Nutrition Explorers – Kids Night In Box Review

“Our bodies are our gardens our wills are our gardeners.” – William Shakespeare 

If we left our kids (most of them) to their own culinary wills, they would eat so many white cheddar cheese puffs, chocolate chip cookies, and fruit snacks, that they would turn into a giant ball of junk food. Even with picky eaters who prefer the unhealthier options, we can teach our kids the importance of well rounded meals. 

Even if he doesn’t want to eat it, we encourage our oldest (four-year-old), to take at least one bite of everything we eat as a family. Sometimes there are wins, but most of the time there are a lot of losses. No matter what, we always champion him for trying. He’s proud of just eating one (yes, that’s right), just one black bean, because he hates them, but at least he tries. 

In this month’s Kids Night In Box – Nutrition Explorers, my oldest has dived into a food expedition. With every Kids Night In Box, there is a special theme. The Nutrition Explorers box was timely, as we have been working on his eating habits. Jam packed with so many wonderful activities, healthy eating was provided a fun platform my son could easily support. 

Eat A Rainbow

The first activity we completed together, as a unit, was the Rainbow Activity sheet. Armed with pastels, we colored in our rainbow and discussed fruits and vegetables that are the same colors. My four-year-old profoundly stated as he colored brown all over the rainbow illustration that the fruits and veggies “turn brown anyway.” I mean…he’s not wrong. The best part of this activity was watching his face light-up as he called our various fruits and veggies. He paced back and forth until the moment he would pause and say, “wait! I know! How about a…a…a…PINEAPPLE?!” It is proudly displayed on our fridge and serves as a reminder to healthy options he can consider when trying to “eat the rainbow.”

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Explore Nutrition

One of my favorite classes during my undergrad career was Nutrition. I just found it so interesting and enlightening. I vividly remember sitting down with the My Plate chart to create a meal that satisfied the good fats and cholesterols, dietary needs, etc. With this activity, my son and I filled out our My Plate diagram together. With his crafted binoculars in hand, we examined each provided sticker and placed it appropriately on the plate. He quickly identified was grain, protein, dairy, vegetable, and/or fruit. There were a few items like sushi that teetered between a few areas of the chart – protein, grain, and vegetables. He thought that was hysterical. Once committed to the activity, he quickly took full ownership, telling me what was what. Like our Rainbow Activity sheet, the Explore Nutrition My Plate sheet is proudly displayed on our fridge for the world to see. 

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Food Journal

Included in this month’s Kids Night In Box is a My Plate Food Journal. It was the first item my son was drawn towards. He immediately flipped through the pages and demanded my husband sit down with him to fill it out. What I love about this journal is that he can track not only his food intake and exercise, but he can rate his dietary choices and experiences. The other night we had fish tacos with black beans, and I’m not going to lie to you, they received a very poor rating from my four-year old. There were a lot of circled unhappy faces; however, with this said, he tried it and determined on his own (not by assumption) that he does not like fish tacos and black beans. Now, every night after dinner, my husband and son sit down together to fill out his journal. It’s pretty funny to see things through the eyes of a preschooler. 

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I say this every month, but the Kids Night In Box, is the box that keeps on giving. Along with the countless games and activities, each box comes with a hand selected children’s book, applicable to the box, and a snack sample for the kiddos to try. If you are looking for a way to bring the family together or to drive thoughtful thinking between you and your child, this is the perfect subscription service. We LOVE Kids Night In! To get your box CLICK HERE

Here’s a quick question for you – what is your favorite family meal? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Lollipop Baby Camera – Millennial Mama Review

I always said I would be a chill parent and never sweat the small stuff. Turns out…I’m not a chill parent. While yes, I tend to go with the flow, I am hyper paranoid about everything. It’s hard to be in my head sometimes. So many thoughts racing through at any given moment. I’m often talking myself down from spaces of high anxiety; searching for the parenting peace of mind. 

 

Well, there has been a shift, the Lollipop Baby Camera has eliminated so much of that parenting paranoia. We received the Lollipop Baby Camera three-weeks ago and to be honest, it’s a real game-changer. We LOVE it (and so do the kids…a little too much). 

