Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is an annual celebration where children, families, schools, and communities turn off screens and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Screen-Free Week isn't just about snubbing screens for seven days; it's a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round.
Here are some of our favorite suggestions for activities for both home and outside to do on Cape Cod in celebration of Screen-Free Week:
~ Visit your local library. If you don't have a library card for yourself or your child, get one :)
~ Storytimes & Playgroups all over Cape Cod and the Islands
~ Nature and marsh walks
~ Visit a lighthouse
~ Visit Green Briar Nature Center in Sandwich
~ Stroll Spohr Gardens and see the daffodils in Falmouth
~ Seal Feedings at Woods Hole Aquarium
~ Stroller Skating in Hyannis
~ Dance O'Rama in Edgartown
~ Shadow Tracing
~ Dress Up
~ Dance parties
~ Using things from outside make a collage
~ Reading favorite books
~ Spaghetti Mobiles
For more info, visit www.commercialfreechildhood.org/screenfreeweek/.
Nutrition is an important topic to any mother. We are always trying to give our children the best and most balanced foods we can. Sometimes though, especially if you have picky eaters, it becomes difficult. Also as mothers, we often overlook our own nutrition. I am personally guilty of this quite a bit. I am constantly the last one I think about in our house when it comes to meals, exercise, etc. I am constantly grabbing little snacks to keep me fueled throughout the day and 75% of the time, they are definitely NOT healthy... unless you count the peanut butter in Reese Cup's healthy. I know these are concerns out there for many of you as well. As parents we do our best, but the best way to promote a healthy lifestyle is to lead by example.
So Moms... you have been asking us for Nutrition information and we listened! Cape Cod Mommies will be welcoming on 2 Nutritionists as Advisors and they will be posting answers to questions YOU ask! Look for their Welcome Blog next week.
Our new nutrition advisor is..... Heidi Ingram of Fitness Directions in Falmouth. Heidi also runs a wonderful home daycare in Falmouth as well. Both women lead very healthy lifestyles and are excited to share their knowledge with Cape Cod Moms!
To get this party started, let us know what kinds of questions you have, whether it be for your children or yourself! You can let us know by posting on our FB page, commenting below or e-mailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to hearing your questions and seeing the answers!
Review Your Retirement Plans
How much have you accumulated so far? How much do you need to retire comfortably at the desired date? Professional advice may be helpful in determining how much you should be saving and what the best investment vehicles are.
Inventory Your Non-Financial Assets
Perform an inventory of your non-financial assets (e.g., home, furniture, cars, personal belongings). Compare this inventory to your property insurance coverage. Is your insurance adequate for your assets? You may need a rider to your policy for certain items such as jewelry. If some assets are no longer in use, consider selling them or donating them to charity. You may be entitled to a deduction based upon the fair market value of the assets.
Review Budget vs Actuals
Compare March income and expenditures with your budget. Make adjustments as appropriate to your April expenditures. Make sure you have invested your planned savings amount for March.
Schedule Estimated Tax Payments
Add the estimated tax payments for the year to your calendar so you don't overlook them later. You might want to attach the payment vouchers to your calendar with a paperclip.
Review Retirement Contributions
Review planned contributions for IRAs, SIMPLE Plans, SEPs, and Keoghs for the preceding tax year. Professional advice should be sought to help you determine the maximum amounts deductible, and whether postponing return filing for the preceding year will help determine the amount and timing of the contribution.
Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA
to enhance the color of processed foods. Many food choices for adults and
especially marketed and showcased to children contain artificial food coloring
that can have negative effects upon little people’s behavior, impulse control,
attention, ability to focus, learning, thinking, and energy level. Children are
particularly susceptible to the effects of food dyes, especially those with ADHD
Certainly, the consumption of sugar has the effect of 'juicing' a kid's system, but the food dyes in the pile of daily sweets are more likely the primary culprit! It should come to no surprise that countless kids are taking ADD or ADHD medications. This may be due to the over indulgence of technological gadgets, too much screen time, information and stimulation overload or it may have a huge relation to the type and amount of food dye being consumed!
While food additives and colorings have been around for decades and are found in everything from pudding to potato chips to soft drinks, it is growing mountain of recent studies linking food coloring to hyperactivity in kids that is creating waves from angry parents, urging the FDA to ban foods containing them — or at least require a warning label.
