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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

raise strong healthy girls!

It's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. 
A big topic related to eating disorders is self esteem, body image, confidence, and overall happiness with one's appearance. Girls, unfortunately, suffer dramatically from issues with these topics.

Some statistics from

 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8

Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.

95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years

47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).

 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991)

It's scary. Especially for those of us with daughters.

Preventing an eating disorder from happening is the best thing a mom can do. Especially for girls. Of course, genetics and many other factors happen to come together to cause an eating disorder. But there are some things you can do to encourage healthy body image and self esteem in your young girls. 

Here are a few tips:

*Don't talk negative about your own body. Don't say you feel fat or wish certain pants would fit, etc. 

*Don't go on a diet or have certain foods off limits or labeled as "bad." Eat dessert. Eat fruits and veggies and whatever else in moderation. 

*Encourage a love for food in general. It's fun to eat! It's a happy time to sit at the dinner table and talk and eat! 

*Say you think you look beautiful. It's a weird one to do, when getting ready in the morning and turning to your child and saying, "I think I look great, don't you?" but it sends a great message to your child.

*Don't always comment on appearances. Talk about someone's strength, creativity, curiosity, intelligence, problem solving skills, etc.

*Let your daughter be who she wants to be. Don't push her to wear dresses if she's a "tomboy." Have trucks and sand toys and play in the mud and get dirty. Don't stick to stereotypical gender roles. 

*Encourage sports or something to be physically active for the sake of feeling confident, strong and part of a team - all of which raises self esteem.

*Help her build her talents. Dance classes, yoga, gymnastics, sports, art or music lessons, etc. for the sake of having FUN will help your daughters feel good about themselves and appreciate their bodies.

*Know the signs of an eating disorder. Notice if your child starts eliminating certain food groups or refusing to eat certain meals. Notice and take action for help.

*Do not encourage perfectionism. If you notice a child who has to get it right all the time or else, intervene early and accept their shortcomings. Admit your own imperfections. Say you're sorry when you make a mistake. Show your child that you have flaws, too. It's OK! They will respect you even more. 

*Read books about strong women. Things like girls playing sports or wearing hiking boots or playing as a super hero. 

*Have lots of dress up clothes that include police officer and firefighter and construction worker outfits, veterinarian outfits, etc. so she can try on various versions of herself for play.

*If you have Barbies or other types of similar dolls, that's OK but talk about how that's not how we all look. If you watch princess movies, again those are great, but explain that it's not always like that in real life and we don't all have bodies like that and that's OK. 

*Use nice language and teach positive communication. If you hear your child comment on someone's weight, appearance, or call someone fat, etc. speak up immediately saying that's not nice and explain why. 

*Be a positive role model. Be someone your daughter can look up to. 

*Be open to talk about whatever is on their mind, without judgment, just empathize with them. Don't always try to fix their problems. Just listen. The more open communication you have, the more likely they are to come to you when they feel down or fat or not included with peers. Take their woes seriously. 

*Teach them to cook! Have fun in the kitchen! 

*Go natural sometimes! If you wear makeup a lot, take a day a week and skip the makeup routine. Let your child see you in your normal state, let it be OK to go out in public like that. 

*Limit media exposure. Don't have magazines in the house that have unrealistic advertisements in them of women's bodies. 

Do what you can in the home do improve your daughter's self esteem and hopefully it'll carry with her when she's facing challenging situations or media stereotypes in the real world. It's never too soon to start these things either. Our girls need us build them up. 

gifts for baby #2

Before I had a second child I struggled with what to purchase for a gift for someone pregnant with a second. You think, well they already have everything, right, so what could I get them? Well, after having my second I have many ideas. Hope these help you out when giving gifts to those having their second:

Gifts for Baby #2
diapers and wipes - Of course these are at the top of the list. Tons, various sizes. Always helpful!

plastic bibs - they get old quickly from the first one, so parents can always use new ones

sippy cups - same as with bibs, you can always use updated ones of these

baby record book

photo albums, picture frames (we got a cute one that says "me and my big brother" because our first is a boy)

new clothes - of course it's fun to see the second wearing the first kid's clothes, but new babies like new clothes of their own, too. I loved seeing new things on my second that were special to her

photography shoot for special newborn pictures

books - We only got maybe 2 books for gifts for our second, but they are super special to me because I remember all the many books we got for my son's baby shower and it's nice to have a few that are special to my daughter's birth, too.

