Posts filed under Raising Girls

Backyard Transformation: Kids Garden!

Woo Hoo it's finished! We are so excited for our Kids Garden reveal! Did you catch the live reveal on Facebook this past Saturday? If not you can see it here: Mighty Girls Rock

 

That was our first live broadcast. I can't tell you how nerve-racking it is doing a live video. If you didn't notice, my kids starting a sibling rift in the middle (insert laughter/crying emoji)! You should watch it again. At one point Bella just walked off... That is typically how we operate these days.

Moving on... here are the before pics so you can get an idea of the transformation. We converted a muddy corner of our yard. It doesn't get much sun and it's more of a pain when it rains and the dog tramples through it. We knew we wanted some sort of ground coverage. The kids typically play back there anyways so I thought why not make it theirs?

Before and After...

Off The Beaten Path

In the early stages of planning I knew I wanted a path to wrap around the tree. We used some old tree branches and large river rocks that we had around the yard. We filled in the rest with some smaller river rocks and gravel.

Frankie and Ella!

These super cute lawn gnomes I actually found at Target's Dollar Spot!! The girls named them Frankie and Ella. The little mushroom spikes are from Menards.

Yes, there is a peek a boo grass patch because mushrooms don't grow in mulch. I want to say that was intentional but it we ran out of the landscape liner. It will eventually die.... 

Dinosaurs!

Our garden wouldn't be complete with out these buddies! This was Ryleigh's favorite part and I waited until the next day to surprise her. I told her I thought there were dinosaurs out there eating our hostas because they looked munched on.  She ran out there and came back yelling...

"Mommy you tricked me!! But they aren't really eating the plants because they are fake!"

She squealed with laughter and ran back out to the garden. My little 4 year old logical thinker.

Fairy Garden

Our fairy garden was probably the best part for the girls. They have been begging to create one for the past year! Not only did they pick out the accessories but they help in creating it. I told them that if you create a welcoming garden the fairies will come. We are waiting for sime fairies to drop a little surprise to let us know they settled in. The majority of the fairy accessories came from Hobby Lobby. They have a great selection!

While we were adding the fake moss sheets we actually discovered REAL moss in our yard! So some of those little bits are the real thing. 

The main fairy house is my favorite! We placed it on one of our very flat river rocks. 

I used an artificial succulent stem to create a small little bush. It's right behind the smaller fairy house and fits perfectly.

Hopscotch Pavers

A Pinterest success! This is super easy and so much fun! With a couple cans of spray paint, some outdoor paint, and a foam brush you can easily create this in a couple hours.

Little Extras

We had an old Minnie Mouse watering can that the kids kept kicking around so this was a perfect solution. Once the flowers start to bloom bigger it will look gorgeous. 

Our little toad stool was a total last minute find at Walmart. It's meant for sitting on and I think we are going to get a second one and create a little tic tac toe area for the kids to play.

What do ya think of our kids garden?

What Sensory Processing Looks Like in Our Home

It's not something that I've mentioned before. I cautiously examine the details I share online about my kids, mostly to protect their privacy. Certain stories are fun to share and the regular mommy bloopers are fine but something as personal as this I have been hesitant with.

One of the reasons I did decide to share is because Sensory Processing Disorder is often missed or mistaken for "just being a kid". This too is what I tried to tell myself at her 2 year developmental screening. It was recommended that we seek further evaluation and I laughed and thought how crazy with just a 10 question survey.

Sensory struggles don't just occur with over-stimulation. In many of our instances it occurs with under-stimulation (Hypo-sensitivity). This means that the child is craving more input than what would normally be needed.


It can come in the form of putting everything in her mouth. This comes with licking cars, doorknobs, feet, and more.

It's in the way that she talks and gets frustrated because we still have a hard time making out her words with her language delay.

It's having to break down simple steps each and every time, such as putting on her shoes, because of poor motor planning.

It's the rough house playing and jumping on a trampoline all day to get her energy out in time for bed.

It's doing things impulsively that shows her lack of safety.

It's the screaming in the middle of the night from night terrors even though she is not awake.

It's the fear that she will one day walk out the front door and get lost.

Sound Familiar? This is just the tip of the iceberg.


As I sit here now, after our 4th meltdown of the day (just before bed is a common meltdown) I can hear her start the nightly unwinding. I can hear the grunting and deep breaths as she slowly wears herself out with her repetitious movement. I hear the little pounding of her feet as she jumps up and down in place with a dead stare up to the ceiling. Then she drops it down for her hand gestures on the ground like she is scratching, which is then brought up to her face. She likes to start a gallop next. Back and forth twice and she starts the routine all over again.