Artificial food dyes might be an easy target for elimination because they aren't essential to food. In fact, food dyes are added simply for their color to make foods fun. They serve no health purpose whatsoever. The most dangerous of
the bunch is Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6, which make up 90 percent of the food dyes on the market. Studies have linked these top dyes to impaired brain function, hyperactive behavior, difficulty focusing, lack of impulse
control in children. What is most scary is that the use of these food dyes and artificial additives have gone up fivefold in the past 50 years, giving a great indication of how much junk food people are consuming. This gives perfect reason
to why more than two thirds of Americans are overweight, hovering on the borderline of obese.
Red No. 40 is the most widely used food dye in terms of pounds consumed, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It is found in cereal, gelatin, candy, baked goods.
Yellow No. 5 is the second most widely used food dye, according to CSPI. It is found in soft drinks, pudding, chips, pickles, honey, mustard, gum, baked goods, gelatin and other foods.
Yellow No. 6 is the third most widely used food dye. It is found in cereal, orange soda and other beverages, hot chocolate mix, baked goods and many other foods.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder affects 3 percent to 5 percent of U.S. children, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Symptoms include fidgeting, excessive talking and abandoning chores and
homework. The condition is usually diagnosed in childhood and can continue as an adult.
Sadly, the FDA, after analyzing 35 years of scientific studies regarding positive correlation between children’s consumption of food dyes and ADD and ADHD, they claim there is no conclusive proof that food dyes cause hyperactivity
in most kids, (although it suggests that some kids with ADHD may be particularly sensitive to them). The FDA stepped forward to say that, “there is also bodies of literature that does suggest that food colorings are not as benign as people
have been led to believe." This is concerning to me, as the FDA should listen to the concerns of the public and at the very least, list whether or not food items meant for consumption, are produced with artificial food dyes or coloring. This
action should be taken regardless of what the FDA claims to be inconclusively not harmful to children and not a factor on their behaviors.
As a parent, if you are concerned about artificial food coloring, dyes or flavors, there is no harm in cutting out food dyes as best as you can. A good key in removing the dyes is to understand that food coloring is most likely not going to be found in fresh broccoli or other fresh fruits and vegetables (may be found in frozen or canned vegetables). They are going to be found in processed foods, candies, ice creams and other concentrated sweets. Read labels and be
picky when it comes to the health of your family. Try to purchase and eat less processed foods. You may begin to see big differences in your children’s behavior, moods and attention spans.
What mother has not at least once loathed the hours between 1-5am? I know I have! My son still wakes a few times a week in the wee hours of the morning. As I silently curse the missed opportunity for a few more precious minutes of delicious sweet sleep, I scoop him up and rock until he drifts back off unless he doesn't and decides to throw a party in his crib. WHY do they do this?!?!?!?! Do these children not care that mom or dad have not gotten enough sleep? Is there anyone out there who can help? YES, there absolutely is!
Join me in welcoming Cape Cod Mommies newest Advisor, Sleep Coach, Rebekah Thomson!
Rebekah is a mother of two and pediatric sleep coach, trained and certified by Kim West, LCSW-C. She grew up in Washington, DC and graduated from Wesleyan University. Rebekah taught middle school English and history for nine years until she became a full-time mom. She currently resides with her family in Chilmark, Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard.
Rebekah’s daughter was born in 2008, marking the start of a fabulous but sleep-deprived year. It was Kim West’s Good Night Sleep Tight that provided an approach that both respected her parenting values and worked – her daughter’s sleep improved drastically within a week. Then, just after her son was born, Rebekah began her Gentle Sleep Coach training, figuring it would empower her to help him learn to sleep well and make her popular with her mommy friends! Now, after seeing how rewarding sleep coaching is, Rebekah has worked with hundreds of families to help them get the rest they need.
Stay tuned for Rebekah's upcoming blogs as the Sleep Coach shares her expertise with us!
