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I was up and ready for my customers... not because I was eager to please them, but because I couldn't sleep. Okay, so I was up --- I felt it was a good time to do some reading, thinking, possibly writing... and drink coffee, a little facebook, you know --- but wait! Not too much of that facebook stuff or this "Bed and Breakfast" is going to get "2 stars" --- no, maybe "1" --- or perhaps a foreclosed sign! Well, at least I'll have to give myself that score because my two main "customers" rarely complain. They are very kind and compassionate, and would never tell on me that I didn't do the dishes or that the floor needs mopping.

So, after the people sleeping in the establishment arose this morning, there was coffee waiting for one, and a diaper for the other (when I finally got around to it). I managed to get good food to them, and send one off on his way to work with more food packed for his dinner. The other is two-years-old, so he will be sticking around to receive attention all day --- I'm happy to care for him!

But I look around and this place is a mess! I do have a lot to catch up on in the kitchen, gotta make the bed, mop the floor, pick up the messes of a room or two, before more guests come! That's right! There's a play date in a couple of hours here! No matter. I'm happy and excited for the chance to practice more hospitality --- more of making sure people are happy and comfortable here! So, I best get to work, because I'm not ready for them yet! If they show up early, I will entertain them whether I'm ready or not! All they need is a good caring conversation and something to drink (and maybe eat). They won't mind if the house is dirty...but still, I must do my best to make it better than it is.

Later, after the visit, they will go home again, and I will want to be ready for my favorite guest! He will return home from work, and I hope he will find me in a clean, nice-smelling home with a smile on my face!

I know, you are thinking, "What in the WORLD is she talking about?"

It's simple, really, I have my husband and my son whom I can serve everyday (cheerfully is the aim) and I have my friends who come to visit along with their children who come to play with my son (again, cheerful serving is the aim). I am so appreciative for family and friends and the fact that I'm home alot. Meanwhile, I have often dreamed of owning a Bed and Breakfast someday. Technically, I don't own one. But I can have fun making my home to be a Bed and Breakfast, in my own way.

Hospitality and the art of homemaking, is caring, creativity, work, and don't forget --- not making a big deal about little inconveniences, but serving with a smile. That's the kind of home I want my husband and son and family and friends to experience when they come over -- warm and like a B & B.

Serve your family with a smile! I hope this encouraged someone today (I had fun writing it)!

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When you become a mom, you just know one thing: you are pregnant. You don't know a gender (nor do you know how many), you don't know a name, you don't know what his or her personality will be like --- you don't know anything. And it's O-K!

Let me tell you, the world and role of Mom can be so fun!

The other day, I was brushing my teeth with my two old standing nearby "brushing" his. As I rinsed and spit into the sink, my little guy bursted with laughter! Oh, I guess that was funny. It's so great to have a little one around who sees everything with new eyes and has his own sense of humor, not to mention classic toddler humor and giggles!
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When I was pregnant with him, I wondered what the future would be like, but I couldn't see all the little moments that were coming that only God knew about. I could only look forward to them and let the story play out.

I didn't know I would find him sleeping with a peanut butter face on a regular bases.

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Nor did I foresee the time I would walk into his bedroom and find him sleeping sitting up!

(Kinda creepy...)


I didn't know how fun it was going to be to watch his little personality develop.

I didn't know what it was actually like to be an actual Mom, and I now know it's AMAZING!!!




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A is for Apple

So, what's been happening here that will make your life as a mom totally fun? I have been creating an alphabet video series for your toddlers (and preschool age in general)! That's right! With the inspiration and help of my own toddler, this series is a sure winner! Feedback from other moms has proven that as well.
For your enjoyment, I'm posting the first one here. Your feedback is also welcome.

A new video will be added every Monday until we reach the letter Z. Enjoy!

 

Daddy Pig

12/31/2014

1 Comment

 
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In my journey of motherhood, I sometimes look up kid shows I know about in the internet’s search engine in order to give my two-year-old son some good shows to watch. These would include shows like “Blues Clues” or simply videos of old-fashioned trains in England, for example.

