Monthly Archives

February 2019

  • Kids Consignment Sales – Part One: 5 Tips for a Successful Sale

    We are officially heading into spring and that means consignment season is upon us!

    Blog Image of clothing saying Consignment Sales 5 Tips for a First-Timer

    Twice a year, I sift through piles of clothing, unused toys, books and baby gear to prep them for our local spring and winter consignment sales. I have found that participating in these events not only helps to declutter our home (Marie Kondo would be so proud), but its a simple and frugal way to outfit our children throughout the year. As a consignor, I’ve actually made a decent amount of money selling old items and then turned that money around to purchase seasonal-appropriate clothing and toys.

    Now the idea of consigning might seem intimidating for a first-timer, but I promise it can be so beneficial to you and your family. And since I’ve involved myself in a handful of sales, I want to share my best pieces of advice for those considering taking the leap. Part one of my consignment post series will highlight 5 tips for a first-time consignor and will hopefully be a great resource to set you up for success.

    Choose the Right Sale

    The first thing to keep in mind when signing up as a consignor, is making sure you choose the right children’s consignment show to participate in. There are a handful of factors that help make this decision easier and they are:

    • Location – Is it convenient to you?
    • Date – Will you have plenty of time to prepare? Are you available during the show days for drop-off/pick-up?
    • Size of Sale – Is the show pulling in a lot of buyers and making it worth your time and investment?
    • Season – Consider the items you want to sell, particularly clothing. Does the season work well for the items you wish to sell? (ie. If you have a lot of winter jackets and shirts, your items will not be accepted at a sale in the spring).

    Give Yourself Time to Prep

    Preparing your inventory takes A LOT of time; so plan accordingly in order to hit your drop-off deadline. You will need at least a months time in advance to go through the items you wish to sell, wash/clean, bundle items (if you plan to do this), list on the inventory software and tag.

    To learn more about the step-by-step preparation process I use, check out this post.

    Choose Items to Sell Wisely

    Go through all your items and choose the ones that are likely to sell at the show. This is also a good time to see everything you want to get rid of and decide if donating the items to a local thrift-store makes more sense. Here are some helpful tips when it comes to choosing what items to consign:

    • Make sure you pick in-season clothing (jackets, long-sleeve for winter / short-sleeves, shorts, summer dresses for spring, etc.)
    • Don’t include dingy, worn/torn or stained clothing
    • Don’t include items that are broken or have missing pieces
    • Older kids clothing, baby gear and outdoor play equipment are the fastest sellers and in high-demand. Additionally, clothing sets or outfits sell better than separates.

    Price Items Fairly

    Generally, children’s consignment events advise to sell at 30%-40% of the retail price, but it is best to refer to the specific consignment sales staff on a recommended pricing guideline. See our pricing guide below!

    Image of Rock It Mama's recommended pricing guide to use for kids consignment sales.

    Presentation is Key

    Presentation means everything at consignment events. When selling your gently-used items, you want to make sure that from a buyers standpoint, the items still look relatively new. Always wash/iron all clothing, wipe down and sanitize any baby gear or products and make sure all electronics have new, working batteries so buyers are able to test them out.

    Images from kids consignment sale Weecycle Wardrobe

    Photos courtesy of Weecycled Wardrobe

    For a more in-depth look at preparing for children’s consignment sales, be sure to check out Part Two – Prepping Your Inventory. And if you plan to consign in any future sales, be sure to bookmark or pin this post for reference!

    Have you participated in children’s consignment sales? What are the best tips you suggest for a first-timer?

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  • 15 Questions to Ask Your Daycare Provider

    As far back as I can remember, I woke up to kids in my home, and I’m not only referring to my siblings. My mom started her in-home childcare business when I was only a year old in a career move to spend more time with her kids. For a young girl like myself, it was amazing. I had an instant group of playmates waiting for me in the basement every morning. I was surrounded by toys and crafts and a space for imaginative play that was just waiting to be harvested. I always had someone to play with, learn alongside and grow up against. My mom became licensed, installed her small business in the lower level of our home, transformed it into a colorful, learning & play environment and eventually developed her own preschool program. She’s been doing it ever since.

