7/19/20

How to Quarantine With Kids And Not Lose Your Marbles





Thanks to COVID-19, chances are you have been stuck at home with your child for what seems like forever-and-a-day. To add insult to injury, millions of children are not going back to school anytime soon. Most likely, January. So, if you're asking yourself, How in the hell am I going to survive this madness, then keep reading for a few tips to save your sanity...

1. Get over yourself. YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL!

The first rule of Stay-at-Home Parent (SAHP) Club: YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL. Seriously, let it go. Consider this time an incredible blessing with your child. Don't waste it stressing out. Your mantra is one-day-at-a-time.  There will be no parenting awards given out at the end of quarantine. Do what you can, and don't stress about the rest.



Admittedly, it took some time, but I finally learned, I'm not a superhero. Being a boss mom, wife, domestic diva, and get my work done all on the same day is crazy hard and should be avoided at all costs. I'd half-ass so much inevitably I'd have to go back and do it again. So, rather than stress out about doing it all, I do what can and I'm happy with that. 

2. Create a safe place for both of you. 

For parents of super littles (0-3yrs):
Create a place in your home where you can leave your child for a few minutes and walk away.  When Oliver was a baby, it was his crib, then eventually his pack-n-play in front of the TV or window, and now, the iPad. (That’s right, I let my kid watch TV before 2 years old. Judge me. I don’t care.)   Tip: No, Pack-n-play? The highchair with a snack is a good spot.

I LOVE this photo... it's a 10-month old Ollie!

Again, this is a 10-15 minute fix. Not a babysitter! A few minutes away can do both of you a tremendous amount of good. Get your shit together. And get back in the trenches.




For the Big Kids (4+), I've found making up a task for my son to do is great for buying a few quiet minutes, or more... folding the clothes in his drawers for a treat. Or hide something in the house and send your child on a treasure hunt, or sort toys or read a book and give a book report to earn a treat.

The point of the 'safe place' is so YOU BOTH can have a time-out whenever needed. The minute you are going to lose your shit, and it happens to the best of us when we have a child attached to our ass 24/7. 

3. Play with your child(ren), don’t just go through the motions.

One of the biggest issues with being a SAHP is getting things done. It's nearly impossible when you're answering four hundred, 'Why?' questions, cleaning up crumbs and spills and digging You child’s toys out of the dog's mouth.  I can get so caught up in the daily mom-madness I forget my  little guy is looking for a playmate. A good playmate. Not, a mommy so preoccupied in thought only sort of playing and sort of not.

I've found if I mentally prepare myself for giving my son undivided attention for the next five to ten minutes, I can relax enough to play wholeheartedly and appreciate every minute. I've also found that all my son wants is a few minutes of my attention before he is satisfied and off to the next stop in his day. I'll also offer ideas of things to do I enjoy as well  like coloring or a board game. We both have way more fun, I get up feeling like a good mom, and my son is happy to resume his solo play. It makes SUCH a difference. 

4. Get out of the House! 




The minute I get cabin fever, I pack up Ollie and we go on an adventure. Lately, picnics have been our go-to.  There's a private airfield by our house we go to for plane watching while we eat lunch or cheeky donut breakfast. We also go for hikes in the woods, bike rides or do something as simple as going on a bug, leaf, and sick hunt in the backyard. Or, just go for a drive in the car. Break up the day when possible.

5. Plan ahead to get ahead.

As soon as you finish reading this post, grab a pen and paper and write down activities both in the house and out you enjoy doing with your child. Make a separate list of activities your child(ren) enjoy doing on their own.  Cut each idea into a strip of paper and throw it in a jar. When y'all get bored, pull an idea from the jar.

6. The art of Art is truly an Art.

I don't care how old you are, arts and crafts are always fun! Plan a few creative projects to do as a family. Paint a room, redecorate, buy cheap frames to paint and personalize, then take fun photos or find old ones for the new frames. Make wind chimes from sticks and rocks in the backyard or found on a walk. Or make your own frameable art!

For more fun family crafts check out my Family Crafts Pinterest board.


6. This Too Shall Pass

No doubt, it's a blessing to get to be home with your child, even if sometimes it feels like a punishment from the land of Karma. You'll never get these years back, so embrace them. When you think you are going to lose your sh!t take a few deep breaths, then go back and look at your beautiful child. Be thankful that you are there to share these precious moments. If COVID-19 has taught us anything... every moment matters...

When you are feeling overwhelmed, remember this too shall pass and when it does you will miss it very, very, very much. 



Have a Stay At Home Parent survival tip?  Please share!



5/29/20

These Are The Fruits and Veggies With The Least, And Most, Pesticides

Each year,  the Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates a Shopper's Guide To Pesticides in Produce.  I cannot begin to tell you how helpful the guide is for parents wanting to feed their child the healthiest and safest produce available.  What's more, this guide shows which fruits and veggies don't necessarily need to be purchased organic to be safe from pesticides and GMOs.


