Aug 292014
 

10 Back to School Tips for Elementary Students

Want to prepare your elementary students for going back to school? Despite what you think, there are some major things you can do to prepare your kids. Ready, set, check out these 10 back to school tips for all of the elementary children in your family.

#1. Establish a routine

I can’t emphasize this one enough. Establishing a routine for the whole family is a way around this matter. Everyone has a bed time and an up time.

#2. Reading together

You can prepare your elementary student for back to school by spending thesummer reading. It’s never too late to start because the more you read the more your child can learn.

#3. Planning for back to school

Nothing helps your child more going back to school, than you helping them plan for it. Pick out clothes together, buy school supplies together, and discuss what next year will bring.

#4. Keep ‘em counting Continue reading »

Aug 272014
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is almost time to send kids back to school! That means there will be lots to do before that first bell rings. Saving money on school lunches is at the top of most parents’ lists for back-to-school and it isn’t that hard to do. You can save money with your kids’ lunches with these very simple steps and tips.

Buy the right equipment

If you want to send your kids to school with a homemade lunch, buy the right equipment to pack it all in. When you don’t have the right lunchbox, thermos, and other containers, you will end up wasting food because it will spoil before your child can actually eat it.

Meal plan

It’s a well-known fact that meal planning can help you lose weight, but did you know that it can also save you money? If you plan out your meals, including snacks and drinks, you can cut your grocery bill by as much as 20 percent in one month, and that includes your kids’ lunches. Plan it all out before grocery shopping. This will also save you time on making lunches in the morning. Continue reading »

Aug 252014
 

10 Things I Wish I'd Known About Raising All Boys

Raising boys isn’t for the faint of heart and I can tell you this from firsthand experience. There are some things I wish I’d known about raising all boys before I began this journey. Here are ten things I wish I knew:

#1. Boys are so Sweet

You always hear all of the negative things about raising boys, but you hardly ever hear the positive. I wish I knew how sweet boys are because I would have had ten more (just kidding).

#2. Boys Love Dirt

I don’t know how many times I have to tell my sons to stop digging in the dirt. You let them outside for two minutes and they’re covered in dirt. No one told me how dirty boys get.

#3. Boys Make Great Brothers

I can’t imagine not having both of my boys because they make such great brothers. I honestly never knew how awesome having multiple boys could really be and the best part is that they impact my life on a daily basis. Continue reading »

Aug 202014
 

10 Back to School Tips For Parents

Parents, are you tired of all of these “back to school” tips for kids— what about the PARENTS? The parents need back to school tips too! Well, here are 10 tips to help you stay on track with your kid this summer. (Warning, some of these may be a bit sarcastic).

#1. Stop staying up so late

As you are reading this, it’s probably already past your bedtime. Waking up earlier than usual is going to be harder than you thought, so get to bed when you can.

#2. Take your vitamins

This is no joke. If you want to have energy to help your kids get up for school, then you will need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

#3. Keep a full gas tank

You don’t want to make anyone late in the morning. When your gas tank is empty, fill it up. Don’t procrastinate on this, you’ll regret it later.

#4. Pack lunches the night before Continue reading »

Aug 142014
 

How to Teach Your Child About Oral Care

Teaching a child about oral care can be like pulling teeth. They would rather go play with their friends, not brush their teeth. Considering your child will need those pearly whites for many years to come, it’s important that you help them take care of them now.

#1. Monkey See Monkey Do

This is so true in the oral care world. Your kids need to see you brushing your teeth before they’ll consider brushing theirs. Mom and dad, they need to see you get excited about brushing your teeth. Trust me, just like any other area in life, you are their role model. Try to stay positive about anything that revolves around oral care.

#2. Cause and Effect

I believe that brushing one’s teeth is a great way to teach about cause and effect. If a child doesn’t learn to brush their teeth now, they’ll have a lot of issues later. Luckily, kids’ teeth are a little resilient when they are kids, but it’s so important to make this a routine. Plus, if you teach them how to care for their teeth now, you will save a lot of money later. Continue reading »

Aug 112014
 

10 Easy Ways to Get Your Boys to Clean Their Rooms

If you’ve ever stepped on a Lego, then you are probably eager to read this blog post. Getting our boys to clean their rooms can be like pulling teeth. Check out these ten ways to get your boys to clean their rooms.

