Swimming Pool Safety PSA #PoolSafely

Today I’m going to talk a little about swimming pool safety.  Part of owning a swimming pool includes safety, and there are some things that folks often overlook or just don’t think much about.  Safety isn’t just about watching swimmers, not swimming alone, or not swimming while intoxicated (nor supervising swimmers while intoxicated).  Swimming pool safety encompasses the pool, the equipment and tools used for upkeep and maintenance of the pool, and also the area surrounding the pool.

swimming pool safety psa

I hate to even be writing this post but one of my son’s little buddies (we’ll call him P)  had a scary incident at his family members’ swimming pool and since I’ve seen pool hoses in water many times myself, I felt like I had to share.  This is P’s back not long after a pool hose suctioned onto his back. P is a great little swimmer, but at 5 1/2 simply isn’t strong enough to pull away from the suction of the pool hose.  Someone was vacuuming the pool and took the vacuum off the hose but left the hose in the pool while children were swimming.  I don’t know if you have ever felt the strength of the suction from a  pool hose, but it’s strong.  Really strong.  My husband was vacuuming behind our pool ladder earlier today and thinking of P, I put my hand in front of the hose end.  It took me some strength to pull my hand away.  I’m 39, and consider myself to be fairly strong.  P is 5.  By the grace of God, the hose was at the surface and the family he was staying with was able to grab him out of the water quickly.  He’s sore, shaken up, but he’s here. He’ll be fine.  They got lucky. swimming pool safety pool filter safety

For reference, this bruise/mark on P’s back is about 3 inches wide.  If you look closely you can see where the hose end actually was touching his back.  Please, please, do NOT let young children vacuum your pool.  Don’t even let children  into the pool if the hose is hooked up.

When you are finished vacuuming your pool, turn the hose off, and remove it from the pool immediately.  Don’t answer the door, don’t answer the phone, don’t leave it for later.  Take it out.   The suction is incredibly strong and bad things can and will happen.   P got very lucky, but much worse could have happened.  Public pools have to have covers on their filters to help prevent injuries like this.

Diane from Philzendia wrote about the importance of Pool Alarms in swimming pools.  We have an alarm on our pool.  It was one of the things we purchased for the pool and installed immediately.  I know many who have a pool, I don’t know many who have an alarm. Diane has some great thoughts about it.

Kecia from Southern Girl Ramblings wrote some helpful tips about Pool Safety for Kids and includes some great ideas.  Swimming in pools can be oh-so-much fun and a great way to play, bond and get some exercise for all ages- but only when done safely. One of my favorite swimming pool safety tips that Kecia touched on was watching children.  I can’t say it enough- it takes just a second for something to go wrong.  Don’t leave kids unattended.  Be there.  Be present. Be watching.

Get some great pool safety information, printouts and brochures from PoolSafely.gov.  It could save a life.


Why potty training isn’t fun #PullUpsPottyBreak #ad

This is a sponsored post about potty training and why it isn’t fun written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups. If there’s one part of parenting I’d honestly outsource if I could, it would be potty training.  It’s been one of my least favorite activities to date, and quite honestly, my kids kind of did a lot on their own and I didn’t have to do much.  I hate it.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the not using of the diapers, but the potty training process? Argh.  Not fun.  So grab a (potty seat), maybe a beverage, and come here my woes.

There are 3 main situations which make me loathe potty training.

Adult: Let’s try to use the potty!

Child: No. (I don’t have to, don’t wanna, you can insert whatever refusal statement you’d like)

Adult: It’s been a while (feeling that fear creep in, will they make it? Will there be an accident? Did I pack extra undies/shorts/pants/dress?)


Adult: *thinking maybe they can wait*

Repeat conversation and the silly thought about the waiting 3-15 times.

Child: I peed. Onna floor.

OR: Once they are GOOD at going potty, it’s like small children can detect any toilet within a 5 mile radius, and insist on using every.single.one, 99 times out of 100 not actually doing any business but show business on said toilets.  It’s like hey! I want to sit on all of the toilets. ALL OF THE TOILETS! I HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW!!

