kid friendly restaurant

To Stay Or To Go?

Have you ever walked into a place or event expecting it to be “kid friendly” and sadly it was not? Then you have to make the choice. Do you stay and attempt to make your children conform to the environment or do you make a mad dash for the exit before anyone notices you? Just recently I found myself in this situation. I tried to corral my three kids as best I could, but the predictable happened. My older two kids were given my husband’s cell phone to take  turns playing games on. Any parents want to guess what happened next?

Massive Meltdown

You got it. My older two erupted in a fight over the cell phone which led my husband to jump up and declare that we were leaving. After a family pow wow in the parking lot we decided to give it another shot. Then I spent the next hour chasing my 10 month old as she tried to crawl absolutely everywhere and when I tried to hold her she started to shriek so I would put her down. What can I say? She is discovering the world for the first time. That’s some pretty exciting stuff and who would rather be strapped in a stroller or held on a lap? My older two continued to fight, although at a more respectable decibel. But as much as I wanted to enjoy the event I couldn’t. I felt invisible eyes on me. Even if it was all in my head I just could not relax and be in the moment.

What Does It REALLY Mean To “Be Kid Friendly?”

It got me thinking, what does it REALLY mean to be kid friendly? Is it crayons on a restaurant table? Is it the expectation that it will be a lot louder or that breakable items won’t be in easy reach of anyone under five feet tall? Does it mean there will be an appropriate place to change a diaper or breastfeed a baby? It actually kind of makes me a little sad that we have this term at all. It means that we have to make our environments suitable for children and that of course means that not all environments are prepared to do that. If a public location didn’t have access for a wheelchair they’d be fined, but no place to feed or change a baby and that’s okay? REALLY?

Kid Friendly Sign

Little People Are Still People

Why aren’t all events and venues people friendly? That means ALL People, children included. I didn’t have my kids so that I could call ahead and see if a place could accommodate their childhood. I also didn’t have them to drop them off at a sitter every time I want to go out with my husband. I’m a Stay At Home mom by choice and I do find myself at home a LOT because I don’t want to make that choice.

Not everyone chooses to have kids and I get that. I also try to make sure my children behave in public because it’s the polite thing to do. BUT if I’m going to teach them to behave like an adult, which is sometimes far above what I can reasonably expect for kids their ages (7, 5 and 10 months) then I think the world needs to just start thinking of them as people. Just because they are little doesn’t make them any less deserving of space, time, patience, and a place to eat and go the bathroom.

You and I were children once too. Someone made room for us in this world. Let’s make room for our kids in this world too because honestly any place that isn’t “kid-friendly” isn’t the place for me. If I have to leave my kids home well then you know where you can find me.

Chia seeds rock my world. They can stand in for eggs in baked goods, they pack a punch of vitamins and even some protein when added to smoothies, and most recently, we’ve been enjoying them in “puddings.” I say puddings loosely because the puddings we make with chia seeds are, well, healthy. We’re not talking the Jello Pudding Cups (did you hear Bill Cosby’s voice?) made with dairy, sugar, and artificial who-knows-what. We’re talking fruits, non-dairy milks (unless you want dairy, in which case, feel free), and chia seeds. Calling it pudding may make it more appealing to your little ones, but it won’t change its healthy-status or desirability in your mind.

Chia Seed Puddings

Banana chia seed pudding

The first chia seed pudding recipe we discovered was this one. It’s called Three Ingredient Banana Pudding, and it literally is three ingredients. Coconut milk, chia seeds, and bananas. The recipe calls for making it in advance so it has time to thicken, but rarely are my kids able to wait once they’ve made it (kids’ cooking alert! This is one they can do all by themselves). It also suggests making it in the food processor, and we usually do, but in a pinch we’ve quickly mashed the bananas, added the other ingredients, and it’s turned out just fine.

Chia Parfait

If you’re not a big banana fan (I’m not) this second recipe is more versatile and allows you to use berries. My favorite! I made it with frozen blueberries for the following day’s breakfast, and my girls eagerly spooned it into parfait glasses layered with oats first thing in the morning. We’ll try diced strawberries next time. The recipe calls for “1/2 to 1 cup of almond milk,” but in my opinion, a half a cup of a range is a bit much. I stuck with the full cup, and it thickened nicely. If you avoid nuts, I suspect this would work just as well with coconut milk, rice milk, or even dairy milk. As I said, we layered it with oats. Be careful to make a thin layer of oats, as they are dry and not flavorful. The next time I made it, we used granola, which was much more palatable.

