Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Think I'm Figuring This Blog Thing Out

You will notice that I figured out how to put the "Tweet"-y thing on my blog, so everyone can Tweet away now. I'm learning these blog gadgets and finding my way through the blog world, with widgets and gadgets and do-dads and thinga-ma-bobs. If you're still figuring out your way around the Blog-O-Sphere and haven't got a clue how to get that Tweet button on your Blogger blog, here is the trick: Tweet Button.

I'm so proud of myself. Yay, me!

Do You Want To Add A Statcounter to Your Blog?

Also, if you are interested in tracking your stats (how many visitors you get, which countries your visitors are coming from), go here.

I am sooooooooo trying to learn as fast as I can, raise 6 kids, do my daily projects and blog for the Mommy Ranters out there that come back faithfully and visit.

Drum Roll For the Shout Outs!

I want to send a shout out to my visitors! Okay, of course, a blog written in the U.S. will have the most visitors based in the U.S. But, I know you are all scattered around the country, so West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, and everyone else in the U.S....thank you for coming here!

To my surprise, I get a lot of hits from India, Belgium, and Hungary! Thank you for visiting!

Denmark, Canada, U.K. and Saudi're the next runners up...Thanks for your loyalty!

Finally, Brazil, Pakistan, Argentina, Greece, Malaysia, New Zealand, Guadalupe, Italy, Ukraine, France and Israel...someone visits Mommy Rantings from each of these countries every day. Thank you so much!

I watch my statcounter religiously...and feel very blessed for every visitor that I get.

Leave Me A Comment...Shout Back

Please leave me a message and let me know where you are visiting from. I am so tickled that you are all so loyal!

Another Shout Out

I want to mention a few blogs that I have found found me and give them a shout out this week for being some cool blogs. (Not to mention these are my recent visitors, so I feel like spreading some love).

Let's start with Coupon Cent Sisters...thank you for all of the cool deals. If the economy stays the same, we're really going to need you!

Help Tawna on her journey to her goal weight. She's got some great ideas for you mommas that want to work off some of that (comes with the territory) mommy weight.

A dear friend from high school (and please don't search for our group Prom pic on my Facebook...), Jenny has some yummilicious recipes on her Never Enough Thyme blog.

Visit MamyBelle and her precious little Baby Belle and ride along their journey of life.

Mormon Surrogate...this woman will sure be blessed in her life. You'll have to visit her to see why.

Pumpkin've got to see the eyes on this little girl!

Mom's Me Time is just about to undergo plastic surgery...ummm, I think that came out wrong...the blog is about to get a facelift. Yes, that's what I meant. Stop on by to get a quick peek at the "before". (Can't wait to see the "after"!)

I Need To Back-Track Through My Follower List..and I Will, Mark My Word!

For now, though, I hope you enjoy bopping through the blogs on this list. Pop by and let me know what you think about them!

Don't forget to tell me where (which blog and country) you are visiting from!!! Thanks!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Potty Training Dilemma

Do you have to check the toilet for random sprinkles prior to sitting on it? Apparently, my invisible child, It Wasn't Me (or it could have been I Didn't Do It - we haven't figured out which one it is), has a bad habit of sprinkling on the potty. (It doesn't help that I have 5 boys...I'm almost thankful that two are still in diapers.)
Unconventional or Lazy Mothering?

I'm not the conventional train-your-child-to-use-the-potty Mom. I figure that, when they are ready, they will let everyone know and start doing it themselves. You could say that it is the Lazy Mom's way of tackling potty training, however I have a hard time believing that forcing a child to potty train is any better than letting them come to that "Y" in the road on their own.

Of course, we'd all love to cut that diaper expense right out of our bill structure...But, if your child is not ready to begin potty training, what is the use of buying the training potty and a bunch of treats to try to coerce them into doing something that will come naturally...eventually?

Yes, your family doctor is going to tell you that, at a certain age, your little person should be attempting to potty train, but there is not one childhood "rule" that is steadfast...

All babies learn to walk at different ages. All babies start eating solids at different ages. They learn how to read at different ages. And, just because Bobby up the street started potty training at two and a half years old doesn't mean that my little Dylan needs to be rushed into it immediately.

It Happens Naturally

In all honesty, I can say that, besides the random sprinkles that magically appear on the toilet seat, all of my children decided to potty train on their own, and without a struggle, they were all "big kids" by the age of 3 and a half. No struggles, no fighting, no getting upset with them for having accidents in their pants.

I just never came up with a good reason to allow myself to get upset with my child over using (or not using) the toilet. I mean, what parent forces their child to potty train? Unfortunately, the majority of parents do it...and, why? Well, because the doctors say that they should be potty trained by a certain age and we want our kids to be on the right track, right?

I Take Growth Time Lines Lightly

Think of it this way: when you are under pressure, as an adult, you may find that you work better, but most of us do better when we are given the appropriate amount of time to learn. A child is not going to learn his or her best under pressure....especially when it comes to potty training. Don't you agree?

Yes, children should reach certain milestones in their life around certain ages. But, all children are different; they do not progress and learn at the same speeds and in the same ways. Even adults learn with different learning techniques. Some techniques work for some people, and other techniques work for others. Children are the same.

So, Why Should All Children Be Expected To Potty Train the Same Way at the Same Time In Their Life?

All of my children have achieved different milestones at different times in their lives. They've all potty trained at different times, too. My oldest four are all potty trained (besides, of course, the annoying sprinkles) and decided that they were going to do so well before the four year old mark. Some were completely trained at two years old and others just made it before school started...

But, the beauty of it is: they all "trained" naturally, when they were ready. 

Encouragement..Even Though I Don't "Force" Potty Training, I Encourage It

I definitely encourage "going on the potty" starting at about two years old. I talk about going potty when I'm changing a diaper, "Won't it be great when you are a big boy and use the big boy potty like your brothers and your sister and Mommy and Daddy?"

Just the other day, I got the answer that I didn't want to hear, "No, I like pooping in my diaper."

