Posted 10-3-2017 at 06:05 PM by Jessica
Halloween candy and treats are delicious. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I don’t look forward to a good handful of candy corn (yeah, I’m one of the few that actually likes candy corn…). But I am not a huge fan of giving processed sugary foods to the kids. Halloween is one of those days that kids can get overloaded with junk. Plus, there are so many kiddos with allergies that would love to feel included when trick-or-treating! So here are a few suggestions for things you can hand out instead of (or in conjunction with) candy…
Packaged Healthy Treats
If you’re handing out Halloween goodies at your door, and want to steer clear of the heavy sugar candies, stop by big box stores for prepackaged healthier foods. Head to the aisle that you buy lunch box snacks. Options are endless. individual bags of popcorn, pretzels, goldfish, raisins, and more. You may want to steer clear of nuts if you’re handing out to other children.
I have found great deals on Halloween and fall themed pencils at our local drugstores. And pencils encourage writing, which is important for kids!
Another great inexpensive and educational item to hand out to kids on Halloween.
Most kids, even as young as toddlers, enjoy stickers. Have fun with them by choosing Halloween themed stickers that the kids will love.
Growing up, we had neighbors that would hand out quarters! It doesn’t have to be quarters, consider dimes or nickels too!
Many party stores offer toys for as little as 10¢ each if you buy a large lot. This is a great alternative to candy. And, they can keep it much longer as well!
Do you have any other ideas on alternatives to Halloween Candy?
Posted 09-15-2017 at 07:59 AM by Jessica
Summer usually means sleeping in and staying up later than normal, but school requires waking up early and getting into bed early enough to get enough sleep. But how much sleep does your kiddo really need? The National Sleep Foundation recommends between 9 to 11 hours of sleep for children between the ages of 6-13. That means that a wake up time of 7 am should require a bedtime of at least 10 pm (though 8 pm would be more ideal). Getting your little boy or girl to head to bed when you want them to is a whole other issue. I’ve done some research and included a few tips for getting your kiddo to stick with their bedtime and get enough sleep at night.
Set the bedtime and stick with it
Consistency is key with kids. Pick an appropriate bedtime and enforce it each night, even on the weekends. This will get their internal clock into rhythm.
No electronics before bed
Some kids may insist that playing on the iPad helps them wind down, but in reality studies have shown that screen-time right before bed actually disrupts the ability to fall asleep and have a restful night. Make sure that screen-time is ended at least an hour before bed, and that other unwinding techniques are included instead.
Make bedtime relaxing
Warm showers, bedtime stories, and chatting with your child about their day before tucking them in are all great ways to make bedtime special and relaxing, increasing the likelihood that they will fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.
Address their night-time fears
Lots of kids have fears of the dark or that there may be a monster in their closet. Instead of shrugging off their fears, hear them out and do what you can to help them feel more comfortable. This doesn’t necessarily mean letting them sleep with you in bed, but buying a fun night light or investigating their closet isn’t hard to do, and can make all the difference to them.
It’s usually the little things that make the biggest improvement for kids getting enough sleep. Simply staying consistent on bedtime and buying a night light may be all you need to help your child get the sleep that he or she needs to do their best at school the next day.
Let us know in the comments what you find is most helpful with getting your kids to bed on time, and helping them get the best sleep throughout the night!
Posted 09-12-2017 at 06:20 AM by Jessica
I know summer is almost ending, but I love smoothies pretty much anytime of year. However, today I spent almost five dollars on a 16 ounce smoothie, which is pretty ridiculous if you ask me! This inspired me to turn to making my own to not only save some money, but also be able to choose and combine ingredients as I please. This is a great breakfast smoothie but you can drink it anytime of day – especially if you are NOT a morning person like me. What I love about this one, though, is it is super easy to make and not time consuming at all, so I don’t have to lose sleep to enjoy it!
- 1 cup strawberries (I prefer them fresh, but frozen also works)
- 1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 sliced and peeled kiwis
- 1 cup orange juice
Ready, set… blend!
- If you’re using frozen berries, let them thaw a little before blending.
- Put the berries, kiwis, and orange juice in the blender and blend on high until smooth. If you’d like to make it less tart, I tried adding a little water or milk.
- If you have leftover berries or kiwis, I like to put them on top of my smoothie for presentation and more deliciousness.
- Place leftovers in the fridge for later enjoyment!
Posted 06-28-2017 at 01:55 PM by Jessica
Nowadays there are so many harmful ingredients in a lot of the cleaning products out there. If the ingredients concern your family, you should know that there are other natural solutions that can be just at effective. One of my favorite all-natural cleaning solutions is made with just orange peels, vinegar and water! With this simple recipe you can save money and protect your family from products with harsh chemicals. The ingredients used are not toxic or harmful to health, and can disinfect your home while also leaving a pleasant aroma behind.
