Christmas Gift Ideas


Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

I know that you are so organized and probably have all your shopping done, right? OH wait this is the REAL moms segment…and if they are anything like me…they are still a few minutes away from having it all wrapped and under the tree!

My tip to get ready for Christmas is: personalized gifts!

It’s the perfect time to order those personalized gifts for Christmas.

  • Picture frames, mouse pads, mugs, water bottles.
  • Calendars…make a personalized calendar for the Grandparents filled with last years pics of the kids.
  • Personalized gifts for teachers…now is a great time to order them!
  • Personalized throw blankets for Grandmas.
  • For the kids you could get: personalized sleeping bags, duffle bags, toys, water bottles, an apron for Mommy’s little helper in the kitchen.

You can pick some great personalized gifts (including the ones shown) here at Lillian Vernon:

Free Shipping on $40+ at LillianVernon.com with promo code 58ECO211 until 11/30/12. Shop for personalized Holiday Gifts & Décor, kids toys, kitchen, office organization and more - personalization is always FREE. - 125 x 125

Affliliate link

And to help you organize all of your gift giving this year I found you a great app!

It’s called Santa’s Bag…

It helps you track everyone on your Christmas List, allow you to budget individually, set gift ideas, and then track when gifts are purchased, if they’ve been wrapped, and how close you are to meeting budget. It’s really an amazing app.

And one other thing you can do right now is start your homemade vanilla with Tommy and Brook’s recipe. I made this a couple years ago and it it amazing! The longer the shelf life the better it is, grab the vanilla beans and vodka and get gifting!

Homemade Vanilla

What is your favorite ‘prepare ahead of time’ kind of gift?

 

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Could MY Child Be the Bully?

Signs That Indicate Your Child is A Bully from my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook.

No parent wants to believe that their child who they raised to the best of their ability could possibly bully or physically hurt another person, but it happens.

It does not indicate that you are a bad mom or that it is a bad home situation, your child could just be poorly responding to conflicts that are happening at school.

I want to emphasize though that all children can show signs of bullying and not actually BE a bully or a danger to others.   Most of the time- the name calling and sticks and stones ARE just a normal part of growing up.

But, there are certain characteristics that can be seen in many children and teens who bully others.
Here are a few signs to watch for:

•If your child has a bad temper and seems to fly off the handle easily then they are likely also blowing up at school. Tempers can easily flare and lead to violence if someone doesn’t know how to deal with anger or frustration.

•A child or teen who bullies often sees violence in a positive light. They may think that fighting and violence is somehow “cool” and will talk about it like it’s no big deal.

• If your child often tries to dominate those around him/her (younger siblings, neighbors etc) then there is a chance that they are showing that same dominance at school.

•A child who is constantly getting into trouble and doesn’t seem to follow rules is likely to bully others and even become violent. If your child gets into trouble regularly for things like skipping class, fighting or disrespecting his teachers then bullying is a huge possibility.

• Anti-social behavior, while this sign may not indicate bullying, it is a warning sign that we shouldn’t ignore because it could lead to violent behavior on themselves or others.

I know it’s hard to imagine that OUR kids could be the ones bullying other children, but Moms, we have to keep our eyes open and pay attention ….and if you have noticed any of these signs and suspect that your child may be a bully, it’s time to sit down with your child and talk to them.

Find out if they are angry and why. Sometimes just talking to your child and giving them the chance to express themselves makes all the difference in the world.

Sometimes using word pictures to encourage compassion. Ask them, “how would you feel if…kids laughed when you read out loud in class?” Talk about specific situations in which you think your child might feel bullied in.

If talking to your child doesn’t seem to be making an impact and you continue to see the signs of bullying, it’s time to bring in some outside help. Talk to a school counselor or a therapist. There is no shame in helping our children navigate these difficult years.

Real moms know that our kids are the most valuable gift we’ve been given, let’s make sure we do all that we can for them!
I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Signs That Your Child Is Being Bullied

This is taken from my segment on Star 105.7 in West Michigan with Tommy and Brook.