#1. Rewards

We all know that you can get your boys to do anything as long as you reward them. Let them have anything they want as long as they get those dirty socks and Lego’s off the floor. You’ll be one happy mama when you can see the bottom of their floor.

#2. Bright Colors

You can get your boys motivated to clean their rooms by using bright colors. What I mean by this is using bright bins to help get them a little excited about cleaning. Of course, you get to let them choose which colors they prefer.

#3. Divide and Conquer

Honestly, they may not get anywhere without your help. You may have to jump in there and help them divide and conquer. As long as you make it out alive that’s all that matters. Just keep in mind though, if your child is old enough to do it on their own, let them! Continue reading »

Aug 012014
 

Ways to Turn Family Travel into a Fun Learning Experience for Kids

Summer vacation may mean school is out, but learning takes place year-round. A family vacation may be about fun and relaxation, but there is no reason it can’t be a learning experience as well. It has been said that there is no greater teacher than travel, and it is true. On a vacation, there are opportunities for kids of all ages to learn history, language, geography, culture and customs, even arithmetic and economics. Here are some easy ways to turn family travel into a fun learning experience for kids: Continue reading »

Jul 302014
 

5 Tips to Help Children Organize Their Toys

If you’re like any other parent, you might be slightly annoyed with the number of toys lying on your floor at the moment. There are several things you can do to help kids learn how to organize their toys on their own with limited assistance from you. Check out these five tips to help your children organize their toys.

#1. Set a Timer

In case you forgot, kids aren’t born to sit and organize for hours. Set a timer and let the kids get busy. A timer is great because the kids know that once the timer goes off, they are good to go. Adults should even set timers for organizing and cleaning, it helps you stay focused on the task at hand.

#2. Color Coding

I think color coding a toy room is pure genius. For example: All cars go in the red tote, you can even put a red dot on the bottom of all of the cars to signify that the cars go in the red bin. You could even color code the toys to coincide with who it belongs to. Place all girl toys in a pink bin, all boy toys in a blue bin, and all gender neutral toys in a yellow bin. Continue reading »

Jul 222014
 

10 Perks of Being a Mom to All Boys

So you’re a mom to all boys? I’m sure you already know how awesome it is, but I want to share ten of the best perks of being a mom to all boys with you.

#1. No one to share with

As a mom of all boys, there is one major perk, you don’t have to share any of your girl items with your sons. Okay, maybe they will want to try on one or two girlie things from time to time, but for the most part everything is yours.

#2. Endless kisses

Of course any child will give you endless kisses, but there is a special bond between a mother and a son (or sons). Those kisses he gives you mean everything. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

6 Ways to Nix Sibling Fights This Summer

Has the bickering and fighting already started? If you don’t figure something out soon, you might not be able to keep your sanity this summer. Check out these ways you can nix the constant battling between the siblings.

#1. Getalong Shirt

You may have seen this “getalong” shirt floating around, but I’ve heard it actually works. When the kids start fighting, stick them in a huge shirt. This will make them find a way to get along or stay miserable for a long period of time. It might only take one or two times of being put in this shirt for them to get along.

#2. Summer Challenge

It can be hard to stress the importance of getting along as siblings. Natural fighting is going to occur, but you must put an end to summer bickering. You can do this by promoting a summer challenge in the family. This encourages no fighting, if you fight, you have to complete a task on the chore list. Moms have the power to make pretty long chore lists. Continue reading »

Jul 162014
 

Beach Essentials For Families

Now that the weather has warmed up, summer is in full swing and that means picnics, camping, cookouts and my personal favorite thing about summer - the beach! These are the activities that make it Summer, and make for great memories. Taking the kids to the beach can be so much fun, but if you aren’t properly prepared, it can end in sunburns and tears.

