Calm Preschool Anxiety With These Books

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Calm Preschool Anxiety With These 7 Books

Something nobody warned me about when we starting approaching 4 years old…ANXIETY.

My daughter has always been the shy and cautious type. There’s no way around it — if she’s uncomfortable in a situation, she will let us know. Otherwise, she can be very loud, opinionated and sing…a lot. This makes waking up each day interesting because we never know which Kinley we’re going to get!

When we started chatting about what was going to happen at school this fall, she went into worry mode. With her being an October birthday, we already know she won’t attend kindergarten until she’s 6. We did a 2-year-old program last year {despite her being 3 most of the year}, where it was structured like preschool, but I was there to help if she needed me.

This year, she will be going alone. And she is SO worried about it. Even though she did great on her own last year, will have the same teacher and some of the same kids in her class.

There’s only so much I can tell her to calm her fears, so I have turned to books to help explain how much fun school can really be. We have read LOTS and LOTS of books, and these are the ones I felt resonated with her the best. Of course, these can apply to any child heading to school, but since I have a preschooler, I focused on ones that were most suitable for her age group {3-5}.

Help calm preschool anxiety with these books! Here’s my list of 7 great reads perfect for showing your preschool-aged child there’s nothing to fear at school:

I Love You All Day Long

I Love You All Day Long

Owen’s anxious question prompts this heartwarming, comforting tale of how a parent’s love stays with a child whether they are together or apart — all day long.

{I already plan to use this concept when dropping her off at school those first nerve-wracking days!}
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Think Walgreens for Back-To-School Immunizations + Tips for Anxiety! #GiveaShot #CollectiveBias

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Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Back-to-School time means back to the doctor in every mom’s world for vaccinations. Not sure about you all, but we spend SO much time at the doctor these days for check-ups between me and my three kiddos. Unfortunately this time of year means I have to fight for good appointment times since the pediatrician is flooded with physicals for school age kids.

Walgreens Give A Shot

Enter Walgreens. I am so thankful places that are a convenient spot for moms to go for immunizations. They make it quick, easy and painless since NO appointment is needed {soooo awesome since only YOU know when your kid is in the best mood for a shot!}. Additionally, most insurances are accepted and I love that they will report back to your primary care physician to let them know your child’s immunization record has been updated.

Walgreens Pharmacy for Immunizations

Working with doctors for my job, I have truly learned the importance of vaccinations and yes, I am one of those moms who shout from the rooftops their importance. I believe everyone should have the right to choose as a parent, but I encourage you to get educated by reading medical journal articles and not just a random blog post or from a “doctor” who isn’t backed up by trusted organizations like the CDC.
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Disney On Ice Princesses & Heroes Presale Code {In Auburn Hills Oct. 16-19}

Disney On Ice is one of our favorite shows to attend each year. I just received the special pre-sale code for the Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes show, coming to The Palace of Auburn Hills October 16-19, 2014. {See image below}

Many of you will be thrilled to know that this show now features the beloved characters from FROZEN!

Get tickets here at Ticketmaster.

Disney On Ice Princesses & Heroes - Palace of Auburn Hills

Enjoy! I hope to share more about the show in the months ahead, so stay tuned :)


Sibling Preparation: Getting Kids Ready For a New Baby

Getting Kids Ready for A New Baby

Nothing has been consuming my mind more over these past few weeks than how my girls, Karina – age 2 {in 17 days} and Kinley – 3.5, are going to react to their new baby brother, who is due to arrive in 3 weeks+/-.

Kinley has been there, done that, and I know she will be helpful. At the same time, she’s stuck between that age of needing a bit of independence yet also still needy herself at times. Overall, I think it should be OK for her, but I’ve been doing everything I can to help her prepare for the changes ahead.

Karina is another story. She IS needy. She’s at that fun age that will throw a temper tantrum at the first notion of not getting her way. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit nervous to see what a baby will do to her temperament. I seem to often mis-judge what my kids can handle, so I am holding out hope it goes smoother than I think it will!

