Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Practical List for New Moms

Expecting a baby can be such an exciting time!  Exciting and stressful...
New moms can find basic lists of needed items for the new baby, but can waste tons of money on unused items. Many companies create such lists to get you to buy more things, but I have created a "Practical List for New Moms".
  • Crib and mattress~definitely a necessity!
  • Crib sheets
  • Mattress pad~to protect the mattress for those accidents that WILL happen!
  • Baby blankets/receiving blankets
  • Crib mobile~nice and keep the baby entertained for a bit, but not a necessity.
  • Cradle or Bassinet~again, nice but not a necessity.  Usually used while your newborn is still a newborn.
  • Changing table~Useless to some. Blessing to others. I personally used a changing pad where ever the time came.
  • Glider~great if you have the room!
  • Diapers~Obviously
  • Wipe warmer~nice to have.  We personally did not feel comfortable keeping it plugged in all the time.
  • Diaper bags with changing mat~MUST-HAVE!
  • Diaper pail~not a necessity.  We just bag the stinky ones up and throw them in the trash can outside.
  • Baby monitor~necessity depending on how big your house is, and if you will be outside while the baby is sleeping inside...
  • All safety gear~gates, outlet covers, cabinet latches, corner guards, etc.
  • Car seat with head support
  • Sun shades for car
  • Stroller~YES!! You WILL get tired of carrying your baby, and the stroller is great.  There are hundreds of different styles and types to fit your needs and what you like.
  • Swing~some babies like it while others don't.  There are full sized ones along with travel.
  • Jumperoo~my kids LOVED this~
  • Walker~never had one for any of my kids, but never really had room for this huge walker to roll along, and doesn't typically work well with carpet.
  • Exersaucers~ EXCELLENT! My kids loved it and keeps them entertained.

  • Pack-n-Play~ Love mine! Not only great for nap time while at the park, or Grandma's house, but also for those times you are trying to vacuum! 
  • Highchair
  • Carriers/Wraps~great depending on personal preference.  Loved mine!
  • Baby Gym/ Play mat~floor time is great for kids, and this helps encourage your infant to lift their head, strengthening the neck.
  • Bibs~help protect their clothes and save you changing your baby's clothes 34893458 times a day!
  • Bottles
  • Bottle Warmer~we had a portable one that you plug in the car.  LOVED it!
  • Bottle drying rack~Must-Have!
  • Bottle brush
  • Pacifiers~ great if your child takes one.  None of mine did.
  • Nail clippers
  • Digital Thermometer~Must-Have!
  • Baby bath tub
  • Baby towels/washcloths
If you are a breast-feeding mom, you will also need:
  • Breast pump
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream~you WILL need it!
  • Milk storage containers
  • Nursing Bra~for convenience
  • Boppy pillow~ considered a nursing pillow but also used to sit the baby up

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for....

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and right now millions of people are do all the prep work for the big feast.  A new hit show on FOX called "The X Factor" had the contestants sing a song dedicated to who they are thankful for the most.  It really was quite an emotional episode! But it also got me thinking about who I am most thankful for, and who I would be singing about if it were me up there.  The two people I am the most thankful for besides my children, is my loving husband and my amazing Great-Grandmother. 

My husband and I have been through a lot, and we are on an amazing journey of life together.  If it weren't for him, I'm not sure where I would be.  Lost.  He pushes me to be my best and supports me with whatever I want to do.  We compliment each other like peas and carrots....those go together right?  Or like meat and potatoes....you get the point.  Took a while, but the love of my life finally came into my life and here we are! 

My Great-Grandma, Nanny is what I called her, was so amazing.  She was the wonderful woman that influences me to be who I am.  Everyone loved her, and she had friends everywhere because of her kind and passionate personality.  I know that if she were alive today, she would be so proud.  She would love the additions I have brought into this family and would definitely be a big part of all our children's upbringing as she was in mine.  My children will never know directly what a wonderful person she was, but they will know.  As they get older, they will know the stories and see the pictures.  Deceased or alive, she will still have an impact on the lives of me and my family.

