How to Start Identifying Birds By Their Songs

Going bird watching can be a very fun experience for anyone. People of all ages really enjoy watching what birds land in their backyard or sing from the trees up above. While this is a fun way to get in touch with nature and the world around us, I often wonder how to identify birds by their songs. This idea really had me thinking and so I did some research to figure out a way to help my kids learn this concept of identifying birds by their songs. I wanted to share some of the information with you today so that you can start naming that bird by their song, a concept that’s called “birding by ear”.

How to Start Identifying Birds By Their Songs

How to Start Identifying Birds By Their Songs

Focus and Analyze

Since there may be many birds singing at once, it may be difficult to hone in on one bird song over the rest. That’s why it’s important to really open your ears when you’re “birding by ear”. Learning the various songs of the most common birds that frequent your backyard will take a lot of focus at first as you figured out which bird is singing which song.

Figured Out the Syllables

One of the more common birds to identify is the Barrel Owl as their song sounds much like “who cooks for you”. The syllables of the bird songs will help you to identify birds by their songs. Take a moment to listen to the number of notes, also referred to as syllables, and the tone of each note to help you identify your backyard birds by their songs.

Make a Memory Hook

Once you’ve figured out the syllables of each bird song you can easily make some sort of memory hook, such as the Barrel Owl’s “who cooks for you” as a means to remember which bird song is related to the specific bird breed. The Common Yellowthroat bird has a note that sounds like “witchity-witchity-witchity” but you may find another memory hook helps you remember this bird breed when identifying this bird by its song.

Download Song Sleuth

This app is available for both Apple and Android devices here. Song Sleuth will help you learn the bird songs so that you can better identify your backyard birds by their song. You simply use Song Sleuth to listen to the birds around you and the app will use your recording to help tell you what bird species you’re hearing so that you can save this identifier to help get used to what bird songs belong to which bird breed.

Being able to identify birds by their songs is a fun way to spend quality time with family outside. Not only does this “birding by ear” concept help you enjoy more of your backyard together, but it’s a fun way to help teach your kids about the bird species that frequent your local region. Using my tips to help you start identifying birds by their songs will surely help you and your kids appreciate the birds on a deeper level as you learn their songs and more about their singing habits.

Tips for Traveling With Kids

Tips for Traveling with Kids

Fall is upon us.  Ladies, lock and load ‘cause we’re hittin’ the road. We are traveling with kids.  This helpful post is brought to you by Robertloehrchryslerdodgejeepram.com.

I thought I would share my tips and tricks for traveling successfully with the kiddos.

1.  Prep

I know this goes against the grain of the wild adventurer in every one of us, but seriously, you are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ if you don’t know where you’re going or what your doing on the trip. These are not the days of the road trip when we had the luxury of packing the essentials and hitting the road.

Most likely you are intentional about where you want to go and what you’re going to do, but the amenities of those places you will frequent are worth their weight in goal. Number one priority – a playplace. Have you planned a place to let your smunchkins out to roam, to get out the wiggles. Is there a good rest stop that can provide a run and roam area? How often do you need to stop on the way? Planning stops along the way can be crucial to a happy crew.

2.  Protect

If you still want your vehicle to be in one piece after your return home, I suggest that you use protective covers on your car’s fabric features. There are expensive seat covers to protect the car’s fabric from kids’ spills, but you can also use a fitted crib mattress sheet. This is cheap, probably something you have on hand, and can be easily thrown into the wash.

I also like to put down old towels on the floor areas where my kids might drop something or to catch the snack crumbs. I don’t do this all the time because I don’t like a junky car, but it’s nice when your car is home on a long trip.

3.  Pack

Pack your items in such a way that you can grab the essentials at a moment’s notice. You need to be able to get to your toiletries and an extra set of clothes in case junior decides to get carsick and go projectile on your clothes. Vivid but true…

Also, if room provides, make sure that you think through where you could change baby’s diaper if need be. If you’re tight on space, you can always change baby in one of the front seats when you’re not sitting in it. And pack those extra diapers. I’m constantly tucking diapers side pockets, nooks, and crannies like a little squirrel just in case we sometime forget to have diapers. Silly, but I’d rather be prepared.

