How to get your kids to respond

Don’t you just hate it when you ask your kids to do something and they either ignore you or they make up excuses like, “my legs are too tired” or “I’m doing something right now” or “after this episode”. We already have so many things to do in a day. I could make a huge list but that would go on and on from cleaning, to cooking, to driving, to shopping. You get the picture. Wouldn’t it be nice if your little ones could be the “big helper” that you always wanted them to be. Remember when you were having baby #2 and you asked your first born if they would be your big helper? I did! Ha! (I shouldn’t complain too much. My first born is pretty helpful especially with the new baby. ) I always tell my daughters, our family is a team and we all need to pitch in and help each other. So, to help the girls develop this sense of team work I created this reward system board.

It’s surprising how a few simple things can make a world of difference for a busy mom.

All you need are the following dollar store items:

  1. A thick permanent marker
  2. packaging paper (or poster board)
  3. pretty foam star stickers (sparkly)

I wanted to steer away from punishing bad behavior and instead focus on the positives and reward good behavior. I put the board on the wall at the bottom of the stairs so they always see it.

Here’s a pic of what my “rewards board” looked like.

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Every time the girls did something that impressed me, they got a star. If they took the initiative to do it on their own without being told then they got double stars. Once they reach 25 stars, they get their prize which is a toy that they really want. It’s amazing how just a simple star sticker can be so motivating!

I let my eldest child choose her toy. (She’s like, “order it on amazon, mom!” Kids these days are sooo lucky!) She really wanted this magic set. I bought it before she reached her 25 stars so now she has something to work towards. I told her she can’t have her toy until she gets 25 stars.

What’s the result of this system? Now, my second child makes the beds and cleans up toys. My older one will also help with random tasks that I ask of her. They both haven’t reached their 25 stars yet! It’s not a perfect system, but it definitely does help. It also gives them something to look forward to.

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Our patio experience at the Boat House

If you’re married to a tax accountant, you dread this time of year! Why? because your spouse is working ridiculously long hours and you’re basically left to fend for yourself. (But thank you Hubby for working so hard! I know it’s not easy for you too!) With a 6 and 3 year old and a baby, it’s not easy. Sometimes, you just need an extra set of hands to hold the baby. Since Hubby isn’t around to be those extra hands at the moment, I’ve been using the stroller to hold the baby while I put on my shoes, or when I have to quickly tidy something up. I understand, it’s seasonal and I’m grateful for that. That’s what I keep telling myself. It’s almost end of April, hang in there! So, when one deadline finishes and another begins, we allowed ourselves to have a day off for ourselves. The weather just started to warm up and when Hubby asked me what shall we do, I said let’s go hang out on a patio somewhere! He didn’t want to go downtown. He says he’s always there. I didn’t want to go to the local fish and chips place because I said I was always there. So we decided to head to the Boathouse and it was perfect. The patio was pretty private. Nobody walking by, just a nice waterfront and it wasn’t too busy. Our waitress was very attentive and enthusiastic to serve us so we had exceptional service. But the best part was the FOOD! Hubby and I LOOOVE to eat! He ordered the same as me as he always ends up wishing he ordered what I was having.

So here’s what I ate…

Ahi Tuna Tacos in crispy wonton shells with wasabi aioli and mango salsa– This was delicious! The salsa was sweet and tangy. It had nice big chunks of succulent ahi tuna. The crispy wonton shells were very crisp and gave it a nice crunch. However, they are small so you could probably eat three orders of these if you are very hungry!

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Seafood Chowder and Ceasar- The chowder was just perfect. Wasn’t too watery or salty and it was very hearty. The ceasar was also done well.

Coconut Shrimp- Usually when we order fried shrimp, we are always disappointed but this was done perfectly. It was fried to a nice golden brown. The outside batter was crispy and you could taste the coconut. The inside was moist and tender.

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To drink I had a Strawberry Basil Smash– It was good although the Basil was a bit strong for my taste and the chunks would get stuck in the straw.

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It was great to be able to just sit back and relax with your favorite person and enjoy some delicious food. We will definitely come back to this place.

 

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How to control the house chores so they don’t control you

Wow, I hate mess! When you have kids, it’s everywhere! Toys scattered all over the place. Laundry piling up in the hampers. Kitchen sink over-flowing with dishes! It can be unbearable! When you have a baby, toddler and school aged child, it seems almost impossible to keep the house clean. But luckily for myself, the grandparents can watch the kids while I clean. (grandparents, if you’re reading this, thank you sooooooo much!) I meet a lot of parents who don’t live near their parents or in-laws so they don’t have help with child care. I am VERY grateful for the help! Thanks so much! So usually, when I need to clean the house, I drop off the kids at my mom’s and she watches them for a couple of hours so I can do some laundry or do some errands.

