Author Archives: Vita Mama

Four Leaf Luck

Four Leaf Luck

Four Leaf Luck Children's eBook

I first read Four Leaf Luck to my nearly five-year-old daughter a few months back. We both fell in love (and it immediately went on my recommended reading list!).

When I had the opportunity to speak with the author, Lizzy Anne Reid, I thought it would be the perfect time to share more about this fun and valuable resource.

In a beautiful way, Four Leaf Luck takes you by surprise. It starts very focused on the idea of “good luck” with the possibility of moving in the direction of “intentional/positive thinking.”

However, just when everything seems to be flowing clearly in one direction, the storyline transforms into teaching about the value of focused work and determination.

Lizzy does a beautiful job of honoring the concept of good luck and yet inspiring children to be willing to put in the effort to achieve what they want (as opposed to expecting everything to come to them).

The book provides a perfect platform to teach kids an extremely valuable lesson without being preachy. As you can probably tell already – I highly recommend it!

As I mentioned above, I was “lucky” enough to be able to interview the author directly, and here’s what she had to say about Four Leaf Luck:

1. What inspired you (or gave you the idea) to write Four Leaf Luck?

I wrote this story about ten years ago! I took a children’s book writing course, and this story was the result. However, at the time, I never intended to self-publish. But after publishing my young adult series books, I realized that I could go back to my children’s stories and bring them to life as well!

2. Are there any other books in the series and, if so, tell us about them!

Yes! The Sally Series will eventually land somewhere between 10 and 15 books! They are all themed on different values children can learn in a fun way with Sally’s silly thoughts and the whimsical illustrations. The third book should be out by the end of this week!

Note: You can find other books by Lizzy Anne Reid here.

3. Do you have a particular mission/philosophy/commitment as a writer?

I’ve always written because I love to write, but I do notice that changing a little more. I still want to write for personal enjoyment and to entertain others, but it is becoming increasingly important for me to highlight certain aspects of life and offer a message, no matter how heavy or light the message may be. That’s why I love writing children’s books. I have a particular desire to work with adolescents, so I hope the next YA series I write to have even deeper themes, primarily in the psychology of that time in a young person’s life.

4. Is there anything else you want us to know about your or Four Leaf Luck?

Four Leaf Luck is a great book to be read to young children, or as an early reader tool. Sally is a fun character, and I hope that lots of little girls learn valuable lessons in life by learning from Sally’s mistakes!

Thank you so much for your time, Lizzy. And thank you for the wonderful work that you’re putting out into the world!

FYI, you can get your copy of Four Leaf Luck (Children’s Books about Life Lessons #2, Hard Work) (The Sally Series) here. Enjoy!

Putting Myself In The Calm Down Corner

Putting Myself In The Calm Down Corner

It’s actually working.

Screaming Girl because of Calm Down Corner

This isn’t working for me!

Part of me is still in shock, and I am under no illusion that my next parenting challenge (or “growth opportunity”) might not be just around the corner, but in this case, what I am doing is actually working. Wow!

If you haven’t read my last post, I talked about my seemingly life-changing discovery of Deborah Tillman, America’s Supernanny, and her approach towards using a “Calm Down Corner.”

Well, the first two nights at it were intense, to say the least, as my four-year-old, Siena, kicked, threw, flailed, hit and screamed at me, “This isn’t working for me!”

On the third night, Siena’s three minutes of quiet (once she had calmed down) were interrupted when she needed to poo – of course… When she came back I let her finish the three minutes holding her pink teddy bear.

When my alarm beeped, she looked up and smiled and said, “That was quick!” I (excitedly) responded, “That’s because you calmed down quickly tonight,” to which I was gifted a BIG smile.

Since then, the need for the calm down corner has minimized greatly and, often, just the mention of it, or the words, “You’re ignoring me,” are enough for her to start cooperating. Hallelujah!

And, beyond my wildest hopes, these days she will even happily agree with me that implementing the calm down corner was a very good thing for us (given the alternatives we had tried in the past – she’s still upset that we got rid of her purple princess piñata from last year’s birthday party as one of her previous “consequences.”

So, it seems I will be eternally grateful  to America’s Supernanny – THANK YOU, Deborah Tillman (and the Lifetime network!).