And yet, when they finally do actually need to go, we don’t always believe them, because they’ve sat on 32 of them without going more than a droplet…and then we find ourselves cleaning up an accident.  Again.

what i hate about potty training #pullupspottybreak

Lastly, there’s also the “I can’t like this potty” or the “This potty is too big, too small, too loud, doesn’t have my favorite books and why can’t I take off all my clothes to use this potty like at home?” syndrome.  Which adds some new and fun twists to the mix, if you’re already finding the learning to use the potty thing as special as I do.
Some kids are scared to not use their diaper.  I guess it’s hard to blame them, it’s what they’ve done since they can remember, and not doing so has to be kind of daunting.  In all seriousness, we just have to find what works with our kids and run with it.  Kids aren’t going to WANT to stop doing this totally cool and fun and what-if-nothing-in-life-is-ever-this-fun-again game or toy they are using/doing to use the bathroom.  WE adults have to figure out what works and try to make it work with each kid and their personality.  Like snowflakes, no 2 kids are exactly alike,  of course, so what worked for kid 1 and 2 in all likelihood won’t be working for child 3.  It’s like a constant work in progress, my friends.  That’s the magic answer.  Find what works.  Do that.

huggies pullups boy sully

I do have one actual, genuine tip- when you do decide to go for it with underwear, use a timer.  One minute is often the difference between a tinkle on the potty and a pleasant surprise vs. a tinkle on the floor and a whole lot more laundry.  The timer doesn’t have to be for the child, and you don’t have to be rigid, but how many times as parents have we gone down to switch the laundry into the dryer and then realized that there were toys to be put away and oh! hey! I should get the Halloween decorations out and before we know it, 15 minutes have passed….and in potty training time, 15 minutes can be an eternity.  I’m finding the older I get and the longer I’m a mom the more I need a timer- for ME.  Some folks swear by putting their little ones on the toilet every 30 minutes for a few days.  That’s not me, but yay for those who have that attention span.

Really, after what seems like eleven long and painful years, you will get through the training, and your child will indeed go out into public with underpants on.  Before you know it, they’ll be telling you how much of a big kid they are before bed, and you’ll wish, just for a brief moment, that they weren’t quite so big.  So maybe now I should admit that it wasn’t all SO bad… I mean, we made it through, right?  She’s not even wearing her Sully Pull-Ups to bed every night at this point. We did it!  Well, truth be told, she did it.  I just kind of guided her along the way and tried to help her figure things out.  (At least she still needs me to put itchy cream on her bug bites, right?)

im a big girl mom #pullupspottybreak

Pull-Ups helps take the scare out of potty training by making it fun and easy with new Monsters U character training pants! You can help make potty training easier by staying consistent and using rituals like the potty break. Make it a game and ask your toddler, “What does a little monster take?”…“A Potty Break!”

Visit Pull-Ups.com and “like” Pull-Ups on Facebook for more potty training tips and resources.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups.

Polly Pocket Zipline Adventure Pool to the rescue!

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign with  Mom Central Consulting for Polly Pocket toys. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.  

steri strips on chin

It’s summer, it’s hot, my kids want to swim all day long.  We have a pool here at the house and we’re doing 6 weeks of lessons this year.  For my littlest one, this all came to a screeching halt on Wednesday night- she slipped in the shower and split her chin open on the tub.  She’s healing nicely and will have a thin scar under her chin, but we’re ok with that, really just relieved she didn’t do permanent damage to her jaw, teeth or cheeks (she cut the insides of her mouth up a lot as well).  What ISN’T going well is the “no swimming for 5 days” thing.  My little one adores the water.  She wants to be in it and she’s not really understanding that no swimming for 5 days really means NO swimming for 5 days.

