How to install stair gates

This is a guest post from Ryan, dad of 2 and owner of Safe Nest Babyproofing Atlanta.  He’s written this article about how to install stair gates for my readers.

One of the most common questions I get as a professional babyproofer is about how to install stair gates. Once the excitement of a child starting to crawl passes, the dread starts to set in: we need to babyproof the house! The first place most parents look is to the stairs. The danger of a child crawling to the top of the stairs unnoticed and tumbling down is obvious, but properly installing a stair gate can seem difficult. Many parents put it off or call me for help.

When shopping for a baby gate, the first thing to look for is a brand that is a certified member of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). These brands agree to adhere to a minimum set of standards. Usually a JPMA label similar to this will be found somewhere on the product packaging:

JPMA Seal

The next thing you need to know before purchasing a gate is how wide your stair opening is. Most gates have some way of adjusting for width to fit the average staircase, but if your staircase is especially wide you may need to purchase an extension kit. Measure from wall to wall and look for a gate designed to fit that width or one that has extensions available.

There are two main types of gates available: hardware-mounted and pressure-mounted. Hardware-mounted gates attach to the wall using screws and are normally the most secure way of mounting a gate. Pressure-mounted work by applying pressure in an outwards direction on both sides, squeezing the gate between two walls.

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Hardware-mounted gate utilizing baluster post kit

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Pressure-mounted gate

Knowing the two main types of gates, you next need to consider where the gate will be placed. Pressure-mounted gates should never be used at the top of a staircase because they tend to loosen over time as they are opened and closed, and the pressure holding them in place will decrease. A child could then push, pull, or shake the gate, causing it to dislodge and tumble down the steps taking the child with it and possibly causing serious injury. The other main reason not to use pressure-mounted gates at the top of stairs is that many of them have a metal bar that runs across the floor to connect the two sides of the gate. This bar is usually about an inch in height, just enough to catch your foot as you step over it causing you (and your child if they are in your arms) to fall down the stairs. Because of these two main reasons, I will never install a pressure-mounted gate at the top of the stairs. Unfortunately while the JPMA recommends not using pressure-mounted gates at the tops of stairs, their guidelines for gate manufacturer members do not outlaw it, and so some JPMA-approved gates will advertise that they are for top-of-stair use.  So where can you safely install a pressure-mounted gate? The bottom of a staircase is OK as long as it’s placed at the ground level or no higher than the first step, but I still prefer using a hardware-mounted gate as much as possible. The best place to use pressure-mounted gates is in doorways to either contain a child in a room or keep them out of a room. Lastly, never use an accordion-style gate or one with V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings. There have been several recalls on this style of gate due to the risk of a baby getting their head entrapped in these openings. In addition, older children have been able to use these openings as a foot- or handhold to climb up and over the gate.

So now you know you should always use a hardware-mounted gate that screws into a strong surface for the top of a staircase. In most homes this means you need to locate a wood stud behind the drywall. If you have an electronic stud finder, this should be easy; if not, here’s a tip: Drywall is attached to the studs using metal screws. Locate the general area of a stud by knocking on the drywall until you find a solid (not hollow) sounding area. Then take a strong magnet and slowly run it in a sweeping motion up and down where you think the stud is. When the magnet encounters a metal nail, it will stick! Mark that spot and then go up or down from there trying to find another one. If you find two or more that line up vertically, that will be close to the center of your stud.

In a perfect world you will have two studs located directly across from each other to mount into, but that’s not usually the case. So then what do you do? Many of the better gate manufacturers offer gates that can mount on an angle allowing you to have the hinge side and the latch sides offset by several inches and still work properly. Just be careful that when installing on an angle you don’t allow the gate to overhang the steps at all, leaving a gap that the child could get under.

hardware-mounted-gate-installed-on-angleHardware-mounted gate installed on an angle

 

But what do you do if you have a wooden baluster post instead of drywall on one or both sides? Well, sometimes this can actually be easier than installing into drywall, as you don’t need to locate the studs. Assuming the baluster is sturdy, you can often drill directly into the flat surface at the top and bottom of the baluster and hang the gate from that. But many people don’t want to damage their baluster by drilling holes in it, or perhaps the area where a bracket needs to mount is rounded. You can buy special kits that clamp around the baluster, to which you then attach the gate brackets. The nice thing about using these kits is that while they can add cost to the installation, in a few years when you take them down there is no damage left behind to fix!

