Monday, March 23, 2015

Musical Mondays: Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainer 


When I first saw a feminist article in an uproar about Meghan's new video I rolled my eyes. I figured it couldn't be that bad and they were overreacting about how sexist it is. Then I watched the video and I felt like feminism had been set back several decades.

There are many saying that it's meant to be satire but I'm really not so sure. Other people aren't sure either. The song lyrics are bad but it's the imagery in the video along with the lyrics that makes it so much worse.

Here's some links to various articles discussing her new video:

Meghan Trainor's 'Dear Future Husband' Video: Why My Kids Won't Be Watching It from CafeMom

Do You Parallel Parent?


I was on a single parenting Facebook page this morning and I came across a question that asked: Do you practice coparenting or do parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting? What is that? I had never even heard the term before. It turns out I've been practicing parallel parenting with my ex husband without even realizing there was a name for it. 

Parallel parenting is a type of coparenting where parents interact with each other only when absolutely necessary. When they do speak they have limited direct contact, it's done in a respectful matter, and they only discuss issues that directly affect the child's care. The name actually originates from the way young children often play. They will play alongside each other but not with each other.

Parental duties are assigned and the logistics of the child's schedule are worked out so that the parents stay disengaged from one another as much as possible,

This style of coparenting is done so that recently separated or divorced couples can recover from the split or it's done when parents are high conflict and no amount of time will solve their differences. It is also done so that parents can effectively establish their individual role as a parent before beginning to coparent in the traditional way. Some experts believe a parent must learn to parent alone before they can learn to coparent.

The goal is to minimize children from getting caught between the two parents' drama and to prevent any further emotional stress on the child. This way the parents can focus on their role as caregivers separately from their role in the relationship. 

The emotional stress on a child doesn't always happen during the actual conflict. In traditional coparenting, many times after encountering a stressful interaction with the other parent, the parent will be thinking about the negative interaction long after it is over instead of focusing on the child. Parallel parenting prevents this from happening.

Parents who parallel parent do not discuss the following topics; past or present issues in the relationship or divorce, legal issues, criticisms about parenting skills, personal criticisms of any kind, contested custody, issues concerning dating or a new partner in the other parent's life, or any other topic that may cause conflict.

Some parallel parents are using a tool called a "parent communication notebook." The notebook is used to write down the child's activities, behaviors, schedule, diet and any other concerns without criticising the other parent or telling them how they think they should parent the child. The notebook is passed back and forth when the child visits the other parent. Other options are using snail mail, fax, email, and text messaging in the same way that the parent communication notebook is used. 

Not all parents need to to parallel parent. Some are able to coparent effectively right away. These parents are called cooperative coparents.  High conflict parents do what is called conflictual coparenting. The reasons parents have conflict can vary. Sometimes it's because they simply cannot along or have unresolved issues but sometimes it's because they simply have different philosophies about parenting and have different parenting styles.

Parents also do not have to stick to one style of coparenting. Some begin by parallel parenting and as they heal from the divorce they gradually move to a more traditional style of coparenting. Other couples try traditional coparenting from the start but due to never ending drama and conflict they decide change to parallel parenting instead. 

Many parents will naturally progress to parallel parenting simply because after time they simply don't have anything to say to each other unless it's regarding the child. 

It's also possible for only one parent to practice parallel parenting strategies. It's certainly more difficult if both parents aren't in agreement about parallel parenting, but one parent can refuse to engage in the other's drama by disengaging whenever they attempt to discuss anything other than the child. Any attempts to discuss anything unrelated to the child is simply shut down or the person ends the conversation. They may also choose to interact with the other parent only through email or text messaging. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

FriD.I.Y: Nontraditional Ways to Color Easter Eggs


With Easter coming, I decided to do a post on different ways to color Easter eggs that is different than using the usual store bought dye kit.


Dye the Eggs Using Fruits and Vegetables 

As with the commercially made dyes, your eggs must be hard boiled and cooled first. Some of the colors can be time consuming so plan accordingly. 

