Apple and Pumpkin Season is Upon Us

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

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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.

Diaper Swapers

Closet Organization: Fall Season

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

 

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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

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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?

 

 

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?

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

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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.