Sophie the Giraffe - My son loved this and chewed it so much that we really wanted a new one for our second

blankets - I know, I know, the first one got a zillion blankets so they probably don't need many, but since my son was a boy all we had were dinosaur and dog and blue blankets for him, so I loved that someone gave us 3 receiving blankets that were pink, purple, polka dots. Of course my daughter rocked the dinosaur blankets, too, no problem, but it IS fun to have others for the new baby, too.

seasonal items - This is especially important if the second baby is coming at a different season than the first one was born. If the first was a winter baby and this is a summer baby, perhaps they need newborn sun hats instead of all those newborn winter hats for example. Or if a summer baby maybe they need some thin summer lightweight baby wraps, versus the winter fleece ones they had for the winter first baby.

plastic baby seat for the tub - this was SO helpful for giving a bath to two kids. You can find them on Amazon.

plates, bowls, silverware - 2 kids means needing more utensils for meals, so get some cool ones for the two kids to use.

letters that hang on the wall to spell out the new baby's name

Gifts for Big Siblings
books about being big bro or sis

coloring books, crayons, stickers, etc. or anything to be used while visiting baby in the hospital

baby dolls, bottles, diapers, etc. for doll to keep busy while parents are busy with new baby 

an IOU for a special date out with you

special snacks you know s/he likes

Gifts for Mama-to-Be
 Don't forget the new mom. She may have already done this before, but she's still new at this two thing, and pregnancy is a pretty big deal so celebrate her hard work with giving her a special gift for herself.

bath stuff - Someone at my work gave me the nicest set of lotions and soaps from Burt's Bees, specific for moms-to-be. It included a lotion bottle for the baby, too. The best part about this was some soothing foot lotion that honestly helped my aching swollen feet at the end of pregnancy, loved that stuff! Something like this is nice for a pregnant or new mom.

massage gift certificate

salon gift certificate to get hair or nails done

maternity clothes gift card if you give it early on in the pregnancy, it is nice to get new clothes, especially if pregnant during  different season than the last time.

MEALS - nothing is better than food!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

a tool party!

My son Owen is obsessed with tools. 
By obsessed I mean literally nothing else makes him happier than WORKING. He wakes up and tells us what he wants to work on that day. He fixes everything in our house. He knows how to put batteries in, drill, screwdrive, etc. (is that a term?! I'm tool illiterate...). He loves it.

It started a year ago when my husband was finishing projects around the house before baby #2 was to arrive. My son was right alongside him every second... and he's been working ever since. So, naturally, his 3rd birthday party was going to be all about tools, working, construction, a Bob the Builder type affair.

Pinterest is my saving grace, let's just put that right out there. 
I do not claim most of these ideas as my own (except a few of them, and one related to ice cream). I am not super creative. But I'm fun and want to plan a cool party to make my son smile and I'm organized, those things put together = me pulling off a cute tool party that looks like I'm creative! Thank you, Pinterest.

We sent out an EVite invitation. 
Free + Easy = What we do around here! I also like it because it's easy to keep track of who has RSVPd or not. We listed the host as "Owen's Employees" and me, my husband and daughter's names. The location was "Owen's Job Site." The message was : Can We PARTY? Yes we CAN! (based on Bob the Builder). Calling all builders, tool guys and gals, Owen's turning 3! Come join us for some snacks and treats while we work our way through some fun celebrating Owen the Tool Man! There will be tools to use and things to build, so be ready to work when your shift starts at 2:30 p.m. Grab your hard hat and make your way to Owen's construction site! Then we set the options for replying as "Will Join the Work Crew" (yes), "Maybe, Boss" (maybe) and "Sorry, Can't Work Then" (no).

My husband was way too cute putting out this sign and caution tape outside when people walked in!

First on the list was a trip to Home Depot!
We got an orange construction cone for like $10, my son's birthday gift actually, he loooved it. And found this mailbox sticker for the large #3 on my son's work hat. We got Home Depot aprons there also for the kids to use at the party and take home, they were about $1 each.


My husband used his label maker to make some sticker nametags for each kid's work hat. 
I got these work hats at the I Party store for less than $2 a piece. 

I ordered these construction cone cups online. My son LOVES these. We saw them at a birthday party a few years ago and he's loved it since, so I knew we needed them for this party.

Each child also got a construction worker's brown paperbag lunch when they walked in. 