    I’ve witnessed some incredible child transformations under her care. She has a method of disarming turbulent children that is soothing and transformative. She’s found the balance of being firm, yet nurturing to spirited personalities without dimming their flame. I would go as far as to say she’s perfected it over the past 30 years. Her kids are impassioned. They love learning. They play hard. And they absolutely adore her as their Mrs. Lisa. And because she is a vault of untapped knowledge and the person I go to for motherly advice, I decided it would be fun to pick her brain about early childhood development, what to look for when interviewing a daycare provider, and where to begin if you’re considering starting your very own in-home business. Keep reading for some solid advice from a 30 year preschool teacher and my beloved mama, which includes 15 Questions to ask Your Daycare Provider before enrollment.

    What are some important questions parents should be asking potential childcare providers before enrolling? Can you offer any extra advice on the interview process?

    Parents should ask if a provider is licensed or registered and if so, check the Division of Licensing Website for a list of visits and violations. Important questions can be found on the graphic below.

    We here at Rockitmama are big on promoting outdoor play, as mentioned in the graphic above. Why do you think it is so important to get the kids out once a day if possible?

    Kids are made to move! Running, climbing, and exercising those gross motor muscles is pertinent to a child’s physical development. Fresh air, sunshine and a change of scenery is good for everyone. The children have better attention span, better attitudes and rest harder at nap time after their outdoor recess. Not to mention the nature learning opportunities with insects, leaves, birds, nests, turtles, bunnies, etc. that we encounter! It also sets the tone as they get older and are exposed to screens and devices. Children who are conditioned to outdoor play & exploration at an early age are more likely to enjoy it later on in life.

    What is the most important component of child behavioral transformation? How do you get them to respond?

    Success in behavior transformation really depends on the age, but consistency is crucial at every stage. For very young children such as toddlers, redirection is best. As they become preschoolers the tantrums can be rough. Allow them to feel their full range of emotions without reinforcing the behavior. It’s easy to give in to the wails and meltdowns, but it will make it more difficult to follow through the next time. Children must know that your words are true and you mean what you say. Save the strong tones for extreme behaviors and issues that really matter to emphasize that the negative actions will not be tolerated. In other words, choose your battles wisely. Time away, removal from the situation to discuss what happened, and conversations about how the situation could be handled differently in the future are also useful tools to inspire behavior change.

    What values should parents be instilling in their children from an early age to help them find success in life?

    Empathy – show it towards your child and others.

    Honesty – always be truthful with your children and make sure that they always see you being honest with others. Trust and unconditional love is crucial to any child/parent relationship.

    Accountability – give praise when your child admits to their mistakes and owns them.  Let them know that we all make mistakes but that we are responsible for our actions and cannot place blame on others for what we do.

    Confidence – provide opportunities for them to conquer a new task or skill.  Applaud the mastery but don’t overdo it as the praise will not be as meaningful over time.

    How do you motivate children to focus and get excited about learning? 

    Learning should be fun for young children! Being silly, dancing, singing, and providing fun activities for the kids makes for a successful program. Reading a book and creating a corresponding character craft is an awesome way for children to connect with the material. The most important skills for young children to learn before starting school are social (sharing, taking turns, etc). Additionally, preschoolers should begin practicing to compromise, learn basic problem solving and develop the ability to follow directions.

    For those interested in becoming a provider, where should they begin?

    If you plan to care for less than 5 children, a license is not required. However, taking the effort to become registered or licensed is a big selling point for your business. Parents will know that there is regulation in your daycare and routine inspections are taking place. In regards to advertisement, word of mouth is the best method. Fostering a good reputation among clients will help your business spread like wildfire. Also, advertising with online “moms groups”, utilizing social media, and posting a flyer at your local library are great marketing strategies. Networking with other providers for referrals is also a great way to fill your slots.

    Thanks for the Q&A, Mom. Any additional thoughts as a mother of 3 now-adult children?

    For moms: your love for your children is enough. You will make mistakes or wish you had handled certain situations differently in hindsight, but if your child rearing is done with the best of you and the best of your intentions, that is enough. Be confident in your role as their parent because no-one can love your child the way you do. Children pick up on insecurity- own your decisions and be consistent! Your self-assurance enables your children to feel safe and secure.