Normally you wouldn't think much of a child hopping up and down or galloping back and forth. It's the hand gestures that people notice. It's the intense look she gives them as she puts all of her energy into that movement. That's what draws their stare. She will do this routine for as long as she needs. Sometimes it's just for a couple seconds other times it will last an hour. There is no stopping this behavior. This is called stereotypical behavior and it doesn't just happen before bed. It happens all day long. It's noticeable worse when we're off schedule. 

Schedule is extremely important.

If I had known better, she would have gotten the help she needed. We would have been more educated on how we could help her. We could have changed the way we disciplined her realizing that by not understanding we were only causing more anxiety and self esteem issues in our little girl.

It's a journey and very much a learning experience. I call her my little sensory puzzle as we discover new things about her everyday. It's helpful to understand your child better and realize they are not intentionally careless but their body can't help but be floppy and uncoordinated.

Their actions are not purposefully disobedient. 

I no longer repeatedly holler at my daughter to sit up right in the middle of her chair because I can understand that she constantly needs one foot touching the ground to feel secure and sometimes her short little legs can't do that the way I want her to sit. Each night when I check on her before I would turn down, I would always have to pick her up off the floor as her legs would hang over the bed. Now we have a fun tent in the corner of her room as we learned she is more comfortable sleeping on the floor. Hard surfaces help her sleep better through the night.

It's the little things that you don't even think are things until you realize how they can emotionally impact your child's development. 

This is why I am sharing with you today because this is often misunderstood and goes undiagnosed. Kids are often thought of as problem children and they don't get the help they deserve. It's even harder when they are school aged. As a parent you know your child the best and if you feel in your gut that something is off don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I've heard things like...

"just being a kid?"

"In my day we did exactly that"

"She just has a lot of energy"

"All kids are clumsy"

"She doesn't understand boundaries"

"You are not disciplining her enough"

Imagine if you were a kid who did things that no one understood but you couldn't help yourself. Then imagine getting yelled at day in and day out and feeling so alone. Yeah, my mommy guilt set in! When were finally realized I felt so awful for how we were so blind to her needs.

Don't get me wrong, my child is still a bad a$$ tough girl and she is super smart, but she also needs a little help too.

Recommended reading*...

*affiliate links are included in this post that help support the website.

Posted on April 12, 2016 and filed under Parenting, Raising Girls, Happy Mama.

Daisy Scout Love Tubes: Zinni Considerate and Caring Petal

I loved this idea so much! All the girls were so excited and the parents loved it too!!!

It was part of a Valentines celebration but this can really be done so many different ways all throughout the year.

Love Tubes:

Materials:

  • Crystal light tubes (shown in  pictures), toilet paper or paper towel roll use resources wisely!
  • craft paper
  • Pencil, Markers or crayons (to write with)
  • fun stickers
  • Red Sharpi
  • cloth squares (2 for each tube) *if your using toilet paper rolls
  • rubber bands (2 for each tubes) *if your using toilet paper rolls
  • tape or washi tape

Using toilet paper rolls-cut your craft paper to the size of your paper roll. Enough to wrap around the tube and an extra half inch. Use tape to secure the paper. If you have some extra on the ends you can fold it over the role. Seal one end with a piece one of the square cloths and a rubber band.

For everything else- Have each girl put her name on their tube with the sharpi marker.

Cut out strips of craft paper for the girls to write their notes on. I suggest a width of  inch. Length will depend on the size of your tube.

Start with one of your girls and have each of the girl scout sisters write something nice on a strip of the craft paper. It can be one word or a sentence. **I actually wrote out several different words for the girls to use in case they got stuck. Having the words in front of them or on a sheet of paper will help with the spelling and keep the notes a surprise!

When the girls are done writing their "caring" notes, have them put them in the girls tube and seal it up with the lid. If using a toilet paper roll,  use the other piece of cloth and rubber band. Have each girl decorate their own tube with stickers or washi tape and they're done!

Don't let the girls read them until they get home or the end of the meeting. It can be a surprise!

Make sure you complete one for each girl scout in the troop even if she is not present. Our girls really loved this idea and it was a nice self-esteem booster!

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How to Handle Bullies: What I Tell My Kids About Bullying

When my daughter first started kindergarten I was taken aback with the concept of bullies at this age. I thought kindergarten was a little pre-mature to start the heckling but then I realized that "mean girls" didn't just exist in high school. Within a month I started seeing anxiety and fear wash over her sweet face every morning as I dropped her off at school.