4.  Pennies

If you have a child at the begging age, you know it’s important to have some money set aside. We collect our pennies and loose change for trips, and then hubby and I decide on what we’d like to use it on. Sometimes it’s what the kids are whining for… within reason ;), sometimes it’s something special we planned. Either way, it’s nice to have cushion change that didn’t come from the budget.

What did I leave out? Let me know what your essential traveling habits are!

Baby Shower Gender Reveal Pretzel Rod Recipe

Baby Shower Snack

Gender reveals are so much fun, aren’t they?  There is the anticipation!  Then the pink and blue decorations!  Plus, gathering all the family and friends together snapping dozens and dozens of pictures!  What’s not to love?!

If you’re having a hard time finding a baby shower gender reveal snack that suits your taste?  I think our baby shower gender reveal pretzel rods will fit the bill.  That is if your taste enjoys salty and sweet, with pink and blue chocolate!  These pretzel rods are tasty, well loved by young and old, and look oh so cute with very little effort.  That’s a favorite of mine!  Easy but looks super cute.  That could probably be my motto for life.  I like easy and cute.  This quick, to the point, give me the recipe and cut the dialog recipe, does include affiliate links.  I hope you’ll enjoy this fun, cute but not too cutesy, and yummy baby shower snack.

Gender Reveal Pretzels

 

Baby Shower / Gender Reveal Pretzel Rod Ingredients:

Baby Shower / Gender Reveal Pretzel Rod Instructions:

1. Melt the candy coating according to package directions giving special care not to overheat the candy. If the candy coating is overheated, it will be too thick. You can add 2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening or coconut oil to help thin the candy but do not add any other type of liquid as the candy will seize and harden.  To tell you the truth, I’ve tried to heat chocolate many times with all the tips and tricks and I can’t do it without the help of this Wilton Candy Melting Pot.  To me, it’s worth twice what it costs.  It allows me to do it slowly, to not stress, and to even allow my kids to help because I don’t worry that the chocolate will get too hot.  (At the time of this post, it’s available here on Amazon for just over $20 shipped)
2. Pour candy into feet molds if you’re doing that and allow them to cool completely before continuing.
3.  Pour candy coating over two-thirds of the pretzel rod and shake gently to remove excess. If applying sprinkles, do so immediately rotating the pretzel rods to coat all sides. Larger sprinkles work best if placed individually.
4. Place pretzel rod on waxed paper or cooling rack. (Note: Waxed paper makes for easier release. I love these deli wax paper sheets for regular use and because the kids use them to trace all kinds of maps and pictures. Plus, they’re affordable!!)
5. If dipping with additional colored candy melts, allow initial candy coating to set completely. Then, use a spoon or fork to drizzle candy coating over the pretzel rods. Before the pretzel sets, gently pick it up and move to clean wax paper.
6. Let pretzel rods dry completely before packaging or serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Placing in the refrigerator may cause the pretzel to soften.

Baby Pretzel Rods

Do you want to save this for another day?  Possibly for the next kid 😉 or a shower you’ll plan for a friend?  If so, pin the image below. 🙂  Enjoy!

Baby Shower Pretzel Rod Recipe

Holiday Packing List for Babies

This Holiday Packing List for Babies post is brought to you by BodwellChryslerJeepDodge.com and may contain affiliate links.

Holiday Packing List for Babies

Holiday travel is intense, is it not?  Packing to see the in-laws, packing presents, and packing the other 101 things to keep your baby dry, fed, and content on a several hour trip is a lot to plan for.  I’m here to help!  You won’t need everything on this list so pick and choose what will work for you but hopefully I won’t have left anything off the list that you’ll find yourself needing.  So here goes, my holiday packing list for babies!

Entertainment

I’m mostly thinking toys for the car because once you arrive at your destination family will take over and you’ll only see your baby again when it’s time to be changed or fed. Ha. I’m only kind of kidding.

  • -1 soft book (The Rainbow Fish bath book was a favorite in our house!)
  • -1 squishy/rattly toy of your choice
  • -1 big mounted mirror so they can look at themselves
  • -1 Justin Robert’s Lullaby Cd.  Seriously!  I’ve given a dozen of these away as gifts.  They’re delightful for adults to listen to and soothing for the baby at the same time.  Plus, each CD purchase helps to support an artist.  Win, win, win!


