Tips to Help Your Child Become More Independent

Teaching your child independence can be a difficult task. I mean how can you blame them? They are born into a world where we feed, change, and bathe them. They are reliant on us for everything. As they grow older, you struggle to find the ‘right’ time to give them independence (I know I do).

  • We don’t want them making a mess everywhere, so we do it ourselves.
  • You don’t have enough time in the morning for them to change themselves because their muscles immediately become lifeless, so it feels like hours for them to take their socks off
  • They melt your heart because they assume you don’t love them because you are refusing to help (holy mom guilt!)
  • They cry and get frustrated, and you don’t feel like listening to it
  • They get more soap and water on the bathroom floor then their bodies
  • Your anxiety shoots through the roof just looking at the mess they are making

The list could go on and on, but of course you don’t want your child growing into their teenage years being completely dependent on mommy and daddy. Trust me, I’m totally guilty of ‘not cutting the cord’ as my husband would say and helping my kids with everything.

Give yourself (and them) some extra time. You always should remember in the back of your head that they are learning, it doesn’t take a few minutes to completely tackle something you’re not used to doing. Think about it…

  • It’s hard to run a marathon if you’ve never ran before
  • It can take a few tries to perfect a new meal if you’ve never cooked
  • You don’t learn to swim after the first time in a pool

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Things take practice, so your little ones need that extra time. I’ve started giving my son and myself 20 minutes of extra time every morning so we don’t get behind and he can do his morning routine on his own.

Organization. I’ve learned that an organized environment is extremely helpful for a little one becoming independent. My son has an organizing shelf in his room that toys used to be thrown into randomly.

  • Cars mixed with LEGOs
  • Trains mixed with Action Figures
  • Paw Patrol mixed with Blaze and the Monster Machines

That’s no longer happening. We now place each item into different bins so the process of cleaning his room is easier. He quickly knows where everything goes, and he doesn’t get super frustrated during the cleaning process. Now that he is starting to read, I’m going to label each bin so he can read off what toy goes where.

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Use safer and smaller cleaning supplies. A big responsibility I’m trying to teach my son is cleaning up after himself.

  • He leaves his juice boxes laying around
  • gummy wrappers sitting on the couch
  • plates left on the dinner table with crumbs all over the floor.

Luckily my son enjoys cleaning, but only when Mommy is doing it too. When he must clean up his own mess, it becomes devastatingly hard to accomplish. So, to help him out we bought a mini broom and gave him his own little bin of rags, wipes, and a small spray bottle of kid-friendly cleaner. If he gets to spray something, he loves it. So, I try to work around what he enjoys so it becomes a ‘fun’ chore to tackle in his mind.

Let your kids know you trust them. There is where the ‘cutting the cord’ comes into play for me. Give them some freedom when it’s time to play or clean up.

  • Allow them to go outside while you watch from afar
  • Leave their bedroom when it’s time to clean it
  • Have them run out and check the mail while your inside

This can be a huge confident booster for your child and it can help make them believe they are capable of more, but you will always be there for assistance. It could reduce the number of outbursts with them complaining that they can’t do it or that it’s too hard. Maybe it’ll also motivate them to do more independently.

Be there for them. Always be their number one motivator. Stay calm and motivate them along the way. If there’s a mess after they attempt to pour their milk alone, tell them it’s okay and that they are learning. Grab a rag and have them clean it up. If you get upset then that will make them upset, and their confidence goes out the window. Praise and positivity are two great ways to communicate to your child.

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 Independence is a learning experience in the end. There will be multiple failed attempts before you succeed.

That goes for adults too. We’ve gone through it.

With success, comes reward. My son knows that if he successfully completes his chores, he receives a dollar. When he doesn’t complete his chores, or complains then he loses a dollar.

 I do believe in letting your kids be rewarded when they complete what they are asked, but I also don’t want them to become greedy, hence why the money will be taken too.

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Learning To Read

Hi Everyone!

We are at the stage where my oldest is starting to learn how to read. I am so impressed with how well he is doing for only being four years old. He is learning so much at his pre-school, I couldn’t be more thankful!

But it’s not all that wonderful when we get home. I always here how phenomenal he does in school, so I want him to be able to do the same at home.

