By: Emily Matthews
I’ve been stressed. I’ll admit it, and so will my kids and husband. So when my husband offered to take the kids for a Daddy Day and told me it was time to have a Mom’s Night Out, I didn’t have any problem saying yes.
Usually, when he takes the kids to give me a night out, I’ll call up some of my girlfriends and we’ll go out to eat and catch up. This time was different. I was in no mood for anyone. I just wanted to be on my own. But I also really wanted to see the new chick flick, Home Again with Reese Witherspoon. So I did something I’d never done before…
I went on my own.
It was liberating. No kids wanting to go to the bathroom or telling me they were bored. No husband discreetly trying to check the scores on his phone or rolling his eyes at the love story. It was just me, Reese, and the handful of other ladies in the theater who seemed to be doing the same as me.
I really enjoyed the movie, but I have no idea how much of that was the storyline and how much of that was the freedom of being able to enjoy it on my own.
All I know is that I can guarantee that I’ll be making more just me trips; it was just what this mommy needed.
By: Hanna Carmichael
It seems that something is always popular and going “viral” with kids. Last year the water bottle flip was all the rage, now it’s slime. Making slime, playing with slime, videos of slime. They have slimes that are colorful, glittery, and even slimes that look like foods, such as cookie dough.
And because of this strange new trend, my house has slime everywhere. My 9-year-old daughter loves slime and even started making it and selling it to her friends.
I don’t usually let my kids get involved in all the trends, but slime was different. For her, it has been a great creative outlet and gives her something to play with to keep her overactive mind busy. I especially like the slimes that are closer in texture to putty because they can go places with us and keep her entertained without creating an absolute mess.
So while I might not enjoy all of the slime around my house, I do love the way she gotten so involved and really bloomed in her creativity. Selling the slime has taught her the value of things and has given her excitement for saving her earnings and buying things that she really wants.
Here is one of the best DIY slime recipes I’ve come across because it doesn’t use any harsh chemicals like Borax.
DIY Handsoap Slime
– Pour baking soda into a mixing bowl.
– Mix a small amount of dish soap into your baking soda. (The color of your dish soap will determine the color of your slime, but you can add food coloring as necessary.) Gradually add more until you have a creamy, solid substance. It should look kind of like pudding. If you add too much soap, just add a bit more baking soda.
– Enjoy playing with the slime!
*Slime is not safe to eat for humans or animals
Back-to-school season generally means back to busy calendars. We all know that getting your child ready for school involves more than just filling their backpacks with the right supplies. When parents send their child off to school, they want to be confident that their child is mentally and physically prepared. This includes making sure they are caught up on their shots, are well rested, and have healthy meals prepared for them. Follow these helpful tips to make sure you’re sending your child back to school on a healthy note.
1. Get Vaccinated
Vaccinations protect children from many serious illnesses and diseases. In order to be safe, it is important for not only your child to get vaccinated as early as possible in the school year, but for your whole family to get vaccinated as well. A number of schools actually require your child to have certain vaccinations before enrollment. Therefore, it is best to contact your child’s school ahead of time and find out what health requirements are needed. There is likely to be helpful information on the school website regarding health-related requirements. For general health purposes, you should also talk to your child’s healthcare provider to see which ones are recommended.
2. Get a Checkup
When preparing for your child to go back to school, a regular checkup is a great way to identify any issues that could impair your child’s learning ability. A physical may help uncover some unexpected health problems, such as hearing and vision, that could get in the way of your child’s learning. Getting your child’s eyes and ears checked before school begins is particularly important. Children who have difficulty hearing or seeing clearly may not perform as well in class simply because they cannot see the board or hear the teacher. Therefore, it is a good idea to address these issues before school begins to ensure your child is in the best position to learn.
3. Shift Bedtimes
It is important for children to get a healthy amount of sleep each night in order to stay focused throughout the day. The recommended number of sleep hours for children and teenagers falls between 9 and 13 hours. Staying within this range of hours will help your child to be well rested, making him/her more productive and attentive in class.
During summer, children often get in the habit of staying up a little later and sleeping in a little longer. To get your child ready to wake up earlier for school, gradually shift his/her bedtimes a few weeks before school starts. This way, your child will be eased back into the school schedule, rather than laying in bed the night before school fully awake. Additionally, to keep bedtimes constant, try creating an evening structure for your child.