Baby on Board (baby specific items)

  • -Diapers (I like to bring a sleeve or two and buy more if needed)/swim diapers
  • -Diaper cream
  • -Toothbrush/toothpaste (Or save the packing space and opt to use a clean wash cloth if they’re small enough)
  • -Breast pump/nursing pads/cover up
  • -Formula/warmer/bottle/bottle brush
  • -Bibs
  • -Baby food/cereal/bowl/spoon
  • -Sippy cup
  • -Pacifier
  • -Changing pad
  • -Baby wipes (I would bring a pack and buy the rest)
  • -Travel crib/cot/sheets for it
  • -Humidifier (If you’re going to a place with really dry heat like we do when traveling in winter. Baby nosebleeds aren’t fun)
  • -Baby carrier/sling
  • -Burp cloths
  • -Sleep sack
  • -Baby blanket (a thin one or two that could double as a nursing cover, stroller cover, baby blanket, or swaddle if needed)
  • -Swimsuits/sunhat/sunscreen (see my full beach packing list for baby here)
  • -Sweater(s)
  • -Socks/shoes
  • -Shirts/shorts/pants/onesies
  • -Hair brush/hair bows
  • -Shampoo/lotion (if you use a particular brand)
  • -Night light/sound machine/any other transportable sleeping item babies are used to
  • -Insect repellent
  • -Stroller
  • -Car seat
  • -Portable high chair
  • -Place mat (We loved our rollable silicone ones and the plastic disposable ones)
  • -Baby thermometer/baby Tylenol (This might be helpful for some who suspect a cold coming on or for those who like to plan ahead…but I’m one that would just run out to Walgreens and buy them new)
  • -Gas drops (I would pack these just in case!)

Holiday Packing with Baby

Health Care

  • Band-aids
  • Antibiotic ointment (We prefer Polysporin over Neosporin in our house)
  • Rx meds anyone in the home takes (We bring just enough for the trip plus one day in case we’re delayed)
  • A few pills of pain medication (well labeled and away from kids) just in case
  • Allergy meds or any other OTC medicine the family takes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Vitamins

Miscellaneous

  • Phone/ipad/laptop
  • Chargers for all the above
  • Possible portable charger for on the go use especially if you’re one who takes pictures all day (I do too on vacations. Solidarity!)
  • Camera/charger/case
  • Books (for you)/notepad and pen for doodling your thoughts (I tend to have all of these thoughts on vacations, usually it involves how to pack better for next time but sometimes I have deep thoughts too) 🙂
  • Assorted sizes of plastic bags (I honestly can’t tell you why but I’ve found uses for them on many many occasions I just can’t think of a single example as I type this tonight)
  • Small amount of dish soap/laundry detergent/disinfecting wipes
  • Cash to tip with

I hope my Holiday Packing List for Babies was helpful to you.  If I left off something that you can’t travel without please let me know in the comments below.  Happy holidays and safe travels!

 

30 Day Family Floss Challenge

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DenTek. All opinions are 100% mine.

DenTek Triple CleanMy husband often reminds my kids that they don’t have to floss all their teeth, only the ones they want to keep.  Teaching kids to floss with long strings of floss is difficult but DenTek® flossers make it easy for kids to learn this important habit.  I’ve heard that brushing alone is like painting the front of the fence but leaving the backside to rot.  Neglecting to floss will still leave the spaces between your teeth subject to cavities. As a part of our 2018 family resolutions, we’ve decided to floss more as a family so we made a trip to Walmart to get floss that they whole family could use.  DenTek® flossers make it easy for us to floss daily.  To tell you the truth, we started a little before the new year to give ourselves a head start into the habit.  It was easier than I thought.  The kids LOVE the flossers because they are brightly colored and the kids can floss by themselves (with adult supervision).  Plus, they’re sold at Walmart which makes it easy to pick up a bag or two. DenTek Kids Fun Flossers We took both kids to the dentist today and got two good reports.  Check out how cute my son is!  He wore his hat like a security blanket and he was so brave.  He did a great job. Dentist apt My daughter is an old pro and was excited for the chance to lay back and watch some cartoons. Dentist appointment While I was there I found this sign. Plaque 1/3!  How icky, I had no idea it was that much. If you want to reach that icky plaque and want to do it as easily as possible look no further than DenTek® products.  I’ve tried out all of their adult flossers and they’re great.  The newest DenTek® Triple Clean Floss Picks even have fluoride coating.  Here’s a quick overview of our favorite DenTek® products.