Besides his occasional homework he must complete, I wanted to find different ways to incorporate learning to read words at home also. We’ve came up with a few ideas that are really helping advance in his reading skills so of course we wanted to share.

Reading. Of course, this a no brainer. Obviously reading books helps you learn to read. What we do is I read most of the book. Any sight word I see that I know he has learned at pre-k, I stop and see if he’s following along and I let him read those words. We go through the books together and both read. It’s a fun way for him and I to have some bonding time, all while learning at the same time.

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Bath Time Letters. We’ve recently gotten our hands on some Nuby Bath Letters and Numbers. These are a must buy for little ones 18 months and older who are learning the alphabet, spelling words, and reading. Let’s not forget there are numbers included, which is great for learning also! These soft foam letters float in the water and easily stick to the walls to make spelling words so simple. It includes all 26 letters and numbers 1-10. They are so fun for bath time.

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My son enjoys attempting to spell certain words I ask him spell (especially his name), or I’ll spell a word and make him read it.  To make it a little more fun, if he gets the word wrong I dump a little bit of water on his head. He loves it and we laugh the entire time while learning.

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You can find these Phthalate and BPA FREE letters at multiple locations including Meijer, www.buybabydirect.com, and Baby Depot at Burlington!

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Word Hunting. This is a fun game we’ve started to play. I write his sight words on separate little sticky notes and place them all around the house. I will tell him a certain site word and he gets to run around the house to find the correct sticky note with that word on it. If he gets them all correct without messing up, he gets a popsicle.

Now that the weather is warming up, we’ll be playing this game outside in the back yard!

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What are some of your favorite activities to help your children learn to read? I’d love to add more in our routine!

 

Follow Nuby on:

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*I received this product from Nuby as a review, but all opinions are entirely my own*

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Cesarean Awareness Month – My Story

 

As some of you may or may not know, both of my children were born via cesarean section. With it being Cesarean Awareness month, I thought it would be fun to tell my story.

Most of us mothers can agree that a cesarean section isn’t our first choice when it comes to our delivery plans but sometimes that’s the way it goes. I never really had a ‘birthing plan’ but of course my intentions were a normal birth. All I knew was I definitely wanted an epidural. This mama wasn’t ready to experience a natural birth, the contractions were enough.

In December 2013, my son was five days overdue. I went to my weekly OB appointment, thinking I was going to plan my induction and continue working until then. So I waddled my way up onto the table for my doctor to check my dilation, and within a few seconds all I hear is

“Welp, I don’t think your heading back to work, I think I just broke your water”.

THANK YOU DOC, I AM READY.

I headed over to the hospital, called who I needed to call and was ready to get this baby out. As much as I was ready to get this boy out, he wasn’t ready. Not one bit. We waited and waited for any teeny bit of dilation change. Nothing. So here came the Pitocin, hours later.

 Finally, the contractions began and a little under 24 hours later I was ready to push. Did I mention they predicted my son to be around 8-9lbs?! Yeah, I was a little nervous to push that dude out. After twenty minutes of pushing, an episiotomy, and a vacuum my sons heart rate was dropping, quickly. So, emergency C-section it was. I was rushed to the OR and within 20 minutes, my beautiful 6lb 14oz boy was born.

Yeah, SIX pounds. So much for an 8-9 pounder. Thanks for freaking me out doc.

In the back of my mind, I felt like I failed at birthing my son. But, after having him in my arms, my entire heart filled with happiness and relief. My little boy and I were healthy, and that was all that mattered. Everything was worth it.

 

After 8 months of being a mother, I had to received emergency back surgery. All from carrying and attempting to give birth to my son. You can find that story here.

A little over three years later, in February 2017 I was preparing to give birth to my daughter. This time was a little different though, my cesarean section was planned.

I met my current husband in 2015, when my son was a little over a year old.

When I found out I was pregnant with our daughter, I knew this was going to be his first child. Fear overcame me when I started to think of my back and what he would think knowing he might not get to experience the ‘normal’ birthing process of his daughter.

I was afraid he would be upset to not be able to experience the labor, holding my hand while I had contractions, and the actual anticipation of me pushing and giving birth to our beautiful baby girl.

Although, there was the risk of uterine rupture, I decided to try for a VBAC.

So that was our plan, we’d wait it out until I go into labor and I would try a vaginal birth all over again.