Red: Soak the eggs in beet juice or red cabbage juice for 30 minutes 
Pink: Soak your egg in cranberry juice for 20 - 30 minutes 
Blue: Soak your eggs in hot water with violet blossoms or blueberry juice overnight 
Lavender: Soak your egg in grape juice 
Yellow: Add 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric or saffron strands to hot water with 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar. Wait for the water to cool before soaking the egg 
Gold: For this color you start with an unbolded egg. Add the skins of yellow onions to the water when you hard boil it 
Brown: Soak the egg in strong coffee or espresso

Now for some untraditional ways of dying Easter eggs

Dying Easter Eggs with Shaving Cream from Katie's Crochet Goodies and Crafts

Creating Colorful Easter Eggs with Melted Crayons from Jenna Burger Design

Sharpie Marker Eggs from mom.me

Baking Soda Easter Eggs from Mess for Less

Cool Whip Marbled Easter Eggs from Tot School

Herb Stenciled Easter Eggs from Adventures in Cooking

Decoupage Eggs Version 1 from SewforSoul

Decaupage Eggs Verson 2 from Honestly Yum

Mosaic Eggs from Say Not Sweet Anne

Nail Polish Easter Eggs from Little Inspiration

For more DIY ideas please visit my new I Heart DIY Facebook page!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Created The Parenting Blog Directory!


Yesterday when I was searching for crunchy blogs to add to my blogroll, I started to think about all the blogs I have added to sidebar over the years. There's never been near as many as I'd like to have. I love reading new blogs. I love connecting with new bloggers. So I started thinking about how I could do just this.

I started thinking about website directories. I realized that Blogger is the perfect way to list all of the parenting blogs that I find. They could be divided into categories and the RSS feed allows me to see when they have been updated so the directory would always be up to date.

I took this idea and created The Parenting Blog Directory. The blog directory is finished and already has dozens of listings. I took my blogroll from here and transfered all the blogs that are current. I then thought of more categories of blogs that I would like to read. I have even more categories I would like to add (feminism, political, parents of color, ect) but I have already spent the entire night working on this project.

However, anyone with a parenting blog can request to be included in the directory.

How to Get Your Blog Listed
If you have a blog that you would like to add to the directory please leave a comment or send me an email with the blog name, link, and category you would like it listed in at theparentingblogdirectory@gmail.com

Rules For Being Listed
Your listing must be a blog to be in this directory. Tumblr blogs are welcomed. Websites are NOT allowed. Your blog must have a RSS feed.

I wish I did not need to say this, but your blog posts must be original material. If you simply reblog others your blog will be rejected and the original authors of the content notified.

I do a cleaning of the directory at the beginning of every season. That means if your blog has not been updated in over 3 months it will be removed.

Blog Events and Blog Hops
I also love the weekly meme list that LittleOwlCrunchyMama created. I'd love to put a list like that on The Parenting Blog Directory. I'd also like to have a calender with upcoming blog events, blog parties and hops, and giveaways.

Help Me Get the Word Out!
While I love searching for blogs, hops, memes, and giveaways to add to the blog. If people don't know it exists than it doesn't do anyone any good. People need to know about the directory so they can network with other bloggers and add their own blogs.

Please share this post or the link to The Parenting Blog Directory to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other social media site! Thank you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wannabe Crunchy Wednesday: Exploring "Crunchy" Blogs


Since bring crunchy is not a topic that I am familiar with, the best thing for me to do is research. This includes reading books on being crunchy as well as reading about how others do it. As a blogger, I am also interested in seeing how others blog about the topic. For many it's not just a topic they have interest in but an entire way of life.

While I certainly planned on looking at other crunchy blogs in depth, I decided to share the good blogs that I found. This blog series is my journey about learning to live a more crunchy, sustainable, and green lifestyle, emphasis on learning. I feel like I would be doing the series a disservice if I didn't share links to people who, well...there's really no other way to put this...actually know what they are doing. We can all learn from them.

Fortunately I didn't have too go far to get started. I already have some crunchy links on my sidebar. I also have links to attachment parenting and natural living blogs but for this particular post I am limiting my links to blogs that describe themselves specifically as "crunchy."