  • –  DenTek® Kids Fun Flossers: makes flossing fun and enjoyable for children while establishing healthy dental-care habits at an early age. DenTek® Kids Fun Flossers feature a smaller head, an easy-to-grip handle, and a wild fruit flavor kids will love.
    • -scrubbing floss removes food and plaque
    • -small flosser head fits children’s mouth just right
    • -easy-to-grip handle is tailored for child-size hands
    • -tasty wild fruit flavor kids will love

DenTek Triple Clean Flossers

  • –  DenTek® Triple Clean Floss Picks: gives user 3 times the cleaning action in one floss pick:
    • -flossers scrub between tight teeth, stimulates gums, and removes food and plaque
    • -textured pick deep cleans between teeth and stimulates gums
    • -tongue cleaner fights bad breath with minty flavoring
    • -Plus, strong floss is guaranteed not to break, even when used between the tightest teeth
    • -has advanced fluoride coating

To make flossing a regular part of everyone’s lives DenTek® has put out a 30 day flossing challenge where you can win fun prizes.  No purchase necessary to participate or win. Visit DenTekChallenge.com for official rules and more info.  Join the 30 Day DenTek® Family Floss Challenge.

They even have a fun and free printable you can use to help track your family’s flossing progress. If you’re still looking for a New Year’s resolution you can stick with?  Flossing daily with DenTek® flossers is it!  My good friend flosses while she watches TV every evening with her husband.  Why not?  It works for her.  Where can you fit flossing into your routine?

Visit Sponsors Site

The 1 Car Seat Rule You Might Not Know

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Nissan.

Car Seat Rule

I always try to stay on top of all the car seat recommendations and while I was at a car inspection recently they weren’t aware that cars have weight limits for the LATCH system.  While I was very grateful for the service of them inspecting my car seat was used correctly, giving me a discount on buying a new car seat while they disposed of my expired car seat, I couldn’t believe they weren’t up to date on the LATCH system facts.

Here’s the deal…

Most newer cars and car seats use the LATCH system which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  The LATCH system attaches the car seat to the car through anchor points installed in the car, which makes for an easy peasy installation.  Using this system can eliminate numerous potential errors resulting from improper car seat installation with a seat belt.  However, many parents (and sometimes car seat inspectors) aren’t aware that the 65-pound weight limit for using the LATCH system includes the weight of your child in addition to the weight of the car seat (most average around 20-25 pounds on their own). (By the way, the site which I linked to in this paragraph is wonderful for all information on car seat safety.  They also have a Facebook group which I’ve found incredibly helpful. It’s called Car Seats for the Littles and if you join make sure to read their User Agreement before you post because they have a lot of folks in the group.)

If you check and your little one is over 40 lbs and has reached capacity, simply consult your vehicles owner’s manual and car seat user guide (most are online now if you’ve misplaced yours) to make sure you’ve correctly installed your child’s seat using a seat belt and tether.  Car seats are a paaaaain in the rear.  There’s nothing I hate doing more than installing a car seat.  It’s so much work but it’s all worth it to make sure our most precious gifts are as safe as they can possibly be.

What to Do With an Expired Car Seat

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep.  If you’re looking for a new car to keep your family safe take a look at what they have to offer.  

Expired Car Seat

If you’re like most parents of young kids you probably have an expired car seat hanging around somewhere.  It may be gathering dust bunnies in the attic or collecting cobwebs in the garage.  Either way, I’m sure you want to find a responsible way to get rid of it.

It’s easy to overlook an expiration date on a milk jug but a car seat expiration date is one that shouldn’t be ignored.  There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out to be is that they are made from plastic.  Overtime that plastic tends to break down and get brittle – not what you want in case you’re in an accident!

Since we can’t re-sell or donate an old car seat, what are we supposed to do with it?  I recently came into this position and I’m happy to share with you the options I’ve learned.

