmidt is a wife and mother of four children under the age of 6; Tyler 6 years old, Emma 5, Jacob 2 and Gracie 8 months old.   Aubrey is blind.
Aubrey lost the sight in her left eye when she was only 4 days old.   She considered her vision in her right eye to be normal and did not consider herself to be visually impaired. Her sight limitations weren’t really noted until she was working at a dry cleaners. She had trouble matching customer tickets with their dry cleaning items because she kept reversing numbers. The owner of the cleaners suggested she might be dyslexic. She was tested as a senior in high school and found to be visually impaired. She qualified for an Individual Education Plan and went to Berkley, California (an assisted living program) for vocational rehab where she had an opportunity to learn Braille and life skills related to functioning as a blind person. It was assumed that she would lose sight in her right eye.  Aubrey says that she did not take the program very seriously. She met Michael, her future husband, while living in Berkley. 
Aubrey and Michael married and began their family.   Aubrey's pregnancies, however, were stressful for the fragile retina of her right eye. Her vision began to wane after Emma was born. Despite repeated attempts to salvage the sight in her right eye – Aubrey was told, almost three years ago, that she was considered "stone blind" (totally blind).  Shortly after this news, she discovered that she was pregnant with Jacob.


Aubrey attended classes for the blind for over a year. She was taught life skills/mobility skills and Braille, etc. She has special equipment that helps her to read printed text and a very smart phone.


Since Aubrey knew that she would never visually see Jacob’s face she made a special effort to find a doctor that would let her assist with her own delivery. She had the amazing opportunity to help bring Jacob into this world. He has a very special spirit and was a very calm and easy baby to care for.


Despite the loss of her sight, Aubrey and Michael felt there was still a baby waiting to come to their family.  In 2013 she had another special opportunity to help bring Gracie into this world. Gracie has also been an amazingly calm and easy baby to care for.


  Aubrey was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 4, 1983.   She was delivered at 28 weeks and weighed 2 lbs, 2 ounces.  The doctor didn’t think she would make it through the night and her mom was told not to even bother to name her! Retinopathy of prematurity (ROM) was the  cause of damage to her eyes.
 
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 Aubrey cooks, cleans, helps with homework and stays on top of the myriad of details sighted moms have to contend with. She is an amazing mom. She doesn’t see with her eyes. She sees with her heart.

Despite the devastating news of losing her sight, Aubrey was not one to wallow in self-pity.  She says her vision loss has improved her marriage and strengthened her testimony of God. She says it has made her a better mother.  When Tyler or Emma say, “Look what I’ve made," Aubrey can’t just glance over and then get back to whatever she was doing.  She stops and goes over to the child and feels with her hands what they have made. When she interacts with her children she is down on the floor playing with them in ways other mothers might skip.



Aubrey is especially grateful for the tremendous support Michael has been for her since she lost her sight. He has been her rock and comfort in difficult times. His flexible work hours have allowed him to drop everything and attend to her needs when necessary. 

Aubrey has a few tricks she and Michael have developed to keep on top of things at home:

- safety pins in all the girls clothing to tell them from the boys.

- puff paint Braille dots on the stove, microwave and washer where the instruction words are.

- always keeps spatula handle aligned with skillet handle so she knows where it's at.

- Tyler's school teacher puts a staple in the top right hand corner of school papers that need parental attention.
- if the TV is on, Aubrey can judge when she is walking in a straight line away from the sound or moving diagonally away from the TV
-Children's shoes are velcroed together and kept on a shelf.
- Aubrey has the chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized!
-Aubrey holds the baby in front of her with her elbow touching the wall as she walks down the hall and the other hand is in front of baby's face (she's bumped the baby into things before)
-Aubrey is constantly feeling her preschooler and baby's faces for smiles, running noses,or  objects in mouth that shouldn't be.
-Aubrey crawls above her baby and explores the floor with her.
-if Aubrey needs to find her younger children she'll call their name and instruct, "say moma" so she can hear where they are.
- Aubrey feeds baby food to her baby by cutting the top off the nipple to make the hole bigger.
-Aubrey is reading Harry Potter to her children with a braille copy of the book. 
Aubrey understandably has her down days.  Life is hard for a mother with sight, and especially hard without sight.  6 year old Tyler spells out the instructions for his homework, letter by letter so Aubrey can know what he is to do.  By the time he finishes, he and his mother are both mentally exhausted before they even get to the homework.


Aubrey has an amazing outlook and attitude about her life. She states that her problems in life are not due to her blindness.  She understands that her vision loss does not affect her ability to progress in life. She does not use her blindness as an excuse for not being the best person that she can be. 
Aubrey "sees" what is important in life!
Thanks for reading,
Cathy
 Thanks to Cathy Rogers for help in writing this post.
This post was published on the Arizona American Mothers blog  
and pending being published on the National American Mothers blog.
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