Over the Bridge We Go..

Over the Bridge We Go..

So many emotions run through my heart and my mind on our final Bridging Day at Sunflower Creative Arts, but this is the first of many bridges we will cross I’m sure. Sunflower has meant so many things to us since we first discovered this community.. this family.

For some, Sunflower is a safe haven. A space to go where no matter what else is wrong in the world, it can be made right, right here. On this safe playground ALL feelings are allowed, ALL opinions are respected, ALL people are welcome. When the world’s playground doesn’t seem fair, the lessons we all participate in daily at Seedlings have a way of making it much clearer and easier to understand. There aren’t any distractions, there won’t be any sugar-coating. All feelings are met with loving arms, listening ears, compassion and grace. My the things we can achieve with hope, kindness, and an open heart.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For others, Sunflower means a second chance. A chance at a childhood lost too soon, the remembrance of play for those who’ve forgotten. A safe place to land after the world has chewed you up, and spit you out. When dancing to someone else’s tune hasn’t yet worked for you, and you need to remember your own song. Here is where you go to realize what you’ve been missing, or rather, remember who you are.. Maybe you never knew yourself, but on this playground, it’s impossible to ignore.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For a select few, Sunflower is simple. It’s all you’ve ever known in your home life growing up, and you couldn’t see living any other way. You’ve seen what the world looks like, yet it doesn’t quite make sense since you already know how compassion and community truly work. It’s a way of life that is familiar, and necessary.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Sunflower has meant all of this and much more to me. The lessons we’ve learned here have shaped us as a family, and we will forever be indebted to the kindness that was shown to us. It reminded us how to live, and how to love. Now that we have these roots, it’s time to use our wings. We have the opportunity to spread this message of community, and bring it with us wherever we go. Using the skills we learned on this playground to change the world, one seed at a time.Sunflower Creative Arts

Well done Sunflower, you haven’t just prepared our family for Kindergarten, but prepared us for life. You prepared us to change the way people see the world.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Thank you.

Essentially yours,

Erika


Sunflower Creative Arts is located at 227 N Dixie Blvd in Delray Beach, FL. You can visit their website, or call them at (561) 501-6615.

Celebrate Kids To Parks Day + Buddy Bison!

Celebrate Kids To Parks Day + Buddy Bison!

We spend a lot of time outdoors and make it a priority to visit plenty of local parks. We plan annual camping trips around birthdays, We have dreams of visiting every national state park one day, we’ve already crossed off a few. If you follow my blog then you know I am passionate about getting kids outside and into nature in any capacity. The benefits are incredible, and with it being “Earth Week” and all (because one day just isn’t enough), I thought I’d share the latest in Kids To Parks Day 2017.

 

Each year, the National Park Trust hosts the annual Kids To Parks Day. A day dedicated to getting kids outdoors for some good old-fashioned play. Kids To Parks Day takes place on Saturday, May 20th. Anyone can participate in Kids to Parks Day, which is a national day of park play. National Park Trust (NPT) urges kids across the country to discover science, history, nature and adventure in a neighborhood park right around the corner or just across town. In an effort to get kids playing outside again, I’m listing a few of the ways you can encourage the children in your life to appreciate outdoor play.

 

Create Opportunity

 

One of the best ways to get kids outdoors is to constantly provide the space and opportunity. Keeping their schedule light and free for unstructured play to take place is crucial. While sports are outdoor activities, it’s imperative to have time for creative play without competition. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, some days we just take a walk after dinner around our neighborhood lake, or local trails. You’d be surprised the type of interaction this environment sparks. Many an important conversation have taken place on a simple hiking trail.

 

Essentially Erika

 

Dress Appropriately

 

Don’t expect kids to stay immaculate in their Sunday’s best all the time. Constantly policing stains on a natural hike will the opposite effect and could discourage a child from wanting to engage outdoors. I keep a spare pair of play clothes in case we happen upon some park play fun one afternoon after school. I change it according to the season.

 

Hiking Shoes

 

This year, National Park Trust is delighted to welcome their new Kids to Parks Day sponsor: Northside. Their generous support will provide park grants for some of the winners of our Kids to Parks Day School Contest. This year we all are taking our Northside Shoes for a spin. They are extremely comfortable and perfect for any elements. We all have matching pairs of the hiking sport sandals to keep us comfortable and safe on any terrain.

 

Last year more than 4,000 students from Title 1 schools benefited from the contest. Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT’s popular Buddy Bison® school program, which teaches environmental education and the benefits of outdoor recreation to children in under-served schools across the country. NPT’s goal is to cultivate future park stewards and outdoor enthusiasts. Read more about the Buddy Bison® school program.