Here is the list of crunchy blogs already on my sidebar:

Kinda Crunchy

Crunchy Hot Mama

Crunchy Moms

LittleOwlCrunchyMama

All of the blogs are great. What surprises me the most is that the topics are far more varied than what I expected. It makes me feel kind of bad because maybe I've been buying into the stereotype of what it means to be crunchy. There are posts about household tips, books they are reading, adoption, parenting, Paleo recipes, and world events all along with topics you would expect to find on a crunchy blog.

LittleOwlCrunchyMama is particularly a treasure trove because she has a page called Linkly Love that has an extensive list of blog hops hosted by other bloggers for every weekday that cover a variety of topics. Some are the parenting topics or recipe sharing while others are on crunchy topics.

Yet I noticed something interesting. The only blog in this extensive list that described itself as crunchy in the title was LittleOwlCrunchyMama. Since I am limiting my research to blogs that describe them specifically with that word I was going to have to do some searching.

It's also starting to make me wonder if the word "crunchy" isn't used as much as I thought. While there really aren't many blogs with crunchy in the title, the list of blogs about green, sustainable, simple and natural living, homesteading, attachment parenting and being vegetarian seems endless.

It turns out I just hadn't looked hard enough. A Google search helped me find several active crunchy blogs. Then several turned into over a dozen blogs.

A Little Crunchy

Crunchy Green Mom

Not Quite Crunchy Momma

Crunchy-Chewy Mama (Chewy? Is that a new term? Is it like being "silky" or "scrunchy?")

Crunchy Christian Mama

Crunchy Con Mommy

The Crunchy Moose

Crunchy Lutheran Mommy

Catholic and Crunchy

Urban Crunchy Mama

A Little Bit of Crunchy A Little Bit of Rock and Roll

My Very Own Crunchy and Progressive Music Mama Blog

Crunchy Family

It appears that the word "crunchy" is definitely still in use. Although I am still curious about the "chewy" blog title. I really do want to know if "chewey" is a thing like being "silky" or "crunchy." In the meantime, I have a lot of reading to do! With all of these blogs surely I can learn how to make this blog series great. Or at least better. I'll settle for better.

Next week I promise I will get to part 2 of climate change. I know I started that a few weeks ago and haven't gotten back to it. I also want to get back to posting about dating on the blog, I know I haven't posted about dating in a long, loooong time. I would love to explain why but that is a post for another day. 

You will find all the blogs I linked to on my blogroll!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Upcoming Book Release: Not at Your Child's Expense by Judith Fitzsimmons


I write often about being a widow but I'm also a divorcee. My oldest children are from my first marriage which ended in divorce. I know I made some mistakes during my post divorce time and wish I had someone to guide me through it. I wish a book like Not at Your Child's Expense by Judith Fitzsimmons had existed.

Not at Your Child’s Expense will be available for purchase at all major bookstores on August 11th. In the meantime, a limited number of autographed copies are available now at notatyourchildsexpense.com.

Here is the book description:
Arm yourself with the tools you need to parent with confidence, raise happy and independent children, and find the fulfillment you deserve. Parenting is a journey that starts with the focus on you becoming the person you need to be so that you can be the parent you want to be. You can do this and Not At Your Child’s Expense can help.

Whether you are single, married, divorced, a stepparent, or grandparent, you need to establish a long-term, mutually beneficial co-parenting relationship with the child’s other parent(s) or parental figures. You’re taking the first step right now by exploring ways to engage in a meaningful exchange with the child’s other guardians and by being confident that you can give your child the very best.

Not At Your Child’s Expense provides:
  • A roadmap to constructive parenting
  • Guidance on the importance of self-healing
  • Useful and easily implemented effective parenting strategies
  • Compassion, focus, and support to parents

Judith Fitzsimmons’ successful co-parenting story might seem uncommon, but it is an experience that, with the right tools and attitude, you can achieve in your own family unit. Not At Your Child’s Expense is a valuable guide to help you overcome the obstacles of divorce and co-parenting, find a path to clearer thinking, and develop a healthy family dynamic. With focus, clarity, and commitment, you can participate in a life-changing experience and come out the other side with love for yourself and your child, the ability to heal, and the confidence to enjoy a rewarding life.