I recently read a study that said that 160,000 kids are skipping school every day because of intimidation and bullying. This is not going away Moms, we need to know the signs to look out for in our kids. Sadly, our kids probably won’t come out and tell us so we need to educate ourselves.

Here are list of possible warnings that a child may be bullied and needs your support. Of course, these signs could indicate other problems, but any of these give us reasons to dig a little further.

Warning Signs:

  • Consistently losing things…toys, school supplies, clothing, lunches, or money
  • Or things coming home damage
  • Child comes home starving…bully stole their lunch.
  • If your child doesn’t want to go to school or ride the bus anymore.
    ~Your child complains of stomach aches or head aches when they have to go to school or school functions
  • Withdrawn, talks about feeling lonely
  • Their emotions are all over the place, moody or constantly sad
  • Marked change in typical behavior or personality
  • Your child begins bullying siblings or younger kids. (Bullied children can sometimes flip their role and become the bully.)
  • Waits to get home to use the bathroom. (School and park bathrooms, because they are often not adult-supervised, can be hot spots for bullying).
  • A sudden drop in grades. (Bullying can cause a child to have difficulty focusing and concentrating.)
  • Talks about feeling helpless or about suicide; runs away.

If we see these signs, what do we do?

Ask questions and watch your child’s reactions. Often what a child doesn’t say may be more telling than his words. Pay attention to your child’s body language. If they refuse to talk about it, there is probably bullying behind it.

If you suspect bullying and your child won’t talk to you, see if they will talk with a trusted adult who knows them well. A school teacher, aunt or uncle, friend of the family.

The trick is to figure out if your child is bullied and then where and when it is happening so you can get the right help for your child.

Often you will get more information out of your childs best friend. If you feel they are safe to talk to, ask a close friend of theirs how they are doing.

Make sure your child knows you are concerned and willing to listen whenever they need to talk. Emphasize that you believe in your child and what they are saying.

If the signs continue or intensify, please seek the help of a trained mental health professionals!

 

Next week we’re going to talk about the flip side of this, the signs that your child IS the bully…

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Tips On Dealing with Tantrums


This is taken from my segment on Star 105.7 in West Michigan with Tommy and Brook.

We’ve all either seen it or experienced it first hand. The child in the grocery store that does not get what they want and the sirens go off. First let me say that even though this might be terribly embarrassing, just know that every other mom in the store understands, she’s been there, she’s not judging you, frankly she’s just thanking God that it’s not her at the moment!

The first thing to remember moms is to:

  • Keep Calm

You can either fuel this fire or put water on it by de-escalating the situation.

 

One of the best ways to do this is:

  • A time out

Take the child into another room. If you’re in public go to the restroom.

Sometimes the change of location is like a reset button.

If you’re at home, put them in their bed or crib.

Check out this post on Time-Outs too.

 

  • Never give in

Don’t give them that thing that they want just because you want the tantrum to stop.

You may feel like you’ve taken care of the situation because the child calms down when you give in, but all you’ve done is create the opportunity for this to happen over and over again.

Don’t reward bad behavior, and tell them that you won’t.
“I reward good behavior, not bad.”

I would also encourage you to refer to their behavior as bad or good, not them as a person.
For instance, don’t tell them THEY are bad/good kids, but instead say that their behavior is bad, naughty etc. 

And some basic good parenting is pay attention to what triggers the tantrums.

My kids were always more prone to meltdowns if they were hungry or over-tired, so pay attention to that too. That is probably NOT a good time to go to the grocery store.

And carry snacks with you at all times!

Moms, tantrums are a normal part of raising our kids, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been blessed with a strong willed child…recognize that ultimately that’s a great quality…you just might have some challenges as you channel that energy and teach them what’s rewardable behavior and what’s not.

 

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Simple Tip to Build Our Child’s Self Esteem

Taken from the Real Moms of West Michigan segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook!

Today I have an easy way to build your child’s self esteem.

