Categories
Raising You

Everything You Need For Baby For First 3 Months

Congratulations!! You found out you are expecting or know someone who is! I am assuming that since you are taking the time to read this post. Unless you just like reading about baby products which is cool too.

After seeing that second line on the pregnancy stick, your mind goes into a thousand places of how to prepare for your new baby. At least mine did! It is such an exciting time and really a journey into a whole new world.

With our daughter Melina, we were on a tight budget to get everything we needed for her and still be stashing away money for when I was not working anymore. I had a temporary position that was very beneficial to us but I would not be returning after I had her.

At the time, we had it planned that my husband would be solely providing for our family. So we were in no financial place to waste our money. Read more about our story here: The Mom Conflict: Deciding to Stay at Home or Return to Work

Being a pretty young mom I did not have many friends that could refer me to the products that they loved with their children. So I really relied on customer reviews, Pinterest research and just trying things out.

Shopping for baby stuff can be extremely overwhelming! I remember the first time my husband and I went to BuyBuy Baby we must have been in the store for 3+ hours!! There was so much to look and get excited for!! It is very hard to control yourself when shopping for your children, especially being a first-time parent because you aren’t really sure what you will actually need.

I am going to try and make it very easy for you and tell you what worked for us and why we loved what we had for the first three months. I will also share some items that really just didn’t work out for us too.

BabyProducts

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Chicco Key Fit 30 Car Seat $199

The first thing you will need is a car seat! You cannot bring your bundle of joy home without this item. And knowing how to properly use it! Which is a whole different story.

There are so many choices and styles when searching for a car seat. While I was researching, I was on the hunt for a car seat that was rated highly for safety features and yet a reasonable price, as these can get pretty pricey!

We decided to select the Chicco Key Fit 30, after playing around with many different models this one was the right fit for us.

Why we selected Chicco Key Fit 30:

  • Ranks in the top 5 brands for crash testing
  • EPS foam to absorb impact
  • Cushioned Infant Insert (that can be taken out once the baby has grown)
  • NICU nurses recommend due to extra protection for smaller babies
  • Compact seat for smaller cars
  • Locks into a base for easy install and removal
  • Sleek design and gender neutral looking for multiple kids

Many parents lean toward the convertible car seats because they allow the baby to transition throughout the different weight stages. However, it is much safer for children to be in the infant car seats when they are less than 20 lbs. Not to mention it is much more convenient to be able to transfer your baby in the car seat when the baby has fallen asleep in the car. With a convertible car seat, you would not have that option as they are a lot heavier and not able to carry around like an infant car seat.

Another feature that I love about this car seat is that it is not too heavy. As I was testing car seats out that was something that I took into consideration. Especially since I would be the one primarily with my daughter during the day, I wanted a seat that I was comfortable traveling around with. While it isn’t the lightest thing out there, especially with a baby in there, it was better than most options. I just thought of it as my workout! Time to tone those flabby mom arms!

You can find more details about the Chicco Key Fit  30 Car Seat here.

Check out this car seat cover to keep your baby protected from wind and rain. This cover can transform into a nursing cover and high chair cover as well. I like this style because it is lightweight and gender neutral with many uses!

Chicco Viaro Travel System, Techna   $399

We bought our Chicco Key Fit 30 as a bundle with the Chicco Viaro stroller in the Techna shade which is a sleek grey and black design. This travel system as a whole played into why we selected our car seat as well. I loved how lightweight the stroller was and how easy it was to connect the infant seat.

I was easily able to lift it in and out of my car one-handed. In fact, there were multiple times that I was getting the stroller out of the car with my daughter in my hands. That is how easy it is to get it set up! While your child is still in the infant base you can just secure it right on to the travel system with just a click! There is a very secure attachment between the stroller and the infant base so no need to worry about the car seat falling off or becoming loose.

The one issue I seemed to have with the Viaro stroller is that I constantly bumped into racks at the stores. I am not sure why I could never get my proximity of the stroller wheels right, but we hugged a lot of corners! My husband said that this is an error on my part and that you just have to realize the back wheels come out a bit compared to the width of the stroller. So maybe it is just an issue on my part! Other than that I loved the smoothness of the ride it provided for my daughter. She took many naps while out strolling around in this stroller from when she was in the infant seat to after 1 year old. There is a reclining option for the seat as well as a large cover to block the sunlight.

You can find more details out about the Chicco Viaro Travel System here.

Hafmall Diaper Bag Backpack $36

I really struggled with making a decision on our diaper bag! I wanted to be cost-effective and select a bag that my husband felt comfortable carrying around so we did not have two separate bags, but I also wanted it to be fairly stylish. And of course, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it either!

After looking at a ton of styles I decided that we were definitely getting a backpack baby bag. It is the most convenient style baby bag out there and very gender neutral. I was not going to make my husband look like he was carrying a purse if he took our daughter out solo. Even though I don’t think it would have been that big of a deal to him.

We originally purchased a Graco diaper bag that was all black from Target. It had two zippered compartments with an insulated area for bottles on the side, along with a wipe slot. I went to link it here but they actually discontinued the bag!

After about six months of use, it started to rip on the bottom and looked very worn out. Granted we are on the go a lot and it was a cheaper bag, the fabric should have been able to hold up much better than what it did. Not to mention that the bag was not easy to clean and never looked new after we went through the winter season.

So we were on the hunt again!

After loving the backpack style we knew we wanted another bag like that. This time I wanted a bag that had more room and was a bit more stylish than the all black basic diaper backpack with two zipper compartments.

Browsed lots of Amazon diaper bags and fell in love with the Hafmall Diaper Bag.

What we loved:

  • A large main compartment that was easy to see everything
  • Rear access to the main compartment for bottom items
  • Pockets that lined the inside for smaller items
  • Water resistant for winter months
  • Stylish but still gender neutral
  • Insulated front compartment with three slots of bottles
  • Reasonably Priced

More details about my favorite baby bag here.

JJ Cole Changing Clutch $20

Changing your little ones in public restrooms can be pretty gross. I always felt much better having my own changing pad to put down for my daughter to lay on for our changes.