I was torn between the two ideas that 1) kids need to learn some thick skin and tough it out or 2) bully behavior is never a positive socialization experience (which honestly, it's not).

We battled this problem all year long and it started to tugged at my heart. Okay, really it felt like it was ripping it out. I was brought back to memories of when I was a young girl, still in elementary and was oh so worried about what I was wearing and being so intimidated by the popular girl... in 4th grade!

That anxiety was crippling and the thought of my already sensitive daughter having to endure this felt shitty!

Then there was that one day. It was before a Girl Scouts meeting and I was setting up the activities as we started to discuss her concerns about THAT girl in her class. That is when I told her this...

"It's not about you, it's about them."

"No matter how hard it is to believe that, you have to know that it has nothing to do with you"

"Do you know why people bully and tease?"

Blank stare...

"People only try to hurt another person because there is something inside of them that makes them unhappy. There is something so sad that they need to hurt another person to make themselves feel better."

"Sometimes they wish they could have what you have, sometimes they wish they could feel loved like you feel loved. Bullying is NEVER okay but maybe you can try and be the better person and find out why they are sad."

I'll admit, this is not the normal way I feel about these situations and the thought of someone intentionally trying to hurt my kids does bring out the Mama bear in me. 

What I saw from her reaction is that she totally got it. She totally understood and it took the teasing away from her. It took the anxiety and self-doubt out of her mind and brought a sense of confidence.

She realized it wasn't about her and it wasn't because she was less than. It wasn't personal even though it seems so personal.

She smiled and looked comforted.

She looked me in the eyes and said "Mommy, I love you" in a sweet soft voice. 

At the young age of 6, she was learning how to turn the cheek and help those who need love when it's often the hardest.

Posted on February 23, 2016 and filed under Parenting, Raising Girls.

The Unlikely List of Mommy/Daughter Dates

Well... Let's just get right to it!

  1. Rock climbing

  2. Classic Cars or Hot Rod night or construct one yourself! 

  3. Water sports- if the weather is right, get out on the water! Rent some jet skis and have a go at it!

  4. Auto maintenance: Learn how to change the oil on your car together or teach her if you already know

  5. Self defense class

  6. Shooting range or Archery lesson

  7. Hiking or cave exploring... okay maybe you have heard this one a million times but I LOVE IT. It's probably the best idea out there because it's cheap, it's not structured and you get the opportunity to discover new things all while in the great outdoors. Kids really do love and enjoy being outside and letting loose.

  8. Mommy Daughter Camping. Check out your local Girl Scouts council if you are not a Girl Scout already. You still can camp there and in my opinion it's generally safer.

  9. Geocaching

  10. Take her to a game: baseball game, basketball game, hockey game....

  11. Build something! Pinterest has an endless supply of DIY ideas. I especially love the plumbing pipe diy

  12. Volunteer because making the world a better place is something we should all strive to do but most importantly a lesson to teach our daughters.

Posted on October 28, 2015 and filed under Raising Girls, Parenting, Happy Mama.

Is it okay if it's just for play?

makeup.jpg

Here is the debate I have with my husband. I found this super cute website that sells pretend makeup for little girls. It's safe for their faces and it doesn't transfer on to the carpet..

Jackpot, right?  

See, our girls can be very girlie... they like dressing up like princesses and I'm all for them believing in happily ever after...(a topic for another post). Except, my husband wasn't too keen on the idea of his darlings wearing makeup at this age, even if it was pretend make up.

It got me thinking about the whole idea and I wondered how other parents felt about this topic that seems to be so divided in our house.

Here's my take on it.... As mothers we are our daughter's primary and most influential female role model. Our behavior and how feel about ourselves and the people around us is noted and emulated.

When we watch ourselves in the mirror and pick apart our image they see that. They start to learn that beauty is on the outside and we need to be perfect. Our little girls want to be just like us and they will mimic our feelings and moves, so we better be careful.

When it comes to makeup, the majority if not all of us mamas wear it. Whether it be just on special occasions or an everyday occurrence, its presence is there and our girls see us put it on. 

Unless, you put your face on in the closet and pretend you just always look that way. Probably not so much...

So do we want to go au naturel the rest of our lives? If we wear it, they will want to wear it too. 

What are we to say when they ask why we put makeup on? 

"It's for grownups and helps hid our age, lines, wrinkles, any imperfection we are self-conscious about"..

?

I just don't buy and never believed in telling my kids it's only for grownups. It just makes it all the more attractive and something they want but can't have.

