Persian Momma’s Top 3 Tips to Tame the Toys

Persian Momma’s Top 3 Tips to Tame the Toys

A good portion of my week has been spent (wasted?) organizing toys. Ugh. I hate toys! I had to dump all their toys out of their bins because they had been mixed in altogether, print labels (with both words and pictures so they couldn’t use their illiteracy as an excuse), and get working! But I’m happy to report that it’s finally organized. Now, I just need to keep the kids and their friends out of the house. ;-) 

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Here are a few questions I got about this:

1. Where did you buy the labels from?

  • I bought blank labels (name-tag size) from Target. Then I used  Microsoft Word and used their Avery templates to make the kind of label I wanted. I downloaded images from google to match the categories.

2. How long can you keep it like this and what are your strategies to keep it tidy?

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  • Number 1 proven strategy to keep your house tidy is to duct tape your kids to a seat. It works like a charm! LOL. (I crack myself up). Joking aside, my number 1 strategy has been to lower my standards of clean and let loose (a little). After all, time spent cleaning could be used at the gym, reading a book, sipping a cup of coffee, and of course blogging and a million other fun things! So, the answer simply put is that it won’t stay this tidy for long. But the kids know that when I have spent so much time and effort into this, that I truly expect it to stay this way, and for a while it works.

But to really tackle the question here are Persian Momma’s top 3 tips on taming the toys:

1. Designate a play room. If you can, designate a room to be a play room. If house size doesn’t permit this, then designate a certain space or at least tell your children where toys should not be taken. For instance, when we were in a smaller space, I would ask my children not to take toys to the living room and to keep it in the family room. Did it always work? No. But for the most part, they kept the majority of their belongings in the designated area.

2. Out of sight, out of mind. Something I did that worked well was to hide some of the toys.  I literally swept up a bunch of their toys that had not been played with for a while, and stuffed them into a bin and hid them in the garage. After a few months, I would bring those toys back in and all of a sudden their faces would beam with excitement for finding a toy they never looked for! It was a mini Christmas really.

3. Organize into bins. I have learned to organize toys in large plastic bins with lids. I stow away some of the bins (like lego bins, art bins, or train bins which are especially hard to clean up). If they want a new bin, they have to clean up the old bin in exchange for the new one. This way you are not dealing with music toys, cars, dolls, etc. all at the same time. It also helps them to focus on one thing, and finish a task before moving on to another one. Rotating toys out this way also make it fun for the kids to explore their older toys again.

Hope this helps! And all that said, if you ever come over to my house unexpectedly expect to see the BEFORE picture. The AFTER picture only happens when I am super motivated and/or am expecting guests ;-)

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And if none of this works, well then resort to this:

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Motherly Advice

Motherly Advice

Hey Mommas, I want to hear some advice you give your children. Whether it’s casual, funny, clever, straight forward, or thought-provoking, I want to hear it all!

I will begin with one I tell my children. It is inspired from a poem that I surprisingly remember from ages ago:

كم گوي و گزيده گوي چون در // تا زاندك تو جهان شود پر

Kam gooy va gozideh gooy chon dor //
Ta zeandakeh to jahaan shavad por

Translation:

Speak little and choose your words wisely, like a rare pearl
So that from the little you have spoken the world can benefit

The way I relay this to my children is by telling them that: You have two ears and one mouth, and that they should be used in that ratio.

I will add more to this list soon!

 

Crockpot Aasheh Reshteh

Crockpot Aasheh Reshteh

Here’s asheh reshteh (Persian noodle porridge) made easy using simpler ingredients and a crockpot (slow cooker) :

Just a note that the amounts may not be accurate because I measure with my eyes and don’t really properly measure things out when cooking. If you have never cooked asheh reshteh, there are recipes online for exact amounts. Mine are more suggestions to be tweaked for the more advanced Persian cook.

aashINGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 tablespoons Fried Onions (Piaz Daagh) پياز داغ
    • I always have piaaz daagh in my freezer. It’s so much easier to make it in batches and just freeze it and use as needed.
  • 1-2 tablespoons Whey (Kashk) كشك
  • 1 cup of mixed legumes (usually kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
    • I use the 13-bean mix and add more lentils to the mix
  • 1 cup dried Aash herbs
    • Instead of using fresh herbs (which would involve buying, washing, and de-stemming Leek Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley, Spinach) I just buy a bag of ready-to-use spinach and use a cup of dried herbs specifically packaged for Aash. You can buy these at Persian grocery stores.
  • 1 small bag of fresh spinach – chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Turmeric
  • Salt and Pepper (I add a dash of Cayenne pepper  for a bit of kick)
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 package of Noodles (Reshteh) رشته
    • I use the NC brand
  • Optional (secret, not-so-secret anymore ingredient ;-) ):  2 tablespoons of gharreh ghoroot (this is fermented yogurt and you would have to buy it from a Persian Grocery)
  • Optional: Fried Dried Mint (Na’na Daagh) نعنا داغ

DIRECTIONS:

Put legumes, water, spices (turmeric, garlic powder, salt, pepper) and half of your fried onions in the slow cooker and cook on high until the beans are almost fully cooked (this took about 4 hours for me). Then add the dried herbs, chopped spinach, and half your whey and cook for another hour. Break your noodles (reshteh) into halves or thirds and add it to the crockpot. Add half the fried dried mint and let it cook on high for 1/2 hour on high or an hour on low and voila, you’ve got Aash reshteh without the headache. Noosheh jaan konid.