Polly Pocket Zipline Adventure Pool has saved the day, my friends.  My little one  may not be able to swim but a fun new toy with tiny dolls and animal friends that also includes can include water? SCORE.   Polly, a puppy and a monkey can all take turns on the zipline, hanging in the hammock, sliding down the slide into the pool…and more.  Water play with dolls in a pool is a little less upsetting than no swimming at all for my girl, and I’m so thankful for this Zipline Adventure Pool set!

polly pocket zipline adventure pool

Why do we love Polly Pocket toys? They are tiny, they are fun, and several of the sets have little suction cups on the pieces so that  they stay in place.  They are small enough to easily pack for  a trip but big enough that 2-3 kids can play together and not be on top of one another. My kids love having the toys at their level, especially since they don’t seem to be where the cat can get ONTO them and knock them over like she does with everything else in the house.  I like that when we want to move the set or take it down to bring someplace , there won’t be damage to the wall or paint.  Parent friendly, house friendly, and kid friendly for sure! My kids love dramatic play and spend hours creating elaborate stories to act out with one another- often times, the Transformers guys come for lunch at Polly Pockets, and vice versa.  We’re equal opportunity toy players here. :)

Not only are these toys fun and make for great gifts, they are also on SALE right now on Amazon- and you can shop right here, without even leaving this page, to grab them from Amazon! 
Polly Pocket Zip ‘N Splash Playset:
Previously: $17.99
Now: $15.95
Polly Pocket Wall Party Tree House Playset:
Previously: $19.99
Now: $11.99
Polly Pocket Wall Party Ultimate All-in-One Playset:
Previously $74.99
Now: $47.99

Making home safe for baby (and kids…parents…pets) #HealthyBaby

This post about making home safe for baby is brought to you through my affiliation with The Motherhood. About 4 years ago I hosted a Healthy Baby Home Party here with some MOMS Club friends.  Last week, I attended another- virtual- Healthy Baby Home Party with Seventh Generation, Stonyfield and Healthy Child Healthy World, along with several other bloggers. I can’t say that everything I learned was fully new to me, but it was something I needed to hear. We all need to hear it. Do you know that there are over 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the US? Do you know how many laws there are in the US that require these chemicals have pre-market safety testing? NONE.

seventh generation products

Photo Credit: www.ayearwithmomanddad.com

There are over 1300 chemicals banned in Europe for personal products. In the US? 11. Not 1100. ELEVEN. There is a huge discord there. Science is showing almost daily what kind of effect these chemicals are having on our bodies- on our children’s bodies. This is not ok. We have to start educating ourselves and taking steps to get these chemicals OUT of our daily lives and away from our children.  Whether you have children or not, you can’t argue that their smaller bodies and less developed systems are more susceptible to these chemicals and effects from exposure.  They didn’t choose to allow those chemicals, and until they are old enough to learn about and speak for themselves, we have to be their voice and protect them.

Perhaps some of you are thinking, but what can I do? Our budget won’t allow for all organic foods and cleaners. It’s hard enough to parent without the guilt of the chemicals on my shoulders.

Healthy Child, Healthy World offers five simple, affordable actions families can take daily at home to decrease chemical exposure:

  1. Take off your shoes at the door: 85 percent of the dirt in our homes is tracked inside on the bottom of our shoes. It’s not just dirt, but toxics like lead, pesticides, gasoline residue and more. Keep your home safer by taking off your shoes. It’s the public health equivalent of washing your hands. (This one is FREE to do and the results are HUGE)

2.  Buy safer body care: Children are exposed to an average of 27 care product ingredients on a daily basis that have not been found safe for developing bodies. Protect your family’s health by avoiding products with ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances & triclosan. For a list of most-toxic offenders, download our free eBook, “Easy Steps to a Healthy & Safe Nursery.”

3. Open a window: People spend about 90 percent of their time inside, but indoor air is typically far more polluted than outside. So, open those windows!  Even a few minutes a day can improve indoor air quality.

4. Eat more whole foods: Processed foods may be convenient, but they’re also loaded with sweeteners, artificial flavors and colorings, and synthetic preservatives. These lack nutrients and many are also linked to health issues like ADHD and even cancer.

  • Research from the University of Washington suggests you can immediately and dramatically reduce the pesticide content in a child’s body by switching to organic foods.

  • Stonyfield Organic offers an arrangement of foods for babies, kids and adults; pure, delicious organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, ice cream and milk.

