A Better Way to Say Sorry

Long-time listener Tristen shared a post with us about a better way for kids (and parents) to say sorry.  We chat with Tristen and discuss how this 4-step process has changed the way her children interact for the better.

The Steps include:

1) I’m sorry for…: Be specific. Show the person you’re apologizing to that you really understand what they are upset about.

Wrong: I’m sorry for being mean.
Right: I’m sorry for saying that nobody wants to be your friend.

2) This is wrong because…:This might take some more thinking, but this is one of the most important parts. Until you understand why it was wrong or how it hurt someone’s feelings, it’s unlikely you will change. This is also important to show the person you hurt that you really understand how they feel

Wrong: This is wrong because I got in trouble.
Right: This is wrong because it hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about yourself.

3) In the future, I will…:

Wrong: In the future, I will not say that.
Right: In the future, I will keep unkind words in my head.

4) Will you forgive me? Don’t assume that they will—ask for forgiveness

To read the original post, go to http://www.cuppacocoa.com/a-better-way-to-say-sorry/.  We reached out to the author of the post but she hasn’t gotten back to us yet.  Thanks for the great information!  We love that you shared!

Getting Boys to Read

Mike McQueen, author of Getting Boys to Read, discusses his new book and tips on how to get your boys interested in reading.  Do you know a boy who struggles with reading?  Mike has great tips that come from his own personal experience as a struggling reader turned teacher-librarian.  He knows what boys struggle with and how parents and teachers can help.  This book is filled with practical tips as well as interviews with authors.  With 114 tips, there is sure to be something that will help inspire you and get the boy in your life reading.

The book is divided into 7 main ideas:

  1. Create the right environment.
  2. Strengthen your relationship.
  3. Connect reading with his interests and needs.
  4. Lure him with the best materials.
  5. Make reading interactive.
  6. Make reading fun.
  7. Try different techniques.

Some of my favorite tips included in the book include:

  • read aloud daily
  • recruit male role models
  • set up a book club for boys (we podcasted about this 4 years ago–listen here)
  • never criticize what he reads
  • use Amazon’s related titles
  • take him to the library
  • allow him to read comic books
  • introduce him to non-fiction

We discuss these and SO many more ideas.  For even more great ideas, check out the Getting Boys to Read website.

Missing a Childhood

Could you be missing your child’s childhood?  Modern parents struggle with something that parents of previous generations never did–the persistence of the cell phone/smart phone/internet.  Even 10 years ago, the use of these devices was not so everpresent in our lives.  By being plugged in, we can actually miss our children’s childhood.  We discuss what we can do to ensure we don’t miss our children’s lives while still living in the modern age.

For more information, see this blog:  http://www.handsfreemama.com/2012/05/07/how-to-miss-a-childhood/

“I can recall a time when you were out with your children you were really with them. You engaged in a back and forth dialog even if they were pre-verbal. You said, ‘Look at the bus, see the doggie, etc.’ Now I see you on the phone, pushing your kids on the swings while distracted by your devices. You think you are spending time with them but you are not present really. When I see you pick up your kids at day care while you’re on the phone, it breaks my heart. They hear your adult conversations. What do they overhear? What is the message they receive? I am not important; I am not important.”

Stopping Entitlement

Lindsay shares her feelings about entitlement and how to raise children who don’t feel like the are entitled to everything.  Learn easy ways to help your child learn to value what she is given and work for what he wants.

For more information and ideas, read this article: http://wearethatfamily.com/2013/12/5-signs-kids-are-struggling-with-entitlement/


Tips to Deal with Bullies

With some tips, your kids can learn to handle bullying (the garden variety).  We discuss what works in the elementary, middle and high school years.  Check out more tips on the website http://www.stopbullying.gov/.

  1. Be a Role Model—Don’t Be a Bully.  Show them how to treat others with respect and kindness
  2. Use situations to teach—if you see something in a show or in life that is wrong or right, point it out
  3. Role Play with your kids to help them respond under stress
  4. IF they get bullied, replay the situation and try out different responses
    1. Can your child say STOP and look the bully in the eye?
    2. Can your child deflect with humor?
    3. Is your child too shy and needs to walk away?
  5. Don’t downplay their feelings (empathize with them but don’t make them a victim)
  6. Teach your child how to stay safe:
    1. Stay away from places where bullying happens
    2. Hang where there are adults.  Most bullying happens when adults are not aroud
    3. Talk to someone so you don’t feel alone
    4. Read Wimpy Kid
  7. Teach your children to embrace their own uniqueness and not want to be just like everyone else
  8. Stand up for others and be kind to a kid being bullied.  Show them someone cares

Preparing Daughters To Go It Alone

We were raised to think you need to be with someone to be complete.  We discuss raising our daughters so they can go it alone in their lives–so they feel complete without having someone else.  This frees them to be everything they can be whether or not they have a relationship with a significant other.

