Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thinking Beyond Time-Out and Spanking

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to disciplining children. Every child is different, and parents have to find what works best for them. Although my husband and I were both spanked as children, we have decided not to spank our children. This was not a decision we planned much in advance, but one we came to as we realized that spanking would really not work well with our daughter. She is generally a compliant child, and she also gets her feelings hurt rather easily.

Even trying to implement time-out as a discipline technique was very traumatic for my daughter, and I cannot imagine how she would have reacted to being spanked. The first time we did a time-out, our daughter was 2 years old, and she was upset for hours afterwards despite the fact that I had even stayed with her during the time-out! She was insecure the rest of the day, and very clingy. Our daughter is very emotionally sensitive, and she has even cried when we have read story books that told of children being spanked (even though she herself has never been spanked).

Over time, we did get into the groove of using time-out as a discipline technique fairly frequently, but it still never worked very well for us. Once my son was old enough to be mobile, time-outs really became a headache for me since I would have to drop whatever I was doing to keep him occupied so he wouldn't try to play with his sister while she was in time-out. Once I realized that I was dreading time-outs, I figured I had better come up with some alternatives.

Alternatives to Time-out and Spanking
The following is a list of some alternative discipline methods that have worked well for us.  I'm sure that as my daughter gets older, and as we start needing to discipline her 2-year-old brother more, we will need to come up with even more alternatives.    
  • Consequences that fit the behavior 
    • Whenever possible, I try to use consequences that are an obvious direct result of the problem behavior. For instance, if a toy is thrown or otherwise mistreated, that toy goes away for a period of time. If my daughter takes a very long time to eat her dinner (to where all the other dinner dishes have already been washed), then she has to wash her own dishes. If my daughter takes an extra long time getting her pajamas on before bed, then she loses some of her nightly story time. 
    • As much as possible, these consequences are administered with a cool head and a calm voice, so that the consequences are what the child remembers. These are consequences that show kids that there is a corresponding reaction to their actions, and these have worked great in teaching my children to behave responsibly.
  • Taking away a beloved toy for a short time 
    • This approach works very well with my daughter.  She typically is attached to a specific stuffed animal throughout each day.  When she is behaving badly, or most often when she is not doing what I have asked her to do, then she will lose her beloved stuffed animal for a short period of time.  This works even if she is not holding the stuffed animal at the moment the problem arises.  
    • The amount of time should be fairly short for young kids (such as a few minutes), and the time can be increased as the kids get older (15 minutes is the length of time we use with my 5-year-old). I emphasize to my daughter that the timer doesn't start counting until she is not crying, and that the time will be increased if she continues to misbehave.
  • Writing lines 
    • When there is a specific misbehavior that occurs repeatedly, it works well to have my daughter write lines.  For instance, if she whines or cries rather than asking me nicely for something, then she will have to go write "I will not cry" or "I will not whine".  This is a remarkably effective technique for us, because it stops the problem behavior almost immediately and usually changes my daughter's mood.  
    • It also works well because I am usually able to administer this technique with a calm, level voice.  I also make sure to talk about the problem behavior with my daughter and let her know that she'll be writing lines to help her remember the appropriate way to behave. 
    • We started using this technique when my daughter was just over 4 years old.  At that young age, she would just have to trace the words (you can write them with a light-colored marker on handwriting practice paper, and then the child just needs to trace them, or you could print them in the dashed font that works well for writing practice).  Now that my daughter is a little older, I just write a sample of the sentence in small print at the top of the page, and then she writes it out herself.  Since she is older, the sentences become a bit more complex, such as "I will not snatch toys away from my brother".  
    • I typically only require her to write one line per misbehavior, but will increase the amount if the behavior keeps going on. For instance, I'll tell her that the longer she keeps crying, the more lines she will have to write (I know this may sound like cruel-and-unusual punishment to some of you, but you'd have to know my daughter to know that she will sometimes cry at the drop of a hat, so this is something we really have to work on with her).
    • If your kids do not like writing, this is probably not a good discipline technique to use.  My daughter, though, loves to do schoolwork, so this discipline technique does not give her any negative association with writing.
  • Positive reinforcement of good behavior
    • Sometimes, we get into a rut and I find that I seem to be interacting negatively with my daughter more often than not.  When this happens, I make sure to implement some positive reinforcement for good behaviors.  This can be as simple as making sure to say "thank you" when she does what she is asked, or as complicated as implementing a reward chart to keep track of good things she does. 
    • Reward charts can be remarkably effective in changing the pace of the day from focusing on negatives to focusing on positives instead.  I don't use reward charts for extended periods of time, as I find that they can get my daughter into the mindset that she should have a reward every time she behaves properly.  But, I do find that reward charts are great to use when you get stuck in a negative rut.  For instance, after my son was born, I found that I seemed to be correcting my daughter often and seldom giving her positive attention.  So, for a couple months, we used a reward chart to keep track of good behaviors (such as brushing her teeth without a battle, cleaning up her toys, putting dirty laundry in the clothes basket, etc.)  Each time she did one of the "good" behaviors, she would get to put a sticker on her chart. For every ten stickers, she got to choose a reward, such as having a balloon, watching a short video, doing fingerpainting, etc.  (This also worked remarkably well in teaching her how to count with one-to-one correspondence.) 
    • One other particularly effective method of positive reinforcement is to turn any problem activity into a game.  For instance, if I want my daughter to clean up her toys quickly, I can turn it into a game just by saying "Who is the fastest cleaner?" and then starting to run around and pick things up.  Getting ready to go can become a game just by saying "Who can get ready the fastest?" and then running to get ready. With a little creativity, almost any activity can be turned into a game, and then instead of struggling, my kids are excited to participate. 
  • Setting clear expectations
    • One way to really stop bad behaviors before they start is to make sure to set clear expectations.  For instance, when my daughter was younger, she would sometimes throw a fit when it was time to leave the park. This was greatly remedied once I started to briefly talk to her each time we went to the park about how I expected her to behave when it was time to leave.  Over time, this became a very short reminder of "No whining and no crying when it's time to go home".  Reminding my daughter that she is expected to share well before her friends come over was also very helpful when she was having troubles sharing.  
    • Setting clear expectations also includes making sure that the kids know what to expect by following certain routines.  For instance, my daughter knows that I will give her a warning when we have only a few minutes left before going home, so I make sure to always follow that routine.
I think it is important to keep the end goal in mind when disciplining our kids.  I do not want my kids to cower in fear of me, nor do I want them to think they can get away with anything they want to do. I want my children to grow up to be responsible, respectful, and compassionate people, and so their discipline needs to work towards that goal.