We would also use this changing pad around our house as it takes up much less room than the standard changing pad. We had bought a changing table for our nursery and used it less than ten times. We ended up getting rid of it to free up space in her room because we never used it.

I preferred to change diapers wherever we were instead of constantly going to the changing table in her room. If we were in the family room I would just get the changing clutch and place it on our couch to change our daughter. Saves time, space and money if you opt out of buying a changing table!

Check out this convenient changing pad here.

Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, Snugapup $47 

This may be the most important thing you purchase for your newborn baby because I am 99% it will improve your baby’s sleep. We originally planned on having our daughter sleep in a bassinet for the first few months in our room. We selected this rock’n’play sleeper for around the house and to travel with. However, after realizing our daughter did not sleep sound in the bassinet we decided to give this rock’n’play a try and never went back!

The Snugabunny positions the baby so they are sleeping on an upward angle which is very helpful for when little ones are congested. It also makes it much easier to transfer your baby from your arms to the rock’n’play. After your little one falls asleep, you want the easiest transition so they do not wake up.

This Snugabunny is great for tiny babies because it cocoons them and makes them feel secure with the edges around them instead of a wide open crib or bassinet that can be to open for little ones.

Ready for your baby to sleep through the night peacefully? Check out more info about the Snugapup here.

Emma + Ollie Swaddle Baby Wrap Set of 3 $20.99

Swaddling a baby with a normal receiving blanket can be a tricky thing to perfect. That is why I love the convenience of using a Baby Swaddle Wrap. With Melina being born in November we were always concerned about her being too cold when she was sleeping. We found that by wrapping her in one of these wraps kept her nice and cozy and allowed her to sleep more soundly throughout the night.

For our next little girl coming in June, I have ordered these lightweight Baby Swaddle Wraps to keep her cozy too for the summer months. I am in love with how cute these patterns are!

Grab yourself some cute baby swaddle wraps here.

Ultrasonic Humidifier & Sound Machine $69.99

Humidifiers during the cold season is a must for little ones! The air in the house is so dry from running the heat nonstop. We found this 2 in 1 humidifier & sound machine which was amazing!!

White noise is something that we learned would soothe our daughter almost instantly so having it in her room was a must for us. Her nursery really didn’t have a lot of shelf room so we were happy to save space and have two necessities in one!

Read more about the Ultrasonic Humidifier & Sound Machine here.


We used our phones for when we needed white noise on the go which drained our battery and our data! This time around we will be getting ourselves a sound machine on the go so we can have the peace of mind that she can sleep sound wherever we are.

Check out this sound machine for when you are on the go here!

Phillips Avent Natural Baby Bottle $27

Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, chances are you are going to need some bottles. I was fortunate enough to have a successful time breastfeeding my daughter for the first year, however, I still would pump and bottle feed her when needed.

I was really big on wanting my daughter to build a bond with her father early on so I would let him feed her at least once a day after a few weeks of her being born. It can be hard for fathers to bond with their baby’s when they are constantly with Mama for feedings.

We tried out multiple brands of bottles but favored Avent Bottles as they have a natural nipple for the bottle that is supposed to mimic the mother’s nipple for easy transfer between the two methods of feeding. At first, you will only need the 4-ounce bottles until they are They also have a glass option if you are trying to avoid using plastic bottles which I am considering for the second one.

A lot of times babies will need to try multiple types of bottles before finding one that works for them if any at all. Remember to be patient when going through the feeding process. With that being said, I do not recommend stocking up on baby bottles, but simply making sure you have a few just in case you need them.

For more information on Avent Natural Bottles here.

Bibs/Burp Clothes Carter’s Set for $17

Yes, your tiny newborn will need bibs even though they are not consuming any solid foods yet. This is something that I was very lazy within the beginning and regret now looking through my daughter’s clothes.

I am not sure about formula, but I know breastmilk stains and tints the clothes yellow! Yuck!! SO if you are looking to keep your baby’s clothes in good shape I recommend bibbing them up during feedings to prevent the stains.

Check out more color options for your bib and burp cloth set here.

Safety 1st Nail Clippers $3.34


Does anyone like cutting baby nails? It is one of the most nerve-wracking things to do…at least I think so. I would dread when my daughter’s nails were getting long because it made me so nervous to cut them. I was afraid she would move while doing it and I would end up grabbing skin. These clippers are the perfect size for cutting tiny nails with providing a secure grip to ensure you are cutting the nail appropriately. I am so happy I discovered these from my Aunt and Uncle because it made me so much more comfortable trimming my daughter’s nails.

Add these Safety 1st Nail Clippers to your baby bag here.

Angelcare Baby Bath Support $19.99

Bathing a newborn can be intimidating at first. Their little bodies are so tiny and fragile that you feel like you might break hem moving them around so much. For our first daughter, we selected a typical baby bath that had the infant insert that was like a sling. While it did the job, I felt that I was constantly repositioning her because she would slide down and get too far into the water.

While researching new products for my second baby I came across Angelcare Baby Bath Support that has raving reviews on how supportive this bath is. You can place this bath support in a large sink or the bathtub so it will transition to when your baby is ready for the big tub! I will be purchasing one for our little girl and ditching the old one.

Get your Angelcare Baby Bath Support here.

Bright Starts Activity Gym Enchanted Elephants $79.99

Activity mats are a lifesaver with a small baby. At first, there are not many things newborns can do by themselves so it is nice to have somewhere for them to have sensory play while you can get dinner started or laundry folded.

Our daughter loved her activity mat and would go crazy over the hanging animals. This is also perfect for playtime that transitions into a nap since it is nice and cozy. I love that it has sides to the pillow so you do not have to worry about baby rolling around if it is on the couch.

More information about the activity mat here.

Nookums Paci-Plushies Elephant Buddies $15

At first, I was hesitant to introduce a pacifier but after nursing Melina several times the first 48 hours I realized that eventually, I needed a break. So we introduced a pacifier and it was a lifesaver!! It is no fun to feel like a human pacifier.

I chose to list this specific pacifier because I love that the plush elephant helps keep the pacifier from falling on the floor. This specific style the pacifier is detachable for easy washing which is great since there will be unfortunate times it will be dropped.

