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An Earnest Summer!

This summer is FLYING by!  Sorry the posts have been sparse – we are enjoying the weather and this hot season.  We have been keeping busy with our local zoo, libraries, bowling and even took in a movie.  I have to admit, with a school-ager it is tough to keep the interest, allow some boredom, all without allowing the craziness to take the days over.

This summer, we decided on a different approach.   Instead of trying to do BIG things like travel or get out everyday, we made a weekly schedule.  A schedule easy enough to change if necessary but also help with the dreaded summer “brain drain” (we have a great article on these tips coming up next week by one of our moms in the Earnest Mom Squad).  We decided weekends would still be the break so we assigned regular activities for the weekdays.  Mondays we have a fun class on self regulation and practicing hand writing, Tuesdays our local library has a free special event that we attend, Wednesdays are backyard days, Thursdays are baking afternoons and par kour classes in the evenings, and Fridays are science experiments day.

Tuesdays, our local libraries have been great.  We have seen magic shows, balloon shows, local baseball teams, the traveling zoo and bouncing play times.  All free and it is fun to get out and let the kids play in a new space with new activities each week.  Wednesday’s backyard day is literally time playing in the yard – nothing too special and sometimes we fill up the kiddie pool.  We usually get out everyday, at least the kids do but this is a special time where we all go out together and I may garden or rest my swelling feet and the earnest littles get to run and play to their hearts content.  All before rest time of course to help the nap process along.

On Thursdays when Earnest Babe takes her two hour nap, Earnest Boy gets up from his 20 minute rest and him and I bake together.  The first week was GREAT, we baked this Starbucks Copy Cat Banana Bread recipe (from myfrugaladeventures.com) with the bananas that my children will not eat once they have freckled, we substituted chocolate chips for the walnuts and enjoyed it for four or five days.  It was delicious.  The second Thursday, we tried our hand at strawberry jam with the strawberries we picked earlier that morning.  We made this recipe from www.intimateweddings.com.  The whole process took a lot longer than we had thought but the result was yummy plus it did not use pectin, only sugar and lemon juice.  The last two weeks we had family in from out of town so we did not bake but today we are back in the swing of things with Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We are using the classic Nestle Tollhouse Recipe (not my french aunt’s recipe for you Friends fans out there) and using all organic ingredients.  The baking day was created at the request of Earnest Boy, I was surprised he was interested in cooking but he is home with me all summer and I love baking and cooking.

Our Science Fridays have been so much fun!!  Once again, we wait until Earnest Babe is napping so we can focus on the experiments at hand.  Now before you get to thinking this Earnest Mom has crazy organization skills and creativity to plan and execute educational science experiments, hold on.  We decided to purchase a monthly subscription for the summer to The Spangler Science Club.  They send you 1-10 experiments a month that are focused on STEM and growing the curiosities of 7-14 year-olds.  So far we have grown polymers, experimented with the grown polymers, grown crystals and currently we are on a polymer alligator growth watch.  This post is not sponsored, we just are loving the Spangler Science Subscription and feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck no matter the price level subscription that is chosen.

This summer, I feel as though I am not feeling pressure any day or week to keep kids entertained – they know what to expect each day and we get excited for every activity we do together.  All days, the activity is not a full day event so we are able to spend free time together and time that is scheduled.  I feel a lot less stressed!!! Any earnest followers have some fun activities planned for their little or big ones this summer to keep the boredom and/or summer crazies to a low?  Please share.

x. earnest mom.

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Earnest Mom Squad Feature: Making Time for YOU

Here is a feature from our Earnest Mom Squad member, Kate.  This one is all about you, yes, you mama – we see you, tired, working hard, hustling everyday.  This feature contains some great tips on how to make time for you, which will help you have a better time with your family.  x. em.

When you have kids, making time for yourself is hard…how do you think of yourself when you’re kids need you 24/7? I always remind myself that in order for my kids to have me 100% I need me.  Even if that time is only 10 minutes of showering ALONE, or a bubble bath while my husband takes our son.  Sometimes I put our little man to bed, and as exhausted as I am wanting to sleep, I light some candles and draw a nice warm bath with my favorite country music.  Of course right next to the tub I have the video monitor, because lets face it as much as we say we want to unwind and step away we think about them constantly, what are they doing, are they sleeping, are they hungry, are they crying for me.

