Halloween Candy Alternatives

Posted 10-10-2015 at 12:33 AM by JPMP

Dollarphotoclub_84473743

 

Halloween Candy and Treats are delicious. I am not going to lie and tell you that I don’t look forward to a good handful of candy corn. But, all that sugar!!! 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. There are alternatives to sugar laden candy and treats. You can still celebrate with fun activities and fun healthy treats.

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.

Pencils

I have found great deals on Halloween and Fall themed pencils at our local drugstores. And, pencils encourage writing, which is important for kids!

Bookmarks

Another great inexpensive and educational item to hand out to kids on Halloween.

Stickers

Most kids, even as young as toddlers, enjoy stickers. Have fun with them by choosing Halloween themed stickers that the kids will love.

Money

Growing up, we had neighbors that would hand out quarters! It doesn’t have to be quarters, consider dimes or nickels too!

Small toys

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?

 

Diaper Swapers

Tips On Starting A Moms Group In Your Area

Posted 10-9-2015 at 12:33 AM by JPMP
 Dollarphotoclub_58818049
If you’re new to town or if you’ve been around awhile and have not found  a group of moms to lean on and spend time with, consider creating a moms group. Moms need other moms (dads need support too, so this could be a “parent group if you prefer”) and kids need to play with other kids. So, if you’re ready to venture out and create your own group, check out these tips:
INTEREST
Ask moms that you know if they may be interested in joining a moms group. Think about friends, family, neighbors, church members, etc. Another option, if your kids are in preschool or school, ask the teacher if you can have a handout sent home with your information. Ask parents to contact you if interested.
If there is enough interest…move on to step 2
LEADERS
You have a few moms interested now. You don’t want to take on all that responsibility, right? Find a few that you know well and have strong leadership skills or seem very excited about the new endeavor. Seek out an assistant for yourself. Or a group of assistants to help run your group and make decisions.
INDEPENDENT or ORGANIZED
Decide amongst yourselves if you want to be an independent group or if you want to join a nationally organized group. You can make your own chapter of a larger group, like MOPS, or similar. Or, you can start from scratch and make your own rules.
FIRST LEADER MEETING
First, meet with your chosen leaders. Make a plan. Decide on how to run your first GROUP meeting. Plan out advertising. Will advertising be word of mouth? Signage? School letters? Online? Implement and advertise for your first group meeting. Be organized. You don’t want the first group meeting to be a disaster.

FIRST GROUP MEETING
This will be a time for moms to decide if they want to be part of your new moms group. Give them details on upcoming events and what you have in store for the next few months. Discuss fees if there will be fees. Cover everything and leave room for questions at the end.

Once you have interest:

Ask for volunteers that can help with responsibilities. If you’re spread out, you could have a mom as a leader in each area of the town. You could also ask someone to be in charge of emails, a phone list, or handling fees.

HAVE FUN!

Shopping for Car Seats Again

Posted 10-8-2015 at 12:27 PM by Agla

Once again, I find myself in the market for another car seat.  Although the choices can be overwhelming, changes in the industry have not only made car seats safer but also made it easier for a parent to make a well-informed purchase.

 

Seat Size and Weight Limits

There is no such thing as a “one size fits all car seat.”  Since kids come in all types of sizes the car seat that works for one child may not sit another child comfortably.  Manufacturers provide weight limits and height limits but sometimes it takes actually having your child in the seat to evaluate if the seat is going to work for your child.

 

Extended Rear Facing

Car seat manufacturers have responded to the parental demand to ERF older children and the AAP recommendations to rear face at least until age 2.  I was able to sit my child rear facing comfortably up to age 5 by purchasing a seat with a higher ERF weight limit.

 

Expiration / Manufacturer Dates

Car seats have expiration dates.  I’ve heard people scoff at this as a money making ploy by the car seat industry.  Actually, expiration dates protect children from seats that have possibly warped or become brittle. Largely made of plastic, car seats are exposed to the fluctuations in temperature day in and day out for years.  Weight is placed on it daily and tension directly on the plastic is required for a proper installation.  Personally, I think that the addition of manufacturer and expiration days will go a long way in keeping unsafe and outdated seats out of the hands of unsuspecting users.

