Sorry y’all, I’m about to ruin your New Years healthy eating plans. Disclaimer: this recipe is NOT SKINNY! I promise though, this sweet, fluffy treat will be well worth stepping out for, and so much fun to make with your littles or to surprise your partner with on Valentine’s Day morning. Also, I wanted to plug the cutest mini-waffle maker that I use to make breakfast for my son weekly. Under $10 and conveniently located on the shelves of your nearest Target, it’s a must have kitchen appliance and perfect for these Red Velvet Waffles – A delicious Valentine’s Day breakfast treat!
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So for this recipe, any waffle maker will do but I have to recommend this little gadget, The Dash Mini Maker Waffle. It’s handy for a quick breakfast and easy to store because of its small size. Also I love the color! You can purchase it here.
Preheat waffle maker. In large bowl, mix cake mix, eggs and milk. Whisk until fully combined and smooth
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk. Using a mixer, mix until smooth. Add more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze if desired
Spray waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook until done
Plate waffles and drizzle with glaze. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and serve
Pictured below: one very happy little boy about to dive into his Red Velvet Waffles! We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, and that you plan to incorporate it into your love day celebrations!
As a mom let me just say: you can prepare yourself all you can for parenthood, but when it really comes down to it…we’re all just winging it, right? Even with my second child, there were times I felt left in the dark, googling WebMD or reaching out to fellow moms or my pediatrician for advice.
Thankfully with today’s technology, there is a plethora of phone apps available at our fingertips to help make this whole parenting journey A LOT easier. And to make this easier on you, we’ve put together some of our favorite parenting apps that are worth checking out!
See our list of our top 10 favorite parenting apps below!
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Baby Center is actually the very first parenting app I ever downloaded. Initially, I used it to track my pregnancy, but as I was a first-time mom with barely any close mom-friends, I ended up using the community forums quite a bit and relied heavily on my birth groups for questions and advice. I used it again years later and found solace in the PCOS and TTC support groups I found. That being said, the Baby Center app is not just for pregnancy and labor! To this day, I frequently use the app as a source of guidance and insight on growth and development as my children get older.
Baby Tracker is a useful app for tracking your baby’s daily activities. You can log diaper changes, feedings (how many ounces they had, what side they nursed on, how often you pumped) and their sleeping habits; all great ways track your babies activity trends. There are even options for inputing all their medical information – like immunizations, wellness visits and more. An added feature is the ability to sync data across multiple devices – so getting updates from your partner or sitter is even easier!
You can’t deny the immediate effects of white noise! When we don’t have the ceiling fan on or we are traveling and need a soothing background noise, this app has been great! From the classic monotonous white noise, to nature sounds and lullabies, this app has a good history of calming down my boys and helping them get a good nights sleep.
Do you love to share photos of your little ones? I do too! And with Tiny Beans, you can safely share your photos immediately with friends and family without having to post constantly to your Facebook or other social media, where everyone can see. Tiny Beans is also a great way of backing up all those photos you have of your littles and acts as a photo journal, tracking milestones, awarding stickers for special moments and allowing you to set up photo sharing and commenting. Also if you want hardcopies, you have the option to order prints or custom albums through the app – for an added fee of course!
I’m all about planning and organizing, but there are some things that can be so tedious with a physical planner, that it just does not suffice. The Cozi Family Organizer is helpful if your family has a lot going on. Personally, I have found it to be necessary as our family has grown and we are all over the place during the week. You can create to-do lists, shopping lists, add family member appointments and special dates using color codes to keep it easy to read. You can even designate family members involved in the activities you create in the organizer and sync all members devices to the app so they can keep track of everything themselves!
So this is technically isn’t just an app – it works in conjunction with the Wyze Cam baby monitor! So while I recommend getting the app, I really mean the baby monitor for this one. We have used ours at family and friends places, hotels and even replaced our overpriced baby monitor with the Wzye Cam. Not only is it significantly cheaper, the photo quality is top-notch (1080 full HD), there is two-way audio and you are able to log-in and view the video footage from anywhere! Also – when your babies no longer need a monitor, consider using the Wyze Cam as an indoor home-security camera. You can find the Wyze Cam on Amazon here.