Then there are the nights that ME time is holding my son while I put him to sleep and instead of putting him in his crib right away I hold on tight for as long as I can. These cuddles to bed won’t last long so I will enjoy them as long as I can as much as I can.  My heart melts when my son knows it’s bedtime and he rests his head on my chest on his own and puts his arms around me, he doesn’t know but those are the moments I live for. In those moments, I flash back to every second with him, from his first cry, to the first time he rolled to when he learned to talk and say “momma” and “dadda.”  A lot of the time, my ‘me time’ is mostly with my son.  I am the person I am for my son it only makes sense for me to make my me time us time for as long as I can until the day he thinks spending time with his mommy isn’t cool anymore.

 

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World Autism Month

In honor of World Autism Month, let’s talk about autism and The Light It Up Blue campaign this month.  Having been touched by personal friends and family who  individuals with autism in their lives, I am earnestly hoping to help spread awareness and education about autism.

What is autism spectrum disorder?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

Some facts about autism 

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
  • An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year.
  • Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
  • Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
  • Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

Autism Speaks enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.

To test your knowledge of autism, click this link and the Light It Up Blue take the quiz to learn more about people with autism.  Also, join us in sharing in the #LightItUpBlue campaign in the month of April on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  http://bit.ly/ASDquiz

x. em.

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Mommying is Hard. Earnest Support, and it’s Free. 

There are a ton of books, experts and advice out there. Support and help to get us through the crazy yet amazing journey called parenting. Well, as a mom of two strong willed, messy, smiley and sometimes sticky kiddos I am always looking advice. Especially when it comes to the hot topics like discipline, eating and education.

I believe each and every parent needs love, support and guidance for parenting especially since most of it is ‘learn as you go.’  Since having both my little ones, I feel like God has given me the most profound job I could ever have – raising two tiny humans into *hopefully* kind, empathetic, honest, caring adults who also have the freedom to be who they want to be. At times I find myself stumped, and they are only 6 and 2. Knowing this is only the beginning, I search for parenting information and articles that I can sift through to make into my own parenting style that will be successful for this earnest little family.

In the past, I have attended and traveled to MommyCons, Gearapaloozas and local parenting events here in Erie that have all been at cost; as I was simply seeking advice, support and connecting to other fellow mommas.  I will tell you, these events are worth MORE than their weight in gold and I would recommend any parent that can attend, go; however, that is not always an option. Well this weekend I stumbled on a gem!! A FREE, seriously, a free mom conference.

The is conference called The Mom Conference and it is online from October 11-13, 2016. They will send you your special link every morning to watch the seminars for that day, at your own pace. The only catch, the link and seminars will expire after 24 hours.  I found this conference through Positive Parenting Solutions Facebook page, where I have often found very helpful FREE webinars.  I am hopeful that this conference will be just as helpful and informative.

According to The Mom Conference website,

The Mom Conference is three days full of fabulous online interviews with TWENTY of your favorite speakers, authors and bloggers.

Motherhood is hard. But motherhood is also beautiful. This conference is about helping you maximize the beautiful stuff while minimizing the hard stuff.

The Mom Conference will give you inspiration alongside powerful, concrete ideas to help you be the mom you really want to be.

Please know, this blog post is in no way sponsored, I earnestly am excited to try this free resource and hoping to get as many moms out there the opportunity as well. If you are interested, use this link MOM CONFERENCE REGISTRATION to register.

x. em

Local Spotlight: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Local Spotlight: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Earnest mom looks at a local children’s museum, ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Having relocated to Erie last year, I was eager to connect with some local moms and find some great places for the earnest family to go for fun.  While out and about at the library, a local mom had asked if I had heard of the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum, so I decided to check it out.  I am earnestly glad I did!

The ExpERIEnce Museum truly is an experience for children of all ages.  My two earnest littles could spend hours there, daily if I let them.  The museum houses four main areas through out, the lower level being The Ronald McDonald House Creativity Floor which features several arts related educational classes, programming and activities, and exhibits such as the Tiny Tot Spot (for those 2 and under), The Open Studio Center, Multi-touch Art Table and much more.  The main level has two main exhibits, one being the Discovery Corner/Outdoor Classroom (one of my favorite spaces) highlighting natural play/exploration spots, an outdoor library and more.  The next exhibit on the main level is the Explore Floor, which has the mega and super popular water table (it is huge and earnest boy is there from the minute we arrive until we leave), the Bedrock Cave, Imagination Playground and many additional activities.  The upper level is the Imagination Floor, this floor features the adorably pint sized Wegmans Kids Market to “shop,” The Magic of Magnets, Old Town, a suspended train that zooms around the room above all the playing kids and many more places to discover.

