Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

How to Make a Christmas Wreath

Making a Christmas Wreath is not only fun – but you really can get creative with them and make them extremely unique.

Here are instructions for making a traditional holly wreath.

With these instructions, you will be able to get the basic idea of how wreaths are actually made, and you can then decide what to do to make your own holly wreath special – or go with an entirely different kind of wreath.

Materials Needed:

• A 20 inch wreath – This can be a plain foam wreath, a wreath that already has the evergreens on it, or a twine wreath. For a traditional holly wreath, the ones with the evergreens already attached are ideal.

• 1.5 yards of ribbon – this can be plain red, plain green, or a red and black or red and green plaid. The ribbon should about 2.5 inches wide, and can be silk or felt. It’s your wreath!

• Pine cones – you will need about ten. Try to find ones that are well shaped and unbroken.

• Pomegranates – six dried pomegranates will do. Don’t get fresh ones!
Or substitute other dried or good-looking plastic fruits.

• Additional Foliage – you need more evergreens (to make the wreath seem fuller) berry sprays and berry clusters.

• Construction Materials – scissors, hot glue gun, glue sticks, wire (if there is no hanger on the back of the wreath), sewing needle, thread (same color as ribbon).

If the wreath has no hanger, you will need to construct one with the wire. This should be done first. Make sure that it is secure, and that it can bear the weight of the wreath.

Fluff the existing evergreens and add more. The wreath should have a full
appearance. You will most likely need to straighten a few branches here and there – but don’t make it too ‘perfect.’ It should have a ‘natural’ appearance to it.

Let’s make and attach the bow. Cut a piece of ribbon about thirty inches long. Cut another piece of ribbon about four inches long. In the center of the long piece of ribbon, you want to form two loops that will make the bow.

The small piece of ribbon is used to secure the bow, in the middle of the loops. Note that the bow is ‘formed’ not ‘tied.’ There are no knots to tie. Secure the small piece of ribbon around the bow, in the back, with the thread. Each end of the bow will be about nine inches long.

You can place the bow wherever you choose to. It could go in the middle of the top, the bottom, or off to one side. The ends should be woven through the foliage on the wreath – or it can hang loose.

It is a good idea to paint the ends of the ribbon with clear fingernail polish to keep them from fraying over time. The bow can be attached to the wreath with glue or with wire. Just make sure that it is secure.

Once you’ve placed the bow on the wreath, you can glue two of the pomegranates in the center of the bow. The remaining four pomegranates should be glued to the wreath equal distances apart, in groups of two.
Next, glue the pinecones to the wreath. These can be spaced evenly apart sporadically, or in groups of pinecones. Do what looks good to you. Again, it is your wreath.

The berry clusters and sprays should also be glued to the front of the wreath. Glue some additional foliage over the top of the bow with a berry cluster for added affect. Remember that there is not specific way that any of this must be done. It is your choice.

It is a good idea to lay the pieces of the wreath on it before gluing anything down. This will allow you to see how the finished product will look before committing to anything. Try different arrangements of the material to see what looks best to you.

Once you’ve constructed the wreath, set it someplace where the glue has time to harden fully. Once this is done, pick the wreath up and gently shake it to make sure that everything is secured well.

Most wreaths hang on the door, and doors areconstantly opened and closed – and even slammed. You want to make sure that your wreath isn’t falling to pieces each time the door opens and closes.

In many cases, you may be able to use wire or a needle and thread to make items on the wreath more secure. Heavier items won’t be very secure with glue in most cases.

Remember that holly wreaths don’t have to be ‘busy’ to be beautiful. A few simple additions to the foliage is all that it takes.

The bow is typically the object that draws the eye, so make sure that the bow is really well done.

Now that you know how wreaths are made – and how easy it is – you may decide that you don’t want a holly wreath at all. You may opt for a themed wreath, a twined wreath, or a truly unique wreath that stands out. The possibilities are endless!

Learn about Making More Christmas Crafts

Fun for the Whole Family

Scott Wells writes for Make Christmas Crafts: where you can learn to make Christmas crafts for entertainment, decoration and gifts.



crawlingThis article was submitted as a comment originally. I decided to give it it’s own page. I think it is pretty good. – Dave


Prepare Emotionally for the Birth Experience That You Want – Writes Psychologist Susan Dalby.