Article by Laura Wellington http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-wellington-/and-she-lived-happily-eve_b_3601844.html

Lunch Solutions

LunchWeekFreezerLunch boxes don’t keep your child’s lunch cold enough and you don’t have time in the morning. SOLUTION: Making Lunch on the Weekend and Freezing Them! Nancy explains how she makes fun lunches for the entire week including snacks and fun stuff in an hour or so on the weekend.

Nancy’s Tips to Make a Week of Lunches Ahead of Time and So They Stay Cold:

  1. make all sandwiches at once and freeze them in freezer paper  (if mayo—put in the middle between layers of meat). You can even cut shapes out and freeze them.
  2. bake and freeze cookies or muffins, then take some out everyday
  3. freeze yogurts or applesauce(even pudding freezes fine)
  4. freeze water bottles
  5. freeze cheese sticks so they stay cold
  6. cut up fruits and veggies and put in containers in the fridge
  7. make bags of dry goods that can be added quickly to lunches

MissingPieceWith everything already cut up, frozen and ready, you can just grab things in the morning for your kids!  Making lunches takes seconds this way.

Other things to check out:

PBJ Sushi RollPBJ Sushi–the TOTAL hit at lunch in Elementary and JR High

  1. Roll the bread thin and flat with a rolling pin.
  2. Spread the peanut butter on the bread.
  3. Add a slice of banana and a small amount of jam.
  4. Roll the bread tight (try to keep the jam in the first time you roll so it doesn’t spread further.
  5. Place the sushi rolls in the freezer uncut.
  6. Cut them when you make lunch.

PBJ Shushi

Since you have extra time, some days you can make some fun lunches

AngryBirdsLunch ShaunTheSheep



Dinosaurs and Rapids: Family Fun

Dinoland Nancy shares her family adventure in Dinoland and Flaming Gorge for a trip back in time and down a river.  Eastern Utah, near Wyoming and Colorado offers an amazing playground for families. Learn how we enjoyed three days of sun, river, fish, dinosaurs, native American history, culture, great food and accommodations in an amazingly beautiful part of the country. TroutCreek

Day 1: The Drive  Getting to Flaming Gorge and Vernal in Eastern Utah is easy.  We drove 3 hours east of Salt Lake City, Utah.  You can also access the area from Wyoming and Colorado.  We stayed at the Flaming Gorge Resort which is perfect for families.  The suites are essentially 1 bedroom apartments with a kitchen.  There were enough beds for every member of the family to get a great night sleep.  The resort has everything you need.

RiverDay 2: The River Flaming Gorge is an incredible playground.  The Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River has created a beautiful background for boaters, fishermen and lazy river rafters.  We joined the later group and took three generations down the Green River thanks to help from Trout Creek Files Outfitters who hooked us up with a boat and even taught my son how to tie on a lour and how to cast. Thank you to the great staff for helping us have a wonderful experience! The Green River is an easy adventure for families to take on their own. I was a bit worried since I had three generations with me, but the river had many families and lots of helpful people who got us going.  We had a very enjoyable time on the river looking down to see huge trout (lots of award-winning fish are caught here–up to 35 pounds) and looking up to see the rugged canyon walls circled by hawks and eagles.  The rapids are just enough to be fun without being scary fDinoTracksor the very young and the very old.

Day 3: The Reservoir Thanks to the great ladies at the Uintah County Travel and Tourism office, we learned about Red Fleet State Park, an incredible reservoir located just north of Vernal, Utah. The reservoir is an incredible boating destination but if you don’t have a boat, you can still enjoy its wonders.  We were shown around by Park Ranger Jeff and enjoyed paddle boarding and swimming during our stay.  One highlight of our Red Fleet experience was seeing ancient dino tracks in the rocks (check out the dino track next to my daughter’s hand). You can IMG_0952hike to them or rent a paddle board or kayak to make the trek to the tracks easier.  The water was a wonderful 70 degrees and fun to swim in! We will come back to this water wonderland again.

After our great day on the water, we returned to Vernal to our great hotel Springhill Suites for some  relaxation before heading out to McConkie Ranch to see ancient petroglyphs make by the Freemont Indians.  Located just north of Vernal on private property, the rock carvings are incredible. My kids McConkiewere pooped from the day’s adventures but perked up when they saw the first petroglyph.  The hike is not hard but is not for people with difficulty climbing so we left Grandma at the hotel. Seeing the ancient art and discussing what they could mean was so much fun for the kids.  They also loved seeing the lizards and bugs along the trail.  For city kids, it was a great adventure.