Here’s some tips for getting kids ready for a new baby that have seemed to help me so far:

  • Rent LOTS of kid-friendly books from the library about new babies and pregnancy. Books can be incredibly helpful — especially with older kids. Books have helped teach my kids that babies sleep a lot at first, and will need lots of my attention. One that is well-loved in our house is The New Baby from the Little Critter series.
  • Let them help clean and prepare baby items. With each item I’ve gotten out and put away, I’ve talked to them about how we will use it. For example, the baby will need the swing for short naps, and you can rock him in it gently if you’d like. I will use the Boppy while I nurse, which will be several times a day at first. I want them familiar with all the tools so they can help me when needed and begin to understand that those items are for him and mommy.
  • Make a visual of when baby is coming. I get constant questions from my big girl about when baby is arriving, so we made a paper chain to count down the approximate days until he comes. It has been a GREAT visual for her to see how much longer it will be. She tears off a piece of the chain every day.
  • Allow your children to pick out baby’s coming home outfit. Although our little outfit keeps disappearing from my hospital bag because my girls like to “show” him daily. Baby's Coming Home Outfit
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Shaving Tips to #SummerizeYourLegs #shop

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. The hashtags #SummerizeYourLegs and #CollectiveBias can be followed to view other blog posts included in this campaign.

The best part about summer for me? LAKE TIME! {Which also means summer legs!}

Seriously…Is there a better reason to live in Michigan? I think not! In fact, I just learned a few awesome Michigan lake factoids thanks to a coloring book my daughters received:

  • No point in Michigan is further than 85 miles from any one of the Great Lakes.
  • The Great Lakes supply more than 80% of North America’s and 20% of the world’s surface fresh water supply.
  • There are 11,037 inland lakes which are 10 acres or more in size.

…and unrelated, but kids look SO cute in bathing suits, AmIRight? Couldn’t resist sharing these shots from our vacay earlier this year…

Beach Babies

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Springtime Lawn Care Tips from Lush Lawn

The post below is sponsored by Lush Lawn. I am receiving complimentary lawn services in exchange for blog posts and social shares this summer. Opinions expressed are my own.

Lush Lawn

Taken last month after our first lawn application. Our lawn is much greener these days!

Tis the season, ya’ll! Time for grass cutting {and the delightful smell that follows}, raking, planting and more. I will admit — taking care of the lawn is not my favorite task, so I am absolutely ecstatic to have Lush Lawn help us out this year. Our subdivision is looking mighty green these days and it makes me SO happy to drive through!

In our 6 years of home ownership, my husband and I have learned a lot about lawn maintenance. Though I’ll admit he does all the laborious tasks of cutting and trimming, I am the planting, weed pulling and watering gal. It takes time, but we love having a beautiful lawn and some color around our house in the form of flowers.

I received these fun tips from Lush Lawn that serve as a great reminder of what all of us should be doing this spring.

Springtime Lawn Care Tips from Lush Lawn

Hairdressing 101 For Your Lawn


After a long winter’s nap, it’s a good idea to comb your lawn with a light raking to improve air flow and break up any matting caused by snow piles or snow mold formation. This will also get rid of unwanted debris. Viola! No more bed head.

Prep For The First Haircut

Dull scissors help to create split ends. Make sure that before you cut your lawn the first time in the spring, that your mower blades are sharpened. You will avoid tearing the grass and opening the lawn up to disease invasion. Also, split ends on the lawn will make it look dull in color.

Style From Short to Long

Grass, like hair, continues to grow out over time. In spring, your first few cuts should be shorter than your regular mowing height in summer. Think of men’s hair styles in the early 1960′s as spring and the late 1960′s as summer. The second lowest setting on the mower is fine if your lawn is perfectly flat, use a middle setting if you have dips in the lawn to avoid scalping areas (ouch!). After the initial cut, raise your mower deck one notch every other cut until it is at its highest level when summer heat hit’s (3 1/2″ – 4″). Never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass-blade, so mow the lawn every 6-7 days until growth slows in the summer. A taller lawn in summer will help to reduce weed invasion, you will need to water less often, it will stay green longer and it will also help to keep damage from insects to a minimum. It’s a groovy look!

Wash In The Morning

While some us enjoy washing our hair in the evening, this should never occur with your lawn as it welcomes disease activity. Always water in the early morning when possible (between 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.). Only water as needed in the spring in lieu of rainfall. Lawns need about 1″-2″ of water weekly depending on your soil type.