Our foray into the world of chia seed puddings continues.  If you’ve found a favorite recipe, please share below.  To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at Stephanie.hvparent.com.

 

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Here is a little behind the scenes look at the office of The Whatever Mom. It isn’t all crafty and educational fun. It gets messy, the kids get cranky and some days I just wanna pull my hair out trying to get everyone to listen. That’s just the daily stuff. But, when you work from home and add kids into the mix you can expect total chaos.

My lovely little office is not only where I spend time to write, but it is the communication hub for my entire life. I spend a lot of time in here making phone calls, networking online, organizing my dinner menu and planning our next adventure. I could easily fill a 9-5 day with all of that and walk away feeling accomplished. However, you add in potty training two kids at once, feeding two kids at once and listening to two kids whining at once, it feels like 40 hours crammed into one single morning.

Here are some tips that have helped me keep my sanity while working from home with my kids:

1. Make A Work Space Just For You– you don’t have to get a fun office make over to have some space to call your own. Hiding in the closet in your upstairs bedroom with your lap top works too. Or, you could even call a game of hide and seek and go sit in your car until they find you.

2. Location! Location! Location! Where you locate  your TV is going to be your biggest defense against interruptions. Our TV room is on the other side of the wall of my office. This allows me to close the door and lock it if necessary. Coincidentally, my office is also where I keep my secret stash of chocolate.

3. Make a Mute Point– make sure you know where the mute button is on your phone and how to use it. This will block out all the back ground screaming (mostly yours) and keep your calls sounding professional.  I found this especially helpful during our potty training years (yes, I said years). Nothing blows your cover as a mom like an entire conference room full of co-workers hearing your kid scream, “MAAAAAAAHM she peed on the floor again!!!”

4. Distractify– keep things on hand that your kids can grab and go (preferably to another room). Maybe a basket of coveted toys, or shiny things; maybe a basket of books or coloring paraphernalia. Whatever will buy you at least two minutes of quiet time to finish that last thought before sending off an email.

5. Snackify– before you sit down to your desk make sure you are fully stocked on snacks you can hand off to your kids and send them away. Make it a good yummy snack that prevents them from talking for several minutes. Tip: you can toss out Gold Fish crackers like feeding baby seals as a fun way to hold off the kids.

 

I mostly work at night when the kids are asleep, or before they get up in the morning. But, there are some days I can’t avoid a business call, or a deadline while they are around. So, the above tips have really helped me squeeze in a few extra minutes of work- you know in between sandwiches, potty breaks, sibling fights, laundry, scrubbing toilets, planning charity events and cooking dinner. All in the day and the life of a Work From Home Mom (with my kids!).

I know I’m not the only mom working from home with preschool kids in the mix. I want to hear from you! How do you make it all work? What’s your craziest work from home moment?

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here

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NO ….. It is a rather simple word, yet so hard to say.  Why is that? Is it because we see” No” as a negative response?  Is it because we want to please everyone?  I think we often say yes because we fear having to supply a reason, excuse or explanation for saying no.  Guess what, you can say” no” and you don’t have to explain yourself.

I have been guilty of being a” YES Person” nearly all my life.   That is, till I realized there  is positivity in saying NO!035

 

Not too long ago just like so many other parents I found myself in a “YES Rut”.   I said YES to EVERY  bake sale, fundraiser, book fair, class trip, play date, coffee date, book club, moms club , you name it – I signed us up for it.

 

I think that as a parent we think that there is power in busyness.  I think we respect those that seem to be “doing it all”.   I know when I finally sat back and thought about my busyness I realized I was doing a disservice to myself and my family.  In fact, I was NOT pleasing myself at all.   I was too busy to enjoy much of anything.  By not having the guts to say no I was overextending myself.   I caused myself  far too much stress and anxiety.  Stress is toxic and can lead to a slue of bad side effects.  Which for me, it did.  It took working with a Health Coach for me to see the connection.