What discipline techniques work best for you?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tuna Salad (GAPS-legal : paleo : primal)

This tuna salad recipe is very simple to make and so delicious.  The addition of grated carrots and scallions takes this tuna salad beyond the usual plain tuna salad. It tastes great served on a bed of greens or as a tuna sandwich (I'll be posting my grain-free sandwich bread recipe soon!).

Tuna Salad
Serves 4-6
  • Two 6-oz cans of albacore tuna, drained (Crown Prince brand is BPA-free)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 Tb minced green onion, green part only
  • generous squeeze of lemon juice, about 1/2 Tb
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tb mayo, preferably homemade (or bump this up to 3/4 cup of mayo if the tuna will be served on bread)
  • 1 medium dill pickle, chopped (we love Bubbie's fermented pickles)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the tuna in a medium bowl and flake it with a fork.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Don't be shy with the salt!
  3. Serve on a bed of greens dressed with lemon juice/olive oil/salt and pepper.  Or serve it on bread as a sandwich. I like to put a little mayo directly on the bread as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Layer Cake (GAPS-legal : gluten-free : grain-free : primal : paleo)

My daughter recently celebrated her 5th birthday, and she requested strawberry chocolate cake.  I was happy to oblige her! This strawberry chocolate cake is moist and delicious. The strawberries meld into the cake, so the texture is still nice and soft.  This cake recipe is sweet, but not overly sweet, and it goes great with some homemade ice cream.

