Thursday, December 18, 2014

Emergency Preparedness for the Little Ones

i'm the first one to openly admit, that i have like no emergency preparedness stuff. well, take that back. i currently have a few things put together thanks to a faithful lady in my ward who cornered me in nursery party to ask if i had my 72 hour kit together yet. and embarrassingly enough, i dont have one. i was sort of into it during the summer time but that whole mess freaked me out cause i went into end-of-the-world apocalypse mode and overwhelmed myself. so then i just quit and looked into all that since.

but there are some crazy things going on in the world and it's winter time over here. you never know what could happen. but i guess there have always been crazy things going on in the world but you just have to be prepared. that's the whole point isn't it? and i'm a mom now and have two little ones to keep alive in case there is an emergency and man oh man just the thought of being unprepared and panicked makes me cringe.

anyways, i committed to her that i would start on my kit the following day, so i went out with the few extra dollars i had and hit up the thrift store for backpacks and wal-mart for the things that i needed from the list. i'm happy to report that at least i have the 72 hour kits ready for the kids.

i was going to create this super awesome cutesy little printable to go along with this post, but that's not what is important. what is important is...

STARTING AND COMMITTING (isn't that the case for everything?)

and it's almost the new year, best time to start new and get things done!

here is an AWESOME starter list that was simple and not overwhelming for me. avoid pinterest, too much going on for the sake of an awesome blog post. this is seriously all you need.

here are a few tips to just help you start immediately:

- go around your house and see if you can find any of these items already.
- the "backpack" - if you have an extra travel bag, duffel bag, or even a pillow case, use that. just find something that can store things in. it doesn't have to be some lightweight whatever back pack but if you want that you can get this one for $20 on amazon. one per kid! 
- use a bunch of ziploc bags to separate everything
- go to your kitchen - if you have ramen or anything processed that has an expiration date of six months from now, put it in there
- schedule - write in your planner, set an alarm to check the 72 hour kits 6 months from now to replace clothes and food. 

you can imagine my pure joy at the small/toys and games suggestion for the little ones. here's my two cents on it:

- include a toy/activity or two that you know your toddler always has an interest in (peej loves cars and junie loves building things)
- notebook and writing/coloring utensils - there are endless things you can do with a notebook and a pen

we worry about getting things that make us look good or make our kids look adorable. we want people to ask us, "where did you get that?" and say "OMG! you look awesome." but when it comes down to being prepared, physically and/or financially and all we have are cute clothes and expensive stuff, none of which are emergency-preparedness worthy, who is the fool!? right??

after you've read this, start. START NOW. if you need someone to report to, report to me please! i'd love to hold you accountable ;)


[product review] - cheap "wooden" puzzles

a while ago, i posted about some really cute puzzles that i found at "the spot" at target (their dollar section). i hadnt really busted them out cause we lose puzzle pieces so fast here at home and i hate tracking them down. seriously, pull my hair out. in nursery party it's a different story because it's not your house and other people need to use the room so you have to clean. well, i finally let the kids play with them to see how they would like them. and conclusion? the puzzles weren't really that great. the print is adorable, i love robots and i love animals.


they have no guidelines, no helps in how to complete them. toddlers need this. it helps them to feel like they know what they are doing and are somewhat in control and independent. it also makes things easier as a nursery leader/worker to engage but not hover (there are other kids to attend to after all!)

budget wise though, these puzzles were great for us. we needed puzzles and the kids seem interested, so we had to make a few little adjustments. i drew a few dotted lines in to outline the pieces and labeled them 1-whatever on the puzzle piece and the puzzle itself. the kids have actually done pretty well with the puzzles, go kids!