 

Not only was I stressed and overextended, but I wasn’t saying YES to myself.    I was putting my family, my health, my life and my dreams on the back burner.  I was just too busy saying yes to everything and everyone else.    When I finally took that first step and said no, It did feel weird, but it also felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.   I remember sitting at the ball field and actually watching and enjoying my own children as oppose to babysitting the entire team.   I remember almost feeling guilty.    I am telling you, DON’T feel guilty saying no!  DON’T feel guilty enjoying your life!  DON’T feel guilty for not saying yes!    I now have time to enjoy my kids – after all, they only stay kids for so long.   I can go back and be a volunteer” yes junkie” again, but I will never get to be their mom while they’re little again.

 

Embrace the freedom you have to say no!  You will be surprised at all the positives that result!

boys on farm

We love the farm. We are so lucky here in the Hudson Valley to be smack in the middle of such diverse areas. Only a few minute drive and you can be in either a city or a farm. My boys and I spend many summer days visiting the cows, riding horses and petting the goats at some of the nearby farms. Our favorite, Sprout Creek Farm has a super friendly staff, lots of animals and absolutely delicious ice cream in the summer! Another favorite farm activity is berry picking. We are excited to jump into the fields and pick our own fruits to turn into delicious treats  So many of our local farms offer animals for petting, fresh foods, classes and even activities such as playgrounds and jump pillows.

Since I have 3 (yes, daddy counts!) healthy, growing boys who consume their fair share of foods I often thought about joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture share). Though I have to admit I only knew it meant you got your foods directly from the farm. I started talking to friends who participate and read articles around the web. (Hint: HVParent have a good one here) and was really interested! Then I had to build a case for my dear, penny- pinching husband. I first had to prove that we would be in-fact saving money despite the hefty upfront costs and I had to back up the money facts with all the ways I felt a CSA share would be a good fit for our family.

So I am sharing with you today, not only 23 Hudson Valley Farms that offer CSA shares but also my Top 10 reasons to join a farm CSA!

[Top List: 23 Hudson Valley Farms offering CSA shares]

1. I would say probably the #1 reason why CSA’s are wonderful for families are because you are receiving great, local, farm fresh food at a great price. While paying upfront might seem a bit daunting to the budget, many have done the math and decided that savings of a CSA outweigh the costs of purchasing organic quality foods.

2. Many times you open your box to discover foods you haven’t tried before or maybe have never even heard of! As part of a farm CSA you may discover delicious new foods, try new recipes and get an opportunity to introduce the kids to many different things.

blueberries

3. You will most likely eat healthier. Often times that fresh bunch of arugula looks more appealing than a can of peas!

[See Also: Healthy Eating on a Budget]

4. Support local economy and farmers. Paying upfront for your share helps ensure the farmers will be getting a pay check regardless of weather conditions and other factors that often hurt the farmer and his family. According to localrootsnyc.org, “Three of the top 20 most threatened farming regions in the United States are in the New York State area:

#10: Syracuse – Buffalo Region
#11: Hudson Valley
# 19: Eastern Long Island – Suffolk County”

kids petting baby chick

5. Make it into a fun outing for the kids. Pick-ups are a lot of fun, especially at a farm with different animals to visit and feed and kids get a first hand look at where our food really comes from… more than just a supermarket!

6. When you are able to see the work that goes into each plant, you watch it grow, you touch, smell and taste it straight from the farm you have a better appreciation for the foods and are more likely to eat them. Both solving picky eater dilemmas and creating healthy meals!

picking berries

7. Many farms that offer CSA shares have dedicated sections specially for U-Pick options. Some put no limits on the amount you pick! (Though a general rule of thumb is to not over pick, the point is still a share here). If you are a family like us who love to pick our own fruits throughout the season you know how much that adds up!

8. Becoming a part of a CSA is truly a sharing community. Members will often swap recipes at the pick- up line, kids play in the fields and you overall feel good about helping and being a part of the community.

farm view

9. Many farms offer education, workshops and special events. Have you ever wondered how to pickle those cucumbers? Check out your local farms and see if they offer any workshops near you!

10. When you join a CSA, you are protecting the environment, supporting farmers, small businesses and all around creating a better planet for our children’s children. What better reason then that?

