Five Things You Should Do While Your Child is Still a Toddler

Five Things You Should Do While Your Child is Still a Toddler
Time seems to pass at a rapid rate the older you get and doubly so when a good amount of time is dedicated to taking care of your child. These fleeting moments are like a blink of an eye and before you know it they are all grown up and leaving the nest. One day you’ll look back on these earlier times and reflect. You turn to pictures, home videos, and old work they’ve done in school. The things you save become a keepsake. There are many ways to grab a slice of life out of this time while your child is still a toddler. The following are five worth your while to have something in later life.

Five things you should do

while your child is still a toddler…

1. Impressions

Take one cup of flour, a cup of salt, and ¾ cup of water (according to this guide) and you can create a salt dough which can be used for making impressions for feet and hands. The concoction will harden like a rock so you’ll be able to save it for many years. One day you can sit down with your child and compare the impressions to show how much they’ve grown (along with being a nice keepsake or even a gift to other family members).

Toddler Hand Impressions Craft

2. Portraits

Portrait photography is a great way to capture your child’s youth. Pictures you take with your camera or phone are perfectly fine but a proper portrait is something that sticks on your mantelpiece. These pictures can be done at various times such as holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. The professionals really know how to capture the moment. The portraits make for great memories later in life and great gifts to other family members.

Joey Portrait Toddler

3. Online Accounts

This one sounds a little odd but it’s actually quite smart because website names are always being taken up along with social media accounts. A website name is a nice investment because you never know if one day your child would like to have a website with their name (ex. JohnSmith.com) which is great for building a portfolio. The social media sites may not stick around but sites like Facebook are likely so a vanity URL would be nice for them to inherit (along with the fact you can use it as a timeline).

4. Travel

Although your child may not remember all the moments when you go on vacation it’s still a great activity to do with them because it opens their minds to the rest of the World and its cultures. Travel is a great way to inspire passion and learning. Not only do you deserve the time off but time traveling could be a great bonding experience that your child will never forget.

5. Money

There is a lot of taboo about teaching children about money because it’s not really something they have to deal with considering their age. Lessons in money, at an early age, is actually very important, though, because it sets the foundation for the later years of their life. An allowance will get things started but other aspects of money such as decision making and understanding wants/needs are always a good subject to bring to the table.

Teach Toddler About Money

What ways do you encapsulate your child’s youth to remember later? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.

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Note: This is an exclusive featured post by Jenny Daniels!

Five Reasons Why Kids Love to Take Bubble Baths

Why Kids Love Bubble Baths Toddler

Five Reasons Why Kids
Love to Take Bubble Baths

As soon as you mention to your child that it’s time for a bath, he or she might run towards the bottle of bubble bath in the cabinet or by the tub and beg you to use it. It seems as if most kids love to take these types of bathes whenever possible. Why? Here are a few reasons why that is the case.

Relaxation Meets Hygiene

This particular type of bath provides children with an opportunity to combine cleanliness with relaxation. Most kids, especially at a young age, are not very excited about taking baths every night. Some kids even despise the mere thought of it.

However, adding bubbles to the bath water makes it much more appealing to the average child because of the relaxation they will receive from it. Once their little bodies are wrapped up in soapy bubbles and hot water, they will inadvertently start to relax without even realizing it – finding pleasure in their bathing experience.

Bubble Bath Illustration

Make Your Skin Feel Smooth

Another reason why children enjoy this particular type of bathing is because of how smooth their skin feels almost immediately after they get out of the tub. This is because, according to Get Holistic Health, the average bath with bubbles adds a substantial amount of moisture to a person’s skin. Since their skin is softened by the bubbles and warm water, it also makes it much easier to exfoliate their skin as well for lasting comfort.

Due to the aging and overall condition of their skin, most adults need to use such tools as loofah sponges and pumice stones in order to benefit as much in this way as their children.

A Clever Environment for Fun and Learning

When a young child is immersed in soapy bubbles and hot water, playing with their favorite toys becomes almost instinctive. Diving their favorite action figurines into the bubbly waters or even squirting their water-filled rubber duck toys in a bath with bubbles can provide the child with plenty of fun activities to keep them busy for much longer than you might think.

In addition, studies show that this can help them to develop their mental and motor skills as well. For instance, according to Parents.com, the child can learn more about object permanence by making various objects submerge and reemerge from the bubbly water.

Kid in Bubble Bath Clipart

Breaking Up the Monotony of Bathing

One of the reasons why most children find bathing so dissatisfactory is because of the monotonous routine that is involved whenever they have to take a bath. Therefore, whenever a parent is able to break up the monotony of this boring routine in one way or another, they will effectively spark the interest and curiosity of their children at the same time.

Introducing the opportunity for a periodic bath will achieve this goal and make them appreciate and enjoy the experience even more.

Become Comfortable with Bathing

One of the biggest reasons why kids love to take these types of baths is because it allows them to become comfortable with the bathing process overall. As mentioned earlier, not every kid is going to be overly excited to hop into a bath tub every night. However, at least when starting out, you can use these baths as an agreeable compromise that will introduce them to the bathing process and get them comfortable with the general experience.

The Dark Side of These Baths

Even though there are several reasons why kids (and parents) love these baths, it is also important to take the disadvantages of these baths into consideration as well. For example, these types of bubble bath products contain an extensive list of ingredients that can lead to excessive skin dryness as well as irritation.

