Pages Menu
TwitterFacebookemailInstagramPinterest
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Childbirth, Children, Choices, Education, Family, Fatherhood, Homeschool, infant, Life, Lifestyle, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Natural Childbirth, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Philosophy, Potty Training, Pregnancy, Stay At Home Mom, Terrible Twos, Toddler Challenges, Toddler Naps, Toddlers | 1 comment

Patience Is Key

Patience Is Key

20140110-120541.jpg

Several times throughout my time as a mother, conversations have come up regarding different parenting styles. Should you co-sleep or cry it out? Should you breast-feed or bottle feed? Should you go natural or have a medicated birth? When it’s time for potty training, do we try boot camp or let them learn on their own? The list goes on…

It has been my experience that I always choose the long road. I’ve had three natural births (including two decently long labors lasting over 24 hours and a shoulder dystocia baby), we co-sleep, I’ve breastfed each of our three babies until they were at least one year old, and we homeschool. We let our kids potty ‘train’ in their own time (which we have really lucked out at so far!) & our discipline methods are few. It seems as though we have created work for ourselves, but I truly believe it will make a difference in the long run.

Everything requires patience. It takes longer to learn how to breastfeed your baby than it does to mix a bottle. It takes more time to sleep with your baby or rock your baby to sleep each night than it does to cry it out. Natural birth takes more work and waiting patiently for that baby to come may take longer than you would like, but it’s worth it! It’s always worth it. Your children are worth it.

Patience doesn’t come easily around our home these days. Juggling all life has to offer while raising children is hard work.

Hopefully our children will, in turn, learn that patience. Patience is a very important quality to hold throughout life. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have much. However, what I do have is most often spent on our children, and I have to remind myself of this on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

I realize this post will fire up some defensive parents, but relax. I’m not judging those who don’t do what I do. We are all unique and to each his own. The only difference between you & I is a little patience.

I would like to show my experiences, that what you think may be harder at first glance may actually be easier in the long run.

You see, natural birth often leads to healthy babies, which often lead to healthy bonding, which also often means successful breastfeeding which often leads to a sleepy baby. Don’t you think this is a good start to life, if you can help it? Wouldn’t you imagine children are much more likely to have happy childhoods if this is the way they begin? It seems like so much less frustration and annoyance if the anxiety is lessened by living this way.

It doesn’t stop there (And here is where I need to be reminded most these days). Remaining patient while raising our children hopefully teaches them to be kind and gentle, patient and understanding.

Once again, obviously we will all live how we need to live. And we all will love the way we need to love. A little patience certainly has never hurt anyone. In fact, patience is key.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in Children, Education, Family, Homeschool, Kindergarten, Life, Motivational Posts, Natural Parenting, Parenting, Philosophy, Preschool, Stay At Home Mom, This Is Homeschool, Toddlers | 8 comments

This Is Homeschool

This Is Homeschool

IMG_6801

A day-to-day depiction of exactly what it is us homeschoolers do.

With the start of a new “school year” for some, I thought it would be appropriate and fun to share a little about what we will be partaking in this coming year.

This will be our sixth year homeschooling, though we will not officially have to submit paperwork to the State until next year. (For those of you in New York State, Kindergarten is optional, as is Preschool, obviously, as long as your child does not turn the age of six during that school year.) You may be saying to yourself, “That’s just a family photo. We do that, too. We go places together, too.” And you’re correct. You homeschool anytime you’re with your children. Our family simply does it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week when we’re together. Like most people, we begin homeschooling in the womb, whether y’all were aware of it or not. Babies and children are always learning. Humans are always learning. It’s in our nature.

Hence, one of the many reasons we are choosing to homeschool.

Family. Togetherness. We love being together and feel our children learn best with guidance and love. That is not to say they cannot learn from another teacher in a school setting. Of course they can! However, we think they learn best from their surroundings, that being confined to an institution with perfect strangers all day will not allow them to flourish to the utmost in their natural abilities. The way to accomplish this is to be together and go out in the world and learn together.

This is homeschool.

