Posted 05-3-2016 at 09:27 PM by JPMP
Disneyland is definitely The Happiest Place On Earth. No question about it! But tired kids who have sore feet are not happy, and they’re not likely to make it feel like such a happy place. There are a few timing mistakes that parents make when taking their family to Disneyland that, if corrected, could result in a much more enjoyable experience.
1. Not getting there 30 minutes before opening
If you have kids, waking up early to make it to the park entrance by 7:30 am when the park opens at 8:00 may sound insane. You have to trust me on this, though. The park will allow people to get in usually about 30 minutes before the park is scheduled to open that day, so you’ll have time to get through the check-stands and be ready to go as soon as they officially open the park. The first 30 minutes to an hour in the park is golden. You can practically walk on most rides as people are trickling in. This is the perfect time to head to rides with notoriously long wait-times (like my personal favorite, Peter Pan’s Flight). Within that first hour you can already have a handful of rides crossed off your list! A lot of people believe that being on vacation means sleeping in. But if you’re on a Disney vacation sleeping in means you could be missing out on some great riding time.
2. Not leaving the park during the mid-day madness
You know all those people I mentioned that like to sleep-in during their Disney Vacation? Well, it’s about 1 o’clock and they’ve all meandered into the park by now. The temperature for the next couple of hours is at it’s hottest, there are hoards of people everywhere and the wait times have just increased, possibly by a lot. It’s time to leave the park. Grab the kids and head back to your hotel for some napping or swimming (or both!). Giving your kids even an hour to cool off in the pool while you pick up your feet will make a huge difference for the rest of the day. During the mid-day madness you’re not likely to get on many rides anyways, and once you head back in you’re going to feel rejuvenated enough to hit a bunch of rides because no whining kids = more rides!
3. Not staying until closing
Lots of people with kids tend to head out a couple hours before the park closes, usually because they’re all very tired and have sore feet. If you avoided mistake #3 though, you’re more likely to still have some energy to spare! Use that to stay until closing. Just as the first hour usually has shorter wait times, the last hour does as well. Take advantage of that to finish off the night with a few of your favorite rides, and be sure to stay for the firework show. Disney puts on an incredible show that is sure to be the perfect end to a magical day in the park.
Posted 04-26-2016 at 08:42 PM by JPMP
Some kids love to take baths. For others, bath-time can be a real struggle. If your toddler does not get excited at the prospect of getting into the tub each night, you should give a few of these ideas a try!
Homemade & Natural Bath Crayons
Your kids will love these. They get to color all over the tub, their toys, themselves, and the best part is they’re actually getting clean at the same time!
All you need for this easy creation is
- natural bar soap
- a few tablespoons of water
- non-toxic food coloring!
Grate the bar soap into a medium bowl
Add the water and a few drops of food coloring
Stir, and once incorporated, knead into a paste
Invite your kids over to help you mold these into fun shapes (placing the mixture into a cookie cutter or other mold for at least one day will help the crayon keep its desired shape)
Let dry for an additional 2-3 days
Once they’ve fully dried, they can be played with in the tub for hours!
Creative Bath Toys
A few new toys can work wonders in motivating your little man or lady to hop into the tub. If there are specific toys used exclusively for bath-time only, they may be more excited to take a bath if that’s the only time they get to play with that particular toy.
Make sure that the bath toys you do buy for your little one are PVC, phthalate and BPA free. So many bath toys on the market now contain harmful toxins that can easily be ingested by a toddler who loves to try drinking the bath water, or who often places the toys in his or her mouth.
Bubbles may be all you need to entice your kiddo to take a bath! Make sure to look for a Bubble Bath that is natural and free from harmful ingredients, or try making your own!
All you need is:
- 1 Cup liquid Castile soap (make sure to find the tear-free version)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp. vegetable glycerin (this makes for more bubbles, and moisturizes their skin!)
- essential oils of your choice (lavender is great for soothing crazy kiddos before bedtime)
Then comes the hard part: add the ingredients to a bottle and shake a few times to incorporate. (Just kidding, that’s not hard at all. Unless you don’t have the cap screwed on tight enough and you end up with a luxurious-smelling slippery mess…)
Add a couple tbsp. to the running bath, and boom! You’ve got a relaxing, all natural bubble bath for your toddler. He or she will love playing in the bubbles, and you’ll love that they’re playing in safe water that is cleaning and moisturizing their sensitive skin.
Give these ideas a try and see just how quickly your toddler finds that taking a bath can actually be a lot of fun!
**Remember, never leave your child unsupervised in the tub. Even just a couple inches of water and a few seconds alone can prove to be fatal.**
Posted 04-24-2016 at 08:37 PM by JPMP
If you’re anything like me, you love giving gifts. Birthdays, Christmas, weddings, just because… and most definitely baby showers. Baby stuff is just so dang cute it’s hard to not want to buy absolutely everything for the new baby. My biggest stress when picking out a gift was that I would end up getting something that the new parents already had. After scouring aisle after aisle of fun baby stuff I was inspired to create an “Oh Crap” bag. I had heard of something similar before, and decided to try my hand at creating one of these nifty things myself.