To get the most out of your day at the beach, and to keep everyone safe and happy, here is a comprehensive list of what you must have with you. Keep in mind that the list may vary depending on the ages of your children, but there are some things that will apply regardless of age:

  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. And hats. And protective clothing. Kid skin is delicate, especially if your children are fair-skinned. Come home from the beach with sea shells, and maybe some sand, but no sunburn!
  • More towels than you think you will need. Continue reading »
Jul 072014
 

5 Ways to Keep Kids Learning this Summer

It’s summertime, doesn’t this mean poolside relaxation? All adults wish that was the case, but you need to keep your kids learning this summer. Here are five ways you can keep your kids learning, but still have a few moments to yourself by the pool.

#1. Computer

You’re not a bad mom or dad if you use the computer to teach your kids a few learning skills. There are awesome websites out there that simply teach our kids better than we can. Starfall.com and ABCMouse.com are great websites for preschoolers. Your school might even have a few recommendations for ideal learning websites. If you think a computer might be too much, just set a timer and only allow the child to use the computer for that amount of time.

#2. Adventure

Taking your children to see people, places, and things this summer is one way to keep them learning. There are plenty of free places to visit, so don’t fret about money. Exposing your child to different learning environments will help them greatly in the long run. Visit zoos, children’s museums, parks, libraries, and the occasional water park for optimal learning opportunities. Continue reading »

Jun 232014
 

Summer Staycation Ideas

Need a getaway, but you can’t leave town? Take a staycation! A staycation is a vacation, except it doesn’t involve having to pack your bags and leave home. There are different variations of this. Some staycations are taken completely at home, and some involve multiple day trips to nearby areas, or even an overnight outing in a local area.

Just like a traditional vacation, a staycation is best when planned. Researching local activities, deciding on a budget and getting the family involved can help make your staycation a success.

The next time you have a few days off, but for whatever reason you can’t leave town, try a few of these summer staycation ideas for easy fun and relaxation! There are ideas for every budget, and many of them are free! Continue reading »

May 262014
 

summer scavenger hunt ideas

Summer vacation is always a much anticipated time for both kids and parents. No school, warm weather and sleeping in! Inevitably though, after a week or so the phrase “I’m bored” starts becoming a daily lament. Prevent boredom before it starts by having a “bag of tricks” up your sleeve. There are tons of activities that kids and parents alike can do to stave off summertime boredom. One such activity is a scavenger hunt. If you have never done one, you are missing out. Here are some summer scavenger hunt ideas that will keep your kids busy and engaged whether they are hanging out at home, on a long road trip, or at a park or other outdoor space. Continue reading »

May 072014
 

20 last minute teacher appreciation gifts

In case you weren’t aware of this, Teacher Appreciation Week is this week!   Don’t sweat it if you didn’t know about it or had a mommy brain moment and it slipped your mind.  Here are some great last minute creative and adorable gift ideas for your little star students to wow their teacher with!

Teacher Snack Gifts

Teacher Supply Holder And Bottle Cap Magnets

One In A Melon
Continue reading »

Apr 212014
 

My boys are experienced travelers. They have flown to Disney World every year since my oldest was five and the little guy was 21 months old (they are now nine and six). We always fly to Orlando out of Providence, RI, so it is a short flight for us (about two and a half hours or so), but this is the second year in a row that we have flown across the country to San Diego (which is where I am right now). That is about a six hour flight from Boston, so it’s almost double the amount of time on an airplane than what they are used to.

They are generally really good about entertaining themselves, but you never know when one of them is going to get bored, so for long flights, I always bring a carry on bag filled with things to keep them busy.

Back-pack-travel-entertainment-kids-books-electronics-snacks

As you can see it’s filled with puzzle books, Mad Libs, mazes, Where’s Waldo books and most importantly – snacks!  I also make sure I have sharpened pencils and a pencil sharpener so that they can actually do the Mad Libs, puzzles and mazes.  I make sure to charge their 3DS’s and Kindle Fires the night before so that they are fully charged before we leave and that way they should last for most of the time we are up in the air. Continue reading »

Apr 162014
 

easter-basket-ideas-for-boys

Traditionally, Easter baskets are filled with candy treats like chocolate bunnies, jelly beans , Peeps and chocolate-marshmallow eggs.  Oh, and that Easter basket grass that gets everywhere and kills your vacuum cleaner.