The last thing to think about when installing the gate is, which direction do you want it to open? Gates always need to swing away from the staircase, never into the stairwell, but you can usually choose whether the hinge is on the right or left side. I always try to have them open with the flow of traffic. For example if going up the stairs you always turn to the right when reaching the top, then you would want the hinge on the left side.

One final bit of advice for after you have installed the gate: Use it properly. Never climb over the gate rather than opening it to go through. For one thing, you may catch your foot trying to do this, leading to serious injury to you or your child if they are in your arms. Secondly, your child watches everything you do; by climbing over a gate, you are teaching them that is an appropriate use. They may try to climb over it themselves one day.

If you are still unsure about the best child safety gate for your situation or would rather have an expert help you with the installation, I recommend contacting the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS), of which I am a member, to find a professional childproofer in your area. Their website is www.IAFCS.org.

 Be sure to like Safe Nest Babyproofing on Facebook for great tips!

No compensation was received for this post- a Ryan is a friend’s husband and we both thought this article would be beneficial to my readers.

 Photo Credits: Cardinal Gates (with permission)

Fun Halloween Crafts Roundup!

The Mavens of Money have come together again to bring you a round-up of our best Halloween Crafts.

Mavens Halloween Craft Collage

  1. How to Make a Rag Wreath by A Frugal Chick
  2. Frankenstein Monster Box by Coupons are Great
  3. DIY Halloween Marquee Letters by Madame Deals
  4. Toilet Paper Pumpkin Decor by Mom on Dealz
  5. Handprint Pumpkin Craft by Saving Toward a Better Life
  6. Spooky Sparkle Spiders by The Coupon Challenge
  7. DIY Glow in the Dark Skeleton Halloween Shirt by This Mama Loves

The Mavens of Money group is comprised of 11 bloggers: MadameDeals | The Coupon Challenge | Mom On Dealz | Coupons are Great | This Mama Loves | A Frugal Chick | The Centsible Family | Stretching Your Budget | Penny Filled Pantry | Freebie Spot | Saving Toward Better Life

Come link up YOUR Halloween Crafts!


Giving comfort during cancer treatments

This year, more than 1.6 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. 1.6 million.  Just this year.  Chances are, you know someone who’s living with cancer. Or giving care to someone with cancer.  I know I do.  My neighbors do.  My friends do.  My Facebook friends do.  As if the cancer wasn’t enough to deal with, many of those who are diagnosed aren’t able to pay for much besides the cancer treatments- the costs of treatment alone even with insurance is staggering… which means the little luxuries we may take for granted that might make life a bit easier, or seem more normal?  Not there.  Or at least, there’s just not money left for those luxuries. I’m writing this post today on behalf of Giving Comfort, a nonprofit program that provides patients in need with their Comfort Kits.  These kits are packages specifically for cancer care- filled with items to help give comfort during cancer treatments.

There are 12 different kinds of Comfort Kits available for purchase or donation.  The McKesson Foundation’s nonprofit program, Giving Comfort, provides these Comfort Kits to patients in cancer treatment centers, hospitality houses and support communities.  Consumers can also purchase kits for gifts, with the proceeds going towards making kits for others in need.  Living with cancer is bad enough.  Having to exhaust so many financial resources to get through cancer treatments is just so unfair, and it really does take a financial (and emotional) toll on most families.  I think Giving Comfort is a pretty amazing program that gifts to gift and takes proceeds to continue to give more.

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There are kits for younger boys and girls, teen boys and girls, men and women (with a few options for each), one called simply “Thinking of You,” and also, one for caregivers.  I really like that caregivers are included in the Giving Comfort program- I know that often the caregivers sacrifice so much and don’t often have the time nor take the time to do something nice for themselves. I was asked to choose a Comfort Kit for someone and while I’m not able to disclose her name, there’s a young girl in a neighboring community who’s been through so much with cancer and as soon as the Teen Girl Kit arrives at my house, I’ll be bringing it along to a friend who can deliver directly to Miss A.  I’d reached out to my friend because her mom’s been going through treatments and I thought it might be a nice thing to brighten her day, and Kim told me about Miss A– we both agreed she’d be the perfect person to gift this kit to.

