How to Prep for Your Overnight Babysitter #myeveryday

In college and for a few years after, I did a lot of babysitting to supplement my (low) income.  Since I was over 22 and had my own vehicle, I quickly became a hot commodity in my sisters’ circles of friends, and had a fairly steady stream of overnights, weekends, and even a few weeks where I would watch kids while the parents were away. I learned a lot about what helped and didn’t as the sitter, and over time, kind of came into a few specific requests that seemed to really work out well. We’re going on a trip next week (first time without the kids) and one of my nieces will be staying with the kids- so the table has turned, so to speak.

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How to Prep Your Overnight Babysitter

1. Emergency Medical Information

Write a letter to whom it may concern and give the sitter permission to obtain medical treatment for your child(ren). Sign and date it.  Include a copy of both sides of their insurance card(s) and tuck them into an envelope.  Seal this envelope, label it “In case of medical need” and hang it in a conspicuous place on the fridge. Will they need it?  Likely not.  But if something were to happen, it’s right there, an easy grab on the way out the door.  No looking, no searching.  While I’m confident most facilities would treat a child with an emergency, if there’s any way it could be a smoother process, wouldn’t you want to have the info at hand?

2. Write down ALL allergies, sensitivities and food issues.

This can go into the letter with the medical consent, but it’s also to help remind your chosen caregiver what your kid(s) can/cannot eat, drink, etc.  Maybe you’re reading this thinking I’m crazy because who in their right mind would hire someone who doesn’t already know their kids well enough to know that information? But honestly? People forget.  We’re human. We have good friends and their daughter cannot have peas, she’s very allergic.  And yet every year I offer her sugar snap peas from my garden somehow (hoping this is the year I don’t…) and she laughs at me and reminds me she cannot have them.  It’s not really funny though, but I KNOW her and sometimes, when it’s not something you live with day to day, it’s easy to forget or have things slip your mind.  Better safe than sorry.

Plus, if you have a kid who really cannot have any sugar past 6pm because they’ll be bouncing off the walls for the next four hours, that’s probably something you want to make sure a caregiver is fully aware of.  They might think they’re being nice giving a special treat during a movie and end up not knowing what is going on!

3. Places to go

If your kids are of school age, or have activities at certain times or places, have them all written down for your sitter.  No one knows your routine like you do, and it’s just easier for all if you write it down. Even if they’ve been there once or twice with you on a previous occasion, give the address and name.

Example: 

Friday: Kids get up for school about 7.  All need breakfast, a snack to pack for school, and since it’s pizza on Fridays, they’ll all want to buy hot lunch (Make a note if they’ll need to send lunch money in). Kids need to be out the door waiting for the bus by 8:12.

Kids are done school at 3:25. Bus will drop them off between 3:40 and 3:50 and the bus driver needs to see you before she’ll let them off the bus.

Kid 1 has a baseball game at 5:30, his Coach will pick him up at 5:15. His cell number is 111-222-3333 and his name is Coach Lastname. Please be sure kid 1 has baseball gear, a full water bottle, and his hat.  The coach will bring him home after the game, and they usually last about 90 minutes.  (This way, they can know about when to expect your child to be dropped off, or know when to pick them up)

Saturday:

Kid 2 has tball from 10-1130 at the Grassy Park at 123 Street Name.  She’ll need her glove, hat, team shirt and water bottle.  Please be sure to put sunscreen on her as there’s no shade.  My friend Sue will pick her up at 9:45 and drop her off after the game ends. Her number is 234-567-8910.  She did mention she may have Kid 2 over for a playdate after practice but she will call and update you.

Monday: School day: up at 7, same as Friday morning schedule.  Kids are a pickup on Mondays, so you will need to arrive at the school parking lot by 3:15 and head in to sign them out.  The school address is (address here). You’ll head right over to gymnastics, which is at (gymnastics address).  Kid 2 has her class at 3:55 and Kid 1 has his at 4:30.  He can do homework before his class and she can work on hers when hers is finished. Kid 3 will work on homework or hang out with other siblings.

 

It’s nice to also include the address of your school or activity so that just in case something changes, your sitter knows exactly where to be and when.

4. Comfort

If it’s your first time or your twentieth time, you being away for a few days or even a week can be upsetting for your kids, no matter what age they are. Give your caregiver some guidance as to what helps calm your child or comfort them… again, even if it’s a family member coming to stay, they likely haven’t lived in your home before, and may not know everything about your child(ren).  Taking a few minutes to get that down on paper could be the difference between a really tough day for your kid and for your sitter vs. a sort of rough day that may turn out ok.