 

As a millennial parent, I am constantly drawn towards the new and improved tech savvy product. The Lollipop Baby Camera is just that, but for monitoring your babe during naptime, playtime, bedtime, or anytime. The camera syncs with your Apple or Android device/phone for full monitoring with tons of features perfect for the new parent or seasoned parent. 

Makings of a Millennial Mama - Lollipop Baby Camera 2

From the app you can clearly view your child with ease. There isn’t any of that Ghost Hunters television show night vision happening, but a clear and crisp image. The 4x digital zoom and infrared LED makes this camera stand out above the rest. It also has a cry detection feature. The monitor picks up on your child’s cues and can differentiate between babbling and crying. You will automatically receive an alert if you baby is starting to cry. These occurrences are detailed on an events list, i.e. 30 second videos capturing cries, noise, temperature fluctuations, etc. Is this the dream or what?

Makings of a Millennial Mama - Lollipop Baby Camera 1

The app has additional features, such as data collection. The Public Health major in me LOVES this feature because I can track when my kid is up and down. Who doesn’t love research and evaluation?! Did he need to get up for the bathroom at a certain time? Was he unsettled at any given moment? With this information, I can identify my child’s sleep patterns. PS: Did I mention you can keep it on your personal WiFi for full privacy. 

 

Along with the benefits of the mobile app, you can move and bend the baby-safe silicone camera around for the best angle. It comes with a tree branch wall mount, so you don’t have to ruin your walls or furniture. It also comes in three adorable colors – aqua (what we have), pink, and pistachio. The way parents curate our kid’s rooms these days, we need something that will seamlessly blend into the decor and this monitor does just that.

 

I can talk on and on about the benefits of the Lollipop Baby Camera, but you need to try this one out for yourself. I sincerely love this product! Click this link to learn more and to get your own >> https://store.lollipop.camera/ << 

#lollipopbabymonitor #lollipopbabycamera#lollipopbabycam

What color Lollipop Baby Camera would you pick? Let me know in the comments of this post. 

 

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Rise Up – Kids Night In Box Review

“Good is not a thing you are. Good is a thing you do.” – Ms. Marvel

              I will be referencing a bunch of Marvel superheroes, so my apologies in advance to the DC fans out there.

One of the biggest tasks I have taken on as a parent, in my opinion, is the responsibility of raising kind souls. As human beings it’s easy for us to default to a negative head space because of the many emotions we hold inside. I envision toddlers and preschoolers in this instance, as little Bruce Banners. They are pint-size people full of big emotions, and sometimes they don’t know where to harness that energy, just like Hulk.

While the vision of a green tiny human with purple shorts sounds cute and quite honestly like the perfect Halloween costume, I don’t want my kids hulking out due to frustration, hurt feelings, or anything in between. In the August 2019 Kids Night In Box – Rise Up, kids and parents are provided the tools needed to have fun and learn how to effectively approach the topic of bullying. I think about this often in regard to my kids. I don’t want them to be the victims of bullying and I especially do not want them to turn into the Thanos of their pre-school. With the support and knowledge from the Home Educators of American, Kids Night In Box, has provided another exceptional box to tackle this important topic.

SUPERHERO STYLE

Each Kids Night In Box comes with a special book themed specifically to that month’s box. In this month’s box, we were given a copy of How to Deal with Bullies Superhero Style, an insightful children’s book written by Wiley Blevins and illustrated by Debbie Palen. In this book, a young boy named Zach transforms into a superhero addressing situations of bullying amongst his peers. In an effort to stand up for what is right, Zach uses his words instead of his fists to better the situation.

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My oldest is currently in Pre-K, so Kindergarten is no longer a thought, it is quite honestly right around the corner. I know how sweet his soul is and how empathetic he is to other’s feelings but having conversations around bullying at this very moment is so important. This book has been the perfect introduction and reminder of what we can say when someone is bullying a friend or classmate. I certainly appreciate having this book in our personal library.