Ok moms, I want you to imagine yourself walking into work or your child’s school and the first person you see says something like: “Wow, that’s what you’re wearing today?”
Wouldn’t you be devastated??

Well, sadly we do that to our kids sometime. Ok, maybe not YOU , but I do that sometime. You do realize that all these tips are actually centered on me and the ways I’ve blown it as a mom.
Anyways…

Or think about the greeter at the grocery store…how would you feel if they just kind of looked the other way like- Oh it’s YOU again. Which mine probably does because I’m there so much. I really need to work harder at making a more detailed list.

The point is…are we doing that to our kids? Think about how we respond when they walk in a room.

If we want to help our child feel loved; it’s time to light up when they walk in!
A simple smile and some positive words can change your child’s day. I know it sure would change mine.

Instead of: “those pants are way too short” or “come here let me fix your hair.”

Let’s let our kids know how important they are to us!

Build their worthiness.

This is such a simple way to let them know that they are valuable.

Moms, pay attention and light up when those kids walk in the room and let your face reflect how much you love them!

And then deal with the green shirt/red sweatpants combo.

Next week I’m going to give you some tips on dealing with tantrums!

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Best Apps for Moms And A Trip To the Studios

I couldn’t wait to get up to Grand Rapids for Artprize, it’s the largest art competition in the world and it’s only a half hour from my house. I live in the country now but I’m from Grand Rapids so I love getting back to the city! Denise and I took it as a great opportunity to have coffee at Schuler’s book store and then enjoy lunch at Cinco de Mayo on the Monroe Mall.

We stopped in to the studio to do my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook @TommyAndBrook. These guys are the best and I always have a good time when I get to hang out with them!

 

And while we were up there we popped into Wood TV8 to see some Twitter friends Matt Kirkwood @MatthewKirkwood, Emily Linnert @EmilyLinnert, Terri DeBoer @TerriDeBoer and Brett Thomas @daybrett (but he was chatting and missed the picture).
I love their temporary Artprize studio in the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum), it feels like you’re at the Today Show with people standing outside the window waving during the broadcasts.

Ok, and now you need to see what Terri really wears for shoes around the studio:

If you live in the Midwest and you’ve never been to Artprize, I highly encourage you to visit next fall!

OK, so on to the Real Moms segment…

I shared some must have apps for cool moms. Oh yes, the REAL moms ARE the cool moms!

Grocery Gadget Shopping List
Cost: free to $3.99

It creates multiple shopping lists for different stores, matches coupons to shopping items and lets you compare item prices across stores. You can even sync it with other family members in case one of them makes it to the store before you do.

RedLaser
Cost: free to $1.99

It scans the barcode of an item and lists the prices of the product online and at local vendors. This is awesome when searching for anything from peanut butter to appliances. Compare prices in your area!

Our Everyday Lunch
Cost:$0.99

An entire week’s worth of menu options, with each day showing a new recipe, so you’ll never be out of ideas for what to pack yourself for lunch. Plus, the shopping list generator helps you plan ahead.

MomMaps
Cost: $2.99

Mom Maps helps you find family fun places, kid friendly locations on the go! Restarants, museums, playgrounds this app will let you know where the kids are welcome.

 

And I especially love this one:

Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association
Cost: $1.99

– Includes the latest up-to-date emergency information from the American Heart Association.

– Review first aid procedures anytime, anywhere. From your home, to your car, to the wilderness.

– Easy to learn, easy to use, right there when you need it.

– Manage your first aid kit checklist, to be sure you have what you need in an emergency.

– Save your medical information for quick retrieval. Look up your doctor or emergency contacts with a single click.

– Store your insurance information for easy access.

 

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Getting Our Kids To Listen To Us

From the “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook…

Do you feel like your kids don’t listen to you?

You tell your kids to pick up their stuff or turn off the tv and instead of responding they look right through you and you feel like the teacher on Charlie Brown. Waa, waaa, waa.

It might be how you’re saying it.

You might be doing what so many of us do and that is to give your request in the form of a question.

Will you pick up your toys? Now ok?

Stop picking on your brother, ok?