Counting Sheep Pediatric Sleep Coaching
We have all been there at one point in time, a small grocery budget and a tight wallet, facing the fact that we need to purchase wholesome foods to keep our daily lives in motion. It's truly no wonder at all, that America is one of the most
obese countries in the world. How are we to provide wholesome foods to our families on a shoestring budget? Is it not easier to purchase the inexpensive overly processed foods that line the shelves in the grocery store in shiny wrappers and elaborate looking boxes? Surely the boxes don't scream out at us “warning trans fat!" or "Going straight to your hips!" or even "It will take 5 days of running 1 mile each day to burn off the calories in this product!" Nope it is up to you, the consumer, to read the labels. That is-if you can even pronounce half the ingredients.
As an avid couponer and blogger, I am inundated with questions from readers asking me (and sometimes sadly begging me) to help them with their grocery purchases. Particularly, how to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to feed their family without breaking their ever-so-fragile grocery budget. My answer is the same for all my readers, and really the key to my own survival amidst the rainbow of colors in the produce aisle: Buy in-season.
As an example, have you ever purchased Strawberries in the dead middle of winter? Yes you say? They weren't cheap were they? No, I didn't think so. Strawberries are in season now (now being spring). How does the cost compare now, to when you bought them in the middle of winter? About 50% cheaper and usually marked as a BOGO (buy one get one
free) deal. Buying in-season miraculous!
Not only do you save a good chunk of money buying produce in season, you can save even more money by purchasing said produce at a farmers market. Buying produce directly from the farmer/grower cuts out those dastardly packing and
hauling costs that most companies pay when produce is shipped from state to state. Packing and hauling costs only mean more money coming out of your pocket. After all, the grocery store has to make up for those costs
somehow. Farmers markets are also great because they are the very meaning of "farm to table", the newest notion to hit American tables. Supporting your local farmers and growers, and eating the wholesome foods you purchase at a
farmers market, essentially represents the meaning of farm to table. You are practically guaranteed flavor packed freshness when you buy from a farmers market. You can't get any better than that!
Lastly, let's debunk the myth that there are never any coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables............
There you have it, myth debunked-and yes, these are only just a few of the produce coupons in my possession.
If you want an easy, no hassle way of finding out what types of produce are in season and when, visit the Sustainable Table website. The Sustainable Table offers a search tool based on state and season, and also tells you the locations of Farmers Markets, CSA's, and Food Co-ops in your area. You can also conduct a general search of in season produce in all states. Doing so will help you determine what particular produce is in-season, at your local supermarket, throughout the year.
Do you have questions, opinions, helpful tips, or thoughtful comments on this post? Feel free to express yourself, by leaving a comment on my website http://www.thesavingsmomma.com
I love finding simple, healthy recipes for my toddler. I've posted many recipes before that incorporate sneaking veggies, protein and fruit into meals. I thought I would share some yummy breakfast ideas that are always a hit in my house. I swear, these recipes are super simple and easy to make.
Sweet Potato - Banana Pancakes
-Pancake Mix - I like Trader Joes's Multigrain Mix - Following directions on the box to make the mixture. ***I usually use a less liquid due to the purees being added
-1/2 cup Sweet Potato Puree
-1/2 cup Banana Puree
-1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (any kind you like)
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients. Use a non stick spray to make perfect pancakes that don't stick! Cook pancakes over medium heat for best results. You can even use fun cookie cutter shapes as well!
Oatmeal with Sweet Potatoes and Peanut Butter
1 package of instant oats - I like Trader Joe's Oats and Flax
1/4 cup of Sweet Potato Puree
1/4 tsp of ground flaxseed
1 Tsp Peanut Butter
1/4 cup of Milk - Use whichever kind you enjoy. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 small handful of raisins
Stir instant oats, flaxseed and sweet potato puree together with water - usually enough to cover oats. Place in microwave for 90 seconds. Stir in peanut butter. When everything is nicely blended add your milk. Top off with a handful
Cheesy Green Eggs with Toast Bites
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup spinach puree
1 slice whole wheat bread
Scramble 3 eggs, add spinach puree and cheese. Cook over medium heat.
- Toast Bites make a great side for the eggs. Add your child favorite topping - jelly, butter, cream cheese or peanut butter.
by Pamela Wills, CPC
It occurred to me recently that most of our fears and complexes seem to follow similar patterns, like ripples on the surface of a pond. I’m no doctor, but it seems that if we look at fear of one thing, we might learn about how to deal with some of our other fears.
Take fear of the dark, for instance. Lots of us deal with this fear as kids. Most of us let it go as we mature, only to be faced with it again as parents of small children who are afraid of the dark.