Rubber Ducks Bubble Bath

This is especially the case with people that suffer with sensitive skin and allergic reactions even without taking these types of unique baths, according to How Stuff Works. The same report shows that most of these bath products are known for aggravating a host of skin conditions, including eczema and contact dermatitis. There are even some bathing products which are labeled “natural” and “pure” that actually contain poisonous chemicals, such as formaldehyde.

Too Much of a Good Thing…

Bubble baths are lovable and enjoyable experiences that are great for kids that may have a little problem becoming comfortable with the bathing process. Even though there are quite a few noteworthy disadvantages of these baths that should be taken into consideration, children should not be deprived of this otherwise advantageous opportunity. Don’t worry about the mess! It’ll all be worth it and you can easily clean the bathroom later!

The key is to focus on moderation. Invest in high-quality bathing products with bubbles, such as those sold by The Honest Company. Remember, too much of a good thing is always bad – no matter what that good thing might be. If you are going to allow your child to fall in love with these baths, make sure that this does not become an “every day” routine. Doing so will not only rob the experience of its enjoyment overtime, but will also expose your child to a host of potential health hazards.

Work At Home Mom: Keeping Kids Entertained While Working

Keeping Kids Entertained While Working SAHM WAHM

Work at Home Mom Tips:

Keeping the Kids Entertained While You’re Working

Everybody thinks that being a Work at Home Mom (WAHM) offers working mothers the best of both worlds: they get to keep their careers going and stay home with the little ones. In some ways this is true. In other ways, it is really really not. Why? Because the thing that most people fail to understand is that being a WAHM is different from being a SAHM. Sure, you’re home but you still have to work.

Plenty of WAHMs have a difficult time maintaining a healthy work/personal/family life balance. In fact, lots of WAHMs have a harder time finding that balance because they live where they work (and vice versa). Being able to leave the house each day for work helps create boundaries and separations that, when you work from home–especially with kids–remain murky at best. A lot of the time, you have to find a way to work with your kids underfoot and very likely to pop up in your video conferences.

Here are some tips that you can use to help keep your kids occupied (and quiet) when your deadlines are looming.

#1. Quiet Rules

A lot of the time, when your kids are nagging and pulling at you, what they really want is just to feel like you’re doing stuff together. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to put everything away and focus solely on them every time they tug at your shirt sleeve or wander in, complaining of boredom.

Work At Home Mom WAHM Tips

Instead of trying to keep them out of your home office, why not invite them in (assuming you’re not doing anything that requires confidentiality)? If you have the space for it, set up a small area for your kids in a corner of your home office and let them hang out there–as long as they agree that they will be quiet.

Invite them in to read or color–anything they can do quietly. You’ll be surprised at the drastic reduction in interruptions. When they are older, this can become a great homework space, which helps you keep an eye on their schoolwork while maintaining your own work schedule at the same time.

#2. Schedule Breaks

Taking breaks is important, even when you work from home. It becomes vitally important when you’re trying to work from home and kids are underfoot. Schedule in some short breaks throughout your morning and afternoon (as well as a sizeable “lunch hour”) and spend that time hanging out with your kids. Actually spend that time with them, though. Don’t use those breaks as time to do dishes or other chores that take focus away from little ones. Face time is important and you’ll get far fewer interruptions if your kids know that you have face time regularly.

WAHM Working Mom Tips Break
Also, try to schedule your most concentration laden work for things like naptime or when your kids are out of the house at playdates. (A good way to ensure that you get time for this is to set up alternating playdates with other WAHMs. Trading afternoons with each other gives you both some much needed focus time!)

#3. Take Advantage of Technology

We all say that we don’t want the television to be our babysitter. It’s a great idea in theory, but sometimes, the only way to get some work done is to set your kids up with a movie or a few episodes of a favorite TV show. Thanks to things like laptops and tablets, you can easily set your kids up in the living room or even their craft corner and enjoy great movies for kids online. With particular services, you don’t have to worry about inappropriate material sneaking through the algorithm like you would on sites that contain both kids’ and grownup media.

These are just three of the things that you can do to reduce interruptions when you’re trying to get work done. What are some of the things you do to keep your kids occupied when the deadlines are looming?

Technology TV kid Watching

Candy Corn Math: Fun Counting Activity Idea for Kids!

Candy Corn Math Craft Halloween
I bet you never knew there were dozens of activities that could be done with your very favorite Halloween treat, candy corn! Since my son had the day off from school yesterday, we decided to figure out a few fun games that we could play together that incorporated candy corn. These simple candy corn activities are a great way to bond with the family while enlisting math, sorting, and art skills.

Over the next few weeks, I will be rolling out step-by-step instructions for all of the crafts and activities that I have been doing with my kids. We’re having a lot of fun working together and taking tons of photos, so keep an eye out for our next candy corn counting activity post!

My son decided that we should share the candy corn math activity first. He is doing a lot of work with numbers, counting, and math in kindergarten, so this counting activity really helped us to build his skills while reinforcing his numbers knowledge.

Kindergarten Candy Corn Math Fun Counting Activity
He has a very fast-paced mentality when it comes to learning, but I need him to slow down at times. Constructing a craft like this together immobilized the learning process; you’ll need to work slowly to stay on track, so your child will be forced to pace himself.

Candy Corn Math is such a simple idea with an educational twist. If you don’t have any candy corn on hand, you can substitute with pennies, pompoms, or any other small treat/item. This counting activity will promote your child’s confidence while building independence — and having fun, too!