Once you are ready to serve your Aash, you can garnish it with the remaining piaaz dagh, na’na daagh, and kashk.IMG_3122

Sibling Bullying Linked to Depression

Sibling Bullying Linked to Depression

I came across this article on Facebook: Sibling bullying increases depression riskIn a nutshell, it reports that there was more depression seen amongst children who were constantly bullied by their siblings. The article reports this was more frequent in girls who were bullied by their older brothers.

While I am always skeptical about qualitative research like this that evaluates things from a questionnaire and links adult behavior to childhood experiences without really evaluating the factors in between, and does not have clear controls, it does not dismiss the importance of teaching your children to be kind to one another. It really made me think about this issue.

I think fighting amongst siblings is readily accepted, and quite frankly, within a reasonable limit, it really is a part of growing up and learning to coexist with others.

But to be aware of your children and make sure that they are not constantly upsetting each other and causing angst is important. If you as a parent allow it  to continue, it becomes a bad habit and accepted trend that can possibly lead to  a permanent rift amongst siblings.

So here are 3 ways to teach your children to get along:

1. Help Children Recognize Each Others’ Triggers and Avoid them

Knowing what makes your brother/sister ticked off can be a sibling’s strength. Siblings tend to know each other very well. But allowing them to use that to set each other off can be harmful. Help your children identify what can provoke arguments and fights. Then help teach them how to avoid these situations and not to react.

2. Enforce Repercussions for Bad Behavior

Being clear and persistent about consequences is important. Instilling rules and sticking to them is an important part of parenting. This is especially important when the children hit one another and/or physically or mentally harm each other. Taking away privileges or having time outs or toys taken away are some of the consequences that can be used.

3. Praise Good Behavior

Right on the opposite end of scolding for bad behavior and taking away privileges is making sure you praise good behavior and positively reinforce it when the kids are playing well and behaving properly. Making them aware of what is good and reinforcing it with a positive message, privilege, or prize is important.

Hope this helps and makes your lives and your children’s lives a little easier!

Wishing you all good health,

Persian Momma

First Day of School

First Day of School

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I am no longer a little girl waking up to my first day of school. Wasn’t it yesterday when I had butterflies in my stomach anticipating where I was going to sit, who was going to me my buddy, and how I was going to do in my classes? It all passed by in a blink of an eye. Sounds cliche, but I remember and feel it as if it were not too long ago.

This time the butterflies I have on the first day is for my children. Will they like their class? Will they be safe? How will they do in school? Will they be liked? Will they be happy? And so my mind cycles while I scurry around the kitchen to simultaneously prepare breakfast and get their lunch boxes ready.

To make my children’s day a little sweeter, and while they are still young enough to be openly receptive of my mushiness, I tuck away little love notes in their lunch boxes. For the boys, since they are still not fully reading, it’s more of drawings of hearts and simple words. But I can be a little more expressive for my daughter who is older and is starting to read and write in Persian :-)

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Happy first day of school to all the teachers, students, and parents! It is an exciting day and may it be full of laughter, joy, health, and learning!

And if your kids are already complaining about how hard it is to walk to school, or wait for the bus, you may want to show them a few of these images of children around the world, and their journeys to get their education! It’s a good reminder to count your blessings and have perspective.

Dangerous Journey to School 

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Persian Momma Life Lesson #1

Persian Momma Life Lesson #1

Just as most of you wonderful mommas do, most of my time and energy is spent with my kids. Whether it’s playing with them, tutoring them, reading with/to them, talking to them, negotiating with them, or simply feeding them. But I often have important life lessons to teach them, most shaped from my own experiences and what I have been taught. In teaching them what I experience and know, I often find that I am serving myself a reminder of what I have learned. It’s a win-win! 