Most lawns look their best when they receive regular fertilization and weed control treatments. You can also add soil conditioners like Lime, gypsum and organic fertilizer to help improve results. Serious disease and insect issues should be addressed with specific control measures. Consult with a professional on these issues.

Lush Lawn is a family owned company based in Michigan that specializes in lawn care, pest control and tree services. They have offices in Brighton, Grand Blanc and Rochester Hills and offer services in those surrounding areas. Visit this link for a FREE quote and tell them I sent you!

How are your prepping your lawn this spring?


10 Items To Repurpose For Kid’s Entertainment

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

It’s EARTH DAY! To celebrate, I thought I’d make a fun list of ideas on how to take items you have around the house and repurpose them for the sake of our little ones and their creativity.

Whether you have kids or not, there is one thought that is universal: Kids can be very expensive! From craft supplies to clothing, toys and more, there are LOTS of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle for kids to save money, and Mother Earth. Here are some ideas:

1. Re-use popcorn tins as toy holders. We use ours from Christmas for all of our Play-Doh pieces, but these could be great for blocks, LEGOS, plastic toys or more.

2. Keep wrapping paper for crafts. Use the back of the paper as an “art canvas.” Because dude — special finger painting paper is expensive and this works just the same. It can be great for sticker artwork as well because what kid doesn’t like sticking stickers everywhere just for fun?!

3. Cookie cutters can provide hours of entertainment! Use them for tracing, Play-Doh and more.

4. Re-use yogurt cups for all kinds of kid-friendly reasons. Our preschool uses them for paint cups, but I love using them for color sorting activities, too!

5. Egg cartons make the perfect paint palette. Just plop in your colors and go to town. If you’re kids are like mine, they will mix them until they all turn brown, but that’s OK ;)

6. Use your postpartum bucket for sensory activities, or activities with a lot of little pieces. {Or, just a tupperware container.} I just love this little bucket for so many reasons. But kid crafting is the best. IDEA: Let your child take an old golf ball and cover it in paint. Tape paper to the bottom of the bucket and let the child roll the ball around to make some fun, abstract art!

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

Kinley “painting” snow with drops of food coloring in my postpartum bucket from the hospital

7. Re-use those big, decorative boxes from Jo-Ann’s for books. I have a few of these from presents I’ve received. We used to have a bookcase in Kinley’s room and it drove me crazy because she loved to pull all the books out and my organizational-freak self hated it {I love them arranged by size — cut me some slack!}. Now, she can pull them out all she wants and it makes for easier clean-up — I just throw them in the bin at the end of the day.

8. Baby wipe containers ROCK. We use ours for craft supplies and things like crayons and puzzles, but I’ve even caught Kinley using them as a bed for her small plastic junks. IDEA: Use one for all the little items us parents all like to keep in the car: Napkins, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, sunscreen samples, etc.

9. Use old curtains/shower curtains them as a crafting tablecloth or as a big canvas for your kids. Or, make a road on it for them to drive their toys with wheels on.

10. Boxes can make ANY craft. Seriously, give your kid an empty diaper box and see what they can create. We used one awhile back to make Kinley a robot costume, which was very well-loved when it finally went into the recycling bin for good! We’ve also made candy shops and a pet shop for all our stuffed animals. The options are endless.

10 Items To Repurpose For Kid's Entertainment

What are your favorite items to repurpose for kid’s entertainment?


My Ode To Flip Flops

Reef Logo
The post below is sponsored by All opinions expressed are my own.

Here in Michigan, we are just now being blessed with above-freezing days {with the exception of today’s snowy randomness!}. With the help of this blog, I try to give you all the reasons to move here and why I love it so much, but really, our temps aren’t the most enticing.

Still, the second those 50 degree+ days start to hit consistently, I am busting out my flip-flops. Because really, what is more comfortable and easy-to-wear than a great pair of flippy-floppies? {Cue “I’m On A Boat” by The Lonely Island}

I have a confession: I don’t like shoes. Apparently I missed that woman gene that is drawn to pretty pumps and knee-high boots. I prefer going barefoot, but that’s not always an option. So I settle for the best pair of shoes a shoe-hating woman can own: comfortable flats and flip flops. And boy, do I love those!