 

LATCH

Car manufacturers have made the Latch (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children Restraint System) car seat system even more convenient to access in newer model cars.  The LATCH system has makes proper car installation and removal easier for parents. The development of the system has for the most part reduced the sweat inducing struggles with a seat belt and a locking clip for a safe car seat installation.

 

Research, Research, Research

The information that can be found about cars seats online can be overwhelming but there are several well established sites that give thoughtful reviews and recommendations.  There are also forums where parents can ask specific questions about car seats and their installation.

 

Good Return or Exchange Policies

Most retailers have very good return policies that allow parents to return a car seat if the fit is not good for the child. When looking for a car seat make sure you ask what the exact return policies are before purchasing.

 

Shopping for a car seat can be daunting, but newer developments and continued research has now made it easier to buy and install car seats.

 

Establishing A Bedtime Routine

Posted 10-5-2015 at 02:34 PM by admin

Dollarphotoclub_84412716

 

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!

Easy DIY Ideas To Save Memories and Keepsakes

Posted 09-14-2015 at 06:41 PM by admin

Dollarphotoclub_55982351

 

Over the years we have accumulated thousands of photos, souvenirs, trophies, awards, favorite clothes, stuffed animals, and more. I have boxes upon boxes of items to go through. I never knew how much a child could have….times four! Below are my 3 favorite ways to keep those memories organized and even on display!

Create a shadowbox: There are so many great themes for shadowboxes. One idea is to make one with all the items from the hospital. The hospital bracelet (moms and baby’s), first outfit, hospital hat, and fingerprint card! Shadowboxes can be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf. And, if they are preserved correctly, they can be given to the child when they have their first baby!

Scrapbooks: Scrapbooking has come a LONG way over the years. There are so many options and digital scrapbooking has become very popular. Scrapbooks can be made for each year of your child’s life. Or, make one for each month until they are one, and then one per year. Once your child is old enough, he or she can help create them!

Memory Quilts: Head on up to the attic and grab that box (or boxes) of baby clothes that you can’t bear to throw away and turn it into a beautiful and useful quilt! You can do this yourself or if you’re like me, head to a crafty friend’s home for some help.

Do you have a favorite way to save memories?

 

Safety Checklist For Crawlers

Posted 09-13-2015 at 06:41 PM by admin

Dollarphotoclub_74709230

I remember preparing for my oldest when he started to become mobile. We started baby-proofing as soon as he began rolling over. I was so nervous, so I got an early start. And I am glad I did. It seemed like time flew during those first 9 months of his life.

These are just a few of the safety precautions I took early on.

Plug covers – use outlet covers or safety plugs
Keep electric cords out of reach. Behind furniture or use a safety cover for cords.
Keep hot liquids (like your coffee cup) up high and on a steady table that can’t be knocked over by baby.
Put safety locks on low cabinets.
Use door stops or door holders to protect babies’ little fingers.
Never leave crawling baby unattended.
Put soft covers on tables with sharp corners or edges.
Gate fireplaces and keep fireplace tools out of reach.
Use gates to keep baby away from stairs.
Consider a toilet child proof lock and a refrigerator child proof lock.
Gate any areas that you don’t want baby in.
Keep bathroom doors closed.

I found a FULL childproofing checklist that you can print out HERE. You can also check with your pediatrician for more great safety tips for all of your baby’s stages.

The Diaperswappers Everything Swap: What it is and Why You Should Be Participating

Posted 09-9-2015 at 02:25 PM by Agla

Dollarphotoclub_22334608

 

One of the best kept secrets on Diaper Swappers is our regularly running Everything Swap.

– An ESWAP is a great way to move along items that you no longer use while getting some of the things that you actually need for your household.

Here is just a sampling of some of the things that I have received by participating in our ESWAP:

Custom made superhero capes.
Two brand new sun hats.
Mama Jewelry
New Tea Cup with Infuser with loose tea leaves
Custom T-shirts
Star Wars Action Figures
Organic Boys European Sweater

In an eswap you post the items that you have available and then shop from the items offered up for trade from other members.

There is a period of time where you are allowed to make choices and ask questions about the items available. During this time you can also post items that you are currently in search of.