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Teen Girl Comfort Kit Description:
Kit includes: Sage Plush Rolled Blanket, Pink foldaway shopper, Military style khaki cap, Dream Journal, $10 iTunes Card, ear buds, Queasy Pops, Hand Sanitizer, Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Simplicity Water Bottle (purple accent), Pink Grapefruit Bissinger’s Gummies. Kit packed in custom Giving Comfort Gift Box.

There are so many stories in so many of our lives of how cancer has touched us.  There’s a woman in church, Nancy,  who’s been undergoing treatment for brain cancer- she’s at church whenever she’s feeling up to it.  She’s missed a bit, but there’s so many members who check in on her and update the rest of our congregation.   Today a few of the kids on the varsity soccer team were helping out at the K-1 soccer program, and I noticed they all had shirts on with the same message printed on the back ” In honor of Nancy.”   It never just touches the person who’s fighting that cancer.  The ribbons, the shirts, fundraisers, prayers, events…you can see just how far those tentacles reach when you see those who come together to fight alongside their family, their friends, their neighbors.

My friend Christie was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer about 5 minutes before a press trip we were both SO EXCITED to go on last year.  We were talking about sneaking in a quick trip to the parks the day the event started because she was local and I was flying in early, and then all of the sudden she was like “can I call you” and my heart broke into eleventy billion pieces for her ten times over.  She did come on the trip and we made it super fun and then she went and kicked cancer to the curb but you can read her story on her site. She’s lucky.  I”m lucky I can call her my friend. (I also need to call her, so Christie, clear a few min next week please!)

We all know someone.  We do.  If you are one of the very few who don’t, you are lucky.

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Photo Credit: Jamie’s Run

I’ve talked with you all before of baby Jamie.  My friend and fellow MOMS Club member Kelly’s little girl, she was 2 weeks older than my littlest one, and was diagnosed with a really rare liver cancer at just 11 weeks old.  Jamie lost her fight at 5 1/2 months.  Jamie’s parents started Jamie’s Run (The JK5K)  just a few months after her death, to raise funds for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  In year one, they raised funds to help support the cancer treatment center.  In years since, including 2013, they’ve raised funds to support both the financial and emotional burdens placed on families during treatments.  I can honestly tell you that until Jamie came into our lives, I hadn’t fully experienced nor had a clue just what cancer can do — it’s tentacles just reach into every part of a family’s life.

That’s the thing about cancer. It really does have tentacles that just reach and reach into so many parts of your life.  Missing work or school because of feeling ill- or because your loved one is feeling ill and you need to care for them.  The added expenses of copay after copay, medications, additional medications to ward off side effects from treatment, gas to get to those treatments, parking costs, the list gets very long, very fast. All of these added costs just seem so unfair when a family is already dealing with such a huge thing like cancer, you know?

I’m thankful for programs like Giving Comfort that are able to offer some kind of relief and give a little comfort to those who are undergoing cancer treatments.  I hope you’ll visit them and support them by liking their page, perhaps purchasing a kit or donating for a kit to go to someone else in need.

 

Max Steel brings us Superhero 2.0

I participated in this sponsored campaign viewing party and toy review of Max Steel for One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

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The idea of superheroes has long fascinated so many of us- in print, television, the big screen- everyday life- the superhero represents the ultimate Good vs. Evil battles we’d all love to win- the hero triumphs over the villains, and the world stays safe from evil again.  We watch the movies, read the comic books, the books, the magazines, we buy the shirts, the shoes, the sweatshirts, hats…and the toys.  I can remember going to see the original Superman movie – it was my first movie theater experience- and I was simply in awe at the big screen, and of course, of Superman himself.  Fast forward about 30 years later…and though he’s never lost his fan base, Superman’s been reincarnated once again, inspiring a whole new generation of kids to want to be just like him.  But it’s not just Superman, it’s all superheroes.  Given all that’s happening in the world around us, you can’t blame a kid for wanting superheroes to be real, to save the world, to protect us from evil plots hatched by sinister villains.

Of course, today’s kids have technology along with the love of Superheroes, so it’s only natural that we’d have some heroes coming along with extra technology.  One of Mattel’s “old school” heroes, MAX STEEL, has come back with a new series airing on Disney XD, a live-action film due out in 2014, and a whole line of fun, cool interactive action figures and toys released in September, 2013.