If you are wanting to celebrate the arrival of the Easter Bunny sans the trip to the dentist, than there are plenty of options that are just as fun for the kids. If you have little boys like I do and aren’t sure what to put in their basket this year besides candy, here is a list of suggestions to get you inspired:

  • One of the easiest routes to go with is his interests. Does he love cars and trucks? How about a Hot Wheels themed Easter basket?
  • Lots of boys are enamored with creepy-crawly bugs, snakes and the like. If you have a bug-catcher on your hands, then why not fill his basket with a butterfly net, a container for specimens and a book all about insects that can help him identify the local neighborhood bugs? Throw some fun stickers in the basket and voila! Continue reading »
Apr 032014
 

Have you ever wondered what the going rate for a babysitter is?  I have.

Back in my day when I used to babysit, I think I cleared $3 or $4 and hour and if anyone offered me more than that – it was like I had hit the lottery.  I remember babysitting one New Years Eve for nice couple that had three kids under the age of five.   The kids were all asleep by the time I got there, so all I had to do was sit there and hang out with Dick Clark.  When they got home around 1 am (a little more than a little tipsy) and the mother handed me a $50 bill as my payment, I’m pretty sure I cried a few tears of joy.

When my kids were younger, I always had family (either my mother or my sister) babysit.  I mean, it doesn’t get much better than free, right?  But now my sister is married & living north of Boston with her new husband and mother is in failing health & can’t handle them like she used to, so I have been starting to explore my options.

I truly had no idea how much a sitter would cost these days, so I did a little crowdsourcing and polled some people on my Facebook page. Continue reading »

Aug 292013
 

I don’t understand something.

Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I will grab the boys their dinner at McDonald’s.  Usually, since I’m in a hurry, we just go through the drive through and take their food with us – whether it be that we bring it home or the kids eat it on the go.

I think we all know that McDonald’s is notorious for messing up orders.  It’s happened to me so many times that I always check the bag (s) before I drive away to make sure that my order is correct and/or that nothing is missing.  Once I make sure we have everything and that it’s correct, we’re off.

With that being said, I realize that the kids working at the drive through window at McDonald’s probably don’t have kids of their own yet, so I’d like to let this serve as s public service announcement:

When you have two Happy Meals (or more) going out on one order – please give everyone in the party the same prize.

The fight it causes is almost NOT worth the hassle of going there in the first place.  We were there the other day and they got Smurfs in their Happy Meals. I was thinking to myself that this time it wasn’t so bad because they could play with them together.  Wrong.  The little man wanted the one with the horn and the big guy wouldn’t trade.  It was a nightmare…over a dumb little toy.  It happens all the time, too.  You think I’d check the prizes before I drove away like I do with the food.

mcdonalds-smurf-prizes

My order at McDonald’s is always the same: Continue reading »

Aug 042013
 

The other day, I was sitting here thinking about how sometimes I feel bad for my eight year old.  His little brother wants to do everything he does, which doesn’t always work out so well because of the three year age difference.   Most of the time, anything that my oldest picks up to do, the little guy isn’t very far behind.  Because they are at different levels developmentally, it seems like I am always saying something like this to my oldest:  “Let it go…you’re brother just isn’t old enough to do that”. Since I’m the oldest of three (my sister is 4 years younger and my brother is 6.5 years younger), I really can relate.  I do have higher expectations of my older son.  Like my parents always said to me “you know better” and it’s true.  Since I remember so clearly, I completely understand what he must be feeling to hear me say that to him.

So, since my wheels were turning, I made up this  list of pros/cons of being the oldest.

Pros:

  1. I never, ever had to wear hand-me-downs.  HA!
  2. More privileges (higher allowance, later bedtime, etc). Continue reading »