Candy Corn Math Counting Activity

SUPPLIES & MATERIALS LIST…

  • Cookie sheet, platter dish, or similar with raised edges to prevent candy corn from rolling off the sides (optional); Sometimes we prefer to simply sit on the floor and have some fun with it!
  • Brown and green construction paper
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Candy Corn

1. Gather all of your materials and make sure you’ve got the most important ingredient for this counting activity: candy corn.

Kids Counting Activity
1. Start by cutting out the husks with your green construction paper. They should look something like the letter “U” meets the letter “V”… whatever that means, but you get the point!

Candy Corn Husks Green Craft
2. Using brown construction paper, cut out the ears of your corn. This will be oval shaped with a flat bottom (pictures speak a thousand words that I can’t find, so see photo below!).

Candy Corn Ears Halloween Craft
3. Tape your corn husks and ears to the cookie sheet.

Teach Counting Kids Activity Craft
4. Write numbers on the green husks using your marker. I try to mix things up a bit by using easier numbers (2, 4, 5) and leading into much more difficult ones as we go along (11, 13, 14). Don’t make things too difficult for your child because then she’ll be frustrated.

Avoid easy numbers since that can be boring, too. Keep a healthy mixture of easy through difficult to keep her interested! (I generally make every other one easy-hard-easy-hard to keep his interest peaked).

Candy Corn Game Counting Numbers
5. Begin adding candy corn to each piece of corn. First, identify the number and then count out enough corn for the corresponding number.

6. Reinforce the importance of checking your work! Go back and recount the corn (one time is enough). This is of course extra help that can’t hurt, but also strengthens the idea of checking things to make sure no mistakes have been made.

Preschool Counting Numbers Activity
7. Once you’ve completed all the work and counted out your corn, flip each of the husks over and write down new numbers.

Mom/Dad: Now it is your turn to add the candy corn! Purposely make a few mistakes and miscount on 2-3 of your corn earns. Have your child check your work and ask him to fix them. If you’ve placed 6 pieces of candy corn and the corresponding number says 4will he understand that removing 2 pieces of candy corn corrects the problem?

Let’s Talk…

Do you have any other variations of this simple candy corn math game to share? Leave a comment below; I would love to hear about other ways that I can change this game around with my kids!

Why Your Toddler is Playing With Poop & How To Stop Behavior

  Why Toddlers Playing With Poop Diapers

Well, I suppose the time has come to finally have this discussion on MamaNYC! Since my firstborn was already out of this stage when I began blogging [mid-2010], I wasn’t  able to get into it. Maybe I didn’t want to get into it at the time, but enough procrastinating. Fast forward to present day as I sit here now with my 20-month old daughter with a huge bottle of Clorox and enough baby wipes to clean Madison Square Garden (the arsenal). The confession? Ah, so.. My daughter won’t stop playing with poop – in her diaper, taking it out, and worst of all… smearing.

Whew, got that off my chest!

The first thing that I want to tell you is that it isn’t just your kid and it is completely normal. It is strangely quite common amongst toddlers and as disturbing as you find it to be, your child thinks it is fairly okay to do. At the very least, she sees little wrong and absolutely no harm in playing with poop.

Just because it is normal or expected doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help your child understand why it is bad to do or how to not to do it anymore. It is a health hazard, which makes it even more important for him to stop doing it.

toddler playing with poop

I had mixed emotions when my son was smearing and I thought it was maybe something that we were doing or weren’t doing. Once I discovered that it is actually fairly common, I did feel a little better (not much, but a little!).

I can recall the worst day ever – the day when I finally had enough! Our condo at the time had WHITE CARPETS (Seriously. Who puts WHITE carpets down in a rental unit?!?). My son headed down the steps towards the kitchen just a few seconds ahead of me. As I strolled down the hallway, I started to notice something on the walls, and the rugs, and the walls again, and the molding. It was everywhere. 

Suddenly, I caught my son dragging his bottom across the white carpets as if he was trying to clean himself off. “Noooooooooooooo!”. This was the disaster of ALL disasters. It was as if an atomic BOMB had exploded inside of my head and my white carpets were just doused in balsamic vinegar. I wished it was chocolate fudge or anything else. How was I going to explain this one to guests?! landlord?! (Note: The stains never came out. Faded, but they were always there…).

Some toddlers may just reach in and unfortunately only result in a bit of poop on their fingers — while other toddlers resort to smearing. Yep, smearing. My son was big into smearing and I had no idea how to stop the problem. Luckily, I only had to deal with this issue for less than 3-months. It was a really, really, really long 3-months and I look back now and realize that I should have asked for help, but it wasn’t a topic I was comfortable discussing with other parents at the time. That is why I wanted to openly discuss the problem and hopefully shine a light of support and advice towards my fellow parents.

Is there anything that can be done? Of course! For every most parenting problems – there is normally always something you can do. Whether we are able to figure it out on our own, receive the best advice possible from our own parents, or turn to the Internet for tips and suggestions, we can and will find a solution.

Family Guy Stewie dirty diaper

WHY?

Your child is trying to understand his body. He is struggling with the ability to understand how to control it’s functions and his curiosity for bodily productions is peaking.  My daughter began this stage approximately 3+ months ago (she will be 2-years-old in January 2015), so this is quite common around the age of 2-3 when potty training starts to become an interest for both the child and parent.

