9/29/2016

6 Things All Parents Have In Common

I love being a mother. It;s the greatest gift of my life. My son is so much fun and teaches me about life, love and forgiveness, daily.

HOWEVER!

There are certainly some parenting moments that suck. I always talk about how the parenting books leave out so much of the ugly side of parenting. After four years of being a month, I've decided the parenting books leave out the ugly because then the book goes from tips for parents to tips for birth 
control.




The fact remains, there are solid things all parents go through, that are constantly left out of parenting books. Below I outline a few of the big ones. Things that all parents have in common, regardless of how "perfect" your child may be. 

1. Sleeplessness- By far the worst part about being a parent is the constant lack of sleep.  Once you become a parent, eight solid hours of uninterrupted sleep carries the same odds as winning the Lottery.   Newborns need round the clock care. Toddlers think they are roosters that need to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn. Or worse, sleep in bed with you, kicking and punching all night long. Kids five and older think early bedtime is for losers, then still wake up at 7am ready to rock. Teenagers are sure bedtime is for losers and stay up all night banging and clanging and then try to sleep all day. Then once your kid gets their driver's license, forget ever sleeping again! Sucks. Bottom line, if it' not your child keeping you up, it's your parent-anxiety.

2. The mess. Kids are tiny tornadoes that rip through the house on a daily basis throwing everything out of order. All while dropping a trail of crumbs and juice along the way. Each night, I go around picking up and replacing the things that traveled to strange destinations around the house. I once gathered an entire load of laundry walking around the house picking up stray garments. Then, there's the car. More crumbs, stickers on the windows, sticky fingerprints on everything. The mess is a constant battle. you eventually learn to live with the mess. Even the type-A OCD crazies like me! 

One day I will learn...
3. Constant fear- I live in a constant state of Mom-anxiety. Every time my child coughs, gets a fever, tries something new, climbs on something, leaves for school, breathes... I'm terrified. It's total stupidity to worry so much, but such is the life of a parent. According to my mom, this anxiety never subsides. Sucks.

4. Having to be the bigger Asshole- Sometimes, when my kid is a super A-hole, I have to out Asshole him to get his attention and make him stop. Some days I feel like all I do is say, No!, make threats then follow through with the threats. I once spent an hour trying to keep my son in timeout. Once the situation diffuses, it's only a matter of time until the cycle repeats, and I'm back to being the bigger asshole.  



5. Buying All the crap they want/need! Kids need a lot of crap! It seems like the older they get the more they need! Between my son's constantly growing body and short attention span, if I am not buying new clothes and shoes, I am buying new toys or education development tools. Then the outgrown or unwanted stuff piles up because I cannot bring myself to give it away--I spent a ridiculous amount of money acquiring the stuff. I want to somehow figure out how to get my money's worth. If only I could send my kid to college on his 10k in hot wheels, Thomas The Tank crap or all the assorted electronic devices that promised to make him a genius.  

6. Sugar is the enemy. I love giving my son candy, it makes him so happy. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, he loves those too. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that even though I love to see him happy and he loves to barrel through sugar, in the end, we both end up crazed lunatics that need a nap. Some kids eat too much sugar and throw up, but not my kid. Oh, No. He goes ape-shit crazy. It took me a while, but I finally realized that when my son eats chocolate, he's near unmanageable. When he eats refined sugar, he's wild and can't sit still. Natural occurring sugars can even cause trouble. After eating a bowl of grapes he runs wild, then, like with all other sugars, he crashes. Hard. Then either gets miserable or really miserable. 

Sugar causes havoc like nothing else. I know my son is not the only one. I wager to say every kid is a Gremlin after sugar, but I really don't want to field the comments from the self-righteous parent who's perfect kid could eat a bag of sugar and sit through church. 

Bottom line, if your kid sounds familiar, back off the ho-hos and see if that helps. 


Parents, above all, the one thing we have in common is how hard and scary parenting can be. We have good days, bad days, miserable days and absolutely mind-blowing heart pounding proud-parent days. Meltdowns happen on both sides. Don't be hard on yourself, or listen to the nasty judgmental people. I can guarantee you, even the most seemingly perfect parents with well-behaved children are still stressed, exhausted, and quite possibly, their child is being so perfect because she just got out of a four-hour stint in Time Out! 