5. Money.

Don’t leave a sitter with no funds.  It doesn’t mean they have to keep all of your money, but money for incidentals, take out, delivery or even just gas money is good to leave.  Also just in case of emergency money is nice….for a copay, etc.  I would not want to put someone in the position of having to pay out of their own pocket for something for my child like that, so I’d prefer to leave a caregiver with money.

What we are planning to do is to add funds to a  Kaiku prepaid card to leave for my niece. We can load it with, say, $300 and that way, we know that if anything comes up, or she is not wanting to cook or things get hectic (it happens!!) she has money to use. This way, there’s no risk of cash being misplaced, she can tuck it right into her wallet, and if need be, I can actually add more funds remotely if need be. It can also double as a way for her to manage funds.

With the Kaiku Prepaid card, there are no activation fees, usage fees, card declined fees and currency conversion fees. You sign up, choose your card color (I went as close to pink as I was able to) and once it arrives in your mailbox, you activate and add funds.  Easy, peasy. I can leave a sum of money that’s safe and secure for use while we’re away, and know that if something comes up that my caregiver has access to a way to pay for it. THERE ARE NO ACTIVATION FEES, NO CARD DECLINED FEES, AND NO CURRENCY CONVERSION FEES…so you know up front what will be covered and what won’t.

kaiku colors

Plus, she can keep it to use afterwards, or we can continue to use it if we want for our own use. It’s a great tool for younger (and older) folks to learn a bit about money management and how credit cards work- although there’s not a credit limit, because you’ve prepaid. So if you try to overspend, your card won’t work- but you’re not building debt. It’s, in my opinion, a great way to start teaching about how to use a credit card and be mindful of spending. Snapping a photo of a paycheck and uploading to Kaiku’s app is how easy adding funds is to this card.

THE KAIKU CARD OFFERS SIMPLICITY. There are only two fees: a low monthly maintenance fee and an out-of-network ATM fee. If you avoid out-of-network ATMS then it’s just $3 a month – and that’s easy to do, since this card may be used at any of the 55,000 Allpoint surcharge-free ATMs worldwide.
Just a note- if you are using Kaiku to help teach your kids about how to manage money, there’s a cool new feature to the Kaiku mobile app the “Funds-ometer,” which simply tracks card users’ spending and compares it to their average over the past 60 days in non-essential categories, like eating out and entertainment. Over time, you can start to see your spending habits and learn from that information as the parent of a card user, or even for yourself (I wonder what would show for coffee stops while I’m doing errands…or maybe I’m better not knowing!!)

Leaving your kid(s) with an overnight babysitter isn’t for all of us. And that’s ok.  But for those of us who find that we need to or just want to (and that’s ok too!), taking some time to follow these steps can help you to make sure that everyone knows where and when they need to be, and that they have assistance should an emergency arise.
Thank you to Kaiku for inspiring this post with the fabulous Unicorn Pink card sent. Opinions are my own.

10 Tips for Planning the Perfect Children’s Birthday Party #TimeforHoodsie

Children’s birthday parties are the perfect time to make memories and celebrate another year of your child growing older. Creating a birthday party that is both memorable and fun can be easy when you give these 10 tips for planning the perfect children’s birthday party a try. The key to a great party is keeping it simple and of course having as much fun as you can. Pair these must haves with Hoodsie Cups and you have the perfect recipe for birthday party success. Why Hoodsie Cups?  Seriously, I think every single birthday party I attended (or class party at school) had Hoodsie Cups.  All of them.  The birthday song would be sung, the cake was cut…and it was ON when the that bag with the 2 stacks of those magical little white cups with red polka dots came out.  Party time!

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Here are some helpful tips to help you plan a birthday party your child will always remember.

1. Bring children in on the planning.

Adults tend to want to control things, but a children’s birthday party is the perfect time to let loose. Let the child give some feedback on what they want and what seems like fun to them. They will enjoy being a part of the planning process. A friend of mine was planning this amazing themed party for her son last year and he told her what he wanted most was to run around his favorite playground and have birthday cake with his buddies.  She saved a ton of money and EVERYONE had an amazing time.