[See also: Top list of Hudson Valley Farm Markets]

So I just read this post on Babble, “Can You Stay Friends With Someone Who Has A Wildly Different Parenting Style?” In it, the writer expresses exasperation with her old friend who is a “helicopter parent” because she is a “free range parent.” She wonders aloud, as all bloggers do, if she can remain friends with this woman. I wanted to laugh at the end because I immediately thought of my neighbor and very good friend Allison.

Allison and her son Avery.

Allison and her son Avery.

Fate Steps In

I didn’t know her growing up. We aren’t old friends as is the case in the aforementioned article. We have been living in the same neighborhood for the past eight years, but didn’t meet until our daughters’ Kindergarten Open House three years ago. Ironically, I had just pitched an article to Hudson Valley Parent and even though I was there wearing my “mommy hat” trying to learn all about the school and teacher I was also wearing my “writer hat” and was scoping out parents to interview for my article.

As soon as the presentation was over I made my way over to the teacher to ask questions about programs for engaging children that were advanced and I overheard this woman asking the question that was in my head. I knew then that I was going to interview her. I had no idea at the time that we lived in the same neighborhood or that our kids and of course we would become amazing friends.

Now That’s My Kind Of Crazy

I’m a firm believer that we are all crazy. We just find people that are “our brand of crazy” to hang out with. Al will be the first to admit that she’s a bit paranoid when it comes to her kids. She keeps them very close. I’m a bit more free range if you will. I take the stand that falling is a part of life so brush it off and get back on the bike. But it never for one second would occur to me that we couldn’t be friends because of it. I know we parent differently, but I recognize that we are different people and that’s cool. Her babies were born premature and I cannot imagine how hard it must be to see your tiny little baby hooked up to machines. Not being able to leave the hospital with them seems unimaginable to me.

Hannah, Jordyn, Allison and Avery on one of our many family outings. It doesn't matter to me that we parent differently. What matters to me is that she loves my kids like her own and vice versa.

Hannah, Jordyn, Allison and Avery on one of our many family outings. It doesn’t matter to me that we parent differently. What matters to me is that she loves my kids like her own and vice versa.

Walk In Each Other’s Shoes

So I try to put myself in her shoes and think maybe I would hover more if I had that experience. I was raised free range, allowed to walk miles down the road to the corner store by myself at 10. If I can see my kids I don’t mind letting them play on their own with just a few “check-ins” now and again. I can also recall with horror a few times I should have hovered more. Like the few terrifying minutes I lost Jay at the Wayne County Fair because there was a large group of people with us and I wasn’t holding his hand.

Photo 1

Perfect Parents Need Not Apply

I’ve grown so disheartened by parents who think there is only one way to parent. I think parenthood is craziness in its own rite. But it’s a fluid kind of crazy. I’m allowed to be paranoid about certain things and more trusting about others. Just because it might seem that we fall into one parenting camp or another doesn’t make it true. I read the comments on articles about say cry it out sleep training and you will see the flags flying. I was perhaps the only one to comment that I both co-slept with my babies and later sleep trained them. Maybe it’s because Allison and I both have mixed children that we literally know the world is not black and white, but both.

Many Paths To The Same Goal

Our children are kind, loving, smart and well-adjusted kids because of their moms; different parenting styles and all. (Ok, because of their dads too. I will never hear the end of it I don’t add that our kids have some pretty amazing dads too). Best of all they love each other like siblings not just friends. It does mean they also fight like siblings at times too, but that’s what family does. How could I ever not be friends with her because we parent differently? We surpassed mere friendship a long way back.

I'm very religious and Allison's not, but that didn't stop her from attending the dedications of my children at church. That's what family does.

I’m very religious and Allison’s not, but that didn’t stop her from attending the dedications of my children at church. That’s what family does.

I am not a perfect parent. She is not a perfect parent. But her shade of crazy matches mine perfectly and the only parent I really don’t trust is one who doesn’t see their shade of crazy at all. So stop waving your flags parents unless you’re willing to let your crazy flag fly. Only then will you find the friends that last a lifetime.