This happens to be one of my favorite family shots, as it shows that even in the most beautiful setting, there is reality. :)

This happens to be one of my favorite family shots, as it shows that even in the most beautiful setting, there is reality. 🙂

Read More

Posted by on Jul 20, 2013 in Baby, Breastfeeding, Children, Choices, Cooking, Creative, Economical Activities, Family, Healthy Lifestyle, Homeschool, infant, Kids Activities, Library, Life, Marriage, Moderation, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Natural Parenting, newborn, Parenting, Philosophy, Stay At Home Mom | 2 comments

How I Function {With Three Kids}: Part One

How I Function {With Three Kids}: Part One

Be realistic. Generally I never make an appointment before 10am. It takes at least one half-hour per child to prepare to leave the house, just to exit the front door. Why make yourself crazy?!

Go easy on yourself. I breast feed on demand until my kids are at least 12 months old. Trust me, it’s easier!

•Like I said, Go easy on yourself. I co-sleep. We’re all much happier and there’s much less wailing, crying and whining, and much more sleep for everyone.

(As I type these facts, I realize this is a great reminder to myself that it is all worth it! The love in our family is apparent and whole.)

Let them do it. We teach our children (usually with their lead) to brush their own teeth, wash their bodies, clean themselves, get themselves dressed, clear their plates from the table after meals, etc. I’m not ashamed to say we potty train at an early age, with baby-led signs, simply to make it easier. Our kids have usually been ready by eighteen months, and we’re just fine with that! They love to get themselves dressed and brush their own hair after baths. Obviously it builds self-confidence and boosts their big little egos. It’s a win-win!

Eat well. We eat whole, raw foods often; I cut up fruit and vegetables to have ready to eat in the fridge. I make crock-pot meals and sauces and many times I don’t cook! (Thank you to our local grocery store, Wegmans, for your super easy $6 Meals which provide my family with a nutritious meal when I am too busy to cook.) When we DO cook, we pretty much make meals in an assembly line, healthy pyramid-style, directly to the kids place at the table. Time-saving and nutritious!

(Speaking of time-saving, invest in an inexpensive, clean-able, wipe-able tablecloth. HomeGoods has pretty, inexpensive padded plastic tablecloths that are appealing enough to use while your kids are young.)

•We read a lot and watch tv only sometimes. Our 4 1/2 year-old now loves to read to her siblings, which is truly the most precious thing ever!

Live comfortably. The house is most certainly always messy. We’ve agreed that our priority is the children, so any disarray that gets in the way is just secondary to them. (And they’re ALWAYS the ones creating the mess so we know they’re enjoying themselves thoroughly!) As they say, a messy home is the sign of happy children.

Relax. I take baths to relax, about once a week, in the evenings when the kids go to bed (or sometimes before, thanks to my dedicated husband!). Everyone has their thing, mine is often baths. Sometimes I paint, sometimes I read, but the most efficient way for me to relax is a hot, steamy bubble bath.

Date other people. We take our kids on one-on-one “dates”, even if it’s just to the grocery store, the library, or to fill up the tank with gas. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a little something from time to time to let them know they’re important and loved.

Get creative. Literally. We pile up the scissors, glue sticks, crayons & paper and ask them to make a castle or a butterfly, a rocket ship, whatever! They’ll come up with something even if you can’t, don’t be afraid to get artsy. Check Pinterest for ideas if both you and your children are at a loss. {Doubtful.}

Call in the troops. We enlist help. We have family that is close & we call in them when we need their assistance. We don’t take advantage (we rarely go on “date nights” and even more rarely go out with friends together – and we’re ok with that.) so we only utilize their loving babysitting when needed for work-related things, appointments, outings like that.

Above all, enjoy the ride. Love your children, kiss and hug them often. There is always one piece of advice every new Mom hears repeatedly: It flies by. And it really does. In the blink of an eye, you will be choosing a first birthday outfit, picking which soccer camp they’ll attend, playing ‘Tooth Fairy’, teaching multiplication, then *gasp* applying to colleges.

Just. Stay. Little.*

What are some tips you would like to share? What gets you through the day with your family?

*I met this beautiful woman who creates beautiful pieces for little girls. Debbie from Sweet Lemonade has a cute little necklace with this phrase, “Just stay little”, and it says it all. We are collaborating on a few sweet surprises to come! Stay tuned.