Birth is such an extraordinary event for families and for the whole com-munity. We have come a long way, and it is now rare for women to die in childbirth. There are still, however, many unanswered questions. Why is birth still perceived as dangerous, when it is such a natural event and there has never been a safer time in history to give birth? Were we truly cursed by God in Genesis? These are questions that can become important for a woman, particularly after emergency intervention in the birth of her child. Birth is a rite of passage into womanhood and if unplanned major assistance is provided it is not uncommon for a woman to feel that she has perhaps failed. Unresolved relationship issues may also surface which can be detrimental to the birthing process while also be ing distressing. “What happened?” a woman may ask, or even “Am I fit to be a good mother?”

My own beliefs regarding child birth have developed from a life long in-terest that began for me in rural England, as a small child, watching farm animals as well as my own pets give birth. I was likewise drawn to the local women who regularly shared stories, not meant for my young ears.

This of course only whet my appetite further!

Telling ones story has, in psychology, always been the beginning of understanding and of healing. In my practice, in my research and now on my website I encourage women to share their birth stories. By sharing our words we open new possibilities for the entire community.

flying babyA growing body of research together with my years of experience, including working with post birth trauma, has led me to predict a swing back towards natural birth, and indeed a new psychological model for birth is now emerging.

The emphasis for those wanting a natural birth has been to be physically and mentally prepared. Caregivers often lack a psychological viewpoint and because of this I am often invited and consistently welcomed training and supervising medical staff in understanding the deeper emotional needs of mother and child at this significant transition.

Being psychologically prepared for the birth of a child is as important as the physical preparation! Your wellbeing in both areas requires planning and preparation. This will benefit both you and your child.

Hypno birthing, calm birth and an experienced Doula are all beneficial tools to consider for yourself. I will share with you my five golden rules of natural child birth;

1. Birth is a inward experience, such as meditation or prayer. Don’t have anyone present while you are birthing that you don’t feel totally com-fortable ignoring or who is going to distract you. Your partner may be better helping with preparing food for the next few days, answering and making phone calls cleaning house or keeping company with other friends and relatives. Can you meditate comfortably for an hour or more with your partner present without being distracted by their presence or them being hurt by you ignoring them? Even if you don’t meditate, try doing something like this with your partner to see if it feels comfortable. This can be a useful guide. Hypnobirthing is becoming very popular now and is very good for preparing both partners for the kind of state that a woman will deliver the most positive outcome for all in-volved . This can and should be part of your childbirth education or childbirth classes.

cartoon-babies2. Adrenaline slows and disrupts (and can even put a brake on) the sequence of natural body chemicals necessary for a smooth delivery and bonding between mother and child. Any issues of fear around the birth (experienced by either partner) need to be addressed well before time. The doctor, midwife or support per-son that you choose should be trained to help keep you calm and focused “inward” if you should be-come agitated or afraid.

3. Practice positions for first and second stage labour that you feel comfortable meditating or relaxing in. In the bath, in Open Lotus posi-tion, sitting up in a chair etc. Follow your bodies signals about what is comfortable. Feeling totally relaxed and no pressure on you to perform or give attention to others is powerful pain relief. Accept totally that your body knows what is happening and knows what to do. Birth is a neuro-chemical process, trust your body and let the process unfold.

4. Have a good relationship with your doctor or midwife who will be present at the birth. Make sure that they are aware of your intended ap-proach. Not all caregivers have had training in the positive psychology of birth, these ideas may be new to them and you may need to take some time choosing the right support. This is vital to you feeling safe and se-cure.

5. Resolve emotional issues with yourself and your partner before the birth. Do you long for more attention from your partner? The birth process is not a good time to look for this. Do you feel resentment or fear about your partner controlling or possibly abandoning you? These issues can arise during birth bringing unwanted adrenaline into the equation. If unre-solved they can get worse after the baby is born rather than better. There is wonderful help available for these and other unresolved emotional issues and needs. Start preparing psychologically for the best birth ex-perience for yourself as soon as you plan to become or become pregnant.

crawlingFor those who have suffered an in-vasive or traumatic birth in the past, understanding what happened and how it might have been different can be very healing. For Child birth edu-cation and childbirth classes visit for more information. For those with unre-solved emotional issues from a past traumatic birth experience help is available and will make you a stronger and more confident woman and mother.

Happy new beginnings.


The 9 Golden Keys To Communication

by Karen Fusco 

Learn to understand what your child is trying to tell you.

