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  • Pets and children can become stressed during moving. If moving locally, you may want to leave these special family members with a friend during moving day.
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    April 14, 2015
    Getting Your Kids Organized

    In some areas of my life, I’m extremely organized. I live by schedules, calendars, and to-do lists. It’s the only way I know I’m getting everything done! In other ways, though, I’m extremely disorganized. Mostly in my home. I just don’t really have any interest in cleaning and keeping everything together, nor the time. However, I have been trying to change this. Being physically disorganized can really hurt you- especially if you misplace an important document or something else serious. Being organized also saves you more time in the long run, so you don’t have to hunt down missing items. The best way to acquire new habits is when you’re a child, so check out this post by Erin at My Mommy World. Here are some tips for helping your children grow into organized adults:

    -You have to teach them how to organize. They will not automatically know.

    -Don’t influence them to keep things they don’t want to keep. Let them throw things out, unless it is a family heirloom.

    -Encourage a clutter free lifestyle, even when it is hard to declutter.

    Photo Credit: Emily May 


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    April 13, 2015
    Saving on Snacks

    Kids (and, who are we kidding, adults too) love snack time. But, pizza rolls, poptarts, lunchables, chips, and cookies can really start to add up! Especially if you buy name brand instead of store/generic brand. So, how do you cut back on the cost? It’s actually pretty simple. Check out this tip by Heidi at the Frugal Free Girls:

    One way I’ve found to really save money on groceries is to cut back on prepackaged snacks, and pack my own. Not only does this save money, but you can also determine the portion size and incorporate some healthy snacks too!

    Photo Credit: Melissa 


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    April 10, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: That IS Pretty Scary…
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox2m623n

    …But the baby isn’t so easily fooled ;)


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    April 9, 2015
    Better Sleep For Baby

    One of the hardest challenges of welcoming a new baby into your life is sleep. Or rather, the lack thereof. When my nephew was born, we were pretty lucky. He learned to sleep through the night within a few weeks. He still does! However, I recognize that not all babies are the same, and for the majority of them, you are going to be up and down all night. If you need help getting your baby on a sleep schedule, (and finally getting some sleep yourself) check out this post by Alison at Pint Sized Treasures:

    -Develop a schedule that works for your family, and stick to it. Create a calming bedtime routine

    -Remove unhealthy sleeping props- rocking your baby to sleep for an hour every night simply is not feasible

    -Keep things dark and quiet at night, even if they wake up

    -Don’t reward your child for waking up. If you let them sleep in the bed with your every time they wake up, it will start happening even more.

    Photo Credit: Vinci Tan


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    April 8, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Toilet Paper Rolls + Ping Pong Balls

    Photo and Idea from Where Imagination Grows


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    April 7, 2015
    Spring Activity Idea: Renaissance Festivals, A Guide

    I’m a total Renaissance festival geek. I’ve been going for about four years now, and I absolutely love it. I love dressing up, eating turkey legs, exploring castles, and watching jousting. Plus, visiting a Renaissance festival is a great family activity. It gives you the chance to be outdoors, try new things, and be a bit silly together. It also encourages creativity and imagination by allowing your kids to create their own costumes and explore a fantasy world for a few hours!  If you are thinking of going to one with your children soon, here’s my guide to everything you need to know about the Ren-Fair: 

    Tips for having fun and being safe:

    Costumes

    -Dressing up is not required, but it always makes the fair more fun! Kids will have a blast picking out their outfits.

    -Here are some ideas for costumes: King, queen, pirate, viking, princess/prince, knight, peasant, fairy, thief, assassin, elf, faun, troll, fortune teller, woodland nymph, archer, mermaid, unicorn, dragon, werewolf, vampire. Have fun creating your own character, or go as a character from your favorite series, like Lord of the Rings, How to Train Your Dragon, or even games like World of Warcraft. Anything goes.

    -Wear comfortable shoes! I made the mistake of wearing flip-flops last year, and the path was gravel. Ouch! Try boots or flats if you want your footwear to match your costume.

    -Be aware of dress code rules. Each renaissance fair is different- be sure to check their website for rules concerning revealing clothing (most do not allow it, and want to keep their fairs family appropriate), and weapon props.

    Costs:

    -Most fairs charge for admission, but also have a discounted price for kids. Some may even have lower rates for groups.

    -Bring extra money (cash) for food, drinks, and souvenirs. If you’re a fantasy geek, you’ll definitely want to hit up the shops. Many fairs also have shops that cater to kids. Last year, I saw kids running around in fairy wings, face paint, pirate hats, and waving around wooden swords. There are also some pretty cool renaissance themed toys for sale- and they are usually handcrafted and high quality. 