Everything was going great, I was so excited to be able to attempt a second vaginal birth. We knew she would be a little one, so I thought it would be a breeze. Then we hit about 35 weeks and I was crushed.

My daughter was breech, so a repeat cesarean was mandatory for the health of my daughter. I was heartbroken. The feeling of failure overcame me once again and I broke down. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to change my birthing options now; my husband was the most supportive man. He didn’t care about how our daughter was brought into this world, he just wanted us both happy and healthy. I was the mother of his child and he’d never love me any less then he does now. In fact, knowing that I was carrying his child made him love me even more. To this day, I appreciate him more then he’ll ever know.

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So here came February 6th, 2017. The day we picked to give birth to our daughter. As much as I was upset that I couldn’t attempt a VBAC, the process of a repeat cesarean section was very relaxed and calm. I knew what I was about to go through and I was ready. My husband and I were both ready. He was waiting for this day to come for years. He was so excited to become a father and to make his parents grandparents. We also couldn’t wait to give my son a sibling.

We arrived at the hospital around 10AM, expecting to go into the operating room around 1PM. After waiting and waiting, not to mention I couldn’t eat or drink all day… at 3:30PM I go on back. My husband had to stay back at first while they inserted my epidural and numbed me which slightly made me nervous because all I wanted was him next to me, but once I was ready and that lovely blue sheet went up, he was right by my side, ready to welcome our girl.

The doctor came in, introduced herself, and explained every single step of the process with us during my entire surgery. My husband and I stared at each other the entire time and were impatiently waiting to hear our daughters first cry.

Finally, we hear “here she comes” and at 4PM exactly we heard her first little cry. My husband sat his forehead on mine and we cried together. Our bond felt stronger than ever.

 

After a few moments, he went over to cut the cord, and then brought our little girl over so we could meet her together.

My heart was so full, our little girl was here and she was completely healthy. At that moment, all the feelings of failure disappeared. I just had my second major surgery to give these beautiful little humans life. This wasn’t the ‘easy way out’. Cesarean mothers go through just as much as mothers who give birth naturally. We all have the heal afterwards, just in different ways. We all bleed, we all cry, and we all become new mothers to a beautiful little baby that will love us no matter how they came into this world.

I am a proud cesarean mother, and I wouldn’t change how my children came into this world one bit. They are healthy, energetic, intelligent kids that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

 

Happy Cesarean Awareness Month!

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100 Ways to Get Your Kids Outside

Happy Spring Everyone!

I am so excited that the weather is final warming up here on the east coast! I’m ready for ice cream dates and playground fun. With my youngest now on the go, I’m really excited for what this spring and summer have in store for us. Last year was difficult because she was so young so getting out was a little tough, but this year she’s able to keep up with her brother and I know they are going to have a blast.

I am big on getting the kids outside as much as possible. I like for them to be active, to run around, and just be a kid! My son is old enough to get into sports, so I really want to experiment and see what he truly enjoys so we can sign him up for a team. We’re thinking baseball, so I’m really excited. His cousin is amazing at playing ball, so I’m hoping to get them together a lot during the summer to really get my son into learning to rules of the game.

As for my one year old, I just want her to learn to love the outdoors. We’re a very ‘outdoorsy’ family, so I really don’t want my little ones to be stuck on electronics and television, especially when it’s so beautiful outside. My in-laws are getting the kids a play set for our backyard so I’m excited. That will go great with the sandbox and fire pit we currently have out there.

So why not kick off the beginning of spring with a list of 100 ways to get your kids outside!

Some may cost a little, but others are completely free!

There are options for every budget!

 

Draw with sidewalk chalk

Go for a bike ride/learn to ride a bike

Visit a playground

Have a picnic

Go for a walk

Catch fireflies at night

Plant a garden

Visit a lake

Go fishing

Practice/Play a sport

Go swimming in a pool

Hike in the woods

Visit a zoo

Visit an ice cream shop

Go to a carnival

Visit an amusement park

Play tag

Play hide and go seek

Have a bonfire

Roast marshmallows

Pitch a tent and ‘camp’ in your backyard

Have a water balloon fight

Set up a sprinkler or slip and slide

Visit a national or state park

Identify different birds

Have an outdoors scavenger hunt (see below for a free printable!)

