Spring Swing Dance
Spring Swing Dance at the SEA CREST BEACH HOTEL
To benefit West Falmouth Playground
Saturday, April 21, 2012 at sunset
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Tickets $45 in advance, $50 at the door
Jerry Topinka presents The Mike Bono Quartet Featuring Ben Lusher on Vocals
Dance demonstration from Falmouth’s own Ellen Brodsky at 5:15 PM
Cape Cod Formal or classic swing attire
Hors d’oeuvres included, cash bar
Bring all that spare change cluttering your bureau to buy a corsage for yourself or your date!
Tickets available at: West Falmouth Market, Wild Harbor General Store, Jack in the Beanstalk, Eight Cousins
Or contact Elsa Partan at (508) 444-0622, firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational and Crafty Toys
I love finding new and exciting places to shop for my kids. I'm sort of a crazy organic mommy always in search of safe, non-toxic toys for my kids. Since I'm obsessed with handmade items on etsy.com, I thought I'd give their toy section a browse. This may or may not have been a good idea! I literally could spend hours going through each page and liking all of the great products! If you haven't been of etsy.com before, you're welcome:)
Here are a few my favorite toys I've found so far.......
HEART Sorting Game, Waldorf Toy Counting and Color Learning Set
About the product:Rainbow colored heart sorting game for color and counting
learning made in the waldorf tradition. This set includes 12 LARGE size wooden hearts (2 in each color of the rainbow) and 6 rainbow hued wooden bowls all painted in AP certified non-toxic acrylic paint. This set is unfinished, but you may choose to have a light finish of shellac (a non-toxic all natural sealant made from the Lac Beetle and pure grain alcohol) or a rub of beeswax and olive oil.
Pretend Play with Owl Puppets
About Product: Set of 5 Owl Finger Puppets. I handcut each one from felt and machine sew them together for durability. They are decorated with felt pieces, wiggle eyes and nontoxic fabric paint. Each set comes with an original laminated rhyme for everyday use. The set also works well with many other rhymes and songs. Perfect for preschool, daycare or to give as a gift.
Wooden Stacking Blocks
About the product:This large hand-crafted wooden rainbow stacker is perfect
for your little ones to spend hours imagining with. One moment the rainbow can be made into a tunnel the next it is an arch. The possibilities are endless with this toy.Each of our Rainbow Stackers are uniquely handcrafted and are one of a kind.
Organic Numbers & Shapes BLOCK SET
About the product: LEARN TO COUNT!! A classic wooden number block set for
little ones of any age - handcrafted from gorgeous local or sustainably sourced
hardwoods, silky smooth, and full of natural color! This 10-piece set will grow
with your child - it works well for beginning to count, and as little one grows
it becomes a more challenging learning tool with geometric shapes.
Custom Sophie Scarf!
About the Product: Tired of your baby's toys flying out of the car seat/stroller/playpen?? How many teething giraffes have you bought?? I bring you the solution: the Sophie Scarf! Handmade with a lovely cotton blend, this toy tether will keep your little one's toys easily accessible. The crocheted scarf has several natural button holes - so just make sure the button is securely through one of them and off you go!
Attach the other end to your baby's hand, their stroller or car seat, even your diaper bag! No more worrying about the grossness that toy might be covered in after falling on the ground. No more lost toys!
Afternoon Parent Chat
with Carol DiFalco MS, LMHC
A drop in parenting group (parents with children 1 - 5 years)
Talk about various topics in a comfortable environment. Share your thoughts, advice and stories with other parents chatting freely (complimentary childcare offered)!
Begins March 22nd and goes for 10 weeks following the school calendar-so no Chat on April 19th, 2012.
Thursdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm
300 Main Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
*Childcare is provided if you call by Monday of each week. Call and check to see if spots have opened if later in week.
More information @ (508)
548 0151 x 172.
Handling Unwanted Advice
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series
“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”
Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.
Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of
It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather,
the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen - you may just learn something valuable.
If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business...your way.
You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.
Pick your battles
If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.
Steer clear of the topic
If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.