With Huckleberry, you can track and monitor your baby’s sleep patterns and from there, predict their sleep schedule using expert algorithms. Huckleberry even let’s you know when baby is sleepy – but not overtired; that is a lifesaver.
When your babies are a bit older, you will begin to find a tremendous amount of apps for your littles. And even though limiting screen time is very important (you can read our recent post here), there are those instances where digging out the iPhone to entertain your child is enough for you to snag some bites at a restaurant. The Fischer Price Laugh & Learn is one of my favorites because it’s educational – teaching colors, shapes and numbers through songs!
Based off of the original Wonder Weeks book, the Wonder Weeks app keeps you informed about the 10 predictable and age-based “mental leaps” and bounds of your baby. Sometimes I have found myself wondering, What is going on? when my baby seems like he is not himself. With the Wonder Weeks app, I am able to refer to science-proven information about what developmental changes he might be going through.
You might be scratching your head saying, “Why Netflix?”, but hear me out. There have been so many times where I needed to slip away from the crowd or find an empty room to nurse and just sat in silence. Until I started utilizing Netflix. Maternity leave provided a lot of opportunities for sitting around and therefore left me with a good amount of time to binge a show or two; and in those moments of backseat nursing or late night rocking, Netflix proved to be really entertaining to pass the time.
We hope these apps help you in your parenting journey, Mama! If there are any apps that you feel didn’t make the list, please share in the comments below!
I call this time of year the winter lull. We’re post holiday season, mostly cooped up indoors, and running out of ideas to keep the littles even mildly entertained. When I’m all out of options and in serious need of a fresh activity to keep my preschooler occupied, I turn to something creative or crafty, and perhaps sensory in nature. And because I’m all about themes, I try to connect the activity to the time of year, which is why these ideas are centered around Valentine’s Day.
So mama, if you’ve found yourself in a similar boat and the kids are in dire need of a new interest (and for you a moment of silence) give these Fun Valentine’s Day themed activities for preschoolers a whirl, and make sure to tell us what you think in the comments below!
1. Love Soup
I LOVE this Valentine themed sensory activity that you can potentially piece together without even leaving the house! Let your child pretend to create cups of “Love soup” with the colored water and foam hearts. Caution: it may get wet!
You will need:
A plastic bin filled with water
Red food coloring
Heart themed cups
Kitchen utensils (for pouring and measuring)
Towel for clean up
It’s important to note that while participating in this Love Soup sensory activity, children build skills in many different areas. Measuring and guesstimating amounts can be applied to math and science. Socially, kids can develop team-working skills. Sensory play can also be used as a calming tool & distraction for tantrums. It also provides your child an opportunity to explore their senses – touch, sight, sound (even smell & taste if you want to go there) while they simultaneously learn and discover. Cheap, easy to make, and a stimulating experience right at home. Yum!
2. Love Monster Book & Craft
This children’s book is one of my favorites for the Valentines Day Holiday and has a wonderful message about sharing with friends and the joys of giving. Crafts involving characters are a great way to get your kids excited about reading materials. You can purchase Love Monster and the Last Chocolate here!
You will need:
1 Paper Plate (per craft)
Red Tissue Paper
Kid Friendly Scissors
Red/White/Black Colored Cardstock
First cut your red tissue paper into small squares
Put a good amount of glue all over your paper plate
Have your child place the tissue paper on top of the glue, until the paper plate is completely covered
While your child is working on that, cut out the other “love” monster embellishments from the cardstock. Think eyes, ears, mouth etc.
To finish the Love Monster themed kid craft – glue on the facial features to the paper plate and display proudly
3. Heart Hunt
This one is excellent for releasing some of that pent up energy! Hide the hearts around your home (much like an easter egg hunt) and have your child perform the exercise listed on each heart as they’re discovered. To keep it interesting, offer a prize at the end once all of the hearts have been collected! I used simple actions like “jump on one foot” and “sing the ABCs” but feel free to cater it to activities your little can execute.
You will need:
Foam or paper hearts of various colors (foam will hold up better but I used paper since I already had it)
And there you have it! The Heart Hunt. We hope these fun Valentine’s Day themed activities for preschoolers help to liven the mood in your household and offer a switch to your normal routine!