Get your adorable elephant pacifier plush here.

Skin Products

When it comes to putting products on your baby’s skin it is important to know what you are using. I am a big advocate for trying to go as natural as possible, especially with a young baby.

Everything that I use on our skin I make sure it is safe according to EWG, Environmental Working Group. EWG lists out all the ingredients that are used in the product and informs consumers what it does to our health and rates the product’s safety overall. It may seem tedious but it might surprise you how many chemicals are in the products we use daily.

Diaper Cream

Diaper rashes are no fun and can sometimes be tricky to heal. Luckily my daughter had very few diaper rashes but when she did she was in a lot of discomfort. I am not one to put cream on if there is not a rash. I do not like how products say that there needs to be a coating every single diaper change. If you know you are going to have your child in the same diaper for a prolonged time then I can see adding a protective layer. Other than that it is only necessary when a rash occurs.

These two ointments are my favorite ones to use and are considered safe by the EWG. The Aquaphor Ointment has also helped when my daughter gets dry, scaly rashes during the winter on her arms and belly. I love how a little goes a long way here, making the products very affordable.

Burt’s Bee’s Diaper Ointment 2 pack $11

Aquaphor Healing Ointment $15

Shampoo

Babyganics Body wash/shampoo Unscented 3 pack $27

I used Babyganics primarily the whole time for body wash and shampoo until my daughter was about 2. Now I only use it for her shampoo. It leaves her hair clean and very soft.

Body Wash

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castille Soap Baby Unscented $16

On our journey to limit chemicals in our home we found a great product that can be used for all sorts of things around the house. Not only can this be used as a very safe baby body was but also for DIY natural cleaning remedies. You only need a little so this bottle will last a very long time if you are only using it on your baby.

I have used it for her shampoo as well however my mother says it makes her hair smelly yucky. I personally did not mind it but this is something to keep in mind. You do have to be careful not to get it into little one’s eyes as well.

Lotion

Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil $11

There are so many baby products on the market but they are not necessarily what is best for your baby. There is no need to introduce their little bodies to all of those chemicals in big name brand lotions. A simple jar of coconut oil will keep your baby’s skin nice and smooth without adding harsh chemicals to their system. Plus you can use coconut oil for a TON of other things like cooking, carrier oils, DIY cleaning, and cosmetic recipes.

This is the only thing I have been putting on my skin this winter and during my second pregnancy. My skin feels so soft and just has such a natural glow to it after using the coconut oil, my husband even uses it for his skin!

I would love to hear what products other Mama’s thought helped them through the first 3 months with their baby’s! Leave suggestions in the comments below.

Categories
Maintaining Me Raising You

Become The Mom You Were Meant To Be Not The ANGRY Mom You Have Been

I am ashamed to admit that I have had more angry mom days in the last few months than I would like to have in a year. 

Not sure if it is the fact that I am very hormonal and pregnant or the that we are in the trying times of a two-year-old little girl testing out her boundaries. Maybe it’s the fact that I have this never-ending cold for over two months and currently sleep training our daughter to sleep in her toddler bed which means no one is getting their best sleep right now.

The links on this website may contain affiliate links. This means that we may receive a commission if you decide to make any purchases using our affiliate links.

Whatever the reason is, it has been exhausting and frustrating and I have felt so guilty for being such an angry mom in those moments. 

Our days will start off so sweet and loving and then it is like a switch goes off and all hell breaks loose. Some days it seems like the simplest tasks end up becoming huge battles like trying to put a clean shirt on her or to get her coat on before we leave.

If we take her down from climbing something, guaranteed 5-10 minute melt coming our way. And of course, she really isn’t interested in playing with her actual toys. Nope climbing everything in sight is the game to play right now. (Shouldn’t we be past this stage at two??)

Somedays it feels like it takes a week for my husband to return home from work and I feel guilty to be so happy that I now don’t have to be the one to primarily deal with our daughter. I take the backseat and let my husband see what I have been dealing with all day long as I am counting the minutes before bedtime.

upset child

When I thought of motherhood, I never envisioned how angry I would become when she reached the defiant toddler age. It feels as if my whole life is dictated by this little person in order for it to run smoothly. Dodging ticking time bombs one right after another.

After reading Positive Discipline: The First Three Years By Dr. Jane Nelson, I realized my approach has been wrong. Very wrong in fact.

Too many days I am trying to control my daughter’s behavior, especially when it is a bad day and I am not feeling my best self. I realized that by reacting to her in anger actually encouraged the behavior and damaged the relationship. Two things that I had no intention on doing.

Read my post on How To Stop Being Such A Serious Mom

Most of the time I am thinking about how tired and aggravated I feel and forget she has all of these big emotions too that are hard for her to express with words.

She can’t tell me that she is overtired from being too busy, or that she’s frustrated because she cannot do certain things independently like she would like to. Heck maybe she is still not feeling the best because of this never-ending cold we seem to have picked up.

Honestly, a big problem is my expectations. I have these huge expectations for this little girl that is so young in her developmental journey. I forget some things she is just not capable of yet, like processing her emotions calmy and fully understanding the directions I am giving her.

Steps that I am taking to become a less angry mom every day:

  • Avoid burnout – this is a huge set off for me. If I am hungry, overtired, anxious or even too hot I become angry at the littlest of actions. Ask my husband! He does not like it when I skip a meal.
    • Taking care of myself is key to being the happiest and calmest mom I can be.
    • Also, setting aside time to for myself is huge. I need the relief of just being able to worry about my own needs whether that be running out by myself to complete errands, a lunch date with a friend, or even a routine hair appointment. It helps me come back a refreshed and energized mom.

Read my post about why self-care is so important for moms and how to incorporate it into your daily routine.

  • Take a breather when the tantrum has started – After making sure my daughter is not in harm’s way, I will step back and just breathe deeply for about 5-10 seconds until I can feel my rational thinking coming back.
    • Within the next year, I will be implementing a cool down spot for my daughter as well to go and calm down when she has gotten upset. I will not call this a time out because it is not a punishment. Simply a tool for handling those difficult emotions.
    • For right now, I simply ask her for a hug. This restores the connection between us and helps us both calm down together.
  • Use distractions instead of words – At this age, Melina is not understanding my lectures about why she should not be climbing through the house like a monkey. Instead, it is best to simply remove her from the situation and redirect her attention to a positive situation. Most times this works very well in avoiding the tantrums.

