6 Things Moms Should Never Leave Home Without

Everywhere you look, there are countless suggestions and rules for parenting. You’re being too careful… You’re not being careful enough… Do this, don’t do that! But being a new parent is all about trying different approaches and seeing what works for you. The first kid is a mystery – you’ve never done this before, and no matter how much you read or talk to friends, everything changes once that baby is in your arms. But as your child grows, or as siblings arrive, you get into the swing of things and get your own routine. Getting out of the house doesn’t take an hour anymore, and you don’t need three bags and seven changes of clothes!

While each kid has different needs (favorite toy or blankie, or a food allergy, for example), here are six things we always have in a bag ready to go on outings:

Baggies

Keeping a roll of Ziplock bags has proven useful time and time again. They’re perfect for separating out portions of food for multiple kids.  They’re great for small portions of leftovers when you won’t want to bother with getting a big to go box.  Don’t have a trash can nearby? Put dirty diapers, wipes, or clothes in a large bag. Child about to be sick? Use one as a sick bag to save your car upholstery (and avoid a messy cleanup)! There are sizes for every need. Thin, tall bags are perfect for handing out snacks, while large gallon bags hold wet clothes from a day at the pool or in the rain, and the empty bags take hardly any space!

Snacks

While we’re on the subject of baggies, use one or two of them to keep snacks in at all times. If your kid has a favorite snack, maybe a cereal, maybe dried fruit or a trail mix, keep a baggy of it in your bag so it’s there any time you leave the house. It’s perfect for when you’re running late or are out longer than expected, with kids getting fussy and anxious for food. It’s also perfect for keeping their beautiful little mouths quiet while mommy and daddy try to get an errand done.

Sturdy Sippy

Keep your favorite sturdy, spill-proof sippy cup in the bag, ready to go. If you forget to grab a drink for your little one, you’ll be thankful to have it so you don’t have to rush home or hear “I’m sooooo thirsty!” from the back seat the entire trip, after explaining fifty times why they can’t have your full water bottle which is bound to spill all over. And in a more rare, but has-happened-to-me event, your remember your child’s drink, only to accidentally leave it at the mall play place after they hid it in their super secret hiding spot (or threw it in a trash can).

Huggies Little Snugglers

Diapers

If your little one is in diapers, even if they only wear them at night, keep multiples in the bag! We all have times where we plan to be out for 20 minutes, and three hours later, we’re finally heading home. If you didn’t plan on being out that long, you’ll be happy to have the extra diapers. We prefer to have Huggies Little Snugglers on hand ourselves. Little Snugglers have held up better than any brand we’ve tried for our kids, with less leaks and never a broken tab, no matter how active they get. And our little ones find them the most comfortable, like a #SecondHug. If your child is a deep sleeper like ours, diapers are a must on mid to long trips. If he or she starts nodding off, pull over for a bathroom break and put their diaper on to avoid a wet car ride home. And spills happen too, so always bring more than one!

Wipes

Speaking of spills and diapers, always keep a fresh pack of baby wipes handy. Your baby is going to need them, whether for a dirty diaper or a quick bath after spitting up. You’re going to need them, whether because you touched a dirty diaper or got spit up on. And your toddler is going to need them, because you can outgrow the dirty diapers, but not sweat, milk mustaches, peanut butter beards, or sticky fingers. Even your car is going to thank you for this one – wipes are great for cleaning up sticky spills from the upholstery while you’re on the go.

Extra Clothes

Did I mention spills yet? Sometimes wipes and an extra diaper aren’t all you’re going to need. Even the best diapers can blow out, the most careful kid can make a huge mess, and the best sippy cups in the world won’t help when mommy or daddy forgets to put the valve in the lid and the cup gets held upside down while your little one gazes in wonder at the liquid sprinkling out of the spout into their lap, cup holder, car seat… everywhere. You need to have extra clothes. It doesn’t have to be a full outfit, it doesn’t have to match, and it doesn’t have to be right for the season. But when you’re twenty minutes into a grocery shopping session and the clothes get soaked, especially with something smelly, you’re going to have two choices – grab the extra clothes you have just for such an occasion, or buy a new pair of clothes at whatever price this store has.

One last thing to remember, just as important as all the items above, is to restock! Wipes dry out, sippy cups get used and dirty. Refill diapers, snacks, and clothes as needed when you get home, so they’re ready to go next time. If you’re always ready, you never have to explain why you’re always twenty minutes late because of the baby any more (but let’s be honest – it’s a great excuse to have sometimes).