Okay, lets get started! For this all-purpose spray you’ll need:
- The peels from 3 oranges
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- A large bottle (preferably glass)
Cut the orange peels into pieces and put them inside the jar, adding a cup of water and a cup of vinegar, seal the jar and let it stand for about 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks passes, open your jar and split it in equal parts and, if you’d like, add a teaspoon of olive oil to one part – making sure to shake it every time you use it to properly incorporate the oil. This mixture with the olive oil is perfect for cleaning your furniture as it will leave it shiny and give it bright and fresh citrus aroma. Put the other part into a spray bottle and use to clean surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. If you’d like it to be an even more effective disinfectant, add a spoonful of rubbing alcohol.
There you go! A super easy and effective all-purpose cleaning spray made from ingredients you likely have around the house already! You’ll save money while also protecting your family from harmful chemicals.
Posted 07-28-2016 at 01:44 AM by Jessica
Posted 09-5-2015 at 02:04 PM by admin
What is teething?
If you’re a new parent, you may not know what teething is. Teething is when babies teeth begin to emerge through the gums. This usually starts between four and seven months. But, all babies are different, so this could be much earlier or later for your child.
Some of the symptoms we tend to see during teething is increased drooling, mild fever, irritability, lack of appetite, and increased gnawing/chewing on items.
Cold items to chew on:
- Wet the end of a washcloth and place in the freezer. Let baby chew on the cold washcloth. I’ve used this method many times.
- A frozen (large) carrot has worked for my kiddos too!
- Cold teething rings. Check the baby section of your local stores for teething rings that can be put in the fridge or freezer.
Natural teething tablets:
- Hyland’s makes all natural teething tablets that have been very helpful (and I love that they are natural!)
Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces
I found these all-natural Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces when doing some online research HERE. I found this: Succinic acid is a natural pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and a central nervous system calmer. It is so effective on babies and small children because it simultaneously eases their pain while also having a strong soothing effect on their nervous system – all with zero side effects.
Every child will react differently to teething pain. Some babies show no signs of discomfort at all. Consult your doctor for more great ideas.
Do you have any other recommendations?
Posted 05-7-2015 at 06:08 PM by Ellen
Congratulations on the new addition to the family! Having a baby is exciting, even though it can be challenging when you have a toddler who has become used to being the “baby” in the family and doesn’t quite know what his or her place is now. There are ways to cope with the situation in a positive way so that your toddler can develop a good relationship with the new baby.
Children between the ages of 18 months and three years will likely have the most difficult time with the transition to having a younger sibling. They are still quite dependent on their mothers and younger children likely won’t be able to express their feelings about the new baby or remember a little brother or sister coming into the home. Children older than three will have other interests other than the baby to keep them occupied, so the arrival of the baby will be less of a major event in their lives.
Your Toddler’s Feelings are Normal
Keep in mind that your toddler’s feelings about the new baby coming into your home are normal. Up until you became pregnant, he or she was the baby and your household ran in a particular way. Your child knew and understood how things worked.
Even if you explained that a baby was coming – even pointing to your tummy as your pregnancy advanced, there is a limit to what your child could understand about what would become a permanent situation. He or she could not possibly understand that there would be times when you would be distracted or have to deal with the baby’s needs first. For a toddler, that not the easiest situation to deal with.
Rather than telling your child that his or her feelings are bad or wrong, a better approach is to be prepared for them and try to redirect them in a more positive direction. You can start even before the baby arrives.
Give your toddler advance notice
Let your other child or children know about the new baby at the same time as you tell your family members and friends that you are expecting.
• Explain that all babies start very small and then grow big enough to live outside of their mother’s tummies. Your toddler did the exact same thing. Find a book you can read together about a new baby arriving.
• Encourage your toddler to feel the baby kicking and let him or her talk to the baby as your pregnancy progresses.
• Talk to your toddler about what will happen when the baby is born. If you will be going to the hospital for a few days, then let him or her know about alternate care arrangements. Let your toddler come visit you and your newborn in the hospital.
Let your toddler “help” with the baby
Take your cue from your toddler and if he or she seems interested in helping with caring for the baby, find some small jobs that he or she can help with. Let your child hand you a diaper or a wipe or help you choose between two different colored outfits.
Make time for your toddler
Despite your best efforts and preparations, your toddler may feel a bit left out after your new baby comes home. This is entirely normal, so make sure to spend some “special” time with big brother or sister.
• Set aside time when you are feeding the baby to read a story to your toddler. You can watch a video together during these times as well.
