Go Back to School

If your kids are in school, you hopefully know what their school looks like. But if not, make a point to get a tour of where they spend most of their day. Or, if your kids are not quite ready for kindergarten, find out what the needs are in your local district and get the family to adopt a classroom. When every home is aware of the needs nearby, public schools become better for every student. By making sure that you’re aware of the local school’s needs, you’ll be able to make a difference in lives of many children.

Cool Moms in the Community – East Nashville Dreams Green

An interview with a mom in East Nashville who is making t-shirts to change the world.

Yesterday I had the honor to meet with a wonderful woman and her sweet, angelic son in an East Nashville coffee shop. As we sat and talked about her business she launched on November 18, 2007, I watched this sweet little one stack tea baskets and reusable coffee sleeves. Victoria McGowen of Peas On Earth is truly a mom. She commonly takes this little man on outings such as this. Much like CoolMomsCare, Peas On Earth is seeking to change the world through our kids.

Peas On Earth began with an idea, as most fabulous businesses. This mother of two wanted to do something kid-oriented that would incorporate her love of art and the environment. Native to Nashville, Victoria went away to Boulder, Colorado and was met with lots of organic options. She took what she learned there and when she returned to Nashville incorporated it into her idea.

Peas On Earth makes baby and kids shirts with a purpose. This Dream Green collection exists to bring awareness to kids about the environment. The goal is to teach through apparel. Each shirt is hand silk-screened and printed on American Apparel. These shirts are extremely soft, durable, and the best 100% cotton (made in the USA) around. The ink used in the screening process is organic and soy-based. The shirts run sizes 3-6 months to 6T. The shirts fit true to size and can be worn for up to two year, depending on the age of your child. Their creative design is with kids in mind. As Victoria mentions, all the kids point and stare at the images on the shirts everywhere her child wears them. They truly are attracting the eyes of the young.

Although Victoria is just shortly into this web-based business she runs out of her home while she is a full-time mom, she already has plans for its expansion. She hopes to have all her shirts in 100% organic cotton. She also hopes to get more images of children in these Peas On Earth T’s. She also hope to get more apparel lines in the future to include pants and newborn outfits.

Check out this Cool Mom in the Community that is seeking to change the world though the awarenesses of our children.

I Should Have Chosen My Favorite

Tell each child why they are their favorite.

It all started over lunch. I asked my adult daughter, “Out of the three of you children, who do you think had it the easiest?” She answered, then we decided to call the other two and ask their opinions. The first question led to the second, “Who do you think is Mom’s and Dad’s favorite?” Naturally, each had his or her own choices and reasons for those choices. After hearing their reasoning, I realized I should have chosen my own favorites.

I should have done it every day, every moment I was with them. I should have let them know it, out loud and on paper. I should have verified their position as favorite so there would be no later discussion. I should have told them exactly who was my favorite, and why.

It really was quite simple, because my favorite changed constantly, as did the reason. I knew which was my favorite, but I could have let them in on the secret.

When shopping with my youngest, I could have told her that she was my favorite because she helped me decide what to buy that day. A month earlier, I could have told my middle child she was my favorite because she dragged me out shopping that day. I would have told my oldest he was my favorite because he never took me shopping.

I would have my youngest she was my favorite because she cooked from scratch, and then took it out of my hand when I was eating too much. I could have told my middle child she was my favorite because she kept going and was not afraid when she split open her chin. I should have told my oldest he was my favorite because he thought it was an adventure when we were travelling and stopped with only $2.19 for lunch.

I could have told my youngest she was my favorite because she stood her ground through tears and determination. I should have told my middle child she was my favorite because she took care of her grandfather when I couldn’t be there. I should have told my oldest he was my favorite because he was there for the firsts – my first child, my first published Letter to the Editor, my first marathon.

They are all my favorites, and I think they know it. Each is my favorite because of the very essence of who they are, and what they mean to my life. I should have told them so they would have ammunition for the next time the question is asked. Now that would be a fun discussion to hear: “I’m Mom’s favorite because she told me…” As a child, it’s a great feeling to know you’re the favorite. As a mom, it’s great feeling to know all your children are your favorites and why.