"Right, because you don't even have to get up from watching our favorite show or playing our favorite game, but nobody likes to smell that. It's a private thing."

"I like pooping in my diaper." Okay, point made. Not time to potty train. Would it be better if I was mad at him for pooping his pants because the doctor said he should be potty trained by now?

I will dance around and clap and make a great big deal of it when they finally decide to try, though. We have a Poo Poo on the Potty Party. And if it doesn't "work" the first time they try, I tell them something like, "You'll get better at it the more you practice. You'll get it right."

Not All Kids Are Alike

Despite the fact that I choose to allow my little ones to decide when to potty train, I stay honest with their doctors and let them know that I feel better this way. I know that being honest with the doctor allows the ability to discuss possible issues that my child may have that will hinder potty training.

I understand that sometimes there is a reason why children won't potty train - it could be physical or mental - and it will need to be addressed. But, these issues were eliminated by me and the doctor for every single child of mine. Some of my kids wanted to learn fast and others seemed to take forever.

My stubborn child right now just turned three. He's the one that tells me that he likes his diapers. That's not my cup of tea - changing diapers on two little ones every day (because we also have the one year old too). Especially a three year old's diaper! Yuck! But, he's not ready. It's a simple fact. And, I can handle that.

He does use the big boy potty when he wants to - but that's about it. He wants his diapers. I refuse to sit him on the toilet against his will. I refuse to fight with him about "going" on the potty. I refuse to belittle him like he is not growing fast enough and learning fast enough. (Because he's smart as a whip otherwise.) Childhood is tough enough.

I'll Put Thoughts In Their Mind

I "horse-whisper" ideas all the time "into" their minds. Thoughts that, I can only hope, flow into their subconscious mind and convince them that it's time. (I can't tell you it works, but it makes me feel better, so why not?)

"In order to go to school, you need to use the potty like a big boy."

"Like a Big Boy." That's my advertising gimmick for the'll become a Big Boy when you use the Big Boy Potty. How many of you use that one, too?

"Pretty soon Dylan will be a Big Boy and not need diapers anymore..." Big Smile.

"Dakoda's a baby, but Dylan...he's playing the Wii and he can get dressed all by himself. It won't be long until he uses the Big Boy Potty all by himself!"

Sometimes, I might as well be whispering in the wind, but, like I said, it makes me feel good.

For Now, There Are Enough Sprinkles

I'm completely okay with him taking his time with potty training. It means more diapers for now, but it will end soon enough. To be quite honest, I'm glad there are limited sprinklers in my house. I'm sure he'll be ready to leave his mark soon enough.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kid Bullies: Would You Get on the Bus, Too?

I'm ridiculously irate! I was reading Momania today...and I was so mad, steam was coming out of my ears! Another bully-on-the-bus-story...Only, this time, the Dad had enough...and I don't blame him one iota!
Apparently, his daughter (a special needs child, bless her heart) was being bullied and picked on while riding the school bus, but it went further than that! These kids actually PHYSICALLY HURT HIS DAUGHTER! So, he got on the school bus and threatened them after his daughter pointed the culprits out.  


The Outrage!

If your child bullies, threatens, or picks on mine, expect me to be on the bus the next day, letting them have it. And the next day...and the next...until your child stops. In addition, expect me to deal with the bus driver, the school principal, the superintendent of schools, and the school board until I feel like your child has been punished to the extreme that I am happy with.

Even if it means your child is kicked off the bus for the school year and you have to be late to work every day because you have to drop them off at school. If your child bullies my child, it's time to tangle.

You should have taught your child better and you deserve to be late to work! 

Bullying is not acceptable!

They say, "Kids will be kids"...and "They're just kids"...but, they know better than that! If you're raising your kids right, they know better...if you're not teaching them how bullying affects other children, you know better.

On the same token, if MY kids ever bullied someone else, I wouldn't only be extremely embarrassed and disgusted, they would have to deal with some MAJOR consequences...and if a parent got on the bus to let them have it for bullying their child, it would be well deserved!

Something has to change...

Going Through the Proper Channels?

The author of the article, Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, mentioned that you should "go through the proper channels"...prior to getting on the bus and letting the perpetrators have it. (Sorry, Theresa, I beg to differ with you on this one.) IN THIS CASE, where a girl is picked on, smacked upside the head, had her ear twisted...and a condom put on her head (where did they get that?!?!?)...

Then, the mother of the kid that did the bullying had the nerve to stand BY HER SON saying that he was "scared"...give me a break! I can't believe you have the nerve to get on TV (you can check all this out on YouTube) and act like your son was in the right! Your child was wrong and YOU should be ashamed of yourself for allowing him to think anything but that! You are lucky that you're not being SUED because your son PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED that poor girl!

I Hope Those Kids Were Served Some Serious Consequences!

It would take EVERY BONE IN MY BODY to hold me back from spanking those kids! Yelling at them wouldn't even satisfy me. However, I would most likely stop short right after letting them have it like James Willie Jones did.

James Willie Jones, as a father, you had every right to step on that bus and do what you did! Good for you for standing up for your daughter! She'll eventually get over the incident and know that you were there for her...I hope the kids that picked on her are serving some serious time in OUT OF SCHOOL SUSPENSION to learn their lesson.Stop apologizing. No apology needed...good Dads defend their daughters.

Mommy Ranters: What would you do? Would you have gotten on the bus, too? How do you feel about this story? Should he have been arrested? Should he be apologizing?

It's Officially Fall Here

Okay, it's officially fall here... And as much as I despise the idea of cold feet, toes, fingers, ears, nose, and cheeks, I guess I'd better get used to it. The next best thing, in my mind, to the pretty colors that we get to enjoy here in the fall, are the blooming blossoms of the spring...

Unfortunately, as all my friends keep reminding me, I have about 6 (or more) months before I can look forward to that again. Gee, thanks for reminding me...

I can't deny that fall is a beautiful time of year, though, up here in this part of the country. People travel every year to watch how the northeastern trees sprinkle the mountains and countryside with their warm array of colors (I guess that's to deceive us about winter coming). 