  • They are all made without:

  • Synthetic hormones

  • Toxic Persistent Pesticides

  • GMOs

  • Artificial Ingredients

5. Ban the can: Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that has been linked to everything from obesity to cancer, is in the plastic resin that lines most canned goods—from soups to sodas. Look for foods packaged in glass or eat fresh, dried, and frozen options.

There ARE things we can do, no matter what our budgets.  We don’t have the budget in my home to eat all organic and only purchase greener cleaning products.  I watch for sales and combine coupons whenever possible. I also try to freeze what I can when it’s in season (or can some things, but I’m pretty new to the canning game) because that’s when things are the least expensive to buy, when they are in season.  We grow what we can here at home, and we use nothing but our family compost to amend our soil.  We  have large blueberry bushes- so I take time each summer to wash, dry and freeze bag upon bag of blueberries.  The result? My family eats 100% organic blueberries that haven’t ever left my property.

I realize this isn’t possible for everyone, but even in urban settings there are ways to try to garden.  Many communities have CSA or community gardens- look around your area and see if there are any near to you.  Feel strongly? Start one of your own.  Invite neighbors, and local businesses.  It doesn’t have to be huge and it doesn’t have to be fancy.  You can even just plant your own carrots in a 2 liter empty soda bottle on a windowsill and see where that brings you.

Also there are probably 3902342 uses for cleaning with 2 simple and inexpensive ingredients: vinegar and baking soda.  I buy both in bulk at BJ’s Warehouse.  You can find at almost any grocery store.  Quick internet searches will give you dozens and dozens of suggestions to clean almost any surface in your house, your yard, your car.  There are a lot of surprising ways to make a big impact on the level of chemicals in your home without spending much at all!

Join us today, June 25, 2013 from 1-2 pm EST as we talk about ways to keep our homes safe- and healthy- not just for baby but for ALL!!  We hope you’ll join us- just remember to leave your shoes at the door :)

We’ll be tweeting with the #HealthyBaby hashtag

Urge Senators to strengthen and pass the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).

It’s easy! Click here to find and message your senator.


How many people around you are feeling depressed? #lifescript #ad

This is a sponsored post by me about feeling depressed and depression on behalf of Lifescript.com.

Before I really begin this post, take a moment and really think about this question:

How many people around you are feeling depressed? 

Sadly, it’s probably far more than you think.  Did you know that 1 in 10 adults in the US suffer from symptoms of depression? Depression is so common, and so many people could use support and care that aren’t getting enough of either.Tracking Pixel

lifescript logo depression facts

Sometimes I feel like I was programmed to live most of my life struggling with depression.  My respective maternal and paternal sides of the family may not like to hear it, nor think about it, and certainly not talk about it, but the reality is the signs and symptoms run rampant on both sides of my genetic family tree.  That’s not to say that I’m blaming anyone, nor even upset.  It’s just how things are.  For many years, I was not willing to use the word depression, nor would I admit I was depressed at any time. I didn’t want to- that stigma that goes along with it just seems to linger and linger now matter how things play out. I’m thankful that today, in modern times, sites like Lifescript.com exist, so that folks who might be struggling with symptoms and may be searching these symptoms online may find help.  Maybe not help, but maybe just seeing that others have experienced the same emotions, felt the same feelings.

There are 1 in 10 adults in the US who live each day feeling depressed.  Maybe it’s not every day, or maybe it’s not all day, but that number is huge.  It’s too high.  When I stop to think about those who can’t afford good healthcare or who don’t have a strong support system, well, it makes me want to cry. Worse, twice as many women experience symptoms of depression than men.

