Parenting can be tough.

Last week, my 6 year old came home from school and told me that a child in her class wrote “I hate you (name)” on the whiteboard for everyone to see.  She was very upset for her friend who’s name was on that whiteboard, almost in tears as we talked about how that must have made her feel.  It was interesting timing, given that the Children’s Message at church the day before was about how you need to be careful what you say or write, because you cannot ever UNsay or UNwrite it.

Mrs. R., the director of Children’s Ed at church, was the one who spoke with the children on Sunday.  She used a really great tool to help illustrate to the children what words can do once said or what words can mean once written.  She had one child squeeze out quite a bit of toothpaste onto a paper, and then asked another child to please put the toothpaste back in.  He kind of looked at her funny and said, “I can’t.”  Mrs. R. talked with the children about how our words, both written and spoken, can’t be undone once said, and even if we forgive someone, it’s hard to forget when unkind things are said to us.

When my daughter came home to share what had happened last week, we talked about what Mrs. R said in church, and about the toothpaste.  I honestly thought she understood. She really seemed to understand.

Until this morning, when I went to put something in her backpack for school and found this written in a notebook in her bag.

I asked her why she wrote this, and while she did make a few attempts to say that the child she wrote about really “made her mad” she had no answer for why she would write such a thing, especially knowing how it made her other friend feel.  I am not sure, and she couldn’t remember, WHEN it was she wrote this.  So perhaps she wrote it a long time ago, but maybe she wrote it this week.  I don’t know.  Would it make a difference?

What do you DO in situations like this?  I made her sit down and write I will not write mean things over and over and over again while I thought for a bit and tried to figure out what to say.  I’m still struggling with this, as is my husband.  We’re in new parenting territory and not sure what to say.  If you have a suggestion, please feel free to share.

How do you help your child understand what the impact of things like this are/can be?

Jenilee from Six in the Nest had a tough parenting situation this weekend too.  Check her story out!

8 Tips for Bringing Baby Swimming (#Giveaway)

Get more swimming in every Sam’s® Club Pack of Huggies®

Summer’s pretty much here (although today is definitely an exception in CT) and with summer comes lots and lots of water play for people of all ages, including babies.  Babies swimming need to have a diaper on, to contain any…um…messes they may produce while in the water.  No matter what kind of swim diaper you use, parents, PLEASE use one. They serve an important purpose.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s discuss some important things.  I know that you probably have chosen a super cute bathing suit for your little one, and probably some cute shoes to protect their little piggies from hot sand, concrete, etc…

But there ARE actually other things to consider when preparing to take your baby swimming.  It’s not just about looking adorable (they look adorable all of the time, I know. Trust me.  There’s not much cuter than some babies in little tiny swimsuits squirming around.)  but it’s also important to keep our little ones SAFE in the sun- both in and out of the water.

#1 SUNSCREEN.  Buy it, use it, use it again and then use it some more.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s.  I used sunTAN lotion.  The sun’s rays didn’t do so much damage to us as it will to our kids.  Protect their sensitive skin.  We only get one go with the skin thing, so let’s do what we can to protect it. (My helpful tip is to get into the habit in late spring of putting sunscreen on your kids while you get them dressed for the day- reapply as necessary but at least you’re off to a good start.  If you make it part of a routine, it may not bug them much).

#2 HATS Find a hat your baby will wear that keeps the sun out of their eyes.  We don’t like having the sun in our eyes, why would they?  Hats are also an adorable accessory.  If your child won’t keep a hat on like one of mine did…put the sunscreen right on their head (my kids were baldies).  Have you ever had a sunburn on your head?  It will drive you all kinds of crazy and be hot, itchy and painful.  No need to inflict that on the little ones.

#3 PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH and remember that #1 and #2 are just as important for mom and dad as they are for baby.  Modeling the right behaviors goes a very, very long way.  (Note to self- work on this).

#4 TOWELS Bring at least 2 towels for your little one.  Wet towels can be chilly and little ones don’t warm up as fast as we do.  Even if you just keep a smaller towel to dry them with, and wrap them in the larger one.

#5 BABY SPOT- Make sure wherever you go- pool, lake, ocean, beach, etc…bring  a large blanket for baby to play on, or a pack n play for them to hang out in – try to provide some shade, too.  An umbrella, placing their area under a tree are both great ways to do this.

#6 BABY TOYS– Listen, if you are at the beach, your baby is almost, 100% certain, going to eat some sand.  It’s kind of like a rite of passage.  But the sand may bore him or her after a few minutes, so be sure to grab some age-appropriate toys to keep your little one occupied.  A pail and some empty cups will occupy most kids for a very long time.