Inside each lunch bag were the following treats for the kids:

I used yellow caution tape around the juice boxes also to add a little construction theme in the lunch bags. The construction tape was found at I Party for a couple dollars.

Also at Home Depot I snagged some of these paint color papers, two for each child. I stapled them and put a napkin and spoon inside, as a napkin holder. Very easy and totally adorable. I wish I came up with this on my own, Pinterest did!

Because I started thinking of this tool party idea early on, I found this sign below "Proceed with Candy" at Target for a dollar after Halloween. It was perfect. It pays to have ideas early!

I also knew I wanted to showcase the hundreds of photos I'd taken this past year of my son "working" with his tools all over the place - the bath tub, the car, outside in the sand box, etc. So I made two collages here of photos from the year. It was a fun touch to the party atmosphere I think. 

Color scheme was bright orange (construction cone color!), bright yellow (big dump truck color), and black (caution color!). I put the utensils in black electric tape below, as well as put everything in a mini Craftsman tool box. 

We decorated the house with caution tape, balloons (I wanted black and orange balloons but my husband was on balloon duty and didn't get the memo... it worked just fine with what we had around though, no worries.

In the back there you can see my #3 posterboard with pictures of the birthday boy, too. This was MUCH harder than it looked on Pinterest to make. I'm not good at these things! Oh well, tried it anyway.

I got this Happy Birthday banner at I Party for $5. I almost didn't get it, but it really did tie things together so I'm glad we did. 

I had so many compliments on the food table and ideas. Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. 

My husband thought this one below was strange, the cantaloupe and grapes don't look like tape measures he said. Well, whatever. My son loves fruit and he loves tape measures, so that's what they were called. I made this one up, Pinterest didn't have this much creativity!

Hammer cookies! They came out strange looking, but it's the thought that counts. I have awesome tool shape cookie cutters my mother-in-law got off my Amazon wish list ($10!). I tried using the dough for the others and it wasn't coming out right, so just made the hammers.

These below are my FAVORITES from the party. These I adapted for this construction theme. On Pinterest it was for a rainbow or art party, so we made it our own. The paint brush and paint tray were from Home Depot - $2 total. I bought already made Rice Krispie treat squares, stuck a popsicle stick in them (found in the craft section at Wal-Mart, just FYI so you don't walk around for 20 minutes looking for them like I did!). Then we painted them with frosting and sprinkles. Easy.

Buffalo chicken dip, some call it chicken wing dip. So yummy. I was searching for a way to incorporate this into the party because I just love it, so dynamite seemed to work fine (my idea! yay!).

Owen's Godmother had already given him this tool box for Christmas so it was perfect to use for putting food in for the party. Love it!

Yes we washed out this dump truck that was outside just before the party! :) 
Little touches like this truck are what make these theme parties even more fun. Of course the birthday boy barely noticed any of it, but that's OK, it's more fun for me to see his eyes light up when he gets to eat the food anyway!

Best of all, and totally MY idea, so there! ... was the B-U-I-L-D your own ice cream sundae bar! 
Instead of cake this year we did the ice cream sundaes, because it fit perfectly with our building worker theme, but also because as my son was potty training when he'd go poop on the potty my husband would celebrate with ice cream sundaes. So we knew building our own for the party was a must!

Owen thought this was super cool to have his birthday candle in the ice cream! 

For activities we had our playroom decked out with a workshop of tools. My son already had a zillion tools so we just gathered them together for the kids to build and work. 

We got some tool stickers for the kids to decorate their construction hats.They loved this. Easy and fun!

Best of all was the WORKING!
My husband got some kits from Lowe's for kids to build various wooden items. My niece built a race car. My son and nephew built pirate ships. This was Owen's favorite part of the party.

Overall a super fun party! I had a blast planning this one. It was perfect because it's all the things my son adores. What could be more special than thinking work is fun?! We definitely had to capitalize on that idea and take tons of photos so we can show him when he's a teenager how much he used to work around the house! :)

Here I am below in my bright orange outfit, including orange Converse shoes! (Luckily orange is one of my work place's school colors, so I had all this orange stuff given to me at Christmas time when I asked for it for work attire!).

My husband also just happened to have this (ridiculous!!!) Home Depot orange jacket. Seriously. Not even kidding. And no, he didn't work there. I love this picture of our family below!

My HAPPY worker man birthday boy, THREE years old!