(photo by: ashley so'oto)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

tis the season to focus on the savior

i get caught up with a lot of motor skill activities and crafts for nursery. and then i catch myself totally engaged in, well, not the wrong things, but the things that matter less. i am constantly reminding myself that the purpose of nursery "is to help children learn the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and live it. The nursery class should help the children increase their understanding of and love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, have positive experiences in a Church setting, and grow in feelings of self-worth."

so then i feel a little guilty that i'm doing so much research on crafting but let's be real, you can't teach a full on 20 minute lesson to toddlers. it's just not possible. unless you sedate them of course. but you can find ways to have a positive experience in a Church setting and to grow in feelings of self-worth. i feel like crafting and developing skills in nursery help the kids feel that, feel confident, feel accomplished, feel loved. 

that being said, i wanted to find a nursery craft/lesson help that would satisfy my (and maybe your) need to find something different to do outside of the manual coloring page for the christmas lesson. with help from the google, i found these free nativity printables from pretty prudent. i'm probably not going to print fabric just yet, but i probably should for future usage for the nursery peeps or for myself! but for the kids, i want them to be able to each take home a set, so we'll just be doing paper. 

images from pretty prudent

Saturday, December 13, 2014

strive to be the best parents in the world

this blog and IG thing about nursery party has been quite the spiritual adventure. hopefully it's helping a couple people out there but it's probably just helped me the most and that's what i needed. maybe i just needed a public outlet to assist my journey through motherhood/parenthood/nurserypartyhood to better understand my roles as a wife and mom and nursery party thrower but also to better understand the little people that i am serving. constantly searching and thinking about what to put on the blog and on my IG has helped me be more creative and patient with my own children, magnify my calling in church with the nursery party kids and see the babies in a much more different light (usually retrospectively because in the moment when they are going nutso, i dont see anything crazy). and arent most blogs just self-epiphanies in a social media form anyway? that's what mine are at least.

anyways, happy saturday. carry on! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Toddler Christmas Craft Round-Up

i was looking at our lesson schedule, and man. there are only four sundays left of the year. four. and mentally, i did this little dance, like yay the year is over! but then, i siiiighed cause it's not like you have a two week break between this year and the next like between semesters. come dec 28th, you'll just get right back into it the next sunday. no breaks (unless you are going on a vacation). and man, it just keeps going, the years, the days, round and around and around. don't think too hard about it.

anyways, i rounded up a few of my favorite christmas craft ideas that we will be doing in nursery party this month and they are really easy, low maintenance and contain supplies that you probably already have in your closet. (so yay!)

1 - craft snowman found here
2-  candy cane pipecleaners and beads found here
3- toilet paper roll angels found here
4- paper plate ornaments found here
5- paper plate reindeers found here
6- christmas tree paper plates found here

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

on raising and nurturing children and how we can learn from the ferguson incident

(warning: this is long and i'm sorry if it doesn't make a ton of sense, it's what's on my mind!)

i don't want to use this blog as a political platform or whatever. truth is, i'm not a very involved person when it comes to social movements and keeping up with the hard news. i have SO MUCH going on, at least it feels that way and adding "reading the new york times" and other news outlets is at the bottom of the bottom of my to-do list. actually, it's not even on the list. but this ferguson issue, this ferguson issue. geeeeeeez. i've had such a hard time sorting through my feelings about it for a few reasons. and by now, the issue is probably past the news cycles and the facebook status shares, but they are still dealing with the aftermath out there and in a lot of black communities. and i'm not trying to be all, "look at me and how the ferguson incident affects me! i'm not black and i live in a very white place but i am considered colored!" but isn't the point to care? to dig deep down and feel this? but first...

here's a little background for you:

my mom is tongan and my dad is palauan but i was raised in austin, texas. there are neither tongans or palauans in austin and the ones that are there, my mom recruited from her immediate family to live there. maybe there are more, we just don't know them. because we were very culturally and ethnically isolated from other people like us, our parents raised me to be very american. what does that mean? i think it just means to be raised not seeing color, being aware of it, but not letting it hold you back in what you accomplish in school, work, in life. it also made it very easy to get along with literally everyone. i have my parents to thank for this, who, because of their passion for missionary work and love of the gospel and building the kingdom, left our doors wide open to literally everyone and anyone. my dad was also a bishop, and had a tradition to invite new families into the ward over. he'd often invite a couple of them over to meet each other and become friends. genius, i tell you.  