#7 BABY POWDER (and by powder I mean cornstarch) — this one is a BIG parenting secret.  (Look at me sharing these big secrets today!!)   Powder helps get wet sand off of your feet.  It makes the entire process of leaving the beach far easier.  I’m sure half of it will end up on the floor of your car, but I’ll let you solve that problem on your own.

#8 WATER- Just because baby is playing in and around water doesn’t mean s/he is getting enough hydration.  Be sure to keep those fluids coming all day long!! (this goes for parents, too)
Did you know that most pools and swimming facilities require the use of swim pants? If you plan on partaking in some swim time fun with your little one this spring & summer, pick up some Huggies® Little Swimmers at Sams® Club where you can get the lowest price.

Get more swimming in every Sams® Club Pack of Huggies® Little Swimmers: http://bit.ly/GQnBJT

 

Members saved up to 6.06 at Sams Club® [not on banners, email messaging, resource page] *Kimberly-Clark calculation based on a comparison of the average non-promoted price per unit of Huggies® Little Swimmers Disposable Swimpants vs. the average non-promoted retail price from a combination of Grocery, Drug & Mass outlets for 13 weeks ending 11/5/11.
sams club membership kleenex
One reader will win a one-year Sam’s®  Club Membership!
[click to continue…]

Purchase a Cuddle Bear Book & Plush to give a “Hug” to a Sick Child AND Help Fight Pediatric Cancer

This is a guest post from my friend Kelly.  She’s Jamie’s mom, Braeden and Dana’s mom, and I want to share her latest endeavor with you.
As a way to commemorate what would have been our Jamie’s 3rd birthday ( www.jamiesrun.org), our family is organizing a drive to donate copies of the precious book Cuddle Bear and matching Cuddle Bear plush toy to children who need a hug at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  What better time to kick it off than around National Brothers and Sisters Day (May 2).  The books and bears will bring comfort and smiles to children in the hospital today and help fund childhood cancer research at the same time.  This is another small way we are trying to live out our mission to help find cures for pediatric cancer and spread more of Jamie’s love.
Cuddle Bear is a heart warming and tender book, and Usborne Books & More donates a portion of the sales of each book and animal to the Scott Carter Foundation.  The foundation funds many childhood cancer research projects all over the country.  Just like pediatric cancer research done at CT Children’s, the research is used by pediatric oncologists all over the world, and could just be the research needed to heal a child you know with cancer.
If you are interested in donating a few dollars, a book, or toy, please let us know by May 28.  The total cost for a book or toy is $14.92.  Click this  link for more information on Cuddle Bear.
If you are interested in purchasing a book or toy for your family or to give to someone you know, you can do so from the following link: Cuddles for Children.  Or click on ‘Cuddles for Children’ on Kelly’s main page
You can have them sent wherever you’d like.
Thank you for your consideration.  If interested, please email us.
With much gratitude,
Kelly, Kurt, Braeden, and Dana

Can local honey help with seasonal allergies? #ClaritinMomCrew

If you have seasonal allergies, or have someone in your family who suffers from them, you’ve probably researched ways to help relieve allergy symptoms.  When it became apparent a few years ago that my little guy suffered from seasonal allergies, one of the first things I did was start researching effective remedies.  My kids are all very fair-skinned and the skin under his eyes turns almost blue during allergy season.  That’s his only visible symptom – at least physically speaking.  Unfortunately for him, his allergies cause behavior issues that make him act out of character.  It’s no fun for anyone.

One way that pops up time and time again is consuming local honey.  Why?  Well, basically, in my short and non scientific version of explanations, local honey is made from local bees.  Local bees carry local pollen.  The local honey has small amounts of the local pollen.  By consuming local honey on a regular basis, you are exposing yourself to the very allergens you are allergic to and building up an immunity.

Say what, now?

Yes.  I’m serious.

Exposing the person to the allergen in very small amounts can help build immunity.  Or eating the allergen.  But that doesn’t sound as good.

I believe in this theory.

More importantly, I practice this.  We are very fortunate that my uncle-in-law is a beekeeper…and likes to share his honey stores.  Every Christmas, we all get a jar of his honey.  He knows how much I go through each year and has started giving us larger jars, and more than one.  He even gives me the crystallized or granulated honey that looks kind of “ick”  but still has the wonderful goodness of honey- that’s the stuff I bake and cook with.

