Editor's Note:

Editor’s Note

Happy New Year! All of us at Parenting on the Peninsula would like to extend our sincere good wishes to you and your family for the New Year. May this year be the best yet!

My husband and I had a tradition that I thought I should pass on to you. Every year at this time we would sit down at the kitchen table and assess where we were financially—what was good about the past year and what needed improvement. We discussed our IRAs, 401ks and other investments and discussed whether we should make any changes. We talked about where we thought the economy was going and how to take advantage of it. We made some savings goals and discussed how to get there. Then we thought about a budget. (I know this sounds boring, but you can even bring the kids in on this at some point and help them understand money, savings and spending.) It’s pretty crazy, but we actually began to look forward each year to doing this analysis!

POP Picks:

POP Picks: Book Recommendations

January is the time when we all think about how we might want to modify our past behaviors. From this we often create a list of resolutions for the New Year. For grownups, these resolutions frequently include promises to ourselves to lose weight, exercise more and be more loving to our friends and family members. Our children may also want to focus on resolutions for the New Year, and there are some wonderful books to help them with this process.

The Doctor is in:

The Elbow That Went POP!

One of the worst feelings in the world is accidentally hurting your own child. I have been “watching my son” when he rolled of the bed. I also shot him out of a car seat when he was an infant. A very common injury for young children is a nursemaid’s elbow. This is a painful but minor injury. A nursemaid is a historical term for our present-day nanny. The nursemaid would often be the person watching the children and accidently cause this injury.

Nursing Your Baby:

Am I Creating Bad Habits?

Elena asks, “I am happily breastfeeding my four-and-a half month-old baby girl Noel. Her growth is great and she can sleep six hours, wakes and feeds for five to seven minutes and then goes back to sleep for another four hours. Once in a while she will wake more often, but that is when she is going through a growth spurt, not feeling well or teething. I am back at work and miss her during the day and actually like the fact she wakes at night so I can cuddle with her. My pediatrician feels all of this is perfectly normal and that she is developmentally where she belongs and her sleep patterns are typical. The issue is that many of my co-workers, family and friends are pressuring me to “sleep train” and are insisting that she is manipulating me. Thy say that I am going to create unhealthy sleep habits and are pushing me to give formula instead of breastfeeding at night, and to start solids early to help her sleep. Am I creating bad habits? If I make her sleep all night, will I lose my milk supply since I am away from her all day at work and can only pump?”

Father Knows Best?:

Happy New Year?

Happy New Year! You see how joyful and warm that sounds? Don’t I sound happy? Aren’t we all happy? Well, aren’t we?

OK, let’s get real. The arrival of January brings the end of a nearly three-month binge of celebrating that kicked off in the weeks leading up to Halloween and ends with one last bacchanalian celebration welcoming in the new year. All those discussions at work ending with “Let’s wait until the holidays are over” and all those neglected to-do lists at home have the sobering grey light of a new day shining upon them and filing us with dread of all the things we now have to do.

Ain’t I cheerful in the New Year?

Coach's Corner:

Eat at Home—It’s Good for You

Eat at home because it’s good for you, it’s good for your family and it’s far easier than you think, says best-selling food writer Mark Bittman, in a recent TIME cover story.

In today’s fast-paced world we consume over 30% of our daily calories away from home. These less-than-wholesome calories are accumulating around our waists and draining our bank accounts.

So why do we eat out and shun the kitchen? Simple: convenience. We don’t have the time to toil away over a hot stove. However, evidence is mounting that we are paying big for the so-called convenience of outside food.

Obesity-related diseases are on the rise, as are the number of folks who are just plain unhappy with how their bodies look and feel. Cooking at home seems to be the first step on our road to healthier bodies.

Here are the top five reasons that you should start cooking and eating at home:

You and Your Money:

7-Step Strategic Spending Plan for the New Year

Setting financial goals is the first step toward getting the financial peace of mind you want and deserve. The second crucial step is your personal Strategic Spending Plan.

A Strategic Spending Plan is not the same as a restrictive budget. It’s a living, organic strategy that helps you know where your money is going and make adjustments as appropriate—one that encourages new habits and ways of thinking about the big picture of your life.

SHINE: Stop Trying to “Fix” ADD/HD

When we stop seeing ADD/HD individuals as broken, we stop trying to fix them, especially quick-fix them. When we can embrace working with each child’s own natural rhythms, harmonies and their wonderful uniqueness, then we can truly take advantage of a plethora of all-natural solutions. Among the potential solutions, diets, environments, teaching systems, parenting and guidance systems should be explored. These things may not eliminate the need for medications, but may drastically reduce them. The goal should be measured by raising children who can access their whole potential and become successful both in their own eyes and the eyes of the world. Thy do not have to lose part of who they are in order to achieve worldly success and acceptance.

SQUIRRELS IN THE ATTIC? Protect Your Family, Your Home and Your Sanity

Thump, thump. Gnaw, gnaw. What’s that noise we hear in the hall?

Do you hear scampering noises in your attic or walls? You may be a victim of a dangerous wildlife infestation that destroys homes, putting your family in peril. Read on for tips to mitigate and prevent catastrophic damage while keeping your family safe.

I’m not talking about the occasional house mouse or Norway roof rat common in urban areas (although these pests can be comparably destructive and carry disease). I’m talking about garden squirrels—typically, the tree-squirrel variety with bushy tails perched upright gnawing an acorn between their front claws and incisors. Also known as the Eastern Gray Squirrel, these adored creatures can cause tens of thousands—even hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to personal property. Moreover, their propensity to gnaw on electrical wires and cables is a potential cause of house flies, estimated in the thousands per year.

Preschool Parent:

Sharing, Learning and Laughing Together— The Magic of Co-op

We’d been in California for a few jetlagged weeks and here I was madly searching online for a preschool for my three-year-old. Nestled amongst dozens of choices were the co-ops.

At this stage a co-op was completely foreign to me. Back home in Australia, my son attended a fab day care two days a week. It suited us perfectly—giving him a good stint at playing and learning with his peers, and me the chance to enjoy a coffee or two in peace and run some errands. So what was this co-op concept and would it be right for our family? Especially since grandparent support was now a 13-hour plane ride away and kid-free time was more precious than ever.