You may notice that your little girl wants to keep her toys very tidy and neat one day, but suddenly she is smearing poop on the walls the next. During this stage, your child is struggling to master how she wants or needs to act and react. While quite common between the ages of 2-3 years old, I would consult a pediatrician if it continues past 3 1/2 — 4 years of age.

THE SOLUTION & REMEDY

Getting your child to stop smearing her diaper findings is going to be a difficult chore. You should also know that this stage is likely going to be very short-lived and this too shall pass. Your child is simply experimenting and it is natural, strangely.

Step 1:  Damage Reaction Control

The way that you react to the mess or exploratory diaper scavenger hunt likely has to change. If you are overreacting, you’ll need to realize that how your reaction is the most important element to the remedy. If you overreact, you risk reinforcing the behavior. Whenever she wants to grab moms attention and knows you’ll totally flip out if she plays with the contents of her diaper, you may have handed your toddler a loaded arsenal to get a rise out of mom.

As calm as possible, let your little one know that poop is yucky and dirty, “Ewwies! Don’t touch poopies! Very dirty. No more touching poop.” You will need make sure she sees and knows exactly what is wrong with the picture. Point to the problem and make it very clear to her. Depending on how young, your child may not even know what she has done that is so bad. Be as clear as possible.

Step 2: Block Access

One thing that is quite hilarous is that toddlers normally go through the smearing stage while they are exploring their nudity phase. It’s as if one day they wake up and suddenly know how to undress themselves, so they decide to practice that skill with every piece of clothing that you put on them.

Take a look and see what is wrong with the picture. You’ve likely cut out onesies or at least cut down on using them around this age, right? You need to start limiting his access to the diaper. Hunt out toddler sized onesies or any other one-piece clothing that will block him off from the diaper. When he begins to undress himself since this stage usually goes hand in hand with the naked phase (another entirely different day for another entirely different post!) – get those clothes back on as fast as you can!

TIP: Put those feetie PJ’s on backwards to limit access to the diaper!

Step 3: Create a mess with anything else!

Figure out a messy activity that can be done [as often as possible] to help him with his urges. Part of this exploratory phase is your toddlers urge to create and clean messes. While an important lesson to learn and a life skill that you really want your child to have for the future, we want to help them practice in another way. Think about finger painting, playing in the mud, making and baking a cake or cookies, etc. Validate it as a positive mess by telling and showing her the differences between a soiled diaper mess versus finger painting project.

Step 4: Let’s Talk Potty Training…

Use this opportunity to begin discussing potty training. Start to demonstrate and review proper potty usage and where it should be going. Tell him how easy it is to use the potty — and how great it will be to take a look at it once he is done. “We don’t want to touch it, but we can surely look at it to see what it looks like once we’re done going poop in the big boy potty!”

Also, take it as a sign of interest in potty-training. Use it as an opportunity to review the proper use of the potty, and validate their interest in poop. “Here, make your poop in your potty. Then when you’re done, you can look at it. We don’t touch it, but you can look at it if you want to see what it looks like.”

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Nothing is working!

Beyond how you will react to a smearing on the walls or blocking access, you do have other options. I did a lot of research and discovered there are a few different methods to try out.

Exclamation Warning Baby Playing with Poop

Avoid Warm Baths

My son has always loved to take a bath, so I look back now and realize that his smearing was a way to get rewarded with a bath. The first thing you are probably going to do after he makes a mess with his diaper is to toss him in the bath to clean up, right? That’s exactly what he wants you to do!

Cold Shower, yikes stripes!

After hearing this idea, I was a little scared. Would it work and just how much would my kids hate me afterwards? We haven’t tried it out yet, but I have heard from many parents that it does the trick and works almost every time.

You’ll need to remain calm and be as loving as possible. You don’t want to scare your toddler and especially don’t want her to grow fearful of water, showering, or washing up. Instead of warm water, use cool water to wash his hands and bottom after the smearing episode is discovered. You will feel guilty, awful, and probably hate yourself for doing it.

The water doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) frigidly ice cold, but we want to avoid associating poop smearing with a nice, warm bath reward. Stay calm and wash up with cool water so that she will begin to associate her actions with consequences. The next time she is trying to decide if she should smear or not, your child will remember how it resulted in a cool bath or scrub down instead of fun, toys, and bath time.

 Still playing with poop?

If all else fails and her behavior does not subside, consult with your pediatrician. Keep a log by recording dates, times, and behaviors or results (smearing on floor only; found inside her bed with smearing on legs). It isn’t exactly the diary you thought you would keep, but it may be useful in the future to reveal a pattern of other related toddler behaviors.

At the end of the day, I hope you remember that you are only human — and so is your child. This is just the start of a lifetimes worth of booboo’s, mix-ups, ouchies, and ‘what the &%$#’s”. Things happen, kids go through stages, and they move on as they continue to develop. The fact that you have recognized this stage and decided to do some research just shows what a strong mom or dad you can be. Keep control and move forward, but first take a look over your shoulder to make sure she isn’t smearing again!

#SMILE! :O)

Shopping For Parent’s Choice Baby Diapers at Walmart #CBias

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

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Parent's Choice Baby Diapers #cbias

If there’s one thing that a parent needs for their baby it is diapers. All else is important, of course, but you need a reliable, absorbent diaper and you need a lot of them. Having kids is expensive and it can be very difficult trying to maintain a budget while purchasing hundreds of diapers each month. I choose Parent’s Choice baby diapers at Walmart for my little girl because of quality and value. We are only human and we are going to make mistakes while raising baby, but I would hate to see you mess up in the diapers department!