20130720-191208.jpg

Read More

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Bradley Friends, Children, Choices, Creative, Family, Favorite Things, Friends, Healthy Lifestyle, Inspirational Quotes, Life, Memories, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Motivational Quotes, Natural Parenting, Parenting, Passion, Philosophy, Quote Of The Day, Random Thought Of The Day, Stay At Home Mom, Summer, sweet whimsy designs, Thought of The Day, Work From Home, Working Mom | 1 comment

My Thoughts, Exactly: 07.14.13

My Thoughts, Exactly: 07.14.13

I love life.

Yesterday at Rochester Brainery Bazaar, I found my second third fourth fifth? calling.

Craft shows.

I’ve always enjoyed attending shows but now I enjoy being an artisan at shows. I enjoy meeting other like-minded people doing creative and interesting things.

Throughout my life, I have sought like-minded people doing creative and interesting things.

In childhood, they became my dearest and oldest friends. In the teen years, they became my most fun, partying friends. In the college years, they became philosophical and thought-provoking friends.

Into adulthood, I have met friends that I wouldn’t have thought would be creative and interesting back in the younger days.

Motherhood brings new creativity and interest. I’ve made natural child-birthing friends, holistic friends, “crunchy” friends, and non-vaccinating friends. I’ve grown fond of lovely friends who, not in a million years, would have crossed paths in the decades before.

Now I enter new friendships. Homeschooling friends and craft show friends. T-Ball friends and neighborhood friends. Creators and artisans, movers and shakers.

I cherish these friends and look forward to the new relationships. Onward and upward!

Hold tight your relationships. Cherish your friends. It is interesting to look at your list of friends (be it a literal list, as on Facebook, or a cerebral list) and see the friends you’ve made over the years, how truly different they all are. It should be that way. That’s the good stuff.

I hope to pass these relationships to my own children, so they can grow and flourish holding the hands of not only us, as family, but their new friends.

The greatest gift is love.

It is only fitting that I end with one of my favorite quotes:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
-Nat King Cole

(*preferably sung Moulin Rouge-style.)

Read More

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Children, Choices, Creative, Economical Activities, Etsy, Family, Handmade, Homemade, Homeschool, Life, Motherhood, Motivational Posts, Music, Natural Parenting, Organize, painting, Parenting, Passion, Philosophy, Save money, Stay At Home Mom, sweet whimsy designs, Work From Home, Working Mom | 2 comments

Lately (May 2013)

Lately (May 2013)

20130516-121759.jpg

20130516-121731.jpg

Full disclosure: the is the raw, honest truth of my life as we know it. Our life. You don’t need to know everything, but this is the jist of it…

Lately I’ve been busy.

I know, I’ve said this before.

I started this blog in 2011 in hopes of releasing my voice for all of you to hear. I wanted to share and discuss with you all life has to offer. A few years prior, in 2009, I went to the County Clerk’s office in my hometown and bought a DBA as sweet whimsy designs. I had no idea what, exactly, I would do with it, but I know I had something to offer the world. I had great big visions of a roaring awesome blog / shop. I think it still seems so new, so fresh, so advanced.

I took time to have a few more children, (heh), but all the while I was fondling my brain to think of the next big thing that would help our one-income, middle-class family stay afloat.

I took up knitting. I made stationery. I created…things.

I started teaching a weekly music class for little ones. I love this! This class has added a little more light & joy to my life, which is already pretty bright.

In December of 2012, just last December, I saw some simply-painted peg dolls in pots in a photo of a blogger I follow on Instagram.

Hmmm…

I thought I could paint some more intricate peg dolls for my kids, for Christmas!

You see, the truth is, we were underwater financially last Christmas. Heck, we’ve been financially drowning for several months years now. We’re not going on extravagant trips (or any trips, for that matter), or spending all our cash on nice clothes and shoes (oh no, I assure you I find ways to save money, even get our cool stuff for free), we’re not even in over our heads with a mortgage or brand new cars. We’re simply trying to get by. On one income. A family of five.

Back to my point.

I had to make gifts for my kids so they would have things to open on Christmas morning.

Initially, I got a great response from the peg dolls. Not only from my own kids, but from other kids visiting, from parents, from my family.

I started ‘putting myself out there’, making more peg dolls and other hand-painted wooden things. I knew we had to start getting ourselves out of this mess, but at the same time, I insisted on raising my own children. As well, we have chosen to homeschool. Although I’m sure it can be done, I’m not ready to take on working full-time and homeschooling. I want to be the one raising our kids. End of story.