When I use only words and expect her to understand and listen, this is where I get myself in trouble and become irritated and angry.

  • Basic needs are met and our routine is on schedule –  Most parents know that if a child is sleepy, hungry, or simply way out of their routine there are going to be some behavioral problems.
    • Figure out if there is another reason why your child is misbehaving and having difficult emotions. If one of the needs is not met, try to fix it as soon as possible to get back on the right track. Children find routines comforting in knowing what is going to happen next and build a sense of trust with that routine.
    • Obviously, there are going to be sometimes where these needs are not met right away and the routine is off, but understanding that the child is not misbehaving on purpose and is simply just responding to those feelings will help you be more patient with addressing those feelings with your child.

motherhood

So instead of getting angry at the constant tantrums, I try to understand that this is a stage we are going through. My goal has transformed from trying to control her every action and emotion to doing my best at teaching her how to handle her own emotions.

And in this process, it is teaching me that I too need to learn better techniques to handle my own emotions that are in response to her youthful actions.

If you are looking for positive ways to discipline your children or simply looking for a different approach I highly suggest you read Positive Discipline: The First Three Years By Dr. Jane Nelson.

It can be refreshing to hear how other parents handle difficult situations and how to handle them in a positive way to ensure you are building a deep connection with your child.

Read my post about the power of positive affirmations for children here.

Related Content:

30 Affirmations Every Child Needs to Hear

Basics of Positive Discipline

Perfectionism In My Motherhood

How To Stop Being Such A Serious Mom

How To Make Time For Yourself

Even though there are some situations that I am ashamed of how I handled them, like slapping my daughter’s hand after she decided to continually throw everything out of her toy box angrily.

Even though I swore I would never be a parent that smacked or spanked their child. I viewed her acts as intentional to me rather than reactional and therefore become angrier than necessary.

 

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I remind myself that there is always next time to improve. I evaluate how the situation got out of hand in the first place and what could have been done to avoid the misbehavior from Melina and the angry reaction from myself. I give myself grace and the hope that next time will be better.

So for any of you Mama’s that are going through some trying times whether it be toddlers or teenagers, give yourself some grace. (I am terrified of the teenage years ahead!)

Motherhood is not all cute matching outfits and fun coffee dates like a lot of Pinterest images present it to be.

It is messy, loud, and ever-changing with your children. 

But you can learn to thrive in the difficult moments with a little bit of patience, a lot of love, and continuous grace for yourself. 

Categories
Raising You

Intentional Parenting: Why & How To Start Your Journey

At the end of the day, we are happy to know that our kids are safe and remain healthy. Waiting to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Continuing on with our busy schedules, doing a hundred things and doing them all just okay. Including parenting.

But that’s just how it is, right? Everyone is just trying to balance family, work, friends, and community responsibilities.

We are caught in this rat race of life trying to keep up with our commitments and current trends. It is exhausting!

So what’s the big deal with intentional parenting? Isn’t parenting enough work as it is??

Intentional parenting is making decisions based on what you believe is best for your child. It is establishing a relationship with your children based off of deep connection.

Not what everyone else is doing. Or what happens to be easiest at the time. It is having awareness about the decisions you are making that are affecting your child’s development, both positively and negatively.

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There are many parents who just have it in them to make sure their children make it through the day alive and fed. We all know that there are some seasons of life where that is literally the best we can do. And that is okay mama, everyone goes through times like those.

I have experienced far too many of these after falling pregnant while trying to keep up with my high spirited two-year-old.

However, it is not a parenting style that should be continued forever.

Get back up and give it your best shot!

Your goal as a parent should always be to become better and to guide your children with the best intentions.

Even as parents we have a lot of room to grow and transform into the parent we hoped we would be. Parenting is a journey. A long, hard, magical journey, that provides us with so much knowledge if we let it.

My daughter is sometimes my biggest teacher in life. She teaches me daily to slow down, be silly with her, and just love life more than anything. Even when it is not perfect. (As a recovering perfectionist, this can be a challenge for this mama!)

Our goals as parents should be greater than to make sure our children are safe, fed and healthy. We should be desiring deep connection with our children. Our words speak into their soul and create their self-voice in their head for the rest of their life.

There is an epidemic of poor mental health in our society. Mental health development starts when we are children, and a lot of our long-term mental health is determined by our childhood. This is probably why so many people blame their problems on their parents!

Now that does not mean individuals do not have control over their mental state from childhood issues, we can always continue to improve our mental state even with difficult childhoods, it may just take more effort and more time to recover from. And no matter how perfect of a parent you are, your children will still have issues to work on as they transform from children into adulthood. That is just part of the process of life.

Intentional parenting is crucial because maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal today to just be on your phone while your child is watching TV all night. Or maybe choosing other commitments that distract you from quality time with your children. But the disconnect between you two will surely have some type of effect if that is a long-term pattern.

An intentional parent guides their children in the directions of where their family values align. Somewhere we have lost talking about our values and instead gossiped about the latest trends. It is important for you and your partner to first identify what are the core values of the family. Or what you hope them to be.

Examples of good family values are honesty, gratitude, respect, generosity, compassion, and curiosity. There are so many more but I just wanted to give you an idea to start

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thinking about what direction you want your family focusing on.

Why are values so important? Without clearly identifying what your values are, you will be unable to teach your child what you are hoping to accomplish. You cannot expect your child to be respectful if you have not guided your child through life in a respectful manner. They will be incapable of doing so.

As much as parents love to respond “I am the parent and you are the child” to children when they are doing something that children should not be doing, it is very confusing to young minds. They cannot grasp that concept and instead start to fester resentment towards the parent. Children learn by example. So be the example you want your child to be and see how their behavior transforms!

I recently have gone through a trying time with my daughter. She is so curious about everything and just wants to explore. While I love that about her, it can become very difficult when we are in environments that are not necessarily kid-friendly.

