Avoid School Morning Chaos With These Tips

Posted 08-28-2015 at 10:49 PM by admin

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Are school mornings chaotic in your house? Whether you have one child or nine children, there are lots of ways to cut down on the chaos and the morning stress. Of course, this will vary depending on your child’s personality as well. I have 4 kids. The boys are morning people, the girls are night owls and not so happy in the morning. I’ve learned that keeping them separate in the mornings keeps the peace. Below are more tips I’ve learned over the years that have saved the stress, rush, and tears in the mornings. (MY tears AND the kids tears)

*Pack backpacks in the evening. Make sure to double check that all papers are signed and homework is done before zipping it up!

*Pack lunches in the evening. We pack lunches together in the evening and place them in the fridge ready to grab in the morning.

*Lay out clothes the night before. Have a checklist: shirt, pants, socks, underwear, shoes. Do you see a pattern here? Get as much done the night before as possible!

*Place breakfast dishes, cups, and silverware on the table and ready for morning. We like to stick with easy breakfast foods. Cereal, yogurt, and pancakes or waffles that we have cooked and frozen. Just pop in the microwave in the morning!

*Have girls with long hair? We brush hair in the evening and braid. This avoids tangled messes in the morning.

*In our house, I get up 15 minutes before the kids and have a cup of coffee. I heat up breakfast so it’s ready when I get them out of bed.

Do you have tips to share?

Diaper Swapers

Establishing A Bedtime Routine

Posted 08-27-2015 at 02:34 PM by admin

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A consistent bedtime routine is very important for young children. Kids need sleep. Parents need sleep. A happy family is a well rested family! Below are a few tips to help you get a bedtime routine established. Every child is different, so some of these may work and some may not, depending on your child.

BEDTIME TIPS:

*Quiet time. Having 30 minutes of a quiet activity before bed will help children relax. Consider reading a book, coloring, or having quiet play.

*Give reminders. Many children like to know what’s coming next. Give them gentle reminders to let them know that bedtime will be in 15 minutes, 10 minutes, and 5 minutes.

*Keep the lighting low. In the evening hours, we keep the lighting low to help the kids ease into bedtime.

*Help children relax with a warm bath before bedtime. In our house we have a snack, bathtime, pj’s, brush teeth, quiet time, a short story, and bed.

*If your child is afraid of the dark, use a nightlight or a hallway light to lessen their fear.

*Don’t forget cuddles and snuggles. They are very important!

How I Changed After Becoming A Mom…

Posted 08-25-2015 at 02:40 PM by admin

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I have been a mom for almost 15 years. As I sit and reflect over the years, I have noticed some major changes in myself. I’m not talking about physical changes here. There are plenty of those. That could be an entire post on it’s own. Another day, maybe. Today, I’m referring to my personality, the way I carry myself, and the way I view the world.

Goodbye Shy: If you knew me in my school years, you would probably describe me as quiet and shy. Maybe you wouldn’t even remember me at all. I was the one that hoped she’d never be called on. Hoping to be overlooked. Secretly praying that I would not have to get up and speak. That changed the moment I held my son. I came out of my shell. Not for me, but for him. I was sure that my voice was heard, my concerns were voiced to doctors, nurses, etc. It started in that hospital room right after his birth. And I haven’t stopped yet.

I’m a fighter: In my pre-baby days I was a lover not a fighter. I always tried to make peace. I didn’t want to cause waves. Now, I’m a fighter. When it comes to my kids I speak up and fight for them. Of course I’m not talking physical fighting. I’m talking stand up for my kids and FIGHT for their future.

Role Model: My husband and I changed the moment we brought our oldest home. What once was a weekend out on the town is now a weekend at home with the kids. 16 years ago I would have thought being at home all weekend and going to bed by 10pm was so uncool. Now, I look forward to early bedtime and cozy weekends with the family.

My hobbies have changed: So this may not be because of kids….it may just be part of getting older. My hobbies have changed. I enjoy gardening with my daughters and watching football with my sons (and I actually understand what’s going on during the game!)

Date night: These are few and far between. However, we enjoy date night much more now than we did before kids. We know how important quality alone time is now. I sometimes think we took each others time for granted before kids. Not anymore. Each and every minute during date nights is spent in the moment making memories.

I really could go on and on. I will say that all the changes I have seen have been positive. I love my family and strive to be the best mom and wife I possibly can.

What changes have you seen in yourself?