Get Kids Involved

 

I find one of the easiest ways to get our kids interested in something is giving them complete control over it. If the boys are being picky with dinnertime, I begin to ask them what they would like to eat certain days of the week. I take them to our garden to pick the vegetables to cook. The more involved they are in the decision-making process, the more interested they become. By letting the kids pick some of our destinations from time to time, they get excited about planned dates to “their pick”.

Only good can come from teaching our kids to appreciate nature and get outside. After all, they are the generation that is going to have to defend it, and discover new ways to sustain it.

You can find out more about Kids To Parks Day and National Park Trust on their website. You can even schedule a park date of your own using NPT’s free resources. Kids to Parks Day 2017 promises to be bigger than ever! Last year, Kids to Parks Day had more than 730,000 participants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. This year, the goal is to have 900,000 people enjoy Kids to Parks Day all across the country. To participate you can do the following:

  • Step 1: Pledge to have a park adventure on Kids to Parks Day and be entered to win one of several prizes
  • Step 2. Find or register an event in your area
  • Step 3. Encourage friends and family to join you
  • Step 4. Share photos and adventures on social media with #kidstoparks and #BuddyBison Keep checking back to www.kidstoparks.org as more information about park events and prizes are updated until the big day!

Keep checking back to www.kidstoparks.org as more information about park events and prizes are updated until the big day.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Kids To Parks Day this year on May 20, 2017.We’ll be sure not to leave Buddy behind!

Buddy the Bison

In order to encourage one of my readers to participate, I am partnering with Northside to give away a free pair of Northside shoes of your choosing. Simply enter the giveaway below for your chance to win between now and May 1st, and #GetOutside.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Essentially yours,

Erika


National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. As people spend more time indoors, and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country’s public lands and parks. NPT’s Buddy Bison® School Program and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest were selected in 2015 as a National Park Service Centennial Challenge Project. Learn more at: www.parktrust.org or call 301-279-7275.

Motherhood Stole My Mojo

Motherhood Stole My Mojo

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

While pregnant with my first-born, I did a lot of reading up on all kinds of different birth strategies. I was a planner, I needed to know what I was up against (notice I said was). If there’s one thing pregnancy and motherhood has taught me, there is such a thing as “over-planning.”  I’d decided to practice Hypno Birthing and drew up an all natural birth plan. I declined the epidural in advance and requested a delayed cord-clamping in order to get some immediate skin to skin action with my new baby. All this because of the endless research I devoured on how those moments just after birth are so precious. A golden window providing you the opportunity to bond with your baby while the euphoric hormone oxytocin is simultaneously running on high through both of your bodies. I read about this moment, I dreamed of this moment, I prepared for this moment..

That is, until my doctor announced my perfect little being making his way into this world was about to crush my tail-bone after 18 1/2 hours of good old-fashioned all-natural back labor. Hypno Birthing and all, I may or may not have offered to name my child after the anesthesiologist if he just made it all stop at this point (everything is still blurry, but I’ve heard multiple stories). I remember panicking and feeling robbed all at the same time. I had an emergency c-section due to my son being sunny side up and in full distress at this point. This was it? The moment I had fought for? Planned for? Me laying on a cold steel table sunny-side up like a wet fish waiting to be fileted? Not only did I have enough drugs in my body so I couldn’t feel anything below my breasts, but I couldn’t even move to hold my new son? My receptors were so blocked, while I did still get to kiss him briefly before they whisked him off – I never had my golden window. Instead I lay there limp like Humpty Dumpty while they put me back together again. All I could think is… “This c-section stole my mojo.”

The powerful exchange between body heat and hormones proves that skin to skin contact immediately upon birth can scientifically improve a newborn’s ability to thrive. It’s essential for both the mother and child. Nowadays, more and more OR’s are allowing the parents, both mother and father, time for some skin to skin action. Even doctors cannot deny the powerful effects this age-old tradition provides. Although I didn’t get the birth I dreamed of, or that euphoric charge they describe in the OR that day, we’ve built an unbreakable bond over the years. I nursed him as long as I could, we co-slept when it was convenient for everyone, and I stayed home from work to care for them on a constant basis. This bond continues to grow as we practice conscious parenting, setting respectful boundaries, and practicing kindness with one another.

Water Wipes

Water Wipes

One of the ways we connect is by crafting together. We enjoy some process art or unstructured messy play. As they’ve grown over the years we used all-natural products whenever we could. WaterWipes has long been one of my favorite wipes on the market. When I wasn’t making my homemade wipes, I would take WaterWipes on-the-go. Now that the boys are out of diapers, I keep WaterWipes with me for when I need a quick clean-up at the park or following one of our fun messy crafts. It’s the worlds first chemical-free wipes consisting of 99% water and 1% fruit extract. The convenient packaging makes these hypoallergenic wipes great for cleaning sticky fingers or PB&J’s off of little cheeks.

Water Wipes

Water Wipes

Watch this video for more on the benefits of skin to skin contact.Water Wipes
Essentially yours,

Erika


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