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9/28/2016

5 Must Know Tips For Designing The Perfect Nursery

**Today, I'm partnering with 76th and Newbury to share my top tips for designing a nursery, and why you should avoid sticking with Pink or Blue. All opinions are my own. 

Last year, while writing an article for Parenting.com, about tips for designing a nursery, I had the great fortune to interview, Genevieve Gorder, interior designer, TV personality and super badass mom among many other things. During the interview, she made so many valid points about why to avoid pink or blue rooms, how to incorporate pieces that stimulate and soothe baby and why it shouldn't cost a fortune to design your dream nursery. Below are five tips to help you design and create a perfect nursery for your precious baby.



Consider Your Infant's Needs First

No matter what, keep the nursery airy, light and free of clutter. Stick to as many natural products and design elements as possible. Your baby won't even be able to see across the room for a couple of months, so think about health and cleanliness first. Fresh air, light and safe spaces should be your first concern. Also, babies grow quickly, so consider easy to change design elements. The last thing you want to do is paint and redesign your child's room every couple of months.


 This is a perfect gender neutral art piece. Credit: 76th & Newbury

Avoid matchy-matchy themes

Sticking to one color palate is not stimulating, it's boring. The nursery is your first opportunity to share the world, it's  colors, shapes, textures and sounds, so make the most of it. Sticking to gender-specific colors and toys creates a one-dimensional room. Babies need textures, colors and shapes to interact with, not just pink ruffles and blue bears. Start with a neutral wall color that allows for easy incorporation of different colors, shapes and textures, bold design elements. The neutral wall also makes it easy to change the room's design throughout the first few years of your child's life.



 I love everything about this shot of a nursery from 76th & Newbury. Spot on.




Include as many sentimental pieces as possible

Before you buy one piece of furniture, look to family and friends FIRST! And while you're there, look for folk art, antiques and other design elements to add a personal touch. Use grandma's old dresser for a change table, spruce up the old rocking chair on your parent's porch, beg borrow or just steal that mirror you've always admired at your mother-in-laws house.  Have an artist in the family, ask for a piece to add to the room. Who knows, many years from now, your child may use that same piece in her nursery. 




 LOVE this custom tree art from &6th & Newbury



Look to Nature 

One of my favorite tips from Genevieve Gorder during our interview was to use nature for design elements. She recommends walking around the yard or a nearby park to collect strong tree branches then wrap them in bold yarn colors in varying textures to create a sturdy shelf. One of Genevieve's favorite design element in her daughter's nursery was a large dried root from a tree that cost under $50. She hung it on the wall using a large hook and fishing line then hung photos and other child-friendly elements. Now, seven years old her daughter still cherishes her, "Tree of Life." (Shown below now hanging at the top of the stairwell.)

Photo credit: Genevieve Gorder


There's Only One Thing You Should Splurge On

Linens. Your infant will be spending a great deal of time sleeping on those crib sheets, make sure they are gentle, natural and hypoallergenic. Consider all linen options before buying off the rack at a big box store. All you need is two sets, and they'll be worth every penny. 


What's your best Nursery tip?

For more information, or to order the art shown in this post, please visit 76th and Newbury, here

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9/27/2016

12 Semi-Healthy Halloween Treats, Snacks + Dinners


Halloween doesn't have to be all about candy! Here are some super spooky tasty treats and dinner ideas to add a little wholesomeness to your Halloween Festivities.  



Semi-Healthy Halloween Treats, Snacks And Dishes...
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9/26/2016

How To Beat Holiday + Winter Weight Gain

How is it almost October? HOW?!?!?! 

I feel like I blink and it's a new month! It also doesn't help that since back-to-school week, my life has been on a steady routine, cycling day after day. Fall is defiantly upon me. So are the holidays, tailgating, chili-cook offs, cozy nights in with carbs and more carbs. However, if I don't do something to offset my future fatty food fetish, I'll be wearing my fat jeans permanently.

Which means... It's time to kick off the 3rd annual 30/30 Walking challenge! 

Starting October 1, 2016 through October 30, 2016, I challenge you to join me in beating winter and holiday weight gain and a slew of other crappy things. I promise, you're going to love this! 