DinoNationalDay 4: The Dinosaurs The Vernal Area is the richest dinosaur destination in the U.S. with more dinosaur digs and bones than anywhere else.  A great place to start your dino-sized adventure is Dinosaur National Monument, located outside of Vernal, where an incredible wall of bones has been preserved and housed for easy exploration. The monument is not very large and not overwhelming so for a family not overly interested in dinosaurs, it was the perfect size. Check out our Al-osaurus with the state dinosaur of Utah Allosaurus.  They have the same temperament and look strikingly similar.

AlosaurusWe returned to Vernal and visited the Utah Field House, the perfect museum for kids and families who want to learn about dinosaurs.  With many hands-on learning exhibits, the museum teaches kids and parents how dinosaur bones are located and why the Vernal area is one of the richest locations in the world for dinosaur bones.  Don’t miss the movie–it is very educational and quite engaging.  Even my IMG_0936pre-teen sat through it with interest.  And remember to go out to the gardens and see the to-scale dinosaur sculptures.  You will know what it would be like to be chased by a T-rex or by the imaginary dinosaurs from Jurassic Park (see the first picture above).

We highly recommend the Uintah County and Dagget County areas for a wonderful unplugged family adventure.

IMG_0951Links to the Great Resources and Locations on our Trip:



Overwhelmed by the Holiday Expectations

Do you know what a leprechaun looker is or that there is a Pi holiday?  We did not either.  We discuss the new hysteria over holidays and birthdays powered by Pintrest and how to let your kids know you love them while not going crazy.

Check out the article in the Huffington Post that sparked our conversation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/can-we-bring-the-holidays_b_2903040.html

Smart Phone Apps We Love

We discuss the smart phone apps we can’t live without and how they make our lives as moms easier.

Note: We love My Job Chart for its ease of use and now that there is an app, it is even better! Check it out! Now you and your kids have your job charts wherever you have your phone.

Preparing a Child for Surgery

When your child has to have surgery, how can you prepare them so it is less stressful for them and YOU! We talk about what to do before the day of surgery and what not to do as well as how to make the transition easier.

Additional Information:  Here is an article Shelly found about how one doctor helps children deal with pain during surgery.  It shows what doctors can do when they approach children with pain management techniques.  http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/09/doctor-says-it-wont-hurt

Makes me sad for the experiences that many of us had with doctors when we were children.  Our kids can have a much better experience than we did.

Making Summer Work

Summer is a transition out of regular routine.  Are you a planner or not?  How do you make summer a success for you and your kids?  We discuss how we face summer.  Some of us are planners and others are “free range.”  Learn the benefits of both styles and how to find your own style for success.

When a Kid Needs a Cell Phone

When should you give your child a cell phone and what rules should you use with your child? We discuss how to determine when you child is ready and what expectations you should set up with your child.  Check out one mom’s contract with her son.

NOTE:  Since we recorded this show, Bill Gates, the creator of Windows and Microsoft and a god in the technology world, has stated that he gives his children a cell phone at 13 on a limited basis.  So, Nancy chatted with her son and let him know that she isn’t the mean miserly mom.  If the man who can give away 260 BILLION dollars makes his kids wait until they are 13, Nancy is sticking to her guns!

Handing Comments about Your Child with Special Needs

Claire Lerner discusses how to help your child deal with uncomfortable comments.  Even though we focus on children with Special Needs, these skills work for all kids and can help your child be prepared for those times when people are less than kind.  Listen and learn!

Baby Led-Weaning

9780091923808You never have to mash or mix or blend another meal again for your baby! Tracey Murkett, co-author of Baby-led Weaning, discusses how to help your baby love real food and not be picky all while making family dinner time more enjoyable for everyone in the house–even when you have children spread in age from 20 years to 6 months.

New Baby Changes Family with Older Kids

Claire Lerner chats with Shelly about how adding a 7th child will change her family and how she can help her older kids (ages 8-20) adjust and accept their new sibling.  Claire has a very positive view of what these interactions can teach Shelly’s kids and the lessons the whole family can learn.  Claire is the Director of Parenting Resources for Zero to Three.

What They Don’t Teach in School But Should

Your kids learn a lot in school, but some very important lessons are not taught in school.  Listen as we discuss several lessons that are not taught and how you as a mom can teach them to your children.

For more ideas about what should be taught in school, check out this article on 27 Things They Don’t Teach in School