Mommy In The Calm Down Corner

Now, me being me, I had to take it to the next level. One day, when Siena had successfully pushed my buttons and I was feeling angry and frustrated, I had an idea – I should go into the calm down corner!

What a great solution:

  • It gives me some quiet time on my own.
  • It lets my kids know that I’m having a tough time without yelling and screaming at them.
  • It gives me a chance to collect my thoughts so I can approach the situation more appropriately.
  • It shows them that “grown ups” need to calm down and learn to manage their anger and frustration too.
  • Etc, etc, etc!

Mommy Needs The Calm Down Corner

Mommy needs the calm down corner…

I’ve only done it two or three times so far, but I LOVE it. I get to sit quietly by myself against the wall outside of our kitchen (our corner’s not really a corner). It’s like my little piece of heaven (well, that might be going a little far, but you get the point).

And when Siena asks why I’m in the calm down corner, I get to tell her how I’m feeling in a calm, relaxed way that she can take in and process in a more healthy way.

As you can tell, I’m a true convert. In this moment, there is a significant amount more calm in my life which I am grateful for every time I see that look in Siena’s eye which says, “I’m about to go over the edge.” Let’s just say, it’s gotten a lot easier to keep her on this side of the fence.

And, next time I find myself faced with a discipline problem I don’t know how to handle – I’m starting my research with America’s Supernanny :-) .

Listening Ears

Listening Ears

Not Listening EarsI think my life changed last night when my TV randomly landed on the reality show, “America’s Supernanny.”

I have to admit that I’m somewhat new to actively praying, but motherhood has brought all sorts of unexpected goodies into my life, and praying seems to be one that’s picking up steam.

At least a few times recently I have found myself praying for a solution to disciplining my 4-year-old, Siena, more effectively.

Overall, she’s (of course) a fantastic kid who is a delight to go out with socially, very cooperative with teachers and other authority figures, and quite exceptional most of the time with her little sister.

That said, she’s also exceptionally good at:
* “not hearing” that which she does not like,
* pushing for what she wants until she gets it,
* diverting virtually anyone’s attention exactly where she wants, and
* pushing her mother’s buttons!

She can also get very hot-headed and is able to get me angry in a way that no one else has ever done before.

I realize that many of these qualities will probably serve her quite well as she grows up but in the meantime it’s on me, and I can’t say I’ve been coping with it brilliantly.

Discipline is definitely the part of parenting I find hardest. As a result, I’d say I’ve been pretty inconsistent (I know, problem #1) and am now reaping the consequences.

So last night, I believe, my life changed.

America’s Supernanny, Deborah Tillman, taught a mom to put her child in the “Calm Down Corner” for not having her “Listening Ears” on.

While there’s nothing actually new about this concept, it gave me some terminology to use and a clear method to stick with (something that has definitely been missing in our home) so I decided to give it a go.

Siena’s most challenging time of day tends to be from about 4pm. Today was actually a fairly easy day and it wasn’t until tooth brushing time that the hard-core resistance started to rear it’s ugly head.

I gave Siena one warning (as Ms. Tillman recommends) and then said we were heading to the Calm Down Corner (which we had talked about earlier in the day).

Well, true to form, the fire came out and 15 minutes of screaming and flailing later I was finally able to start the timer for her “3 minutes of calm.”

While I can’t say this was exactly smooth sailing it definitely sent a clear message that I can be consistent about (a win for all involved).

The rest of the night did go extremely smoothly and lovingly, and the first try has given me hope that this can remove the greatest struggles from our relationship. I really just don’t want to have the chronically fiery mother-daughter relationship that I see develop so often.

Supernanny Deborah also recommends having written house rules and that you simply use this same form of discipline consistently when they are broken.

House RulesSo, here are our first two House Rules:

    Listening Ears on when being addressed
    Keep hands, feet and spit to ourselves

This part will be a work in progress, and something I’m excited to be getting clarity on – seems like my praying just might be working!

If you have other suggestions for house rules, or other discipline/parenting tips in general, I’d LOVE to hear them!

Cheers and Namaste,
Vita Mama

Hemp Hearts and Hamburger Buns Part 1

Hemp Hearts and Hamburger Buns Part 1
Hemp Seeds Heart on Vita Mama Online

Love Those Hemp Seeds

Until recently, the kitchen and I were not friends. In fact, several months into dating my now-husband, he finally said, “Oh… You really don’t cook!”