One week, I thought I landed on something pretty cute, until I started to notice a theme. The cartoon I’m referring to is at first glance pleasant and even funny --- as I said, pretty cute. It’s called “Peppa Pig”. I really liked it, actually! There’s the big sister pig, Peppa, and her little brother, George, and then there is “Mummy Pig” (it’s a British show) and “Daddy Pig”. Everyone was interactive as a family, and they did educational and family things together, but the problem was that “Daddy Pig” was never too bright. Sure, they made others do silly things too, but no one was ever quite as stupid as Daddy Pig! After watching several shows, my husband and I saw that the cartoon was damaging to children’s views of their fathers and other men in their lives. Even the male doctor in one of the shows wasn’t completely with it. What was this going to teach my son about his father or even about himself? If I had a little girl, how would I have led her to view her father or other good men in her life? Always stupid, but mommy and other women are the only smart ones?

This simply isn’t fair to men -- or even true -- though society has been conditioned long enough with these thoughts, that they many may believe that this is true. Men and women do think differently in places, and prioritize things differently, but that’s one of the reasons it’s a beautiful thing when a man and woman make a life together and balance each other out. This is not to find the other one to be stupid, but to appreciate the differences and what each contributes to make the household run like teamwork (and let the challenges of disagreements build character in the couple). This is the way it’s supposed to be.

So, let me tell you what happened one evening: I came across a little book in my toddler’s book collection. Yep, you guessed it: It was “Peppa Pig”. So, I decided (was I bored?) to take a look at it. It was about the family going on a nature trail. Here is how the first page read [words in brackets are my thoughts on where this book is going] :

Peppa and her family are going for a walk on a nature trail.

Mummy Pig asks Daddy Pig not to forget the picnic basket.

“Oh, I won’t,” says Daddy Pig.

They head off along the trail with their map.

Oh dear! Daddy Pig has left the picnic basket in the car.

[Stupid Daddy.]

 

I continued to read about the family following bird and ant tracks until I got to the 8th page:

“I think it’s time for lunch,” says Mummy Pig.

[Mummy Pig has good ideas]

But Daddy Pig has left the picnic basket in the car!

[Of course he did! Stupid Daddy…]

“My map is wrong,” begins Daddy Pig,

[That too? Wow Daddy! You’re so stupid, you PICKED UP a stupid map!]

“We’ll have to follow our own footprints back to the car.”

[Okay, maybe Daddy has a good idea for once.]

(next page…)

Suddenly, it’s starts to rain. It washes everyone’s footprints away!

[Daddy fails again.]

 

Wow. I know what I’m going to do with THIS little book! Chuck it! I don’t need my son viewing himself, nor his father in this way.

If we want to build strong children who can think right, we will have to be diligent, even with the cartoons that they see. And when they do see things inappropriate as they grow up (as that is sure to happen too), we need to dialog with our children to help them to think whether what they heard and saw was correct or incorrect.

Parenting is a big job. It takes a lot of diligence and vigilance too.


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I am happy to announce that the "Mom's Share Page" is finally starting to receive stories --- stories and thoughts from real and down-to-earth moms that want to be a part of encouraging other mothers! I'm thrilled that you can read about mothers other than myself on this site so that you can get the kind of encouragement that you need here --- I know I cannot do it alone.

Four moms have sent me their stories so far. Two have been published this week, and two more will be published next week. You can send me your story too! Please write an interesting, well-written story of your motherhood experience, or a point-of-view that you learned from becoming a mother. Please note that I reserve the right to choose which articles will be published
. But don't let that discourage you! I do wish to consider your input! Grandmas are moms too, so please: All ages of writers welcome!

So, without further ado,
let me also present to you Sharon, and her struggles as a new mom to give her child....

Then, let me also present Susie and the story of her reading a pregnancy test and...

I hope you enjoy reading their work as much as I did!



 
 
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So it's finally here! I'm so excited to share with you, what has been in my head for awhile, but only now is being presented: A Cuppa Tea With Shawna Marie

Some of you may remember that I started to do something like this before, only it was with a pen name. I'm really glad it wasn't my real name then, because it seemed like it was good practice for the real show. Now I am going by my actual name, and I have a better idea of what it's supposed to look like, etc. I'm open to comments to help me to develop the best kind of show!