When we add the word “ok” to the end of a request, our child assumes they have the option of not doing it.

What we do, without even realizing it, is relinquish our authority and drag out the process of getting our child to do what we are asking them. Then we continue to ask until we are frustrated and ready to boycott motherhood althogether.

But thankfully, just by changing a few words we can take our authority back.

Moms, the key is to be clear with our requests.

Please pick up your toys now.

Or

Turn off the TV and come to dinner.

Be specific and straight forward. Close that opportunity for debate, stay in charge mom!

It’s an simple fix to a frustrating problem. I hope it helps!

 

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I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Are You Trying To Be Super Mom?

From the “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook…

Are you trying to be super mom?

The truth is, we desperately want to be super moms don’t we?! We want to save the day and create world peace while we’re at it. But that’s just not reality. The truth is that motherhood is taxing to say the least and all of us feel it. I think that we confuse being a super mom with being a perfect mom.

I’m here to tell ya, there’s not one woman out there who is doing this mom thing perfectly.
Read that again because it’s a whole lotta truth.

Not one.

I don’t care if you see women that seem to have it all together, they don’t, being a mom means that we have children and children are unpredictable and messy.

I often say things that I regret and do things that I wish I hadn’t done and by the end of the day I feel guilty that I wasn’t the perfect mom that day.

Moms, I want to encourage you to give yourself a break. It’s never too late to take a deep breath and emotionally start your day over. Whether it’s breakfast or bedtime, forgive yourself and start again.

The bottom line is that no mom is perfect but we are ALL super moms, and sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break.

 

Click on the Star 105.7 tab to listen to this segment.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Wrapping Up the Five Love Languages

Today we wrap up the series of Real Moms segements on the Five Love Languages of Children.

The five basic love languages that the book talks about are:

  1. Physical touch
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Gifts
  5. Acts of service

This might help you figure out which love language speaks love to your child the loudest:

  1. First, pay attention to how your kids show you love because our kids are likely to express love the way they want to receive it.
    Are your little ones giving you lots of compliments or saying “I love you” often, this could indicate that they want words of affirmation from you.
  2. And then pay attention to how they are showing others that they care about them.
    Does your child love giving gifts to their teacher or do they like to give toys away to their friends? This might be a clue that they thrive on “receiving gifts.”

The bottom line is that our kids need all 5 of these love languages, but will most likely respond best to one over the others, so that means that as parents we need to be bi-lingual when it comes to the love languages of children.

Real moms really love their kids and we just want to do the best we can at raising them to be healthy adults and this is a great tool to have in our mom belt to do that!

To hear this and the other segments, click on the Star 105.7 tab.
I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Back to School, Simple Tips for Stress Free Mornings!

Do you hear it, the hallelujah chorus ringing out this morning??

Back to school means that moms can once again go to the grocery store without say “No” 38 times and when we clean up the house at 9 AM it will stay that way for at least 5 hours. Straight. Seriously, for 5 hours in a row, you won’t have to pick up anything that mysteriously appeared on the floor or find any dishes that you didn’t use piled in the sink.

Back to school also means back to crazy busy mornings, can you relate?

The biggest key to a stress free morning is found in one word: planning.

Three tips for a stress free morning:

  1. Bedtime…be consistent as possible. Plan ahead all the little things that need to happen to get them in that bed at a reasonable time.
  2. Set out clothes, backpack and shoes the night before. Shoes have this magical way about them, they disappear when the lights go out, so make sure you know where they are before you go to bed.
  3. Plan ahead for breakfasts and keep it simple.  Give them something that gives them a good start to their day, a whole grain or protein…the teachers would greatly appreciate it if we cut back on sugar in the morning.

A few simple things that can make the world of difference if we do them.

Of course this does nothing for the mornings when the dog gets sick or you spill your coffee all over yourself and the kitchen. Not that any of that has ever happened in my fairy tale life. Oh wait, this is the REAL Moms of West Michigan…yes, that has totally happened to me.

I hope you and your child have a spectacular school year this year!

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

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