I realized I was telling my daughter no constantly and becoming frustrated. In these times of frustration, I would raise my voice and speak out of anger. I soon realized how that really affected her. It never made the situation better and always resulted in her lashing out in anger because she saw me do it. Of course, this didn’t make me happy either!

I do not want to teach her that is how we solve our problems and communicate to each other. She is only two, what am I going to do when she is 15?? I had to learn new ways of dealing with our conflicts.

When I know I am at that point of breaking down and screaming at her, I try to ask her for a hug and explain the situation calmly. Most times the hug will redirect her attention enough where the problem is resolved calmly.

I am pretty sure every mom is guilty of yelling at their kids, especially if you have multiple kids. But just because all of us do it does not make it the right thing to do. Will I ever raise my voice at my daughter again? For sure, shes only two, we have a lot more life ahead of us.

Each time I respond that way I think about the situation and how to handle it better next time to prevent yelling again. My hope is that yelling at my daughter when she is doing something that upsets me is not the common way of our communication. I want it to become a rare event in our lives.

My hope is to apply the techniques of positive parenting in our lives and remove the negative talk. It is very hard for me to break these habits as this is how I was taught to communicate in my childhood. But I am aware that it needs to be worked on in order to not damage our relationship.

Setting parenting goals are a large part of intentional parenting. No parent is perfect, we are all human, just like our children. But that does not excuse the bad habits to continue to be a part of our lives.

Being an intentional parent is hard work. It requires you to be a conscious parent and to question everything you do. It requires honesty about your own habits and parenting techniques. Even though it may be a bit challenging and time-consuming at first, it is worth it in the big picture.

How better else could you be spending your time than investing it into your children?  Our world around us is moving at lightning speed. Slow down mama, your babies are only small for such a short period.

I recently came across this quote and fell in love….

Children are not a distraction from important work. They are the most important work you will ever do in your life.

How many parents do you know to view their parenting role as such? Even though there is not a monetary value behind raising children, it is the most important role we have as humans.

Change your view on parenting. Get rid of this idea that parenting is another chore in life.

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Be excited, and have energy in your parenting!

Believe it or not, your little ones can sense your energy Mama. Don’t make them feel like a chore. Make them feel like a God-given gift to you that you are grateful for!

We are raising the next generation who need to learn how to love others abundantly, communicate effectively, and be a positive contributor to our society. You have the power to raise amazing individuals!

You can uplift your children and make them feel unstoppable! Mama, your intentions determine your children’s inner voice of self-worth later on. Because if their mama doesn’t believe they are worth the effort, why would they believe that anyone else would feel they are either?

So how do we start our journey with being intentional parents? Think about everything you do as a parent and why you do it. Question your techniques and routines to see if there are better ones out there for your children. Have open and honest conversations with your partner on how they see your parenting and vice versa.

A few ways to incorporate intentional parenting habits are:

  •  Learning how to effectively communicate with your children, Communication with your children is the foundation of the entire relationship. One of the biggest gifts you can give your children is to LISTEN to them. Like seriously pay 100% attention to the words that are coming out of their mouth. Put down your phone and look into their eyes when they talk to you. They will feel so important knowing that you have stopped everything just to listen to what they have to say. Great communication skills can overcome any obstacle a family might encounter. (I am still working on this one!)
  • Model what a healthy and respectful relationship looks like with your spouse. Your children will learn how to love by observing what is modeled in front of them. Remember they are observing how you treat strangers and people in need as well. This is where humanity can be effectively taught to our children.
  • Value the time you have with your children. Being present in the time that you have with your children is crucial to establishing a deep connection. Children need to know that you are interested in their interests and spending time with them. It will make them thrive to see how much you cherish that time with them. Let go of your busy schedule and make some one on one time with your kiddos.
  • Put boundaries on technology. There are many great things technology does for us, however, if we are not careful it can become a barrier in our relationships. Including your spouse and children. Make sure to schedule technology-free time with the family to maximize the opportunity for deep connection. (Look at your data on your phone to see how much time you are spending on it…it might surprise you!)
  • Fuel your children with nutritious foods. The foods we put into our body energizes our body and mind more than most people realize. Make sure to provide a healthy example of diet choices. You might have more success when giving your children multiple healthy options to choose from that way they feel that they hold some of the control. A lot of the time behavioral issues are linked to diet choices so you might be fixing multiple problems at once!

Remember, intentional parenting is not focusing on what specific qualities you are hoping to mold your children into. Instead, it is about how you go about guiding your children to find their own best versions of themselves. Providing an environment and relationship where they feel comfortable to do so.

I hope to have energized you Mama to become a little more intentional in today’s activities. Little changes can have the most impact on our lives and create amazing tomorrows.

 

Categories
Raising You

How To Save Money On Your Kids Clothing

Here are 3 tips that save us a lot of money on clothing for our daughter, I am sure it will help you too! 

Before you know it, your little one will have more clothes in their closet then you! And to no surprise, those clothes that are half the size might cost the same amount if not more then your own clothing!

Of course, you want your little one in the cutest clothes around. But what if it is just not in the new baby budget?

1. Ask friends or relatives

This one is by far the best way to save money.  

Most family and friends are so eager to get rid of the excess baby gear that they will give it away willingly! Therefore is a win-win for everyone! What family wants to hang on to excess baby gear and clothes? I know we don’t!

This is great if you have a lot of friends or family that have had children before you, as your options will be plentiful!  Especially if their kids just outgrew the clothes, as the clothes you will receive will most likely be matched current trends so you won’t have to worry about your little one wearing outdated clothes.

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Since we were one of the first of our friends to have children, we only had a small amount that we received second had from friends and family.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for their baby gear and clothes. I am sure they would much rather know it is going to a good home and that you will find a use for it. Maybe offer a small amount for items you received to let them know you appreciate their generosity.

2. Go to the thrift store

Next stop, the thrift store! Cue the Macklemore music!!

I was never into shopping at thrift stores frequently until I became pregnant. As young parents, we did not have a lot of extra cash to be spending on our daughter’s clothing. So I became resourceful!