The “Oh Crap” bag is a bag meant to be stored in mom or dads car with a few necessities that baby may need when out-and-about. You know, when mom or dad suddenly realize they forgot to bring extra diapers, or baby has a blow-out and there are no spare onesies in sight? This kit perfectly covers nearly every “oh crap” moment that involves the little one, and would be so handy for any parent, whether it’s their first child or they already have a few.
A bag. (I got mine at Walmart, and it’s technically a travel toiletries bag. I loved the three separate sections, and the size worked great for the items I included.)
3 or 4 diapers, at least two different sizes. (Too big is better than too small. I did two size 1 and two size 2 diapers. The parents will have to change these out periodically.)
Travel size baby wipes.
Travel size antibacterial wipes.
Small package of Diaper Sacks.
Spare outfits. (I did three different sized outfits consisting of a onesie and leggings. These will also need to be changed out as baby grows.)
A small toy.
I also hooked a couple of safety pins onto the bag, just because safety pins are the greatest things ever and you never know when you could use one.
This is also super fantastic because it’s so easily modified. A bigger bag could hold a spare t-shirt for mom and/or dad, the disposable diapers can be traded out for cloth, a burping cloth could be added along with a spare blanket… The possibilities are endless.
This gift is sure to be the hit of the next baby shower you attend and really mean a lot to the new parents. Taking the time to assemble the items really shows how much you care, and you have so much room to personalize this present! You’ll give the new parents a bit more piece of mind as they head out with baby, knowing that when they inevitably forget something, they’re covered.
Posted 04-21-2016 at 08:38 PM by JPMP
Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about taking care of our planet. Kids that learn from an early age to respect the Earth will grow up to be adults that respect the Earth. Here are 10 super easy ways you and your family can help our planet, and a lot of them could make fun activities for Earth Day as well!
- Plant a Tree. (Make a day out of this. Have your kiddo(s) pick out a tree from a nursery to plant in your yard. While they help you plant the tree talk about how trees produce oxygen and provide homes for lots of animals.)
- Recycle. (Use a cheap garbage can, bin, or reuse a cardboard box to hold recyclables. Teach your kids about why recycling is so important as you make a designated place to toss recyclable items. Mention that items like plastic water bottles can end up being made into a park bench one day if they’re recycled!)
- Switch from buying packs of plastic water bottles and give each family member their very own reusable water bottle. Personalize the bottle with their name for an extra fun touch.
- Turn off the lights before you leave each room. (Make a game out of it! There are even fun songs you can sing about turning out the lights.)
- Clean up your trash and any other trash you see. (Grab some gloves and some bags and head to the local park to pick up trash. Turn it into a game to see who can fill up their bag the most!)
- Be nice to the bees. (Teach them about how incredibly important honey bees and bumble bees are to the Earth. Watching the Bee Movie would be an extra great way to learn!)
- Save water. (It’s as simple as turning the water off while brushing your teeth, or making sure you don’t leave the hose running outside.)
- Use both sides of the paper when coloring. (Easy enough! If kids are made aware that paper comes from trees, and trees ((like the one they planted with you outside)) need to be cut down to be turned into their paper, they may be less likely to waste pieces.)
- Reuse items for fun crafts. (The possibilities here are endless. A yogurt cup can make a fun vase for a flower, an egg carton can be painted and turned into a jewelry holder, a toilet paper roll can be transformed into a toy car…etc.)
- Go on a bike ride. (Next time you’re headed to the park (or anywhere, really!) take your bikes! It’s a great way to get some extra exercise and teach about keeping the air clean from pollution.)
There are so many easy ways to incorporate a small lesson on the importance of being kind to our planet Earth each and every day. Make this Earth day an experience that is just as enjoyable as it is educational for the whole family!
Posted 01-29-2016 at 12:27 PM by admin
Easy to make playdough for the kids! Safe and non-toxic fun for your toddler and kiddos. Hours of fun and you probably have everything in your cabinets!
1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp. cream of tartar
Step One: Get out a nonstick frying pan to mix and cook your ingredients in. Don’t turn the heat on yet! Add all your dry ingredients.
Step Two: Add your wet ingredients and stir until mixed well (it can remain lumpy from the flour).
Step Three: Go ahead and turn up the heat to medium or medium high. Continuously stir and adjust heat if necessary. You don’t want your dough gooey or crispy.
Step Four: When your ingredients start to form a collective dough as you mix it, turn off the heat.
Step Five: Let your play dough cool down.
Posted 01-14-2016 at 09:52 AM by admin
At the young age of 2, I began to give my kids chores. They were actually quite fun. And, most of these things, my toddlers asked to do! When they would see me or their dad wiping tables or vacuuming, they would ask to help. Take advantage of their willingness while you can. This all changes in the next few years.
Here are a few ideas of chores that are fun as well as helpful for toddlers and preschool children!
Before a meal:
Setting table (not glass)
Getting out condiments
Helping with dinner (mixing ingredients, etc)
After a meal
Clearing the table.