My sister just visited us from Texas and she said to me, “all you do is clean!” so maybe I’m a clean freak? I don’t know! (Love you, Ate!) Anyway, my auntie is also a clean freak. We are constantly wiping everything! Ha ha!

When we moved into our house, our eldest child had just turned one, and at that time, I was ALWAYS cleaning. I was either always cleaning the kitchen or doing a load of laundry. But then I realized, I can’t always be cleaning! We need to make time for other things that are also or more important like date night with the spouse, or play time with kids. (I’m guilty of spending too much time doing the house chores). Sometimes, no matter how much dirty laundry there is, or how many plates are stacked up in the sink, we need to stop and pay attention to more important things. This is really hard for me. I constantly remind myself to prioritize and manage my time wisely so there is time for everything.

So to tackle my problem of spending too much time cleaning, I created a cleaning schedule.

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What I liked about this was that I didn’t do laundry everyday, I didn’t forget anything and there was a no cleaning day. We need to schedule in time to do nothing! If we don’t do that, we’ll go crazy! Rest is very important, moms!

This schedule wasn’t set in stone. Sometimes the bathrooms don’t need weekly cleaning. Sometimes the floor need to be cleaned more than once a week depending on what happens. Tweak your schedule as you go a long. Do what works for you.

Scheduling your cleaning is great way to stay on top of the housework so it doesn’t overwhelm you and take too much of your time. Also, when we have control over the work, it feels good. Stuff gets done when it’s suppose to get done and we make time for other things that are more important like spending time with our kids, or date night with the spouse. Don’t forget self care, moms!

Take Care! Hope this helps!

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How to lose weight after pregnancy

 

This is a topic that I have googled many times. After having baby #3, I am eager to shed the pregnancy pounds like many moms out there. Unfortunately for myself, I tend to gain a lot of weight when I’m pregnant. I am to blame as I feast when I’m pregnant. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. (except for the regular food restrictions that your doctor recommends i.e. raw meat, deli meat, sashimi, etc.) When I’m pregnant, I get super hungry and if I don’t feed myself, I feel like I’m going to die!  So, I ate! But you know what, that’s ok, because you’re supposed to gain weight when you’re pregnant. Your body is creating a human being with organs, a circulatory system, bones and all! Pretty amazing! I still can’t believe that I popped out three of these! So once you’ve popped out babe, give yourself a pat on the back because you did well mama! It’s not easy, the nine months, carrying that bundle of joy in your tummy.

Now, after your doc has given you the ok to start exercising again, you can tackle those post pregnancy pounds. As soon I was all recovered and healed, my husband and I tried our best to get active again.

We tried badminton. I think this really helped. Really got our heart rates going. I heard that interval training is really good for you. For those of you who don’t know what interval training is, Wikipedia says its, ” a type of physical training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods.” This helped us knock off a couple of pounds. With a new born, it began to get hard to find time to go to the courts so that didn’t last very long. It was getting hard to find a someone to watch all the kids while we went out.

We also tried shakes as meal replacements. This seemed to work for a bit as well especially for my hubby. He never had breakfast anyways so at least he was having some form of nourishment rather than none. For me I was left hungry and dehydrated so that didn’t work out so well. When moms are breastfeeding it is very crucial that they drink constantly throughout the day to prevent their milk supplies from decreasing. (Kellymom.com has some great info on this topic). It’s also important to have a well balanced diet.

I also tried exercising more! I did Zumba on the Wii. This was good because it was in the comfort of my own home. I could do it while baby was sitting in her bouncer. It was free and I could do it anytime! Although it made me feel good and I felt like I had more energy, the scale results didn’t change. I enjoy walking outside with the baby in the carrier, but it was cold outside and rainy so I had to find things to do inside. I also tried going on our elliptical at home which just made me really sweaty.

I also tried the South Beach Diet. But the low carbohydrate diet just made me really weak.

As you can see, I tried many things.

Then I learned that weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise. Studies have shown that people lost more weight by watching what they ate rather than exercise alone.

Now I follow these simple rules. I eat to my hunger and drink plenty of water throughout the day. The pounds are starting to come off. Not quickly though. It’s very gradual which is a healthy weight loss.

  1. Focus on eating plenty of vegetables. Half my meal is composed of vegetables, usually prepackaged salads that you can get from Safeway. It’s already washed and comes with all the toppings. I just go easy on the dressing. It’s easy to prepare.
  2. The other half of my meal is meat. Usually a frozen meat from Costco like chicken, beef or fish. I know frozen foods aren’t the healthiest but it beats ordering a meal from McDicks.
  3. I eat two eggs for breakfast. Keeps me full till lunch time.
  4. I drink plenty of water. I still have my coffee with sugar in the morning but I try really hard to avoid drinking sugar. I like to have lemon in my water to give it some flavor and it looks really pretty too!
  5. If I need a snack I go for fruits, cheese and grain bread. I love grain bread!
  6. I avoid buying any food that’s in a box like cookies etc.
  7. Avoid foods that are white like white rice, white pasta, and white bread.