Give me your poor tired feet, and cover them in flip flops covered with sparkles and embellishments, or keep them plain and simple. I’ll wear them shopping. I’ll wear them to the zoo. I’ll wear them at the lake.

I’ve declared May 1st as the day I will officially bust out my flip-flops for good — no matter what Michigan weather throws my way.

Even though I have a bucket o’ flops {literally}, I am still dreaming about my next pair because a girl can never have too many, right?

I especially love the brand Reef because they are durable and oh-so-comfy. For me, it’s worth it to spend a few extra bucks for a pair that will last me and get me through chasing kids all summer long!

Lucky for me, Reef has tons of fab styles for guys and girls of all ages! Personally, I am loving these Guatemalan Stargazer ones:

Guatemalan Stargazer from

Also, these Reef Dreams Glitter ones. Fun with a little bit of sparkle, yet practical at the same time – totally my style.

Reef Dreams Glitter from

For the husband, these Reef Playa Cervesa ones, complete with a bottle opener on the bottom, would do. Perfect for enjoying a few “pops” while boating or playing by the lake. {Seriously, how functional are those? Awesome for enjoying a Michigan made Oberon!}

Reef Flip Flops with Bottle Opener – Reef Playa Cervesa from

So, when will you be busting out the flip flops for good? Maybe if enough of us join forces, Mother Nature will listen to us!

See more fab styles by visiting


Changes I’m Making To My Tech Life in 2014

2014 is going to be a huge year for our house…A year where we go from two kids {manageable} to three {meaning way outnumbered.} I have no doubt this will add a whole new list of challenges to my work-from-home life, so until this baby comes, I am working on getting my life in better working order. For me, a tech addict, this means cutting the tech clutter in my life so I can be the best parent and social media manager as possible.

These are the adjustments I am currently working on:

  • Decluttering my personal email. I used Unroll.Me, which helps to unsubscribe from lists and “roll” those email subscriptions you want but don’t really need daily, into one email. I can quickly glance through this email to determine if there’s anything I can’t live without.
  • Getting rid of apps that take away from my kids. For example, I’ve stopped using Foursquare. I love it, but taking time to check-in when I’m with my kids is just pure chaos. Plus, ya’ll don’t need to know how often we go to our favorite pizza joint.
  • Turning off nearly ALL Facebook notifications. I was getting a ridiculous amount of notifications for groups I am in. I turned them all off. If I need something, I will seek out those groups.
  • Hiding people who bring me down on Facebook. You know those friends that post negativity all the time? Yeah, I have a few of those. I truly love those folks, I just couldn’t handle the doom and gloom on a daily basis, so I hid them…and deleted a few folks, too.
  • Trying not to insert my opinion on Facebook. This is a hard one for me because I am super opinionated and an emotional Facebook user {I get very worked up over silly things like politics and mommy ignorance}. What I’ve learned though, is that whatever I say typically doesn’t matter. So why try to offer my perspective to a stranger unless it truly is something that will help them? I’d rather invest my words in people I know care or just private message them. This one has been a hard habit to break because I like feeling helpful, and I just FEEL so much.
  • Turning off all phone notifications. I don’t get any notifications on my phone for emails or social networks. I don’t need another distraction while I’m out. With kids, I’m usually only gone from my home for a couple of hours. Unless I am attending a social media event, anything to do with being “online” can wait until I get home.
  • Putting the phone away — period. There’s no excuse unless you are alone with nobody to talk to. Nothing is THAT important.
  • Ignoring all tech between 5-8 p.m. Unless it’s a client emergency, or I know it’s going to be a quick conversation, it can wait until the kids are in bed. That is our family time and the time our kids are the most needy. I need to be present.
  • When I am online, trying to make the best use of my time. Stay on task — for example, finish drafting client content before starting a blog post or moving on to my next task. Avoid getting distracted by the rabbit hole of the Internet…and only have a few tabs open at once {another HARD one for me!}.

I have to say, just making these small changes has made me feel worlds better. I want to truly be present for my kids and these are simple fixes for me. I am excited for a more productive 2014!