    Hooray for enriching educational experiences, and providers like my mom who continue to ready our littles for success with love and attentive care.

    Did you enjoy 15 Questions to Ask Your Daycare Provider? Leave a comment below! Also be sure to check out our post  7 Tips for Returning to Work After Baby and how to survive your first week back!

     

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  • Returning to Work After Baby – 7 Tips to Survive Your First Week

    One of the most stressful things to deal with when you finally get a hold of this mama-hood thing, is the transition of returning to work after baby. The range of emotions can be quite harrowing – you are excited to head back and focus on your career, you are dealing with the guilt that comes with leaving your child with someone else, you are figuring out how to manage your evening schedule and not to mention the logistics of pumping at work. After all, you did just have a major life change.

    Returning to Work After Baby 7 Tips to Survive Your First Week | Rock It Mama | Use these 7 helpful pieces of advice to help you transition to work after baby

    I’m not going to lie – heading back to work had me worried sick. I made sure to consider every piece of advice that was thrown at me and still had minor setbacks. But, after being at work for a month, I am finally ready to share with you KEY tips to help you survive your first week back after baby.

    Here Are 7 Tips to Survive Your First Week Back After Baby

    Be Content with Your Decision

    The very first thing many new moms struggle with when heading back to work is heavy mom guilt. I felt like leaving my son at a daycare was a disservice to him and in turn, I was being a bad mother. With my first son I was able to stay at home with him for three years while working from home and never had to go back after maternity leave. I felt that I should have been able to provide this same amount of at-home experience and quality time with my second as well. But after a lot of reflection and focusing on my why, I finally felt content with my decision. I had to remind myself that I was going back to work to help with finances – our family thrives on dual income. Additionally I wanted to advance my career and, truthfully, I’ve always enjoyed a sense of autonomy. Returning to work wasn’t a selfish decision – it’s was the best change for my  family and I needed to stop feeling like I was falling short of expectations. It can be so freeing when you get rid of the doubt and guilt that comes with returning to work after baby.

    Meet with Your Employer

    Make sure you meet with your supervisor or boss before starting your first day and iron out any details that might concern you. Have there been any company or project changes you need to be aware of? Does your employer need to consider accommodations if you plan to pump at work? Maybe you aren’t quite ready to jump in with both feet and want to see if there are options for a flexible work schedule. Whatever the case may be, it’s always best to make sure you know what is expected of you and how your employer can help during the transition as much as possible; no one likes last minute surprises.

    Set Your Start Date (Preferably Mid-week)

    When returning to work, consider the benefits of starting your first day back in the middle of the week. As a nursing mother, I had never really been away from my child longer than a few hours, so the thought of being away from him 8 hours a day for 5 days in a row was daunting. But, if you were to start on a Wednesday, returning to your 9-5 will be for just a few days before the weekend begins and your little one is slowly transitioning to daycare as well.

    Prepare for Pumping

    If you plan to pump of course! Overpack too – I cannot stress this enough. You will need all the typical supplies and more. Plan for back up manual pumps (that you can leave in the car), extra milk storage bags, batteries, nursing pads, pump cleaning wipes and a cooler bag. Seriously, you do not want to be stuck in a rut needing to pump with a lack of supplies – and it will happen.

    Some of my favorite pumping supplies are:

    Freemie, Hands Free Breast Milk Pump Collection
    Kiinde Breast Milk Storage Gift Set
    Medela, Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Wipes 
    Lansinoh Portable Manual Breast Pump
    Insulated Baby Bottle Tote Bag

    Returning to Work After Baby 7 Tips to Survive Your First Week | Rock It Mama | Use these 7 helpful pieces of advice to help you transition to work after baby

    Pamper Yourself

    Heading back to work after baby, although its a lifestyle change, can be very exciting! Take the time to pamper and reward yourself by getting a fresh new haircut or manicure/pedicure. Odds are, you aren’t quite fitting in your pre-baby clothes and maternity no longer suits you. Treat yourself to some new work clothes and head back with confidence!

    Plan Your Meals

    If you saw my last post, you know I am all about meal planning. When your evening are cut short and cooking dinner seems overwhelming, meal planning or freezer meals can be a lifesaver! See my most recent post on make-ahead freezer meals that can help alleviate your first week back.