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About the Author:

Luanne Davidson is the proud mother of three adult children and wonders what might have been if she had done a thing or two differently. She writes her “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” column each Thursday.

Purpose – What am I Doing?

How can we teach purpose to our kids?

There are days when I am working my way through the never-ending pile of laundry that I wonder what I am doing with my life. There has to be more to it than washing clothes! Even though I’m a part-time, working mom I have those moments of self-doubt and frustration. But then my baby boy will smile at me, showing his dimples or my big boy will tell me his latest problem or my little girl says, “Guess who I love, Mommy. You!” I know that being their mom is the most important thing I could ever do.

Definition
Purpose is determination; setting goals; finding a reason for being

Read:
Ruby’s Wish
by Shirin Yim Bridges

Talk:
Do you want to go to college? Why or why not?

Act:
The author of Ruby’s Wish is Ruby’s granddaughter, Shirin Yim Bridges. Learn the story of one of your grandparents and write it down.

About the Author:

Tamara Batarseh, Executive Director of Love In A Big World (LBW), is a singer/songerwriter/performer with over fifteen years of performance experience. She is co-founder of LBW and has been the creator of the organization’s programs and materials. Batarseh has recorded two albums, written LBW’s character education curriculum, trained LBW’s performers, and performed live for thousands of kids.

Becoming a Soccer Mom

One mom talks about her journey towards being less selfish.

I never wanted to be a mom. I’m an extraordinarily selfish person who knew I had no space in my life for anyone else, much less for a helpless little one utterly dependent on me not only for the basics, but for their complete and total welfare. Can we say “pressure?”

I stumbled into the job and 4 years later, I’m still stumbling in the job. I’ve noticed something in the process, though. What I once imagined to be a path going up the side of Mt. Everest. It’s actually more like a stone exhilarating down a hill. A ride down the Alpine slide with no breaks, no pauses, only acceleration and interestingly no fear.

I’m definitely concerned with my daughter’s welfare: that she’s eating the right things, learning the right things, making the right growth milestones, getting to bed on time and keeping her teeth brushed. More importantly, I’m concerned she’s learning to smile and to laugh in hundreds of languages, to dance for the light and moon-shadows, to juggle stars.

This life we lead is about very important things like work and success and making money, but more importantly it’s about truly living that life and enjoying that life, every blink and breath of it.

I’m still selfish, and when she’s tucked into bed and the house is silent, I’m horrifically selfish. When she is asleep I do exactly what I want to do and pamper myself with an uninterrupted shower (those “relaxing body washes” are a wonderful addition to a nighttime shower), or curl up in bed with a book, my latest crochet or sewing project, or just fall asleep watching a favorite movie.

But when she’s awake? You bet I’m still selfish. I want to spend all my time with her; I want all her smiles and hugs for myself. I want to hear that fabulous laugh of hers due to something I did or a fun moment we shared. I want all the precious sweet hugs and kisses I can get that come attached to the most blessed words in the world, “I love you, mommy.”

We go to dance class on Mondays, and soccer once a week (she’ll get her first soccer award next week, and I can’t wait to see the joy in her face!). We make space derby rockets and play Slap Jack with the mini-jelly boxes at the restaurant (strawberry is always the Jack. I’m waiting for the day it gets slapped too hard), we sleep in on Saturdays, and have Friday night picnics; on the lawn in the summer, or the living room floor when it’s too cold outside.

I’m still selfish, sure, but now I’m a selfish soccer mom, enjoying every blink and breath of it. Each day, I work a little harder to be a better mom and each day I get closer to being just a soccer mom (with less selfish).

Natural Healing: Tip 6

Vitamin C… the miracle vitamin or not?

We are sure you have read Tip 1,Tip 2, Tip 3, Tip 4 and Tip 5. This week we wrap up our six-week series on Natural Healing, but have not fear, we will always bring any health tips we find!