It just so happens to be Allison’s birthday today so Happy Birthday to my sister from another Mister! I volunteer to show the world my crazy, but you letting me show the world yours is just another reason I love you!

Spring is here (we’ve even had a few days that felt like summer!) and suddenly it’s the time of year when your dinners can transform. Instead of heavy soups, stews, and baked casseroles, meal prep moves outside for grilling. I have three favorite things about grilling. One, there’s less prep and ingredients. Most meats, vegetables, and potatoes can be made on the grill with very little pre-planning or fuss. Two, the outdoor assembly results in less indoor mess– scraping down the grill is a lot easier than washing a sink full of pots and pans. And three, my husband loves to BBQ (most guys do, it seems) which means I can keep busy indoors while he handles the cooking outside. As a side note, most grilled items are naturally gluten-free, which is a plus. Score!

BBQ

A Simple BBQed dinner

The other night, my husband offered to run to the grocery store on his way home from work so that he could BBQ dinner. He snagged salmon, a bag of baby peppers, and some avocados. I made a quick rub for the salmon, a pot of Spanish rice, and dinner was done.

Quick Salmon Rub

1/4 c soy sauce or coconut aminos (La Choy soy sauce is gluten free, although we prefer Coconut Secret coconut aminos)
2 T brown sugar

Combine well until sugar is dissolved, and brush on salmon before and during grilling. Peppers grill well on an upper rack, if available, or over a low flame.  This goes well with grilled vegetables, a green salad, or a pasta salad.

Planning a quick, healthy outdoor meal doesn’t have to be complicated or require a lot of clean-up.  Enjoy the ease of summer BBQs and spend your extra time with friends and family.  We followed our dinner with a family game night on the deck and watched the sun set as we relaxed together.  How we missed the sunshine!

If your family has a favorite BBQ recipe, share below. To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.

Create a

Keeping up with the demands of being a wife and a mother is not easy. I feel like everyone wants a piece of my time. I realize how important it is to set aside time to be with my spouse.  It isn’t always easy, but as a married couple we need time to connect, catch up and remember why we love each other. We often set aside one night a week for a date night just so we can do all that.

The same idea can apply to my relationship with my kids. After rushing through the weekly demands of school, soccer practice and play dates, my kids and I could use time to connect and relax together. It gives me a break from barking commands, err um… parenting demands and we can just enjoy each other. So, we have a regular date night too.

My life before kids meant Fridays were for partying with “the girls.” Now my Fridays are for snuggling with MY girls. We make a pizza, make some snacks and watch a movie together. Sometimes we get a little take out, but making our pizza gives us time to be in the kitchen together. For me, being in the kitchen with my mom is a very fond memory and I love that I can share that with my girls.

If you want to spend some quality time with your kids set up a night each week to go on a date with one or all of your kids. You don’t have to break the bank, or do anything super fancy. Keep it simple at home, or head out to a favorite restaurant. Whatever is easiest (and most relaxing) for you!

 

Here Are 5 Mom and Me Date Night Ideas:

1. Dinner and a Movie– Pick out a favorite DVD, or find a movie on Netflix. Order in, or make your own pizza. It’s Friday night so do what ever is easiest and allows you to spend the most time with the kids! When my kids were really little we’d pile into my bed to watch a movie.

2. Go Stargazing– On special nights I let the kids stay up later so we cay lay out underneath the stars. It is amazing to hear the questions kids ask about the moons, the stars and life in general.

3. End The Week on a Sweet Note– Go out for ice cream, or make your own. It’s almost summer so pull out those Popsicle molds! We  like to freeze good ol’ chocolate milk for a simple alternative to ice cream. These moments make for great traditions and wonderful memories.

4. Have A Sleep over-  Camp out in the living room, camp in the backyard or let everyone pile into one bed. My girls love, love, love getting to kick my husband out of our room for a “no boys allowed” night. They won’t want to be this close forever, so I am happy to soak up all the extra snuggles while I can!

5. Spa Night– Kids love massages too! Boys or girls will enjoy a foot rub, or back rub after a nice bubble bath. Take turns applying a favorite lotion or oil to each other’s hands and feet. It’s a great way to physically wind down from the week. This was our first official date night when the girls were too little to watch a movie, or go for late night adventures.