Kids at Sams Club

My kid’s love shopping at Sam’s Club because they can ride together in the cart.  🙂

If you’re needing to get started on your supplies, Sam’s Club is offering a great deal on diapers right now, too! If you purchase two products from the Huggies Little Snugglers or Natural Care Wipes lines, you can get a $10 Sam’s Club e-Gift Card, on top of $3 instant savings just for being a Sam’s Club member! So go on, make a check list of the things you absolutely can’t forget to take when you leave the house, and get your bag always-ready!

Save Money on Luvs Diapers With Coupons & Ibotta

This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

Luvs Diapers

Mamas, do I have a deal for you!  Right now, all month long actually, Luvs is offering multiple opportunities to save money on diapers!!  First off, here’s a fabulous $2 printable coupon for Luvs!  It’s valid on any one package of Luvs – bagged or boxed!  $2 off, easy peasy.  I don’t know a mom around that doesn’t love a little savings on diapers!

Luvs Ibotta

Luvs doesn’t want you to just save a little, they want to help moms save a lot!  Luvs has partnered with Ibotta to offer a $5 cash-back rebate on any boxed Luvs diapers 54ct. or larger.  This deal won’t last long!  For maximum savings you can purchase your box of Luvs and pair the $2 coupon with the Ibotta rebate for a total savings of $7!  Seven dollars!!!

If you’ve not familiar with Ibotta, don’t worry, it’s an easy app to learn.  Start by downloading the app for your Apple or Android device. After you buy your box of Luvs, simply open your Ibotta app and search for “Luvs” to find the $5 offer.  Follow the step by step directions within the app and once your purchase is verified you’ll receive your $5 within 48 hours.  (The step by step process involves scanning the product’s bar code and your receipt so keep your box and receipt handy)

More about Ibotta:

  • –  Once you get to a $20 minimum, you can deposit your Ibotta cash into your Paypal account or redeem for a gift card including Amazon, Best Buy, Starbucks, and Walmart.  Free money!

More about Luvs: 

  • –  According to Luvs, “When parents choose Luvs over Huggies Snug & Dry, they get outstanding superior overnight protection that locks away wetness 2X better, and they turn diapers into dollars by saving up to $150 per year.”

How to Keep the Kids Happy in the Car

This helpful post is brought to you by Metro Kia Atlanta.

Helping your kids get in the “auto attitude” can be helpful in keeping them happy on the road.

Keep Kids Happy in the Car

Do your kids fight against car rides? Sometimes explaining expectations for behavior can help prevent a lot of issues that would arise. Kids CAN be logical, especially if we model it. Mentally preparing them with consistent instructions is a great way to break the brooding habits.

  •  –  You are in a contained place.
    Discuss the surroundings. This concept is similar to using your inside voice. Because we are inside, we should be quiet; we should be giving; and we should be
  • –  You have rules for your safety.
    “I know you’re in the the third grade, but you still have to sit in your booster seat.” We all know that as our babies get older they want more freedom, even at the cost of safety because they don’t understand the consequences. It might be effective to discuss the repercussions in a child appropriate way of not being safe, like not sitting in your booster seat, playing with the windows, and not wearing your seat belt.
  • –  You need to be considerate of the driver.
    Along with the previous idea, kids should be aware that their actions can have implications on others. Carefully explain what effect they could have on you as a driver. They should also be aware that they could distract other drivers by distracting you, like a domino effect. This would be a great and easy object lesson to show that personal responsibility affect the group.
  • –  You can have fun in the car!
    So far this has been a pretty serious talk or series of talks you’ve had with the munchkins. Now’s a good time to bring in the big guns – fun! By suggesting ways they can have fun in the car and facilitating those ways, you’re teaching your young sponge-minds that they are in charge of their own situation based on perspective. Being positive right before a car ride makes a big difference too. Something like, “We’re going to be in the car for 45-minutes, so this is a great time to…”

Being prepared with repetitive guidelines and having a positive attitude about the car ride can make all the difference. What are some ways you prepare your kids to go on the road?

6 Ways to Baby Prep Your Car

This helpful post is brought to you by Dublin Chrysler Dodge Jeep.

Baby on Board

Here are six super simple ways that you can make your car a convenient carriage for your new little bundle of joy.