This week we are going to talk some about Vitamin C. Please remember to research before you try anything out.

Tip 6: Vitamin C

A little about Vitamin C

  1. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin.
  2. Vitamin C cannot be produced by your body, so it must be gotten from food or supplementation.
  3. Vitamin C is vital in maintaining healthy body tissues (like your gums and muscles).
  4. Vitamin C is not a cure-all as some marketers try to tells us, however, it does help.
  5. Vitamin C can be found in citrus foods, strawberries and and cabbage.

Vitamins are vital nutrients found in foods that we eat. If you are not getting enough vitamins in your kids through food, taking a multivitamin may be necessary. As previously mentioned, Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. This means that it does not stay in your body for long periods of time. When taken, your body will use what it needs and discard the rest in your pee. That being said, taking MORE Vitamin C will NOT increase its effectiveness in our kids. Doing this will only increase the work load on their little kidneys. So be careful in giving too many vitamins.

There has been a great deal of controversy over the efficacy of Vitamin C, especially in children. Some studies have been done that say very high doses can help adults, but with kids it is different. When I see a Vitamin C product that says something like, “Limits the duration of the common cold” I get a little suspicious. Nonetheless, products like Emergen-C have proven effectiveness in ADULTS. That being said, if you do want to try Vitamin C with your little one, here is a little more information about usage with kids.

Dosage for children is recommended as follows: 0.5 grams of Vitamin C per day for one fortnight (two weeks). I ran across this pretty nifty equation in dosing children’s vitamins and herbs. REMEMBER, some vitamins, minerals and herbs can be toxic to children (like goldenseal or oregano oil), so be very cautious about giving your kids anything that does not offer specific doses for kids.

(child’s age)/ (child’s age)+12 = portion of adult dose
So of a child is 6 years old, it would be 6/18 = 1/3 of an adult dose

Additionally, if your child appears to have an infection of any kind, no herbal remedy or vitamin supplement should not be a substitute for calling your physician.

Cool Moms in the Community – Indianapolis Reads

One mom in Indianapolis tells us about a project she started inspired by her 80 year old mother.

My 80 year old mom was the inspiration for a very special project I began. Last year, while I was visiting her, we were talking about her past and her teaching career. We reminisced about how she was able to use some wonderful, creative ways to inspire her children to learn. Her children learned well and really succeeded.

We continued to talk and suddenly she came up with a great idea of what could be done to motivate families to help inspire their children to read. It would be actually a family affair.

After I left her home, I began to think of ways to make her idea become a reality. After a year, I wanted to revisit her idea. Her idea has evolved into a program called “Read to Me.” This is a program that reaches out to teen mothers and fathers to encourage them to read to their young children. The goal is to be able to provide five to six starter books to these families free of charge. We hope that these books and awareness will help encourage reading as a family.

I always knew that this would be a blessing to the teen moms to enjoy reading to their children and to prepare them for school. When I saw an article in my local paper about the percentage of unwed teen moms, it confirmed that what my mom and I are embarking upon will be of help. I knew from reading the article that I may not be able to help with huge issues that these young teens are facing, but there is one that we can help with. My mom and I are able to help in the area of education. These books will be that tool to lead these children in being better prepared when they first walk into a classroom.

It is an ongoing project to always have books on hand to distribute to these young parents. We hope to continue to collect books from our community to be able to distribute them where needed. We are in need of books for pre-k aged-to early elementary aged children. We are always seeking out volunteers to help collect books. We have had many moms donate their children’s gently used books and a social worker from a local school has helped us out as well.

I am hoping that this project will help our teens to understand the value and importance to reading to their children at an early age. I can still hear my son even now as he remembers those precious times when I was able to read to him, even when he requested me reading his favorite books many times over. At fifteen, he treasures that memory.

What inspires me to do this project? I saw a glimmer in my 80 year old mom when she came up with the idea and also in her own special way she is still wanting our children succeed! I, too, am like my mom!