FIVE Minutes For Mom

Posted 08-13-2015 at 12:38 AM by admin

Exhausted housewife

FIVE MINUTES FOR MOM

A parents’ job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! It can be hard to take time out for us. However, to be the best parent we can be, we all need a little “me time”. This can be very hard to find. But it doesn’t have to be. Below you will find some tips on making the most out of naptime. I know we have responsibilities like cleaning and laundry and making appointment phone calls. However, taking just one naptime a week to relax is very important. The chores will be there tomorrow! This goes for MOM, DAD, or ANY caregiver!

Take a warm bath – Get out the candles and a good book or some light music. Soak away that stress!

Invest in a hammock or lounge chair – head out to the back yard to relax in a hammock or a comfortable patio lounge chair. Soak up some sun (don’t forget the sunblock), read, or do absolutely nothing!

Garden – Some people enjoy gardening. It can be relaxing for some. If this is your thing, have at it.

Workout – A 30 minute (or longer) workout can relieve stress and make your body and mind feel great. Pop in a video or hop on a stationary bike and go! Release some endorphins and get the blood flowing.

Pull out the crayons – Coloring in a coloring book can be very calming. I’ve caught myself coloring long after the kids are done coloring. Try it; you may love it.

Sip some coffee (or other favorite drink), put on comfortable clothing, and lie on the couch. Read, watch your favorite show, put on some headphones, or call a friend. It’s YOU time, do what YOU love.

 You CAN relax or have a good time without leaving home. Do you have any other suggestions?

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Posted 08-12-2015 at 12:38 AM by admin

Schwangere Frau packt Kliniktasche

 

 

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Whether it’s your first or your fifth delivery, having a list for your hospital bag is a must! You don’t want to forget anything, especially if you live a distance from the hospital. Remember to pack for the baby too!

Comfortable non-skid socks – You may be walking the halls before and after labor. Non-skid slippers work too! Note: they will get dirty.

Comfortable pillow – If you have a pillow that you love, bring it along. The hospital does have pillows, but they are not equal to your favorite pillow. I always brought along my body pillow as it made it so much more comfortable to sleep before and after labor. *Note: It will get dirty

Sugar-free mints – My mouth always became dry and not so pleasant while at the hospital. Obviously you will bring your toothbrush and toothpaste, but this will help between brushings. Also, sugar makes you thirsty, so stick with sugar-free.

Chapstick – especially if you’re water intake is restricted, which happens often, your mouth and lips will be very dry. Chapstick will help avoid cracked lips.

Maternity/ Nursing Bra and breast pads

Maternity underwear + your own sanitary pads – the hospital WILL provide both. But the underwear they provide takes some getting used to, you may be more comfortable with your own. Be sure that they can be ruined, because they will!

Insurance information and all hospital forms. Many hospitals have you pre-register, so don’t forget any of those important forms. Identification as well.

Phone charger, camera charger. I think we all remember our phones and cameras, but tend to forget chargers, and of course the memory card for the camera is important as well!

Pony tail holders – if you have long hair, don’t forget your pony tail holders.

Robe – If you don’t want to show the world your backside while walking the halls, you may want to consider bringing a comfortable robe to wear during walks.

After labor clothes/night gown – Keep in mind these items may get ruined, so don’t pack your favorite! The night gown will be needed especially if you have visitors and don’t want to wear the thin, open in the back, gown that hospitals provide. And, of course, you will want comfortable wearing clothing for the drive home.

Tips On Choosing A Day Care For Your Child

Posted 08-7-2015 at 06:19 PM by admin

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Tips On Choosing A Day Care For Your Child

Choosing a day care for your children can be hard. This is a very important choice for you and your child, so don’t take it lightly. Be prepared. Have a list of questions. Open communication is the key!

Schedule a visit – This may be obvious. But, be sure to schedule a visit to the center during the day when there are kids there. This way you can see exactly what goes on and you can see if the kids are happy and engaged. Keep your eyes, ears, and even nose open – see how the caregivers interact with the kids, listen to how they speak to the children. Do you smell multiple dirty diapers or other bad smells? Sanitation is important!

Adult to child ratio – Ask about the adult to child ratio. This varies on the age of the children. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers all require different supervision.

Qualifications/Accreditation – Ask for qualifications, accreditation, inspection reports, etc. Were they ever given warnings? Don’t be shy. You have every right to these answers.

Turnover rate – What is their turnover rate. Kids get attached to their caregivers. You don’t want your child upset if employees are constantly coming and going. Will you be told when new employees are hired?