Look for Trade-In Events

Last year around Earth Day Target teamed up with TerraCycle for a two week event where customers could bring in old car seats to receive a 20% discount on a new car seat.  What mom doesn’t love a Target discount? …and you get to do something good to the planet to boot.

Babies “R” Us locations often host car seat safety days where they’ll check your car seat to make sure they still fit your child and are installed correctly.  This is what we did recently and not only did they give me 20% off any car seat I bought (including ones that were on sale!) but they also installed it for me.  It was wonderful!  I think I heard angels singing.

BabyEarthRENEW

BabyEarthRENEW will disassemble your car seat and they’ll send some of the materials to developing countries, who can use the straps, buckles, and fabric for different purposes.  What they can’t use will be sent to accredited recycling centers.  You do have to pay to ship the car seat to them but they’ll make sure the most possible good can come from your car seat!  Plus, they’ll give you a $5 gift certificate to spend with them.

Recycle

Call up your local children’s thrift stores.  Some will accept at certain times a year and charge you a small fee to dispose of them properly.  Most recycling centers will also take expired car seats but they may have requirements about how the car seat should arrive and may charge a small fee for the service.

Donate

I’ve heard that police departments and fire departments may take donations of used car seats if they’re needing some to use for training.  Before tossing one, it would be worth a few phone calls to see if they could use your expired seat.

Throw it Away

When all else fails, you may have to just throw it away but before you do please take some precautions to keep other families from using what looks like a perfectly functioning car seat.  Cut the straps on the seat or remove them all together to ensure that nobody will snag it for their youngster.

What to do with an expired car seat

Demand Feeding Vs. Scheduled Feeding

This post is sponsored by Mirum. All opinions are my own.

When you find out you’re going to be a mom your world is rocked!  Not just in the “Outta my way, I’m going to puke” sense or the way you get lightheaded with all of the nursery decor themes in the big box stores.  I’m talking about the 101 decisions you have to make about how you will parent before your child is even born.  Not only do you have to have all of these decisions made but you also have to have five bullet points for each one, at least one unbiased clinical trial to support your choice, and a handful of witty comebacks for those who dare challenge your decision.  Ahh, motherhood.  It’s the most wonderful thing in the world and definitely the hardest for a myriad of reasons.

Let’s lay aside cloth diapers vs. plastic, home birth vs. hospital, epidural vs. natural, sleep training vs. attachment parenting, spanking vs. gentle parenting, to vaccinate or not, to cosleep or not, homemade baby food vs. store bought, baby-wearing vs. a stroller, aaaaand today we’ll talk about on demand feeding verses scheduled feeding.

Most everyone recommends on demand feeding for newborns and that’s what I did as well.  I had the goal of slowly working that into a schedule and that’s just what I did.  Not a strict schedule, but a routine.  As someone who exclusively bottle fed, having a loose schedule helped me tremendously.  I wouldn’t call it strict schedule feeding though, I definitely paid attention to my baby’s cues for the most part and not the clock.  Maybe I should call it semi-schedule feeding.

From the first day my oldest came home from the hospital I used a baby schedule, a blank one!  It was where I wrote what my daughter ate, how much, when, how many wet diapers she had, if she had any tummy drops…everything was written there.  I had a whole binder of them that set next to my daughter’s changing table so my husband and I could document how she was doing.  We could see that she was consuming enough and having enough wet diapers at a glance.  The pediatrician loved us when we brought in the notebook.  I started the notebook because I knew I wouldn’t be able to remember anything and my daughter’s health was too important to risk messing up.  I have narcolepsy and add in new-mama sleep deprivation and well, I just needed the schedule to keep me sane.  I used the free printable one from Get Buttoned Up.  I always swore I would make my own one day for my blog and changed what I didn’t love about this one but that never happened.  I still highly recommend theirs and I used it for my son as well.

After I had a few weeks worth of records, a list of how much my daughter should be drinking at each feeding and for the day’s total, my husband and I worked out a rough schedule.  If my daughter was hungry before the next “scheduled” meal we fed her and adjusted the schedule accordingly.  She never went hungry, in fact, I think having a schedule kept her from being hungry and having to cry for food.