The museum staff also works very hard to have weekly classes to encourage education and art exploration through out the year. In the summer time they have wonderful Discovery Day Camps, two of which we had earnest boy enrolled in last year and will be enrolling again this year.  He absolutely loved his camp and a shout out to Miss Tami (who was as sweet and fun as could be), he walked away from camp with a tie-dye tee that he still wears, a painting the he made, ‘Pollock Style,’ a camp shirt that changes colors in the sunlight plus many happy memories of fun, art and learning with his peers.  The museum is still enrolling now for summer camps, and it is not too late to get your kids an unforgettable summer experience plus support our local children’s museum.  They feature week long camps and single day camps to fit every schedule and budget.  More information on their camps can be found on here: ExpERIEnce Discovery Day Camps, or call 814-453-3743 to register today!

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum hosts nearly a dozen special events throughout the year, many of which this earnest family has enjoyed thoroughly. Including their signature Breakfast with Santa program, Noon Year’s Eve, Bunny Days, Fancy Tea Party, Jedi Academy, Super Science Day, Future Me- kid’s career fair and more. Upcoming events include a Teacher Workshop on Friday July 8 in their outdoor classroom, Discovery Corner. This workshop is open to educators throughout the country looking to learn more about engaging kids in nature and making art with nature. The workshop does qualify for Act 48 and PQUAS credits. Pre-registration is required and can be found at natureexplore.org.  The museum also hosts an annual ADULTS-only fundraiser on Saturday August 6 called the Street Soiree. Tickets are $50 for members and $65 for nonmembers and can be purchased at eriechildrensmuseum.org The event features live music, delicious local food, drinks of cheer and fun- all to support the children’s museum. We will offer free admission August 18, 19 and 20 to celebrate ERIE during the city’s annual community celebration.


The ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum is truly a gem to the Erie community and a treasure for our children to explore, create, learn and grow.  The vision of ExpERIEnce Museum, according Ainslie Brosig, ED, is that it would be “a place where ALL kids and their families can engage in learning through play. We help to ensure that every child has a chance to play, thrive in school and succeed in life.”  I believe that they have succeeded in this vision and will only continue to be an asset and positive influence on our little Erie community. Please check them out today!

NOTE: earnest mom has not received payment nor promotional items by posting this article. I earnestly love the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum and hope many more of you can get out there to enjoy it too!

x. earnest mom.

 

Earnest Mom Local Spotlight: The Family Shop

Earnest Mom Local Spotlight: The Family Shop

The Family Shop is a new and exciting parenting retail store opening here in Erie, PA.  Created by Jeff and Kristyn Chiaramonte, their mission is to provide the best quality family care products and services at fair pricing to support families of all income levels. Every customer matters to them. Such a perfect name for their shop as they truly are family focused and family supportive, a community effort that is rarely felt in any big box store today.  They are trying to help the community not only by providing great products to families but also by supporting local “mommy makers/artisans” which will have Erie made products featured on their Vendor Wall.

The Family Shop will provide great new natural products focused on helping families. They will be offering  a variety of baby carriers/wraps, nursing/maternity apparel, cloth diapers, bamboo feeding tools, educational toys, teething products and more. The shop has a Mommy Corner, designed with nursing moms in mind, it is a quiet corner where mammas can nurse if baby gets hungry during shopping or change their bums without being distracted from the business of the hustle and bustle.  There is also an adorable kids spot that is a space designed specifically for little ones to play, with a huge open window  where kids remain in sight from across the store; moms and dads can shop while their little one plays, and can keep a good eye on them at the same time.

The Family Shop will have their grand opening starting Tuesday April 26, 2016 10 am lasting all week, they will give away free reusable “The Family Shop” totes on each in store purchase, while supplies last.  The shop’s regular hours of operation will be Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 am – 6 pm.  During the grand opening there will be large stamp pads available in an array of colors so the customers can use their hand prints to decorate the lower half of the store’s walls.  I earnestly love this idea and cannot wait until my littles are old enough to return and can pick out their own hands on the shop walls.  As the days lead up to the grand opening, stay tuned on Facebook where the shop has been featuring some fun reveals and keeping us updated with any news.