  • 1.  Changing Pad
    As indelicate as it may sound, you just might HAVE to change a diaper on the side of the road. Having a portable changing pad is perfect for this occasion instead of having to use the seat of your car. Portable changing pads are also great if you need to only do a quick diaper change because most decent pads have a container or organizer section for a couple of diapers and a small package of wipes.
  • 2.  Airtight Trash Can
    Inevitably you’ll need to throw away some smelly trash, especially if you have an emergency diaper change like mentioned above. The best solution I have seen for this predicament is actually an airtight cereal container. Line it with a plastic shopping bag and seal it with the plastic lid. There’s an opening in the lid that comes open without having to take the lid off entirely, saving you from struggling with the plastic bag slipping and escaping.
  • 3.  Diapers and Wipes
    This was probably your first guess when you read the title. I know I’ve got some diapers in my bag. I know I’ve got some diapers in the portable changing pad. It just helps me to know that there are more in the car. I have this panic when I’m out of diapers; I go sheet-white. Remembering that I have more in the car restores my normal face color.
  • 4.  Music
    Bring something that you actually like too. I just heard about a radio app for families. It plays top 40 hits that you hear on the radio, but they are censored to be family appropriate. This is an excellent alternative. And though this isn’t technically music, it is sound in the car. If your kids are old enough, you should try an audiobook if that’s your thing. Some audiobooks even have voice acting which make them especially enchanting to the listener. If your baby is young enough, the sounds of voices will probably be enough white noise to make him drift into sleepyland.  We happen to be big fans of Justin Roberts.  He has fun music for kids that’s actually enjoyable for adults too!
  • 5.  Snacks
    For you. It’s so easy to be a slave to hunger and subsequently a slave to the drive-through. Keeping snacks in the car can help you keep your sanity and your patience. Hungry bear can stay in her cave.
  • 6.  Organizer
    Make sure you can find all this stuff that will make your commuting smoother. The last thing you’ll want to do is track all of this down in your trunk. Keep everything in the same bin (except for the trashcan) within arm’s reach and watch the stress melt away.

How to Stay Happy in the Car With Kids

This post is brought to you by Akins Dodge Jeep Chrysler

Kids in the Car

Get in the auto attitude WITH kids and it will help keep your attitudes up while on the road.

It’s so easy to get frustrated with our kids, especially in a mobile, contained area – the car. We can handle them outside on the playground, but it seems that this space-restricted area also restricts our patience. Keeping some things in mind can make the car ride, and the day, better.

  •  –  They are children.
    Sometimes I expect my children to act like little adults, to act like they have all the knowledge and self-restraint that I have. I hate to break it to you, and to remind me, but they don’t have the life experience and developed social skills of thirty-some years that we do. I try to remind myself of this often when they seem like little terrors, when I get “the-look” from the others moms in the stores.
  • –  They are contained.
    Your little packages of fun and energy have now been literally harnessed in. They just might explode! Be considerate of this. On a long trip, take them to a rest stop and let them run. Remember not to overdo the sugar, dad. It may seem worth it to give into the sugary sweet that they are begging for, but I regret it about thirty minutes after consumption.
  • –  They are fun-oriented.
    If your little ones don’t perceive the car as fun (and they’re not asleep), they’re probably not going to enjoy the car ride. Like said above, they want to frolic, and skip, and run, and somersault, and, and, and… Though it takes a little more work, I try to make the car ride fun. What games can we play? What new can we listen to? What bribery can I use… I mean, what?
  • –  They are not in control.
    Begging is an excellent way to get what we want. What’s the adage? The squeaky wheel gets the oil? When we are more vocal about what we want, we tend to get it. In order to avoid giving into these begging session, it’s best to offer options. You can do this, this, or this. Giving some control to your strapped in kid will help them feel less constrained and more like part of the family team.

A little empathy goes a long way. Putting ourselves in our children’s shoes can help eliminate daily stress and mold positive reactions for them in the future. What’s your mental game plan for enjoying the car rides with your kids?

Mattel Community – Looking for Expecting Moms!

This is a sponsored post. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Chances are Mattel is one of the first names you think of when you think of toys, isn’t it?  They make quality products that last years…shoot, even decades!  My daughter still plays with some her daddy’s Mattel toys.  My family loves their products!  That’s why I’m excited to share this incredible opportunity with you!

Mattel, a familiar brand in our homes and a worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of toys and family products, has created a private online community of about 300 first time expecting Moms.