Strawberry Chocolate Layer Cake
Makes a 2-layer cake
  1. Liberally grease the sides of two 9-inch cake pans with butter or coconut oil.  Dust the sides with a little coconut flour.  Then line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.  This will keep the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Turn off heat and add the honey to the pan.  No stirring is necessary at this point. Let this cool a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, salt, vanilla extract, almond extract, and baking soda in a large bowl. If using an immersion blender, pulse a few times to combine.  Otherwise, mix with whisk or mixer.
  4. Pour the honey/butter into the wet ingredients and blend well with an immersion blender or mixer. 
  5. Measure out the coconut flour and cocoa powder. If you are not using an immersion blender, sift both the coconut flour and cocoa powder and whisk them together.
  6. Pour the coconut flour and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients.  Using an immersion blender or mixer, mix well to combine and make sure there are no lumps.  Since coconut flour does not contain gluten, there is no worry of over-mixing it.
  7. Fold in the sliced strawberries.
  8. Pour the batter into the two prepared cake pans. 
  9. Bake the cake in a 325 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes.  They will be done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  My cake pans are dark colored, so it may take longer if yours are light colored.  It will also take less time if you use fresh strawberries instead of frozen.
  10. Let cool for awhile (but not until completely cool) and then carefully remove the cakes from the pans.  I use a small plastic spatula to go around the perimeter of the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Then place a large plate over the cake pan and quickly invert.  You may need to tap the bottom of the cake pans a bit to release the cakes.
  11. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
*According to Natasha Campbell McBride's FAQs, cocoa is allowed occasionally while on the Full GAPS diet once digestive symptoms have subsided.
**Baking soda is listed as GAPS-legal in the 10th edition of the GAPS book.
***Do NOT thaw the strawberries all the way!  If you choose to use fresh strawberries instead of frozen, they will probably not meld into the cake, but will be a bit more chunky.
****Using an immersion blender will allow you to skip the step of sifting the coconut flour and cocoa powder, and also makes less dirty dishes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting*
  1. Beat the butter for several minutes using a mixer, until it is nice and fluffy.
  2. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt and beat for several more minutes.  About halfway through, the frosting may look a bit curdled, but keep mixing and it will smooth out.
  3. Using a spatula or butter knife, spread the frosting over the cake.
  4. Beware that this frosting will melt easily, so store the cake in the fridge if it is hot in your house!
*Thanks to the reader who commented on my previous frosting recipe that it worked great without the eggs and hot honey.  This recipe is so much more simple!

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania and Fight Back Friday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grocery List Chart

Why Use a Chart for Your Grocery List?
Making a chart for your shopping list may seem like more trouble than it is worth, but I find my shopping list chart to be indispensable. Using a shopping list chart helps me make sure that I never forget any of our staple grocery items when I go shopping. I only go to the grocery store twice a month; this really helps me save on gas and on groceries. I have found that the less I go to the store, the less money I spend on groceries (despite the fact that our appetites are the same whether I shop weekly or twice a month).

Getting Started
Charts can easily be made by hand on paper, but the most efficient way to make charts and spreadsheets is to use a computer program. Using a computer allows you to easily change the format of your charts, add or delete entries, and even add in automatically-calculated math formulas if you so desire. I typically use Microsoft Excel to make my charts and spreadsheets, but you could also use the free Calc program from Open Office or Apple’s Numbers program for Mac users.

Laying Out Your Chart
The items on my chart are ordered in such a way that they follow the flow of walking through the store. This makes it very easy to get everything as I need as I shop, without having to back-track through the store. The chart has plenty of blank spaces so I can write in any additional items.  I always keep a copy of this chart on the fridge so we can fill it in as we go throughout the month. You should tailor your chart to fit the needs of your kitchen.

Saving Your Chart
When you save your charts and spreadsheets, sometimes it is nice to save multiple versions. For instance, I have two versions of my shopping list: one for the Nourishing Traditions-style diet, and one for the GAPS Diet (which is a temporary healing diet). This will make it easy to transition back to the Nourishing Traditions diet when we have completed the GAPS Diet.