So here’s Persian Momma Life Lesson for today:

Some people can be toxic to our souls and ambitions. It’s best to avoid these people and keep moving forward and going strong. Such people should be no more than road bumps in our drive to success and fulfilling our mission. Keep moving forward and don’t let negativity come knocking on your door. Surround yourself with those that truly love you and are rooting for your success!
#Success #Ambition #Drive #PersianMomma #LifeLesson

stayAwayfromHaters

How to Teach Your Children Not to Interrupt

How to Teach Your Children Not to Interrupt

So if you have children of speaking age, you know they love to share just about everything with you, especially the moment you start conversing with someone else. So, this is a great opportunity to teach your children not to interrupt you when you are speaking to someone else. With a simple hand gesture you can teach your children not to interrupt. What we do, and I credit this to seeing another parent do it, is use a simple hand gesture to acknowledge the child that you’ve heard them but they have to wait a moment.
pointing forefinger upIt is important to explain this to the child that when you point your forefinger up, this means you need a moment before you can tend to their needs or listen to them. Simply ignoring the child when you are trying to carry out a conversation does not work and can create frustration for the child. So by explaining to them that when mommy is talking to someone, you shouldn’t interrupt and that mommy will use this signal, you can train your children to wait for a moment without ignoring them or disrespecting them.

Another gesture that can be used is to have your child place their hand on your wrist when they need to talk to you when you are in another conversation. And then you can teach them that when you gently pile your hand on theirs, you know that they need you but they will have to wait until you are done with your conversation. This is a gentle and simple, yet effective method. I hope you give it a try or feel free to share what method you use!

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

Here’s a great article about sibling rivalry: Sibling Rivalry

I read a whole book about the topic when the kids were younger and still learning their roles as siblings and learning to coexist, but this article sums it up nicely:

How to turn sibling rivalry into sibling harmony

Our toddler and preschooler relationships have a dramatic effect on our identity, our self-concept, and the choices we make throughout our lifetime. In short, siblings influence each other in ways that parents can’t, says parenting educator Michael Grose, author of Thriving!: Raising Exceptional Kids With Confidence Character And Resilience (Random House, 2010).

For parents, the trick is to keep your expectations of sibling harmony in check, and to foster love between your children in whatever way possible – even when sibling rivalry rears its ugly head.

Be realistic with your expectations of sibling love

In The Mighty Toddler (Macmillan, 2005), Robin Barker writes that it’s common for most parents to have unrealistic expectations of how well their children will get along –  and it can be unsettling for them when the inevitable conflict and sibling rivalry surfaces.

“Sometimes this is not evident until the younger child is mobile and begins to learn how to hurt the older child,” Barker writes. “Young children start to learn about each other’s weak spots and how to predict each other’s behavior, not only in the course of competing for their parents’ attention, but because they also enjoy the sneaky pleasure derived from the forbidden satisfaction of getting the better of someone.”

How to bring out the best in brothers and sisters

What siblings tell each other, how they treat each other and the roles assigned to each sibling by their parents can have either toxic or beneficial effects on an individual, says Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation: How To Stop Yelling, Nagging & Pleading And Get Kids To Cooperate (New Harbinger, 2010).  Here are seven ways Pantley suggests parents can help bring the best out in brothers and sisters.

Elizabeth Pantley’s 7 tips to avoid sibling rivalry

  • Remember it’s normal. Bear in mind that “conflict is normal and rivalry comes not from their feelings about each other, but from their need to be loved by their parents.”
  • Set the scene for peace. “Use routines and rules. Avoid situations that breed rivalry.”
  • Don’t be the referee – stand back and back off and let them work it out. “Allowing your children to drag you into each and every dispute is unhealthy for their relationship, and frustrating for you.”
  • Encourage positive communication. “Keep your words positive, make suggestions and let kids decide what to do with them. Discourage dobbing by a rule such as ‘unless there’s blood or something’s broken, we don’t need to hear about it!’”
  • Show positive attention. “Appreciate children for who they are. Don’t compare.”
  • Fair does not necessarily mean equal.“Focus on each child’s individual needs.”
  • Encourage sibling love. “Look for the good by saying things such as ‘that’s kind of you to let your brother go first’. Stir up exciting feelings of giving and caring that build love between your children.”

Remember that sibling rivalry teaches life lessons

The next time you’re ready to tear out your hair during a sibling squabble, take comfort from the fact that sibling rivalry is teaching toddler and preschool aged children valuable and lasting lessons. “Living with, loving and learning about one another’s strengths and weaknesses is a valuable experience for children,” writes Barker. “It teaches them a lot about compromise, competitiveness and conflict.”

Summer Time Crafts

Summer Time Crafts

Who doesn’t love some summer time fun in the sun… um, I mean fun in the garage?

If you avoid crafts because of the mess, here’s a genius way (thanks to my friend who shared it earlier on Facebook today) of keeping the kids entertained while avoiding the catastrophic mess  Thanks Jean!

Since I got inspired last minute and we don’t have any “real” crafts to do, we are just painting whatever we could get our hands on (empty boxes, paper, gift bags, etc.). The kids don’t seem to mind, so who am I to say anything? ;-)

Persian Momma’s vodka drinking habits have paid off!  Just kidding!! Those are Costco cartons. Really!

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