We got this ADORABLE hand-made worker toolbox tools shirt that even says his name on the tool box from my cousin's INCREDIBLE work, Creative Personality By Christy. Check her out on Facebook here:

SO FUN! Now on to planning next year's birthday party.
Just kidding, too soon for that.
Except that there are SUCH cute ideas on Pinterest I must get to... :)

M.O.M. - organized KIDS' MEMORABILIA!

*This post is part of a series about getting organized in 2013, 
from our new Moms On a Mission = M.O.M. project *

Kids - they come with tons of stuff, as we all know! 
Tons of things we like to keep and cherish for years to come. It's important to have a system of where to keep those items like school report cards or Valentine's cards or baby's first hair cut curls, otherwise they will get lost. 

For me, I use a plastic tub, see below. I wrote my son's name on a piece of paper and taped it into the inside. (purple was the color on sale last year, so purple it was!)

In the front are some things like all the ultrasound pictures we had from when I was pregnant with him, sealed in a ziplock bag, same with his Sophie the Giraffe (favorite toy ever!), and a pregnancy journal. There are also his hospital bracelets and the ruler they used to measure him at birth.

Then I got some hanging file folders from Wal-Mart. It cost about $2 for a pack of 10 file folders. I put one in for each year and then just put all of his favorite cards, pictures, etc. in the file. They hang on the side of the box no problem.

I have everything in here... cards he made at daycare for us for Mother's and Father's Day, his bear's birth certificate, coloring pages, baptism papers, etc.

My daughter's hospital hat from birth and all the cards from her baby shower. 

These are easy to stack on top of each other, too, so easy storage is helpful. 

Keeping up with these is pretty easy, too. 
Whenever cards or artwork accumulate I just keep them stacked on top of these boxes, and then when I have a few minutes I'll go back and sort them into the file folders for each kid. It honestly takes no time at all. I'm glad I started doing this sooner rather than later, because already in my son's 3 years he's accumulated a lot of things we have kept. So my advice is do this sooner than later for your kids so you aren't bogged down with tons later on.

There are tons of other ideas on Pinterest, too, like memory binders. Do what works for you, whatever is easy to keep up with. Don't make it too complicated. Easy is best!

Kids are so creative and artistic! That's one of my favorite things about my son growing up... his artwork he loves do make for all of us. But I'm already seeing it accumulate fast!

We made this clothelines in our play room last year to hang my son's artwork and pictures my niece and nephews make for us. Pinterest inspired idea, love it! Super easy and cheap, yet looks adorable.

I also intend to take pictures of my son's artwork when it gets to be big projects we can't always hang on to forever (I see this type of thing when he's in big kid school someday), so we'll take pictures of those and then make a mini photo book on Shutterfly of them.

Someday when totally done with all the baby clothes I intend to take out my favorites for each kid and have them made into a quilt or something, or even just frame a few of them. There are great ideas online for this type of thing. What have you done with your old newborn clothes?

I also keep baby record books for my kids - to write down all of those big moments like eating Cheerios and milk on his own for the first time! The easiest way to keep up with these, for me, has been to do it OFTEN. I do it at least every other week or so, this past month I only did it once in the month but try to do it every week or two. It takes 5 minutes, honest. I go back through the photos we took that month to remind me of things I wanted to write down. I also write post-its of things I want to remember and stick that on top of the baby book for when I can really write it down later on.

I also order photos about once a month via Shutterfly (delivered in your mailbox at home!) or pick them up at Wal-Mart one hour photo when grocery shopping. These photos go in the spots in the baby book where they want you to put a picture of their first haircut, first Christmas, etc. Keep up with it as you go and it is easier than going back over a year's worth of photos to fill in the blanks.

Keep up with these! You WILL want to remember this stuff someday. I tell you that from experience. My first and second were only 2 years and 2 months apart, not a long span of time, yet I FORGOT almost everything that my son did and it's been so helpful to go back through his baby book to find out when approximately kids crawl or go from 1 nap to 2 or when they need more solids in their diet, etc. Of course every baby is different, but looking through his book has been helpful to us.

HAVE FUN with this one!
Organizing your kids' precious memories is a fun project to do, and I chose this as the second project because it's one of the EASY ones to get you motivated!

Post your ideas to the Mommy Stories Facebook group, share pictures, and ask for advice there, too. Don't forget our awesome Pinterest board, get organized, mama! at