If you’d like to use my chart as a template, please e-mail me at nourishedandnurtured[at]gmail[dot]com.

This post is part of Monday Mania!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Wouldn't a Mom Use Homeopathy?

This article is a guest post by Joette Calabrese.  This is the first in a series on homeopathy for infants and children.  

Are you tired of using drugs that just.   don’t.  work?  And what’s worse- each medication comes with a slew of detrimental side effects; all kept on the down low with that teeny, tiny fine print. We should prick up our ears wherever there’s fine print.  That’s where the most invaluable information resides! 

What so many folks forget is that the human body is a miraculous machine.  Our children are actually capable of great resilience and healing facility.  Over-the-counter and prescribed medications suppress these abilities. This explains why, when antibiotics and other drugs are used to “control” or “manage” symptoms of one illness, another, more sobering illness or a worsening of the first illness usually follows close behind. Indeed, ear infections frequently return after antibiotic and acetaminophen are used. 

So, if you’re tired of these drugs, you’re in good company. Moms throughout the U.S. and world are tired, too! And they’re turning to homeopathy. It’s a centuries old method that empowers mothers.
In fact, nearly 4 million U.S. adults and about 900,000 children use homeopathic remedies each year.[1]

With homeopathy, moms are gaining the (much needed!) confidence to treat themselves and family for simple first aid and common illnesses such as colds, flu’s, ear infections, pink eye and more.
(I’m so excited to be offering a free webinar that will teach mothers and others how to avoid the mistakes that many make in treating their children. Go to and sign up for my free E-zine and we’ll email you all the information you need.

Homeopathic remedies, unlike medications, do not carry side effects and even though they’re regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, you will not find that ominous small print, warning of dangers. That’s because there aren’t any.  As long as the remedies are used as directed, they act gently and politely.

Moreover, though there are thousands of homeopathic remedies on the market, not one has ever been removed by the FDA because of detrimental effects!  This speaks loudly for homeopathy’s safety, particularly since these remedies have been regulated by the government since the FDA’s inception in the 1940’s.

So, just how do these reputable, homeopathic remedies work?
Simply put, our body is capable of coming to balance (health), if given the correct stimulus.  This is achieved by using a remedy that is chosen not for the disease, but rather the person who is experiencing the disease. 

This means that the choice is specifically tailored to the person. 

Let’s say three children, who are in school together get a fever.  Although it may seem that they’ve all gotten the same “bug”, in reality they each present fever differently. One child might get a 104° fever with febrile delusions and panic, requiring the remedy, Belladonna 30. Another might have a fever of 101°, a stomach ache and clinginess, which would lead to a sure choice of Pulsatilla 30Yet another child might be chilly, angry and have diarrhea with his fever.  This child would profit from Nux vomica 30.  

By stimulating the body’s ability to bring itself to economy, each of these youngsters will not only resolve the fever within hours or a day or so, but they’ll also be left in a better state than before the fever presented!

And if the child is prone to fevers, he will be less likely to have another one in the near future.  However, if the illness is repeated, that same remedy will often work again.  Generally, the body will resolve the propensity for this illness and it will likely not return. 

Why wouldn’t a mom want homeopathy in her house? What could be better than ridding a child of his fever, not by suppressing it and inviting the illness to return later, but by removing it gently, safely and without ever having had to leave the safety of your own home?

Self sufficiency is a goal many of us want to attain.  Homeopathy is the ultimate road toward self sufficiency. I invite you to join me and the millions of others who have eliminated the danger of superfluous drugs with safe and powerful homeopathic medicines.  They offer the promise of restorative health.

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The reader is encouraged to make independent inquires and to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare provider.

If you yearn to learn, contact Joette Calabrese at for a free, 15 minute SKYPE or phone session and find out if homeopathy is a good fit for you and your family’s lifestyle strategy.  For a download of our new, printer-friendly First Aid Chart, go to and find it in the “Free Downloads and Articles” box.  Don’t forget to check out all the information about Joette’s upcoming system designed for moms. Just click Yearn to Learn.