And what's it all about? It's about having some time that you can make a cup of tea, now and again, sit in your favorite comfortable chair, maybe even in your jammies and enjoy the show. Each "visit" will be about 15 to 20 minutes long --- just enough time to enjoy your tea (or coffee or cocoa) and sit still a little while. We ladies all need a break in our busy days
(the men folk do too, which I'm not minimizing, of course!). I hope this will become a new favorite to many! I hope you will come away inspired, again, and again, and again.

With that, I'd like to present to you the very first show, ask that you subscribe and share it with others, and may this be a momentous occasion that you are taking part in! I invite you to share in the comments, so that it is more like a visit with you too! Thanks for joining me!


 

Scadoo!

11/19/2014

0 Comments

 
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Okay, I don't know how to spell it, but my two-year-old just tried to "Scadoo" into his box of books!

For those of you about 20-years-old and younger (or people like me who have younger siblings that would be 20 or younger about now), you would remember "Blues Clues". What a great kids show! Great songs and engagement with the children to really make a fun show! They learn, look forward to certain common occurrences (such as "mail time" and other fun moments) and enjoy along with "Steve" (or "Joe" in the later episodes) how to figure out a mystery based on three simple clues throughout each show. It was seriously a genius program for kids!

When I have told people that my son loves watching it, I get the idea that it's not on regular TV anymore (correct me if I'm wrong). However, we watch it daily and even choose which episode we want to watch because someone uploaded LOTS of reruns on the internet! As a free mommy (and daddy) resource, I have provided a "Blues Clues" button at the bottom of the Mom's Share Page that you too will find extremely handy for your toddler's daily entertainment.

Enjoy the show!

 
 
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Just wanted to share a nice discovery with my faithful readers. Last night I was up into the wee hours of morning, and a cup of tea sounded like just-the-thing for me.

I was going to have "orange and spice" when I thought, "How would it be if I mixed it with a camomile tea bag?"



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Well the results were great, and I wanted you to know! Because if you are like me, you know camomile is a good promoter of relaxation and sleep, but is not an amazing flavor at all. It seems to me that camomile was meant to be ONE of the ingredients --- not the main one, or the only one.

This is why I like "Sleepytime Tea" as well. Whoever blended that tea product did a good job in making it taste good while giving all the benefits of various herbs put together. None-the-less, I keep camomile tea around --- and now I know a good way to drink it! You may enjoy it too!

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Simply put one Twinings Pure Camomile tea bag together in the same mug with one Biglow Orange and Spice tea bag, a spoon of sugar and hot water. Let it steep, stir it, and WA-LA!

You have a nice tea to sip on and a way to relax.

Enjoy!

 
 
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Let’s talk diapers again --- this time, the cloth ones.

While a vast number of mama’s are using disposable diapers these days, there are still quite a lot that choose to use cloth diapers, even to the point of there being several companies that are offering this option.

I’m actually a little surprised on one hand, but then again not surprised on the other. I guess the fact that many (especially Americans) like convenience makes me think that cloth diapers would be obsolete. I also am aware that many moms have to work outside the home, so it would seem that this option would not work for them since it requires a lot of extra laundry and time to deal with them. However, when I think of how many people these days are into natural things --- recycling, baby wearing and the fact that there are still many stay-at-home moms, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that cloth diapers are still used by many!

In fact, these days, I believe, are better cloth diapering days than when our moms and grandmas were diapering us. This is good news! Gone are the days of diaper pins, for example! No more accidently sticking the baby (or mama’s finger) with the pin while trying to get that diaper on! Say “Hello” to snaps! Manufacturers have, by now, come up with some better thought-out systems of diapers with snaps, covers that are much more comfortable than the past, and zipper-up dirty diaper bags for when you are out-and-about. Yes, necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.


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But what companies are the best?