I found that the kid’s section in thrift stores are like shopping at Carters! There are always new pieces of clothing that are for sale for a fraction of the cost. Not to mention I have found Gap and Old Navy clothing there too. A pair of Old Navy skinny jeans for $1.99! Can you beat that with the deals online? I doubt it. 

Around here, there are many Salvation Army locations that run daily specials. I found the best way to shop here was to get to know the best deals and stop by frequently. They run student/teacher specials, specific colored tag deals, every Friday you can buy 5 pieces of clothing for $5 dollars, and every holiday that they open they run extra deals as well. There are many options on when to catch a good deal.

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Since it is the thrift store, there are a lot of options to sort through. So make sure you have some time and patience!

Now, some people have a hard time justifying shopping at the thrift store.

I, on the other hand, do not! I think it is a wonderful way to save money and put perfectly good clothes back to use. Children are in their clothing sizes for such a small time period.

Not to mention it takes the pressure off trying to keep my daughter’s clothes pristine. If she spills or gets her clothes dirty outside, I am okay with it.

It is awful to think that you just throw those clothes out and they never get used again. Plus, I would much rather give my money to the Salvation Army than overpriced clothing stores.

how to save money for kids clothes

These two adorable winter coats were $11 together! These coats are one of our best finds yet for my daughter at the thrift store!

I have found some of my other favorite outfits at the thrift store as well! When she was an infant I was buying Carter onesies for .69 cents and pajamas for about $1.00! I know Carter’s cannot compete with those prices….even with the daily coupon codes that they send me in my email!  

Plus, it allowed me to dress my daughter in a variety of styles, not just what was in style now.

Remember, have an open mind. Some days, I only found one or two items I liked. Others, I would find 10-15.

 

3. Shop clearance racks/End of season

Do you have a hard time paying full price for clothes? I know I sure do. Like I absolutely hate it!

I just know how quickly stores are changing styles and discounting their last trend out. Especially when the seasons are about to change. Here in Michigan, it happens fast!

My go to places for Lina’s clothes are Target, Old Navy and JC Penney’s. I have had a lot of success in getting clothes at a large discount that are ADORABLE!

I love the Cat & Jack brand at Target! They carry some of the cutest kids clothes around and they are always having a clearance rack that has 30-50% off select styles. Most pieces that I am purchasing are under $5 unless it is a dress which is then around $7-9.

Dressing your little ones do not have to be expensive.  

If you are a new mom, I suggest starting once you find the sex of the baby out. Selecting gender neutral colors will also help you save in the future if you are planning to have more children.

Existing mamas, always keep your eye out for clothes the next size up on sale. That way you won’t be worried you don’t have clothes in the next when they begin transitioning out.

Patience is key when searching for clothes on sale!  

 

I would love to hear where other Mama’s have success finding cute clothes that are a great deal!

 

 

Categories
Raising You

30 Affirmations Every Child Needs to Hear

The Power of Affirmations for Children

Have you been parenting using positive or negative enforcement?

Both techniques main objective is to curve the child’s actions.

Parenting using positive reinforcement focuses on what the child is doing right rather than pointing out what is wrong. 

This technique encourages your child’s positive actions and qualities through verbal enthusiasm, descriptive encouragement, and simple rewards. 

Over time your child will start to realize the value of their positive qualities and actions and associate that with who they are as a person.

 

Building Your Child’s Identity

As a child transitions throughout different stages in life, they will have to overcome challenges. Whether it be some other child bullying them or a situation where they are just uncomfortable in. Some bigger then others, but those challenges will still make a mark in their hearts.

In order to successfully overcome those challenges emotionally, they need to have a healthy emotional mindset. Including how they value themselves, how they see their self-image, and their basic belief structure.

It is our job as parents to do the best we can to build up a positive belief system in our child’s mind.

There will come a point where that belief system is going to get challenged.

We live in a world that is constantly telling us we are not good enough. But we do not have to let our children believe that.

We can start teaching them at a young age that they are in fact good enough, if not BETTER then what they are supposed to be.

Incorporate Positive Identities Throughout The Family

First thing, we need to believe that WE ARE ENOUGH. We need to incorporate positive self-love and worth in how we talk about ourselves and our family. Build up your family with positive words allowing your child to see it in action. This will encourage positively to come naturally to their minds.childsreflection-min[1]

We are the biggest role models our children have. Our actions and words really do make the difference. It is honestly amazing how much impact our love and kind words have on those tiny hearts. Use that love and create a child that believes they are enough just the way they are.

Related Content:

Basics of Positive Discipline

Dealing With Challenging Behavior Using Positive Discipline

Become The Mom You Were Meant To Be Not The ANGRY Mom You Have Been

Top 10 Mom Quotes That Inspire

Encouragement Is The Best Way To Shape Character

Encourage them to notice the little details even if that means they ask a million questions. They are curious.

Encourage them to be kind, even if that means stopping and picking flowers every hundred feet on your walk. They are a giver.

Encourage them to express themselves freely, even if that means that other parents think your child is wild. They are a free spirit. 

In order for these affirmations to have an impact on your child, they MUST be sincere. If your child does not feel you are being genuine when you are saying these affirmations, they are not going to believe you. Possibly damaging the trust your child has with you.

Looking to become a more intentional parent? Here are some helpful tips on how to start today!

Read More Here: Intentional Parenting: Why & How To Start Your Journey

“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.”

– B.F. Skinner

Only incorporate affirmations in meaningful moments. It will have much more influence rather than attempting to say multiple affirmations daily just out of habit.

The following affirmations are as if you are speaking to your child. As your child gets older you can have them practice saying these affirmations to themselves interchanging “you” with “I”.