    Do a Practice Run

    Try out your new routine a week before you’re due back at the office. This is the best way to work out any kinks that you might run into before actually running into them. Make sure you have a back up plan if anything goes awry. Consider sending your child to childcare a week in advance to get them adjusted to their new schedule as well.

    The logistics of returning to work might seem like a lot leading up to your first day back, but it will be only a matter of time until you and your family will be settled into this new lifestyle.

    If you found these tips helpful, you might enjoy this post on creating family traditions.

    Happy Friday!

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  • 7 Unique Ideas for Date Night at Home

    Do ya’ll remember the days of endless spontaneity and freedom? When a date night was as simple as “Where are we going?” Now it requires a pre-planned evening, a babysitter and basically an act of congress to get out the door together. And yet, quality alone time is essential for any relationship and a catalyst in rekindling the flame (or in our case just a moment of uninterrupted conversation). Let us help you plan the perfect night in with some suggestions guaranteed to spark the romance. Cheers to everblooming love and these 7 Unique Ideas for Date Night at Home!

    Make Home-made Pizza With Unique Toppings

    Pizza is the great equalizer. And don’t be afraid to take some liberties with the toppings! Goat Cheese and pickles anyone?

    Go Camping (at home)

    Now there are a few ways to get this done. You can take it to the full extreme with a bonfire, roasted weenies and smores, all in the comfort of your backyard. It doesn’t get anymore romantic than a fireside dinner under the stars. OR, if that’s a bit too extra and perhaps out of the question, blow up the air mattress and have a sleepover in the living room by the fireplace. Switching things up is exciting and refreshing!

    Plan a Wine Night

    Go to Total Wine, splurge on some good wines and spend the evening pairing with various desserts and cheeses! Click below for Rockitmama’s quick printable guide to make your research fairly easy!

    FREE Wine & Chocolate Pairing Printable

    Read a Book Together and Discuss Each Chapter

    The 5 Love Languages is a great place to start. Learning alongside your partner is a wonderful way to strengthen your bond. If reading isn’t quite your thing, consider a podcast or a download book on audible to listen to and examine together.

    Find a Youtube Yoga Video and Wind Down Together

    This is an awesome way to destress and get the blood flowing. Take the poses seriously or just practice for fun.

    Choose a DIY project from Pinterest

    Select a project and spend the evening creating. All of the ideas below are adorable and a wonderful way to work those team building and communication skills with your partner. Can’t wait to try these out with my hubby!

    1. Pebble Art – A Snuggling Couple
    2. His/Hers DIY Key Holder
    3. DIY His/Hers Mugs for Couples
    4. “Spooning Since” DIY Frame
    5. Romantic DIY Photo Coasters

    Have a Scary Movie Night

    Dim the lights, pop the popcorn, cuddle up under some blankets and watch one of your favorite slasher films or one you haven’t seen before!

    We hope you put these ideas to use! Add a delicious treat to the evening with our Red Velvet Waffle Recipe

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  • Yes, My Family is Complete – An Open Letter

    I’m checking out at the grocery store, slowly piling a cart full of food onto the belt when the woman behind me comments on my “adorable sons.” I thank her and make small talk about the challenges of raising babies and toddlers, when it comes out with surprising ease.

    “Well are you going to try for a girl? I mean, you HAVE to have a girl,”

    I half-heartedly laugh and give a cheap retort about enjoying my sleep too much. Its not the first time a stranger has offered commentary on the gender dynamics of my family, and I’m fairly certain for the next few years I’ll be told repeatedly by bystanders how to render it “complete.” I know I’m not alone in this bewilderment, as I’ve shared experiences with other boy-moms and girl-moms alike who receive the same unsolicited “advice” when it comes to having children: If you don’t have both genders then you just aren’t finished yet.

    Now, I’m sure Mary at the Supermarket meant well and was mostly making small talk, and not meaning to project some societal standard of what the nuclear family looks like on to mine. But it had me pondering on the way home- is there something I’m missing? Will my life be less fulfilling without a daughter? Perhaps these questions are always there, and this conversation just brought them to the surface.