BECOME THE HERO

Our FAVORITE activity from this box was the creation of his superhero costume! In the box, your child is provided a superhero mask kit, superhero cape, and superhero ID badge. In an effort to be like Zach from the book, we started our costume making journey with the ID badge. On the badge there is a place to put your superhero name and superhero power. Now, my son went very unconventional during this part of the activity. As a lover of Pokemon, he became “I Love Pokemon” and his power is “Pokemon Blast.” I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, he is so strong and mighty as “I Love Pokemon.” A true force to be reckoned with.

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After creating the ID badge, together, we followed the pictured instructions for the superhero mask kit. Carefully placing each foam piece, the end result was fantastic! As a lover of the color orange, his perfectly designed purple and orange face mask, gave him the confidence he needed to become the best superhero around.

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Watching my son run around the front yard with his cape, mask, and ID badge, was quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen. We plan to reenact How to Deal with Bullies Superhero Style dressed in his costume and practice how to address different situations he may face at school, swim practice, the park, or anywhere he may potentially encounter a bully.

BULLY VS. BUDDY

One thing I love about each Kids Night In Box, is that they provide critical thinking opportunities. With the Bully vs. Buddy chart, my son was able to identify instances of bullying. I read through a number of scenarios and he had to identify, by circling a happy face or frowny face, if they scenario was an example of someone being a bully. Alternatively, for the older kids, the back of the Bully vs. Buddy sheet allows older kids to right down characteristics of how an individual can be a buddy or how a person can be a buddy.

We work really hard to teach our boys how to be the best buddies they can be and approach each situation with kindness. This is a great tool to learn how different actions can help or harm the people around them.

A LITTLE EXTRA

Each Kids Night In Box comes with a few extra items, so the impact of the box can go above and beyond. In the Kids Night In Box – Rise Up, my son received a pair of bright orange sunglasses. If you know anything about my son, HIS color is orange, so these were perfect. Megan Pruitt, Founder of Kids Night In Box, has labelled these shades as “Bully Blockers” and we are obsessed. My son can put these on as a way to block out the bullies.

These were a few of our favorite activities, but there were so many more ways to have fun and learn how to address the important topic of bullying in children and adolescents with this month’s Kids Night In Box.

I say it each month, but we look forward to receiving our Kids Night In Box. It’s exciting, educational, and engaging! To get your box, CLICK HERE!

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Who is your favorite superhero? Let me know in the comments below.

#KNIRiseUp #KidsNightInBox

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Summer Reading with Kids

“Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King

When I open a book, I am instantaneously thrown into a world of wonder. I am delighted with every turn of the page. I long for others to feel the excitement that I feel every time I pick up a book. It’s magical! I am fortunate enough to have two kids who love the power of a good book.

Reading has become a daily occurrence in our household. Books are read while at school and at home on the weekends, but every night is closed with two books. This is OUR time. While my kids are still young and in school during the work week, we are creating an environment which thrives on the written word. These tactics can transform the summer reader as well.

The Books of Summer

While reading should be the reward, developing incentives for reading can be beneficial to the young reader. We are participating in the 1,000 books before kindergarten challenge with our local library, but this can be transformed into a monthly challenge for kids. A book a day, 10 books a month, 50 books for the summer, etc., these are great options for kids. For each book they read, they will receive a sticker. For every 10 stickers, they will be rewarded for a small toy, experience, etc. A grand adventure ahead!

Create Your Own Story

Tapping into their creative side can be beneficial. Challenging kids to write and illustrate their own children’s book can be a summer-long project. Each day, they can spend 20-30 minutes on their book. By the end of their summer, they can host their own author reading for friends and family. Taking pride in their own creation is but one aspect of the project, by reading from their favorite authors, they can gain inspiration for their own developments.

Invest in Your Own Library 

The summer is the perfect time to build your family library. We have four bookshelves filled with books across our house. We love investing and growing our collection of beautiful and inspiring children’s books. Penguin Random House has released three beautiful books that have been the ideal additions to our storybook collection.