Mind you, this isn’t a miracle solution.  We still have allergy symptoms.  But honestly, there’s a very marked difference when we’re regularly consuming the local honey before and during allergy season compared to when we aren’t, or when I forget for several days in a row (I am human, right?).  The combination that’s working really well for us right now is a Children’s Claritin tab in the morning plus local honey a few times each day.

All of this leads me to believe that there is SOMETHING to the idea that consuming local honey helps to relieve (or at least diminish) seasonal allergies.

An added bonus to consuming local honey? You are supporting a local beekeeper!

I’m a Claritin Mom Crew member- so you’ll be finding some allergy posts from me throughout the year.  I’m trying to compile a list of suggestions and ideas of ways to help prevent and/or alleviate symptoms so if you have any suggestions to share, please let me know!! I will link to you and/or give you credit in my post, of course.

 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Rockstar releases “Lullaby Versions of The White Stripes” #Giveaway

Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star just released “Lullaby Versions of The White Stripes” offering instrumental lullaby versions of 12 favorite tracks.  This is one of the 67+ instrumental compilations TTLRS has done with lullaby versions of popular music.

I’m actually not familiar with The White Stripes, but looking around on the TTLRS site, there are many, many albums I’d like to purchase- for ME!!  Sometimes I like to have relaxing music on when I’m driving, or relaxing, and my youngest can’t really sleep without some kind of sounds in the background…why not have some fabulous tunes to fall asleep to instead of water sounds?  I love the variety TTLRS has- genre’s include today’s hot artists like Lady Gaga and Adele, Jam Bands like Dave Matthews, ABBA, Metallica– there’s a huge variety and I think that while the cute bears indicate that these titles are geared for the diaper crowd, they are also easily lent to uses like yoga, massage and really any time you want to chill and relax.  It’s always nice to exposue our little ones (and ourselves) to different genres of music!  Glee fans, check this out- I know a lot of my readers are Glee-ks!!

Lullaby Versions of The White Stripes
  1. Seven Nation Army
  2. We’re Going To Be Friends
  3. Fell in Love with a Girl
  4. Blue Orchid
  5. Steady As She Goes (Raconteurs)
  6. The Hardest Button to Button
  7. The Denial Twist
  8. You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)
  9. My Doorbell
  10. Icky Thump
  11. Hotel Yorba
  12. Hello Operator
Link to Lullaby Versions of The White Stripes on iTunes

Jason Mraz

 

A Beautiful Mess
I’m Yours
Sleeping to Dream
Lucky
Up
1000 Things
You and I Both
Sunshine Song
Life is Wonderful
I Won’t Give Up
I Melt With You (made famous by Modern English)
Details in the Fabric
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)

 

 

Michael Jackson

 

Man In The Mirror
The Way You Make Me Feel
Thriller
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
Black or White
Billie Jean
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
Beat It
I’ll Be There
ABC
Say Say Say

I love having MY favorite songs to listen to- old and new, in instrumental form. Sure, they are lullabies, but they are tunes we know and love, and we’ve been actually making up some words to go along with the music.  

One lucky reader will win a download of “Lullaby Versions of The White Stripes” AND another digital copy of any album on the TTLRS site! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Glad Black Bag Craft Blog Tour: turn trash to TREASURE!

The Glad Art Auction lasts from April 16th through April 26th, and there are some truly amazing works of art on there. I’m in love with the Chimpanzee art, perhaps inspired by my newfound love of chimpanzees!?  Be sure to check it out.  There are just a few days left.  Turning trash to treasure can be fun- and beautiful, in more ways than one!

Have you seen Glad’s latest campaign – The Wild Life?  So cool and so much fun!  Be sure to visit Facebook.com/Glad and watch as real life becomes the wild life with a unique family of six wildlife–each of whom inspired the Glad Black Bag art auction’s unique art.
You can create your own sharable trailers for a chance to win $25,000 and other prizes and coupons!

I love that Glad is focusing on turning trash to treasure- and in such a fun, positive way!We decided to do some recycled crafts of our own- although I remembered AFTER the recycling was picked up last weekend so we didn’t have as much material to go by as we might otherwise have, but the kids had a blast and they are always happy to use materials – any materials- that they are allowed to cut, glue or color.

Any blogger will have packing materials around- the shredded orange paper?  Straight from a box that arrived that morning!! (The extras went to preschool with my son today.  Shredded paper is all the rage in preK.)

Got some fabric scraps, bits of yarn, felt, almost-empty tubes of glitter glue? No problem! Cover the table with Glad bags and newspaper (easy clean up, although I totally forgot to grab a shot of the table with the Glad bags on it) and let the kids go to town. When tubes of glitter glue are too far down to squeeze out, I cut the ends off and the kids use paintbrushes to apply.  It’s a different way to experience the same medium, no waste, and a new way to use the same old stuff.