I love my desserts though especially cake and key lime pie! It’s ok to indulge once in a while. If you are trying to lose weight, some experts say it’s ok to have a cheat day. Most people chose Saturday. Just know that if you indulge, it will hinder your progress.

Hope this helps!

Let me know if you have any recommendations.

-Emily

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How to deal with a toddler’s terrible tantrums

 

Tantrums. They are so frustrating. My second child (who is 3 almost 4) constantly has them. Some days I feel like I need to pinch myself because I can’t believe they are actually happening. The non stop screaming, crying, kicking and rolling over the floor. It’s usually about something ridiculous. She usually wants something or is looking for something. Today she wanted a straw, a wide straw which she could connect to a pencil.

It drives us moms crazy to the point where we are screaming back at them and putting them into time out. (Do time outs really work? I don’t know.) But we feel that we need to punish them for their bad behavior in the hopes that it will get corrected and they will somehow learn from it. Well, I’ve tried the time out strategy many times and did the behavior change? No.

Here are some of the strategies that I have used.

1. distraction– Where I point to some animal outside (like a cat or raccoon that’s not really there) and tell them to look at it. This sometimes works. They all run to the windows and look for it and when they see that it’s not there, I tell them they missed it.

2. change the topic– I will just start making something up or talking about what I did today. This usually catches them of guard for a moment and then they remember why they were crying.

3. Start playing pretend– I just tried this today. She was crying because she wanted me to make her a key out of a ribbon. I don’t know, and then I started to play pretend with her. I pretended I was her customer and I wanted to buy cupcakes from her. This worked. She loves playing pretend! She loves to play the cashier.

4. Suggest a fun activity– This also worked for me. Daughter was in the middle of a tantrum and I said, “Want me to put nail polish on your toe nails?” She immediately perked up and totally forgot about what she was crying for.

5. Get really silly– Like making silly faces or pretending to have a tantrum yourself. They then realize how ridiculous they are and find it funny how mommy is having a tantrum.

If all else fails and you’ve tried every trick up your sleeve, get help! Go to the grandparents’ house where someone else can try to entertain them for you.

But seriously speaking though, usually when kids have a tantrum, it’s because of some underlying emotional need. Heck, my husband has tantrums. (Love you hubby if you are reading this.) For him, its either he’s tired or hungry. Usually he’s Hangry! haha. Just feed him and he’s all better. I think of him as the first baby.

I’ve read some parenting articles and learned a thing or two. We need to remember that children are not small adults. We can’t always expect them to behave the way we want. Their brains are too immature. Instead we should respond with care and compassion. I have tried this and it seems to work. I crouch down, I get to their level and I try to listen, fully to what they have to say. Don’t get me wrong, this approach is sometimes very hard as it is hard to keep your cool all the time. Then, after listening, I show I understand them by showing empathy. Next I say, “I know you feel sad when you can’t find your toy, right?” and then the kid nods and says yes. She begins to calm down and then we can focus on something else. This doesn’t always work but it sometimes does.

Also, when kids are crying, it usually means they are sleepy, tired, or hungry. When I cant stand the constant fighting between the two older kids and the baby is restless I say that’s it we’re leaving. We all jump in the van and we go for a ride. This usually puts everyone to sleep and then I can have at best 15 to 20 minutes of quiet time.

When your kid has a tantrum, try these strategies and see if it helps! Let me know if it worked for you or not and If you have your own tricks!

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My first post ever! Hello Blogging World!

 

Hey there, friend! My name is Emily and I am brand new to the blogging world. I was inspired by Abby Lawson, blogger from justagirlandherblog.com to start my own blog. I am a busy mom of three young girls. The youngest is 9 months old and let me tell you, being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Everyday is a challenge. Whether it’s dealing with three kids crying all at the same time or dealing with all the mess around the house or the endless laundry, it’s never a dull moment. Although it is very stressful and challenging, most would agree that it is the most rewarding experience in one’s life. Currently, I am on maternity leave and somedays you just need to refocus your attention on something worthwhile. Most nights, when the kids are finally all asleep, I have my own alone time! I’m sure you moms out there know what I’m talking about. Many a night, I find myself just surfing the internet, looking for what to buy next. I thought, I need to spend my time wisely doing something productive. Instead of just buying things that I don’t need, like another baggy t-shirt or more shoes to fill my ever-growing shoe collection, I can write a post and share my experiences with other moms and hopefully, help someone. After all, when we help someone, we feel happy. And thus, I created happymomblog.com. We all want to be happy. Whatever we focus on grows and I want to put in my two cents and help other moms to be happy too! Here’s to happy moms! Let’s do this! 🙂

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