Educate the other person
If your“teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.
Quote a doctor
Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor - perhaps the author of a baby care book.
You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet
(but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”
Ask for advice!
Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.
Memorize a standard response
Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”
Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”
Find a mediator
If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step
in for you.
Search out like-minded friends
Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.
Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series. (McGraw-Hill) http://www.nocrysolution.com
Great snack idea from Pinterest!
Good morning Moms! I wanted to share a great snack idea I found on Pinterest: using ice trays as snack trays! What I liked about this idea was that I could put a little bit of everything in the tray. My first try with the trays is shown in the pictures. I included the following foods: dried cranberries, cucumbers, 2 Nilla's, clementine slices, zucchini bites, raisins, cheerios, cut up string cheese, applie bites, puffs, grapes, and Sesame cheese crackers. I then used two of the compartments for dipping sauces: strawberry yogurt and squash puree. The example I saw on Pinterest (which you can find by clciking on the Pinterest link on the front page of Cape Cod Mommies), had additional other foods and suggestions. Avocado, banana's, almond butter, and other things would also be great additions to the tray. I found by offering mutliple choices, he seemed more interested and patient in trying all the different foods. I definitely recommend trying to find a nice balance in offering equal amounts of fruits, grains and veggies. Veggies are always tough which is why I snuck one in as a puree.
What I really enjoyed about this idea was that even though he didn't finish all the snacks in the morning, I was able to easily pop the tray back out for the afternoon. They are incredibly easy to prep and I decided to prep up a few of them (minus the dry goods so they wouldn't get soggy). If you have multiple children I would imagine this would be great time saver. I also incorporated a little learning into this activity by sitting with him while he snacked and we pointed to each snack and said the name and color of it. Next time I plan on trying to incorporate all the colors of the rainbow! Happy Snacking!
I wanted to share my experience as a "lay" yoga person with all of you. Many of you read Whitney Parker Marshall's first blog here on Cape Cod Mommies about her experience as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor at Turning Pointe Dance Studio. My son Ethan and I are about to begin our THIRD session this week with Whitney and we are so excited and I wanted to share why!
Whitney is such a fabulous, patient, passionate and energetic instructor! Every week she comes in with a smile on her face for the tots and babies, excited to share her passion with all of us. The engaging songs and movements she leads us all in every week are catchy and fun, we reap the benefits of both in the long and short term!
Can You Take the Child Tax Credit?
If you have a qualifying child under the age of 17, you may be able to take the Child Tax Credit. Here's what you need to know.
1. Amount. With the Child Tax Credit, you may be able to reduce your federal income tax by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under age 17.
2. Qualification. A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the qualifying criteria of seven tests: age, relationship, support, dependent, joint return, citizenship and residence.
3. Age test. To qualify, a child must have been under age 17 -- age 16 or younger -- at the end of 2011.
4. Relationship test. To claim a child for purposes of the Child Tax Credit, the child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister or a descendant of any of these individuals, which includes your grandchild, niece or nephew. An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
5. Support test. In order to claim a child for this credit, the child must not have provided more than half of his/her own support.
6. Dependent test. You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return.
7. Joint return test. The qualifying child can not file a joint return for the year (or files it only as a claim for refund).
8. Citizenship test. To meet the citizenship test, the child must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien.
9. Residence test. The child must have lived with you for more than half of 2011. There are some exceptions to the residence test, found in IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
10. Limitations. The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies by filing status. For married taxpayers filing a joint return, the phase-out begins at $110,000. For married taxpayers filing a separate return, it begins at $55,000. For all other taxpayers, the phase-out begins at $75,000. In addition, the Child Tax Credit is generally limited by the amount of the income tax and any alternative minimum tax you owe.
11. Additional Child Tax Credit. If the amount of your Child Tax Credit is greater than the amount of income tax you owe, you may be able to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.
Questions about the child tax credit? Give us a call today. (508)540-3683
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation, Perfect Parenting and Hidden Messages
Is your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be? Or has it been pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Let’s face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong, your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and you’ll, quite simply, have more fun in your life.