To successfully parent takes courage, wisdom, strength, and laughter to do what is best for all involved. Not At Your Child’s Expense gives you a bit of each with practical ideas that are constructive to you, your co-parent, and, most importantly, your child.


Judith Fitzsimmons is the published author of Seasons of Aromatherapy, reproduced in paperback as Aromatherapy Through the Seasons, which was also translated into Spanish. Judith is also the published author of Aromatherapy Answers and is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup series. Judith offers a unique combination of business acumen and professional writing skills.
After graduating with a Master’s degree, Judith worked for the governor of the state of Connecticut creating innovative educational programs that are still operational over 25 years later. Judith then started an executive search firm, which designed a pioneering search strategy that substantially increased employee retention.
Developing a business consulting arm, Judith then worked with organizations ranging from start-up and non-profit to Fortune 100, with her forte being streamlining operations, increasing efficiencies, and enhancing the workforce morale.
For the past 22 years, Judith has been a freelance business consultant, trainer, and technical writer working for a variety of clients ranging from IBM and Kodak to small start-up software development companies in a variety of industries. Most noted for her ability to present complex concepts in a user-friendly manner that embraces the reader, she also assists many software developers in user interface design.
Praised for her abilities to create training sessions customized to the audience needs, Judith understands the various learning modalities and incorporates them into her work in a seamless and engaging manner.
A certified aromatherapist for 22 years, she focuses her passion for essential oils to explore options for significant ailments such as sinus issues, arthritis, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, and more. Having a direct yet compassionate approach mixed with the right amount of humor and empathy, Judith is often sought after to get involved in intricate projects that require a multitude of talents.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Musical Mondays: Helios Dance Theater Ballet Duet to Stay With Me



Stay With Me by Sam Smith

The song is beautiful but the ballet duet from the Helios Dance Theater is simply stunning. Sigh...I wish I was a ballet dancer.

Choreography: Laura Gorenstein Miller 
Dancers: Princess Mecca Romero &  Chris Stanley

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wannabe Crunchy Wednesday: BOUGHT The Truth Behind Vaccines, Big Pharma, and Your Food


I was going to do the second part to the series I started last week on climate change but then I saw a comment left on my last post that changed my mind. 

Sarah suggested the documentary BOUGHT. I caught her comment just in the nick of time because this documentary is only free to view until March 6th. The movie appears to be made mostly if not all from crowdfunding.

Here is a description of the documentary BOUGHT from the movie website

You're about to see how Wall Street has literally "BOUGHT" your and your family's health. 

The food, vaccine, drug, insurance and health industry are a multi-BILLION dollar enterprise... focused more on profits than human lives. The BOUGHT documentary takes viewers deep "inside the guts" of this despicable conspiracy... 

 Featuring exclusive interviews with the world's most acclaimed experts in research, medicine, holistic care and natural health... Bought exposes the hidden (and deadly) story behind it all.

Here is the trailer:



The BOUGHT Facebook page looks good too. While most movie websites just share promos about the movie, the page shares additional websites and posts podcasts, They are currently on podcast 195 so it looks like there is a lot to watch.

I will be watching the movie and writing a review later. In the meantime, here are some articles and reviews about it.

The Good Articles and Reviews

"Bought" A Film by Jeff Hays and Bobby Sheehan: What if Andrew Wakefield Was Right?


Are You “Bought”? The Film That Will Blow Your Mind

New Documentary “Bought” Exposes the Hidden Story Behind Vaccines, Pharma, and Food

Watch "BOUGHT" film uncovering toxic food supply and pharmaceuticals 


BOUGHT: The Hidden Story Behind Vaccines, Big Pharma & Your Food 

The Negative Articles and Reviews 
Well actually the one negative review. It's the only negative one that I found.
‘Bought’ movie: Full of appalling misinformation

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Weekly Round-up


I know it's been awhile since I've done The Weekly Round-up hosted by High-Heeled Love and My So-Called Chaos but I'd like to start again. I was going to wait until next week but decided to just do a belated post for this week.