Since I am not a cloth diaper mama this time around, I asked others to share. Let’s hear from Rachel:

“So far I have used Bum genius one size pocket diaper.  “Bum Genius All-in-ones” (which I love cause my baby is an extremely heavy wetter and [this product ] absorbs very well but is bulky)…[I also use] a cheap China brand called “Abba Baby” (which I really like for way less price but I'm not a fan of their particular inserts so I'd order inserts from elsewhere like amazon.com preferably bamboo material).

…I also have used my mom’s that she has made too!

…it's a matter of preference, but I'd buy several types of various kinds just to see which cloth diaper you'd prefer before ordering a whole bulk of diapers you may not like and to make sure you like cloth diapering. If you do like it it's a good idea to have a stash of at least 30-35 diapers so you're not doing laundry everyday but rather every other day or so.”

Thank you, Rachel! I think that helps a lot!

I especially like Rachel’s advice that once you really feel comfortable with the particular choice of cloth diaper that you have made, you do well to stash 30 to 35 diapers. This way, you should be able to do laundry every other day or so. That seems like a good plan, so I just thought I’d reiterate that idea.

Now let’s see what my friend Rebeckah has to share:

“I have cloth diapered all of my kids and my favorite is the pre-folds and covers. We use Green Mountain Diaper Pre-folds and Thirsties Covers. This time I am going for wool covers. I am going for more natural fibers. I plan on using the Babee Green Wool Covers which I found locally for $19.95/cover. Online they are more expensive. I have used Bum Genius and a variety of All-in-Ones and Pocket Diapers. The cheapest is the Pre-folds and surprisingly I like them the best!”

Also, very helpful! Thanks Rebeckah!

Last-but-not least, Heather also contributed helpful information to this topic:

“For a cheap option … Sunbaby Diapers. I have been pretty happy with them. They are a pocket style diaper and I use microfiber inserts. The best part is they are $5.00 a piece.”

Thank you so much, Heather!

Wow! You moms are great! Thanks for making this blog possible so that other moms can have a little knowledge and direction on the topic of cloth diapers. Maybe I will try cloth diapers next time, if God blesses me with another baby!

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Let’s talk diapers.

Are you are navigating this for the first time?  You may be wondering about best brands and things like that. First, there is the question of cloth or disposable, or a little of both. Once you have that question squared away with an answer, you will be asking yourself about the best brand, best price, how to know the right size, etc.

The good news is that that is really not a hard thing to figure out.

You got this!


However, no question is a silly question: it’s just that I’m here to say you have nothing to worry about.

I guess every mom has their stories of this or that diaper brand which worked for them, and comparing notes can help. So, here’s what I have found:

Huggies leak. Okay, I do have a boy, so maybe a mom with a baby girl would rave about the value of Huggies, but I didn’t even use mine after awhile and I gave them to another mom in hopes that they would find them to work for them. But they simply didn’t work for us.

Pampers are great, but expensive. Are they the only good option? Not to worry! They are great to use, but keep reading to find less expensive brands that work very well!

Luvs are excellent, and the price is right!
I’m really amazed how much “water” these diapers can hold and no leaking is going on, and yet, they are a reasonable price! I definitely recommend these!

Other generic store brands can work well too and be a decent price, but I would compare them to Luvs or Pampers to see what you are happier with. The price may even be similar. I found that our local grocery store brand was good with one exception: They leave a little cottony stuff on the baby, and I don’t really like that. I don’t know what your local brand does, so you may just give it a trial by purchasing a small package at first.

What about stocking up ahead of time for baby? Well, don’t buy more than one pack of newborn size, and not-to-many size ones either. Before long, you will be getting into size two and three…and probably hanging out in these for awhile. Don’t open any packages of diapers until you are ready to use them, this way they will not absorb humidity in the air while being stored, plus you might be able to exchange them for another size if need be.

To know which size your baby should be in, the diaper company gives a suggestion on the box based on the baby’s weight. This is okay, but not necessarily going to work out perfectly. A  good rule of thumb that works for me is: if the diapers are starting to leak (even if they seemed like a fine fit in size), it is time to go one size up…at least that’s the best way if you have a boy. I think girls tend to wear smaller sizes longer than boys in most cases.

Enjoy your baby, all diapered up and happy!

Visit again next Wednesday to talk about cloth diapers.


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