Make a commitment
To create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you follow through on this commitment and
will put new life and meaning into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when
they know that Mom and Dad love each other—particularly in today’s world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; half of your children’s friends have gone, or are going through a divorce; or maybe it’s your kids who have survived a divorce and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won’t suffer from neglect! They’ll blossom when your marriage—and their homelife—is thriving.
The surprising secret is that this doesn’t have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.
So here’s my challenge to you. Read the following suggestions and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you’ll both be happier.
Look for the good, overlook the bad
You married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage is to look for the good and overlook the bad.
Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things — dirty socks on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, worn out flannel pajamas, an inelegant burp at the dinner table — and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your favorite cookies, the peace in knowing someone so well that you can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.
Give two compliments every day
Now that you’ve committed to seeing the good in your partner, it’s time to say it! This is a golden key to your mate’s heart. Our world is so full of negative input, and we so rarely get compliments from other people. When we do get a compliment, it not only makes us feel great about ourselves, it actually makes us feel great about the person giving the compliment! Think about it! When your honey says, “You’re the best. I’m so glad I married you.” It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.
Compliments are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and they’re free. Compliments are powerful; you just have to make the effort to say them. Anything works: “Dinner was great, you make my favorite sauce.” “Thanks for picking up the cleaning. It was very thoughtful, you saved me a trip.” “That sweater looks great on you.”
That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see -- or experience -- partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and being nice, just choose to be nice. Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi’s friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit – “If you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all.”
Pick your battles
How often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great advice for child-rearing—and it’s great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. By doing this, you’ll find much less negative energy between you.
From now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue at hand, and ask yourself a few questions. “How important is this?” “Is this worth picking a fight over?” “What would be the benefit of choosing this battle versus letting it go?”
The 60 second cuddle
You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other — holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing — just as you can spot an “oldly-married” couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day’s end finds them “touched fulfilled”.
So here’s a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage – the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.
Here’s the deal: Whenever you’ve been apart make it a rule that you will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can be addictive! If you follow this advice soon you’ll find yourselves touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect of your relationship.
Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner.
I don’t mean, “Remember to pick up Jimmy’s soccer uniform.” Or “I have a PTA meeting tonight.” Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.
Spend time with your spouse
It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as“Husband” and “Wife”. This doesn’t mean you have to take a two-week vacation in
Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it’s quite fine to talk about your children when you’re spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.
When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself — and to your kids — to nurture your relationship.
So take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.
Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth Pantley:
Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children, New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary
by Pamela Wills, CPC
Well, February is over and March has begun; spring is right around the corner. Yay! I am not a big fan of winter.
To celebrate, I finally tossed out three bags of clutter from my Closet of Doom last week! And felt about a million
tons lighter. I donated a big bag of clothing to church, five unopened boxes of little girl crafts to our local Boys & Girls Club and a box filled with gently used books and media to the town library. Though I still have more
stuff to clear out and unload (both tangible and intangible), that first step of the process was already totally cathartic.
How about you? Did you let anything go last week? Not just the regular trash, but something that you've let hang around for far too long. Tangibles like old DVDs, clothes, cookbooks? Intangibles like perfection, negativity, limitations?
Let's take one more stab at this. Here are 8 ideas for things you can let go of RIGHT NOW. You heard me. RIGHT.NOW.
1) Perfection and control
The need for perfection and control can immobilize the best of us Type A people. Control the dust, control the
laundry, control the dishes. Perfect the evening meal, perfect the ironing, perfect the grocery list. Control what the kids eat for lunch, your inbox at work, everyone's TV time. Perfect hair nails and make up, the workout routine,
the home decor.
Listen, I totally get ALL of that. As the Mom and the Home & Family CEO, you've got crazy amounts of to-do's on your plate. But please allow me to suggest a quick remedy:
Forget about it for once! Have some fun! LET IT GO!
Read a book, make a photo album, take a walk. The dust/dishes/laundry are not going anywhere, trust me, they will wait for you. Tonight, don't worry so much about dinner -- if it's edible and nutritious, that is 98% awesome. And that is awesome enough!