Quick disclaimer Mamas. I’m going to begin this article by letting you in on my most essential parenting mantra: DO WHAT WORKS! If you are happy with the amount of screen time happening your home, no need to fix what’s not broken. If not, keep reading.
As I am typing this, my three year old is asking to watch “baby shark” on my iphone.
While I’m generally inclined to let him view a quick video (especially while trying to get through a meal at a restaurant, we’ve all been there!) I cringe at the way he zones in to the screen and seemingly forgets the world around him. At times, I’ve used the phrase “Come up for air!” because it’s as if it engulfs his entire existence.
Now, I am all for educational screen time at the appropriate age and understand the benefits of quality content. I truly believe healthy habits start with limitations.
The topic of screen time is important to me as a mother, substitute teacher, lover of the outdoors and general believer in readying our youth for success. Physical activity and real-life interactions are pertinent to our children’s emotional wellbeing, learning and development which is why I’m a huge proponent for putting down the tablet and opting outside.
While attempting to find ways to limit tech usage, I came across a few simple practices for positive and balanced screen time that I plan to implement in our household and figured why not share on the blog, along with some great information regarding healthy screen time habits.
First lets define screen time:
Screen time is the time one spends watching TV or DVDs, using computers, playing video or hand-held games, or using tablets or smartphones. In its best form, screen time enhances learning abilities, increases self instruction, entertains, captures memories and increases access to reading material. The downside is that too much screen time can lead to lack of physical activity, less social interaction, weaker emotional bonds, exposure to extreme content, and lower attention capacity.
The latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggest that:
children under 18 months should avoid screen time, other than video-chatting
children aged 18 months to 2 years can watch or use high-quality programs or apps if adults watch or play with them to help them understand what they’re seeing
children aged 2-5 years should have no more than one hour a day of screen time with adults watching or playing with them
children aged 6 years and older should have consistent limits on the time they spend on electronic media and the types of media they use.
In addition to the guidelines above, the AAP also recommends designating media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, and ongoing communication between parent and child about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
The graphic below can be used as a screen time regulator, a method for setting limitations, and a way to promote other activities critical to child development.
The awesome part about this method is that you can customize it to what works for your family. It would be frivolous to think that there is a ‘one size fits all’ solution to monitoring screen time, like most parental challenges. Find a balance that works for you!
Simple Practices for Positive and Balanced Screen Time
Set NO TECH ZONES in your home. A good place to start is the dinner table.
UNPLUG once a month with the entire family. Pick out a board game or go for a hike!
Set DESIGNATED TIMES allocated for screen time.
Provide STIMULATING ALTERNATIVES to screen time. Sensory bins, arts and crafts or baking!
EDUCATE your children on the negative aspects of too much screen time and why limitations are important.
MONITOR screen time usage and have a discussion about media literacy.
Love it or hate it, technology is an integral part of our everyday human experience. There are positives and negatives to the fact that we rely so much on our devices. What we can control is the quality and amount of online content we are consuming and the impact of screen time on our littles. Thanks for reading!
As we move into another year, are you ever left wondering where the time went? How can we savor these moments more?
I sure have.
In two weeks, I will be heading back to work and to be honest, I have been overly sensitive about losing the precious hours spent at home with my children.
See the importance of family traditions ideas you can apply to your family all year long below!
While preparing for this new season in time, I want to be sure that our family is continuing to form impactful, shared experiences in the busyness of our every day lives. I don’t want me being away to negatively impact the family dynamic. So this year, my focus is to continue to add more family rituals and traditions into our household. Here’s why.
Studies show family traditions are the basis in creating family culture – you are nurturing bonds between siblings and parents, developing a sense of belonging and helping to create a memorable childhood. A review in the December issues of American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Family Psychology found that “family routines and rituals are alive and well and are associated with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement and stronger family relationships.”