Paint rocks

Play hopscotch

Catch butterflies

Build and paint a birdhouse

Pick different flowers

Go feed ducks

Finger paint

Find shapes in the clouds

Look for stars at night in a telescope

Wash a car

Play I-Spy

Climb a tree

Fly a kite

Make paper airplanes

Play with bubbles

Go puddle jumping

Have a squirt gun fight

Make a time capsule and bury it

Play in the mud

Visit a farm

Have a lemonade stand

Visit a beach

Go to a local baseball game

Make dandelion wishes

Visit a water park

Go frog catching

Collect seashells

Go paddle boating

Go to an outdoor concert

Play in a sandbox

Go on a boat ride

Go swimming in a lake

Paint pine cones

Make a bird feeder

Identify tree types

Make a nature journal

Collect different types of leaves

Collect different types of rocks

Grill and eat dinner outside

Go mini golfing

Skip rocks

Pick berries

Smell different flowers

visit a farmer’s market

Make a wind chime

Visit a drive-in movie theater

Roll down a hill

Dance outside

Visit an aquarium

Go crabbing

Look for bugs

Plant a tree

Take outside photos

Build an outside fort

Go horseback riding

Hula hoop

Watch the sun set/rise

Jump rope

Go go-karting

Make paper boats

Build sandcastles

Have a race

Build an obstacle course

Jump on a trampoline

Make a tire swing

Do a science experiment

Tour a fire station

Visit a children’s museum

Find a four-leaf clover

Tie die shirts

Make shadow puppets

Walk to a snowball stand

Make your own snowballs

Make your own ice cream

Scavenger Hunt

Right Click to Save and Print!

 

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Easter Bunny Cake Pops

Happy Spring Everyone!

For some crazy reason Mother Nature decided to dump over a foot of snow here in Pennsylvania on the first (and second) day of Spring. Totally not what we wanted, but my oldest got a snow day out of it so we decided to celebrate the spring season inside while the snow falls. Since I knew what kind of weather was headed our way, the little one and I went to Walmart to grab some necessities we needed. I came across this adorable bunny shaped silicone baking mat and instantly thought it would be a great idea to make bunny shaped cake pops! My son is in love with eating cake pops and he always gets one when we visit Starbucks, so why not make our own! I wanted to share the recipe because it’s perfect for the Easter season. Over the weekend we made Spring Flower Chocolate Pretzels. Check those out too!

Ingredients:

• Bunny Shaped Silicone Baking Mat

• Lollipop Sticks

• Pastel Colored Chocolate Wafers (however many colors you want)

• One Box of Cake Mix (we went with Funfetti. Make sure you have all the ingredients listed on the back of the box also.)

• Cooking Spray

• Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

1. Combine your cake mix ingredients together as directed on the back of the box

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2. Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees

3. Place your silicone mat on a baking pan and generously spray the mat with cooking spray

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4. Fill each bunny with cake mix about a quarter to half way full

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5. Bake in the over for 10-15 minutes

6. Let the cake pieces cool for a few minutes then place them on a sheet of parchment paper.

(They should pop right out of the baking mat)

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7. Place a lollipop stick into the center of the bunny cake pieces. This could be done before or after you dip the cake pieces in the chocolate. Whichever you prefer.

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8. Melt your chocolate wafers in the microwave (or as desired) in a microwave safe bowl. I usually do 30 seconds intervals on defrost until chocolate is fully melted

9. Dip the cake pieces into the melted chocolate until fully covered, let the extra chocolate drip off, then place back on the parchment paper to harden

10. Design the bunny pieces as desired and enjoy! We decided to drizzle a different color on some and add sprinkles to the other. If you are using sprinkles, be sure the add them before the chocolate fully hardens so they stick

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These were definitely a hit in my household, and I hope they are with yours also! Enjoy! We sure did! Also, a special thanks to my little helper. We had a blast making these together.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bites

These delicious little bites are one of my favorites quick recipes to make. These no bake snacks take only minutes to make and are super delicious. They are the perfect snack for a healthy lifestyle and are packed with protein and fiber to keep you feeling fuller during the day. They are an easy on the go snack if you live a busy lifestyle like mine. Best thing about them is that they help curb my sweet tooth when I’m craving something with chocolate. Each bite tastes more like a dessert than healthy protein and fiber rich snack.