Mattel is relying on these Moms to help them gain a greater understanding of the lifestyle and needs of their consumers as it relates back to the world of play, and is opening up this invitation to you.

As a member you’ll be part of an exclusive group that provides Mattel with feedback and perspective on toys, challenges you face as an expecting mom, and other topics of mutual interest of the group. To thank you for your impact on the brand, you’ll receive a $5 Amazon gift code for joining and an additional $10 Amazon gift code each month for participating.

Are you expecting your first child and interested in joining? See if you qualify here:  http://bit.ly/1plOe3T

If you are expecting (congratulations!), or if you know someone that is, please pass this on to them to sign up!  Amazon gift codes sure come in handy for buying diapers and wipes!!

Mattel Mom Panel

Join a Moms’ Panel and Earn Gift Cards!

This is a sponsored post. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Moms Panel

Are you a mom of a child ages 3-10 years old? If so, join other moms in a private online community to discuss the joys and challenges of motherhood, as well as advise Mattel about their toys and games.  How cool is that?

Mattel is relying on these moms to help them gain a greater understanding of the lifestyle and needs of their consumers as it relates back to the world of play, and is opening up this invitation to YOU. 

In addition to the opportunity to impact a brand you love, members will receive a $5 Amazon gift code for joining and an additional $10 Amazon gift code each month for participating. 

See if you qualify here:  http://bit.ly/1Td2mIZ

Play Dough Party Favors

Affiliate links are used in this post for your convenience. 

Play Dough Party Favors

One of our readers, Ashley Lombardi, in pursuit to Live With Less decided this year to make homemade play dough to give as a party favor instead of a plastic toy with all the bells and whistles.  I thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to share it with you!

Materials List:

Total time should be around 40 minutes.

Homemade Play Dough

This recipe makes 8 small batches that will fit in these small jelly jars perfectly.

DIY Play Dough

For full instructions visit Living Well Spending Less.

Change the Conversation with WaterWipes

I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Influence Central for WaterWipes.  I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Christmas outfit

My Mary

Mary and Joseph Kids

Reading

My Kids

We’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas songs in our house these past few weeks.  There’s a lot of piano and guitar and homemade maracas shaking.  There have been Christmas play rehearsals during dinner and endless amounts of dancing.  Dancing, dancing, everywhere!  We’ve transitioned to Pandora so we can listen to it alllllll day without growing tired of the same songs over and over.

Christmas is a wonderful yet hectic time of year.  Our family is six months into our renovation and move.  …we live in chaos.  But it will end soon!!  That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.  Despite the packing boxes in our living room, the fact that I packed our gingerbread cookie cutters and the blender for our egg nog milkshakes, and that we had to go to the new house and get our Christmas tree tonight. sigh…there are plenty of beautiful things and people right here.  In the middle of this mess.  Just look at that video above.  Pure, unadulterated joy.  That’s what I’m choosing to focus on today.

Do you recognize that face up there?  Yep, that’s me.  I’ve been fortunate to be a WaterWipes ambassador this year and from fall fun days to messy moments at home WaterWipes has been there and had my back.  These chemical free baby wipes are amazing!  Their gentleness makes them the perfect baby wipe, face and hand wipe.  If you haven’t tried them yet, what are you waiting for?  Go here to see which locations in your area sell them.

For more information on WaterWipes visit WaterWipes.com.  You can also follow WaterWipes on FacebookTwitter (#WaterWipes), Pinterest, & Instagram.

If I could change the conversation I would encourage moms to focus on the beautiful moments that are in life.  Sure there are a lot of messy moments but there’s a lot of joy to be found when you can appreciate the beauty while standing in the middle of a mess.  Trust me, I should know.  I mean, did you see my living room? 😉

Gymboree SALE – Everything $14.99 and Under!!

This post contains my affiliate links. 

Gymboree 14.99 sale

I have another deal for you.  I promise I’ll quit after this one, or I’ll try to, but this is a GREAT SALE!

Gymboree is selling EVERYTHING in the entire store for $14.99 and under, plus free shipping with no minimum!!

Fancy dresses, shoes, heavy winter coats, everything is $14.99 or less.  Woo!

Happy shopping!

Last Day for Standard Shipping: 12/16/2015 (Noon EST)

Last Day for Rush Shipping: 12/18/2015

Last Day for Express Shipping: 12/23/2015

Hurry, the sale ends tomorrow, 12/15/15.  Go here to see what goodies you can find!