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    October 1, 2015
    How To Make Time Spent With Kids Count

    It can be extremely easy to get stuck in a “kid watching” rut. You turn on the TV, maybe let them play with your phone or iPad, and basically just let them play by themselves. You let them play with their toys, or go outside and run around. You keep an eye on them to make sure they’re being safe, but only rarely actually get involved in what they’re doing. According to this post by Becky at Your Modern Family, most parents only spend 20 minutes a day on average actually playing with their children. Now, I know that our lives are busy and we have stuff we have to do, but what’s the point of it if you don’t have a good relationship with our kids? The best way to make that time count is by playing, instead of just watching. Here are some tips from the post:

    -Really get on the floor and play with them. Read to them, don’t watch them read. Dance with them, don’t watch them dance.

    -Schedule playtime if you have to. Mix it up if you get bored playing the same thing- introduce activities and games that you like to do!

    -It doesn’t have to be a MAJOR event! You don’t have to pack them up and head to the park or a football game. Just go to your backyard and throw a ball around with them. Sit at the kitchen table and play with playdough. They just want you. Be in the moment!

    Photo Credit: Bruno Caimi 

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    September 30, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Stunning Neutral Nursery

    Photo from Decorative Bedroom

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    September 29, 2015
    Get Great Baby Photos

    Besides cats, children are probably the most difficult creatures on Earth to get to sit still and take a photo. And the younger they are, the harder it is. Of course, everyone wants stunning baby photos to preserve what their child looks like at a certain age (it goes by fast!). Unfortunately, the last thing your baby is thinking about it looking cute for a photographer. But, it is possible to get amazing photos! Check out this post by Katie Markey Mclaughlin at Pick Any Two for tips on making your baby relaxed and happy on picture day:

    -Time it right- consider your baby’s sleep and feeding routines, work around them.

    -Don’t rush it- don’t make plans for immediately after your portrait session. Newborns especially need time to warm up to new environments

    -Come prepared with a well stocked diaper bag

    -Relax!- If you are stressed, your baby will be stressed too.

    Photo Credit: Erik Starck 

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    September 28, 2015
    When Is The Best Time To Have Another Child?

    My sister and I are five years apart. So, besides elementary school, we were never at the same school together. I resented this when I was younger, because I had to experience everything first and had no idea what to expect. Now, though, I’m glad I was so much older. I feel like it has made me more responsible, and able to adapt to new situations better. Plus, I feel like my sister and I are very different and individual people, yet we are still best friends. My boyfriend and his brother are only 2 years apart, and their relationship is a little different. They experienced things at almost the same time, so they’re more similar in personality. I have another friend who is almost 20 years younger than his sister- and they aren’t very close. So, does that mean that having kids closer together in age is better? Well, not necessarily. Read this post by Hilary at Pulling Curls:

    Far spaced children:

    -more individual time for each child.

    -older kids can help with younger ones

    -less comparison between siblings

    Close spaced children:

    -easier to room together (my sister and I shared a room together…once. It did not go well).

    -get it “done”- if your kids are close together, you won’t be in the PTA for 12 years.

    -easier to do activities, similar interests. They will be friends when they are younger.

    -you have more energy when you are younger.

    Photo Credit: Mood Board 

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    September 25, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Fun Fall Crafts For Kids

    Check out this video for Fall craft inspiration!

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    September 24, 2015
    How Siblings Can Help With A Newborn

    Going from “only child” to “oldest sibling” can be something of a difficult transition for kids. They’ve been the center of the universe for so long, and suddenly they have to share the spotlight with a new baby. It’s going to be scary and exciting for them at the same time, and all kids take it differently. One way to help ease the transition is by having the older siblings help with the new baby. It’s a great way to build bonds between siblings, even if one of them is a newborn. Check out these tips by Devany Ledrew at Still Playing School:

    -Comb baby’s hair

    -Fold laundry

    -Prepare snacks

    -Put on the baby’s bib, socks, and shoes

    -Spoon feed them

    -Blow bubbles, read books, play with baby

    Photo Credit: Ronnie Meijer

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    September 22, 2015
    How To Throw An Awesome Birthday Party…

    …Without going into debt. All over Pinterest, I’m constantly seeing photos of children’s birthday parties that must have set Mom and Dad back at least $1,000. What the heck? I understand that you love your kid and want to make their day extra special, but let’s get real. Your kid will not care that you hired a party planner and professional decorator for their 6th birthday (plus, this kind of exorbitant spending turns kids into brats. It’s a proven scientific fact). They just want to eat cake and maybe roll around in some dirt. If you want to throw your kid an awesome party that they’ll actually enjoy (without spending a small fortune), check out this post by Clair at Mummy Deals:

    -Have them pick what they want: a big gift, or a big party. It helps them feel involved!

    -Make the cake yourself- there are plenty of tutorials online on how to make an awesome Elmo cake!

    -Limit the number of guests they can invite

    -Home parties are usually cheaper, rather than going out.

    -Kids are generally simple. They love games and food and with a bit of creativity you can create a frugal party.

    Photo Credit: ND Strupler 

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    September 21, 2015
    Effective Discipline For Toddlers

    I consider myself to be a patient person (unless I’m driving. Seriously, how hard is it to go the speed limit and use a blinker??). I don’t mind long lines, waiting for my food at restaurants, or listening to a friend tell a story I’ve already heard. I’m not in a big rush to get through life, and I try to make time to listen to what people have to say. Well, I thought I was a patient person… until I lived with a toddler. He’s an angel 95% of the time, but he also likes to throw tantrums and deliberately test our limits. He fully well knows what “no,” and “stop,” mean- sometimes he just doesn’t care. But how do you discipline someone who is not even two years old yet? I’m not a fan of spanking or other physical punishment, especially on kids that young, and yelling just gets us no where. But you still have to do something to teach them the difference between right and wrong! Facing a similar dilemma? Check out this post by Shahida at Mom Junction for practical discipline strategies that work for toddlers:

    -Spare the rod- Your first step is to sit down with your child, and explain him the difference between good behavior and the bad, preferably along with their consequences.

    -Reward good behavior

    -Set ground rules- let your child know what your specific expectations are.

    -Give warnings before yelling or spanking- often, it will fix the behavior. Always remain calm and collected.

    -Be a role model- children model behavior that they see. Show him what good behavior looks like.

    Photo Credit: Philippe Put 

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    September 17, 2015
    Protect Yourself This Flu Season

    My entire family is currently recovering from a nasty upper respiratory infection. Congestion, sneezing, coughing, and grossness abound at my house. It may be the changing weather, it may be because school is back in session. It’s probably just because that time of year is rapidly approaching. So, how do you keep yourself and your kids from getting bombarded by cold and flu germs? Check out this post by for how to avoid seasonal bugs:

    -Avoid crowded places. That’s why the Internet was invented.

    -Wear a mask if you must go out

    -Don’t share drinks or foods

    -Don’t touch your face

    -Wash your hands- you can’t do it enough!

    Photo Credit: Loren Kerns 

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    September 16, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: INCREDIBLE Fairy Tale Tree House!

    Photo from Catching Eyes

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