Monday, September 30, 2013

11 playful parenting ideas

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

11 playful parenting ideas == Hobo MamaBeing a parent has taught me an important lesson: Kids love a ham. {Tweet me!}

Fortunately, parenting has also taught me how to become one.

Here are some more of our family's playful parenting ideas that work on toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-age kids. (Try it with tweens and teens, and let me know….) Some kids will need a warmup period if they're not used to this kind of silliness; others will jump right in, so take it at your and your child's pace.

I've mentioned some of these before, but here are my kiddos' current favorites at 6 and 2, a mix of old and new.

  • Baby washing machine

    I came up with this one randomly. I sit Alrik on my lap and tell him he's very dirty and needs to go through the washing machine. You know how you crack an "egg" on someone's head? You (gently) tap your fist with your other fist against the person's skull and then spreeead your hands all down their head and shoulders as if the egg is smearing all over. Well, I decided that worked just as well with fake soap and water. So I crack a detergent egg on his head: "Gotta get soap all over you!" And then: "Now it's time to get you wet!" Back the hands come to spread the water all down his head.

    Then, the fun part: "Agitate! Agitate! Swish-swish-swish-swish." I take him by both arms and (gently) shake him back and forth, back and forth.

    "Now we have to rinse you off!" Back with the water "egg" on his head. And then, the coup de grâce: "And now into the dryer with you!" And I blow on his head till his hair flies.

    Alrik is astonishingly patient during this whole process. He thinks it's funny and yet apparently something he needs to sit very still for. It cracks me up. So, enjoy — Baby Washing Machine!

  • Stop scaring me!

    Alrik likes to pretend to be a dinosaur or other monster and jump out to scare us. Woe betide us if we roar back or do anything but pretend to be terrified.

    I'm thinking you could initiate this game with a kid if you give the suggestion that the child is a dinosaur (or something equally ferocious) and then feign stark terror.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Want to be a more playful parent?

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I have great news! My co-organizers and I at Mindful Nurturing have put together an incredible new e-bundle that will inspire your whole family to become more playful and creative: the Mindful Play eBundle.

There's a little something for everyone, geared to kids from ages 1 on up to 12: coloring pages, a yoga storybook, science experiments and literary projects, mandala drawing tutorials, treasure baskets and sensory bins, modeling play, and much more.

The bundle contains 9 play-oriented e-resources, plus phenomenal bonuses. It's for sale only through October 3. After that, you'll never see this particular collection together again at this price.

Intrigued? Great! Here's a bit more about the contents:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My child is small. Really small.

My child is small. Really small. == Hobo Mama
My two extremes, from the same genetic stock

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I somehow got blessed with two kids on opposite ends of the growth spectrum: Mikko through toddlerhood was a happy 150th percentile kind of guy, and I just let him keep on growing. He was barely eating any solid food before he was two, so I knew it would all even out, and it did. He'll always be a tall and hefty kid (around the 80th percentile now for both height and weight), but that's his body type.

My child is small. Really small. == Hobo Mama
See how sickly he is? Sad.
Then Alrik came along, and he's wee. His height is puzzling though not particularly worrisome: 33rd percentile. His dad and I are tall, so it's strange to have a shrimp. But his weight is off the charts, the other way. At 2 years and 4 months, his 23 pounds doesn't even register.

This is not only weird — it is a trifle concerning. He comes from a family of generally larger-than-average people with a few skinny minnies. So he could just be one of those recessives, right? But his naturopathic pediatrician is cautiously concerned, because here's how nutritional deficiencies can manifest:

First goes the weight, then the height, then the development.

In other words, the weight's already gone. He's already demonstrating that he's atypically short (genetically speaking). So is his developmental progress next?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Picking lavender

Picking lavender == Hobo Mama
One of our trips this summer was taking a ferry to a lavender farm.

Picking lavender == Hobo Mama

Picking lavender == Hobo Mama

Picking lavender == Hobo Mama

Picking lavender == Hobo Mama

Picking lavender == Hobo Mama

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Surf: Sticker factory

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf: Sticker factory == Hobo Mama
We sort of accidentally got this sticker machine (my affiliate link: Sticker Maker),
and it's one of the best accidental things we've acquired.

