Monday mission: remember we’re in this for the long haul {vlog}


Good morning!  Are you guys ready for a new week?  I am, even though I’m a little bit nervous/excited about what I have to share with you today.

At the end of 2013 some of you might remember I started giving myself Monday Missions – simple tasks to do and gentle reminders for the week ahead to help make things simpler for me and the kids and to inspire me as a parent.

It turns out that what helps me also helps some of you, or so I found out after I shared those missions here on the blog.

After giving it some thought and prayer, in 2014 I really wanted to continue those conversations with all of you every week, but face to face.

So, I dusted off my YouTube channel and have begun to record some simple vlogs for you.  They aren’t fancy and I don’t know what I’m doing, but I figure if I wait for perfection this will never happen and it is really important to me that it does.

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The Wisdom of Wonder


We’re still digging out from under our most recent snow storm, so I’m sharing some of my favorite posts from the SK archives.  Today’s post was written by Lisa Boisvert MacKenzie of  The Wonder of Childhood. – Kara

A little child looks up at the sky and asks, “Mama, why is the sky blue?” Mama responds “hmmn…. I wonder.”

There is a pause. The child gets quiet and turns inward. Silence. The child looks up with a knowing smile, “I know, the sky is a blanket for the earth, to tuck it in at night and keep it cozy,” to which to mother nods.

Another child asks his dad, “Why do birds sing?” The dad pauses and responds, “Gee, I wonder…” He waits. The child muses on it for a few moments and comes up with an answer, “I know, it’s their way of talking to each other.”

Children come to understanding through wonder. Curiosity, inquisition, engagement and enthusiasm flow out of wonder and in turn inspire more wonder and understanding. It is this spirit of inquiry that leads to wisdom, the ability to ask a question, hold the question and wait for the answer to come, which leads to more wondering, more enthusiasm and curiosity, a rich and juicy life, full of wonder, awe and wisdom.

“Wisdom begins in wonder.” Socrates

The child is born with a sense of wonder.

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Ages and Stages: Preschoolers

The preschool years are such a fun age.  This is a time when your child’s personality will really start to shine. Preschoolers are naturally curious and interested in the world, and the people, around them.  This is the age of imagination and pretend play, making friends, and new discoveries.

It is pretty wonderful to see your child’s individuality come out and to see them grow and change during these years.  It seems I say this with every stage, but the preschool years are some of the most enjoyable, in my opinion.

While all of the potential turbulence of the toddler years isn’t quite behind them, this age is generally a more mellow age as children begin to understand and employ a bit more patience, kindness, and empathy with others.

All of the bumps aren’t out of the road, and some kids do seem to have a more challenging time than their peers.  However, while there are still strong emotions, most parents note less escalation into the temper tantrums or the physical lashing out of the toddler years.

Preschoolers are very expressive, one of my favorite things about this age, to be honest.  Not much beats the enthusiasm of a preschooler when they are happy or excited about something.

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How to create balanced screen time in your home

Hello from the super snowy midwest!  Just in case the power goes out as this storm rages, I thought it might be smart to schedule a few reruns of some of my favorite posts from the SK archives.  While we’re digging ourselves out from under all this ice and show, enjoy this guest post by Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book.

Over the past few years I’ve watched the screen debate evolve as families choose between having a “screen-free” or a “screen-filled” home. In our family we’ve carefully chosen what is watched on TV, what Internet sites can be accessed, and enforced a strict “no cellphone until you can drive” policy. Of course, every on-line safety precaution has been taken as well as placing a time-tracker on the family computer.

All of this is fine and good until schools and society started encroaching on my little domestic bubble. Our schools have chosen to embrace technology in a variety of ways from turning in term papers, taking tests, research, and in-school discussions forums.

Our children’s visiting friends come over to our house with a collection of electronic gadgets, and with them come their own rules. My first reaction was to say, “my house, my rules,” but then it dawned on me that the conversation that was not being had was the one about balance.

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The Sibling Relationship: Challenging but Powerful


This post from the SK archives was written by Angelica Perez-Litwin of Modern Familia. The images are from my family’s albums.  I think you guys will really enjoy this post on siblings and I’d love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment.  Thanks! – Kara

The power of the sibling relationship is often over-shadowed by the value we place on building good parent-child relationships, friendships and marital relationships.  The fact is that no bond is typically longer, stronger or more comforting than that between siblings.

As parents, it is easy to focus on the day-to-day bickering, conflict or rivalry, and loose sight of the tremendous long-lasting impact that sibling relationships have on our children.  Here are a few reminders (based on research) why we should continue to honor and foster loving relationships between our children:

The Role of Sibling Relationships on Development

Because brothers and sisters typically spend a lot of time together, they are one another’s first playmates and companions.  As a result, sibling relationships influence both social and cognitive learning:

::  Older children serve as effective role models and teachers: Older children, despite the age difference, always serve as role models and teachers in a variety of pro-social skills, such as helping, sharing, and cooperation.  Language development and communication is also influenced by the presence of older siblings.

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