So what is the 30/30?

I wish I could take credit for the 30/30, but I first learned about it on an episode of, The Doctors. The most popular 30-day weight loss challenges were put to the test. Many failed to show results, while others were too difficult to stick with, but one proved to be the real deal, The 30/30 Walking challenge.

In a nut shell: All you have to do is walk thirty minutes a day, for thirty days. Here's the best part, you can walk at any pace you want, snail slow or train for the race walking Olympic team--if there is one?  You don't have to diet, lift weights or fall on your face in a Zumba class. You can eat what ever you want, though a healthy diet is certainly going to produce better results. 

It's easy, no need to walk fast, at the same time of day, or even all thirty minutes at once. Just add thirty extra minutes of walking to your day. Walk slow, just walk. 





The walking challenge is a totally body, mind and spirt revamp. In 30-days you can lower heart attack risk, lose weight, add years to your life, sleep better and of course, better your overall health and mood.

(New mothers on maternity leave, this challenge is CRUCIAL for you. Your mind, body, mental health, raging hormones and newborn will thank you every step of the way. )




Just think... in two weeks you could be sleeping better, have lower cholesterol losing weight, and be a healthier, happier person.


How could you not want to at least try?




It's important that you find a way to easily incorporate 30-minutes (total) of walking into your day. The goal being to find a way to stick after the 30/30 is over.

Reel in your co-workers, family, friends, neighbors. Create a 30/30 group. If you have a fit-bit, see how many steps you take walking 30-minutes. Make that your goal the first week or do the 10,000 step challenge. The buddy system, is a great way to make this stick! Last year, I did the challenge with a girlfriend after we dropped the littles off at school. We still walk together in the mornings.

Here are a few ideas to help easily blend the 30/30 challenge into your day:

  1. If you take public transportation to work leave 15 minutes early and walk to the next stop or station. (I know, for those non-morning people this is a stupid suggestion)
  2. At lunch, walk 15 minutes away from your desk, eat, then walk back--maybe even the long way back.
  3. On the weekends, go explore a new (historic) town or nature trail with the family.
  4. Take the stairs all month, maybe even go up a few extra flights then come back down.
  5. Only need a couple things from the store? If one is close enough, walk there!
  6. On rainy days, clean or organize a closet for 30 minutes, better yet, go to an indoor mall for some retail therapy.
  7. Park in the furthest spot from the door 
  8. For a week straight, walk out of your front door and take a different street or path and see what you find.
  9. Download an awesome mystery ebook to listen to while you walk. TIP: Only let yourself listen to the book when walking, this might get those walks stretched out well past 30 minutes.

Once you commit to the 30/30 Challenge, tell as many people as you can that you are doing this to add accountability. Get a support group to help encourage and hold you accountable.

It's just 30 minutes for thirty days.  It's not hard or an on going commitment.  This is a challenge that you know you can do. The best part is that October first is a Saturday this year. This gives you a two day start without work/school complications.

     YOU CAN DO THIS!



Join me on the 30/30 and follow me on your favorite social media channel.

                   Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+




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9/23/2016

19 DIY Family Halloween Costumes Anyone Can Make





Whether you're a semesters or all thumbs when it comes to sewing (Like me!), the following 19 family Halloween costumes, anyone can make! 
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9/22/2016

11 Fun Facts About Fall + The Autumn Equinox Totally Worth Knowing #FirstDayOfFall

Happy first day of Fall!  In honor of the Autumn Equinox and the promise of a future of rolling tides of cool weather and beautiful foliage, I thought I would do a little research to find out why it's called fall after all. I found some really great stuff totally worth sharing, I hope you enjoy!




1. Levels of testosterone in both men and women are at their highest in the fall. Scientists speculate the surge may be a result of ancient mating instincts (e.g., the fall “rutting season”) or that decreasing daylight somehow triggers it.

2. According to NASA, autumn is “aurora season” because geomagnetic storms are about twice as frequent as the annual average during the fall.

3. In response to colder temperatures and less light during the autumn months of September, October and November leaves stop producing chlorophyll, the green pigment that helps capture sunlight to power photosynthesis. As the green fades, the leave’s other pigments shine through. 