And when I say traditions and rituals, I don’t mean they have to be extravagant or expensive experiences. They can be any simple daily, weekly, seasonal traditions your family can come to expect and look forward to. For example, we have a bedtime routine we stick to each night – dinner, bath, a book, three songs and lots of hugs and kisses. Some weeks we have breakfast for dinner or Taco Tuesday. Every month, we usually have a movie night where we get a Red box rental, stay up late and have popcorn. And of course we have our list of seasonal bucket-list traditions like visiting the pumpkin patch, driving around to see Christmas lights, decorating cookies, or going on a long family trip.
“Family routines and rituals are associated with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement and stronger family relationships.”
As each year goes by and as our family continues to grow, so have our traditions. I can see the impact they make on my oldest son and not only how he anticipates these established routines, but also how well he thrives on them. So while I will be losing time during the day with my littles, I know I will be able to savor the precious moments with them through the rituals we have fostered and the ones we will continue to add each year.
And what better time to start adding new rituals than now?! Below are some great ideas that you can implement with your family today and some of which I will be adding to our family’s list as well.
Remember, the rituals you create will establish key values for your family and will be “magical memories” for your children to look back on and possibly pass along to their own families and generations to come!
What are some of your favorite family traditions? What family rituals do you want to add into your week? Share in the comments below!
Did you know that January is National Bath Safety Month? I was oblivious to this observance until I came across an article about the prevalence of bathtub drownings and prevention, and I felt compelled to spread awareness. Drowning is a leading cause of death in children, including toddlers and infants, and most incidents with infants occur in bathtubs and buckets. It only takes an inch of water for a child to drown and a matter of seconds. It’s easy to forget that such an everyday activity poses a danger to our children, and for this reason it is vital to stay diligent in practicing bath safety. We’ve included our favorite bathtub items below, but first, here are 5 bath safety tips every parent should read to keep your kids uninjured and out of harm’s way.
Here are 5 bath safety tips every parent should read to keep your kids uninjured and out of harm’s way.
Young children should never, under any circumstance, be left unattended in a bathtub. Bottom line, if you need to leave the bathroom for any reason grab a towel and bring them with you. Remember, it only takes an inch of water for drowning to occur. While bathtub appliances such as seats are rings are helpful, do not rely on them to prevent drowning. These devices can provide a false sense of security leaving a child vulnerable to submersion. Prepare ahead of time and make sure to have any and all items you will need (soap, washcloth, toys, etc) within arms reach before starting the bath.
Drain the Tub
This one is pretty simple yet easily overlooked. Never leave water in a bathtub while it is not in use. The same goes for mopping buckets and sinks; drain them immediately after use. All it takes is a curious, wandering toddler to find their way to an open water source for tragedy to occur.
To prevent scalding, adjust your water heater so the hottest temperature at the faucet is no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Test the water with your wrist or elbow to check that it feels warm, not hot. If you notice your child’s skin turning red test again. When your child is old enough to turn the faucets, teach him to start the cold water before the hot. If you feel you need a better gauge, there are baby-tubs on the market that provide the water temperature for you.
Slips and Falls
Install no-slip grips on the floor of the bathtub. Put a padded cover over the faucet so your child won’t be hurt if he bumps his head against it. Place a rug or towel on the ground just outside of the tub for when it’s time to get out. Get in the habit of closing the lid of the toilet and/or install a toilet lid lock. A curious toddler who tries to play in the water can lose his balance and accidentally fall in.
Additional Bathroom Safety
Medicine and toiletry storage: Keep all medications in containers with safety caps. Remember, however, that these caps are child-resistant, not childproof, so storing medications and cosmetics up high and out of reach of little hands in a locked cabinet is ideal.
Electric appliances: If you use electrical appliances in the bathroom (particularly hair dryers and razors) be sure to unplug them and store them in a cabinet with a safety lock when they aren’t in use. If possible, install special bathroom wall sockets (ground-fault circuit interrupters) that lessen the likelihood of electric shock when an appliance comes in contact with water.
Soft and light and also good for sensory and motor stimulation. Safe and nontoxic: PVC free and BPA free which means no yucky mold and mildew concerns or chemical smell Mesh Net Organizer Storage Bag included which allows animals to quickly and easily dry Machine Washable
Quick Easy installation with no drilling, no mess and no handyman required Invisible magnetic locks hidden from view for everybody The extra strong magnets are designed to prevent smart toddlers or friends from opening a cabinet lock or drawers