2. Appeal to the senses.

Kids love using their senses to explore. Provide them a chance to use all their senses. Music appeals to hearing, decorations to sight, and of course cake and Hoodsie Cups for taste- and with 3 oz of half chocolate and half vanilla ice cream, how can you go wrong?   Have crafts for them to enjoy the sense of touch as well! Kids are all crazy about Kinetic Sand right now-make your own!

hoodsie-cups

3. Make your own décor.

Birthday party décor doesn’t have to be pricey. Try some colorful balloons and let children design the rest. Make your own signs, banners, and centerpieces using dollar store crafting supplies. Use the balloons as party favors, and you have less mess to clean up when you are done!  Tie a simple treat onto the string and your mess leaves with the party favor. Use things like themed cupcake wrappers to portion food into serving sizes- a little bit of them can make a big impression with attention to detail like that!

4. Don’t forget the music!

Turn to Pandora or another free music station to set the tone of the party. Choose from one of the many family friendly children’s music stations so you have the perfect backdrop for your bash.

5. Opt for self serve snacks.

Don’t get so fancy with food that children can’t feed themselves. Provide a buffet of hands on snacks and foods that are easy to grab and go. Individual cups of veggies and dip?  Yes, please. Fruit kebabs on a stick?  Absolutely. Hoodsie Cups help you avoid the hassle of scooping out ice cream and instead give kids the chance to grab their own dessert whenever they are ready…and they are just the right serving size (3 oz) for kiddos.

hoodsie-enjoyment

6. Don’t forget the games.

Kids love birthday party games. Opt for easy and old fashion games such as musical chairs so kids have the chance to get active and have some fun! If it’s summer, set out a few buckets and a whole bunch of squirt guns! Pop some black cutout circles onto a few rolls of upright paper towel rolls and go snowman bowling… simple can be just as much fun as anything else!

7. Let the children provide the entertainment.

Have the children do a talent show or dress up and do a fashion show or skits for entertainment. Chances are they will love the chance to get creative and make each other laugh.

8. Provide activity stations.

Provide simple activity stations that include things like crafts, games, and snacks that children can rotate among. This will keep them busy and keep boredom from setting in. Crafts can also double as the take home favor, so you’re getting a two-fer that way.  Set out materials to make Kinetic Sand- with several color options, kids can make their own color sand and bring it home to play with later.  Feeling industrious?  Make cute containers for kids to package their sand in.

9. Don’t forget the party favors.

Hit up the dollar store for simple party favors that children can take home. Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and small toys are all affordable and practical options.  Or, as I mentioned above, give each guest a balloon as their favor- you can even attach a small trinket to the balloon with their name on it.  Having a summer party? Tie a small water gun to the balloon.  Double duty! Look at the craft ideas you have for the party- if the kids are painting bird houses, that’s absolutely a great favor!

10. Keep clean up simple.

You hate to have a huge mess when everyone leaves. Put food and drink out in single serving sizes- less waste. Opt for disposable party products and keep large trash bags on hand so clean up is a breeze!

hoodsie-yum

 

See how simple throwing a children’s birthday party can be? Give these 10 party planning trips a try and you can plan a birthday party that won’t soon be forgotten!

 

I received compensation from Hood in exchange for writing this post. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

Mom clicks her way to a simpler day


A few weeks ago, I wrote about the clicks that help to get us through our day.  Seatbelts clicking, car seat buckles, doors closing, bells ringing, doors locking, they are all part of our routines, whether we think about them or not. Check out the cool infographic Lysol made compiling some of the clicks that a few other bloggers and I shared for how we keep our days running smoothly! You can download the Lysol_Click_Gel_InfoGraphic for yourself- I find it’s got some great reminders for ME just how many things I do accomplish on days that I’m feeling like things aren’t flowing.  Thanks again to Lysol for inspiring these posts!

Lysol_Click_Gel_InfoGraphic

 

Lysol Click gel Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner is something I’ll be using for a long, long time. It’s really simple to use, it’s discreet, has a fun shape when applied, and, most importantly, freshens your bathroom without an overpowering cleaner smell.

lysol click box 3It’s easy to find, easy to use and works well… plus, it makes my day a little simpler, and helps me not have to clean toilet bowls quite so often- freeing me up for more pleasant tasks!!  You can find it just about anywhere cleaners are sold!

What are your clicks to make your day simpler?

 

 

Do You Know When Your Child Needs An Eye Exam?