we went to a magnet middle school (and my siblings went to a magnet high school). those programs were embedded in inner city schools and kids came from all over the city to attend. there was SO MUCH DIVERSITY and i loved it. i had friends of all kinds. but i couldnt really identify specifically with one group because there was no one else like me. and i really loved that, my uniqueness. 

fast forward to the long-winded point of this post.

i've read quite a few things on ferguson, mostly blogs and the educated opinions of different people. some of them i don't agree with at all and some of them really hit home.

then i read this (please forgive all the "f" words, i hate that swear the most out of all the swears!) and appreciated a really honest post from the whiter side of things because for a lot of people who do want to care, they don't know how they can relate because they are so far removed physically and socially. (utah, i'm talking about like, all of you).

"What that tells me is that, for some of you, the destruction in Ferguson was not a “Never Forget” situation, or a national tragedy, or even something to be particularly concerned about … because the bodies in the streets did not look like yours, or your family’s. Because it looks like “other”. Because the problems faced by Black America are not the same as the problems faced by White America, and therefore, they aren’t worth considering."

the articles that really hit home though, were the heartbreaking articles written from the perspective of parents (like this one) and the heartache they experience because this ferguson incident perpetuates itself and is obviously not an isolated one and they can't change how they parent their children because of it. 

"I don't need to know much more than that statistic to know that I need to be vigilant with my son. No toy guns, ever. Teach him to address adults with respect. And if he has a problem with authority, he follows orders then brings his complaints to me so I can get to the bottom and handle it.
I will teach him to trust police, because he can't afford not to. Fear, and the urge to fight or flight could ultimately cost his life.
I'm sure there will be times where he'll get angry with me for not allowing him to do things his white friends do, but the fact of the matter is, he can't get away with the same things. It's a privilege I took from him by giving him my black genes. And until our country begins to value the lives of all of our children equally, this is how it has to be."
i can't say that i can entirely relate to the fears they have when they send their children to the corner store or out with friends because i live in a very LDS community. like the most LDS community you can imagine. it's pretty safe. i attend a tongan ward so my social circle is much bigger than just having a circle of white friends (i have really amazing white friends btw). but now because of this ferguson incident and all of the attention it's getting, i am starting to think about how i have to raise my children. what am i going to say to them when i can see injustices and unfairness and discrimination but they can't they will face in school and with friends? or when my son/daughter gets older and wants to marry a white person and their parents and family members have some resistance but won't come out and say directly that they don't want their child marrying a polynesian?  

so how? how in the world can you teach about this to small children in a church class? they can barely pay attention to a two minute lesson! i started making a bullet point list of all the ways that we can learn from this and apply it to nursery in how we teach children cause that's what you do with a blog, and that list just kept growing and sounded so repetitive and self-righteous and...geez we have SO MUCH responsibility as parents and as teachers and leaders of small children.  but really, it comes down to this:

take what you will from it then ask yourself this tiny list of questions:

1 - are you gossiping or making fun of others in front of your children and/or the children you teach? 
2 - do your children and/or the children you teach see you share? 
3 - do your children and/or the children you teach see you serve? 
4 - do your children and/or the children you teach see you love? 

you may not have a lot of diversity in your area, but if you can instill within your children and the children you teach the principles of love and service, that can go a long long way. oh they are so, so sensitive to the spirit and can feel the sincerity of our words and actions. so even though this isn't much, at least it's something. 

*update: i originally wrote this post a couple days after the ferguson verdict came out and then just a few days ago the eric garner thing happened. i was even more disheartened about everything. it feels hopeless, it really does. if you have a chance to read this article, read it. then ask yourself, what attitude do you have, why do you have it, and what can you do to make the world a better place? not just better for you, but better for those around you?