Disgusting Fun Fact:

Nearly 70 percent of the fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides, according to EWG’s analysis of the latest test data from the federal Department of Agriculture. But the dirtiest produce commodity, according to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, is not a fresh fruit or vegetable but a dried one – raisins. (-EWG 2020)














Below are the two lists: Dirty vs. Clean. 
TIP: Take a screenshot of the two so when you're shopping, you know which fruits and veggies rated as dirty and should be purchased Organic (or at the very least washed REALLY WELL) and which are 'clean' and fine to be purchased conventional or non-organic. 

EWG'S CLEAN FIFTEEN FOR 2020

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupes
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew melon
  15. Kiwi


EWG'S DIRTY DOZEN FOR 2020

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes


For more information check out the EWG’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

These 16 Sunscreens Got Top Honors For Use On Children and Sensitive Skin (2020 Edition)

If you've been a long time reader, then you know, I was diagnosed with skin cancer at 22 years old. As a child growing up in Miami, the sun was a part of life. What wasn't a part of my life was, sunscreen. My sensitive skin would burn from the first drop of the PABA loaded, chemical concoctions that doubled as sunscreen in the early eighties. My mom tried to keep me out of the sun, but in south Florida, it was pretty much impossible.

Now that I'm a mother, and totally freaked out about my son having the same skin issues I do, I am the queen of safe fun in the sun.

Summer Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

YAY!  It's finally here... Summer! The warm, beautiful weather, outdoor activities and family fun are plentiful this time of year. Unfortunately, so are the opportunities for sunburns, heat rashes, bug bites, water dangers, and many more summer activity hazards. Below are five important summer safety tips to help ensure a super spectacular summer!

Why yes, that is Ollie and Professor "The Bloody Cat" playing at the beach!
1. Avoid sunburns like the plague: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting one blistering sunburn when you are a kid doubles your chances of developing melanoma. It goes without saying the best way to avoid sunburn is to avoid the sun, but during the warm summer months that is near impossible, so always apply at least an SPF 15 sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before exposure. Also, whenever possible try to provide shade for your child in the form of umbrellas, loose clothing, long-sleeves, light pants, and wide-brimmed hats.

For children under 6 months old, consult your physician before using any sunscreen. For children over 6 months old, but under 2 years old, visit The Environmental Working Group’s website (EWG.org) for an extensive list of safe sunscreens for sensitive skin.  (To read my complete post on the BEST and WORST sunscreens for the little ones Click Here.)

*If sunburn occurs and your child starts to feel ill, consult your pediatrician – seek immediate medical attention if your little one’s temperature reaches 105f.

2. Swim Smart- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 800 children drown every year. That number is scary and beyond heartbreaking. For that reason, when around any body of water with young children and poor swimmers, stay within arm's reach.

Here are a few top tips from the Red Cross on pool/water safety-
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. 
  • Do not trust a child’s life to another child 
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
    This is what I have Ollie in this Summer--They are called Puddle Jumpers.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. 
  •  Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Teach children to always ask permission to go near water!
  • If you are around water and your child is missing ALWAYS check the water first. Seconds count. 
* Secondary drowning occurs after a child has struggled in the water. It is rare and accounts for only 1-2% of drowning cases, but still be aware that if your child has struggled in the water, and swallowed water. As a result, secondary drowning is possible. Look for these warning signs:
  • Trouble breathing, chest pain, or a cough
  • A sudden change in behavior 
  • Extreme Fatigue
The bottom line is that you know your child, after a near-drowning incident or a long day of swimming,  Be aware of any sudden changes from the norm.


3. Stings and Bites-With lovely warm weather comes evil pesky bugs. Unfortunately, bright colors and floral prints (summer colors!) attract bees and wasps, as do those sweet sticky faces and hands. If you are going to a park or area that you know will have a high concentration of bugs, bees, and wasps, stick to clothing with muted light solid colors.

If your child is stung, don't pull out the stinger with fingers or tweezers. Scrape gently with a credit card to push the stinger out in the direction in which it entered. Once the stinger is out, make a paste out of baking soda and water, or a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream can provide relief.

As for insect repellents… DEET can be toxic! Repellents with 10 to 30 percent concentrations of DEET can be used on exposed skin, clothing and shoes, but do not apply it too little faces or hands. If you want to avoid DEET, the (CDC) recommends repellents that are made of picaridin are non-toxic and work just as well as formulas with low levels of DEET.

*The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC recommend that for children older than 2 months of age use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should never be used on children younger than 2 months of age.

*Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.

We LOVE and use the Honest Company All Natural Bug Spray and their sunblock stick for squirmy little faces...


4. Over Heating/dehydration/and heat rashes- The key to avoiding overheating is to stay hydrated. Always have cool drinks, preferably water or sports drinks readily available to your children. Never wait for your child to tell you he is thirsty. According to the AAP, your child is already dehydrated when he asks for something to drink, so offer lots of fluids both before going outside and once your child is outside playing.   

* Hot, humid weather can lead to blocked sweat glands that lead to nasty rashes in the folds of your child’s skin. If this occurs, place your child in a cool, soapless bath.  Dry him completely then apply cornstarch powder to the rash, and avoid unnecessary clothing.  The rash should clear up in two to three days.

5. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED IN THE CAR FOR A MINUTE! Next time you are alone in your car, turn it off and count to 60 - Not very comfortable is it?  Within one minute your car can increase by ten degrees Fahrenheit!  TEN! Under no circumstance should your child be left in a car. 

*Even the very best parents and caregivers have been known to forget about a sleeping child in the backseat. A good rule of thumb is to keep a small stuffed animal in the car, and every time you get in place the small stuffed animal in your lap to remind you that your child is in the car. Or place your purse/laptop bag in the backseat with your child, so you have to get in the backseat before leaving your car. (Thanks for the tip, Mel!) This is especially useful in the mornings.  This may save your child’s life.  

If you have any experiences or tips that you would like to share...please leave a comment below.  Have a happy and safe summer!

And last, a bonus, and something near to my heart, proper eye care during the summer season, and all year long... you don't want crows feet right?  The following infographic will blow your mind!




*Sources

10 Tips For Hosting An Epic Birthday At Home

Hosting a child's birthday in your home may seem like an easy and relatively inexpensive undertaking. Think again. 

Shit can get crazy fast.

I know. 

I learned this the hard way. 

A few times. 

Still, all is not lost, I learned from my mistakes and lofty ideas. Below are my 10 best tips for Hosting A Child's Birthday In Your Home 


1. Make a birthday party food room. 

The very first thing you should do when throwing a party at home is prep for mass destruction.  Seriously, cover the floors if possible. 

One great way to deter major messes is to keep the food in one room. At a minimum, strive to keep ALL FOOD in one area, and prep the hell out of that area.


Think: 'Kill Room'.

You might think I'm kidding... I'm not. Cookies, cake, and chips crumble EVERYWHERE! Add sodas and Kool-aid and... well... You know...

2. Only invite enough kids to fill a police line-up. 

Actually, maybe only half of a line-up.  There is NO reason to invite the whole freaking neighborhood and class! Especially because many parents will drop their child and run like hell. TIP: Think about how many kids you think you can manage, then invite HALF that number. 

3. Hide the good toys.  

There is no, "You break, you buy," at a child's birthday party.  It's more like, "Leave it out, it will die." 



4. Have a clear idea of activities.  

A three-hour birthday party free-for-all will not go over very well on your sanity. Plan activities like party games, arts and crafts, make the hubs dress up as a clown, learn how to make balloon animals... 

Plan at least five activities.


5. Serve Sugar-Free Food. 

You are dealing with kids. Sugar is BAD! BAD! BAD! Fruits and veggies are GOOD! GOOD! GOOD! 

Think: Gremlins

Healthy snacks are the best and safest bet.



6. Give out cups with lids. 

Go to the 'everything is a dollar' store and spring for a few cups with lids and straws - maybe a sticker or two the kids can decorate and personalize their cup.

DO NOT screw this up, these cups will be GOLD!  

7. Have a separate cake for the birthday boy/girl. 

Maybe this is just my kid... so if you are a gambler then go ahead and skip this lesson, but before you go, allow me to tell you a little story...

Picture it: The lights are low.  The excitement in the room is bubbling over.  The cameras are ready to go off in a second's notice.  Mommy (me) turns the corner with a cake lit up like a Christmas tree.  

We all start singing.... Haaappppyyy Birthday Tooo Youuu... (Fast Forward) YAY!  

He blows out the candles...  and Before I can even make a move, this happens...



So, let me ask you this again...
Are you a gambler? 


8. DO NOT OVER DO IT. 


My biggest regret during these parties was not slowing down to actually enjoy the party. I was so concerned with keeping things in order, food on the table, the cake and cookies off the floor, and staying on track...  FAIL!  

Take time to stop and look around. Watch your child having a blast on his day. Stand by your parenting-partner-in-crime and say happy birthday to each other.  This day is for you two, too. Don't waste it sweating and stressing!

9. Throw the party away. 

love the Dollar Tree when it comes to throwing parties... AWAY! While you are there buying cups with lids and straws, for ten bucks you can buy all you need to decorate like a Boss too! Including, TWO massive cheap plastic tablecloths.  Get one for the table and one to cover the floor underneath it.  Then buy as much paper and plastic crap bowls and serving trays as possible, so when the party is overall you have to do is remove the things you do not want to throw away from the table, then take each corner, tie them together and drag that shit to the garbage!  Then, sweep all the crap onto the tablecloth underneath the table, then throw it away!  This made clean up a Breeze.   Do. This. 

10Save your pennies in a jar labeled,  BIRTHDAY, so next year you can pay someone to host the party. 

Now, I totally get why people pay the big bucks to host their child's birthday party at a venue. After you spend the money on decorations, food and post-party therapy, you might as well just pay someone! You get in and out, no lingering friends or family to throw out of your house, no carpet cleaner to pay for getting cake, chocolate milk, and gummy bears out of the carpet, no toys to stash and then get back out... Yes, we will definitely be saving our pennies for next year!






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