It’s like we just blinked, had a baby, blinked again and BAM! Suddenly, there we are, dealing with our old fear again. Maybe, all those years ago, we got over this fear without a fight. Or maybe it was a long, painful, drawn-out process. Or maybe we never really let it go, not completely.
What do we say to our child about this fear? What are some of the suggestions we give them for dealing with this most basic of fears?
Well, one thing I always tell my daughter is to face her fears head on. In this case, that means to remember it’s just the darkness that feels scary, nothing else. Right?
So, with that established, I ask her what the dark can really do to hurt us… Anything? I mean, how can the simple absence of light in a room really hurt us?
- We could trip over one or more of the 29,000 different toys / books / shoes/ other random cr@p strewn across the floor of the bedroom and fall down.
- We might bump into a piece of furniture or a door and get a bruise.
- We might smack into each other and bump our funny bones…
Hahaha that might just make us laugh and forget all about being afraid of the dark!
Okay we could keep on going in this silly direction but you get the picture. It’s not really the DARK that’s scary, it’s what might happen in the absence of light that scares us. Right?
So. How do we remedy this situation? What suggestions do we give our kids for dealing with their fear of the dark?
1) Well, the easiest solution is to turn on a light. The hall light, a night light, a light in the closet. While this may help alleviate the fear temporarily, it’s really just a bandage and won’t cure the fear.
2) Another fix is to complete a monster sweep before turning off the lights. I kid you not. This approach works wonders. Are there any monsters hiding under the bed, Mommy? Any lurking in the closet? Behind the big bookshelf?
Nope. Okay, then we’re all good.
3) One other possibility is to remind our child that darkness is just the opposite of light. Without it, we wouldn’t know or appreciate light, couldn’t rest and cool off and sleep properly. We can be very thankful for the dark because it really is our friend.
Whichever approach you choose to employ, I promise you it can be applied to many other fears with a pretty decent relevancy rate.
Don’t believe me? Read on, if you dare:
1) Temporary fix / bandage: Take a shortcut around your fear. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Turn on the lights in the face of darkness. Block out the very thought of it. See how long that works for you. (N.B.: this approach doesn’t usually help kids get over their fear of the dark, either.)
2) Monster sweep: Shake up your fears by hitting them smack between the eyes. Root them right out of the closet, sweep them out from under the bed, call them out from behind the bookshelf. Show them the door, kick them to the curb. Never let them live in your head rent-free! They have no control over you because THEY ONLY EXIST IN YOUR IMAGINATION.
3) Make friends with your fear: Find some quiet alone time or sit with a person you trust and have a conversation with your fear, as if it is a living breathing person. You could also put this conversation in writing, as if you are sending your fear a letter. Ask your fear questions, thank it for giving you a lesson to learn and grow from, show it some respect for bringing you to your knees. And then tell your fear that although you are thankful for its presence in your life until now, for whatever reason, you can no longer spend time with it. You will just have to learn to live without each other.
It will really be best for both of you. And then simply say, GOOD-BYE.
Okay, #3 may seem a bit weird, but it really does help… BTW, #2 is my personal fave. Works wonders.
And that, my friend, is where the ELASTICITY meets the road.
Pamela Wills is a Certified Coach (CPC) and Licensed Educator based on lovely Cape Cod, Massachusetts. With her coaching company, Elasticity Coaching, her mission is to help you rediscover your true Self and learn to own your
truth. As a Self Discovery Expert and Truth Coach, Pamela would love to work with you, especially if you are a brave soul who has finally left a codependent, controlling and/or emotionally abusive relationship and now have a burning desire to express your authenticity. Sign up for her free weekly eZine, subscribe to her blog, follow her on Twitter and like her Facebook page for events, deals and free stuff. Or simply send a message to email@example.com. Pamela and her Elasticity will help you bounce back, better than ever!
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution and Gentle Baby Care
Question: Our first-born is showing extreme jealousy towards the new baby. He’s obviously mad at us for disrupting the predictable flow of his life with this new challenger for our attention. How can we smooth things out?