Who are you thankful for the most in your life?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Everyone has their own traditions for the holidays, but for Thanksgiving is all about the food!  Many famillies have the basic traditional foods for Thanksgiving like turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and rolls.  My family?  We like to put a twist on the tradional.  I discovered a surprisingly delicious twist to the tradional stuffing:

Apple Nut Stuffing
1/4 c. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
6 c. toasted bread cubes
3 c. peeled, diced apples
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 c. apple cider
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat your oven at 350.  Then melt butter in skillet and sautee the onions and celery until it is tender but not brown.  Transfer into a large bowl.
Add the bread cubes, apples, walnuts, raisins, cider and seasonings to the onion and celery mixture and mix well. 
Place in a baking dish.  cover and bake for about an hour and a half.


What are some ways that you and your family put a twist on your Thanksgiving meal?

Friday, November 18, 2011


So, I am so super excited that "The Twilight: Breaking Dawn" came out today! I am definitely a Twi-Mom all the way! If only I didn't work last night til 7:30 this morning which means sleeping several hours during the day, then have our house-full of kids, plus basketball practice on top of the every day stuff! Oh, sweet date night...when will you come? That's right. My poor husband gets dragged to every Twilight movie (and every chick flick I wanna see). Twi-Hards may want to cover their eyes while reading this next part...he actually fell asleep during The New Moon! Lol. That's true love. I said he had to come with me, not stay awake, right?

There's no 'Step' about it

Having a "blended family" myself, I can say that it's not always easy. There are lots of challenges and hurdles to get through. A lot of times, second marriages don't work out because the parents can't figure things out. I don't consider my husband's kids to be my step kids, but my kids...my Bonus Kids. I always wanted a big family and now I have one without having to give birth to half of them!
When first forming a blended family, the kids may tend to be cautious at first, which is normal. They may also go through an on and off phase with the Bonus Parent. Just be patient and keep showing them that you care. Younger children tend to adapt easier than older ones, who tend to be afraid of betraying the other parent's feelings. In time, everyone will adjust...some will take longer than others.
The Bonus Parent should step in as a parental figure, but don't over do it, especially at first. It is never a good idea to distant yourself from the children, and never force them to call you 'Mom' or 'Dad'. If they want to, they will. Children need good role models in their lives, so you can teach them to be respectful to you by showing them respect. Also, don't ever put the children in an awkward position by bad mouthing their parent(s). It will only make them want to go into defense mode and push you away too.
One of the most important thing is to make them feel loved. Really, thats what every child wants is to be loved. The very best thing for the children is when all parents and Bonus parent(s) work together and communicate. Communication is very important to avoid problems, such as who is picking the children up from school, extra-curricular activities, how the children are doing in school, etc. One-on-One time with each child will mean a lot to them, and make them feel special. Each parent and Bonus Parent should rotate One-on-One time with EACH child, not just with their own.
The most important advice is to stay connected with your partner. The children will adjust better and faster if they see their Bonus Partner and their parent happy and getting along. Avoid arguing infront of the children as well.
We believe that we were meant to be together, and that all of our children were meant to be on this earth as well. We may have started our lives on different paths, but came together as one to raise our children together with love and happiness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dealing with ADHD in your child

Do you think your child has ADHD?  Also known as "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" is more common than you think among children, and even adults.  3-7% of children are diagnosed with ADHD, which is about 1-2 children in each classroom.

Symptoms of ADHD include but not limited to the following:

*making careless mistakes
*loses interest easily
*impulsively punches, hits, yells, etc
*seems angry all the time or if they don't get their way
*inability to listen or follow directions
*is distracted easily
*excessively hyper
*excessive talking
*impulsively interrupts

Other interesting facts about ADHD:

*A child with ADHD likely has a parent with the same disorder
*A person with ADHD is likely to have discipline problems
*25% of children with ADHD have serious learning disablilities
*Boys are more likely to have ADHD than girls
*People with ADHD are more likely to have relationship troubles with both peers and family

If you think that your child had ADHD, please ask your doctor for him or her to be tested.  While many doctors may suggest medication, there are other methods that can help tame ADHD that can be tried before medication, or even as well as using medication.

*Keep your child active.  Boredom often results in impulsive behavior, so keeping your child busy with activities, going places, etc can help control the impulsive behavior.
*Praising your child for their stregnths and doing so immediately instead of later.
*Stay organized is helpful so your child knows to exact snack right after school, or that bedtime is right at 9
*As hard as it is, you need to be patient with your child.  Don't rush or get frustrated...it will only cause your child to become more frustrated.
*Pick your battles!  If you know your child hates wearing a shirt with a collar, don't make him or her wear one every day!
*Practice good behaviors with your child.