My mom was instrumental in me becoming a teacher years later. However, I have joined her in retirement. I will always believe that even though I have retired from the classroom I will always be working with children. This project has validated that!

I visited my mom and showed her some of the books that were beginning to come to us. She was happy that it was now coming to fruition. Then, she began to think of other ways to get the books out. She will never be released from helping children, either!

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Showing love at home is the most important on this day.

I thought I had done it all for Valentine’s Day. As a child, I bought, made, and sent cards to my classmates, and received theirs in my decorated paper bag or box. When my children started play groups and school, I did the same for them. I planned the classroom parties, cooked the cookies, and supervised the activities. As a teacher, I set the Valentine’s Day rules and procedures for the party and made sure all my students were treated equally. Somewhere along this busy line, I forgot to have the celebration I should have had at home.

Although there are many stories about the origin of Valentine’s Day, one thing remains constant. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate and honor those you love. Often in the midst of making sure the class party preparations were complete for my children, I forgot to celebrate them, the ones I love the most and who are my true valentines.

I could have bought the special cards for my children, or the heart candy, or one of the many gifts created for February 14. But I should expanded my thoughts and gone further.

I could have concentrated on what I loved about each child, and celebrated those qualities on this day. I could have a written a note to them each year, telling them what I loved about them that particular year. Those yearly notes would have changed over the years and would have reminded them how special they were each year.

I could have created something special for each child that represented my love for them. Today, photos can be made into a myriad of products. I would have chosen a favorite photograph to be made into a pillow case or a mouse pad or a quilt as a reminder of this day for this year. I could have chosen several photographs and created a short story about their life for this year. I could have chosen a frame and added a picture each year, creating a history of each preceding Valentine’s Day behind the glass.

We could have talked about the how this holiday is celebrated in other countries, and practiced some of their traditions. We could have planned family projects to show Valentine love to those who wouldn’t otherwise receive it. We could have created family traditions for this day that would brighten up a winter day, like planting flower seeds in indoor containers or reminiscing over last summer’s adventures. We could create a holiday poster by having every family member write loving comments about the others. We could have celebrated and cherished the love that holds us together as a family.

Valentine’s Day is a day to honor and be thankful for the love we have in our lives. Our greatest love is found in our children. What better place to celebrate this day of love than where it all begins – at home.

About the Author:

Luanne Davidson is the proud mother of three adult children and wonders what might have been if she had done a thing or two differently. She writes her “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” column each Thursday.

Organization – Rhythm of Time

How can we get more organized?

I once read this quote in a magazine when I was a teenager, “Boundaries. Live within them and the possibilities are endless.” My daily schedule gives me boundaries. When I follow it, I have a productive day and I’m usually surprised by what I’ve been able to accomplish. Of course, there are times when I sleep late or do something special, but then I’m usually out of sync and I end up frustrated by noon. I need to feel the peaceful rhythm that my daily schedule provides.

Definition
Organization is keeping things in order; having a plan of action

Quick Tip:
A daily schedule helps us have time for work, rest and play. Write down your schedule as well as your children’s schedule. Use this as a guide, not a law, for how you spend your time.

Read:
Clara and the Bookwagon
by Nancy Smiler Levinson

Talk:
What do you need to organize: your desk, your books, your toys, your clothes, your room? Make a plan of action to get these things organized. And do it!

Act:
Visit the library. Before looking for a book, talk with the librarian about how the books are Organized on the shelves. Be sure to ask her what would happen if the books were not organized in that way. Ask the librarian if your children may try to help put returned books back on the shelves. Through this service-learning project, they will see just how Organized the library is.

About the Author:

Tamara Batarseh, Executive Director of Love In A Big World (LBW), is a singer/songerwriter/performer with over fifteen years of performance experience. She is co-founder of LBW and has been the creator of the organization’s programs and materials. Batarseh has recorded two albums, written LBW’s character education curriculum, trained LBW’s performers, and performed live for thousands of kids.