As a parent, we have so many things we have to think about and remember when it comes to our kids. Sometimes we get so focused on the day to day activities, we do not always remember to follow through on other issues. When we have a healthy child, this is especially true for many parents.  Thank you to ThinkAboutYourEyes.com and MomitForward.com for including me in this sponsored campaign about children’s eye exams.

Do You Know When Your Child Needs An Eye Exam?

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We take for granted our kids are healthy until something happens that changes that whole idea. You probably take your children to their pediatrician once a year for their annual well check visit, right? Do you know your child needs an eye exam as part of their healthy checkup schedule? According to a National survey, only 2 in 5 or 40% of parents think their child needs an eye exam as part of their healthy checkup schedule. Interestingly enough, this is about half as many who think the same about an annual trip to the dentist (81%) or pediatrician (78%) are essential.

build a bear glasses

Not real glasses, but she hopes to one day “need” them…these belong to her stuffed animals.

If you have a child under the age of 6, they are more likely to miss out. I was surprised to learn that according to the American Optometric Association (AOA), more than a third of parents have ever taken their child to the eye doctor. Mine all went at one for the first time, and have had at least a checkup each since then.  My brother was born with Hyperplastic Vitreous and my mom always stressed how important eye exams are for kids. Because many parents are in the dark about when to take their child to see an eye doctor, 24% of them will wait until their child shows symptoms before seeking help.

think about eyes glasses exam

Image credit: ThinkAboutYourEyes.com

I was absolutely shocked to learn 84% of parents say they would not see an eye doctor when their child started complaining about their vision. What is actually recommended by the AOA is that parents need to take children who do not wear contacts or glasses to the eye doctor every two years. If you are unsure of where to find an eye doctor for your child, you can visit the Think About Your Eyes website. Another area of eye care parents should be aware of is protecting their children’s eyes from harmful UV rays. When you are out in the sun, your child should have their eyes protected. You can learn more about this issue on the Vision Council website.

think about eyes logo

Currently, Think About Your Eyes is offering a fantastic giveaway to one of my readers which includes a phenomenal gift package valued at $286. You can win:

Eye Care Essentials:

* Chelsea Morgan sunglasses from VisionWorks ($139)* Computer glasses from Chemistrie ($65)* Lens care kit from Hilco ($50)* Eyeglass case* Eyeglass holders* Cleaner and cloth

Eye health kit from Alcon ($32): * Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops* Systane Balance Lubricant Eye Drops* Systane Lid Wipes (for makeup removal)* Zaditor Eye Drops (allergy)

 

 

Have you ever….

This blog post is sponsored by Mott’s and SocialMoms. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.Having kids in activities often means we’re on the go. Like many moms, multitasking and running all over is kind of the norm for me!!  With social media being such a prominent part of our lives, there’s almost an unspoken pressure to do fun, perfect things all the time.  Pinterest especially puts a lot of pressure on things- we’ve all seen Pinterest fails (and I’ve shared many of my own)… and the reality is, most of us aren’t living Pin-worthy moments every single day of our lives. But that’s ok.  We’re not supposed to have perfectly picturesque moments every single day. We’re supposed to be living this life, no matter how messy it gets.

 

 

Sometimes, I’m more with it than others.  Other times, like this past Monday, well, notsomuch.  We were kind of rushing to get out of the school parking lot- the kids kept stopping to chat and my son’s attention was not on staying with mom to get to the car…

kids-right-van

…anyway, we got to the parking lot and I had to grab a box of cookies someone wanted to buy so as I was opening the back of the van, I was asking the kids to please get in and buckle quickly. We didn’t want to be late.
Mind you, there were at least 10 parents/kids/teachers in earshot…as well as the k-5 kids getting on buses…my oldest got in and buckled, super fast. As she was doing so, I got the back opened and was shocked to see an empty trunk- no cookies, and none of the normal 1293535626 random things that live inside of the Martin mobile.
We were were at the wrong van. By this time, people were smiling, and a few laughing.  We live in a small town, so they knew.  I knew. I was laughing, and my oldest was all kinds of confused.

have u ever

My van was 2 cars down.  It’s silver.

 

The one I opened was gold.

 

The poor woman who owns the gold van was so confused.  She also never leaves her vehicles unlocked, she said, but today she was running late.  Thankfully she has a good sense of humor and laughed when I told her she may not EVER want to leave her van unlocked, not with the Martins in town!