Max Steel is the newest and coolest superhero from Mattel. He’s Maxwell McGrath, a 16 year old kid with a superpower he hasn’t always known about, with a 21st century sidekick, Steel.  Steel isn’t your typical sidekick- Steel is an alien warrior who’s the equivalent of 16 human years- and when he’s not playing practical jokes, he’s paired up with Maxwell McGrath to form the ultimate superhero MAX STEEL (or as I think of him, modern day superhero, Superhero 2.0).  Most of the action figures light up and they have all got a “thing” they do- which is great for kids.

Our favorites? The Max Steel Rip Launch Toxzon Action Figure (there’s a rip cord, and the discs fly through the air.  Also amusing with kittens).  Our other fave? The Max Steel Blade Attack Dredd Action Figure – because his hand spins and spins and it’s fun to do. It’s almost like a helicopter blade- just cool and fun!

max-steel-figures

 

Kids can bring their favorite Max Steel adventures to life with the brand new Turbo Sword (MSRP $29.99) for action-packed play. With built-in motion sensors, the sword makes battle sounds, lights up and repeats key phrases from the hit animated series with a few simple moves.  You can find it on Amazon, Target, Walmart and ToysRUs.com
The Turbo sword is full of sounds and lights- 19 sounds in all when Steel is attached.  Lots of fun for kids, but I prefer this one goes outside for play (and stored indoors) because the volume is a bit high for my liking (I will fully admit I’m hypersensitive to toy sounds so it may not be so loud to you!)

The Max Steel toy line also includes action figures (MSRP $5.99) and a Max Steel costume (MSRP $21.99-27.00), perfect for boys this Halloween.  It’s VERY refreshing to find action figures priced at this point.  My son is at the age where action figures and imaginative play take up most of his free time (besides building blocks) and he’s usually found in one costume or another, saving the world and “getting” the bad guys by whatever means necessary.  He loves to get together with his buddies and run around inside, outside, up and downstairs, getting totally engrossed in their play and losing track of time and really BEING in the moment.  They love superheroes.  I can’t blame them- who doesn’t want to save the world?

Teamwork: Max is like any other high school student. But when he teams up with Steel, their combined forces unlock superhero powers that help them conquer their world.  It’s nice to see team work encouraged and NEEDED modeled for kids!

Humor: Just like every bond between best buds, quick-witted Max and trusty sidekick Steel’s banter back and forth is just plain funny.  Steel’s even funnier to us because he’s an alien, and that brings a new level of humor!

Friendship: The bond forged between Max and sidekick Steel is undeniably unbreakable. Together they operate as one inseparable duo showing that the power of two is better than one.  It goes back to teamwork too, but it’s also really a great example of the power of friendship.

We will be having a little viewing party once everyone in my house is healthy and my son’s friends are as well- we’ve had to change the date a few times because of back to school sickies!!

Watch MAX STEEL on Saturday mornings at 8:30/7:30c on Disney XD!

Should you try Grain-Free Cat Food? #HillsPet #Giveaway

When you welcome a pet into your family, you also welcome all that comes with it.  The care and keeping of pets includes many things- love, affection, veterinary care…feeding.  We want our pets to have a healthy, happy life, and one way to make sure they have a healthy life is by choosing food that has a balance of nutrients and is the proper recipe for your pet’s stage in life.  You aren’t going to feed a kitten adult food, nor should you feed an adult cat kitten food- but there’s more to pet foods than just recipes based on needs for each age/stage of their lives.  There’s been a lot of talk about Grain-Free Cat Food lately, and while I’m certainly not going to tell anyone what they should be feeding their pets, I will absolutely share information I find helpful so that we can make informed choices FOR our pets. This post is sponsored by Hill’s. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s Science Diet for Cats, but This Mama Loves only shares  information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Hill’s® Science Diet® Grain-Free cat food offers the precise balance of nutrients your cat needs for optimal health without any grains! The first ingredient REAL CHICKEN – and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

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So what IS Grain-Free Cat Food ?  It’s a formula of cat food designed for those cats who’ve got an allergy or sensitivity to grains (which can cause upset stomach and/or dry, itchy skin) or for cats who’s owners prefer to eat a grain-free diet and want their pets to do the same.  It isn’t carb-free (and actually can be the same or have more carbs because of the ingredients replacing the grains to keep that balance of nutritional needs). Grain-Free cat foods often have sweet potatoes in them, which offer a lot of nutritional value but also offer carbs.  Grain free cat food has a balance of nutrients to both replace what grains offer and also to keep their bodies healthy.