    -Activities- There is always something going on at the festivals! Most have shows like magicians, comedy, music, animal shows, and even jousting. A lot of these are free, and are perfect for kids (always check the “ratings” on your festival program. Some may not be appropriate for young children). However, performers always appreciate tips. There may even be activities that you pay to do, like archery, mazes, human chess, or even carnival rides or games. The memories and fun are worth it though!

    Safety:

    -Since renaissance festivals happen in the Spring and Summer, it’s most likely going to be very hot. Do your best to stay hydrated. Bring your own water bottle (or viking drinking horn) if they allow outside food. If not, bring plenty of cash for drinks.

    -Stay together! Always supervise your child. Fairs are usually extremely crowded. Make sure your child has your name and phone number on them in case they get lost.

    -If you buy toy/prop weapons, make sure your child is handling them properly. Again, supervision is key.

    -Familiarize yourself with locations of bathrooms and first aid areas.

    Tips for saving money:

    -If you haven’t caught on yet, renaissance festivals can get costly if you let them. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

    -Buy tickets ahead of time. Pre-sales tend to be a few bucks cheaper

    -Pack your own food and drinks if your fair allows outside food.

    -Make your own costumes by shopping at thrift stores.

    -Only go to free shows and activities. You’d be surprised how many are included with the cost of admission.

    -Set a shopping budget for your kids. You can

    find lots of fun, handmade trinkets for under 10 bucks. 

       

    Photo Credit: Fairy , Fairy Wings, Butterfly Paint, Young Pirate


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    April 6, 2015
    Helping Your Child Out Of Her Shell

    In the debate of “nature vs. nurture” when it comes to human personalities, I’m firmly on the side of nature. Yes, environment plays a big part in who you are as well, but I believe that you’re just born a certain way. Either you’re shy, outgoing, or somewhere in between. You have natural talents- you may be a great singer, but can’t draw or paint at all. You’re either tightly wound up, or super relaxed and carefree. You really can’t learn to be another way- it’s just who you are. That being said, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself- I try to make myself be more outgoing, assertive, and adventurous, since I’m naturally pretty introverted. If you have a withdrawn child, you may be looking for ways to help get them out of their shell. There’s nothing wrong with being shy, but being afraid of new experiences will make you miss out on life! That’s why I love this post by Jess at Bring the Kids. Here are some of her tips on how to help your child become more adventurous:

    -Lead the way- Kids are going to want to do what you do. If you hike, swim, kayak, and ski, the kids will follow!

    -Repetition- Go on adventures with your children often.

    -Not pushing- Never make a child do something they’re not comfortable with. Forcing it will just make them refuse to try anything.

    -Praise accomplishments- Praise him for being brave, for trying something new, for being safe, etc. 

    Photo Credit: pbkwee 


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    April 3, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Are There Seriously Not Changing Stations In Men’s Restrooms?
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox2je0am

    Seriously? Why is this a thing? Has no one realized that Dads exist and sometimes need to change diapers? What year is this?


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    April 2, 2015
    Helping Your Child Enjoy School

    I work part time as a substitute teacher, and the school system has a serious issue. Nevermind the rigid standardization of classes, the over-emphasis of testing, and the fact that most “learning” is simply the memorization of facts. The biggest problem? Most students simply don’t care (though this is probably CAUSED by the previous issues). I only teach middle and high school, and you’d be surprised (or not…) at how many students just straight up do not do the work. And thanks to certain laws, teachers can’t fail these kids. Everyone passes anyway, so what’s the point of putting effort in?

    But, this mindset is absolutely toxic. Apathy and zero work ethic is not going to help you in college or in the work force. The best way to fight this is by catching it as early as possible. Being involved in your child’s education is key.

    Some kids have low academic self esteem- a “fixed mindset” (thinking they aren’t smart enough, will never “get” certain subjects, thinking that school is pointless). They believe that you are either smart, or you aren’t, and there is no way to change it. Of course, that is absolutely not true, and there are ways to fix this mindset. Check out this post by Kelly at Idealist Mom for tips on helping your child become a better student:

    -Instead of saying “you’re so smart,” say, “you worked really hard!”

    -Ask them tons of questions. How did they come up with that idea? What was the most interesting thing they learned today?

    -Know that the brain is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised. Do word problems, riddles, etc.

    -Celebrate failures, look at them as opportunities to learn from mistakes.

    Photo Credit: Ilmicrofono Oggiono 


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    April 1, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Baby Teeth Order Infographic

    Photo from Pinterest


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