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PAPER SON  – The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung & Chris Sasaki 

From China to America with only a few papers in his hands, Tyrus Wong became an illustrator for Disney, using his gorgeous watercolor technique to create the iconic backgrounds of Bambi. Through the enchanting writing of Julie Leung and the illustrations of former character designer for Pixar Animation Studio, Chris Sasaki, Wong’s journey from immigrant to celebrated artist is wonderfully captured. My four-year-old is drawn (no pun intended) to the detailed illustrations of this children’s book. He will sit in his reading corner, flipping from page to page, carefully examining the beauty that is this book.

Available for purchase on September 24, 2019. 

Take Your Pet to School Day by Linda Ashman & Suzanne Kaufman

One word can be used to describe this book – FUN! When pets show up at Maple View Elementary School unannounced, chaos ensues and my kids bust into instantaneous laughter. Through Ashman’s skillful rhyming and Kaufman’s captivating illustrations (BIG fans over here), kids can learn the power of classroom etiquette with new friends. This children’s book is perfect for kids and pet lovers alike.

Now available for purchase.

When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland

Dealing with your emotions can be hard. Understanding your feelings as a kids can be even harder. Through her debut piece, writer and illustrator Eva Eland introduces sadness as a welcomed guest; exploring its intention, giving it a name and form, and discovering ways and activities to approach moments of melancholy through mindfulness. It is important to respect the feeling(s). This is truly a beautiful piece which provides thoughtful conversation with the kids.

Now available for purchase.

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

These are just a few ways to encourage summer reading. What are your ideas? Let me know in the comments. I am always looking for new and exciting ways to encourage reading with my kiddos.

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Living with Intention – Parenting

One of the biggest takeaways I have gathered thus far through my journey of motherhood is the resilience of children. It amazes me how they will continuously try something (even if they can’t get it quite right) or re-adjust to whatever is happening in the world around them. They do all of this with a smile on their face(s). Kids are AMAZING!

I’ve recently put my kids to the test. I started a new job, which I love, but it has tilted our world’s axis. We are waking up earlier, getting picked up later or picked up by someone other than mom, and spending less time together on the weekdays. While this has been a tough transition for me, because my husband and kids are my world, they have adapted beautifully. They don’t appear phased (which I won’t take too personally), but I have realized my personal shift. I am far more intentional with my life.

Now you may or may not know this about me, but I am Type A to the point that I have everything organized to the “T” 24/7. No matter what it is, i.e. food, clothing, schedules, etc., I am aligned in every way; however I often I get caught up in the idea of catching up that I fail to enjoy the present. With this new job, I have found myself putting down the phone and other distractions to be deeply entrenched in my family’s lives. Now this is not something I randomly started pursuing, but something I have and will continue to work on.

Here are the techniques I use to be more intentional:

  1. Communication – We do it every day. We talk in person, over the phone, through social media, etc., yet we often fail when it comes to intentional communication. I really try to be cognizant of everyone’s feelings. Listening and taking note of what’s going on in their lives. Asking questions and creating opportunities to build together from those experiences. This will support the growth of your family in a positive direction.
  2. Laugh – There is no need to stress about the tiny details. In the grand scheme of things, life will go on. Instead of stressing yourself out to get everything done and still be Super Mom/Dad, push it to the side and laugh. Spreading laughter to your kids will not only improve their lives, but bring more joy to yours.
  3. Be Present – It’s easy to hide behind the screen (phone, TV, computer, etc.) and lose sight of what’s important. Bring present and focusing your time and energy into your tribe is the best thing you can do. The Instagram post can wait, trust me.
  4. Routine – Now, I mentioned I am the Queen of Routines. While things have changed, we are still operating with focus. Keeping the routine is important. Even after a long day and your kids want to stay up a little longer or eat candy at 8 PM, keep the routine in mind. This consistency is not only good for them, but also helpful for you as a parent and partner.
  5. Say No! – I’m not talking about shutting down your kids and/or spouse/partner, I am talking about saying no things that impede upon your family life. If you work from 9 AM to 5 PM that is when you work (sometimes you have to stay late or travel), but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Your kids are only little once, make them a priority. Instead of saying yes to projects or proposals that can wait until the next morning, politely say no and go home to your family. At the end of the day, it will all get done.

As Steve Maraboli stated, “the universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts – it gives you what you demand with your actions.” Living with intention is hard. I am in no way as master at intentional living, but I am working on it. How do you promote an intentional lifestyle? Let me know in the comments.