Parent's Choice Baby Diapers Walmart

Running out of diapers is never a good time. You’ve stocked up for the month and think you’re good to go, but suddenly you’re digging into your diaper bag stash and realize you are all out. We’re only human, so we have all been there and done that. You’ll need to stop all you are doing and run to the nearest Walmart because who knows when the next diaper change will be (and what it will look like, or smell like!). Keeping this little girl diapered can be expensive and quite frankly – messy (if I don’t choose the best value diaper brand!).

Walmart Shopping Diapers Baby

Guess what I did yesterday? I ran out to our nearest Walmart because I was running very low on diapers (less than two!). You would think that I would be a pro at stocking diapers at this point. After two kids, I should know when I am running low, but it always takes me by surprise. Luckily, I always can depend on Walmart having my daughters size 4 Parent’s Choice diapers in stock.

Parent's Choice Baby Diapers Walmart

Shopping with two kids is never a good time. There’s been countless outbursts and tantrums, which sort of look something like this:

Baby Diapers Private Label Walmart

Thankfully, I can always find what I need at Walmart and run down my shopping list as fast as possible. I know Walmart will have what I need and I already know where to find it. While my daughter was in the middle of a breakdown, I was able to hustle my way on over and grab a package of Parent’s Choice baby diapers – quickly, too!

Madison Parents Choice diapers best value

Maddie chooses Parent’s Choice diapers!

Don’t worry! Her tantrum subsided after only 2-minutes of screaming and we were able to get in and out of Walmart in less than 1-hour. It was a painful hour, but mama had shopping to do and gifts to buy! I choose to do all of my shopping under one roof, so I am can purchase everything from food to diapers all at Walmart.

Diaper stretch crawling walking

One thing that I really love about Parent’s Choice diapers is their stretchy sides. They make my life easier when I am changing my wiggly, moving, and squirming 20-month old daughter’s diapers. They also make her life better as she can walk, crawl, and run around with her big brother without feeling stuck. There’s nothing worse than having a tight diaper that doesn’t let you move around (not speaking from personal experience, of course…).

Walmart Diapers Baby

When it comes to diapers, I am looking for flexibility, best fit during mobility, and the most absorbent diaper around. We have experienced many messy disasters that I would rather not discuss. I love how Parent’s Choice wraps and stretches around my daughters sides and back to provide just enough room for her to move, but not too much that could result in a “spillage” or overflow (shall we say…).

Best Baby Diapers price

Mom and dad are always worried about doing what is best for baby. We focus on our kids day and night (and then some). They are the centers of our universes. We live and breathe for our kids. Whether its baby wipes, baby food, or baby diapers, I am always trying to make sure I am able to provide the best for my children. I need something that I can depend on as a parent since it is my job to make the decisions that my little lady cannot choose for herself.

With that being said, I guess it is time for a diaper change now…

Maddie Parents Choice Diapers

No more pictures, please! 

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Learn More Engage MamaNYC Teal

I know you’re very excited and want to jump in the car right now, head to Walmart, and purchase a package of Parent’s Choice diapers for your little one. First, I have a great coupon for you to print out! Turn that printer on and start printing your Parent’s Choice diapers coupon.

Want to find out if your local Walmart is carrying the new and improved Parent’s Choice diapers? Check this spreadsheets for a complete list of stores where you can currently find

Follow the conversation and chime in with the official #BabyDiapersSavings hashtag on Twitter to see what other moms are saying about stretching their savings with the great value of Parent’s Choice diapers!

Huggies MomInspired Grant For Mom Invented Product Ideas!

Mom Invented Product Grant

Huggies MomInspired Grant Program

Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

– Thomas Edison

There’s something that has to be said about a mom invented product. They’ve got soul, love poured into them, and they’re solving a problem that no one but a mother could think of solving. That is why I wanted to share details about the Huggies MomInspired Grant ProgramIt’s for an amazing reason and who knows what amazing things can come from this years grant?

MomInspired Parenting Invented Product

The Huggies MomInspired Grant Program awards $15,000 grants for inventions to up to eight people that are eager to explore and grow their innovative product ideas. For the fifth year, Huggies is going to be awarding this entrepreneurial grant to those that have ingenuity for creating products. Mom invented products enrich the lives of parents everywhere, which means I could benefit from one of those inventions in the future. Could your innovative idea one day help me out with my daily parenting needs? I sure hope so!

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Mom Invented Products That I Love…

Past product reviews found on MamaNYC were winners, too!

* One of my product reviews from way back in 2011 was for an amazing baby bowl.  As one of the winners of this grant in 2013, I can tell you that Barbara Schantz totally deserves it! We still use our bowl and love it. You can read my Baby Dipper review and find out why it is so amazing!

Baby Dipper - Pink Bowl & Utensil Set

*Natalia Ortiz, WallBumpi inventor and a 2012 recipient of the MomInspired Grant, was featured on MamaNYC in March 2012. Read my WallBumpi review and read Natalia’s story, too!

WallBumpi Mom Invented Product

*I received the Aqueduck today, which is invented by Susanna Lee, another one of the 2012 recipients! I literally just opened the package 10-minutes ago and I cannot wait to give it a whirl now. Check back later this week to read my review!