Grain-free does not mean carb-free or that the food is high in protein. In fact, grains are often replaced with ingredients such as sweet potatoes which provide similar or even higher carbohydrate levels, allowing for grain-free foods to still provide complete nutrition for your cat. Remember – whether or not you feed grain-free, balanced nutrition is the key to good health for your pet. Nutrient excess, such as high phosphorus or high salt, may be a problem with some health conditions.

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Whatever food you choose, you DO want to make sure you are feeding your furry family members a food diet that offers a nutritionally balanced recipe.  Too much of one thing and too little of another that your cat needs is not going to do them any good.  The key is balance.  We have 2 kittens in our home- they aren’t going to be ready for the Grain-Free cat food for several months.  They are both eating kitten food which is made FOR kittens and their digestive systems.  When they are old enough for adult foods?  We’ll be discussing what dietary options are best for them with the vet.  Hill’s Pet is a brand we will look at FIRST. I recommend always talking with your vet about your pet’s dietary needs.

hills-grain-free-cat-food

Photo Credit: HillsPet.com

 

Healthy choices matter, for both you and your pet. For more than 70 years, Hill’s has been advancing knowledge of how to keep pets their healthiest. That means great-tasting, nutritious food with natural ingredients that helps your cat live a long, happy life. 

We make every bag of our dry cat food in our own US facilities with highest quality natural ingredients from North America and Europe. These ingredients must meet our strict requirements for purity and nutrient content, which exceed industry standards.

By choosing Science Diet, you help us provide food to shelter pets 365 days a year.
Learn more at hillsfoodshelterlove.com.

You can get a FREE sample of the NEW Science Diet Grain-Free cat food right here and have it delivered to your door for your cat to enjoy. Make sure you let Hill’s know how much your cat loves their new Grain-Free food! Visit http://www.hillspet.com/products/sd-feline-adult-grain-free-dry.html and click “Write a Review.”

One reader will win 40lbs of Hill’s Grain-Free Cat Food!

 

 

Are YOU the biggest Thomas the Train fan? (Prize Pack #Giveaway)

They’re 2, they’re 4, they’re 6 they’re 8, shunting trucks and hauling freight…. Red and green and brown and blue, they’re a really useful crew! Disclaimer: This Thomas the train post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own

playing-thomas

We’ve spent many hours since the kids were this small playing with Thomas and Friends!

If you know that song, you’ve probably got a Thomas the Train fan in your life.  And having a huge Thomas fan in your life will probably make you want to read further, because maybe you are convinced that your little one is, indeed, THE biggest Thomas fan!!  We’ve spent countless hours laying elaborate track around our house with the kids- sometimes with adults, sometimes without.  Our biggest “game” is to use ALL of our pieces (which gets tricky, because they aren’t always all connecting the easy way)…we’ve had tracks that loop around our whole downstairs and ones that go up and over the couch and chairs…Building tracks and pushing the engines has always been a family activity we enjoy, and many memories have been made while playing.

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Thomas’ Biggest Fan Contest

Visit the new Thomas & Friends™ page on Walmart.com for a chance to win the world of Thomas in his Biggest Fan Contest! One lucky fan will win the entire Thomas & Friends™ product line, including all kinds of products from bedding, to clothes, toys, movies, school gear and more. That’s up to $3,000 in Thomas merchandise for your little engineer! What could be better?

thomas-quest-for-the-crown-playset

“Anytime is Thomas Time!”

Thomas & Friends™ has been delighting children all over the world since 1945, promoting important life lessons about the value of friendship, fair play, and team work. With so many different products to choose from, “Anytime is Thomas Time!” Visit to Walmart.com to check out the newest items, including Thomas’ brand new adventure “King of the Railway” on DVD/Blu-Ray and the Quest for the Crown playset, inspired by the film.

Thomas & Friends™ Interactive Soundboard

While you’re there, discover the sounds of the railway with the new Thomas & Friends™ interactive soundboard! This soundboard tool is available exclusively on Walmart.com, allowing your little ones to be the conductor as they click to explore various sounds from the world of Thomas.

 One reader is going to win a King of the Railway DVD and a Thomas & Friends Quest for the Crown Playset!! 