Wiping the table.
Older kids may be able to load the dishwasher.
Feeding the pets.
Walking the pets (with parents)
Self care when they are younger: getting clothing out, brushing teeth, etc
While parents clean, kids can tag along and you can give them jobs. I’ve even made up jobs that don’t need to be done, however the kids want to feel included.
Wiping low furniture
Wiping fingerprints off windows and walls
helping push the vacuum
putting clothes into laundry basket, older kids can separate them!
putting clothes into their room (older kids can put them away!)
Sweeping small areas. I had my kids sweep the dirt by the front entrance out the door.
Organizing shoe racks.
Picking up toys.
Posted 12-30-2015 at 06:48 PM by JPMP
Family Friendly New Years Eve Ideas | New Years Eve With The Kids
New Years Eve is a little different once you become a parent. Who am I kidding? It’s a lot different once you have kids in the house. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a rockin’ time with the kids on New Years Eve. Below are a few ideas to get the whole family involved in ringing in the New Year!
Set the clocks forward
If you don’t want the little ones to stay up too late, plan an afternoon or early evening celebration. Set the clocks in the house so that midnight comes at their regular bedtime. They can ring in the “New Year” at any time of day, it doesn’t have to be midnight. This will allow you to spend time with your spouse or friends at midnight and you won’t have a cranky baby/toddler/child the next day!
Fun party hats and party dresses will get everyone in the mood for a fun night. Toddlers and preschool age kids would love to dress up like mom and dad do when they go out for a fun night. Fancy dresses and shoes. Play makeup and beauty salon would be fun as well.
You can’t have a party without noisemakers. These can be found at the local dollar stores, or in the party section at stores like Target and Walmart. If you can’t take all the noise, wait to pull them out until “midnight”.
Toast in the new year with sparkling cider. Let the kids cheer one another and join in on the fun.
Sparklers are always a fun addition to an evening party. With plenty of adult supervision, sparklers can help ring in the New Year!
Family Slumber Party
To make the night special, consider camping out in the living room as a family. Watch family movies, drink hot cocoa (and sparkling cider!) and make memories.
Posted 12-21-2015 at 12:39 PM by JPMP
Looking for some fun new holiday traditions that the entire family will love? Here are a few of our favorites that we look forward to each and every year:
Holiday / Christmas Caroling: Grab the kids and a wagon or stroller and hit the neighborhood singing! Invite family, friends, and neighbors to join and head out in a group. What a festive way to spend a night together!
Light-seeing: Grab a blanket, coffee, hot chocolate, and head on out for a drive around local neighborhoods to view the lights. This family tradition is one our family looks forward to every year. It’s so popular, we tend to do it twice!!
Christmas Eve PJ’s: Each year our kids receive brand new PJ’s on Christmas Eve. Each child gets their favorite character, which makes them very happy, and I’m happy because morning photos turn out amazing with fresh new PJ’s!
Cookie baking: My girls are huge fans of cookie baking during the holidays. They started helping when they were toddlers and now at the ages of 7 and 13, they still enjoy it just as much! And, I love that my teen enjoys spending time with me. Even, if it’s only once or twice a year.
Elf on the Shelf: This is not for everyone. But, if you haven’t heard of Elf on the Shelf, it may be a perfect tradition for your family. Each night since December 1st, our elf “Buddy”, makes his annual appearance. He leaves us each evening to report to Santa all the good and bad behavior in the house. When he returns, he usually gets into mischief. He has hung underwear on our tree, dumped out M&M bags, left notes, and drawn mustaches (in erasable markers) on our photos. The kids pop out of bed every morning excited to look for him. And they are always on their best behavior.
Posted 12-7-2015 at 11:04 PM by JPMP
Are you ready for your holiday photos? Thankfully, with all of the technology out there right now, if you haven’t taken your family holiday photo yet, you’ll be just fine. PLENTY of time. Below are some tips and advice before heading to the photo studio or your living room for your photo shoot!
*In front of your fireplace
*By the decorated holiday tree
*In front of your holiday decorated home (day OR night!!)
Don’t have a decorated home? Check out the local parks or town hall and utilize their decor! You can also check out the beautiful large decorated trees at local malls.
Be different. Head to the beach or lake for a non-traditional photo. We have taken our photo out by our pool. “Florida Christmas”
Use natural light.
Make sure the light is in front of you, not behind you.
Don’t forget the family pet(s).
WHAT TO WEAR:
Coordinating Outfits: This does not mean every piece needs to match to the “t”. Simply choose a favorite color or style and select clothing from there.
Pajamas: Consider a fun photo op. Everyone wear their PJ’s. They can be coordinating, or they can be personal favorites from each family member.
MORE CLOTHING TIPS:
Make sure your clothing is neat, clean and in good condition before heading to the photo shoot.
Talk to the photographer ahead of time to find out about backdrops that are being used.
Bring a change of outfits. Give yourself lots of options.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS TO SHARE?
Posted 11-17-2015 at 09:59 AM by JPMP