Shy and Sensitive…Slow to Warm Up…Breakdowns at Birthdays?

Photo taken by my 5 year old while she observed the latest gathering at school

Photo taken by my 5 year old while she observed the latest gathering at school

On a mommy board today, another mom asked for advice about handling things for a child who seems to have a hard time handling new things- to the point that his parents feel traumatized and wonder if they should skip activities altogether. My husband and I have been through this with our kiddos. Here was my response:

My girls are this way. My oldest was like a koala stuck to my leg or shoulder everywhere we went until she was 5. My youngest, now 5, still takes lots of time to warm up. We have noticed that they like to observe for a while (sometimes a LONG while) before they join in, but often they really enjoy observing and will talk about it later as if they had been fully participating. Things that have helped us:

-Prep the child. Tell them casually about the place you are going, what it might sound and smell like, who you might see there, what activities will take place.

-Arrive a few minutes early so you both can take in all the sights and sounds and greet friends one at a time as they arrive. This is a major help, still, for all 3 of my kids.

-Don’t expect or push him/her to participate. Let your child know that it is ok to watch. My kids have loved to use a camera since they were two. It helps them feel like they are involved in a very non-threatening way.

-Let them know you will be there and don’t make a fuss if they want to be with you the whole time.

-Bring a snack and a quiet activity they enjoy. My 5 year old used to bring crayons to the playground! She loved to go, but for the first hour would sit next to me and color, and then go on the swings for 10 minutes before we left. Now, she runs through the gate! (But sometimes likes to walk around with me before she jumps in)

-Be ready to leave a little early and don’t feel badly- your child will pick up on it. Just say something like, well, it looks like we’re ready to go….

-Praise him/her for trying and say that you’re looking forward to next time. (But no pressure)

Yummy New Frosting!

A friend pinned this delicious looking frosting recipe , but it was all dairy- a no-go for my allergic kids. So, I pinned it and decided to make it dairy-free. Here’s how it went.

The original recipe starts with 1 cup of milk and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch. I used 1 cup of organic rice milk and 4 Tbsp of tapioca starch, heated to a low boil for 1 minute, while stirring and then cooled to room temp.

Rice milk worked well for the custard.

Rice milk worked well for the custard.










In my Kitchenaid, I whipped 1 cup of organic palm oil shortening with 1 cup organic sugar and a tsp of vanilla extract (GF.) When the rice milk custard cooled to room temp, I added it to the sugar mixture and whipped for 8 minutes as in the original recipe.

8 minutes was a long time to wait, but it looks delicious!

8 minutes was a long time to wait, but it looks yummy!










I have no doubt that the full dairy version would be even more amazing, but this frosting is fluffy and smooth and delicious- and I love that it only uses 1 cup of sugar, instead of an entire bag of confectioner’s sugar!

Simple and delicious!

Simple and delicious

I didn’t have the energy to make the pretty roses that Leslie did, so I just spread on a nice, thick layer of the fluffy stuff and served it to the kiddos. Of course I had a piece, too.

Let us know if you try it- and share photos of your delicious creations!



-M 🙂














No More Bullies!

Bullying is a hot topic right now in just about every community across the country. We have always had bullies, but it seems to be a much bigger issue now than ever before.  Even if your child is lucky enough not to be bullied, every child deals with meanness at some point.  A good friend of mine is struggling through this issue with her little ones right now, so I thought I’d find some good resources to help.


I LOVE this list of  ten ways to bully-proof your child!

Bullying stinks!

Bullying stinks!

I remember watching Arthur with my 15 years old when she was little. What a great show! You can still find books from that series and online episodes including episodes dealing with friendship and bullying.

And here’s a great list of books for kids to help them tackle the topic!


I hope your children experience childhood without any bullying, but it’s a good idea to be prepared and empower our kids to handle these tough situations.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

-M 🙂

Why are good habits so hard?!

Why is it that good habits take so much effort, and bad habits are so easy that you can just fall into them? I was thinking about this today as I struggled to stick to my guns over a screen time dispute with my 8 year old, and again as I came head to head with my 4 year old about eating a healthy dinner BEFORE dessert.

I’m not always a stickler for the rules. I’m happy to serve chocolate chip pancakes (GF/CF/SF baby!) for dinner from time to time, but in general, life seems to go easier if I hold strong to limiting sugar and screen time. The trouble comes at times like this- post World Series victory (we let the kids stay up- we’re big Sox fans) post-Halloween, super busy weekend, Daddy traveling all this week. I am exhausted, the kids are a wreck, and it is so tempting to feed them pancakes and bacon in front of the TV and then let Josh play Minecraft til his eyeballs fall out. Except that he would. Play until his eyeballs fall out. For days straight until that happened, if I let him. And when I do let him play too much, or when we get out of the good habit of a super healthy, real food menu, the behavior takes a turn from life with normal ( but still a little crazy-in-a-fun-way) kids to I Want To Duct Tape Them To The Walls and Run Away To A Private Island for Three Weeks- and it happens so quickly! I know I am not alone here, so I ask- why do we do it? Why is it so hard to stick to good habits, when they work so well -and so easy to just trip and fall right into the bad ones?

I think the answer is right there- the bad habits form from doing what is easy. When I am stressed and busy, it is easy to say yes to screen time so I can focus while the kids are quiet. When we have an especially busy week, or someone is sick, it is easy to serve quick meals, or skip veggies. When I have a lot on my schedule, it is easy to skip working out, and to stay up late to work, while the house is quiet…. But we all know where these things lead. So, I am working on identifying the bad habit red flags and finding ways to make the good habits easier.

What tips can you share? What are the bad habits your family falls into? What good habits would you like to have instead?

– M 🙂