Sunday Surf: Sticker factory == Hobo Mama
If you told a kid, "Hey, practice writing for two hours straight," there'd be some groaning.
But if you're making stickers — you don't even notice the learning!

Sunday Surf: Sticker factory == Hobo Mama
Mikko especially liked making spiders, his newest fear-based obsession.
(He's created a No Spiders Allowed Club that we're all members of.
He charges us for the privilege, and the member badges.)

Sunday Surf: Sticker factory == Hobo Mama
This spider sticker went on my shirt, to startle me throughout the day presumably.

Sunday Surf: Sticker factory == Hobo Mama
This heart was mine, too. ♥

Links!


Carnival news:

Calling for submissions for the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Theme: Kids and Technology: What is your stance on screen time? Does your family watch TV? What about computers, tablets, smart phones, and other gadgets? Tell us about your family'’s practices and goals regarding shows, apps, and other modern-day options. 

DeadlineTuesday, October 1. Fill out the webform and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at} NaturalParentsNetwork.com
Be sure to sign up for the Carnival Calendar, add your own carnivals, and keep track of what's coming up!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Calling for submissions for the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting!

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in October 2013! (Check out September, August, July, June, May, April, March, January, and summaries of all our 2012 posts and 2011 posts if you missed any.)

Your co-hosts are Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Lauren at Hobo Mama.

Carnival of Natural Parenting Call for Submissions: Kids and TechnologyHere are the submission details for October 2013:

Theme: Kids and Technology: What is your stance on screen time? Does your family watch TV? What about computers, tablets, smart phones, and other gadgets? Tell us about your family'’s practices and goals regarding shows, apps, and other modern-day options.

Deadline: Tuesday, October 1. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at} NaturalParentsNetwork.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers in autumn

There's a tiny maple tree outside our place that
has been a photography site over the last few years.

Brothers in autumn == Hobo Mama
I tried to get the boys to cooperate in having their picture taken there this year.

Brothers in autumn == Hobo Mama
They're cute, if squinty.
I'll have to choose a less sunny day next year.

Brothers in autumn == Hobo Mama
Alrik was transfixed (horrified) by an ant he spotted.
Mikko told me a tree was not a comfortable seating place.

Brothers in autumn == Hobo Mama
3-year-old Mikko — aw!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Money matters: My favorite posts on finances


To switch things up a bit this month, the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, and Joella at Fine and Fair is running a blog hop! Link up all of your old, or new, posts about money. This may be a post in which you talk about how you keep purchases in check to live a more simple life in tune with your goals, about your budgeting skills, how you talk about money with your children, or more. If it deals with money and finances, we want to hear about it. Simply add your link to the handy linky tool below before October 15, 2013.

Money matters == Hobo MamaI've added in a few of my favorite posts about finances and how we make things work, money-wise.

Here's a selection of what I've written about money if you're interested in a particular topic:

And some blogging-specific money posts:

Now go link up your posts!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Surf: Respectful parenting

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf: Respectful parenting == Hobo Mama
Since Sam and I trade off taking the boys and working, the parent-on-duty usually tries to find some fun event or locale for one part of the day. This day I was excited to see that police horses would be at a nearby shopping center. Only … Alrik fell asleep on the way there and would not awaken. Mikko, meanwhile, would only look at the horses from the car. So I took a picture with my phone. Hey, I tried.

Sunday Surf: Respectful parenting == Hobo Mama
More successful this week was our Family Day (the day we all do something together),
when we headed to the craft store to see if we could find a science or art project we could all
work on. We stopped by the toy store to look for a CSI kit (Mikko loves playing detective),
and Alrik zoned with the trains. I know it's blurry,
but can you tell his lips are making a choo-choo sound?

Links!

Twitter party on bullying:

Join us TOMORROW, Monday, September 16, for our monthly Twitter chat — this month's topic is Bullying, perfect for back to school but also for any parent worried about aggression in children, the effects of punishment, cyber threats, how we can help kids stand up for themselves, and how we can promote peace in schools but also in our own homes.

See more information at the Twitter party page, and we'll catch you in the #NatParNet chat room at 7 p.m. Pacific / 10 p.m. Eastern.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Where Is Our Red Tent? at ourfeministplayschool

Where Is Our Red Tent? at ourfeministplayschool

Where Is Our Red Tent? at ourfeministplayschoolI'm happy to have a guest post today at ourfeministplayschool about my longing for a red tent. It's part of her series on {menstruation. Period} that looks at menstruation from a variety of perspectives.