What techy decluttering tips do you have?


Hair Tips from Maki J’s Salon and J Beverly Hills

Maki J's Salon Collage

The beautiful historic building in downtown Howell that houses Maki J’s Salon. Photos by Miraya Dust.

The post below is sponsored by Maki J’s Salon. All opinions expressed are my own.

I had the privilege of attending an open house for Maki J’s Salon, a growing boutique salon in my hometown of Howell. While there, I met owner Jill Mackey and celebrity stylist and professional color developer Max Eli of J Beverly Hills hair products, which are available at Maki J’s.

I loved learning how engaged Jill is in the community, and her commitment to selling environmentally friendly products like J Beverly Hills. As someone who is so not on-par with the hair world, I learned SO much. I can’t wait to apply some of the tricks I learned to my own hair life {which is currently at a stall as I grow it out to donate}!

Jill Mackey and Max Eli

Jill Mackey of Maki J’s Salon and Max Eli of J Beverly Hills

I asked for your questions on my Facebook page and here’s what Jill and Max had to say. Both are a wealth of knowledge and I undoubtedly would trust either to do anything to my hair :)


Q. What are ways to make color last longer?

A. Professional grade products that are paraban and sulfate-free are key. Also, make sure to use a great conditioner, and do things like wear a hat at the beach and immediately rinse your hair after playing in the water.

Q. Best way to keep blonde from turning brassy/ashy?

A. First, when coloring, the stylist should use a vita-based solution. Second, it’s crucial to use a shampoo specifically made for blonde hair. J. Beverly Hills makes a “Blonde” shampoo that is perfect for this exact reason because it neutralizes unwanted tones and adds brightness to reduce yellow tones.

This product can be purchased at Maki J’s of course, but if you’re not local, it is also available on Amazon here.

Q. Best inexpensive shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair?

A. This was a toughie. As stylists, they believe there is nothing available that even comes close to touching salon-grade shampoos. Max specifically mentioned Johnson & Johnson products and shampoos like Head & Shoulders are some of the absolute worst offenders on hair in general — especially if it’s color-treated. You are better off buying a professional shampoo and using it just a few times a week to make it last longer.

Q. What is the best shampoo for long, untreated hair?

A. Without physically touching your hair, this was a hard question for Jill and Max to answer. Something I learned was that you may need two different kinds of shampoo for the top of your head versus your ends. Jill suggests a gentle ‘everyday’ shampoo and conditioner free of sulfates and parabans, and to do a masque treatment like this one from J Beverly Hills on the hair once a week to help maintain scalp and hair health.

J Beverly Hills at Maki J's Salon

J Beverly Hills products at Maki J’s Salon

Q. What is an easy, mom-friendly hairdo?

A. This depends a lot on facial shape/structure and the texture and thickness of your hair. But, the short, tousled look tends to be the easiest look to maintain.

Q. What do I ask for to get multi-dimensional color? Highlights? Lowlights? Both? Neither?

A. Say exactly that — dimensional color. A professional stylist should understand what that means and be able to work with you to find the perfect shades to complement your skin tone and eyes.

Q. I’m no longer dying my hair and it gets greasy really fast. What can I do besides keep dying it?

A. Jill and Max in unison — change shampoos! Make sure it’s paraban and sulfate-free, too. Those chemicals don’t do the hair any good.

Q. What is the best way to combat winter static?

A. Moisture! Make sure to use a quality moisturizing conditioner. You can also use a spray-on leave in conditioner. Also, love this tip — instead of rubbing your hair dry, simply squeeze it with a towel so it doesn’t frazzle the hair cuticles and cause both frizz and static.

Q. I’ve been using semi-permanent color on my brown and white hair. Lately, the white won’t color. Is there a better non-permanent solution?

A. You’ll want to use a quality hair color with low alkalinity to help reveal the hair structure. The semi-permanent colors associated with quality products like J. Beverly Hills should do the trick.

Q. What trends are IN for 2014? What trends are out?

A. First, ombre and chunky stripes are OUT. “Naturalizing” the hair is IN. What this means, is your stylist takes the hair one shade darker and one shade lighter. Also, sand/natural blonde colors and chocolates are super hot right now.