 

Do you know I had parked my van not 15 minutes prior to going back into the parking lot?  Yep.  In 15 minutes I was able to forget where I parked and apparently, what color the van I’ve driven for 6 years was.

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In my defense, both vans (hers was the same “era” and model as mine) had an X on the plates.

 

 

We all had a good laugh at ourselves on the way to gymnastics.  We even made it on time!  AND, the kids were happy to have their fave snacks to enjoy in the car on the way. I was happy to have a Mott’s Snack & Go pouches with me – a no-fuss snack so we were sure to not have any other reasons to laugh at ourselves later on that night.

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Did I mention we also had one of the kids’ friends with us?  Who’s mom is also a teacher at school?  I may be getting kudos for my awesome snack supplies on the go with the kids, but oh, will it take a while for me to live the whole wrong car thing down.

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We LOVE Mott’s Snack & Go applesauce pouches.  The kids love the yum, and how easy they are to open. I love that they are getting the same awesome Mott’s applesauce we love to give them at home on the go- with no muss, no fuss, with no sugar added! Plus, it’s fun to have food in a pouch. No matter which of the Snack & Go flavors you choose – Strawberry (my little one’s fave), Original (my oldest loves this one) and the Natural – you’ll know you are giving your kiddos an excellent source of vitamin C and a healthy snack*.

 

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*Mott’s® Snack & Go Strawberry, Natural and Original applesauce pouches are an excellent source of vitamin C. Mott’s® Snack & Go Strawberry and Natural applesauce pouches have no sugar added.

 

 

 

This blog post is sponsored by Mott’s and SocialMoms. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Six Road Safety Tips For Kids #SaveKidsLives #Safies

As a parent of  elementary school kids, I look back on when mine were babies and I have to giggle. When the kids were babies, we took such extreme care to be sure they were safe. If we only knew then what we know now! Keeping a baby safe is a piece of cake compared to keeping older kids safe. Once these kiddos begin to walk, their entire safety net grows like a weed! With an average of one pedestrian being killed every two hours and one being injured every 7 minutes, road safety is an issue we should all be aware of. This post is brought to you by our friends at #SaveKidsLives.

Here are some road safety tips for kids:

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  • Age: Kids under the age of 10 are more impulsive than those older than 10. Be sure to keep an extra eye on these younger kids when it comes to road safety.
  • Eyes and Ears: No matter your age, everyone needs to not only look both ways, but keep an ear out for nearby traffic.
  • Neighborhood: How walkable is your neighborhood? Take a walk with your partner and make sure your neighborhood is easy to navigate, especially for younger kids. Once you have deemed it safe, take the whole family on a walk!
  • Direction: Always walk in the opposite direction when walking. This way you can see the cars coming toward you. Never turn your back on traffic. Remember many children are too short for a driver to see them until it is too late, therefore always walk with your children.
  • Walk, Not Run: Never ever run in or near traffic. This is just setting you up for an accident.
  • Clothing: When walking or riding bikes at or near dusk, be sure to wear bright, and preferable reflective clothing.

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Because more than 500 children die every day in traffic accidents worldwide every year, it is crucial families practice road safety. The #SaveKidsLives partnership program was designed to get teachers and parents involved in promoting global road safety. This comes in light of the Third UN Global Road Safety Week, May 4—10. One way parents and teachers can show support is by signing of the Child Declaration for Global Road Safety. This should be partnered with families or students and teachers taking #Safies.

How will you help to #savekidslives #safie #selfie # client @safekidsworldwide find out how to help #ontheblog

A photo posted by Brett Martin (@brettbmartin) on


If everyone who takes their #Safies shares them on social media, the goal is to raise awareness and cut the number of fatalities in half. Scholastic and Safe Kids Worldwide are dedicated to making it safer for kids who are on the road. You too can show your support by taking a #Safie like my family did and share it on your social media.  This Declaration is a call for action to mark The UN Global Road Safety Week in May 2015. It also urges world leaders to include a target to halve road traffic fatalities globally in the Post-2015 Development Goals, so that kids everywhere can be kept safe

 

Feeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby Monitor

As a parent I think we’ve all had many moments where we wish we could see what was going on in the other room, have eyes in the backs of our heads, or be more than one place at a time.  I know with three little boys in the house I would never get anything accomplished if I had to run from room to room watching their every move.