This summer I am excited to try switching things up a bit and introducing my girls to a drive in movie. What are some of your favorite mom and me date night activities?

 

Here are 5 Best Practices for Date Night with your spouse.

 

rox The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here

 

An introducion to Spiritual Mentoring

StollerPortrait09By Lincoln Stoller

“All that we humans do, we do in conversation… as we live in conversation new kinds of objects continue to appear.” – Humberto Maturana and Pille Bunnell

I want you to expand your notion of education beyond skills and information, beyond encouragement and the setting of examples, all the way to the joining of spirits. Leave behind the notion of knowledge as facts. Recognize that we evolve as a species through the change of individuals.

Encouragement

My first memory of being deeply moved to learn was when I watched a documentary movie about stars and galaxies in preschool. No teacher or person in K through 12 engaged me to the same degree. I was so disappointed because

Eugene Wigner

Eugene Wigner

of this that when I was 16 I went looking for someone to talk to. I looked through college brochures and found Professor Wigner in the physics department at a good university. I phoned him out of the blue and asked if he would talk to me about my interest and what path I should take. Although a bit taken aback by his enthusiasm and anticipation to meet me I scheduled a meeting at his office, several hours drive from where I lived.

I drove through the rain, navigated the town and campus, and arrived wet and late. I didn’t prepare myself aside from reflecting on my own curiosity, and I didn’t know anything about him or his field. I didn’t even have a high school diploma. We spent the entire afternoon talking about the universe. He affirmed my interests, endorsed my questions, and charged my sense of self and purpose.

I went on to study physics and often encountered the work of my friend Eugene Wigner, celebrated contributor to the invention of quantum mechanics and Nobel laureate. Throughout my education I searched for deeply curious people who were aware of their own limitations and respectful of mine. The inspiration I gained from the few I found taught me that sincere encouragement from a knowledgeable elder is inspirational.

Transformation

The field that develops between people determines the value of the information exchanged within it. As Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, “I would rather have someone who is inspired by their work stand in front of me and be my teacher, even if they don’t know how to teach. Because — you know something — that doesn’t matter. In the end what matters is the osmotic link that is made between your and their enthusiasm. Just by being in the same room at the same time…”

[Read more: 9 ways to help kids grow into healthy adults]

We are becoming aware that a person does not grow by gaining information, but by developing a larger state of mind. Facts don’t enlarge a person, relationships do, and relationships that expand one’s boundaries stimulate the most growth. A relationship’s texture will have a greater effect than what is said. An inappropriate or disrespectful encounter can have as negative and long-lasting an effect as meeting an open-hearted spirit can have an effect that is unforgettably positive.

“You want to entertain in your imagination, as well as in the substance of your beliefs, the ability to create and sustain states that are more powerful than in your limited, conscious awareness. Even if you only believe you are making it up, do it really well …” – Richard Bartlett

Personal Space

Mary Ann MaNais

Mary Ann MaNais

“When I sit down with my friends and socialize … we don’t go into depth about what society has given us, what we need, versus what we want… because we don’t care right now. But as far as me, speaking for myself, I care.” – Mary Ann MaNais, 19 years old

Teenagers rarely engage each other, or anyone else, on deep and personal issues. That kind of engagement is not cultivated in children nor in the adults who surround them. Young and old alike, we are hiding in our own shadows, not looking seriously into ourselves and not sharing what’s there. It’s time to recognize that we will only grow ourselves by exposing our doubts and sharing our strengths.

“The circle of learning between student and teacher is a flow that has no clearly defined beginning. My students’ desire to understand and my capacity to articulate are two sides of a synaptic bridge in a larger mind, and only when we came together and combined our resources did we fulfill our respective roles in this larger dance… as when a vibrating tuning fork is brought near a quiescent tuning fork until something of the energy of the one is transferred to the other.” – Christopher M. Bache

[Read more: Child Behavior: Teaching kids money doesn’t buy happiness]

Spiritual Mentoring

In the heart space there is a little distance between those with and those without experience, who share a common interest, but age and rank fosters an illusion of separateness. I would like to take a “subtle knife” and create a door through which the two can meet each other.