I would rather make it fun and playful, an expression of art.

I'd rather pretend to play dress up with a smile and not have them think that their beauty is not enough. Maybe that seems counter but makeup and dress up is fun for girls at this age.

They have their whole lives to realize how jaded and unfriendly the world is so let them be, right? Like everything else, there is always the good and the bad in every argument. I just don't know how to explain to my daughters why I choose to cover up my face without making it about image. Do you?

If you are against play makeup how do you talk to you daughters about this? I'm really curious for your suggestions because the subject is obviously tabled in our house (for now) since we can't agree.

I'm really interested to hear from you... What is your take on this subject? Without any mommy wars, let's be respectful and discuss. 

XOXO, Katie

 

Posted on September 30, 2015 and filed under Raising Girls.

Why You Should be a Girl Scouts Troop Leader

Hey everyone!!!

Today I wanted to talk about a topic of what it means to be a Girl Scout volunteer and how it's such a crucial role in these young girls lives. For those of you who are following along but are not a volunteer, this post is for you! Have you been approached about this opportunity, either through a membership specialist or previous troop leader? Are you currently debating whether this role is for you? I promise you, it is! Let me start off by telling you how it began with me....

Behind this online world, I'm actually an introverted person. I generally don't like large groups of people and new social situations make me anxious. It's not that I'm anti social, it's just how I'm made. Frankly, I'm proud of it and I'm comfortable with who I am.

The idea of being a troop leader seemed quite impossible to me but, after the membership specialist told me there was no troop at my daughter's school but recommended myself volunteering, I didn't shoot the idea down right away.

It took me a while to make the decision but I thought back to the reasons why I wanted Bella to join Girl Scouts...

  1. I really wanted her to take part in this program and gain the confidence
  2. Open her up to new experiences
  3. My daughter is a little shy (wonder where she gets it from) and I wanted her to come out of her shell a little
  4. Lasting and healthy friendships

So I decided to take on the challenge for my daughter. I wanted to show her that if I can come out of my shell and do something out of my comfort zone, then she can too. After all, we are our daughter's first example of a strong and confident women. 

I didn't realize when I made this decision how much it would not only impact my daughter but how much it would impact myself.

  1. I gained leaderships skills that I didn't even know I had.
  2. My daughter has made massive strides in character development and self-confidence.
  3. I got to make a difference in 11 other girls lives in the community!

It's only been a year but I love being a troop leader! I love setting an example and providing a wonderful opportunity to these girls. Our girls are the future of this world! If you are considering possibly being a volunteer, I encourage you to take the leap and try it out for just one year. If I can do it, anyone can do it! SERIOUSLY! 

Being a Girl Scout volunteer not only changes a girl’s life, it changes your life. Whether it’s taking them on their first adventure or leading a troop with your best friend, you’ll help girls reach for the stars. Volunteer today: http://bit.ly/1eWZkXL.

Posted by Girl Scouts on Saturday, September 12, 2015
Posted on September 15, 2015 and filed under Girl scouts, Raising Girls.

How to Encourage Your Girls to Embrace Failure as an Opportunity

Hello Mamas!

Today I wanted to talk to you all about something that is so close to my heart and important for young girls. 

FAILURE.

First off, do you all remember that book Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus? It wasn't that long ago when I actually did a thesis paper on that book in college. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for equal rights and girls can do anything boys can do, but when it comes to our physiological make up we are just wired differently. Failure is something we need to learn from and use as a stepping stone towards success. After all, the greatest minds and inventors did not get where they are today without experiencing many setbacks along the way.

Girls experience failure differently than boys. They view failure as a shortcoming or lack of ability and that often prevents them from trying again. Like all things, this is a generalization and not necessarily the case with every girl but what I have witnessed out of my own little darling is when she can't do something she tends to take it too personal. Add her massive need for perfection and it can sometimes be disastrous!

Looking back now, I can relate to my daughter and many other girls. I never handled failure very well, at least internally. The negative talk that teenagers give themselves was something I fell victim to and started assuming anything I set out to undertake would be a failure all the same. Although I've really managed to change my outlook today, this perception leaked into my early and mid 20's and is something that still creeps into my mind set occasionally.

That being said, I'm often clueless as to how to prevent this from becoming a serious issue down the line for my little girls. So I did a little further digging and through some of my own methods I've come up with some ideas you can incorporate to help your daughters deal with failure better.

Teach them that there is more than one way and one answer.

Encourage them to think outside of the box with problem solving and understand that there is more than one way to accomplish the same goal. There are a ton of games and toys out there that can help accomplish this. I love building blocks and legos. Have them create a house or a castle with just their imagination and follow along side of them and create your own version.