 

Nick Jr premieres Julius Jr. for preschoolers #JuliusJr

Have a preschooler with a BIG imagination?  If you do, you’re going to want to mark your calendar and set your DVR for Sunday, September 29th.  There’s an adorable new group of friends coming to Nick Jr!  Julius Jr. is an inventive little monkey who’s taken a cardboard box and turned it into a playhouse— but when Julius and his friends head inside, they discover it’s a  magical playhouse where the sky’s the limit on imagination and adventure!

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Preschoolers everywhere are going to love the new animated series Julius Jr. Don’t miss the premiere this Sunday, September 29 at 11am/10c on Nick Jr.  It’s hard to not think it’s going to be great when you can sneak a peek and see the adorable animal friends and their adventures ahead of time…and what kid doesn’t love animals?  I know mine do!

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Julius Jr. is a funky monkey with a penchant for invention. Together with his best pals, Worry Bear, Sheree, Clancy and Ping, they build a playhouse out of a simple cardboard box, but when they step inside, to their surprise and delight, they discover a magical playroom where ordinary objects come to life and fantastic adventures are just a door away!   Julius Jr. and his best pals are coming to Nick Jr. Sundays at 11am/10c starting September 29th.

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We have loved monkeys and their friends for many years! Halloween 2009

My little monkeys and I will be tuning in on Sunday morning- will you? 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Saban Julius via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Saban Julius.

White Chocolate Candy Corn Blondie Recipe

I was thinking about blondies this morning, and how it’s been so long since we’ve had them in the house.  It’s cool out today, and a great day for baking- so I decided I’d do a blondie recipe that’s festive for fall and fall holidays- White Chocolate Candy Corn Blondies.  These are pretty easy to make and you can be enjoying one within the hour- already (mostly) cooled. We like gooey brownies in our house and you can see that in these photos- rich, gooey, buttery delight!

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** Please note, I try to always, always use PURE vanilla extract.  Nielsen Massey is my go -to but I’d try others.  The difference in quality and flavor is noticeable.

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
White Chocolate Candy Corn Blondies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fun and festive fall twist on blondie brownies!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • ½ c unsalted butter
  • 1c packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 12 oz bag White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms candies
Instructions
  1. Melt butter over low heat in saucepan (or microwave, I won't judge)
  2. Stir in brown sugar and the egg until well mixed
  3. Add flour
  4. Add vanilla
  5. Stir until blended
  6. Add candies, gently fold them in
  7. Place brownies in greased 8x8 baking dish
  8. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (check with toothpick at 20)
  9. Cool, enjoy.

Love Candy Corn? Check out our Candy Corn Crunch Recipe!

Pamper your skin with Caress ($50 Walmart GC Giveaway 4 winners)

This is a sponsored giveaway post about using Caress to pamper your skin.  Opinions are my own.

Fall is here and with it, cooler temps and before we know it, the need for heat (at least here in CT) — especially in our house, because we heat with a fireplace insert.  Very drying on the skin.  Now, I like for my skin to feel at least slightly hydrated and I try to stay a step ahead of the weather in that department.  In fall and winter, I take a bath almost nightly.  It’s relaxing for me and I read books or just chill and have a little “me” time.  I love to use a little body wash for some fragrance and gentle cleansing in the tub, but since I go through so much having a nice soak every night (or close to it) I hate to spend a lot of money.  Plus, I get bored with scents so I like to mix things up and have a variety to choose from. I really only use unscented lotion and creams so I like my fragrance in the tub.  Caress is one brand that offers me the fragrance variety I love at a super affordable price!

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Fine fragrance body wash at an unbeatable price

From September through November, Caress® body wash is on rollback at Walmart, making it only $2.97 a bottle!

Don’t know which Caress® body wash to choose? Let us help! Visit walmart.com/caress to browse the various body washes Caress® offers and find the one that’s right for you!

FOUR of my readers will each win a $50 Walmart Gift Card! 

 

Bonding through Babywearing and How it Saved Me

Before I had kids, I’m not sure I really understood what babywearing was, or what it meant.  I absolutely did not understand the benefits of babywearing. With my oldest, she was so mobile so early, she rarely wanted to be carried after about 5 months.  As my second baby came along, I learned very quickly that babywearing was the key to enjoyable freedom.

