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!

What Moms Can Do With Lukewarm Coffee

Special thanks goes to my friend Kathryn for this fabulous discovery!  The links in this post are affiliate links.

Lukewarm Coffee Recipe

As moms we’re running laps around our house making sure the kids are fed, cared for, and well, just safe and alive.  If we can snag a bite of food here or there we’ll take it.  No matter what changes in our routine, one thing stays the same.  We start our coffee pot every morning like clockwork.  We might only have one eye open but we are determined that we will have our coffee despite all odds.  We love that coffee.  We NEED that coffee.  We need it to be normal.  To function.  To be kind.  To survive motherhood.  Somewhere around the second trip to the microwave to heat up our morning coffee we admit defeat and promise to try again tomorrow.  But what if I were to tell you that there’s another way, mamas?  A way that you can have your morning coffee and drink it too?

No longer will you have to toss your half-filled mugs or leftover coffee sitting in the pot!  No longer will you despair that you had wasted precious money and even more precious bean juice down the sink!  No longer will your eyes look tired and your step be pep-less.  Now you can make this cup of deliciousness instead…and feel fancy while doing so!

To make said cup of deliciousness:

  • –  Pour your room temp coffee to a cocktail shaker
  • –  add a splash of half & half (or coconut milk if you’re dairy free),
  • –  add a smidge of raw sugar
  • –  and add a lot of ice
  • –  Shake vigorously
  • –  Pour over ice.

The end result is yummy!  It comes out frothy and perfect, and it’s free!  You’re welcome, tired mama!  Coffee drinking mamas unite!  Together we can have our cup of coffee and conquer the world.  Or at least rid the floor of Legos before supper time.

What Moms Can Do With Lukewarm Coffee

OurPact Parental Control App Review

I’m excited to introduce you today to a wonderfully helpful app, OurPact. All opinions are my own.

Adults today are constantly looking at their cell phones, iPads, computers, TVs, and well anything that’s electronic, right?  Unfortunately, our kids are getting just as addicted to technology as we are.  While my daughter is profiting from some educational apps I want to make sure her time is limited looking at a screen.  It makes pulling her away from that screen easier but most importantly I want to teach her how to make eye contact and interact well with the people around her without having to be constantly entertained.  As my daughter gets older I’m sure this struggle will only get harder and that’s why I was excited to review an app called OurPact.  It’s an app that helps parents with controlling their kid’s electronic devices.

What is OurPact?

OurPact is an app that is a parental guidance application that uses MDM technology to give parents the power to block the Internet, block certain apps and schedule the device to use according to their child’s daily routine.  It’s simple to use and free!  Their site even comes with a handy dandy contract that you can fine tune together with your child!  What a great idea!

How do you get this handy dandy app set up?

It uses MDM technology where you can sync your IOS device with all your children’s iPhones and iPads.   Here are the simple steps to get you started.

OurPact Parental Control

OurPact App

  • – Sync your devices by going to pair.ourpact.com on your child’s device
  • – Re-enter your parental account email and password
  • – Enter your child’s name and press ‘Pair’
  • – Press install
  • – Enter your child’s password if needed
  • – Voila!  Easy as pie!

parental-control-block

OurPact Pros (just a few that stick out to me)!

  • – It’s easy and such a great idea for today’s society!
  • – It’s free!  I can’t believe it’s free!
  • – Work’s on multiple devices if you’re kid has more than one or if you have multiple kids.
  • – You can prescheduling the devices to turn off at bedtime, during dinner, or any time you want!
  • – I like that I can be in control of how much time my child spends in front of a screen.
  • – It’s the best parental control app I’ve seen!

Only slight OurPact Cons:

  • – At the moment, OurPact Parental Control app only works with Apple devices but I hear that there’s an Android app in the works.
  • – I wish I could have the option to switch it into the kid safe version on my own devices while my daughter plays with mine.

If you have kids at home and worry about what they’re seeing on their devices or how much time they’re spending on them, check out OurPact for yourself!

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.