Daily Schedule – Ask about the daily schedule. Are the kids given plenty of play time, outside sunshine, and exercise? What about naptime and snack time?

Education and skills – Is there an educational plan in place? What about learning their ABC’s? Are their skills like tying shoes or buttoning their shirt, that are taught/encouraged?

Potty training – Is potty training encouraged?

Emergency Procedure – Get a copy of their emergency procedures and medical plans. If your child gets hurt or sick, what steps are taken?

These are just a few of the top questions to ask. You know your child best, so you may have specific questions to ask. I highly encourage you to speak up and inquire. Don’t be shy!

Saving Money on Back To School Clothes

Posted 08-5-2015 at 10:02 PM by Agla

 

Once again, it is the time of year where moms are hitting the stores, searching everywhere for back to school deals. One of the biggest expenses is the inevitable money that needs to be spent on clothing, after the growth spurts that take place in the summer. Here are just a few ideas on how to make your back to school clothing budget stretch:

Buy in the Previous Season
One of the best ways to save is to plan in advance. Many basics can be purchased for great prices during clearance sales and then put aside for future use.

A few years ago, I found basic navy hooded sweatshirts for $3 a piece during a clearance event. I purchased the sweatshirt in a couple of sizes and stored them. The sweatshirts have gotten lots of use and since it was a basic non-trendy item my kids will be wearing those sweatshirts for years to come.

Familiarize Yourself with Your Local Thrift and Consignment Stores
I happen to have several thrift and consignment stores in driving distance. I have seen the traffic in these stores rise exponentially as living costs have increased. Unfortunately, prices at these type of stores have also risen but they still beat traditional stores for some items. However, you have to be familiar with the cost of quality items because in some instances it is more cost-effective to buy new.

At a national chain children’s consignment shop I found a pair of boys dress shoes that retail for $75 or above. The shoes looked as though they had never been worn, and they cost only $8. I also found a brand new, with tag, Janie and Jack boys shirt for $4. The full retail price for the shirt was $34.

Clothing Discounter
There are many stores that specialize in selling off season clothing. Sometimes the only reason an item is considered off season is because full price retailers have introduced the items in different colors for the new season. The older colors are then moved to discounters.

Recently, I purchased a pair of men’s pants at a department store. I bought the pants while they were on sale and I applied a coupon I found online. Later that day I found the same pair of pants at Marshall’s in a slightly darker khaki color for a few dollars less than the price I paid without the hassle of waiting for a sale or coupon.

Watch for Sales and Coupons
There are coupon experts out there that can make a “dollar out of fifteen cents.” I am not one of those people, but I do search out coupons and sales before going out to make any purchases.

Many retailers mail out or email coupons periodically and waiting for those coupons can make the difference between saving money and overspending. Combine your coupon with sales or by buying items that are on clearance to extend your back to school budget.

Despite my planning ahead I sometimes find that I have to purchase a last minute clothing item. I recently needed to buy shorts for my son before a trip. I walked into the store and immediately suffered from sticker shock. I looked around some more and I found shorts that were actually closer to my price range. Once we figured that the shorts were a good fit and decent quality I calculated that the sale price combined with a store coupon. The combination of the sale and coupon bought the shorts down to exactly the amount I had budgeted to spend.

Use the Diaperswappers FSOT Forum

The Diaperswappers forum has a section of the sale and trade forum dedicated to children’s clothing. Members will often list clothing that their child has outgrown that is good quality and a good price point.

For example, there is currently a pair of Mini Boden lined cargo pants listed in our forum for $15. These pants retail for $54 new.

Back to school clothing shopping does not have to break the bank. By planning your purchases carefully, and familiarizing yourself with the various ways that clothing costs can be reduced, you will be able to hopefully enjoy your back to school shopping instead of worrying about your budget.

Sibling Rivalry Happens | Tips To Get Through It

Posted 08-4-2015 at 06:08 PM by admin

Angry little boy

Sibling Rivalry Happens | Tips To Get Through It

Sibling rivalry happens in almost every family. It doesn’t matter the kids ages, from toddlers to adulthood, siblings will have days of jealousy, arguments, and some will compete with one another. This is normal. However, it can get out of control.

Coming from a family of 9 kids, I’ve had my share of sibling rivalry. And, I’ve seen it crop up in my four children as well. Below are some tips to help:

One on one time – It’s very important for kids to feel independent and loved by their parents. Consider taking some alone time with each child to do something special. Choose an activity that the child likes or is interested in and spend the day one on one together enjoying that activity. Once a month or every other week is a great place to start.