You see, my kids are 25 and 23 months apart.  When each new baby was born, it was right at the prime of that age when toddlers gleefully dart in whatever direction their impulses take them.  For my oldest, it was always taking off to find water to look for ducks (and one pink Baby Gap shoe that was never seen again, which probably houses a family of frogs in a pond nearby).  Taking off, and me trying to catch her or catch up to her after unlocking stroller brakes, etc.  Wearing my son helped him immensely- it calmed him, soothed him (he was a fussy monkey boy), and allowed me to be close to him AND have my hands free so that I could bring my daughter to see the ducks instead of having to chase her.  With my son in the carrier, he could nurse and I could play with my daughter, push her on the swing, etc. Having my little guy so close so much of the time meant I could enjoy the wonderful scent of baby head (still love it) and not have to stop what I was doing to hold him, rock him, love on him.  It was good for him, good for me, and good for big sister. She was babywearing her dolls within a month of my son’s birth…he was babywearing around 15 months!

When my littlest was born, I had a just turned 4 year old and a not quite 2 year old. She was 5 1/2 weeks premature and loved to be held (actually, she’s still a fan of being held and or carried, 4 years later).  Obviously babywearing meant I had my hands free so I could be with the bigger kids, but this time, the babywearing was an amazing gift, to me. You see, my mom died 13 days before my littlest was born.  My heart, as you can imagine, was shattered and I was floundering to come to terms with her death, dealing with post partum stuff, and trying to be a mom.  To say I wasn’t handling things well is an understatement.  That little baby snuggled against my chest for so much of the time was thriving and growing but she was also keeping me grounded and functioning better than I would have.  Her little tiny self helped me for so long as I grieved so much.

Babywearing, I firmly believe, is part of what helped me to get through one of the most difficult times of my life.  Losing a loved one is never easy, and having a premature baby isn’t either, compounded with medical issues surrounding the birth for the mom.

One of my most favorite photos of all time of my husband is this one, wearing our son on his back while we hiked around the island on Lake Winnipesaukee that I grew up spending my summers on.  I happen to find my husband to be quite handsome but a man babywearing?  That’s really attractive to me!  Truth be told, I think wearing the kids was one of my husband’s favorite parts of the baby stage.  Since he couldn’t feed the kids when I was nursing, it was his chance to really bond and be able to spend some special close time he might not otherwise have been able to.

Babywearing, in my experience, was and continues to be such an amazing and wonderful gift for both us as the parents and the kids as babies. The time that our babies are that small is so short, so brief, and I feel like it’s so important to allow ourselves to go “all in” and bond with the kids while they are so tiny.  It seems like it was 5 minutes ago that I was elatedly calling my friend Sarah to tell her that I had mastered the front to back carry switch while still wearing the carrier- and yet somehow, my kids are 4, 6 and 8 and we aren’t even babywearing anymore. Before I had kids you probably couldn’t have gotten me to consider that babywearing is good for everyone – the adult wearing the baby, and of course the baby…it offers so much benefit for the baby but really, it’s just as good emotionally for the adult who’s snuggling that sweet baby.  My only regret? I can’t find a single photo of me babywearing any of my kids.

Today, my baby shower go to gift?  The baby carrier the mom has chosen to register for, or I get her one of my favorite carriers, the Boba Carrier 3G.  (Which was passed along to my friend Carey, who has since passed it along to another friend).

Why the Boba?  Boba understands that parents want to have the freedom to move and explore but still bond with their babies.  Robert and Elizabeth Antunovic, creators of Boba, came up with the first Boba product together, and it was designed so that they could travel with their children while bonding.  Through the years they have stayed true to their roots and have expanded their product line to include more of the same high quality, well thought out products that encourage freedom and bonding.  They have a wrap- which was my favorite method of babywearing for about the first 6-7 months, and they have carriers that will hold kids all the way up to 45 lbs.  The carriers are ergonomic in design (and you do NOT want a baby carrier that’s going to hurt your back, I promise), and have many adjustible functions that allow a really custom fit to make you and your little one comfortable.  There are so many colors and patterns to choose from, as well as organic options, so you can likely find one that fits your style and preference.

The first time I used my Boba, I had my son on my back as my daughter and I had adventures with the MOMS club at a local park.  He happily slept for almost 3 hours (unheard of, because this boy never napped!) and I was confident he was safe, secure and comfortable.  Not once did MY back hurt. We had a wonderful day and he was such a happy guy because he had a really great nap!

 

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Boba. The opinions and text are all mine.