Think about it: Before the baby entered your family, your toddler was told he’d have a wonderful little brother to play with, and how much fun it would be. Then the little brother is born and your toddler is thinking, “Are you kidding me? This squirming, red-faced baby that takes up all your time and attention is supposed to be FUN?” He then “plays” with the baby in the only ways he knows how. He plays catch. You yell at him for throwing toys at the baby. He plays hide-and-seek. You yell at him to get the blanket off the baby. He gives the kid a hug, and you admonish him to be more careful. Is it any wonder that your toddler is confused?
Teach:Your first goal is to protect the baby. Your second, to teach your older child how to interact with his new sibling in proper ways. You can teach your toddler how to play with the baby in the same way you teach him anything else. Talk to him, demonstrate, guide and encourage. Until you feel confident that you’ve achieved your second goal, however, do not leave the children alone together. Yes, I know. It isn’t convenient. But it is necessary, maybe even critical.
Hover:Whenever the children are together, “hover” close by. If you see your child about to get rough, pick up the baby and distract the older sibling with a song, a toy, an activity or a snack. This action protects the baby while helping you avoid a constant string of “Nos,” which may actually encourage the aggressive behavior.
Teach soft touches: Teach the older sibling how to give the baby a back rub. Tell how this kind of touching calms
the baby, and praise the older child for a job well done. This lesson teaches the child how to be physical with the baby in a positive way.
Act quickly: Every time you see your child hit, or act roughly with the baby, act quickly. You might firmly
announce, “No hitting, time out.” Place the child in a time-out chair with the statement, “You can get up when you can use your hands in the right way.” Allow him to get right up if he wants – as long as he is careful and gentle with the
baby. This isn’t punishment, after all. It’s just helping him learn that rough actions aren’t going to be permitted.
Demonstrate: Children learn what they live. Your older child will be watching as you handle the baby and learning from your actions. You are your child’s most important teacher. You are demonstrating in everything you do, and your child will learn most from watching you.
Praise: Whenever you see the older child touching the baby gently, make a positive comment. Make a big fuss about the important “older brother.” Hug and kiss your older child and tell him how proud you are.
Watch your words: Don’t blame everything on the baby. “We can’t go to the park; the baby’s sleeping.” “Be quiet, you’ll wake the baby.” “After I change the baby I’ll help you.” At this point, your child would just as soon sell the
baby! Instead, use alternate reasons. “My hands are busy now.” “We’ll go after lunch.” “I’ll help you in three
Be supportive: Acknowledge your child’s unspoken feelings, such as “Things sure have changed with the new baby
here. It’s going to take us all some time to get used to this.” Keep your comments mild and general. Don’t
say, “I bet you hate the new baby.” Instead, say, “It must be hard to have Mommy spending so much time with the baby.”or “I bet you wish we could go to the park now, and not have to wait for the baby to wake up.” When your child knows that you understand her feelings, she’ll have less need to act up to get your attention.
Give extra love: Increase your little demonstrations of love for your child. Say extra I love yous, increase your daily dose of hugs, and find time to read a book or play a game. Temporary regressions or behavior problems are normal, and can be eased with an extra dose of time and attention.
Get ‘em involved: Teach the older sibling how to be helpful with the baby or how to entertain the baby. Let the
older sibling open the baby gifts and use the camera to take pictures of the baby. Teach him how to put the baby’s socks on. Let him sprinkle the powder. Praise and encourage whenever possible.
Making each feel special: Avoid comparing siblings, even about seemingly innocent topics such as birth weight, when each first crawled or walked, or who had more hair! Children can interpret these comments as criticisms.
Take a deep breath and be calm. This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards, and focus on your current priority, adjusting to your new family size.
Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999
I love when you come across crafty and inspired moms! I am always amazed at these talented women and how they manage to create such unique things from paintings, to hats, to nursery furniture! The time and love that goes into
these items as well as being able to balance their passion while still caring for their family amazes me. Between you and me, I actually used to be quite crafty but the past few years I have found myself putting aside that special creative time for other things. I have yet to find that balance which is why when I come across a mom who can do this, I pause in admiration. Which leads me to my latest discovery and admiration for a very talented Cape Cod Mom.
This weekend I was able to enjoy some quiet mom time while my son slept and came across this amazing piece for a nursery or child's room. The woman who created the piece was actually someone who I attended high school with and new mom Cara Crupi-Dulmaine. Check out this adorable owl bench below!
Cape Cod Moms