30 affirmations

30 Powerful Affirmations to Say to Your Children

  1. You are worthy of all the good things in life.
  2. You are a wonderful listener.
  3. You have kindness in your heart.
  4. You are the light of my life.
  5. You encourage me to keep learning new things along with you.
  6. You have no limits on what you can accomplish.
  7. You are truly amazing.
  8. You have a unique imagination that allows you to see things others cannot.
  9. You care for others deeply.
  10. You make my heart so happy when you…(fill in action)
  11. You handled that situation very bravely.
  12. You solve problems creatively.
  13. You are and always will be beautiful/handsome. 
  14. You are a fast learner at…(fill in task)
  15. I love how generous you are to others, even when it is difficult.
  16. I love hearing your voice.
  17. I will always believe in you.
  18. I can’t imagine my life without you.
  19. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.
  20. You make others smile.
  21. I will always be there for you.
  22. You are born to do great things.
  23. No one controls who you are but you.
  24. Always do what is right, no matter the consequences.
  25. Your hugs make my heart happy.
  26. I love you to the moon and back.
  27. We are thankful God gave us you. 
  28. Happiness is a choice and you choose it every day.
  29. I am proud of who you are.
  30. I am proud to call you my child. 

Do you have some of your own affirmations that you tell your children? I would love to hear them!

Categories
Raising You

How to Travel with Kids

When is the last time you and your family have taken a vacation?

Have you avoided traveling with the kids?

So many parents FEAR traveling with their children that they end up missing out on some amazing memories with their children.

After figuring out the destination details it is now time to figure out how in the world are you going to travel with your kids. 

Well, I have great news! It is much easier than you think! Not only is there less to bring then you think but also less to worry about!

We recently had a family trip down to Key West. Fl for our destination wedding and had many family members with children. Our daughter, Melina traveled with us of course, who at the time was 18 months old. So we had children from 18 months – 10 years of age traveling. 

My husband and I are pretty laid back individuals but traveling from Michigan to Key West with our 18-month-old daughter, while finalizing wedding details seemed like a daunting task! Really it just overwhelmed me to no end.

Overall though, we had a great experience traveling with our daughter. I am so happy that I ignored what so many people were worried about and took the plunge to plan a wedding in Key West and travel without closest family and friends. With a little planning, preparation, and some patience we have some amazing memories to look back on.

Here are some tips on how we survived 10 days of traveling from Michigan to multiple destinations in Florida with a toddler.

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  • Do not over pack!

Seriously the more you lug with you the more you are responsible for. It is enough work making sure you have your husband and children, worrying about having all of your stuff for 5 suitcases is just too much! It will take away from your overall vacation experience.

I promise you won’t miss that extra pair of flip flops for you, your husband and child! Try packing as little as possible. After taking the plunge and traveling light, you will be amazed at how free you feel! 

Funny story about our trip….we flew down to Miami airport and rented a vehicle that we had to fit our daughter’s car seat, stroller, two carry-ons, a wedding dress, a suit, and our backpacks. Can you tell we may have over packed a bit??

Now, of course, we had to bring all of this for our wedding and that is not what typically travel with but still! We made it safely to our hotel in Key West only to realize that we did not have my husband’s SUIT for our wedding in TWO days!!

Luckily it was safe in Miami airport and we had a family member to retrieve it. But all of our other things completely distracted us and honestly lugging all of that stuff was just overwhelming and exhausting!

  • Make travel arrangements around your children’s sleep schedule.

Are you a drill Sargent when it comes to naps? I never really believed in the power of routines until I had a child. Now I realize the importance and try to keep us on a basic nap routine. Keeping your child close to what their normal schedule is will help avoid overtired meltdowns and ease them into the adjustment of being somewhere new.

When we flew to Miami, we had a 6:45 AM flight time. Yes, it was awful waking up at 4 AM to get ready but it worked out that our daughter was tired enough she slept through most of the flight. On our flight home, we planned the flight around her normal nap time, and again we had a sleeping toddler on the plane!

Yes, success!

  • Make sure you have some type of electronic entertainment.

I am not a big fan of a lot of screen time but when traveling it is a must! Travel days for little ones can be very overwhelming. They need some sort of entertainment to help them wind down and keep busy when there really isn’t anywhere to play like the plane or long car ride to your destination.

Helping your little ones entertain themselves will help avoid boredom meltdowns. The truth is, young children don’t understand why they have to sit for long periods of times, they just feel stuck and want to get out! Unless they something to do that they enjoy.

  • Bring Snacks!

As all parents know, food is a great entertainer and distraction. I do not see anything wrong with this tactic if you are providing your children with nutritious options.

Plus it stops you and your child from getting HANGRY. (I let this happen too much to myself)

Check out my post about healthy toddler snacks, most of them are travel-friendly!

Read more here: 5 Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas

  • Try to stay in a hotel where the kids will be sleeping in another part of the hotel room.

If you are traveling with your children, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to go out and have actual adult time with your partner. So why not guarantee that you will still be able to have that time in the hotel room? As exciting as it is to be traveling with the family, make sure to still nurture that excitement with your partner and value that alone time.

In Key West, all of the hotel rooms at the Sheraton were suites so it worked out perfectly that we would put Melina down at a reasonable time and still could have a conversation with each other without waking her up! We played some Yahtzee and enjoyed some adult beverages, spending quality couple time together.

When we traveled to Chicago with our daughter, we were able to place the crib in the hallway in front of the bathroom and could enjoy some “us” time while she slept.

This is much easier and affordable if you have children in cribs because you can relocate the crib to a different area of your hotel room if it is large enough. For older children, it means needing a suite with doors to the bedroom.

If you are in a financial situation where this is not a problem then go for it! If you are unable to find one in your budget, you might have to get creative!

  • Do not over plan your trip.

Some days are better than others with kids. Placing high expectations on what will be accomplished during a trip can become overwhelming and frustrating. We had planned to do multiple tourist outings while we were down in Key West but hardly got to half of them!

We realized that Melina did not enjoy sitting down at restaurants…so we opted to eat at the hotel restaurant by the pool for most meals. Shopping the little stands was a no go so we avoided them.

We learned that the beach and pool were what worked for us as a family and even snuck in a sunset cruise that was amazing….which Melina loved! Loud music and dancing is something she enjoys. Not to mention we were on a boat like Moana!! (Disney reference for the families that are obsessed with Moana)

No matter where you are you can find activities that your little one will enjoy and realize when an activity is not working out to accept it and move on. 

  • Invest in a stroller that is light and easy to use.

