2018 Ideas for Mom

Can you believe we’re already in February? In less than 10 days we are going to be celebrating the national day of love aka Valentine’s Day! Have you thought about what you are going to get your honey yet? If you are married and have children then there it’s especially important that you don’t forget to get her a gift. After all, she’s not only your best friend and partner in life but she’s the mother of your children…and that’s a tough job! Below are a few ideas for great Valentine’s Day gifts for moms in 2018.

  • Family Pictures – Has it been a while since your family has had family pictures done? If it has, this is a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift for mom. Not only is it a great Valentine’s Day gift, but it’s a practical one because getting updated family pictures is something that you definitely need. If you’re able to be sneaky, look over her schedule and call and get a photographer scheduled for a day she doesn’t have anything scheduled on. Also, take care of getting the kids’ dress clothes (dresses and/or suits) purchased so she doesn’t have to worry about this. Take care of as much as you can in regards to the pictures before you tell her. She will be thrilled that you put so much thought into this special gift.
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries – Most women expect their honey to send them a bouquet of flowers for special occasions, like Valentine’s Day. So, why not surprise her with a mouth-watering box of chocolate covered strawberries instead? I’m sure there is a local business that will make and deliver these delectable treats, but if not, one of the best places to order from is Shari’s Berries online. I ordered them one year for my mom and mother-in-law and they were amazing! Just be sure to order them a few days before Valentine’s Day so they arrive on time.
  • A Tree – I know, this one is a little odd isn’t it? However, trees actually make pretty cool gifts because they’re practical, the fall and winter are the best times to plant them and they will be around forever – so every time your loved one looks outside and sees that tree she will be reminded of you. This especially makes a great gift if you have recently moved or built a new house and don’t have any trees on the property.

Kids and New Year’s Resolutions

Can you believe that 2018 is almost over? Where did the year go? It honestly feels like we just started 2018 a month or so ago! Many of us are already thinking about 2019 and the things we are going to (or want) to do differently. As the year draws to a close, some of us will actually put our goals for 2019 down on paper and acknowledge them as our “official” New Year’s Resolutions. Personally, I love making New Year’s resolutions. I find it fun to think about the future and the things I want to accomplish and then to make a plan for how I’m going to reach my new goals.

So, I’ve been thinking: if we (adults) make New Year’s resolutions why don’t we talk to our kids about making their own resolutions for the upcoming year? While New Year’s resolutions are meant to be a fun thing to do to start the new year off, it’s really nothing more than goal setting. And, learning how to set and achieve goals is something that we should be teaching our children how to do. Why not start when they’re young enough to understand the basic concept of what it means to set (and achieve) a goal?

If you think teaching your little ones about goals, then why not start this year? Below are some suggestions for how you can help your little ones make their own New Year’s resolutions and how you can help them achieve those goals.

  • Talk to them on their level. As adults, we tend to think about things in a more mature, in-depth manner, which can be confusing for young children. When you talk to your little ones about New Year’s resolution, over-simplify it so they can understand it. Be sure to use examples when explaining what a “goal” is. Let your kids ask questions to ensure you are both on the same page about New Year’s resolutions.
  • Keep the goals simple. Another thing we (adults) do when we set New Year’s resolutions is make goals long-term goals. For instance, “I’m going to lose 25 pounds” or “This year, I’m going to start eating healthy and working out 3 to 5 times a week.” While those are all great goals, they are too hard for little ones because they take too long to achieve. Therefore, help you little ones set simpler goals that can be reached in a shorter period of time.
  • Make a plan to help them reach their new goals. Once you kids have a few New Year’s resolutions in place, sit down with them and formulate a plan to help them reach their goals. For instance, if your little girl wants to compete (and win) a beauty pageant, break that goal down into achievable steps.
    1. Find an affordable pageant dress
    2. Choose a talent
    3. Practice every day, and so on. You can do this with any goal your child has.
  • Encourage them! Finally, the most critical part in helping your kids with their New Year’s resolutions is to continue encouraging them to work to achieve their goals! When they experience a set-back, be there to cheer them on so they don’t give up and quit. And, when they achieve one of their resolutions – celebrate with them…make it a big deal!

Fun Beat-the-Heat Summer Outings for Kids

Blah…that’s how I feel right now. It’s the middle of July and the temperatures are well over 100°F here at my house. This isn’t just a one-day deal either. Every summer, the months of July and August are by far the hottest with horrible daytime temperatures. It’s just way too hot for the kids to play outside in the middle of the afternoon with temperatures like this.

However, I just can’t let my 5-year old sit in front of the television all day, right? Well, I could but that wouldn’t be the most responsible thing for me to do…at least not on a daily basis. I’ve been trying to plan a few fun afternoon outings each week to help him burn off some of his pent-up energy. If you have little ones at home, you know what I’m talking about. If the kids aren’t able to get rid of this extra energy, they usually start bouncing off the walls…

Below are some of the afternoon outings that we have been able to enjoy, even with the out-of-control afternoon temperatures.