Another item that is out? The flat-iron. Max stressed to me how horrible these can be for hair. If you do use it, use only an ionic or ceramic iron and use it on medium heat only — never ever on high. If you have time in the morning, instead of using a flat or curling iron, go for soft curls, which can be made with velcro rollers.

Maki J’s Salon is located at 122 State St. in downtown Howell. To schedule an appointment with Jill, call (517) 540-1412.

Stylists: Jill is also looking to hire! If you’re looking to work with a great, hard-working gal, give her a call or send an email to

Learn more about Maki J’s Salon by following them at the links below:

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30 Things To Do Inside With Toddlers

30 Things To Do Inside With Toddlers

Looking for something fun to do to beat the winter blues? Try these 30 things to do inside with toddlers!


In case you haven’t noticed, Michigan is literally under a blanket of snow. The don’t-go-outside-unless-it’s-an-emergency kind of snow.

Which, in many cases, is fine and dandy. But when you have little kids, being stuck inside can make you feel crazy. Trust me.

Alas, temps with negative wind chills aren’t my cup of tea either, so inside we’ll stay.

Here are 30 things to do inside with toddlers to beat the winter blues:

Little Mermaid Craft #shop

  • Build creations with Play-Doh. We love adding pipe cleaners and googly eyes to ours to make little monsters.
  • Make creations with salt dough. Bake and then paint. {ornaments for Christmas, hearts for Valentine’s Day, etc.} Here’s a super simple recipe.
  • Plan a treasure hunt and hide small toys around the house. Tell the kids clues on where to find them, or just let them know when they are getting warmer.
  • Travel with your mind. Help your kiddos pick a geographic location {e.g. Italy} and search the Internet for fun surrounding the area {e.g. YouTube videos for kids in Italian}. Bonus points: Try making a food item that is native to the area, too.
  • Color!
  • “Shop” for specific things around the house. Use a play shopping cart, or even an old Easter basket and arm your child with it, telling them to go find something specific — like anything blue.
  • Make a rainbow rice sensory bin with this tutorial. Just put a tarp or sheet under it for easy clean-up!
  • Play hide and seek. If you’re child isn’t old enough, just try hiding a toy and helping him/her find it instead.
  • Play dress-up and have your kids “model” while you take photos.
  • Crank some tunes and have a dance party. We are partial to toddler tunes and 90′s music.
  • Use a box to make a house. Or a robot costume. Or car. Or castle. The possibilities are endless!
  • Make finger paint with shaving cream, Elmer’s glue and food coloring. Learn how here.

Sensory Play

  • Push your kids around in a laundry basket. This never seems to fail entertaining my kids. Plus, a great workout for mom or dad, too!
  • Play rock band. Pots and pans paired with a wooden spoon make for a lovely drum, while a tupperware container filled with uncooked pasta noodles makes for a fab shaker!
  • Finger paint. If you need a piece of “canvas” — simply use the back of wrapping paper! If your child can’t be trusted with paint yet, let him/her “paint” with yogurt or some other edible treat right on her high chair tray.
  • Clean. Kids love it — I swear! Give them baby wipes to wipe up the table, or have them help sort laundry.
  • Read, read, read! To make it feel more novel, create a fun little reading nook in a blanket fort with pillows.
  • Play “don’t touch the ground.” Place pillows and other random things on the ground and have your child(ren) hop from object to object, avoiding the ground – AKA hot lava ;)
  • Have “booty races” down the stairs. What kid {or adult} doesn’t think it’s the funniest thing ever to go down the stairs on your tushie? Have fun with it by racing or timing your child.
  • Indoor ice skating. Just rubber band some wax paper on your kid’s feet and watch them skate! Be careful — it can be really slippery, so you may need to hold little hands. Recover with some hot cocoa.
  • Have a picnic in your living room.

Living room picnic

  • Make art with expired items from your pantry. Kids can get creative gluing old rice or cereal to the paper. Heck, they can even color it if they’d like.
  • Play balance beam. Put tape on the floor {in a straight line, or get funky with a zig zag} and have them walk on it. You could also create a hopscotch board if you’re little one is skilled enough to handle it!