I think it was when I read The Red Tent several years ago that it first occurred to me that being confined to home or a certain location (aka a Red Tent) during one's period might be not a punishment but a release. Ever since getting my first period at age 12, I have sought to dissemble, to conceal, to pretend nothing was happening once a month that was out of the ordinary. Even when cramps were threatening to bend me double and I felt my intestines roiling with a sure certainty that they would be pushing something out soon, I tried to sit primly in social studies class, not letting on that anything was amiss — especially not to the boys.

Because women were supposed to be strong. Because one of the reasons given throughout the ages for why women couldn't be in leadership was that their "special time of the month" might at best alter their concentration and judgment, and at worst incapacitate them. I had to be a model of strong feminist womanhood and show I was not affected by the stickiness between my thighs, by the pitchfork tossing my innards, by the chemicals coursing through my bloodstream.

In The Red Tent, the women have cycles that swell in time with each other, as is often the case when feminine hormones adjust to each other in close quarters. And once each moon is a time to withdraw, to relax — for there to be no obligation, no guilt or pressure, no need to please the men or to work for a living. It is a time of renewal and release, of the young learning from the old, and the beauty of the cycles bringing the women close to each other.

I began to be quite envious I had no red tent of my own.

Continue reading at ourfeministplayschool ››

Evocative photo titled menstrual cramps courtesy 欠我兩千塊

Friday, September 13, 2013

Butternut squash with pinto beans recipe {gluten-free, grain-free}

This is one in a series of guest posts by other bloggers. Read to the end for a longer biographical note on today's guest blogger, my partner and husband, Crackerdog Sam.

Butternut squash is the perfect fall ingredient. I love that Sam has found even more ways to make it for us! Sam crafted this recipe a year or so ago, back when we still ate legumes, but it still happens to be grain-free. If you've gone paleo, you can eat just the butternut topping and skip the bean underpinning.

Butternut squash with pinto beans {gluten-free, grain-free} = Hobo Mama

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Guest post by Crackerdog Sam

Years ago, I ate a butternut squash soup that I liked so much I researched how to make a similar one from scratch. The key: roasting the squash with apples and onion in the oven first, before blending.

Eventually, I decided I liked it even better if I skipped making it into soup and just ate it roasted. When serving it as a full meal instead of just a side dish, I started adding a layer of salted mashed pinto beans mixed with bacon pieces as a contrasting element. It's a nice blend of sweet and savory, refreshing and hearty.

Ingredients:

Butternut squash with pinto beans {gluten-free, grain-free} = Hobo Mama
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, chunked
  • 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and chunked
  • 1/2 of a large sweet onion, chunked
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup Irish cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bacon
  • salt to taste

Dietary/allergy notes:

Gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, sweetener-free. Leave off the cheese and bacon to have it dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Leave off the cheese and pinto beans to make it paleo.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Happy not back to school!

Happy not back to school! == Hobo Mama
You'd think kids starting their first day of (un)school would look a little happier
and a little less like facing a firing squad.

Happy not back to school! == Hobo Mama
Oh, well, good enough.
This was Mikko's first (homeschooling) day of first grade,
and you can see he was thrilled to start the day.
We went out for breakfast and then debated our options.

Happy not back to school! == Hobo Mama
Bowling!

Happy not back to school! == Hobo Mama
I'm pretty sure all of those are too big for you, sweet thing.
As were all the bowling shoes.

Happy not back to school! == Hobo Mama
But he was top notch at rooting for everyone else!

Happy not back to school! == Hobo Mama
This local alley was cool, because they entered into the computer that Mikko was a kid;
when it was his turn, metal bumpers automatically rose out of the gutters and then
went back down for my turn. (Sniff.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Could your child strangle on your window blinds?

URGENT: Write the CPSC by THIS FRIDAY, September 13, to tell them why you think window blind cords should be safely covered. Help end child strangulation on window coverings once and for all!


Welcome to the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and tips about protecting our families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.



{TRIGGER WARNING: This post talks about child deaths due to strangulation.}

Could your child strangle on your window blinds? == A warning from Hobo Mama and what to do to keep your kids safe
Do as I say and not as I do. Here's newborn Mikko in front of the DEATH BLINDS.