I’ve created a web page to connect interested young people with experienced elders. An inexperienced person can submit their interest, background, and contact information through a web form, and an experienced person can do the same. I will scrutinize each and, if they share a sincere, common interest, I will share this information without identifying either of them. If they are both interested and both approve, then I will introduce them. I don’t expect the perfect mentor and mentee will approach me simultaneously, but I also don’t expect them to be far apart: given one, I’ll look for the other.

[Read more: Child Behavior: Teens becoming self-centered]

“Human beings dance in life, and as we dance different patterns emerge around us. Sometimes a spark jumps between two poles. Lightning strikes and suddenly a possibility seems closer for someone in the room. There is a heartfelt exchange, a truth transmitted. Unpremeditated and uncontrolled, it is guided by its own radar, advances its own agenda… These sparks express the learning of our collective intelligence.” – Christopher M. Bache (6)

If you’re a young person with a passion to learn, or an elder with a passion to share, then visit the Spiritual Mentoring page, fill out the mentee or mentor form, and I will contact you.

The Spiritual Mentoring Project

To participate in the project as either a mentor or a mentee, visit the Spiritual Mentoring page and fill out the mentee or mentor form.

Lincoln Stoller helps people to learn by using neurofeedback to empower their brains, and past life regression therapy to expand their spirits. He has two sons and lives in Shokan.

Mommy & Sydney

The Girl Without A Voice

I was the girl in elementary school who had to be evaluated by a speech therapist. There was nothing wrong with my speech except for the fact that I didn’t know if anyone cared to hear it. Even through high school I wasn’t one to speak up and share in class because I really didn’t think I had anything to say. So how did a shy girl become a blogger who puts some pretty intimate information about myself out there for the world to read (not that I really believe the whole world is reading)? At some point on this motherhood journey I started to wonder if maybe there was another mom who could benefit from my been there, done that experiences.

New Mom And Terrified

I remember clearly the days after having my first child and how truly terrified I was of the moment we’d leave the protection of the hospital and it’d just be me and my husband taking care of her. I remember expectantly asking when the nurse was going to come in and show me how to change her diaper. Fast forward several months and I started meeting other new moms at the store or the mall who would come up to me with that same fear in their eyes. I got questions about my baby’s feedings and sleeping and I remember thinking, hell I’m no expert, but if sharing my experience helps them in some way then so be it.

From Discount Diva To The No Drama Mama

For those that have been following my posts for a while you know that I used to talk about frugal living and saving money. Then as I was preparing to have my third child I knew that what I wanted to do was talk about broader parenting issues. It just so happens that Hudson Valley Parent put my blog posts on the New Moms page of their newly designed website and it feels like it’s where it was meant to be. New moms are the most vulnerable to critique by other parents. Now that I’m on my third baby, I’ve learned to let negative comments roll off my back. I know that those I  love and respect will always answer my questions with concern and not critique.

Discerning Concern Vs. Critique

When Hannah was three months old it was November. I was changing her and my sister-in-law noticed that I didn’t have a onesie on her. “You know,” she said, “babies have a hard time keeping their body temperature up, so you might want to keep a onesie on her.” I was embarrassed and ashamed of my parental screw up. But the thing is I knew it came from a place of love and concern. How do I know it was concern and not just a critique? Simple, she had been by my side holding my hand and rubbing my back through 12 hours of labor. She was invested in my child’s well-being.

Labor Photo 1

What’s The Level Of Investment?

So the next time someone’s advice makes you feel bad or question your parenting abilities, just ask yourself if that person is REALLY invested in the outcome. If the answer is no, just take it with a grain of salt and remember that there are almost no absolutes in parenting. There is no right or wrong way, only the choices you make based on what you feel is right.

Parenting Truth

Can I talk specifically to the new moms for just a second? The only parenting truth that I know is that your child trusts you completely. As long as you are doing everything in your power to be worthy of that trust, then you’ll be just fine. The more time goes by, the more you’ll know that and the less vulnerable you’ll feel. You’ll be able to tell when to listen and when to just trust your instincts.

Happy Mother’s Day

Moms can be such a wonderful resource for each other when our advice comes from a place of love and concern. We may have nothing except motherhood in common, but that’s more than enough. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom in heaven and all the women out there who’ve helped me become the Mom I am today!

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