4. Teach Good Hygiene
Although it is great for your child to learn how to share with classmates at school, this also means sharing germs. With a classroom full of children, there are sure to be plenty of germs floating around. To protect both your child and your family, it is essential that you teach your child the importance of washing your hands after using the restroom, and how to properly do so. If you know your child is not keen on taking the time to properly wash hands, it may be a good idea to provide your child with hand sanitizer as a convenient and clean alternative.
5. Stock Up On Healthy Foods
Good nutrition is extremely important for your child’s mental and physical health. When packing lunches for your child, make it easier for yourself by stocking your house full of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, and lean protein. Oftentimes, children are tempted in the school cafeteria with the vending machine and cafeteria food. However, if you pack a lunch full of nutritious and delicious foods, your child will enjoy eating healthy. Also, remember that meal and snack preparation is a great time saver, no matter how small. Taking a few minutes out of your Sunday afternoon to cut up a few fruits and vegetables will shave a lot of time off your busy mornings.
As far as after school goes, the first place children seem to run to when they get home is the kitchen. Much like meals, it is just as important to provide your child with a variety of healthy snack options that are limited on added sugars. Having your home stocked with healthy snacks decreases the likelihood of your child binge eating an entire pack of cookies.
6. Create an Organized Learning Space
Provide your child with an organized space to do schoolwork. It is easy for children to get distracted from their homework if they are at the kitchen table with clutter and conversation surrounding them. Having a clean, organized, and clutter-free area for your child to work encourages focus and efficiency. This area could even include supplies your child may need such as pencils, paper, a calculator, etc.
By: Colin Thomas
I love to grow my own vegetables and herbs every summer and cherish the time I spend tending to the garden. Eating fresh vegetables and herbs grown from my garden tastes so much better than the ones I buy at a local grocery store. I recently moved into a new house with my wife and two kids and we didn’t have a big yard that allowed for a vegetable/herb garden so I decided to improvise.
My wife recently commissioned an artist out of Colorado to create two large hanging stained glass pieces that are hung in our dining room. Beautiful pieces, I must say. Since they were created in Colorado and I live in Massachusetts, they were very carefully shipped to us in large wooden shipping containers. Once we removed the stained-glass pieces from the containers, my first thought was to put them in the truck and bring them to the local transfer station for disposal. But as I looked at these containers, I had a second thought. Why not use one of these containers to grow my garden?
My wife, kids, and I took the container out on my deck and drilled some small holes in the bottom of the container so that it would drain properly. Then we lined the bottom with a crop cover I bought at a local Ace Hardware store. This cover protects the wood from rotting and keeps everything intact. We also poked small holes in this cover to allow for proper draining. Next, we added in the potting soil and began planting cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, and a variety of peppers.
Today, the garden is thriving, and the kids really enjoy eating the cherry tomatoes right off of the vine. It was a great family project; and most of all, I am so happy we are growing our own herbs, peppers and cherry tomatoes. We are thrilled with the bounty we have seen so far! Plus, it saved me a trip to the local transfer station.
By: Nancy Anderson
Back To School.
No three words are so likely to bring so much excitement and so much dread to children and parents alike as back to school.
After weeks of my kids telling me how bored they are, sending them back to school always seems so thrilling…until I start looking at all of the things that I need to do to get them ready to head back. Things I’ve been pushing off all summer.
On top of carts full of school supplies and new shoes and clothes, there’s also the physicals and shots they need; orientations and open houses to attend; and tryouts and practices to shuffle kids to. Added to all of the other things being a mom of three entails, it can get overwhelming!
Since my youngest is starting kindergarten this year, I’m dealing with the flood of emotions that come with that. I mean, I know that him being at school during the day will give me the opportunity to get more things done around the house, but I’m going to miss hanging out with my little buddy.
So inevitably, I’ll end up filling the hours between dropping and picking up kids from two separate schools volunteering and being a mom taxi, transporting my kids from one recital to the next soccer game to band practice and the myriad of other activities and errands that need to be done.
For the next few months, I can already tell you, this is going to be one overwhelmed mama!
Any tips you can share to help ease the back to school craziness and empty house blues would be greatly appreciated!
Summer is the perfect time to try out some new, fun recipes in the kitchen. Not only are these recipes full of color and flavor, but they are also great for you! These meals and treats are sure to leave your family with full bellies and happy faces.
1. Omelet with Summer Vegetables
Start your day of the right way with fresh vegetables in this easy, tasty omelet.
This omelet isn’t like most; this entree is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This delicious and unique omelet recipe has everything from freshly chopped zucchini to smoked gouda cheese. Served with fruit, this omelet recipe is sure to provide a new and light, yet filling, meal your entire family will enjoy.