Encourage curiosity and the million questions

When they get to that age, where it seems like everything is an interrogation or an interview, let them ask the questions. Put down your phone and spend some time with her and ignite that curiosity. Turn the questions around on her and ask her what she thinks. You will be amazed at what she comes up with!

Encourage and help facilitate creative and imaginative play.

When our little girls often play pretend through role playing it helps them overcome obstacles without them even realizing through a safe and fun environment. My little girls love to play in their kitchen and often create a pretend restaurant. Sometimes they will bring out a dish that is not so good and I ask the chef to make me something else..lol

Let them be!

Try not to over correct and let them make mistakes from the very beginning. I know it's often hard and tests our patience when they are just starting to learn a new skill and we are so pulled to do it for them. Or, when we're rushing out the door and we just need them to put on their shoes and not take 10 minutes to practice tying them. It starts with those moments and I can a test that myself is not always patient.

Reward the Effort and the Finished Product.

It's just as important to award the effort they put into all they do. No, I'm not talking about a participation trophy. Participation and effort are two different things. Also, encourage them to finish what they start even if it's not exactly their best work. Finishing what they set out to do will be a major skill they will need all throughout their life.

Allow Her to figure out who She is

...and not who WE want her to be. I struggle with this so much being the control freak that I am. We start envisioning plans for our children and forget that they are their own person and need to figure stuff out for themselves. Over this past summer we were searching through the park district catalog to look for a program for my oldest daughter. We came across cheerleading and I was kinda surprised that they started the girls at 6 years old! Anyways, my daughter got super excited and my husband immediately put the kibosh on the idea. You see, he has this idea in his head about cheerleaders... not that it's at all true, so don't get all bent out of shape if your daughter is a cheerleader. In fact, I convinced him that it wasn't about us and it would be fine. Low and behold, our shy and reserved daughter gained a ton of self confidence and learned how to project her voice with that program! She finished off the cheer camp and decided that it wasn't for her but the point is she tried something new and wasn't afraid to take a chance and because of that she was able to challenge herself and grow! Let them figure out what they are meant to do by trying new things!

Here is a fun video of what happens when you give the girls a video recorder.... Excuse the mess in the background, that's their "play area". Don't judge me.. no judging!

Show by example

Yes, that means you. Show them that you make mistakes and that it's okay. This is hard! Admitting when we are wrong, especially to our kids, seems like we might loose respect but that really isn't the case. It actually shows them that we are human and more relatable. 

And there you have it! Those are my tips on how we can teach our girls to embrace and learn from their failures. I'm excited to get this years Girl Scouts troop started and we'll soon have our first meeting. I can't wait to share with you all the exciting things I have in store for them this year!

XOXO, Katie

Posted on September 8, 2015 and filed under Raising Girls.

What's so bad about the Princesses?

A few weeks back, I read an article about this mother who photographed her little girl in costumes to replicate historic female role models. At first, I was pretty impressed. I just died over the Cocoa Chanel picture, even though the real model had a cigarette perched between her lips. What bothered me as I read, in addition to the title, were the captions of each of the pictures and the insulting comments about Disney Princesses.

These historical women are great role models and I have every intention on educating my girls on important women throughout our history. But, I don't think we are not lacking in powerful career minded female examples.

Maybe it's the fact that I absolutely adore all things Disney but why are the Princesses always portrayed in such a bad light? As if, wanting to find the one true love of your life and stay with that person forever is such a bad example.

We are raising our daughters to be strong willed and independent women who can accomplish anything and that's great! One of the most important things for me is teaching my daughters self love and respect. However, we forget to include the values of a true women (gasp!). What sets us apart from our counter parts is that we are sensitive and have a softness. We share a warmth and compassion that makes us nurturing. It's okay to be these things even though media and society encourages different. It's okay to show a softness and light in the darkness of this rigid and cold world. Teaching bravery, independence and self sufficiency shouldn't come at the expense of other values that our little girls need.

I could give you a run down, list by list, of the individual characteristics that these lovely Disney royals bring forward, but I think it's more than obvious where I am going with this post.

This world can use more

LOVE,

KINDHEARTEDNESS,

SOFTNESS,

BRAVERY,

FORGIVENESS,

GRACIOUSNESS,

OPTIMISM AND CHARITY..

Doesn't she look sweet?.....

If anything, cant we all agree these videos are inspiring?

Posted on November 4, 2013 and filed under Parenting, Raising Girls.