4. Red and purple leaves are caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.

5. The word “harvest” comes from the Old Norse word haust, which means “to gather or pluck.” As people moved to the cities, “harvest” fell out of use and city dwellers began to use “fall of the leaf,” which was shortened to “fall.



6. The shorter days and cooler nights are a signal to animals to begin storing food in their nest/dens and fat on their body.

7. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) can lead to weight gain during autumn and winter. Lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage.




8. Autumn holidays include Labor Day, Grandparents Day, Patriot Day, Autumn Equinox, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, and Thanksgiving.



9. Each autumn, monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. to Mexico and some parts of Southern California. They fly at speeds of 12 to 25 miles per hour. Monarchs are the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away.

10. The autumn equinox signals the aurora borealis, a.k.a the Northern Lights; geomagnetic storms are twice as likely to occur during the fall due to cool evening weather.

11. The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks. They called this edible orange item “pepon,” which means “large melon.”



Have I told you lately how much I love my Pepon Patch?


What's your favorite thing about Autumn, Fall, Harvest?










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9/21/2016

This Combo Will Get Your Baby To Sleep, FAST!

**Today I am partnering with Fade Away Sleep Sounds to share my secret for getting my son to sleep, relatively easily! All opinions are my own.

When someone tells me they have a newborn or infant, I always ask, "How are you sleeping?".  Just their initial facial expression alone answers my question. The parents with infants who sleep through the night smile a huge proud smile, before carrying on about how great their child sleeps.





I was never that parent.  I cried when I was asked that question.

My son didn't sleep through the night (10pm-7am) until he was eight months old. The first six months of my little guy's life, he nursed around the clock sleeping in mostly 4-6 hour stretches. I would have lost my mind if it hadn't been for the bedtime routine and Mr. Giraffe's baby sleep sounds.




My sister, a mother of two boys, now nine and ten years old, had a bad sleeper, and learned the hard way to "stick to the routine like your life depends on it." She also insisted that I get a sound machine to soothe my infant to sleep. She was right on both accounts.

Did you know, it's hard for baby to adjust to the quiet world outside of mommy's loud tummy?

The problem was finding the right white noise for baby sleep! So many sound machines make this strange tempo sound. I needed a white noise or something familiar to my son when he was in the womb. Sounds like my heartbeat, blow dryer, vacuum or water running. 

In lieu of blowing up my blow dryer, I found a white noise machine buried deep in a stuffed giraffe, then paid WAY too much for it.  

All was great until one particularly gross tummy flu destroyed Mr. Giraffe. I dug out the sound maker and have used it by itself since. Even though the white noise got my little guy to sleep like a charm, no way was I going to pay for another overpriced stuffed animal!

If you have a rotten sleeper or have really long bedtime battles, I cannot recommend enough starting a bedtime routine followed by sleep sounds for babies. And rather than pay an arm and a leg for a stuffed sound machine, check out Fade Away Sleep Sounds. 

A dad invented it. He too had a crappy sleeper and loved his sanity.

Watch This:



                 


The Fade Away Sleep Sounds tracks offer a unique feature with it's fade away to silence. This way parents can help their kids fall asleep on their own and at the same time wean them off of the white noise since a track lasts for only 60 minutes in total. The last ten minutes is a slow fade out that gently helps the child to sleep on its own. 

Parents always make the best stuff! We know what works, not the big corporate giants. 

I love entire concept and range of familiar sounds Fade Away Sleep Sounds offers.  You can listen to the tracks on their YouTube channel, here. Or start downloading Fade Away Sleep Sound Tracks, HERE!

I really cannot express enough how important the bedtime routine and the combo sound machine became to my son's sleep and my sanity. Four years later, when we travel, the routine and white noise has yet to fail me in getting the little guy to sleep. I stick to the bath, bed, books, lights out, sound machine on, and I plan to do this until he protests or I send him to college! 

What's your sleep secret? Which track would be best for you baby? Hairdryer, running water, thunderstorm, clothes dryer, electric fan, washing machine, vacuum? 


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We are FAR from childhood development professionals. We cannot and will not be held responsible if you take us seriously. Especially, because we don't even take ourselves seriously.