My husband’s oldest is turning 24 next month and our youngest is just 15 months, with several children in between.  We’ve seen just about every type of baby monitor there is and tried many of them as well as gone without a monitor of any kind.  The monitors available today are a totally different animal than those available 24 years ago.  The latest in the monitor craze is the Wi-Fi monitor and there’s a lot of talk about them both good and bad.  One of the biggest things buzzing about Wi-Fi monitors is security.  Security?  Isn’t a monitor suppose to make you feel more secure?  Knowing that your child is safely sleeping, why he’s crying in the other room, or what that unexpected silence means (usually in our house it means mischief) are all ways we can feel we’re doing our best to make sure our family is safe and secure.  That isn’t the security worry with these monitors though.  If you haven’t seen it in the news or on social media, the worry is that these monitors can be hacked and let strangers into your home, invading your privacy and leaving you and your family feeling violated.  We recently decided to give one a try and after doing our homework we feel really good about the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera. #client

Feeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby MonitorFeeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby Monitor

Feeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby Monitor

Wi-Fi monitors like the D-Link DCS-855L work by communicating through a wireless connection to your router that you’re able to access from an app installed on your smartphone, tablet, or other device.  When setting up a monitor like this you’re prompted to create an a user name, camera name, password, and other account specific information.  Just like any account you create whether it is on your personal computer, at the local bank, or online it is important to choose unique user names and passwords that would be difficult for others to expect or guess.  Never, NEVER EVER use the defaults for passwords or user names.  In all the horror stories of Wi-Fi monitors being hacked and strangers spying through these monitors, secure user names and passwords were not used and often default settings were left on the units.  Protecting your online security and identity is important all the time and for all accounts!

Once you’re past the worries of your baby camera being accessed by a stranger you’re going to love all that a Wi-Fi monitor can offer.  The D-Link camera we have is used with a free app that allows me to check on my littles from a different room in the house, from the yard, or from the road if I’m having a mommy moment where I’m really missing them and wanting to check in on them.  We don’t leave our little guys with a sitter often so when we do it sure is nice to still get to peak in and make sure they are doing well.

Feeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby MonitorFeeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby Monitor

In addition to monitoring what and how my children are doing, I can monitor the temp in the room as well as sound and motion.  I can take snap shots of what I see on my smartphone screen.  I can talk to them through the app and they can here me through the camera.  This has helped me to soothe them when I can’t get to them quick enough!  I can also use the app to play lullabies, music, or personalized messages.  There is an SD card slot inside the camera so I can record my guys favorite songs and even a good night message or story.  Once it’s in the camera I can choose what to play from the app.

Feeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby MonitorFeeling Secure With a Wi-Fi Baby Monitor

I’ve had other monitors, even really great video monitors but I love that there is no limit to the range of a Wi-Fi monitor.  I can be anywhere and see and hear my littles as if I was right there!  I love the clear picture, that the camera can tilt and pan so I can view a bigger area, and I love the added features that our D-Link baby camera offers.

Have you tried or would your try a Wi-Fi baby camera?

Being a prepared mom #MomsFirst

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pampers. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I was an expectant mom for the first time, I read anything and everything. I joined forums. I educated myself (ad nauseum). I was prepared

Then the baby was actually outside of my body and I realized, I wasn’t prepared. Not at all.  Even the moment I heard that first sound she made- I wasn’t at all prepared for the depth of love that came simply because she existed. I’d already loved her every moment she was inside of me, but that love grew instantly as I heard her first sounds, saw her for the first time…there’s nothing that can prepare you for that.  When you watch the videos- I noticed Morgan said the same thing.  It’s just amazing. Hearing a new mom share that sentiment and seeing how powerful her reaction was, it brought me right back to those early moments.   

Being a first time Mom can be both exciting and nerve-racking. The uncertain and anxious emotions are something every expecting mother encounters. Visit Walmart online and listen to stories, tips and advice from first time moms, experienced moms and expecting moms.

Walmart is hosting a web series, brought to you by Pampers Swaddlers, called #MomsFirst. It is an easy place to find helpful hints, great products and personal stories from moms like you. Do you have questions about traveling with your baby, bonding with your new baby or what products are best for your little one? Every mom has questions, regardless if it’s your first or fifth baby, and those can be answered here. It is always nice to have help with great information in one place especially when it’s designed specifically for moms, so experience what that’s like with Pampers Swaddler’s Moms First series at Walmart online.