2. Summer Squash Pizza
A delicious pizza that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.
Seasoned with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and ground black pepper, this squash pizza is packed with flavor. This recipe includes fresh zucchini and squash and is sure to be a new family favorite. Serve one slice for a delicious appetizer, or serve two slices paired with a nice salad for a filling and tasty dinner.
3. Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Switch up your usual salad and try out this unique and flavorful recipe!
This colorful recipe takes full advantage of the fresh vegetables overflowing at your local markets this summer. This delicious salad recipe is made complete when topped off with the sweet peach dressing.
4. Cantaloupe-White Balsamic Sorbet
A meal does not feel complete without a sweet dessert.
This refreshing, creamy sorbet recipe is the perfect solution for your sweet cravings this summer. The key ingredient that makes this treat so delicious is the white balsamic vinegar. It adds a certain depth of flavor that compliments the flavor of the melon perfectly.
By: Marie Kesler
I remember growing up, I wanted a huge family. Like any little girl, I would play with my dolls and I always had seven kids. My imaginary husband would help me with making dinner and we would read our kids bedtime stories and tuck them in. What little angels those dolls were.
Fast forward quite a few years to when my husband and I were ready to have a family. He of course knew that I wanted seven kids—I don’t know that he wanted that many, but my husband is so accommodating that he never complained. I was prepared to be the “crunchy” mom with cloth diapers, homemade baby food, baby wearing…the whole nine yards.
I got pregnant and was having as close to a perfect pregnancy as you can get: not a lot of morning sickness, high energy, good health for mom and baby. I loved being pregnant and since that was what many moms dislike, my plans for seven kids was still on track.
When I went into labor, we headed to the hospital were I was already dilated 7.5cm, so we didn’t expect a long labor.
We were wrong. 24 hours later and my son still had not made his appearance. Worry for him and the extended labor caused my blood pressure to escalate, so the doctor recommended an emergency c-section. I fought as hard as I could because once you have a c-section it’s harder to have natural births and can be more dangerous, plus I wanted to be a ‘crunchy” mom. Crunchy moms don’t have c-sections! I wasn’t even using an epidural so I sure didn’t want a c-section! I was watching my parenting goals start crashing down around me.
I ended up having the c-section. My son Matthew was perfect. But I found that I couldn’t keep up with his energy or with the cloth diaper laundry! I quickly switched to Pampers and lost another “crunchy” mom point. I did end up making my own baby food once it was time for him to move away from breastmilk but I ended up injuring my back and could never do the baby-wearing so I gave up my “crunchy” mom goals.
When I got pregnant with my second son, I was nervous. Would I be able to have him naturally? How would I have enough energy to be pregnant and keep up with my almost two-year-old. My blood pressure was higher during my second pregnancy and I ended up being put on bed rest. In the hospital when it was time to deliver, my labor stalled once again and once again I had a c-section.
After Mark was born, my husband and I felt peace about not actively trying for anymore children. My dreams of seven children felt more complete with our two healthy, high energy sons. So even when I used Pampers and Gerber for Mark, I didn’t feel bad because dreams and goals change and evolve once we actually know the children God will bless us with.
By: A Local Nanny
In order for your nanny (or sitter) to be as confident and comfortable as possible in your home while caring for your children, it is important that you provide her with all of the tools and information she may need. If your child falls and scrapes a knee, you wouldn’t want your nanny to be in a panic searching your house for ten minutes looking for a band-aid.
In my experience as a nanny, I have had some parents who over-prepare me with a lengthy list of contacts, locations, foods, etc. and others who simply leave me their cell phone number and tell me to text them with any questions. I feel much more at ease when parents over-prepare me and provide me with information that covers any question or problem I could possibly run into rather than just leaving a phone number. This way, I can avoid blowing up their phone while they are at work, dinner, etc. Instead, I can check the informative list that was left and solve the problem myself. Not only does this help the nanny to get acquainted with the house and the family faster, but this also helps you as a parent to be more relaxed while you are out, knowing that you left your nanny well-equipped to handle any situation that may arise.
The list you leave your nanny/babysitter should include:
– Home address
– Family names
– Neighbors’ names
– Your cell phone number
– Emergency contact: name, address, and phone number
– Nearby hospital: name, address, and phone number
– Child’s allergies
– Where important household items are located: first aid kit, flashlight, fire extinguisher, medicines, etc.
– Regular family rules that should be held in place
– Child’s favorite toys
– Where you will be and an estimated time frame
– Don’t forget to leave an extra car seat available in case of an emergency!