"Leaf Watching"

They even give it its own name...Leaf it's an event or sport. (LOL)

So, in an effort to spread the concept of Leaf Watching to all of you, I thought I would share these amazing pics that I found.

This one wouldn't cooperate with me on the page alignment, and to be quite honest with you, I didn't want to fiddle with it...but I really liked it, so...
You see what I mean by "warm colors"? Wow.

Well, Hello, Fall...I hope you're here to stay for a while...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Crafting Ideas For Kids

You have flooded my inbox with requests for more crafting ideas for you and the kids. Guess what? I stumbled across some simple and cute ideas for you! But, that's not all...

Even If You're Not Like Martha Stewart (And, I Hope You're Not!)

Look, not all of us are Martha Stewart wanna-be's (and to be quite honest, I think we need a need a new persona to stick in her place), so don't discount these crafts because you don't have a crafty bone in your body. These crafting concepts are perfect for those of you that cannot figure out how to measure, cut and trim, let alone throw a whole project together. To give you an idea of how simple and clear-cut these projects are: if your spiders turn out looking more like octopuses, you won't have any problem making these.

 Crafters 4 Kids

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sandy Sandler yesterday and am so delighted to tell you about Crafters 4 Kids! It's a non-profit organization dedicated to helping other not-for-profits with obtaining the supplies for crafts for their kiddies. The concept of Crafters 4 Kids is focused toward at-risk or underprivileged children, but it doesn't stop there. These ideas can be used in classrooms all over the country, at home, and in day care facilities. The possibilities are endless...

I took a good look at the whole site, and each and every idea on there is simple. In addition, they're all very lightweight on the wallet.

Who doesn't love economical and easy? 

Halloween Crafts

So, you wanted some more Halloween crafts and Crafters 4 Kids has it for you on their Halloween Craft Page. Figure out how to make some adorable pumpkins, spider webs and goblins to decorate the house with. Or, better yet, you could make the crafts with your kids and send them to their teachers at the schools and day cares that they attend.

Help spread the word about Crafters 4 Kids by creating their crafts and giving them as gifts.

Think About What Crafting Does For Our Children

Beyond using creative and thought-provoking mind-bending skills that crafting inspires, children learn to properly use scissors and glue and several other crafting supplies - they're developing their fine motor skills while they work.

They have to follow directions (another part of learning...and this may include some patience on their part) in order to bring the project to fruition.

The best part? There's an immense sense of accomplishment when a project is finished. "Look what I did!" (Accompanied by big, proud smiles - don't we all love to see them proud?)

In addition, if you've never "crafted" with your children before, you will realize how excited and involved they can get. One small craft can turn into hours of designing innovative creations. (My kids go nuts over some cotton balls and multi-colored pipe cleaners!)

I can't say enough about arts and crafts for kids and how vital they can be for expanding and developing a child's mind. Think about children with learning disabilities, too. How great can crafting be for children that struggle on a daily basis to be "just like the other kids"?

And, with the simple crafts that Crafters 4 Kids displays on their website, anyone can feel that sense of pride and accomplishment.

Look Forward To...

Crafters 4 Kids plans to post new Kideos (I love that-they are videos for our kiddie-oh's) that feature new projects in the future. Also in the plans are even more ideas and projects, so keep checking back!

If you love these fabulous ideas and Crafters 4 Kids' mission statement just as much as I do, help me support them in any way that you can.

Supporting can be as simple as making a craft and sending it to your kid's teacher or loyally following the website. If you have a blog, you can help spread the word about Crafters 4 Kids. If you have a project or products, send a message to inquire how you can get involved.

And, if you are in the position of sponsoring a non-profit organization that is devoted to our kids (and provides us great ideas for crafting with our kids) and you find it in your heart to help Crafter 4 Kids continue their mission, I'm sure they'd love to hear from you. Crafters 4 Kids provides excellent sponsorship packages with awesome benefits, including television, radio and Internet exposure.

Kudos to you, Sandy Sandler and Crafters 4 Kids! Thanks for inspiring us to create cool crafts with our children! Even more...thanks for doing it out of the kindness of your heart.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Lie: What To Do When Kids Lie

Truth or Consequences

Have you ever told a lie? If you are human, there is a good chance that you have. Although, us parents hate to admit it...especially in front of our children.

The truth is: We all lie...and even if it's just a little "white lie", it's still not the truth. We lie to get out of events or appointments that we would rather not attend. I've lied to the kid's pediatrician about the kids sleeping in their crib (see Co-Sleeping: The Real Deal - my kids have all slept in my bed from day one, against doctor's "orders"). And, let's not forget about certain holiday "characters" that I will not mention due to the fact that my children (or someone else's) may read my blog...I think you know who I mean...we tell those white lies and every story that comes with them, too.

I Hate Lying  

Despite the fact that I've lied a few times in my life...(as far as I remember)...

I hate lying. I hate when my kids do it. But, I completely understand the compulsion to do it. You lie because the truth could either get you in trouble or hurt someone's feelings. I think that's the bottom line.

But, lying can be extremely hurtful, too. Have you ever told a friend that they look absolutely fabulous when they really looked terrible in their new outfit? Let me break the news to you: your friend went out in public looking hideous because you didn't tell her that she looked awful. Um...that's hurtful, whether you meant to be or not.

Teach Your Children

It is vital to explain to your children how lying affects other people. Yes, sometimes it's easier to lie to get out of immediate trouble or to hedge around the possibility of hurting other people's feelings. And, sometimes, it's fun to lie and say someone else did it and get them into trouble.

Do the invisible children, "I didn't do it!" and "It wasn't me!" live in your house too? Sometimes, I wonder if I have more kids than I really do, because those two - I didn't do it and It wasn't me - do a lot of stuff around my house. 

Be The Example

In order to teach your children about lying, you need to be honest. If you MUST lie about something, don't let them know that you are doing it (for goodness sake!). We all know, as parents, that children learn by example. If they see or hear you lying, what type of message are you sending them?