I related most with Erin, the experienced mom, probably because of where I am in life. I’m past the baby/toddler diaper stages, but really, so much of the experiences are the same.  Juggling schedules, wondering how this affects one kid while doing something with another… 

..will being at sisters’ gymnastics classes and practices every week be a bad thing for him?

will being at brother’s swim meets and practices so often be a bad thing for her?

… it’s reassuring to know that so many other moms are feeling those things.  The happy, the sad, the questions, the answers, the worries, more. No matter if you are a newly expectant mom, or a veteran mom… chances are, someone somewhere has had the same feelings you have. Like Brittany said, you’re never going to be perfect (let’s all repeat that, because we won’t, and shouldn’t strive for perfection, because we’re human!), just do the best you can!

Find great Pampers deals at Walmart.com! That’s what our hospital used, and what so many moms have trusted for their babies’ diapers through the years. We still keep Pampers wipes around even without anyone in diapers- you just never know when someone will have a spill or an incident…they are one of the things we always have on hand!  See? I’m still prepared. 

I’ll just never be prepared.  With kids, things happen. Kids change. We change. Circumstances change.  We just need to do the best we can. 

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The Game of Life Game Inspires Career Choices in Kids

When I was a kid, one of my favorite times was family game night. I looked forward to the laughter and the good-natured competition. We would pit the boys against the girls or the adults versus the kids. Among the classic board games we played was The Game of Life game. I remember taking so long to choose if I wanted a boy and a girl baby or twin girls or twin boys that the family would tease me! Well, that tradition carries on in many families, and has done so for more than fifty years.Tracking Pixel Fast forward to modern day, and my own family carries on the family game night tradition, together, and we were recently given the opportunity to partner with Hasbro to give the newest, modern update to The Game of Life game a review. The family agrees that this game is STILL awesome and we love it!

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The Game of Life Game: My Dream Job

Now the latest generation of kids and their families can enjoy a new version of the classic game: The Game of Life game. I love that this game includes career cards that were inspired by kids, just like yours and mine! Among the career cards are Video Game Designer (which was the top pick among the kids polled) and Professional Athlete, which my son  is super interested in. My older daughter wants to be a Chef or a Fashion Designer.

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What is really nice is these cards are a gateway to opening conversations with your kids about what they want to be when they grow up. In addition to the careers my kids liked are: Singer, Secret Agent, Veterinarian, Teacher, Doctor, Scientist, Lawyer, Inventor, Race Car Driver, Dancer, Police Officer, and Firefighter.

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So, for instance, with my oldest, we were able to learn she has a passion for learning to cook and serve healthy and yummy food. She may want to open her own restaurant one day and be a head chef. My husband and I may consider enrolling her in cooking classes to let her follow that desire and see if it is a good fit for her. Can you imagine bearing able to learn at a younger age what your kids may want to choose for their career path as an adult? Imagine what a game changer this will be when deciding on college courses to take or job to apply for when your kid are old enough. I think it is just genius! Games have always been a great way to bring families together and the new career cards in The Game of Life game can help inspire those parent-kid conversations about what they want to be when they grow-up in a playful, casual way.

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Another great opportunity to start the conversation is “Take Your Sons and Daughters to work day” on April 23 and introduce them to what you do at work. These conversations can lead to job-shadowing opportunities, involvement in clubs or organizations that cater to their interests like a cooking class or baseball lessons, and eventually the pursuit of a higher-education degree in the topic somewhere down the road.

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You can find The Game of Life game where games are sold for $19.99. It’s great for ages 8+, 2-4 players.  When we have had 5 people wanting to play, we choose 1 person for the banker and giver of the cards!

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What are your favorite games to play for Family Game Night? 

 

 

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hasbro THE GAME OF LIFE.

Shortcuts for Moms #Motts


Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Mott’s via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Mott’s.

 

As parents, we all have our shortcuts we take, for good and for bad.  Our confessionals can be the cause of many a laughter-filled gathering.  I’ll even share one of mine- one that we got “away” with for 9 years…

 

We told the kids when the ice cream truck plays music, it means they are all sold out.  No more ice cream treats to buy.