  • Children’s Museum: Our community has a local children’s museum that people come from hours away to enjoy. During the school year, I don’t take my son much because it stay pretty busy with field trips, birthday parties and other events, but this summer we have went several times. Although he has been through the museum numerous times, he always seems to find and learn something new while we’re there. By the time we get home, it’s time for a nap and then it’s usually cool enough to go outside and play.
  • Splash Pad: This is another fun outing for my boys. My 5-year old loves running around and getting soaked by all the spraying water and can literally have fun for hours, if I let him. However, I also have an 11-month old who isn’t walking yet, so we aren’t able to stay for much longer than an hour. The baby enjoys the splash pad though. He enjoys being able to splash in the little puddles of water that form around us. He also finds all the other activity around him (other kids, water, etc.) exciting too. Even though we’re technically in the heat, the water keeps all of us cool. The best part about the splash pad is that when we leave, we all leave exhausted and no one fusses over nap time!
  • The Movies: Our local theater offers a great special during the week for families over the summer. They play older movies for $3 per person. It makes it an easy choice when looking for something to do before nap time. I haven’t been able to take my 5-year old yet because I have the baby, but we’re planning a movie day in about a week when the little guy is at Mother’s Day Out!
  • Open Gym: A lot of gymnastics centers host “open gym” days where they allow parents to come in with their kids and play on all the tumbling mats, trampolines and other safe, age-appropriate gymnastic equipment. While it does cost a small fee, this is another great option for those with little ones who need to run off some energy.

Hopefully, you and your little ones have been able to continue having fun this summer – even with the heat. Just make sure that you follow the summer safety tips, and to do everything you can to keep kids safe as you get out and enjoy the summer activities. What are some of the fun things you do to beat the afternoon heat?

Are the Kids Ready for Preschool?

While the school year is coming to a close for the majority of parents, there are many more who are getting their little ones enrolled in preschool for the 2017-2018 school year. For those of you who are enrolling your first child in preschool, you are probably experiencing various levels of fear, anxiety and excitement all at once. I know, because I’m right there with you!

The school district where we live is one of the best respected school districts in the area. Since preschool isn’t a requirement, there are only 40 spots available, making it a first-come, first-serve program. So, enrollment was set to start at 5p.m. and people start lining up at 4 a.m.! Yes, you can mark my husband and I as one of the crazies out there. Our philosophy was, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” That was yesterday…today, I’m happy to say that our son has an official spot in the school’s pre-k program.

That being said, I’m now getting excited, nervous and anxious about school starting next year. These feelings have left me scrambling for more information about how I can make sure my son is ready for preschool. Here is what I’ve found:

  • Using the Restroom – By the time children enter preschool, they should be potty trained. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t ever have an accident. Before school starts, work with your child about using the bathroom. Make sure your child understands that (s)he needs to tell an adult when (s)he feels the urge to go. Also, this summer is a great time to start teaching your child how to manage his/her clothing when using the restroom. For instance, if your daughter wears a lot of girl dresses, skirts and/or leggings in addition to the normal pants, you might help her get used to undressing/dressing herself over the summer during potty breaks.
  • Making Introductions Easier – For many kids, preschool is the first chance they get to work on their social skills with other kids their age (on a day-to-day basis). This can make the first few days, weeks or months of school nerve-wracking for them. So, help ease this stressor by teaching your child how to introduce himself/herself to others. Start by talking about introductions at home and then when you’re out and about, help your child introduce himself/herself to others. Then, when school starts, making new friends will be easier.
  • Dining Etiquette – Eating at school can be a whole new experience for kids who haven’t ever been in a group setting like this before. Help ease their discomfort by working diligently at home with them over the summer. Teach them how to properly hold their utensils and if you will be packing lunches, teach them how to open and close containers without spilling the contents.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Okay, May is here which means it’s time for the father’s and kids everywhere to start thinking about what to get mom for Mother’s Day. When you take the time to sit down and think about it, there’s no denying that mothers make many sacrifices for their families every year. For example, instead of spending the extra $100 she’s saved on herself for a spa day, a mom won’t hesitate to put it towards a child’s doctor’s bill, her daughter’s prom dress or even haircuts for the entire family if it’s needed. Therefore, there’s no excuse to not honor her on one day out of the year.

This year, Mother’s Day is on May 13th, giving you plenty of time to put something together that shows mom how much you appreciate her and all she does for you. Below are some Mother’s Day gift ideas for all age groups. Even if you don’t like any of the ideas below, the bottom line is that you need to do something to make mom feel special this year.

  • Breakfast in Bed. You may not have a lot of extra money floating around, but that’s okay because you can still make mom feel special by getting up early and fixing her breakfast in bed. This is a gift that everyone (except mom) can get involved in, regardless of age. Toddlers can help stir the pancake batter while older members can take care of the baking and cleaning up. Make sure you’ve got a card (can be homemade) and it’s signed when you bring breakfast in to mom.
  • A Day of Peace and Quiet. This may sound a little too simple, but believe me – all moms dream of having an entire day of peace and quiet. Therefore, why not make up a cute, hand-made coupon voucher to fit in mom’s Mother’s Day card explaining that today (May 13, 2012) mom will be able to enjoy a day of peace and quiet. There will be no fighting amongst the kids and mom will not be bothered with petty issues all day long. Yes, this may take some effort for you and your siblings to achieve, but mom will definitely appreciate the effort…and her day of peace and quiet!
  • Jewelry. All mothers enjoy receiving jewelry from time to time from the people they love. If you start saving now and pool your money together with your dad and siblings, then chances are you’ll be able to pick out a nice piece of jewelry for mom this year. Since this is a gift that most moms don’t get very often, it’ll be the perfect way to surprise mom this year!
  • A Spa Day. Remember the example I gave at the top about how moms sacrifice a lot of things for their kids? Well, this Mother’s Day, it’s time for you and your family to sacrifice for mom. Get her a gift certificate to a local spa for a treatment that you know she’ll enjoy. It may be something simple like a facial, pedicure or massage – or you guys may have enough money combined to treat mom to several spa treatments. Whatever it is you decide on, mom will love the fact that you thought enough of her sacrifice something you wanted so she can go and be pampered.