I am earnestly excited for this store to open, as an Erie resident and mama of two I can see the potential and need for this shop to be a great community support.  Kristyn and Jeff hope to start hosting learning programs from the shop to allow moms and dads a safe place to spend time, grow and learn, and allow children to socialize as well.  The shop is quaint, inviting and welcoming to all customers.  Whether you are curious about baby wearing, cloth diapers, looking to simply connect, or thinking about going bit greener in your home, this is the shop you want to stop by!

Contact The Family Shop at Yorktown Plaza
2501 W. 12th Street
Erie, PA 16505
814-616-6801
or Connect on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Eriefamilyshop
and Twitter:
@familyshoperie

Hope to see you at the Grand Opening!
x. em.

But I Don’t Like It! Earnest Mom Chats about Picky Eating.

But I Don’t Like It! Earnest Mom Chats about Picky Eating.

If you don’t have one…you’re bound to one day encounter the ‘picky eater’ and when you do, your parental patience will be put to the test. As a recovered picky eater, I earnestly look for new ways to prevent or tackle this issue. I was recently a part of a Twitter Party discussion, hosted by Happy Family Brands and featuring the expertise of Dietician and food lover, Amy Marlow. Here are some tips that were featured during this chat, which have helped in the earnest household and I hope can help in yours.  Just remember that according to Ms. Marlow, picky eating is 50% biology and 50% experience.

1. Infancy is prime time for introducing a food, just be sure to never pressure baby to eat and look for signs of solid food readiness (such as showing interest in table food or mommy’s food, baby is willing to chew and baby no longer pushes food out of their mouth). Remember this is the best time to offer a variety of colors, flavors and textures!

2.  Don’t give up.  Most of us give up offering a refused food after three or four times and we decide that they do not like the food.  Food refusal can depend on many factors, temperature, mood of child and even the time of day.  Be sure to offer foods ten to fifteen times before deciding your child does not like it.  Just keep trying!

3.  Have children (toddler and older) assist in grocery shopping such as choosing fruits and vegetables, that way when they are home they will be more prone to eating the foods they have chosen.  If this method is successful maybe do a challenge of one new fruit or vegetable that the family tries together each week.  That way your child will be exposed to more flavors and textures (healthy ones if they are fruits or veggies), and mom and dad will be trying them too so it’s a communal effort from the whole family.

4.  If your child is showing tendencies toward being a picky eater, do not offer high sugar, high calorie and low nutrient options.  If you are going to offer alternatives stick to healthy ones.  It will be better and healthier for both parents and child in the long run.

5.  Have a rule at the dinner table, often times “I don’t like it” is heard before a child even tries their meal.  Make a rule that everyone must try one bite of everything on their plate before they decide they do not like it.  As hard as it may be, be patient during this process and support your child if they are at least trying the foods you are offering.

6.  Never do any of these:

  • Use foods as a reward, using sweets or other unhealthy treats as a reward for finishing dinner or eating something they do not care for can actually undermine the healthy examples that you are working so hard to have for your child.
  • Label your child a picky eater.  One hundred percent of the time, children who are told they are picky, will be picky.
  • Never hide vegetables in your food.  I mean, go ahead and disguise them or make them taste better, but never intentionally “trick” your child into eating something.  Even though they do not know that a food may be present in their food, be honest with your child, tell them what they are eating.  This approach allows children to recognize and appreciate the many forms and flavors that foods can bring to a variety of dishes.  On a whole, earnest mom would insist that we do not lie to our children.

Like I said, as a recovered picky child and I would earnestly urge parents to not give up! There are still some foods that I am just not a fan of (corn or peas on their own, oh and Jello) but I once read that our taste buds actually change all of the time.  So I am always willing to try, and we do the same with earnest boy (he has inherited my texture dislikes like Jello) and we get him to try foods he does not like about every month or so.  Slowly but surely his palette is growing quite rapidly.  So all you earnest moms and dads out there, be patient, set the example and help your children enjoy food!  Below I have also attached a great nutrition guide link from Happy Family Brands to help!

x.

earnest mom

Happy Family Nutrition Guides