The breakdown in communication between Mother and Child doesn’t begin with the onset of adolescence, as we would like to believe. From the time your children are infants, they are trying to get you to understand their wants, needs, feelings, and ideas. The following tips apply whether you’re a Mom attempting to communicate with your teenagers or infants. It started way back with trying to decipher your child’s baby-talk, right? But trust me, this stuff works. If you try these rules of engagement, the relationships you have with your children will be forever transformed and your daily life will feel tremendously enhanced.

1. Listen. Eliminate all distractions if possible. Having an environment conducive to listening is very important in effective communication. Your child should feel that they have your undivided attention and you want to feel the same. You will not always have the opportunity to control the volume in your environment. You still have the option of stepping away with your child to a quieter space.

2. Be Open. If you come to the table with preconceived notions and judgments, believe me, your child will pick up on them instinctively and communication will instantly deteriorate. Come into the conversation with an open mind so you can actually hear and be in tune with what it is your child is trying to tell you. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree or give-in, it just means you have given free space for communication.

3. Validate. Everyone wants to know that their feelings, ideas and opinions are important and valued. So, while your child is talking to you or expressing themselves, take a moment to repeat what they have said and ask them, ‘Did I get that right?’ Then, describe some of the underlying feelings they may have based on what they’ve expressed. If you’re dealing with a crying baby or toddler, the same thing applies. Let them know that you understand why they’re upset, you’d like them to be happy again and that they will be okay. Validation of your child’s feelings is extremely significant in building their self-confidence and self-esteem.

4. Compromise. Contrary to popular belief, compromising doesn’t have to be a tug-of-war. After you listen to each other’s perspective and communicate lovingly, offer some ways to negotiate with your child so that both of your needs are met, if possible. As a responsible parent, there will often be times when you shouldn’t allow any of the things your child has requested. Instead you can suggest some safe alternatives that are healthy and acceptable for them to choose from. In return, ask your child to commit to providing you with some of your needs. This is especially related to conversations that Moms have with their teenagers. Teens are usually struggling with their self-identity and independence. Find a balance between understanding your child’s needs and negotiating without risking responsibility. Depending on your child’s maturity, you can determine the extent of space you give them to make decisions.

5. Body Language. A Mom’s body language can send the toughest gangster into a fit of tears. Children quickly become sensitive to their Mother’s look of disapproval or disappointment. If you want the conversation to go well, make sure your body language is positive and welcoming. Always maintain eye-contact with your children while you are conversing. It teaches good communication habits and it states that you are serious about what you are saying. Avoid crossing your arms and legs as it is extremely symbolic of defensiveness and stubbornness. Sit up straight and look attentive so your children will know you are focused on what they are saying. And please, whatever you do… DON”T roll your eyes unless you want to experience the boomerang affect. Children will mimic how you deal with stress in challenging times. So, Moms, be selective and aware of your body language when communicating with your child.

6. Tone. Screaming at your children turns them off and shuts them down. If they experience it at home, they will carry it wherever they go. Try to model healthy behavior during challenging conversations by keeping your volume at a peaceful level. This will show your child that you’re still in control and are not reactive. Your tone not only sets the mood of the conversation, but also impacts how your children will interact and behave in society. So, speak to your child in the way that you would want them to speak to others – with love and respect.

7. Attitude. Nobody wants to interact with a person who has a bad attitude. The same thing goes for your children. They will not want to have a discussion with you if they feel your attitude is poor or sense tension. Try to release all the negative emotions and ideas you have with the situation first so you can speak and listen with a clear head and loving heart.

8. Honesty. Teach your kids to be honest by being honest with them. Besides, your child’s memory is far sharper than your own! When you make promises, make sure you’re able to hold up your end of the bargain. If you’re dishonest with your children, you encourage them to not only be dishonest with you but to other people as well. The subject of honesty between Mother and Child is a delicate one. You must use your best judgment here. Children trust their Moms more than anyone else on earth from the time they take in their first breath of air. As a Mom, you have a responsibility to be delicate with your child’s trust and confidence. When it is broken on your part, they will seek out ways to repair the hurt that may not be productive or safe.

9. Approach with Love. If you’re coming from a place of love, the person you’re talking to will feel it and be receptive. Everyone inherently wants to be loved and feel love. Always try to speak and act with benevolence and care. For the most part, people are reactive. If someone is expressing love to us, we will return the sentiment and be open for healthy communication.

Karen Fusco is co-founder of which supports Busy Moms with free gift ideas and helpful tips to meet the challenges of motherhood. SilkBow is the perfect place for the perfect gift. Karen can be reached directly at:

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