• Plan to spend some time with your toddler when the baby is asleep by doing something together. Draw or color a picture, play a game of your child’s choice, or build something with blocks.
• Ask your partner to look after the baby every now and then so that you can have some time alone with your toddler. This will drive home the message that he or she is important and deserving of your undivided attention.
• Even the best-behaved toddlers may have times when they may lash out at a younger sibling. If something happens, encourage your child to share his or her feelings but reinforce that the behavior is not acceptable. Try not to leave a toddler alone with a baby to minimize the likelihood of one of these incidents.
No matter what, it will take time for your toddler to become used to this major change in the status quo. Be present, be patient and love your older child unconditionally – your toddler will pass it on to his little brother or sister.
Posted 05-7-2015 at 05:57 PM by Ellen
Childhood milestones. Some, such as crawling, walking and talking are pretty much up to the child, while the parent is in wait-and-see mode. Once the kid is talking though, that’s when things can get interesting. Deciding when a child is old enough to take on a new responsibility or task isn’t easy. There is no single definitive answer. Choosing when to let your child cross the street by himself, walk home from school by herself or stay home alone while you go out to dinner depends on several factors:
• Maturity of the child – some kids are “old souls” and just seem to get things at an early age. Other children might need more time to mature before being allowed to take on certain tasks. No two 10-year-olds are alike; just because your cousin’s kids don’t need a babysitter, does not mean yours don’t either, or vice versa.
• Siblings – the oldest sibling often matures faster than their younger siblings. Only children can mature faster or slower than their peers, depending on parental influence and other circumstances.
The point is, there is no magic age when your child is ready to reach a new milestone. But, there are some rules of thumb to follow when you want to determine if your child is ready to declare a bit of independence.
Walking home from school
This depends on the distance from your home to the school, the number of other students who make the trek and other issues such as availability of sidewalks, crosswalks and whether or not crossing the street is involved. For short distances, many children as young as seven or eight can walk home without parental supervision.
For example, if the school is on the same side of the street and is less than three blocks from home, most eight-year-olds can handle this. It is important that your child understands that he or she is to come straight home, to never talk to strangers or approach strange cars and knows what to do if approached by a stranger. For added peace of mind, talk to your neighbors and ask if they can keep an eye out for your child as she makes her way home.
Crossing the street
To reach this milestone, a child has to understand how to safely cross the street, so make sure to make several practice runs with your child. Eight to nine year-olds generally grasp the concept of looking both ways and only crossing at corners and crosswalks when available.
Staying at home unsupervised
Many of us were part of the “latch-key” kid generation of the 80s and 90s – so for us this might seem like a rite of passage. We wore our house keys around our necks, came home, unlocked the door to the empty house, got our approved snack and either watched cartoon or did our homework until mom, dad or an older sibling got home. Sadly though, times have changed and though an eight-year-old might have done this back in the 80s, now it’s mainly kids who are 10 and older.
Playing in the yard unsupervised
As a general rule, if a child is playing alone outside, he should be supervised – especially if playing in the front yard without a fence. Children playing in the back yard alone in a fenced yard with a lockable gate can safely do so around the age of five. If there’s a group of children and at least one is over the age of 10, the kids can usually play outside unsupervised.
As stated before, there really is no hard and fast rule as to when a child is ready to cross a threshold on his or her own. The best thing you can do as a parent is get to know your child – and as the milestones arrive, decide if it is the right time for your child to reach for it.
Infant congestion is difficult to get through for both baby and parent. There isn’t really an over the counter medicine that a baby can take. There are a few things we can do as parent, however, to ensure that our little ones get through this mucus filled time.
Often the phlegm rattling sound of a congested baby breathing is just the sound of air flowing over dried mucus in the nose and throat. Using a humidifier helps hydrate those dry boogers which also helps the body expel them.
If you don’t have a humidifier for your little one’s room you can help your little one breath easier by turning the bathroom into a humidity room. Turn on the shower using only hot water and spend some time in the bathroom with your little one.
A child’s early years are the years they learn about relationships. They mimic the family members they love as if to say, “Hey, I’m like you! I belong here too!”
Nothing will cause a melt down faster than a perceived threat to those relationships. That’s because these little ones are also learning to trust. They need to know family members will be there for them. They need to know that there is stability in their world. The lessons they learn about trust can and often do follow them through growing up and into their adult years.
Things That Go Bump In The Night
It’s important not to ignore your child’s night time fears. When they sound off in the middle of the night, afraid of the shadow their teddy bear made on the wall, it’s important to go in and let them know (sometimes for the hundredth time) that there is a logical explanation for the shadow and there is nothing to fear. Give them the option of having the hall light on and leaving the door open. Let them know you will be there to help them through there night time concerns.