Once the shopping period is over you submit your top three picks to the swap coordinator. It doesn’t mean you will get all of your top picks but the coordinator will try and match as many as people as possible.

To see more detailed guidelines (don’t be daunted the process is much easier than it looks!) please see this post about eswap rules and guidelines.

The DS members that participate in the eswap are a very friendly bunch that are very open to helping new participants.

Apple and Pumpkin Season is Upon Us

Posted 09-8-2015 at 02:08 PM by Agla

Dollarphotoclub_65161614

 

If I didn’t know that Fall was upon us by looking out the window or the calendar I would know by the constant advertisements for everything pumpkin and apple flavored advertised in print and media. Instead of fighting the pumpkin and apple trend embrace it!

Here are some fun things you can do, make or taste to make the most of this time of year.

– Bake a pie. It really is much easier than you think and there are videos and recipes easily accessible online. Little hands can mix ingredients and help with the dough. Not sure if you know how to crimp pie dough? Fold over the sides and call it a tartlette instead.

– Add Pumpkin or Apple to Anything. Muffins, pancakes, waffles, soups there are so many recipes that can be enhanced by adding some apple or pumpkin.
– Go to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Don’t have one in your area? A corn maze or hay maze will do in a pinch.
– Have an apple tasting. There are many varieties of apples. Buy several and have a tasting. Which do you prefer? What words would they use to describe them?
– Wear some Fall colors. Put away the neon green and bring out the orange!
– With your kids, do some apple or pumpkin themed crafts.
– Check out books about pumpkins and apples for your kids from the library.

I would love to hear what type of activities DS members do during this time of year.

Closet Organization: Fall Season

Posted 09-7-2015 at 02:05 PM by Agla

 

Dollarphotoclub_59966405

For some of us this is the time where we have to open our closets and figure out what needs to be put away, given away and put out. This can be a daunting project and there are many ways that this task can be approached. I am going to share some of the ways I have learned to get this task done through the years.

Keep, Store, Give Away
Anyone that has watched a home organization show is familiar with the sorting technique in which you quickly assess your items and sort them into three categories: Keep, Store and Give Away. If you are looking at an item for more than 30 seconds still debating if you can get use out of it then the item should probably be in the Give Away pile. For parents that are thrifty another category for sorting can be made titled “Sell/Trade.”

When the Weather Is Temperamental
Some of us have the joy of living in areas where the weather can change from one second to the next. I’ve learned the hard way that putting all the summer things away as soon as the weather cools can be a mistake. For example, yesterday it was 90 degrees here. Today, one of my kids left the house wearing shorts, a long sleeve T-shirt, and a fleece, because it was much cooler. To keep your organization time and frustration level to a minimum I suggest doing your closet change over in stages.

First, clear out the items that are overtly summer related. Things like your 4th of July T-shirts can be cleared out. Most tank tops can be cleared out with the exception of those that you can layer as the weather cools. Clear out items that are stained or damaged as well.

At this point I would make sure that long pants and sweatshirts are also accessible so that they are available for cooler mornings and evenings.

Keep shorts out as they can still get some wear as the seasons change but gather them in one location so that they can easily be gathered and stored when the weather gets too cool.

Hand Me Downs
Here is where things can get a bit complicated. For some reason kids grow like weeds in the summer. As you go through the closet make sure that the items still fit and assess what is about to be grown out of. If your same gender children are close in age and born in similar seasons then it does make sense to keep clothing to hand down. Just keep in mind that trends do change, the build of children vary and so do their tastes. You usually won’t lose if you hold on to classic pieces. I have one gender neutral nautical themed sweater that has been passed down for fourteen years. I prefer sorting hand me downs by size and season and using storage containers I keep in the basement. I know others that keep separate sections of closets. The storage method will vary based on your space and the amount you need to store.

Is There Too Much?

One of the things that can make a closet change overwhelming is when there are too many items to deal with. Realistically, the clothing needs of a school aged child are not huge. If you are swimming in clothes and are constantly frustrated by your efforts to organize it all then it might mean that it is time to purge and free yourself of items that are creating more work for you.

Teething Remedies To Ease The Pain

Posted 09-5-2015 at 02:04 PM by admin

Dollarphotoclub_57891972

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.

Symptoms

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.

Remedies

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?