Aqueduck Mom Invented

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Now it’s your time to shine! It’s your chance to submit your idea to The Huggies MomInspired Grant Program to make your dreams come true.

Past winners have made amazing progress. Their inspirational stories of taking a small mom invented product idea and turning it into a reality can become your story, too. If your idea for a product is original, innovative and viable enough to make life easier for parents, why not give it a shot and make your dreams come true with a grant from Huggies?

Albert Einstein quote

Applications are being accepted now through September 30th [2014]. Winners are going to receive (ah-mah-zing) business advice (priceless) from author, radio and TV personality and founder of BSMMedia.com, Maria Bailey. They will also receive support from Kimberly-Clark (again, priceless beyond belief), access to the existing HMI network of recipients and a shared booth space at the 2015 ABC Kids Expo!

Learn all about the past recipients of the Huggies MomInspired Grant to see how it has helped to develop and shape their businesses. This program is open to anyone who has an innovative baby or child care product or idea. It is not limited to only moms or women.

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Huggies MomInspired Grant Program

Apply Now:

Who?

* Anyone with an original, innovative and viable new product idea to help make life easier for parents; must be 21 and older and reside in the United States.

How?

* Log onto www.HuggiesMomInspired.com and submit the application, including your idea and business plan.

When?

* Applications are being accepted now through September 30, 2014 (deadline!)

Why?

* For the chance to receive $15,000 and business advice to help start or grow your business idea.

Seriously? Tell me more!

For more information about all the grant recipients and the program, visit HuggiesMomInspired.com. Follow and connect with the official #HuggiesMomInspired hashtag to see what others are saying and how they’re applying to make their dreams come true! Grants will be awarded in the Fall 2014 and I can’t wait to see who the winners are this year!

Saving Money, Saving Sanity — A Guide for New Parents

The thought of starting a family is an exciting one, but can also raise some fears. In tough economic times such as the ones the United States and other countries have experienced around the world recently, one fear may be financial. Raising a baby is an expensive endeavor. From the time they are born until the young adult you raise reaches the age of eighteen, the costs continue to rise. Parents who raised families in 2013 could figure on spending approximately 241,000 dollars, according to CNN Money.

How do you offset some of these costs? Well it’s time to save money and save sanity at the same time using a variety of strategies. One of which is using diaper coupons until your little one is fully potty trained.

Saving Money Coupons Email Clubs

Email Club

Technology can offer many assists to young families; from sharing baby news and pictures with friends and family to researching baby names. Another benefit is it can also help save them money with various platforms, including email.

Nearly all makers of baby products from diapers to formula to big ticket items, for example, The Honest Company, offer email clubs to their consumers. Expectant families can join these at various times, even before they are expecting. Once a pregnancy is confirmed, the family’s profile can be updated to reflect their changing need for coupons and information.

Beyond saving money for baby, it is also important to keep the fun alive in your relationship. Plan a great date night using savings gained through electronic mailing lists from restaurants to reconnect and recharge one another. You may even be able to receive a part of the meal free, according to lifehacker.

Coupons!

One of the easiest ways to save money on all baby and family needs is to learn the art of coupons. Baby items are expensive because they are specially made to address the very specific needs of your new addition. However, diaper coupons as well as coupons for other items can go a long way in the savings bank.

Coupons Saving Money Parents Guide

The practice of couponing is not new. However, it has certainly gained in popularity over recent years with the advent of couponing shows like Extreme Couponing on TLC. Saving money does not necessarily mean you have to go to the extreme, the tips learning from that series can be applied to any family situation, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Some of these include:

  • Look online for coupons. A little ink and some paper at home can lead to a lot of savings in the grocery store and other locations.
  • Tear off coupons at the store whether you need them on your current trip or not. If you are well stocked with the item right now and the coupon does not expire for a while, then tear the coupon for future use.
  • Get organized! Organization is an important skill for young families to master before baby arrives. Establishing a routine and learning what works for you will make life with baby that much easier. This includes learning how to get organized prior to your next shopping trip. Create a system that matches the layout of your favorite store. This way it will only take seconds to find the coupon you need.

Gifts

Gifts are a great way for families to save money. Whether you request bundles that include diapers and wipes or other gifts, every little thing will help. Spend a fun day or two setting up a baby registry in a few different stores before your baby shower. This list will act like a guide for your friends and family as they shop. Do not be afraid to ask for gift cards so that you can save on items that you need in the future.

Saving Money Tips Gifts Parents

The Benefits of Saving Money

Saving money has a variety of benefits. The most obvious is more money staying in your wallet. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Being happier.
  • Taking vacations, even with baby.
  • Less stress in the household.

You can use various tips, strategies and methods to gain the most value for your dollar, according to real simple.

Saving Money Piggy Bank

Raising the newest addition to your family will be a rewarding experience filled with the ups and downs of life. Saving money and saving sanity even before they have arrived will result in your family being able to focus on the more fun aspects of life, the little moments that make life worth living. Explore options such as couponing, joining email lists and even asking for gifts to enjoy freedom from the stress of money worries. This is a lifelong process; take the time now to learn the strategies that work for your family now. Have some flexibility built in to accommodate any changes to strategies or methods that may need to be made in the future.

5 Things I Have Learned About Moving Cross Country With Kids

Learned Moving Cross Country With Kids

So, here I am living in California and about to begin my sixth full day in the sunny, hot, and beautiful city of Los Angeles. Our lives have dramatically changed and we have gone through a lot over the last couple of weeks between preparations for moving day, packing up our old home, and traveling from NYC to Los Angeles.