Here’s why semi-scheduling worked for us:

  • – We worked to be able to recognize my daughter’s hunger cues.  She had different cries for different things.  Hunger, tiredness, and gas were all different and recognizable…after a while.
  • – Once we started a repetitive routine of feeding, play time, and then sleep, I was able to better know what my baby needed.  If I knew she just ate at 10:00 and it was 10:30 I know that she has a full tummy so I would check her diaper.  If she was closer to her sleep time and was cranky maybe she wanted an extra cuddle or was ready for her nap.
  • – I didn’t find a cute printable schedule on Pinterest but worked with my daughter to find a schedule that suited her.  Just when we got into a rhythm she changed it on me and had a growth spurt.  It’s important to always be flexible!
  • – Because I bottle fed a trip to the mall was a BIG deal! A trip anywhere was really.  I would envy the moms breastfeeding in public and all they had to bring along with them was a cover, if that.  I had to bring pre-measured and dry formula, room temperature water, very hot water to heat the room temperature water, hand sanitizer so I could prepare the bottle, the bottle, and the mixing lid.  That was just for one feeding out.  If I had to guess when she was hungry (if we didn’t stick to a loose schedule) and try and try again, it wouldn’t be pretty.  She was picky about the temperature and if I guessed wrong and she wasn’t hungry the formula might go bad or the bottle would be too cold before she cried again.  Knowing around the time that she would be hungry saved me so much headache…formula feeding out and about is hard enough, knowing she was ready for the bottle was nice.

While semi-scheduling might not work for your family I wanted to share what worked for mine in case it helped someone else.  Please if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Whatever you do, don’t get so set on a schedule that you don’t learn your baby’s cries.  All babies are a little different when it comes to feeding frequency and how much.  You don’t want to lean on a schedule so much that you neglect your maternal instincts.

Parent's Choice Formula

If you’re wanting to try formula, check out Parent’s Choice® formula that’s available exclusively at Walmart.  Their Sensitivity formula is at least $600 a year cheaper than an alternative formula.  It’s nutritionally comparable to more expensive national brand infant formulas and meets the highest-quality FDA nutritional standards, just like Enfamil, Similac and Gerber.

Parents Choice

Whichever parenting methods and feeding methods you choose I hope you’ll feel confident that you’re making the best choice for your family.  No one knows your family like you do, so rest in that.

The Parent’s Choice Formula Feeding Time Summer 2017 Sweepstakes

Amazon Prime Day – Baby Deals!!

This post contains my affiliate links.

Amazon Prime Day 2016

Amazon is offering Prime members exclusive deals today only for Amazon Prime Day.

Woo!!  Last year I was fully prepared to embrace the deals and was left disappointed.  Today, I went into Prime Day expecting nothing and to my surprise have found quite a few deals!  Here is a round up of my favorite baby deals.  For full baby deals go here.

Baby Gear:

Baby Supplies:

Clothes and Toys:

Did you find a deal that I left off?  If so please share in the comments!

What goodies have you found for yourself on this 2nd annual Amazon Prime Day?  I think I’m going to wait for this swing for the kids (it starts at 7:49 pm) and buy the $33.33 Kindle Fire for my husband.

Amazon Prime Day – $0.09 Diapers and $0.01 Wipes Deal!

This post contains affiliate links.Pampers Baby Dry

Amazon is offering Prime members exclusive deals today only for Amazon Prime Day.

Prime members will get an extra 35% off select Pampers Diapers (applied in cart). Plus they are eligible for the Amazon Family 20% Subscribe & Save discount.

When you combine the 35% off instant savings and the 20% discount, you can get some amazing deals on diapers.

For example, get the Pampers Baby Dry Diapers, Size 1, 252 count for just $23.91 shipped after coupon code and Amazon Family.

That’s just $0.09 per diaper!  

After your order ships you can cancel your Subscribe & Save subscription if you want.

Huggies Wipes $0.01 Shipped

Amazon has Huggies Wipes, 648 count for just $10.64 shipped when you check out through Subscribe & Save and clip the $1 eCoupon at checkout.

That’s only $0.01 per wipe!

Again, once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want to have recurring orders but for things like wipes, a recurring order is sometimes nice to have!

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get this deal, plus free 2-day shipping!

Go here for my favorite list of Amazon Prime Baby Deals!