I saw this list and wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. I had two on again off again "situationships" and every single one of these issues were a factor. Great article!

Thirty-Six (Plus) Weeks at True Confessions of a Single Mama
I love reading about other women's pregnancies because I am NEVER doing it again. 

A Choice Mom Blogroll at OMG There's Three
Technically this is not an article but it's a great blogroll of Single Mom's by Choice. My own blogroll has gotten pretty outdated so I'm happy to add some new listings to my own sidebar. I should really get rid of the old links too...but I digress.

My blended family in the New York Times: He Was Ready to Be a Stepdad. Was I Ready to Let Him? at Single Mom Seeking
A great article about taking the plunge of marriage and becoming a blended family

Amazon Under Pressure to Validate Dads at Babycenter Blog
I use Amazon all the time but had never heard of the Amazon Moms program. It's some kind of Prime membership for parents of small children but for reason has been extremely sexist and called the program "Moms" instead of "Parents." That's horrible! As if Dads never shop online!?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Complaints About Taking My Children to the Doctor and What I Did About Them

Last week I was approached by Bankers Healthcare Group to write a post about things that have frustrated me when I have taken my kids to the doctor and share how I think patients, families, and healthcare providers can help make these trips easier and more enjoyable.

Bankers Healthcare Group provides loans for doctors (I didn't even know there was such a thing) and also has a great blog with the latest in health care news for both patients and doctors. They post about things like the top fitness trends and how Obama is seeking to double the budget for combating antibiotic resistance. There's even an article about an advocacy group fighting against pit bull abuse. How wonderful that they care about animals too! Better treated animals leads to less people being bitten. 

As the mother of five children, the list of my complaints about my experiences in a doctor's office has been building and I am grateful to finally voice this list. My oldest is 21 years old, so this list is over two decades old. You would think the complaints I have from twenty years ago would be different from today, but I find they haven't changed much at all.

My first complaint is with the insurance networks I have been in and how certain doctors are only in certain networks.

I have lived in four different cities in two states over the last two decades and have found this to be an issue no matter where I went. My biggest problem has been finding doctors in the network that are close to where I live. Often the doctor's office is a good drive from my home. 

Right now my children's pediatrician is completely across town which is a 30 minute drive. Years ago when gas prices were lower, I found this wasn't much of a problem but with current gas prices I often have to save money in my fuel budget just to take my children to the doctor. I've considered changing to someone closer but I've finally found a pediatrician that I love so I'm willing to make the drive.

However, I am constantly in fear that my insurance will change how they structure the networks and I will be forced to change doctors. This happened to me once before and I had to leave a doctor that I liked.

My second complaint is about doctors that don't listen to me, are rushed, or that do listen but treat me like I'm stupid.

I have taken my children to doctors that refused to listen to my concerns. I had two in particular that were like this for different reasons. The first doctor seemed to care more about getting us in and out of his office as quickly as possible. I felt like we were part of an assembly line of patients. The worst part about it was that he would make us wait fifteen to thirty minutes for him but would do the exam as quickly as he could! Any questions that I asked were given a one sentence answer. If I asked further questions he would cut me off by giving a blunt answer and then getting up to leave before I could ask anything else. If I stopped him to ask one more thing he would act impatient and irritated. It got to the point that I just stopped asking questions and Googled them instead. 

The second doctor would listen to me but treated many of my questions as if they were silly. Often she would say "Well you have other kids, so you should know." If I knew I wouldn't be asking! I was made to feel stupid for sharing my concerns or lacking knowledge about something, so again I stopped asking the doctor questions.

The pediatrician I have now is the most wonderful, caring doctor I have ever met. She is never in a rush and even makes small talk sometimes during the exam. She listens to my questions and answers them patiently and thoroughly. She never makes me feel silly for asking anything. She also understands that since I haven't had a toddler in a decade, I don't remember everything from my other kids.