Moving cross country with kids is no easy feat and I learned a great deal about patience and planning while en route to our new home 3,000 miles away from anything we know. I knew it would be a looooooooooong week full of activities and events that would leave me completely wiped out and drained. However, I found out the reality of it all was much much worse than I had ever imagined. We had a stint at the hospital (which I will discuss in the future, oye!) that wound up putting our 18-month old daughter for overnight observations for 2-days. We attended a large family wedding, had our up’s and very low down’s, but… we did it. We moved.

Born and raised in New York, I was a frequent visitor to the beautiful city of L.A. quite frequently while growing up since my aunt, uncle, and their two children lived here. My father moved from NYC to LA back in 2004 after my parents divorce, so I began to visit more and more as I reached my early 20’s. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would move here, or anywhere outside of New York, but here I am!

Since my husband and I weren’t homeowners in New York, we had the unfortunate privilege of doing quite a lot of moving throughout the years. Landlords ((STRIKE)) Slumlords in New York City are the worst — and so are all of your neighbors. Each place had a different problem, so we would pickup a move until we eventually found the right spot to call home (we never did – until we moved to the Poconos of Pennsylvania in December 2013 and struck it rich with the most amazing neighbors you could ask for!).

5 Things I Have Learned About Moving Cross Country With Kids:

With all of that moving experience that we had from past years, I still wasn’t at all ready for what became of our cross country move. The challenges we are currently facing weigh heavily against any difficulties we may have experienced when moving from Long Island to Brooklyn or back to Queens, New York.

1. You can plan accordingly, but according to nature – nothing goes as planned

We had everything planned out from Day #1, but now that I can reflect back on the last 3-4 weeks, I realize that almost nothing went as planned. You can pick a moving company based off of a 4.75 out of 5 near perfect rating based off of 789 reviews, but still they won’t show up and you will need to rent a truck to do the move yourself.

My best advice? Of course, PLAN-PLAN-PLANawa, but always run another scenario through your mind and have that backup plan ready to go. Create a Plan B and C because the worst will happen on moving day, but there is even more pressure on a cross country move.

2. Stay Calm and Carry On

Heh. As much as I hate to use it, I think the saying played a huge role in my life the last couple of weeks, especially during our moving week. As soon as something bad happened or our plan steered way off course, I simply reminded myself that we still had a job that had to get done and sitting around tearing up about it wouldn’t help the situation at all.

Instead, I picked up where I left off, created another plan of action, and continued on my merry way. There was always going to be an alternative way of getting things done — it all just depended on how I went about it and how fast I came up with the new method of doing things.

3. Be patient and give them leeway

Here’s something I am still struggling with and assume I will be for another weeks or possibly months: kids and dramatic changes are not fun. My son had no problem moving from NYC to Pennsylvania in December 2013. He knew that his grandma, pop pop, cousins, uncles and other family members were only a short 2-hour car ride away. He enjoyed our new life in the Poconos and everything that came with it — especially life in the woods with nature all around that needed exploring.

His transition into L.A. life hasn’t been so simple. Everything from realizing we’re now a 6+ hour plane ride away from family to the dramatically different trees (woods to palm trees?! It sounds silly, but it’s hard on a kid!) has all been weighing heavily on his little mind and it’s creating a tantrum (or 5) per day.

Remind yourself of how stressful and different these changes are for you — then put yourself in your little one’s shoes. Whether you’re moving from NYC to LA like my family or Seattle to Miami – all of these dramatic and large difference in the small things like the types of birds prominent in your new city to the family and friends left behind in your former town will bring stress to the kiddos. Just be patient and allow time to adjust.

My son has been having huge outbursts lately — at least 3-5 per day. He’s always been a happy, calm, “go with the flow and have fun” type of kid. Of course he’s never been perfect, but he’s been an angel in my eyes since birth. We’ve had a few issues with sharing (what kid hasn’t) and he’s had bratty outbursts in the toy aisle at the store, of course (“I want THAT toy – now! Please!”), but again – what kid hasn’t?! Now, I am seeing a much madder and much more difficult side of him that isn’t fun to deal with at all.

While at CVS yesterday, I had to deal with a tremendous temper tantrum that left me walking out of the store without making my purchases. Never in my motherhood career have I had to do such a thing and it was dauntingly depressing. I felt for him, but I still had to stay strong and remember that giving into him or allowing it to go on inside of a store wasn’t good for either one of us.

I want to cry for him and tell him it’ll be okay, or move back to NYC and forget any of this ever happened, but that will only show him that he can get exactly what he wants because of his bad actions.

Just stay calm and although I wouldn’t suggest you should allow all of the family and household rules to be broken, remember what they’re going through is likely 100x deeper than your own stressors and sadness about leaving the place you once called home.

Give them a little room to feel safe and secure in their new environment. When outbursts happen, don’t give in, but let them know you’re feeling the same way and understand. Relative feelings will help them feel confident again in your new surroundings. Time — it’s the best gift you can give your child during a dramatic and long-distance move cross country.

4. Bring familiar items along (besides toys)

Since most of our belongings will remain inside of the storage pod that we’ve rented until we find a more permanent living situation, I have only the toys and items that we took along for our plane ride. We have plenty of toys, but I do regret not holding on to other familiar items that could help to comfort the kids.