Good luck on your journey!

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Goodbye Germs – 4 Ways to Keep Illness Away

So, I don’t know about you, but the cold, flu, allergies, stomach bug, really whatever you can think of, has plagued our home over the past couple of months. When you have kids in daycare, I think the chances of passing along germs spreads 100 times faster…just from my own experience. I’ve been on a personal crusade against germs and have found 4 fail-proof ways to keep illness at bay.

Here are the 4 H’s to keep in mind:

 

  1. H2O – Water is our friend. Water is our friend. Water is our friend. Say this mantra over and over again and keep hydrated. Adults should drink roughly 2 liters (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water daily. I try to keep water in my kids’ hands at all times, especially when they are at home. I carry my CamelBak with me to work every day and the boys have their own water bottles they trucked around everywhere we go. We LOVE water and staying hydrated actually keeps the sickness away.
    I would check with your pediatrician in regard to how much water your little one should drink on the daily. 
  2. Hotspots – Finding a good cleaner that is safe for the kids and pets as well as keeps the house free of germs is almost impossible to find, until now! CleanWell is a miracle brand keeping families safe from harsh chemicals as well as creating a healthy environment. We love the Botanical Bathroom Disinfectant, Botanical Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner, and Botanical Disinfecting Wipes. These awesome products kill up to 99.9% of household germs including Influenza A, Rhinovirus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, and so much more. Cleaning with these in illness hotspots – those places where germs grow at a rapid rate – like toilets (also handy when you have boys), sinks, desks, doorknobs, etc. can help eliminate the spread of germs. I honestly can’t get enough these products. They make cleaning easier without needing to rinse and there is no harsh chemical residue floating through the air. Go to their website >> cleanwelltoday.com << to find a store near you who sells these AWESOME products or check them out on Amazon. Three cheers for CleanWell!

    Clean Well Botanical Bathroom Cleaner

  3. Hands up – My kids are so use to me saying “hands up” when we are in a public bathroom, battling sickness in the house, or maneuvering through a store. Germs are everywhere and I’m all about building the immune system, but keeping their hands off of hotspots can make a big difference. The CDC has notated how viruses, like the flu, can live on a hard surface for two to eight hours. Yikes! With the way things spread through daycare, taking extra steps when out and about is necessary. My kids know not to touch a handle without me wiping it down.
  4. Hot (really warm) water – Ya’ll we should all know this one, but soap and hot/warm water is the way to go. When you have kids their idea of washing hands is to throw them under the running faucet for half a second, wipe off excess water on their pant leg, and move on with their lives. By finding a catchy song or rhyme that lasts around 20 seconds can keep them washing their hands for the allotted amount of time. They should be washing their hands every time they leave the bathroom, before they sit down to eat, as well as when they come home from school/park/outings. CleanWell has a wonderful foaming hand soap that comes in four scents – Spearmint Lime, Ginger Bergamot, Lavender, and Orange Vanilla. I LOVE the Spearmint Lime; it is divine!

Now these are just four ways to keep the germs away, so I want to know, how do you keep your house protected from sickness? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, make sure you check out CleanWell >> www.cleanwelltoday.com << They will have the product or products you are looking for to keep your house safe and clean.

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Book Review: Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths

The other day I watched my four-year-old have a complete meltdown because the dog looked at him. Yup, the dog looked at him. His freak out caused my two-year-old to throw his cup (which broke and leaked everywhere) across the playroom crashing into the wall causing another wave of crocodile tears. These are the real moments of motherhood – raw, ridiculous, and ruthless.

I took to social media that day not to share this wild mishap, but an adorable photo of my kids reenacting the entire production of Baby Shark. Like many of us, I slapped a filter on life and gave you what you wanted to see – a fantasy-land of parenting. Let’s be honest, we need more reality in focus, because motherhood is a wonderful, yet extremely messy experience.

I recently got my hands on a copy of Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths – Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood, by dynamic duo Catherine “Cat” Belknap and Natalie “Nat” Telfer. Cat and Nat give it to you straight in this hilarious collection of REAL motherhood anecdotes. This journey from pregnancy to toddlerdom will leave you rolling on the floor in laughter.

Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths

From tips on what you should actually pack in your hospital bag to the realities of Instagram myths on to tips of how to avoid post-partum sex, they give it all to you. With all of these knee-slapping realities, Cat and Nat provide you with the reassurance that you are doing a GREAT job. Motherhood is hard and there is no right way to do it. “There is only your way.”

To be honest, I have been dealing with some personal “mom guilt.” There is no reason for it. I have decided I need to feel guilty, constantly questioning if I’m doing enough for my kids, if working is ruining my children’s lives, if the tone I had with my toddler will negatively impact him for the rest of his life…you know normal thoughts (she said with sarcasm). When I dove head first into this book, I didn’t realize how much it would put me in check. I’m no longer sweating the small stuff. I love my kids, they love me, and well hell, that’s enough! So, Cat and Nat – thank you! Thank you for sharing these truths in a captivating and entertaining way. I can look at myself and say, “you are mom enough!”

Grab your favorite drink (black coffee for me), your favorite treat, shed the mom guilt, and indulge in this delightfully raw capture of what motherhood is REALLY like. Now available for purchase, get your copy of Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths today! >> Cat & Nat’s Mom Truths <<

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Why? – Strange Things Toddlers Do

I was introduced to the world of professional wrestling, WWF (World Wrestling Federation – later) at a very young age by my uncle (shout out to Uncle P!). I was the first grader walking around demonstrating the signature moves of D-Generation X, in particular, Triple H (Hunter Hearst Helmsley). If you have no clue, YouTube it and you’ll see the amazingness that is this mid-90s to early 2000s group. My adoration for the athleticism and performance of these individuals often left my teachers and parents saying – “Why?”

“Hannah why are you pretending to jackknife [XYZ person]?” My answer would always be, “Why not?”

Now that I have two kids and one has discovered his true toddler sass, I hear the phrase “why not?” on loop. Also, as a boy mom, I hear this more often than most – at least I’m assuming mothers and fathers of boys are always walking around looking puzzled because their son(s) has decided to do something crazy.

Along with questioning my children’s (keep in mind they are three and one) need to have an impromptu wrestling match like that of the classic Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from Wrestlemania III in the middle of the living room (YouTube it), my list of “why” based moments is extensive.

Here are the top ten most recent reasons I’ve had to say “why?” and slowly shake my head in confusion.

  1. Mom – Why did you aim your penis at your face when you went to the potty?
    Three-year-old – Because the pee wanted to go up!
  2. Mom – Why are you chewing on the baby teether?
    Three-year-old – Because the baby teether is for people not babies!
  3. Mom – Why are you licking the wall?
    Three-year-old – Because I needed to mom!
  4. Mom – *Gives son a new toy* Where are you going?
    Three-year-old – To hide it!
    Mom – Why?
    Three-year-old – Because the worms will get it!!
  5. Mom – Why did you flip over the play kitchen?
    Three-year-old – Because the whale shark was coming, and he wanted popcorn!
  6. Mom – Why are you rubbing petroleum jelly all over your face?
    Three-year-old – Because I can’t breathe! *He thought it was vapor rub*
  7. Mom – Why is your play grill in your bed?
    Three-year-old – My blanket was cold!
  8. Mom – Why are you standing on the coffee table?
    Three-year-old – Because I need to dance!
  9. Mom – Why are you screaming at the drain?
    Three-year-old – The orca won’t stop yelling!
  10. Mom – Why are you not wearing underwear?
    Three-year-old – He needs to breathe!

So, here’s what I know, he watches too much Octonauts (which I secretly love), he’s extremely tactile, and he has a strong understanding of his body. With this said, all I can say is “WHY????”

What is something your kids have done or said that left you at a loss? Let me know in the comments below.

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4 Ways to Teach Your Kids Patience

What is it they always say – patience is a virtue?

I am the first to admit, my patience level is nearly nonexistent. While it has improved over the years, especially with the addition of children (God bless my kids for bringing me down a notch), I am always keeping myself in check. I’m like the Energizer Bunny always on the move and in a hurry, so don’t get in my way.