Acceptance of feelings – It’s normal for siblings to get angry or jealous of one another. That is normal human behavior. Let your children know that you understand their feelings. Validate them. And listen instead of constant reprimanding or punishment. Open communication is just as important for children as it is for you and your partner.

Family discussions – Discuss issues as a family. Let each child speak openly and help them problem solve. They will need these skills for life. Allowing them to talk it out with one another with the parents facilitating the discussion will work wonders.

Family Praise – Encourage your children to compliment each other starting at a very young age. Encouraging and complimenting one another as young children will continue through their teenage years, which tends to be very hard years.

Role Model – Be a role model. The way you and your partner treat one another is seen by everyone in the house. If they see positive relationships they will model your behavior as well. Keep heated discussions away from the kids eyes and ears if possible.

Easy Arts and Crafts For Toddlers and Preschoolers

Posted 08-3-2015 at 09:05 AM by admin

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Easy arts and crafts for toddlers and preschoolers

Are you looking for easy and inexpensive crafts to do with the kids? Below are a few that our family have enjoyed over the years. They are great for toddlers and preschoolers, and a few of these are still enjoyed by my 2nd and 4th graders!

Pasta Necklaces – Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes. Wheels and tubes are two pasta shapes that make amazing necklaces (or bracelets). This teaches great motor skills and is easy for toddlers and preschool age kids.

Paint with water – Out of paint? Grab a big paint brush and bucket of water and let the kids paint the driveway with water. If you’re in Florida or other very hot states, it may evaporate before you can paint a picture, so consider doing this before the sun is at it’s hottest. Best part – no cleanup!

 Finger paints – This can be messy but so much fun for the kids. As toddlers, I would put my kids in their diaper only and we’d head outside with finger paints, newspaper, construction paper, and our folding table. Cover the table with newspaper (tape it down). Set out pieces of construction paper, and let them go wild with the paint!

Rock painting – grab the paint and a few brushes and head outside to find some rocks. The kids will have a blast painting rocks and once they dry they can make great decorations in their room.

Cereal bracelets – Very similar to pasta necklaces, but much tastier. Have the kids string Cheerios or Froot Loops to make delicious necklaces and bracelets they can wear and then snack on. Fun!

Paper Bag Puppets – This is another inexpensive craft. Grab a pack of paper bags for around $2. Washable markers, yarn, glue, construction paper, child scissors, and anything else around the house that will help make faces. The kids can make multiple “puppets” and put on their own puppet show. This will work with socks as well. Sock puppets are so much fun.

Simpler Is Sometimes Better

Posted 07-24-2015 at 04:02 PM by Agla

I spent three days making one batch of rolls this week. Each day there was another step in the process to complete. Once the rolls were baked and everyone had a chance to taste them I asked, “Were these rolls better than the rolls that take me only a few minutes to prepare?” My husband admitted that he liked the taste of the simpler rolls. Like other areas of our life I realized that I get better results when I stick to a simple routine. Here are some ideas on how to simply things in any household:

Simplifying Your Wash Routine
In a family, the laundry beast can get overwhelming. There were years that I refused to buy any white clothing, because during that time I felt like I was constantly swimming in laundry and separating whites and darks was just too much to deal with. As well as buying no white clothing, I also simplified the laundry by reducing the number of items in my family’s wardrobe.

For my diaper laundry I realized that after trying several cloth diaper specific detergents and different laundry additives I found that the one that worked the best for me and my machine was basic Tide detergent with a couple of extra rinses,

Simplifying Your Menu
I love to cook and try new recipes but I know that there are people that struggle with menu planning and meal preparation. I see the same people attempt to elaborate recipes with several ingredients in an attempt to improve their cooking. Once while watching a TV cooking show I watched three different chefs gasp with delight. What caused their reaction? One of the contestants had placed a fried sunny side egg on top of the meal he was being judged on. Good simple basic ingredients can go a long way to making a meal taste good. Good basic cooking technique are also important and can elevate most ingredients from ordinary to delicious.

Keeping Your Home Tidy Simply
Simply put, “The less you have the less you have to clean.” This seems obvious but many people spend a great deal of time dealing with the clutter that has accumulated in their home. Get rid of things that are not being utilized. Have proper places to store things so that anyone can pick up something that is out of place and know where to put it. These are small steps that can help keep a home neater and less cluttered.

I would love to hear from DS blog readers about the ways they have learned to simplify. Please share your tips and tricks in the comment section below.