Lifescript.com’s Depression Health Center has a myriad of resources available for free that are broken into 5 main categories- Basics, Living With, Treatment, Resources and News.  Within each category are sub categories- under Basics, for example, you’ll find sub categories that include Facts, Symptoms, Risk and Prevention, Diagnosis, Stages, and Questions for Your Doctor.  Having all of these categories and sub categories can make things much simpler and, in my opinion, more likely to be explored by those of us who might find a lot of information at once to be overwhelming (which also goes along with depression).  Perhaps someone is just wondering if they are experiencing symptoms of Depression, and aren’t sure where to go.  With a few simple clicks, they can focus just on symptoms and not be overwhelmed with a ton of information about treatments and stages and where to go for help.  Not all of us are built to want all of the information at once, and having things broken down can make information like this less daunting.  It’s not like anyone’s ever been excited about having symptoms of depression, you know?  There are so many depression articles available today, thanks to the internet, but too much information can be as overwhelming to folks just as much as too little information can be.


Photo © 2010 J. Ronald Lee


I’ve lived with my anxiety and symptoms of depression on and off for most of my life.  Some of it is genetic and quite frankly, some of it is resulting from life experiences, tragedies and losses.  Most recently, my mom died just 13 days before my youngest was born- my youngest, who came 5 1/2 weeks early and by some grace of God, healthy- but me? Notsomuch.  Even when the physical issues were cleared, I was in a deep depression.  So deep, I can’t even remember most of my daughter’s first year. It’s a blur. The sight of food packaging my mom used to buy would set me into tears for hours. Hearing songs she loved, seeing authors she read- I was a puddle of tears in a house full of chaos.  Compounding things was my dad’s dementia progressing- rapidly- into Alzheimer’s Disease, although that official diagnosis change didn’t happen until September of 2012. Trying to learn my new role in the world without my mom in it, to be a daughter to a man who wasn’t sure who I was more often than not, and parenting to three very young children close together in age- all of these combined

My official diganosis is Generalized Anxiety Disorder with what I call a “side” of depression.  Which really just means I’m full of anxiety and prone to depression.  I have worked hard over the years to find ways to work through my symptoms of both the anxiety and depression with tools learned in sessions with therapists (Dr. Bob, this one’s for you!) and, whether I like it or not, medications for treatment.  I’ve learned (the hard way) through trial and error (oh, so many errors) that I need that assistance and have grown to accept that it’s going to just be part of who I am. I’m Brett- I’m me, I find myself funny, I’m a wife, I’m a mom, a sister, daughter, aunt, friend, and a woman living with anxiety and depression.  Please realize that I wasn’t embracing all of these things about myself until I entered my mid-thirties so it isn’t like I’ve just decided this is me and run with it.  I’m still struggling. Sometimes sporadically. Sometimes frequently, sometimes weekly, daily, hourly or minute to minute.  There are still days when no matter what I do, I can’t seem to function properly.  There’s days when I sit and cry in the middle of the floor.  Most times, I can see things starting to spiral downward and I’m able to reach out for help, to my husband, my family, my friends-  or use some of my learned coping mechanisms to ground myself.  Other times, I call  my doctor.  I choose to live with with my depression as a “side” and not what defines me.

Want to find more posts relating to depression? Then be sure you do not miss these articles:

Lifescript’s Depression Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, how to boost your mood with exercise and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on depression for more information.

And to check out this free website, click here!

This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.

10 reasons why I’m not SuperMom and why I never will be

10 reasons why I’m not SuperMom and why I never will be

10 reasons why I'm not supermom

Photo Credit: Brett Jordan

1. I get annoyed with my kids.  If I lived with you, I’d probably get annoyed with you too.  (To be fair, I’m fairly certain I’ve annoyed them at least twice in their lives…it was a really long time ago and I’m sure they’ve forgotten by now)

2. I screw up dinner. A lot.  Oh heck. Let’s not leave breakfast and lunch out of it.

3. I yell at my kids. It doesn’t mean I’m proud of it, it means I do it.

4. Sometimes I forget to give the kids a bath for many days in a row.  You know.  Like 3 or 11.

5. I can’t sew and honestly I’m not sure that bothers me. My kids won’t have homemade costumes.  Unless someone else makes them for them.

6. I’ve farted (loudly) in front of my kids. (Does it make it better that I’ve said excuse me every time?)

7. I screw (insert a lot of things here) up

8. I mix the kids, the dog and my husbands names up.  Multiple times per day.

9. I haven’t done baby books. Well, truth be told, I started one for my oldest. She’s a month shy of 8.  I think I know where it is.