My kids approve of them also, which is a total mom win.

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5 Simple Ingredients:
2 tbsp. Honey
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup ground flax seeds

All you do is simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes until chilled.
Once chilled, roll into mini balls and enjoy!
(I made mine about 1 inch in diameter)

If you don’t eat them within a week, you can also freeze them and eat them at a later time.

These balls are also super versatile and you can mix them up however you’d like. You can add in some coconut or shredded almonds. Maybe trade out the semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips. Whichever you prefer.

Hope you enjoy!

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March of Dimes: March For Babies Walk

Right now, babies need all the support and help they can get.

Premature birth affects about 380,000 babies here in the United States. I’m walking in March for Babies to get the message out about this unfortunate problem and you can help tremendously!

A baby's feet.
 For anyone who is a mother, we know it’s tough. For all of us, so why not help out other mothers out there who are in need.

I have teamed up with a group through Wellspan Health Urgent Care to help raise money for our sweet little loved ones. I’m writing to have you join me to help raise money to expand programs and educate medical professionals to make sure that moms and babies get the best possible care.

Together we can help the March of Dimes fight prematurity so more babies can get the strongest start possible. Anything helps. We greatly appreciate all the wonderful help!

Find my personal link here to help me raise money for a wonderful cause. All of us mothers need to stick together and help out each other as much as possible! My goal is to raise $500 before we walk on May 6th.

Anything would greatly be appreciated by all mothers and babies who are in need of our generosity and kindness.

If you live near the York, Pennsylvania area and would like to walk, please sign up and let me know. We’d love to have you join along!

Thank you so much.

 

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The Perfect Outfit Accessory for Any Occasion: JORD Watches + GIVEAWAY!

I have always loved accessorizing my wrists with jewelry. Lately, my go to watch has been my fitness watch, until I was introduced to JORD wooden watches.

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I’m a fitness guru, so getting me out of my fitness watch is rare. JORD has become my new favorite accessory. JORD Watches are unique wooden watches for men and women that are available in multiple different colors and styles. I am a lover of simplicity, and these watches are perfect for that look. They are very minimal, yet uniquely stunning. These watches are very easy to pair with any type of outfit. You can dress it up for date night while wearing an elegant black dress or dress it down with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

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I am a mother of two so my day to day outfits are casual and simple, but now that I added my JORD wooden watch into the mix it enhances my look immensely. I’m on the go all day long with my kids so any simple addition to my everyday look makes my confidence rise.  I must mention that these wooden watches are also engravable, so they would be the perfect gift for any occasion!

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The wooden watch that I am currently wearing is the Fieldcrest Series in Maple. This wooden watch is made from natural maple wood with scratch-resistant mineral glass, and has an easy to use deployment buckle with push buttons.

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I was lucky enough to team up with JORD Watches for an awesome giveaway opportunity!

You can enter below to win an $100 gift card towards the watch of your desire from JORD. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to fall in love with a new accessory for spring!

Click Here to Enter the Giveaway!

Click Here to View Their Homepage

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Luxury Wooden Watch

Big Mac Salad

Happy Monday!

So I know this recipe sounds a little odd, but my goodness is it delicious! When I was pregnant I always craved Big Mac’s from McDonalds. So, I found this healthier version and just had to make it! (Don’t worry no baby number three, yet!) I was really surprised with how similar this bowl tasted compared to the actual sandwich. It’s a must try if you get a craving for a juicy burger!

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Note: In my photo’s, I made 4x the amount of the actual recipe! This recipe is the single serving amount.

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Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lite thousand island dressing
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely minced onion
  • 1/8 tsp granulated white sugar (or a dash of no calorie sweetener!)
  • 1/8 tsp white time vinegar

Bowl Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 4oz raw extra-lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp shredded reduce fat cheddar cheese
  • 3 hamburger dill pickle chips, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

You can also add tomato, ketchup, and extra mustard if desired!

Directions:

For the sauce, add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix

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Bring a nonstick sprayed skillet to medium-high heat and combine meat, onion, and spices until the meat is thoroughly cooked and onions have softened.

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Once cooked through, remove from heat and add mustard to the meat and combine.

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Place the shredded lettuce at the bottom of your bowl, add the meat and your toppings and enjoy.

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Let me know what you think!

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