This actually didn’t backfire until last spring when we were at a soccer game and parents on the other team had asked the truck driver to come back around when the game was to end.  (We’re in a fairly rural area, so trucks aren’t frequently around). Normally when kids ran to the truck, my kids would be like “they will be so sad there isn’t ice cream left,” and we’d be leaving already and not see.  And it isn’t that we didn’t want the kids to have ice cream (and honestly, often we did at home later… it’s just that we live on a busy road and we were afraid the kids would run to an ice cream truck and not stop to think about the road and the fib started as a way to keep them safe… but we didn’t ever correct it).

 

Thankfully, the kids were laughing at us being “busted” and all 3 enjoyed from the ice cream truck that day.

 

Confessions of parents. Real life parents who aren’t perfect. And realizing we don’t need to be, our kids don’t want us to be.

 

Shortcuts for Moms

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#1 A favorite– and it’s a big one- SEMI HOMEMADE.

I prefer most of our meals to be from scratch.  In a dream world, they’d be all natural and all organic, sourced from a local farmer.

But we don’t live in a dream world. We live in Connecticut. With the schedule we have, I’m all about balance. Are you making a soup?  Frozen veggies cook up in no time at all.

 

Need cupcakes for the bake sale? I’ve even bought cupcakes from the store and just done the icing and decorations myself. Homemade is nice but isn’t always practical.  Prioritize and figure out what works best for you.

 

#2 Cleaning doesn’t have to happen all at once.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It just has to happen.  My kids actually LIKE to help clean (when we ALL clean)…. But they’ve all been handed a cloth or baby wipe since they were toddlers to help out.  Our kids rinse the sink when they brush their teeth.  They understand that if they don’t, they’ll be cleaning the entire sink and counter later… so they get it.  A little effort now saves you more work later.

 

Let the cleaners work while you are away.  This is especially great for toilets, and even extra especially great if you have people in your house like I do that don’t seem to be able to get all of their body fluids to fit inside the hole in the toilet lid.

 

I usually squirt cleaner in the toilets right before I shower, and then don’t flush it down- whoever uses the bathroom next can flush.  That means within an hour or two, the bathroom smells pretty fresh and clean- AND you know the bowl had a good soak.

 

#3 Clean the tub/shower before and during your shower.  Yea, I said it.  I’m totally serious.  (This may not work if you are a bleach cleaner).  A typical shower time for me is like this:

Go in bathroom

Spray shower and tub with cleaner

Use toilet, flush

Squirt cleaner into toilet bowl, give a few good brush swirls, close lid.

Get in shower, wipe down walls and tub

Proceed with shower as normal

 

Now, you’ve gotten your bathroom “biggies” done and spent maybe 3 extra minutes doing it.

 

#4 If your kids really, really, really want to make cookies and you promised them but you aren’t feeling well and just.want.to.nap on the couch… pop into the store and grab the premade dough.  This way, you can give the kids (most of) the rein of making cookies, but in half the time, and you can get your head on the pillow that much sooner.  Everyone wins.

 

#5 Don’t go it alone.  Obviously if you have infants, they cannot help you to cut fruits or veggies and bag them.  But older kids?  Even little ones can put cut foods into baggies or containers with you, which means grab and go is simpler on busy mornings.

 

As the kids get older, teach them to use peelers and knives.  Obviously, supervise younger kids, but they are going to need to learn these life skills at some point, why not teach them while they are young and eager to help YOU?

 

#6 Prepackaged food is NOT the enemy. One of my secret weapons that’s almost always in my bag and/or van are applesauce pouches.

We make a lot of applesauce here. It’s mostly so food doesn’t waste, because we have apple trees, with apples= need to use it up.

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But my kids love Mott’s® Snack & Go applesauce pouches.  I’ve learned the hard way at least 11 times that whatever containers we own or will find in a store just don’t store applesauce well and it WILL explode all over the kid who brought it.  Maybe their neighbor.
So we do the fun pouches.  The kids think it’s just easy to open.  I know better.  It’s less mess for me to clean up. They don’t pop in a bag, they don’t explode when you open them.  It’s a universal win! They can be eaten at any temp (well, frozen is a tough one…) but you know they are having a healthy snack.  Period. Plus, they are an excellent source of Vitamin C.  That’s a win for all of us.

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Mott’s® Snack & Go is the nutritious applesauce kids love in a squeezable pouch they can take with them wherever they go. Mott’s is also the only applesauce brand with Box Tops for Education®, helping to support kids’ schools. Visit us on motts.com to learn more.

 

PS applesauce pouches are GREAT for camping. You can use them for baking and you can snack on them!

What are your mom or dad  shortcuts?!