Too much TV?

Don't get me wrong, The Doodlebops DVD is a blessing to keep my little one occupied while I get the dishes done, but "too much tv is not good for your child."  The tv should never be considered as a babysitter for long periods of time. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does NOT recommend for children under the age of 2 to watch ANY television.  It is considered a critical time for brain development in the first two years, which the child should learn through play and song instead of watching tv. 

If your child above the age of 2 is watching more than 1-2 hours of tv per day,  he or she is likely to not be very active.  If your child is less active, would rather watch tv than go outside and play, then he or she is at risk for being overweight as a child and or an adult. 

The best way children learn is through example.  As parents, we need to be the best example for our children and not living by the 'do as I say, not as I do' example.  Get your child involved!  There are tons of ways to be active with your child...it will stimulate both your brain and theirs to spend an evening doing something besides watching tv!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From Toddler to Big Kid

This summer has definitely flown by, and now the busy school days have begun! Somewhere between the summer fun activities and the buying of school supplies, are our kids growing up a little more each and every day and even year. Children gain more and more independence right before our very eyes without any warning at all! Then one day it hits you...you now have a big kid! When your child is learning how to be more independent, it is important to allow then to be independent as much as possible, even if it is hard for you as a parent to watch your baby need you less and less. I cannot promise you that it will be easy, and I cannot promise that you wont cry...I sure know I have my share plenty of times already!
My eyes get a little misty as I pull up next to the tall, brick building. My precious, little angel is off to start her very first day of the first grade. I put the minivan in park before turning it off. As I go to open my door and get out, a voice comes from the seat behind me.
"Mommy," my daughter says in a matter-of-fact voice. "I can walk up there by myself. You see, I am a big girl now. I am in the first grade. See you after school! I love you."
She then threw her overstuffed book bag onto the hot, dry ground like a sack of potatoes, and shut the door behind her. But before walking up to the sidewalk that lead into her school, I heard a knock at the passenger side window.
There was that precious face with an ear-to-ear grin. She blew me a kiss and excitedly ran to meet her friends that had been walking by. A tear ran down my face, then two.
When did my little baby girl become my independent big girl?
Was it between the diaper changes and feeding her pureed sweet potatoes?
Or was it when she moved into a big girl bed from her crib?
Maybe it was that very first day of Preschool...
Kids grow up so fast that you often sit and wonder where the time went! I am grateful that I am a picture fanatic, with thousands of pictures that have captured many memories that I can reminisce for years to come...

Ways to let your kids know you love them without saying it....

Have you ever looked at your child and thought to yourself that you are the luckiest person in the world to be the parent of your child or children? I'm sure that every parent has at one point or another, but maybe not show it often enough. Life can keep us busy, but still...every child wants to feel like they are the special one, no matter if you have one or twenty! Here are some ways to express how much you care:
1. Send notes to your kids.
My children LOVE that I write individual notes to go in their lunch boxes every day. Just a simple reminder for your child that you are thinking of them, even when they are at school. My first-grader loves to see who wrote her a letter today, and keeps track of who writes her notes the most that week!
2. 1:1 time.
Even though we have five children, my husband and I try our best to set aside one on one time throughout the day for each child. They enjoy being alone with us, even if it's going to be a short trip to the store.
3. Doing homework together.
Sit down with your kids while they do their homework. That way, if they need your help, you are right there. Your kids will be more prone to asking for help when you are right there instead of getting up and looking for you. Plus it's a great way to let your child know that you care not only about him or her, but also how they are doing in school and that they fully understand the material.
4. Take a class.
Whether its karate or a 'Mommy and me' class, the kids will love experiencing the "learning world" with you!
5. Communication is key.
A simple, "How was school today?" can let your child know that you care and that you want to hear about what's going on his their life as well. It opens the way for your child to actually tell you if something may be bothering him or her as well, and lead to better communication with each other in the (teenage) years to come!
By using these simple techniques, you will have an everlasting bonding foundation with your child. Even busy parents can do simple things that children will always remember. What are some special ways you show your child that you care?