10. I don’t serve 100% nutritious meals every single day of the year. We’ve had ice cream for dinner before.

11. I’ve skipped pages in books when I don’t want to read the whole thing.

12. We told our kids when the ice cream truck plays music, it means they are sold out.  (This can work if you live in a small town and the ice cream truck goes by your house once every 3 years or so)

13. I can’t even make a list of 10 reasons why I’m not SuperMom without screwing it up.  Now I’m at 13. Oops.


Are you a SuperMom?  Or Dad?


I still want a cape though. Or a tshirt.  Maybe both.



Find more awesome photos by Brett Jordan!

I’m co-authoring the Be Out There ebook! #BeOutThere

This post announcing my participation in the creation of the Be Out There e-book is part of an ongoing relationship with The Motherhood and the National Wildlife Federation.  We’ll be talking a lot about getting families and kids outdoors and ways to make it fun so that kids WANT to Be Out There.

be out there

The launch of the e-book (coming later this summer), will help parents find solutions for getting outdoors with the kids during the summer. My theme is “Celebrating Special Occasions in the Great Outdoors” – how you can take events like birthday parties, family reunions and holidays into the outdoors and make them fun for kids. Think about outdoor games you could play in the backyard or a local park; suggestions for fun, nature-themed goody bags; kid-friendly finger foods that would be easy to eat outdoors; etc.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions for me I’d LOVE to hear them!!

be out there pledge image

Don’t want to wait for the ebook launch for your family to  Be Out There? Here’s a great place to start at the National Wildlife Federation.

How to potty train your kid. #PullUpsPottyBreaks #ad

This is a sponsored post about how to potty train your kid , brought to you by Huggies Pull-Ups. There are tons of experts who will tell you THE way to potty train your child.   I’m going to tell you that there is no one answer.  There just isn’t. Every kid is different and most every kid will train differently.  I have three kids, and each trained differently.  So I have some tips for you to potty train your child, no matter if you are using cloth or disposables, or straight to underwear. Now that we’re just potty training at night time, I feel like I’m almost on the “other” side of training.

tips for how to potty train your child

1. Work WITH your child’s personality. If they aren’t normally going to do what you want just because you ask them to, they probably aren’t going to just go on the potty because you tell them they have to.  (This is the compromise I had with my little one- she was NOT going to have her picture taken, not for anything.  Big sister got her to agree to model the Pull-Up with just her belly button in the picture).

2. Find their “currency” – for some kids, little treats work.  For others, maybe a sticker chart.  For some kids, it’s just knowing they are doing what the BIG KIDS do.

3. Praise is not a bad thing.  Ever.  Praise for trying, praise for going, praise for realizing they have an accident, praise for wanting to use the potty.  Praise them.

4. EXPECT ACCIDENTS. I could write this eleven million times over.  Kids have accidents.  The end. I’ve never met a child, including my own three and myself, who hasn’t ever had an accident.  It’s not intentional 99 times out of 100, and they WILL happen.  They might even have an accident sitting on your lap at Grama’s house.

5. Expect accidents in inconvenient places.  Perhaps not the place but the time.  Plan accordingly.  Keep an extra set of clothes in your bag/car just in case.  (Really, kids can have an incident without potty training, so having that tiny pair of underpants and light cotton pants won’t take up too much room. I have a set for each kid in my van).

6. Make it FUN. Be excited for them when they go.  Be excited when they try or want to go.  Make up songs (we still sing the family favorite peepee on the potty song that we started 6 years ago now…) and be silly.

7. Don’t be rigid.  Consistency is always good in parenting, but there has to be some room for leeway.  Remember that this whole potty thing is kind of a big deal to your child and if they are 18 months or 4 years, it’s a huge change in their life.

8. Kids don’t like to stop doing really fun stuff to try to use the bathroom.  Embrace this knowledge and your frustration level may drop.  A little.  (My 5 year old waits until the last possible second 9 times out of 10 because he hates to stop what he’s doing. Rumor has it that a little girl named Brett was exactly the same way…I can’t verify this. I was just busy being awesome).