Outside of toys, I would recommend packing a picture frame or poster that hung in your child’s old bedroom. Carry along a statue or figurine that sat on your kitchen counter, or bring a blanket or two that your child will use as a comfort piece while traveling on the road or while waiting for the moving truck to arrive.

We took along 2-3 blankets per child and as much as it added to the carry-on load for our flight to L.A., I wouldn’t have changed a thing because they truly helped our kids with the move. Remember: as silly as all of these tips and suggestions may sound to an adult, kids have an entirely different perspective and it will be appreciated when you bring along a blanket or pillow from home!

5. Don’t expect too much from them and turn it into an adventure

As much as a cross country move is a real life situation and it is far from a vacation, bringing your child 3,000 miles from home is going to be felt — heavily. If your child normally had chores at home, don’t enforce them or lessen their duties while on the road or living in a temporary situation.

My son is only 5-years-old, so his household chores basically consisted of keeping his toys clean and putting his trash into the garbage receptacle.  While we are living in a temporary living situation for now until we find a home, I am giving him a bit of leeway when it comes to keeping things clean. Our current place is quite tiny and I myself find it difficult to keep things neat and clean (especially with four people living in the tiny place we’re currently calling home!).

I asked my son to simply try to keep his toys in one area as best as he could and to pick up any trash he makes or sees his sister leave behind. I didn’t quite make it sound like a chore, but more or less as though I was asking him to do me a favor. So far, I am finding his response to be positive and he is doing exactly what I have asked (with 1-2 small hiccups along the way, but it has only been 6-days so far).

Just try to remember how much stress you are feeling right now as you move thousands of miles from home and try to be patient because it is going to take a long time for the kids to adjust to their new surroundings. Make them as comfortable as possible and remember how much children strive for security and stability. Give them a strong sense of safety wherever you are and allow time to adjust and learn to trust that the decision mom and dad made to move away from home was a good one.

Whether you are moving because of a job relocation, new home purchase, or just to try out a new city for your family, kids are always going to feel the weight of a move tenfold. Of course, mom and dad worry about the moving truck, boxes, and the expenses incurred, but the kids are emotionally going to feel broken hearted.

Expect to see an outburst, temper tantrum, and tons of tears throughout the first couple of weeks after your move. Don’t try to force them into a strict daily structure and routine, but do follow a routine as best as you can. If the kids steer off course or things don’t go according to plan, make adjustments and go with the flow.

Most of all – don’t be too hard on yourself. Just as you’re kids are only human and trying to deal with the changes going on around them, so are you. If you aren’t the best parent that you can be during a cross country move – it’s okay. The best thing that you can do is be there for your kids, leave the unpacking and cleaning for later, and help them explore their new environment. It’s going to be a whole new world for them and just as you helped them take their first steps around their first home, you’ll likely need to do the same at your new house in your new city.

… and stay calm. It will eventually be okay!

 

Light Bladder Leakage Control & Poise Microliner Protection

  Light Bladder Leakage Poise Samples

So, I am currently on the road for the week we with kids and husband. We moved out of our home in the Poconos (Pennsylvania) yesterday and will be staying with family and visiting friends all week in New York until our one way flight to Los Angles on Monday. Yes, we are moving from NYC to Los Angeles and I am spending the entire week entirely on the road and living out of a suitcase.

I am exhausted, aching, and I have no idea what is what or where anything is in our car. When you’re traveling this much, you have to be prepared for anything and literally everything. We have to assume the worst and hope for the best, but always protect ourselves – right ladies?

So, let’s go “there” – light bladder leakage.

Prior to having my first born, I always assumed that things like bladder leakage weren’t possible for someone in their mid-20’s. Who me? Never! I learned the hard way and discovered that we are all possible victims of leakage, so it is better to prepare for the possibility of bladder leakage as opposed to discovered a problem while you’re standing in the middle of the playground with your kids or walking through a busy shopping mall (Am I right, ladies?).

Leaky Bladder Protection Liners

Poise Microliners are incredibly thin and you won’t even notice they are there, which is the best part of all. I want to protect myself and avoid any “dilemmas”, but I also want to go about my business. I love the idea of having the bladder protection liners in place for those moments when that weak bladder just can’t take it anymore, but I wouldn’t be able to tolerate a constant reminder or having to deal with another thing in my life.

We’re wives, mothers, friends, and daughters. We’re busy women and I appreciate the fact that Poise knows just how important it is for a bladder protection liner that will do its job without being noticed. Whether or not we are victims, I’ve never seen a problem with being prepared ahead of time. Hey, you never know, so be ready for anything and nothing will be able to get in the way of your busy day!

Poise Microliners Leakage Protection

Sample Poise Microliners & See For Yourself!

Did you know that one in three women experience Light Bladder Leakage (LBL)? I couldn’t believe it was that common, but apparently it is best triggered by everyday occurrences like laughing, sneezing, coughing, or exercising. We normally turn to our normal feminine care products for leakage protection, but I am glad to find out there is actually a solution that is specifically designed for LBL!

… and now you can see for yourself! 

Get a free and try out their all-new Microliner to experience Poise protection and comfort for yourself! The kit will include 2 NEW Poise Microliners (1 regular & 1 long), 1 Pose Long Liner, and 1 Poise Ultra Thin Pad. You’ll also find an exclusive coupon and informational brochure to learn more about LBL and how Poise products can help you avoid an uncomfortable “situation” in the future.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Poise, but my love for their Microliners is truly my own!