Do you remember the phone call the other day when you told your sister that you were "too busy" to meet her for lunch. You had a meeting that started ten minutes ago and you were late...and, right after you hung up the phone, your kids asked you why you lied to Auntie? Duck around the corner, if you must, or practice telling the truth in a courteous and caring manner. "Well, I've just had so much running around to do lately and, to be quite honest with you, I'm just exhausted! Maybe we could meet up tomorrow? I'd love to catch up with you! It's been too long!"

Lying Role Models

Unfortunately, our children have some terrible "role models" to look up to...I'm going to throw out George W. Bush, the former President of the United States! I'm not sure if ANYTHING that came out of his mouth was truthful, yet our children our supposed to look up to him?

As a matter of fact, most of the politicians today seem to have trouble telling the truth...

Church clergy are officials are lying...everywhere we turn, a "role model" figure is telling a fib.

Lying Can Be Hurtful: How To Address It With Your Kids

Talk to your kids about how lying hurts other people. Be completely open-minded and give them concrete examples like the one above (about your friend and their new outfit). Ask them to tell you examples of situations that would prompt them to lie. Discuss "good lies" versus "bad lies". Is there ever an acceptable time to lie, in their opinion? Let them know your opinion about the "good lie" versus "bad lie" concept and if you think there is ever a good reason to lie.

Discuss how not telling the truth can affect more than just the immediate people involved. Talk about the "Big Picture" lies can spread and get bigger than they really ever started out to be. Explain how, although lying can be a quick-fix, it can also quickly snowball into more lies and...ultimately, a great big mess.

Why Would You Lie?

Ask them why they feel compelled to lie. "In what situation would you think you would need/want to lie?" Once you hear their opinions and reasoning about lying, you can help them understand that telling the truth is far better in the long run.

Let them come to their own conclusions by creating several hypothetical circumstances and asking questions. In what type of situation would you lie? Why would you lie? How could lying hurt other people in that particular situation? What are the possible consequences if you lie?

Is lying really the best method for solving the problem? The answer to this question is usually "No".

Talking About Lying

The best time to address lying is when it is not a problem or issue. In other words, come up with a spur of the moment discussion and bring it up rather than waiting for your child to lie. Your children will be more open to discussion and won't feel like they are put on the spot about their own behavior or defending themselves. You might even bring up an instance when YOU lied and tell them that you were wrong...and progress from there.

Who knows? You might even learn something about lying and telling the truth, too!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Fell Off My Chair

So, I have been actively working on Mommy Rantings to bring anyone who is interested some fun, eventful, creative, controversial, and exciting topics. My brain is so full of ideas, it seems I hardly have time to write them all down. What started as a documentary of stories about my children became a bigger project than I ever expected it to be!

With the inspiration and support of some very dear friends (Linda, Chitra, and my very loving husband who admitted that he secretly read Mommy Rantings...and so many others...forgive me if I did not mention are all in my heart) I have brought Mommy Rantings up a notch and plan to continue to deliver. Thank you so much for your support and ideas...keep 'em coming.


At this point, you're wondering why I'm getting so uncharacteristically soggy. LOL.

Here goes...I was quickly checking the comments on Mommy Rantings and realized that I've won an award! I almost fell out of my chair! Are you serious? Nuh-uh! Was it a joke? Are you kidding me? You're serious. Really?

Really! Look: Blog Goddess Awards.

I have thought twice about several of my recent posts, hoping that I wasn't offending other parents by saying not only what is on my mind, but throwing out there what I consider "The Real Deal" - raw, real, no holds-barred content. Sometimes, you take a chance and you get a great response. Other times, you lose readers and make people mad.

I can now proudly display my Blog Goddess Award! (Now, I have to figure out how and where to display my award on the blog). But, to be really honest, I am ultimately honored and humbled.

Thank you so much, Blog Goddess Awards and thank you to my followers and visitors...if it wasn't for the support that you all give me in your emails and comments, Mommy Rantings wouldn't be "alive" today. You guys are the best! Keep coming back for more...and I will do my best to keep giving you what you are looking for.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spanking: The Controversy

I have already established that I break some of the "Good Parenting" rules, so I might as well move onto the "No Spanking" rule...
To Spank Or Not To Spank? 

It's the controversial topic of the century! Parenting magazines, online forums, talk shows, Supernanny and even Dr. Phil has an opinion about spanking. If we don't spank our kids, we're bad parents for not raising them to be well-mannered, respectful little people. 

If we do spank them, watch out! DSS or DHS or DHHS (depending on which state you live in) will be knocking at your door for child abuse. In addition, Dr. Phil and a whole slew of child psychologists will be telling us that we are terrible, unworthy parents that are "changing the people that they are" by spanking them.

In addition, we are raising bullies or chaotic children that will run around thinking that hitting is okay if we spank. So, are they actually saying that everyone who was spanked as a child grew up to be a bully? And, we all run around thinking we can hit our adult friends? 

Come Knock On My Door!

Well, Department-of-whoever-you-are: come and knock on my door, because I HAVE spanked my kids! And, when you come visit me, be prepared to be introduced to well-behaved, courteous, and good-mannered children. Have you met any of those lately? Well, of course not, because you don't ALLOW parents to raise their children anymore!

The Limitations

We have the local and the national government trying to tell us what works and what doesn't as parents. Well, let's see...crime rates have risen, the behavior of children is far worse now than it has ever been, and this new, confused "Millennium" generation is so lost, I'm not sure they'll ever get back on track. What's the biggest factor that has changed since things started going ballistic in the parenting/childhood category? SPANKING.

The Department of Social Services...(again, they are known by different names, depending on which state you live in) will openly tell you that as long as you spank your child on the rear end with an open hand in a controlled manner, it IS NOT child abuse.

The common denominator of all of the problems and issues concerning children nowadays comes down to children NOT getting spanked anymore...sad, but true.

Do I Really Think Spanking Works?