What are your favorite ways to entertain kiddos when you’re stuck inside?


15 Tips For Becoming a Pro Mom To Little Ones

Tips For Becoming A Pro Mom

Becoming a parent is HARD. There is no doubt in anybody’s minds that little people are an absolute game changer. Personally, I think it’s mostly roses, but just like anything, there are good days and bad days. I definitely know at this point that God made kids adorable-looking for a reason. It truly helps you forget how difficult they can be at times!

I struggled with this title because I am in no way a “pro” mom, but I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, so I want to share them in case they can be helpful to someone out there ;)

These are some helpful things I have finally started to master in my three short years as a parent…Here are my tips for becoming a pro mom to little ones:

1. Baby wipes clean everything. Always have a pack of wipes on hand! Use them to clean dirty little hands. Use them to take marker off faces. Shoot, when the kids want to help you clean, hand them a wipe to help dust. Also, wipe containers are awesome for just about anything…crayons, stickers, hair accessories and beds for beanie babies. Reuse ‘em! Learn how to make your own wipes here.

2. Nap prep is key. If you think your child is going to fall asleep for their nap in the car, change their diaper before loading them up, take off their shoes, sweater, and whatever may potentially wake them up when you transfer from car to bed. Also, before you leave the house, set-up their room completely. {For my little gal this means closing her curtains, turning on her fan and noise machine so it’s ready to rock. She’s a total diva.}

3. Always have an extra diaper and extra underware — even if it’s just for a quick trip. Accidents always seem to happen when you least expect it. {case in point: I just took a pair of poopy pants out of my coat pocket from our library visit earlier.} Also related: If your baby fills a diaper and it leaks at night, go one size up, at least for night. It will hold that extra urine!

4. Never forget to pack water, sippys, and an emergency stash of snacks. Just when you think the kids have had enough to eat, you’ll get in the car and the “I’m hungry” whine will start. I keep a stash of goodies in my center console, and in my purse, and it has saved me many times.

5. Take time to PLAY every day. Do not bring your phone. Do not open your laptop or tablet. Get on the ground and play. You’ll be amazed at how much your kids come alive during this time — even if you can only dedicate 10 minutes. Also, try to get outside. It can do wonders for sleep and can make a mom feel sane again, too!

6. If you find a good container of bubbles, buy about 10 bottles of it. Good, quality bubbles that are easy for kids to blow are hard to come by. And what kid doesn’t love bubbles?!

7. Make plans, but allow for flexibility. You just don’t know when a child may just want to stay home. I’m pretty sure my girls have come to love Mondays the best because it’s our pajama day!

8. Don’t clean up the house until the end of the day. I hate this, but it’s true: Cleaning up while children are awake is like sweeping during a wind storm. The second you sweep the floors, they will come dump sugar on them. Trust me.

9. If you’re going to feed your kid spaghetti, or anything similar, take off all their clothes if possible. Then, promptly throw them in the tub after.

10. Don’t show your toddler/preschooler something and expect them to be patient for it. The moment they see a cookie, piece of candy, etc. their mind EXPLODES and they can’t wait another second for it.

11. On that note, don’t tell your child about scented markers until they are 100% ready to handle their awesomeness. Because they may try to smell them and miss. And they will be sorely disappointed that all markers don’t have a scent.

Kinley and scented markers

12. The freezer does wonders for cooling off food quickly. While waiting, throw your kid a cracker so they don’t act like you are depriving them of food. Also? Don’t show them the food. {See #10.}

13. Organize your life where possible. My 3-year-old fusses over clothing, or her PJs every day. If I know I have to be somewhere in the morning, I will put an outfit out for the morning so there’s no battles. Keep a stash of snacks where kids can reach them, and so the non-vocal ones can let you know when they are hungry. Cut fruit and veggies at the start of the week to avoid chaos at mealtimes.

14. Each week, do something for YOU. Get out and take a walk alone for 20 minutes, read a book at a coffee shop, or go out with girlfriends. Having this time away will allow your children to bond with someone else and will make you come back to them feeling refreshed.

15. Trust your gut. You know your kids better than anyone else, period. Don’t let anyone make you feel small, mama!

What are your tips for becoming a pro mom? I still have many years to get through!


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