We do a lot of reduce, reuse, recycle in our home…it’s something we feel is very important and have worked hard to instill that importance in the kids.  We use plastic bottles to make bird feeders- and I found a really neat idea on pinterest we’re going to do in the gardens- making drip irrigation systems using plastic soda bottles.  My husband built each of the kids a small raised bed in the garden this year, and we’re working on the square foot gardening concept in those.  Each of their beds has 9 squares, so they’ll be learning a lot about watering, weeding, etc.  They helped build the boxes, which we used excess lumber from other projects on- more recycling.

What do YOU do with materials you don’t have use for anymore?  Do you donate them?  Throw them out?  Freecycle them?  Repurpose them?  This is something I want to do over the summer!

Adorable, fun, and another great way to keep trash OUT of our landfills!  Can’t you just see a whole tire “worm” for kids to climb on?



Now, in cleaning all of the craft project mess up, and also an unfortunate incident I had over the weekend….Glad Black Bags have come to my rescue.  These are my favorite trash bags!!    So strong, so flexible- and trust me- they don’t rip.  I tried.  Well, I can’t say I tried- but oh goodness me.  I better just tell you the whole story.

See, my van is perpetually dirty.  3 kids, crumbs, dirt…you know.  A mom van.  So I was cleaning it out on Saturday, but our shopvac cord didnt’ reach to the van.  So Mr. Bargains helpfully used his handy retractable extension cord to get me some power.  Being awesome like I am, I was putting things away after finishing the big clean, and…well, while retracting the cord, it kind of whacked my elbow- surprising me, and I let go.  The housing for the cord is mounted about 8 inches below a large flourescent light.

Retractable extension cords should not be mounted anywhere near lights.  Particularly when you are married to someone clumsy like me.

Glad Black Bags came to the rescue in my 3 hour cleanup that commenced immediately after this photo was taken.

I was really nervous about the cleanup- which of course, the light shattered EVERYWHERE, and since my husband’s been doing some projects, there were things out all over the place…which means glass was in eleventy million places. Glass tends to poke through bags and stuff, making the risk of cuts and glass slivers worse and worse…I did double bag the glass mess, just in case,

 

As you can see, Glad bags are excellent to contain any trash, any time- no matter what the materials or how much. I love them, and I’m sold.  Now if they’d only come in pink….

 

 

 

 

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Glad Black Bag and received a Glad Black Bag product, a craft kit and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Suzy Sirloin offers natural, hormone free beef

With all of the press surrounding beef lately, it’s more important to me than ever to find the safest, most natural products to feed my family.  The “pink slime” just grosses me out, and left us feeling like we’d been failing our family.  It was perfect timing when Suzy Sirloin reached out to ask if we’d like to try some of their lean, natural meats- all of which were raised without antibiotics or added hormones.  Refreshing, right?  American raised beef, pork, lamb and veal.

“Suzy” is fifth generation member of the Strassburger family, who has been delivering top quality prime and aged beef to the best steakhouses in the country.  I like knowing that this brand has been around a very long time, know their product and know their customers.

My beef arrived in a huge box.  I actually called Jenni to say “I just got a box of beef in the mail!” because really, when else do you get the chance to say that?  Beef.  In the mail.  What was inside?  Ground beef, meatloaf mix, sliders and steaks.  Let me tell you, we enjoyed every single BITE of these delicious meats Suzy Sirloin sent to us!

 

All Natural Premium Ground Beef is 90% lean 10% fat.  My family loves burgers, and the sliders that we got were a huge hit.  I’m not sure my kids have actually had sliders before this so it was a novelty for them- and they were excited about  having burgers that were just the right size for their hands!   Of course, as you can see by the photos below, the sliders are huge- VERY generous portions.  Next time we order some of these we’ll probably halve the sliders so the kids can hold onto them easier- plus we’ll get double bang for our buck!

We got to to try this in both sliders and in ground beef.  Wonderful.  It was so nice knowing what I was feeding my family was natural, hormone free beef.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Natural Ribeye Steaks were delicious- we simply put some salt and a bit of pepper on them and grilled them.  My kids LOVE steak so I knew this would be a big hit- and steak is a treat for us.  We made it a simple, simple meal with the steaks, salads and grilled asparagus.  Fantabulous.