2) Being right all the time
Sometimes, the pressure to be right just blows everything else out of proportion. Being right uses up a whole lot of time and energy, doesn't it? Check this related quote, it's one I really love:
"If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything." - Win Borden
Here's a thought: Let someone else be right for a change and see what happens. Taking small chances like that can really open your eyes to new perspectives. Today, challenge yourself to listen to someone else's version of right. At least once.
It's all the same. Negative Nellie = clutter = toxicity. It's a very logical equation. If you've just started reading my newsletter, you may have missed my ongoing conversations with my toxic inner voices: Negative Nellie, Self-Righteous Sarah and Lizard-Brain Liz. We all have our own versions of them and they all suck and they all clamor to clutter up our minds with their noisy nonsense.
But I've made it a habit to tune them all out (for the most part) with positive statements and gratitude. The moment I start thinking, "Ugh, I really don't want to get up so early again today," that is the moment when I flip the switch, shake my head and tell myself, "STOP! I am super grateful for another day on this Earth to spend with my daughter." And I go from there.
Try banging that one out tomorrow morning. When you notice a negative thought entering your head, just stop and tell yourself what you're feeling grateful for.
4) People pleasing
Yeah I've been guilty of this little number many times over the years. First born girl, Type A, you know the deal. I am still wrestling with this monkey on my back, working tirelessly to throw it off whenever possible. I still bite my tongue
more often than I should, apologize more often than necessary and bypass all manner of golden opportunities to speak my mind. But I've gotten much better at standing up for what I believe is right. And I'm not afraid of conflict, never have been.
How about you? Do you bend over backwards to accommodate others too often? Is yes your favorite word? My antidote is practicing ruthless honesty. You don't have to be rude, just honest. If you don't like something, say so. If you feel strongly about something, say so.
PS: The extra benefit from this exercise is increased confidence. =)
I don't know about you, but I absolutely HATE making mistakes! (see above, #1... uh, and a little bit of #2... *sigh*) Mistakes are tough to take. But they are also fab teachers, when we decide to pay attention to them. Paralysis due to fear of making mistakes can be eliminated with some confidence boosting exercises (see above, #4). Paying attention to patterns of mistakes we tend to repeat can help us eliminate some mistakes entirely, as in: Make mistake, pay attention to pattern, do NOT repeat.
One way to avoid making some mistakes is to concentrate on clear communication. Listen. Pay attention. State objectives clearly. Don't rush things. Do one thing at a time, don't multitask unless absolutely necessary. Breathe. It really helps!
6) Stuff envy
Wanting the latest gadget, the newest car, the trendiest shoes (scratch that, not shoes, we are not letting go of trendy shoes, sorry), the fad diet, whatever -- all of that just leads to wanting more of all of it. Kind of like how eating sugar or
drinking coffee just makes you want more of the same. Freedom from stuff envy in our consumer culture poses a very big challenge, but working on it can quiet some of the noise in your head.
Just be yourself like Oscar Wilde says, because "everyone else is already taken." Also, read some more of Leo Babauta's simple living posts at Zen Habits. Really great stuff.
"The mind that perceives the limitation is the limitation." - Buddha
"f you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." - Henry Ford
Need I say more?
Quick tip: Drop and do ten push-ups. Betcha can!
I talk about facing and taming fear pretty often. Fear can paralyze us (see above, #5, "paralysis due to fear") and keep us from achieving our goals. It must be squashed!
But Pam, I hear you pleading with me, how can I squash FEAR?? It's so big and... SCARY!
Well, it's not easy, but it is simple: Take action. Take one baby step TOWARD your fear, toward exactly the thing you are afraid of. Every day.
"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
If you do nothing else, do #8. It will build your confidence level enormously. If you need help with this, give me a call! If you know someone else who needs help with this, feel free to forward this to them.
I repeat: Seriously. What have you got to lose?
=) Change Coach Pam
Pamela Wills, CPC
Change is GOOD!
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