Okay, I'll be honest. Spanking is not my first choice when it comes to discipline. I prefer time-outs over spanking any day (and time-outs usually do work) and taking away privileges (and, boy, do they hate this!). 

But, when it came all the way down to it, what worked for our parents? Spanking. We behaved because we did not want to be spanked. We listened because we didn't want to be spanked. We had manners because we did not want to get spanked. We ate our food at the table because we did not want to be spanked. We did what we were supposed to do because we did not want to be spanked, plain and simple. 

I disrespected my mother because I knew she wouldn't spank me...but my Dad...I wasn't going to cross him. Why? Because he would spank me! How many people remember their mom saying, "Just wait until your father gets home!"? I think I made my point.

There is a hierarchy for discipline, of course, you wouldn't just start wailing on your kid for not doing their homework...that's so 1900! We're in 2010, here, and we've got to be smarter parents. 

So, What Are We Supposed To Do?

Look, I'm not saying to spank your kids for everything that they do wrong. No, way! And, I'm definitely not promoting the terrible abuse that parents think is okay - you know, the dad that said that he was "Play Boxing" with his little two year old and ended up killing him. Dejesus, you were seriously trying to teach your son to box and accidentally hit him in the face several times - and killed him?

That cowardly excuse for a father (and, I'm trying to be ladylike here) needs to rot UNDER the jail! Let me at him, judge! That baby NEVER deserved anything like that, even if he was being naughty! Two-year-olds don't require spankings (their age group, and younger, is more at the time-out level), let alone being popped in the face!

And, no child needs to be beaten - or killed - for that matter. 

I'm talking about a spanking, not a beating. I'm not talking about belts or whips or even wailing on a child. Three pops on the butt usually works just fine for me, if it comes down to it. 

Let me make this clear: Parents that can't control their own behavior should not put their hands on their children. Spanking should not be done out of anger or when you are pushed to your limit.

There Must Be A Better Way

Of course, there are better ways to discipline our children! And, my honest feeling is, if these methods of discipline work, well, why even turn to spanking? But, there are certain occasions when a pop on the butt is called for - and that's that. 

Techniques Other Than Spanking

I definitely recommend using other techniques, and 99% of the time, "other methods" are my choice for disciplinary measures. Prior to handing out any form of discipline, you will need to make sure that you lay out the "Actions Versus Consequences Rules and Regulations of Life". 

In other words, make sure that your kids understand that there are consequences for every action that they choose in life - they should understand that some "consequences" (or rewards) will be great and others (for bad choices and behavior) will be negative.  

Then, you need to stick to handing out the consequences. This - in my opinion - is parent's biggest downfall today. They are so inconsistent when it comes to discipline that their children have NO IDEA what to expect. Give them clear expectations for their actions -whether good or bad - and let them know what the "consequence" will be and then stick to it. Here are some ideas:

1) I've mentioned the "time-out", and I've seen so many parents fail miserably at even attempting the time out method with their children. Eventually, they give up. If this method doesn't work for you, you're doing something wrong.

2) Try to find a "happy medium" where your child can behave and you can be happy. In other words, negotiate. (I do not agree with this one, although there are too many times when I do it.)

3) Give yourself a time out. I have looked right in my misbehaving child's eye and told them: "I am so upset with you right now that I need a time out." Wait until you see their reaction! If you have never seen a speechless child, try this technique and walk away.

4) Make sure your child is getting the appropriate amount of food and sleep - lack of either one can cause bad behavior. 

5) Take away their favorite ________. You fill in the blank. What could you take away from them that would really hurt their feelings? I mean...make them think about their actions.And, don't give it back until the time has been served.

But, When All Else Fails...

For your children that are between the ages of four and upwards, if all of the "other" techniques on the planet don't work for you, calmly reach out and pop them on the butt three times. I bet they'll listen to you the next time around!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Co-Sleeping: The Real Deal

 I admit it - I broke the rule. I have "co-slept" with all of my children since day one. Yes, I did it despite the doctor's chastising, questioning and nagging. I heard all of the reasons why co-sleeping was against the "Good Parenting" rules and I still broke the rule, regardless.

What is Co-Sleeping?

Plain and simple: it's when you allow your children to sleep in your bed with you. At least, that's my take on it.

My last two co-sleepers
Didn't you ever want to climb in bed with your parents when you were little? I know I did. I know I felt safer after a bad dream when I nestled into my parent's bed...and, to be quite honest, I don't remember anywhere else I felt so safe and sound.

Why Did I Break the Rule?

The doctors always asked the half-statement-half-question at the regular check-ups, "And (insert child's name) sleeps in his/her crib?"

My answer way always, "No." Some days, when I simply didn't feel like dealing with the badgering that came after my answer, I would lie, "Why, of course, they sleep in their crib." But, for the most part, I gave the reluctant, "No."

And, the lecture began. SIDS, SIDS, SIDS. Something about rolling over on your baby (Are you serious?) and the lengthy list that they had for reasons not to sleep with your brand new little precious bundle.

Apparently, they didn't convince me. Let's just say that I decided to do my "scientific research" on my own. I'll break down the statistics for you: out of 6 of my kids, I never rolled on any of them while I was asleep. They never got tangled up in the blanket and the pillows. They didn't suddenly stop breathing while they were sleeping.  

None of them had any issues with sleeping in my bed.

As A Matter of Fact...

They all sleep deeper and sounder right next to me where they can hear that heartbeat that was so calm and soothing for the first 9 months of their life. They can hear or feel or at least sense my breathing, too. And, I believe that my warmth next to them is quite soothing as well.

I have tried the other scenario. Put them in their own bed. Yes, and sleep less for it. Especially when they are sick. That's just not for me.

I chose co-sleeping because the little ones feel safer and sleep better than in their own bed. Look at nature. How many animals can you think of that co-sleep? New puppies, new kittens, baby bears...birds even co-sleep in the nest. Most animals are co-sleepers. And, that's not okay for us?