But this is hard.

In March, my husband lost his job.

*CUE THE REALLY HEAVY-DUTY STRESS*, the kind that makes you unsure whether to yell or scream or laugh or jump off a cliff, all at the same time.

Three kids. No working parents. No house to call our own.

This is when the haziness of life turned into crystal-clear focus.

Our children are healthy. We are healthy. And we are grateful. Soooooo stinkin’ grateful for what we do have. Overall, all things considered, we are all so happy, still happy.

That is the most important point of the story. Everything else will fall into place…with a little hard work, of course. (Remember one of my Coldplay quote, the one I used to remind people about natural childbirth? “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.”* Well, it turns out that quote rings true for life as well. Go figure!)

So, since March, I have been working. Painting, networking, ‘putting myself out there’ again. This time, it is paying off, in both the literal and figurative sense.

sweet whimsy designs is taking off. It’s about to soar through the clouds and into the skies, unbound by hesitation or fear. Fear of the unknown can be extremely enlightening if you let it be.

Just let it be.

My little side-biz, created so I could stay at home with my three adorable children, is about to reach new heights.

It’s happening so fast.

Thank you, family, friends, readers and strangers. Thank you for being there for us. We appreciate every comment, every share, every word of encouragement. Please continue to boost sweet whimsy designs / the whimsical sweet to new heights, if you believe in me, if you really believe in us.

It’s time.

Visit my shop on etsy, sweet whimsy designs on Facebook, and on follow me on Instagram…if you’d like ;).
*quote from Coldplay, “The Scientist”

20130516-121812.jpg

Read More

Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Children, Crafts, Creative, Economical Activities, Family, Friends, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Library, Motherhood, Music, Natural Parenting, Parenting, Party, Save money, Stay At Home Mom, Weather, Winter | 3 comments

Save It For A Rainy Day

Save It For A Rainy Day

Sometimes life brings us rainy days…or snowy ones. We feel the walls caving in on us and we must get out of the house!

Let’s face it – there are also days we never leave the house. And there are days we can’t afford to leave the house, or shouldn’t, anyway.

I have come up with ways I never thought possible to entertain the kids. Especially on rainy and snowy days, we always find things to do.

Here’s a brief list:

•Go to the library.
This isn’t the most imaginative idea in the world. It’s probably close to your home, it’s usually spacious, and it’s FREE. Most children love books, and there are usually other story times and activities scheduled daily to keep your little one entertained.

•Have a dance party in your living room.
Every family must do this, if you haven’t already! Put on your favorite music – it will become theirs, too. Loosen up & get silly! We do the robot, the funky chicken, the shopping cart, among other classics, as well as make up our own – the bear, the giraffe, the roller coaster. Your kids will love you forever.

•Do a new craft.
Something you’ve never done before. Maybe something you are too intimidated to try, or too anal to clean! Sometimes it’s time to break out the paint, play dough, glue, & glitter and not worry about the mess. The mind it creates surpasses the mess it creates, by far. Again, your kids will love you for it! Check whimsicalsweet on Pinterest if you’re really at a loss for ideas.

•Make a fort.
Bust out the blankets and pillows & get creative with this free activity! We often make obstacle courses and mazes out of blankets, pillows, ottomans and sofas, too. Get imaginative & create a scene. You can be in a forest or an aquarium, a zoo or a jungle. Pretend play goes a long way and is good for brain growth and for the soul. 🙂

•Get crazy in the craft store.
As sort of a reward for being nice and patient while we shop for my art & craft supplies, I’ll drop by the foam play things aisle and let the kids play for a while. So far, nothing has broken (*knock on wood*), and their imaginations can run wild in someone else’s space for once! Michael’s, JoAnn’s, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby – they all have an aisle with foam hats, swords, shields, magic wands, crowns, etc. that you can “borrow” and test right there in the store. Just be sure to put everything back where it was and ask your children to do the same. And if anything gets worn or broken, buy it. Both are good lessons for them to learn.

What are some of the things you like to do or used to do with your children on rainy days? What activities are free or easy on the wallet?

20130202-085714.jpg

Read More