We researched a ton of different lightweight strollers and found that the Summer Infant 3Dlite was the one for us. We mainly used the stroller for traveling through the airport. We were so grateful that we did opt to bring a stroller since MIA airport is huge! I was wishing I had someone to push me around through it!3d-lite-stroller-by-summer-infant-min[1]

The umbrella stroller is very light, only weighing 13 lbs and has a carrying strap making it easy to travel with when not in use. It also has the option to put the seat to a reclining position which is perfect if you are hoping to get your little one to snooze while you are out.

We purchased ours from Buybuy baby because we had a gift card and it was on clearance! But you can also purchase it from Amazon here.

 

  • Check car seats and strollers at the GATE! I have two reasons for this

    • Personal items will have lower chances of being damaged from handling by having airport staff put it on the plane right at the gate then allowing it to be shuffled from luggage check all the way to the plane. We all know that airport workers are most often times in a rush and don’t handle luggage with a lot of care. When traveling with your child’s car seat you do not want it beat up or potentially damaged! It is very important for car seats to remain in the best condition that way they are as effective as they can possibly be at protecting your little one in case of an accident. That is why we chose to purchase covers for our car seat and stroller when they would be stored away by airport staff.
J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag For Carseat $12.99

J.L. Childress Gate Check Bag For Single & Double Standard Stroller $18.99
  •  You are going to want to travel through the airport with your stroller. Toddler feet just can’t move as fast as we can. And when you are in a time crunch you just have to move at a faster pace. Our stroller was a huge help for us!

Traveling with children is not the easiest process, however, it is still a very rewarding experience for the family.

Having realistic expectations and a little bit of patience can go a long way.

Go plan that vacation Mama!

The family needs it.

YOU need it.

 

Categories
Raising You

5 Healthy Toddler Snack Ideas

Looking to feed your toddler a bit healthier?

Ditch the convenient bag of cookies for something nutritious. It can become very easy to get caught up in the advertisements of “children’s snacks” and go down the path of overexposing your children to unhealthy amounts of processed foods and refined sugars. 

Introducing a wide variety of food while children are young allows their palates to become familiar to different textures and tastes. Trust me it is much easier the younger you start with this. Even if you have an extremely picky eater, it is crucial you continue to offer new foods and even re-offer rejected foods.

For about six months our daughter would barely eat any ground turkey or beef. I am assuming it was a texture issue. She would have no problem with chicken, especially rotisserie chicken!  But we continued to reintroduce it every time we had a meal with it. Some days she would not try it, others we would get a bite here or there. Now, she is able to eat a taco bowl or spaghetti with ground beef or turkey in it without a problem.

It is important to expose your children to foods that you are not fond of. Especially if you are a highly picky eater yourself. Sometimes that can be a little tricky, but it is important to let your children grow into their own person! 

Looking back at what I preferred eating as a child, the majority of my dislikes were because my mom didn’t like something and I just assumed I didn’t either until I became an adult and re-tried the food myself.

As with everything, experiment with new ideas until you find works best with your lifestyle.

As a family that is on the go more times than not, we are always looking for healthy snack ideas that we can put together fast and that travel well.

Here are the five healthy snacks for toddlers:

1.Veggie sticks

Our little one loves cucumbers and peppers (particularly red peppers as they are a bit sweeter) You can peel the skin off the veggies or not and slice them according to what you think your little one can handle. Melina is a faster eater who takes big bites so we cut ours a bit smaller to pace her. For older children, carrot sticks would be great too!

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2. Hummus/Guacamole

You can pair the veggie sticks with the hummus for your little one to dip or get some pita bread! Kids love to dip their food in about anything at the toddler age so not only is it a healthy snack but also entertaining! Win-Win!!

There are single serve hummus cups available at the grocery store, just be careful some contain hydrogenated oils – yuck!

Same idea as the hummus. Guacamole either can be paired up with veggie sticks or some tortilla chips, or even spoon fed! When we traveled with Melina guacamole was a go-to food!  Grocery stores also sell these in single serve cups! We really like the Wholly Guacamole minis!

3. Hard-boiled eggs

Incorporating enough protein in children’s diets can become a little tricky especially since many children are particular about what meats they eat. Having hard boiled eggs on hand makes it easy to grab and offer as a snack. Our daughter doesn’t like the yolk so we just make sure she only has the egg whites and rinse the yolk off for her.

This is something that can be done at the beginning of the week and in the fridge when needed. Place your eggs in a pot that is the right size for the number of eggs you are preparing and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, and remove from the heat. Let it sit for about 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked. Drain, cool in ice water and peel. I have found it is easiest to peel with running water over the eggs as you do it.

4. Fruit bowlhealthyfoodforkids

Most kiddos enjoy eating fruit since it is so naturally sweet. Simply rinse your little ones favorite fruit and put it in a bowl or to-go container!

Our favorite fruit bowl blend right now is raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (sliced like chips), and sometimes blackberries. Of course, you can always change out for what is fresh in season!  I would not advise blackberries for children under two on the go as they are very messy.

5. Kale chips

Yes, you heard me, kale chips! We have been giving Melina kale chips ever since she was 14 months old. And she absolutely LOVES them!

We cook about a sheet pan full of kale with EVO lightly drizzled evenly on 400 degrees. Cooking time is about 8-10 minutes checking on it after 6 minutes. Sometimes it crunches up faster than other times so it is best just to learn how your hot your oven runs and go from there.

We have found that it is best to serve right when they come out as they are the crunchiest and easier for toddlers to eat. Soon as the kale begins to soften it will become very chewy, making it difficult for little ones to properly break it up.

This particular snack takes a little bit more work. But it is so worth it!!  Instead of feeding your little one potato chips you can give them delicious kale chips and feel good about! 

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Remember that just because they did or do not prefer something now does not mean they are never going to eat it.  

Try to reintroduce it later! Sometimes it takes trying foods multiple times before they will be willing to eat it.

Incorporating healthy food into our lives and the lives of our children are such important building blocks for a good foundation for them to grow and develop into the best version of themselves. 

I would love to hear what healthy snacks you are feeding your children. Please leave suggestions in the comments below!