When Mikko was a baby, we lived in a rented apartment. On the windows? The ubiquitous white metal horizontal-slat Venetian blinds.

Before I had kids, I hated those things for how hard they were to keep clean, how easily they started looking ratty and dented, and how they kept pretty much no light out. Once I had a young child, I added a new reason to my list:

They could kill my child.

In the United States, about one child a month strangles to death on the cord of a window covering, and another child suffers severe and sometimes permanent injury.

Could your child strangle on your window blinds? == A warning from Hobo Mama and what to do to keep your kids safe
This post is really hard for me to write, because when I was researching this issue several years ago, I steeped myself in the grief of families who'd lost a small child due to window cords. In particular, I watched a video I can never unwatch in which a mother was filming her baby while her preschooler, offscreen, had wandered over to the window to strangle himself. Fortunately, he survived, but her screams haunted my nightmares.

I know the death count for window blinds isn't as high as, say, motor vehicle accidents, and I'm not here telling you you shouldn't drive. But I do advocate for the safest infant and child seating in a car possible (hint: rear face!), and I think even one unnecessary death from window treatments (window treatments! such a small thing to change!) is one too many — especially when there's a fairly easy solution:

If you're in a home with young children, don't use window coverings with cords. Ever. At all.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Surf: Double decker, the bike ride of unschooling, & standing up for NIP

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Sunday Surf: Double decker, the bike ride of unschooling, & standing up for NIP == Hobo Mama
Who needs a double stroller when you have a big brother who'll share a lap?
(And a little brother who'll share his stroller!)

Linky-links!

  • Mind the Gaps | Demand Euphoria 

    The whole post is a great analogy about a train ride (schooling) vs. a car ride (homeschooling) vs. family and individual bike trips (unschooling).
    So the next time someone asks you if you are afraid your child will have knowledge gaps because of unschooling, you can say something like, “I’m sure they will! And what thrilling opportunities those gaps will provide for my child!”
    The next time you are feeling doubts about unschooling, when you question whether or not your child is learning everything he or she needs to know, you can think of bicycles. You can think of all the interesting gaps your child has crossed so far on a bicycle. And you can get excited about the possibilities of where and when your child will find the next gap, and how you can support him or her in crossing it.
  • So impressed with this woman and her husband for standing up for her rights to breastfeed in public without covering up or moving to another room!
    Breastfeeding Discrimination - BRICK (Burleson Recreation Center) (by Lucy Eades)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Postpartum sex, the second time around

Postpartum sex, the second time around == Hobo Mama
A long time ago, I wrote a quite depressing post on how postpartum sex after Mikko's birth kinda sucked, for a long time. I used words like "chafing" and "neutral" and "no physical sensations of pleasure." It was about nine months after Mikko's birth before I started enjoying myself again.

I thought I really should do a baby #2 update for you, since things were completely, entirely different this time around. Go figure, right?

Warnings once more: TMI up the wazoo & likely NSFW. Let's be blunt, shall we?

I'll go through the topics I covered last time to contrast and compare.

Physical recovery

Once again, I had a vaginal birth without medications or interventions. Well, definitely this time, since Sam and I were the only ones there! I probably pushed too fast in my excitement and surprise that a baby's head was coming out of me before the midwife had arrived, so I did have a little tearing that needed stitches. However, not many, and the pain down there was just sort of twingey. My bidet (!!!) helped a lot with those early days of soothing, and I had postpartum compresses pre-frozen for myself that I lurved. (I should really post my recipes for those sometime!) However, I was quite lochia-y and otherwise feeling worn out from the birth for a couple weeks. My uterus was very stretched out, making it a bit hard to breathe from the pressure on my diaphragm. (I had to lift it up and push it in when I walked for the first week or so.)

Anyhoo, I was much more hesitant this second time around to even attempt anything in the pantsal region (that's a term; look it up) until at least the prescribed six-week waiting period was up. I'm not even sure when exactly we did first re-attempt the horizontal mambo.

I do, however, remember tensing up, bracing myself, waiting, waiting … and … it felt GOOD!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Campout

Campout == Hobo Mama

Campout == Hobo Mama

Campout == Hobo Mama

Campout == Hobo Mama

Campout == Hobo Mama

Campout == Hobo Mama