9. Follow your child’s cues.  That weird looking kid potty seat might be weird and creepy to your little one.  Im sure a lot of kids are happy to tinkle into Elmo.  (Me, I think I’d be all “why do you want me to go potty on Elmo? I like him!)Full sized toilets are generally higher up than your child, and may be really intimidating.

10. Absorbancy is your friend. Maybe that’s in the form of Huggies Pull-Ups.  Maybe cloth trainers.  Maybe really thick underpants meant for potty training.  Even the fastest learners may have a little tinkle on the way to the potty.  It happens.  Absorbancy is your friend and will save you from washing your floors, your couch, your carseats (and who likes to clean carseats? Not this girl!).

huggies pullups boy sully

11. Characters are fun and your child loves them.  Work with this. My kids have loved princesses and fairies and every single Disney character and oh yes, I have used this to our advantage.  Huggies makes Pull-Ups with lots of beloved characters.  (Prepare yourself for your child to select which character they want, once they catch on to this).  Right now, they have Monsters, Inc. Pull-Ups.  My beloved Sully is on the girls’ version with flowers around him.  Sully. Big, strong and tough Sully, and flowers.  It’s cute, it’s fun, and it works.  Plus, Mike Wazowski is on the tush.

huggies pullups sully


10. Whatever you use for training, be sure to get something that is easy on and easy off. It’ll make your life much more pleasant and when there is an accident, it’ll be quicker to clean things up.  Huggies Pull-Ups are what we like because of their easy to remove sides.


Pull-Ups helps take the scare out of potty training by making it fun and easy with new Monsters U character training pants! You can help make potty training easier by staying consistent and using rituals like the potty break. Make it a game and ask your toddler, “What does a little monster take?”…“A Potty Break!”

Visit Pull-Ups.com and “like” Pull-Ups on Facebook for more potty training tips and resources.

huggies pullups mike

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies Pull-Ups.

What my parents did to give me the Good Life #GoodLife

This post brought to you by Allstate. All opinions are 100% mine.

Allstate’s “Good Hands for the Good Life” is new and different for an insurance company. It has a voice of optimism and celebration vs. fear. The Allstate brand commercial tells the story of how there are risks everywhere, but we as people don’t let it hold us back from making our lives good. My parents took a big risk and moved our family to New Hampshire at the end of my 8th grade year.  It was a decision that changed my life- ultimately for the best, but when I first found out?  It was devastating. It was a long time before I could see that they did this so that I could also have the Allstate Good Life as the ad campaign goes.

The relationship I had with my parents was rocky to say the least all the way through junior high, high school and even college.  I know now that they were doing the best they could and what they believed was best for me, whether I liked it or not.  Then?  Not so much. I was angry and resentful and had a chip on my shoulder. But as I’ve gotten older and matured I’ve grown to see the reasons they couldn’t have voiced to me, not then, and can understand.  Staying in Connecticut where I’d grown up was going to be a toxic environment that would head me straight down a path of trouble and bad decisions. I’d already taken steps down that road when we moved.
Moving to New Hampshire wasn’t what I wanted but oh, was it ever what I needed.  A fresh start, new home, new school and new classmates.  New friends.  The “friends” I’d left behind in Connecticut were, within days of us moving, skateboarding in the pool we’d left drained.  They were having parties on our property because they knew the new owners were not to move in for several weeks.  I got in trouble for those parties, for my “friends” skateboarding in our old pool.  I never heard from a single person I’d grown up with in that town when we moved.  No letters, no calls, nothing.  Those friends I’d been so devastated to leave behind didn’t seem to care at all that I’d left. Heartbroken, I put on a brave face and went to my first day of field hockey practice, having never met a single person in this new school, this new town.
Within a few hours, I had met nice girls. Within days, I had new friends.  Within weeks, I had a place in a new community that welcomed me with open arms. My high school years were so much fun, I was a good kid, I didn’t get into tons of trouble (I’m human, and I was a teenager, and yes I did get in SOME trouble).  My parents somehow knew that moving me 350 miles from my childhood home was going to give me a good life.  They were right.
And you know what? I’d do the same for my kids if the need arose.  In a heartbeat.  I can tell you my parents saved me from making a lot of really stupid mistakes simply by removing me from the situation.  I’m lucky. I’m blessed.  I’ve had the “good life” and look forward to sharing that with my own children.  They’ll have troubles of their own- we all do.  I just hope I can live up to the standards my parents set when they made that huge decision and sacrifice so that I could (and my brother B) have more a good life than a trouble life.