 

 

 

 

The Gourmet Meatloaf & Meatball Mix offers a nice blend of beef, pork and veal.  I’m not sure if you know this but one of my family’s favorite recipes is in the Baby Brezza cookbook and it was so, so nice to have some natural meatloaf mix to use for our meatloaf and meatballs this month!

 

 

 

 

Suzy Sirloin offers quality, American beef, lamb and pork products that you can rest assured are top notch.  A sampler box from Suzy Sirloin would be a wonderful gift for anyone- including yourself!!  They will cost a bit more than the supermarket but you will know what is – or rather, what isn’t – in your beef when you purchase.

You can find Suzy Sirloin on both Facebook and Twitter.  Be sure to keep in touch- fans and followers often find exclusive deals and discounts for many brands!

 

I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own.

A decision almost every parent must face: Stay at Home, Work from Home or Work Outside the Home

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a mom.  It’s just something I knew, deep down, that I wanted.  I also knew I wanted a LOT of kids, although thankfully for my sanity, God gave me the number of kids I’m meant to have, and am able to handle (most of the time, anyway…).   Being the youngest of 8 kids, most of whom are at least 15 years older than I am meant that I was exposed to marriages and families at a younger age than many.  I have siblings with a parent home full time, siblings with a parent working from home full time, and siblings with a parent working out of the home full time- or both parents working out of the home full time.  It helped me to see and observe each situation and helped me to know that if we were able to swing things, I’d want to be home full time with my children.  I wanted to be a soccer mom driving a minivan.  Different combinations worked in all of their families but I knew what I wanted for my own one day.

Thankfully, when I met my husband, he wanted for me to be home with the kids when they were young as well.   We saved and saved what we could while I was pregnant with our oldest and still working.  I wanted to be a stay home mom and that was the goal.

Of course, wouldn’t you know it, I started working part time for our town, taking meeting minutes for some of the Boards and Commissions in town.  Not a ton of money, but meetings occur in the evening, often after the kids are in bed, and we wouldn’t need to pay for any kind of childcare.  Win!  Already, within 1 year of being a stay home mom, I was working again….if only part time.  I have a few other things I do part time, as well…I kind of stumbled upon the Board Clerk job, after hearing about it from a dear friend, although there are so many websites out there that offer ways to find work either in or outside of the home, much like www.workingmums.co.uk and other sites. I haven’t looked a lot but I believe there are sites to help folks like you and me to find work to do from home!

Two years ago, This Mama Loves Her Bargains was born.  This was never something I had imagined would become what it has- I have had opportunities and experiences I’d never have had otherwise, and I have been able to help others along the way.  What an amazing gift and blessing my site has become- and isn’t it funny that me, the girl who wanted to be a stay home mommy, went from working part time out of the home to working from home- with my OWN business!?  Apparently, I want to be home with my kids full time but in a working capacity.  Who knew?  Someone sure did!

I want to be clear on something- this is in no way, shape nor form saying that staying home or not is best for anyone- I don’t believe there are many black and white issues with parents working and childcare situations. I think you have to do the best you can with what you have and do what is best for your family.  I find it funny that I always thought I would be one way, and as it turns out, God had other plans for me to do something different.

How about you?  Did you always have a feeling about what you wanted to be when you “grew up”?  Have your feelngs and dreams changed?  Do you think there is one “right” answer to staying home/working out of the home?

Ultimate Baby Shower $2500 Baby Nursery #Giveaway

Having a baby means buying or acquiring lots of baby necessities.  The crib, a place to put their clothing, something for them to wear, the cost can rise very high, very quickly.  A great group of bloggers and companies have come together to give away…everything!

Just check out this prize list!

 

  • Nursery Furniture: Crib and Dresser- Sponsored by your blogger hosts!
  • Crib Bedding- Sponsored by your blogger hosts!
  • High Chair- Sponsored by Joovy
  • Stroller- Sponsored by Joovy
  • Play Yard- Sponsored by Joovy
  • Hand Made Quilt- Sponsored by Baby by Krista
  • $200 Gift Certificate for Organic Baby Clothing- Sponsored by Baby Essentials
  • $200 Gift Certificate for Organic Bathing Products- Sponsored by Happy Future USA
  • 100 Keepsake Favor clips and Bows- Sponsored by Keepsake Bows
  • Loaded Gift Basket- Sponsored by Bea’s Gift Baskets
  • Pampers Premium Diaper Cake- Sponsored by Cute-Ecakes

 

Overall Retail Value: $2500.00!!!

Best part- you have so many ways to enter! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

Rafflecopter Code


a Rafflecopter giveaway