Besides, look at them! If they want to sleep with Mommy and it helps them to sleep better...I see nothing wrong with it. 

I've Said It Before

Read back through my'll see that I state clearly that I'm not a perfect mother. (If you are, I'd LOVE to hear from you! Click on my contact page and send me a note). But, all of these ridiculous "Good Parenting" rules that are placed on us are quite against the feeling and tendencies of nature. It is natural for me to feel like my baby/child feels safer sleeping near me.

If you choose to heed the warnings and pushy and opinionated "advice", go ahead and NOT co-sleep with your children. Go ahead and stick them in that cold and lonely crib. I'm not going to judge you as the doctors and "Good Parents" judge me...

Don't Tell Me They'll Never Move Out

They eventually move out of the bed on their own. I've learned that through my own, there! My research shows that four out of my six children are now completely grown out of my bed, one is very close to being in his own bed, and the last one...well, I'll cherish that for as long as I can. There are no statistics out there that will change that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best Hayrides in the Fall

Picture credit:

What is fall - or Halloween, for those of us that celebrate it - without making our way to the cornfields or the pumpkin patch for a hayride?  I don't think my children have actually made it through one fall without that must-do trip on the hay wagon. We've been on the horse-drawn wagons and the tractor pulled wagons, and I think I'll leave it up to the children to come up with which type they prefer (but I think I like the horse-drawn carts for the leisurely strolls. However, for the hayrides that clunk through haunted trails, the tractor pull with the bigger wagons are my preference). What do you think?

A New Place For the Holidays

This year, we can get excited. We're no longer in the Carolinas...Buffalo is our spot for spooky adventures this year. If you live in the Buffalo area, you probably already know about the Fri-Howl-O-Ween Hayrides at The Buffalo Zoo. We can't wait! They're going to have doughnuts, apple cider, some free treats, and it only costs $9 for non-members (if you have your membership at the zoo, you're in luck - you will only have to pay $6). They only do this on October 17, 18, 24, and the 25th.

Get In Line!

We plan to get there early, as we are sure that the lines will be craaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzy!

Costume Time

The kids just asked me last night when we are going to get their costumes, and I gave them the diplomatic answer that I normally try to stick to: if you behave and take care of all of your responsibilities as you should, we might be able to get your costumes this weekend. That inspired a big, "Yay!", although I am sure that they won't hold up their end of the bargain as usual.

Sorry, Linda (Survive the Cost of Living), I'm Not Saving A Penny This Year!

I still plan to get out there to the stores and get their costumes this weekend. No, you won't find the do-it-yourself costumes on our kids this year. The store-bought ones, whether they rack up to a total of $150 or not, are my costumes of choice this year, and we'll be hitting the stores before everything in there whittles down to next to nothing.

I never look forward to the costume shopping escapade, but for some reason, I always come out of it feeling good. Maybe it's the kids always seems to rub off. Either way, we're geared up for some excitement and adventure this year! We've already scoped out our trick-or-treating route! :)

What are you doing with your kids this year?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do It Yourself Fall Crafts: What's Halloween Without Crafting?

It's Halloween craft time! Pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows and all sorts of scary looking monsters have already found their homes in neighbor's yards and the weather is definitely a bit crisper for us northern people. I'm still not completely ready for the weather change - I'm holding my breath for another month of gorgeous weather, but I'm not going to hold it in for long.

In the meantime, as promised, I am rounding up the cutest DIY projects -I've been searching long and hard on the Internet - and I will be posting the links to their directions so you can run to the store, get your supplies, and start making them yourself! What's Halloween without the arts and crafts?

Isn't this adorable? I found it on  Kaboose! It's great for any age and is so easy to reproduce!Fill it up with whatever you choose...but, I would suggest you think beyond filling it with candy. It wouldn't survive a day in my house if I filled it with candy!

I just loved these almost cuddly-looking skeletons with their smiling faces. I found these and their instructions on Woman's Day. Be careful of the buttons and attachments if you have little ones running around the house.

Hostess (With the mostess) has the complete instructions for these Halloween decorations. Again, this one is great for any age that is ready for scissors - and it's great exercise for the little fingers, too! Not to mention, it's easy on the wallet.

If this is not colorful and tasty looking to you, with all of the Halloween/fall colors included, I don't know what is! I bet it smells delicious when it's cooking, too! But, surely if the children won't eat it, they'll still have some fun creating it. Find the recipe at Just Bento!

These little cups are a quick project for the last-minute party treat. I found them on The Crafty Crow (who, by the way, also lists several other ideas for Halloween DIY), however, the link that Crafty Crow provided no longer worked. I would say that you simply decorate the cups with a thin marker and then fill the cup with colored popcorn (do they sell it like that? Most likely not). A sugar, water and food coloring mixture cooked over the stove is the way to create the colorful popcorn (It also works for Christmas tree string popcorn, too!)

I love this one, too! It's crafty-looking, but has that tattered Halloween appeal. Find this (and she has other awesome ideas, too!) at Vanilla Joy. I really liked this one, too! Paper Bags are so versatile:

Join in the fun and leave comments on this post with your favorite DIY Halloween/Fall crafts for us, too. Don't you just love Halloween? There are so many endless ideas for the do-it-yourself-er!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Microchipping Our Children At School?

Hmmm....microchipping our children? Would you do it? Apparently, our schools and - believe it or not - the FDA thinks this is a great concept...

The image that you see here is a pet microchip. This is what we normally think about when the word "microchip" is mentioned. Millions of us have microchipped our dogs, cats, bunnies and several other of our precious pets that have a tendency to roam. And, for your pets, the microchip system seems to be working better than not using them at all.

So, why not do it to our children? Missing kids are constantly being reported every day...wouldn't it be great if we could just tap into the GPS inside the microchip that is implanted in the child and....Viola! Location found, child found. Quickly and painlessly. The whole "missing kid" issue is over. No more missing kids on milk cartons and posted on Wal-Mart walls. No more sad stories on the evening news about authorities finding the body of a child near a...

Not So Fast!