Allstate is an insurance company who works everyday to help build more good in the lives of their customers.  Kind of like my parents did for me.  Their work might not have been as publicly known as Allstates, but they did work every day to help me build the foundation for my good life.  photo allstatelogo_300x60_zps5487a605.jpg

Allstate believes that the notion of the Good Life is inherently social; it is already taking place in people’s natural social conversations and now Allstate has permission to join in because they are an insurance company who creates more good vs. take care of the bad.

What are your good life stories? I want to know!

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Allstate Good Life

Our family finally joined Netflix. We love it! #NetflixKids #Family #ad

This post about Netflix and why we are loving the Netflix Kids selections is sponsored.  I am so sick of paying money for cable television for dozens of channels we never watch.  I’m also sick of paying money for cable television channels that are NOT child friendly and seem to “hug” kid’s channels in the lineup.  We recently joined Netflix and what a difference this has made for the kids’ viewing!  I’m still learning the “ins and outs” of how to maximize my comfort zone with the kids’ viewing but having the kids’ favorite shows and movies available in a dedicated kids section has made me one happy, happy mama.

netflix kids

Thanks to some help from Common Sense media, who provide ratings, reviews and information, parents can find appropriate family friendly content that’s suitable for ages 2-12.  That means my little ones aren’t going to accidentally change a channel and see a news story that we don’t want them to see. It also means that I can feel pretty confident that what’s IN the shows is appropriate for their ages.

netflix kids

We tried Netflix years ago, back when we had just one kid.  It lasted 2 months.  This was when you paid a fee and the DVD came in the mail.  Does anyone remember?  We hated it.  Mostly because it took us two months to finally watch that one movie and we realized we’d spent $20 to wait 8 weeks to view it.  But we also had a kid who wasn’t a good sleeper and were always asleep by 8pm.  Fast forward many years and things have changed. I’m already falling hard for this whole Netflix idea.

We can view it in so many ways- iPad, Roku3, Kindle FIre, laptops, even my phone!  We actually haven’t used the streaming capability on all of the devices we own, but knowing the option is there makes me happy.  You can watch your favorite TV shows and movies anywhere, any time you want. Which means that if we do a road trip, or anticipate a power outage, we can get some stuff downloaded ahead of time so that even without wi-fi we can watch things if need be.

netflix kids

Shows available on Netflix are shows that the kids are familiar with and love- and what I am finding great is that there are suggestions based on what we like to watch- so the kids are discovering new programs like Justin Time and My Little Pony, and rediscovering old favorites like Pingu, Curious George and my niece’s fave from childhood, The Powerpuff Girls.  There is a huge variety of programming in both movie and show format so if the kids want to just chill for 15 minutes or watch a whole movie, you can easily find *something* for them to enjoy.  Having the kids’ dedicated section has been helping us to find our movies to watch for Family Movie Night- we’ve been discovering (the kids) and rediscovering (the parents) some great movies that we’ve not seen before like The Adventures of Tintin, Pocahontas, or The Aristocats.  Now we can just pick from Netflix instead of asking friends to borrow their DVDs or going to the library (which is closed Fridays so I have to remember on Thursdays!).

What are you watching on TV with your family? Netflix has family favorites from Disney, Disney Jr., Hasbro, Cartoon Network and Dreamworks that are available to stream anytime, anywhere.

And streaming is easier than you think! Download the free app on your iPad, click on the Netflix app on any gaming device, go to the website on your computer – and you’re in business.Check out Netflix !

What are your Netflix favorites?  Tell me what your family loves to watch- we want to add to our lists!! 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NETFLIX.