I am slowly starting to see my lack of patience in my children. Could it be my unfavorable characteristic is now reflected on them or general toddlerdom? We may never know, but what I do know is that I am constantly working towards self-improvement and providing my kids with the tools they need to be patient individuals.

Here are four ways to promote patience –

  1. Parents Practicing Patience – I’ve already admitted my faults, but we should lead by example as parents. My kids are my driving force to actively show what it means to be a mindful and patient person. If mommy can do it, they can do it too!
  2. Slow and Steady – I don’t know if this can be said for all toddlers, but my boys are always on the go. A moment of Zen is very rare and achieved when they are asleep at the end of the day. A great way to establish mindfulness and patience is to introduce activities like coloring, building with Legos, or baking cookies. We want to slow down the soul and enjoy the outcome of taking our time to complete the task at hand.
  3. Celebrate – What kid doesn’t love praise? When our kids practice patience let’s acknowledge them with a job well done. While we should tackle moments of impatience, complimenting them is of the upmost importance. A reward doesn’t hurt either. We have a mindfulness chart at home where my son fills the chart (with stickers) every time he shows patience. When all 12 slots are filled, he can then select a prize from the treasure chest.
  4. Start the Clock – A trick my parents used when I was a youngster – the egg timer. I have found my oldest responds well to the clock. He will sit there and wait for it to ding before he moves to the next activity. “We are going to park in five minutes,” “You can watch your iPad for two more minutes,” or “we will be home in 10 minutes,” are all examples of establishing expectations through time. It eases anxiety and helps when the anticipation of what’s to come.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy

Do you or your kids struggle with mindfulness? How do you address patience? Let me know in the comments below.

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Bye Bye Bad Dreams

My three-year-old started waking up in the middle of the night claiming pink monsters were going to attack, his dinosaur bopped him on the head, and some other creature under his bed was determined to take him down. It’s normal for the imagination to kick in and warp the blissful reality of dreamland, but when it started to impact everyone’s sleep, something needed to be done.

The other night, our son was inconsolable. He abruptly busted into our room sobbing crocodile sized tears. He was so upset and unable to formulate his thoughts and tell us what was wrong. My husband took him back to his room and eventually fell asleep on the floor holding his hand. Yes, it was a sweet moment between father and son, but we didn’t want to establish this as the norm.

As parents we have the power to embellish – transform any household object into a magical token or make bold claims like vegetables give us super powers. Just like our children, so much is possible when it comes to the imagination. When the nightmares started to plague his dreams, my imagination took over. Here is the story about a little boy – the bad dream buster.

Before he lays his head to sleep, the little boy grabs his green magic stone (i.e. flattened marble his mom found when cleaning out her jewelry box). He gives it a kiss and whispers the word “lucky” into the stone. He gently places the stone in a mystical container (also known as a pill box) and carefully places it under his pillow. The fluffy bunny that occupies his bed, watches over the magic stone as the little boy goes to sleep.

He then grabs his magic elixir (one cup of warm water mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle) known to many toddlers as “monster spray.” He lightly sprays his bed, royal subjects (i.e. stuffed animals), and royal throws (blankets) with the magic potion. If a monster catches one whiff of the elixir he is banished from the kingdom FOREVER! The little boy was very generous in his distribution of the “monster spray.” He likes to cover his bases.

Finally, the little boy seeks out the keeper of light (also known as his Miffy night light). She turns even the darkest corners of the kingdom bright with his warm glow. With the flick of a switch, she casts a beam of light around his room, ridding it of any monsters who may be lurking.

Once the little boy feels that he has successfully demolished all the baddies, he softly closes his eyes and enters dreamland. Legend states, he starts to dream of adventures on board the Octopod with Captain Barnacle and the rest of the Octonauts (*cue dramatic music).

What a story, would you believe me if I said it was true, minus some of the colorful additions? This may seem like an entire production, but it works, for right now. He has full ownership of his nighttime routine, which I believe helps eliminate some of those pre-bedtime anxieties.

What are some tricks you use to help your kids go to sleep? Let me know in the comments below.

Sweet dreams!

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