But, the microchip system for pets is still being modified, refined, and improved...and we've been microchipping our pets for over two decades now! In addition, the pet microchip system functions in a "responsive" way, rather than in real-time. In other words, a pet has to be found before the microchip can be scanned and the pet's owner's information can be extracted from the database. What if the pet was stuck somewhere and never found? The pet microchip system wouldn't help that scenario at all.

So, the microchip system for children will most likely require a lot of experimenting and hundreds - if not thousands - of live guinea pigs to start the whole experimentation process off. Whose kids are going to be the guinea pigs? Certainly not mine, let me tell you. What would the side effects be for humans? Would there be radioactivity involved for the tracking system? What about reactions?

There are too many "What If's" for me on this topic.

Would You Microchip Your Child?

Really, would you do it? I am completely tossed up on this whole notion. Would I microchip my children? Honestly, at this point in time, I would have to say, "No." Until the local, state, and national government agencies designed and implemented a nationwide microchip initiative that has amazing technological, including GPS, abilities that were proven to work in every case (or 99.9% of cases), I would stand my ground about not microchipping my little ones.
I'm not saying that the idea is bad at all...I'm simply stating that I don't think we are anywhere near ready to start implanting any chip into our kid's bodies. 

However, if there was already a system that was proven to work if a child was lost, I would have to seriously grant the concept a second thought. 

Did you know that schools are microchipping children?

If your child's school is microchipping your child, you most likely know it already. There are a few schools now participating in this microchip theory...but it's not as bad as you think. They are not inserting the microchips into the kid's bodies at this point in time...they are simply putting the microchips in backpacks and sewing them into the pockets of shirts to track the children in school. I was actually surprised to see how well their tracking systems works with this technology. (Check out CNN for the video.)  The monitors function in real-time and the teachers feel like they can spend less time "keeping track" of children and more time teaching and nurturing. 

The idea is spreading like an epidemic, as there are now many schools joining the microchip venture. Unfortunately, there are always problems and issues with technology and the new systems that rely on it.

What happens when the system goes down or is unusable or malfunctions without the knowledge of the school? Is the safety of the children jeopardized because the teachers are no longer consciously monitoring the children as they normally would? Will our children really be safer? I guess we'll just have to sit back and see.

I Think I'll Pass...

In the meantime, while all of the initial studies, tracking and reporting are being conducted, I'll have to decline the microchip for my own children and stick to the old-fashioned method of physically keeping track of them (which is like second nature to a parent, anyway) for the time being.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chivalry: Are You Raising A Gentleman?

During one of my weekly escapes to the grocery store, I happened to hear part of a conversation on the radio about today's children - particularly teenagers and the "lost" group that are heading into their 20's. The guy on the radio station was talking about how the "gentleman" in this world are quickly becoming extinct. Commentators were calling in and announcing their beliefs and the majority of opinions were strongly (and sadly) suggesting that we're not raising boys to be gentleman anymore.

This generation has yet to be named...following the Baby Boomers (Generation X) and the Echo Boomers (Generation Y-that's me)...I think we're still stuck wondering what the heck this generation should be named. And, unfortunately, there are parents out there that are not giving this upcoming generation a fighting chance at being the decent, hard-working and courteous people that a lot of us were (supposedly) raised to be.

Disclaimer: I'm Not The Perfect Mother

Of course, I'm not the perfect mother (are you?), however I can proudly say that my boys (and, in case you haven't been "following" me for long, I have 5) will kindly open the doors for me and other people at restaurants, school, and the various places that we visit during our hectic lives. Opening doors for other people has become an automatic habit, and because they get praised so much for it, I often find myself breaking up the instant arguments that occur and delegating whose turn it is to open and hold the door each time. 

The Expectations Haven't Changed, Why Have We?

Women still expect to be treated like queens by their man, and that's probably never going to change. So, why have we relaxed the values that we teach our children? "Boys don't hit girls", put your coat over a puddle so that she can save her favorite heels, open doors for people...the list goes on and on. Are we still teaching our children these "old-fashioned" values that never diminish with the evolution of time? It seems we are not.

I say that the expectations are still there because I found statistics from a study that was documented by Fooyoh Entertainment that stated 56% of us women would be pretty upset if the man in our life Tweeted or FB'd us in lieu of purchasing a Hallmark card for Valentine's Day. Do you think he even knows that about us? Do our sons know this? My kids love to make cards. If there's an occasion, there's a card to give. Why not continue to teach our children the heartfelt value of a handmade (or store bought and specifically hand-picked) card?

It's Just the Little Things...

If we impress upon our sons of this yet-to-be-coined generation that it is mainly about the little things in life, like being kind and...well, what other way to say it than: "treating others the way that you want them to treat you", and mean what we say by showing them with our own actions, maybe we can change the generation around. Keep reminding them: No hitting, no fighting, no doors for people to show how courteous you can be and, most importantly, make sure to buy the women you love (or, better yet - hand-make them) an appropriate card for all of the special occasions in life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Memorable Children Books & Gifts Has A Big Heart

I was recently invited to sign up to be one of the first 30 people to receive...

But, this time, the "contest" was different. We have turned into a results-driven marketing world, where people will follow anything in hopes to get the result that they are looking for. You indulge in that sometimes, right? Okay, well I do.

This time, it was a book for my child. Every mother knows that you can never have enough books for your child. In addition, what child does not love a nice, smooth, shiny new book to feast their eyes on? The children enjoy soaking up the fresh, bright pictures and illustrations and new stories that came along with them. My kids happen to be the type of children that go nuts over new books.

There was a slight problem...

In my house, when there is one new book, there must be five other to accompany it, so that all the children are satiated. If not, the question: "Who's book is that?" "Oh, I wanted that book!" "How come I didn't get a book?"...enough said. One book is simply not enough in this household.

That wasn't a problem with Ella of Memorable Children Books & Gifts. She asked me how many children I had, what my address was and told me that my books were on their way. After I realized that I actually made it in the "first 30" group, I thought, "Wow, that's great, she's sending a couple of books!"