Curious World App for Kids Ages 3-7

This post was sponsored on behalf of Curious World via One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Do you Netflix-binge or watch too much Downton on Amazon Prime? I may or may not, depending on who’s asking… Subscription services are great because they bring the specific content that you want to your home. I’ve always wanted one of the cute subscription boxes for my dog – there’s a subscription for everything!  Netflix and other streaming services have educational shows for my kids, which I do love when I need something for them to watch. But like all TV, it’s passive, not often an active outlet for their newly create minds.

Curious World

Enter Curious World. Curious World is subscription service that stores interactive learning through their expansive library of early learning activities that are tailored to children ages 3 – 7. Anyone with an iPad or iPhone can “tap into wonder.”  I like that I don’t have to search for several apps and individually download them. Or sometimes an app looks innocent and made for children, but its content is definitely not age-appropriate. With Curious World, my babies (not really that age anymore, but I can’t help it) learn through play in a trusted digital environment.

Toddler Apps

The educational aspect is important to me, too. I’m my children’s own pre-k teacher, and it’s vital that I’m intentional about what they’re learning. It needs to be age appropriate and linked to their prior learning. The Curious World app provides this because every video, game and book is mapped to key learning areas and recommended based on your child’s age and developmental stage. Plus, Curious World is brought to you by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a leader in education for over 180 years!

Curious World App

I can also trust the app with web exposure. Curious World is a 100% advertising-free experience, so I don’t have to worry about what additional content my kids are seeing. Curious World is a closed environment that can be fully enjoyed within a self-contained app on your device, without any need for children to access the web. Folks, there’s some scary stuff out there, and we all know we can’t shelter our kids, but any gratuitous exposure I’d love to keep out. Download in the App Store today!

Curious World a straightforward program: You have unlimited access to the content for your kiddos, and you receive appropriate digital activities for them to do. Plus, you have access to the parent dashboard, which displays insight into your kids’ recent activity. You can create up to four child profiles.

We really enjoy it, and you can sign up for a free trial here and receive 30 days of unlimited access to the Curious World premium subscriber experience. Give it a try!

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!

Free Luvs Momoji Keyboard + $100 Giveaway

This post was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was compensated for my participation in this campaign but all opinions are my own.

I was just thinking the other day how I wanted emojis to have something about babies or diapers. The closet emoji to real life is the “poop” emoji on Facebook. Even with all the animal-themed emojis and popular movie emojis, there really aren’t enough to communicate what goes on in mommy’s day…until now.

Luvs has created the first emoji keyboard for moms and dads – we moderns must be included. It’s good to have images that really send the big “picture” of what’s going on without all the words. After all, I can’t text all day long, so the easy pictures are helpful to save time.

Momoji

I downloaded the app from the Apple AppStore, but it is available on the Google Play as well. When you download it, you’ll notice that it’s a keyboard app which will integrate seamlessly into your texting. If you want to download it too, look for Luvs Momoji keyboard (get it? Mom + emoji = momoji). Clever people.

Free Luvs Coupons

The app is also helpful when searching for deals – the Promoji helps busy moms and dads look for diaper bargains. The more you use the app, the more you use the app’s keyboard, you’ll unlock deals and promotions for diapers. Not only that but you can send diaper coupons to friends right away.  It’s a free app, so there’s nothing but pluses. The momojis work in Hangouts, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Tango, and Gmail.

Want to know more about Luv’s new cook momoji app?  Download it AND join in the #Momoji twitter party with @iConnectIm (& me, @Beauty4Moms!) next Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 9pm EST.

Giveaway!

To celebrate the launch of Luvs Momoji Keyboard I have a giveaway for you!  One lucky winner will a Luvs Momoji Prize Pack that will include:

  • – $100 American Express Gift Card
  • – 1 Pack of Luvs Diapers (Size 1-6, winner’s choice)

Open to U.S. residents only.  Enter via the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Childproof Your Home

When I first found out I was pregnant I was consumed with childproofing our home.  That is, after I was consumed with picking a name and learning what I could and couldn’t eat.  There’s so much for new moms to think about!  To help make life a tiny bit easier for moms I’ve compiled a list of ways to childproof your home.