In light of that fact, I’m extremely proud these days of my attempts to feed my family in a healthy and enjoyable way.

About a year ago we decided it was time to “get healthy.” There were a number of reasons for this. Amongst them:

  • Our older daughter’s chronic constipation and cough
  • Our younger daughter’s eczema and full-body rashes due to food sensitivities
  • My husband’s recently discovered basal cell carcinoma (which was successfully removed) followed by him being diagnosed at the age of 39 with glaucoma!

I, fortunately, had no specific ailments at the time. However, allergies have plagued me throughout my life and  I was aware that, at any time, the wrong combination or amount of foods (or beverages) could suddenly flick the switch and I would be off on a 2-4 day body-depleting sneezathon.

Pause… As I reread the above statements about our family, my gut instinct is to think, “Wow, what a tragic group of people!” However, the very sad fact that I’ve learned over time is that we’re not at all abnormal!

We were eating a standard American diet (SAD) and we were getting the standard American results as far as our health and well-being went. And, while people wouldn’t have considered us overweight, we each had a “few pounds” we could lose.

In December 2011, I randomly landed on a WGBH telethon program on which they were promoting a program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. As Dr. Fuhrman explained the impacts of various foods on our bodies, why so many people in our society are so sick, and how simple it can be to remedy many of those ills, it spoke to a part of me that I had been ignoring for years. I knew what he was saying was true and I knew it was time for me to step up around caring for myself and my family.

Ironically, after purchasing the program, there was a glitch in the order system and it didn’t arrive until mid-February. In fact, it, rather auspiciously, landed in our mailbox on the exact day my husband was diagnosed with glaucoma.

And, while diet hasn’t been proven to heal glaucoma, we knew something had to change. We knew this had to be a step in the right direction and the diagnosis gave us the motivation to jump on the bandwagon fast.

I got inspired and spent more time in the kitchen than I had probably done in the previous 5 years combined. Ben was pleasantly surprised at how good our new way of eating could taste. Gemma was still solely nursing, so I didn’t have to worry about her yet.

And then there was Siena. Siena, at 3-and-a-half years old, had become quite accustomed to (and happy with) the standard American (kids) diet: mac and cheese, chicken tenders, maybe fish sticks, pasta, plus a few pieces of fruit or a vegetable here and there.

Now, if you read Dr. Fuhrman’s book for kids, his take on getting a child to eat healthier is that if ship-wrecked, a kid isn’t going to starve to death. Give them less options, stick to your guns, and pretty soon they will happily eat whatever food they can get their hands on. I.e. They’re smart and adaptable (even the super picky ones).

Uh, oh! Not to leave you hanging, but my “me-time” is up, so part 2 will be coming soon!

Cheers and Namaste,
Vita Mama

I love being a mom – Really I do.

I love being a mom – Really I do.

I love being a mom. It kicks my butt on a daily basis, but I love it, of course.

Every day I laugh, I get irritated, I am at peace, I reach for food to calm my anger.

Every day I get inspired OR I disappear into a mind-numbing hole of misery.

I used to be an extremely even-keeled type of gal. The funny thing is how many people still think I am.

But my 4-year-old knows how (and chooses) to push my buttons like no one else. She’s fiery and strong and brilliant. All qualities that I’m thrilled she’ll have in about 20 years time. For now, though, it’s me who gets to be on the receiving end of everything. I somehow always knew this age would be challenging for me but, WOW, this is really hard.

I had planned on starting a blog on well-being; Eating well and teaching your kids to do the same; Taking care of / nurturing yourself and your family; Being inspired by life; Etc, etc.

On some level I know that that is what this will be about because those are the areas I’m passionate about. Those are the things I’m virtually always thinking and talking about. When I speak with other moms, those are the questions I’m answering and ideas I’m sharing with them.

And, yet, I really have no idea what will show up here. I could never have imagined the journey that motherhood would take me on up until now, and so I wait in (somewhat) eager anticipation to see what lessons will be learned (and who I will become) next.

If you can relate to anything I’ve said above, I’d love for you to join me and to share your wisdom and experience here too.

Cheers and Namaste,
Vita Mama