Boy, was I wrong!

No, Ella didn't send my kids a couple of books. She sent SIX books. One for each kid. And, would you believe that they actually matched the children's ages perfectly, like they were hand picked by someone who knew them. An all-time favorite Dick and Jane book was in the package...I ended up reading it nearly four hundred and sixty five times in the next few days.

Just think of the smiles that she brought to my childrens' faces! What she did was very special to us. I guess she knows what an amazingly wonderful, eye-opening, and mind-stretching gift that a book is for a child. I assume that's why she treasures books, too. We wish her luck in the Leading Moms in Business 2010 Competition! 

Visit Ella at for a selection of books and other keepsakesythat are great ideas for gifts or simply "just because". Be sure to sign her guest book and keep her in mind when books are on your shopping list.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Getting in the Fall Mood

We're ready for Fall. Are you? We love the Fall festivities, however the recent drop in temperatures up here in Buffalo has me and the kids shivering already. The children are gearing up for the first day of school on Wednesday and the excitement for hayrides, pumpkin patches (see link to right if you live in the Buffalo, NY area), corn mazes, picking apples...and drinking hot apple cider are just a few of our favorite Fall things that we look forward to doing. I can almost smell the spicy aroma of fresh, hot apples and cinnamon just sitting here thinking about it.

The truth is, Fall brings the breathtaking beauty of nature, with warm and crisp colors and awesome family fun holiday activities that most of us enjoy and look forward to tremendously. All of the excitement makes the cooler air and the fact that winter is pending much more bearable. My children are at the age now where they still enjoy the pumpkin patches and corn mazes, but paying a visit to some haunted is houses is definitely in their little minds this year. The oldest 4-now ages 10, 9, 8, and 5 (but he'll be six on Halloween)-are ready for some Halloween thrills this season! We've You-Tubed some videos of people at haunted houses, screaming and squealing, and my kids say that, for sure, they won't be screaming this year. We know better though, don't we? The anticipation is killing me right now. This is going to be an awesome season!

Of course, pumpkin carving and decorating and baking cookies and cupcakes are in the makings, too. We are so geared up for this season! So, spark up the fireplace on the first cool night, tell some ghost stories and cuddle up this Fall while the weather changes and the leaves begin their process of creating awe-inspiring displays.

Don't miss out on anything this year in the Buffalo area by visiting my Associated Content articles.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fall Festival Begins

I am well aware that Fall is not here yet, you summer bunny Mommas (I'm a summer bunny, too), however, us "planners" and "thinkers" are already geared up for a season of fun before the winter comes.

So, here at Mommy Rantings, the Fall Festival is ready to begin, with Halloween and costumes and...some wonderful surprises. Today, however, I'd like to point you in the direction of another mom blogger that has a jump start on me in the Fall Festival series. She has some ideas that will save on those expensive costumes AND make your kids happy!

Visit Survive the Cost of Living For The Halloween Ideas

And, come back and share your ideas, too!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How To Effectively Handle Back To School Drama

It may be exciting and relieving, to say the least, to ship the kids (back) off to school in the Fall, however I have heard (and experienced) numerous stories about the Back To School blunders, mishaps, drama, and complete and utter screw-ups that inspire thoughts of homeschooling. Most are problems and issues on the end of the education system, but I'm not going to point any fingers (or maybe I just did?).

Our teachers and administration in the school systems work very hard and I admire their dedication...but no one, including our education system, is perfect. If you do find anyone (or any establishment, for that matter) that is perfect, please let me know...

My children have yet to start school. They seem to be the last of the masses to enter back into some form of reality, with a start date this year of September 8th. Others, however are weeks into their school year and have passed those hair-raising moments that drive every parent crazy: the Back to School Drama!

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad First Day Back to School

One fellow mother sent me an email to elaborate on her teenager's terrible first day back to school. It reminded me of Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Let's start with the fact that the bus never showed up in the morning, and then when he finally made it to the school, there was construction still going on (why wasn't that finished prior to the beginning of school?) and the kids could hardly hear a thing all day. Of course, his class schedule was a mess and he was lost several times throughout the day.  To top it all off, the bus brought him home an hour later than it should have.

That's the true story of the 2010 First Day of School for one poor kid. I'm sure that this story is just the tip of the iceberg for Back To School 2010...(Send me your stories to add to this one...I'll write a follow-up blog to highlight them.)

Preparing for Anything

So, I have some advice for you's not "How to Make the First Day of School Perfect"...we've already acknowledged that nobody (and nothing) is perfect. However, we can prepare our children for anything that may happen.

Call it a "Trial Run"

It's okay to tell your children not to expect a perfect first day back to school. Prepare them by telling them to expect things to be hectic and a little messy. I think it's quite all right to let them know that teachers and bus drivers and school administration are all starting their first day, too, and this is a "trial run" for everyone. You could explain how large dramatic productions are practiced week after week after week, and then the final theatrical display occurs. School is similar, in a way, where it takes several practices or "trial runs" before everyone gets it right.

I'm not saying to scare your children...absolutely not! But, how scary is a day like the one I mentioned when you are a kid that is ready for a fun and exciting (not to mention, organized) first day back to school? The kids are full of energy and ready to get back together with all of their school buddies...What I am saying is to simply let your kids know that the first day back to school may be confusing and, quite possibly, intimidating, and that is okay.

Expect Problems...

Explaining that bus drivers are just learning the routes, just like the kids are learning their way from class to class, and that the bus may be late (or it might not show up at all) may lighten up the stress. Act and talk like these "tiny mishaps" (as some school officials may call them) is all a normal part of the "back to school" process .

Most of all, (and if you are a mother like me that will stress over the little details), take it easy yourself. Your kids are going to pick up on your anxiety and that will only make the situation elevated. If we, as parents, prepare our kids to expect an exciting-but not necessarily perfect-first day back to school, they'll make it through the day, hiccups or not, with positive anticipation for a better and more organized second day of school.
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