Childproof Your Home

  1. Cover all electrical outlets.  We love the ones that you install into the wall in place of a regular electrical socket.  You have to have both prongs inserted at the same time before any electricity comes out.
  2. Anchor large furniture.  The damage done to walls is negligible in comparison to the safety of your child.
  3. Move breakable objects.  Keep glass objects out of the reach of little hands.  The same goes for heavy items with cords…like an iron or toaster.  Keep them and their cords out of reach.Smith and Noble Blinds
  4. Use cordless blinds.  I used to think that keeping blind cords out of reach was enough till I watched this disturbing video (watch with caution and without kids around).  It’s amazing how fast accidents like this can happen.  That site says,  “According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission over 40 percent of accidents occur on products that complied with the ANSI national safety standard. These accidents are preventable by going cordless with all window blinds.”  I just ordered cordless blinds for both of my kid’s rooms from Smith and Noble.  I love that they sent me samples to match the colors to my existing decor.  Plus, they sent someone to measure my windows for free!Smith and Noble wants your window treatments to be safe for your families so they are giving a $1000 window treatment makeover to one lucky family!  They will also give away a $50.00 trade in value per corded shades when you enter.  Big savings!  To enter visit their site here.
  5. Stow hazardous supplies.  This includes cleaning supplies, bug killer, vitamins, hand soap, knives, etc.  Lock them up or put them in high shelves where little curious fingers can’t explore.
  6. Be prepared. Keep the number for the national poison control center – (800) 222-1222 in the United States – and your local emergency numbers close to every phone just in case.
  7. Keep the ground clear.  Not only do you want to keep your little one from old crumbs but more importantly away from coins, safety pins, paper clips, those tiny plastic clothes tags, and on and on.  My son went through a stage where he wanted to put anything in his mouth, besides his food.
  8. Toilet locks.  We didn’t do this one but we have a rule in our house that all bathroom doors are to remain closed at all times.  A child can drown in just one inch of water and I heard somewhere that kids are more top heavy than adults allowing them to fall in easily.
  9. Lock windows.  According to the CPSC, every year about eight children under the age of 5 die from falling out of windows in the United States, and more than 3,000 are injured.  A friend of my family found their son, who was under 2 years old at the time, out his window and on the overhang of his window!  Thankfully his mom rescued him and they now have the most secure windows possible.
  10. Avoid sharp corners.  For sharp edges, like those of a fireplace, you can buy protective foam to cover it while the kiddos are small.
  11. Detectors! Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.  It’s also a good idea to have a game plan laid out a head of time with older children so they know what to do in case an alarm sounds.

This isn’t a comprehensive list at all but they are some important ones that we’ve tried to be cautious of in our home.  Tell me, experienced parents, what did I leave off?

Outdoor Fall Games for Preschoolers

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.

Playing in Leaves

My family loves spending time outdoors.  There’s something about hearing the wind blowing, the crickets chirping, and at this time of year, the leaves crunch beneath your feet.  Plus, it’s the best way to get a little energy out of kiddos that have been house bound all day.

My daughter loves to make up games as she runs around the yard.  Those are the best games!  The rules are fluid and change as we go but it’s always fun.

Duck, duck, goose is a family favorite.  We’ve played it by our own rules for so long that I really can’t remember how it’s played correctly.  My daughter’s favorite part is how we describe each duck as we go around tapping heads.  For instance, happy duck, silly duck, or angry duck and we have to make the expression of the name we’re given.  It’s fun but of course any game can be made fun when playing with family!

Preschool Drawing

This week my daughter was working on her handwriting and drawing skills when she made this picture.  She made a picture and “story” about playing outside.  It really is her favorite thing to do with her daddy.

Other fun outdoor fall games:

  • –  Red Light Green Light – A fun variation of this is to pick a letter at the start of each game.  When “red light” is called, the runners have to stop and quickly say a word that begins with that letter. They should come up with a different word each time and if they repeat a word, they have to go back to the start.
  •  Hiking
  • –  Homemade obstacle course
  • –  Geocaching (we haven’t done this yet with kids but I plan to when they get a little older!)
  • –  Nature scavenger hunt
  • –  Mother May I?
  • –  I Spy
  • –  Rake leaves and jump in!
  • –  Hopscotch 
  • –  Sidewalk chalk (here’s my favorite)
  • –  Feed the ducks
  • –  Apple picking
  • –  Build a campfire (with adult supervision!) and roast marshmallow

Does your family enjoy playing outside in the fall?