I have experienced doctors being too rough or unfriendly to my children.

Not to mention that my poor child often picked up on the doctor rushing through the exam and his impatient, irritated attitude and would become upset or uncooperative. (I have experienced this with emergency room and walk in clinic doctors as well.) My son hated going because this pediatrician treated his little patients as if they were grown adults who understood what was happening. He didn't explain what he was doing but would just grab an arm or shove an instrument into an orifice. I finally left the doctor for good when he was so rough with my son that he started to cry. The doctor didn't stop what he was doing to comfort my son. This doctor was ill suited to be a pediatrician. He didn't seem to even like children.

I recently changed dentists because of this exact reason. My daughter was fearful of this dentist because of how he treated her. The staff was constantly rude to me and any appointment I made was always scheduled several weeks away. 

As great as my current pediatrician is she has no entertainment for children in the waiting area.

The entire building is for several pediatricians so I was shocked when I found the waiting room didn't have any toys, books, or anything for children. It's not like they don't have the room. The waiting room is huge and even has two large areas. There is a television in one part of the waiting room but instead of showing cartoons or children's movies, it inexplicable always plays HGTV the home improvement channel. This gets terribly boring for most adults much less children! 

To remedy this, I now bring toys, books, and electronics with me when I take my youngest kids to the doctor to keep them entertained. Although ironically, my 13 year old son likes going so he can watch HGTV. 

Having too many toys in the waiting area that are never cleaned.

However, there is an issue at the other end of the spectrum regarding entertainment for kids in the waiting area. My two oldest children loved going to the pediatrician when they were little. Why? Because this doctor had a waiting room so full of toys it looked like a Toys R Us. It had a playhouse, slides, and riding toys. There was a television that constantly played Nick Jr shows. My son once cried because I took his little sister to the doctor without him. The place was that much fun.

The problem with this is that there were far too many toys to keep clean. Whenever I took my kids there for a check up, I knew another visit to the doctor may not be far behind because they would always end up sick about a week later. I knew it was because the toys were covered in kids germs. It would take hours to clean all those toys thoroughly.

Another complaint I have about my current pediatrician is that they never answer the phones.

After navigating a phone system that involves listening to a long list of "press this button for this doctor" I am always greeted by an answering machine never an actual person. I leave messages and they are always returned later that day or the following day, but I worry that if I ever need to speak to my doctor's office immediately it simply won't happen.

My last complaint is about doctors that make you wait far too long.

Most doctors have the policy that if you are more than 15 minutes late to your appointment gets canceled. However, it seems all you do rush to wait. With some doctors you finally get called back to the examining room only to wait even longer.

Fortunately I haven't had too much of a problem with family doctors or pediatricians when it comes to waiting. My ob/gyn is another story. His wait times are so long that his office is locally famous for them. I would arrive to my appointment on time and wait anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. I watched a few times when patients with scheduled appointments would get up and leave because they were so tired of waiting. My longest wait was an hour and fifteen minutes.

For parents that had to bring their other children or grumpy partners to this appointment it was a nightmare. It got to be a sort of live entertainment and educational social experiment. I would watch the happy couple arrive alone or with their other child or children in tow, excited to learn how their unborn child was doing. As time progressed and they were still waiting, the couples would get grumpier and start snapping at each other. If they had children, their kids would start getting whiny and misbehaving. I remember wondering several times how all this stress was affecting the health of the unborn babies and their families.

I made sure to always schedule my appointments for when my other children were in school or if that wasn't possible I would find a babysitter. As my pregnancy progressed the wait times got longer and longer. It got so there wasn't just one or two couples with unhappy children but an entire room full of them. This started to stress me out. In an attempt to escape this I would sit in a far corner that was somewhat isolated. I seriously considered leaving my ob/gyn but he delivered four of my five children. I was sentimentally attached and he was a good doctor.

This post ran far longer than I intended it to and I'm sure I could add to it, but I feel lighter now that I've gotten over twenty years worth of complaints out of my system! What are your biggest complaints? Do you have any helpful hints for visiting the doctor? Please share them in the comments.

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