    And while sure, on occasion, I pass the little girls section and drool over the adorable dresses and matching bows & imagine our world with a third child and possibly a girl. I picture two older brothers fawning over a baby sis and feel a sense of wonder sneaking in. But the truth is, I love having two children. I adore these silly, wild and often times dirty little boys. So much so, that I don’t feel the desire to “try” for a girl. Which brings me to the question, and one I’ve analyzed a lot lately: What can I not accomplish in my relationships with my sons, that I could with a daughter? The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    “Their gender doesn’t determine the depth of our relationships,”

    My kids will get all of me. Not some version of myself catered to the idea of them being boys. I get to cultivate the loving bond I want with my children, and their gender doesn’t determine the depth of our relationships. The happiness we share is the result of the love we give to the ones we have, and our family is assuredly whole in its current configuration. And the next time I meet another Mary at the Supermarket, I’ll remember to take the comments with a grain of salt, confident that my family is fulfilled, and that we alone get to decide when it is complete.

    If you found yourself in this story and want to read more, try another open letter: Keep Giving

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  • 5 Make-Ahead Freezer Meals in 45 Minutes (& Grocery List)

    As an avid cook, I can’t tell you how many times I have been stuck in a jam or caught up in life and resorted to fast-food or pick-up. And while I love the occasional splurges on Thai food or Five Guys in an effort to get dinner on the table faster, it can really add up if you are trying to budget. So what is the solution if you don’t have the time to play cook at night?

    Freezer meals!5 Freezer Meals in 45 Minutes | Rock It Mama | Shop using this complimentary shopping list and make 5 make-ahead freezer meals in under an hour!Make-ahead dinners, freezer meals, dump recipes…whatever you prefer to call them have been a lifesaver during the week and honestly I don’t think I will ever go back. Its pretty simple – get the items you need, carve out an hour of your week to prepare your meals, throw into a freezer bag or casserole dish and you’re done. The best part is prepping for these meals can be done in as little as 45 minutes (and this weeks menu only cost me $67 from Publix). When you are ready to make your recipe, just thaw, throw in the crock pot and it’ll be ready by the time you get home!

    We’ve received some feedback that our readers would enjoy some easy family recipes, so this will be the first of a series of make-ahead freezer meals from our kitchen to yours. Let’s get started.

    Before you begin, make sure you have the following supplies:

    • Gallon-sized freezer bags
    • Measuring cups
    • Measuring spoons
    • Can opener
    • Sharpie/label – for writing instructions on bag
    • Disposable foil baking pan or casserole dish

    Here are some of our favorite make-ahead freezer meals that you can make this week – along with a handy grocery shopping list!

    1. Taco Chili

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package ground beef, cooked
    • 1 medium white onion, chopped
    • 1 15.25oz can corn, drained
    • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
    • 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Monterey jack cheese, chopped green onions, cilantro and Fritos, for garnishing

    Directions:

    • Cook beef and set aside to cool
    • Combine all ingredients in freezer bag
    • Place all thawed ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour
    • Continue to took on low for 4-6 hours
    • Serve with shredded cheese, cilantro, green onions and Fritos

    2. White Bean Chicken Chili

    Ingredients:

    • 3 chicken breasts
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 1 white onion, minced
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
    • 2 15.8oz can Great Northern beans
    • 2 4.5oz cans green chilis
    • 1 cup corn, drained
    • Sour cream, lime juice and cilantro, for garnishing

    Directions:

    • Combine chicken brother, onion, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, dry ranch mix and chicken breasts into freezer bag
    • Place thawed items from freezer bag in slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours
    • Remove chicken and shred. Return to slow cooker and add beans, green chilis and corn. Cover for another 30 minutes
    • Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro

    5 Freezer Meals in 45 Minutes | Rock It Mama | Shop using this complimentary shopping list and make 5 make-ahead freezer meals in under an hour!3. Shephards Pie

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package ground beef
    • 1 packet Idahoan Baby Red Mashed Potatoes
    • 1 14.75oz can creamed corn
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 350. Cook the ground beef, salt and pepper and add in frozen peas at the end. Add ground beef and peas to casserole dish as the first layer
    • Make mashed potatoes according to directions on package. Layer on top of ground beef
    • Spread creamed corn over mashed potatoes as third layer. Keep frozen until ready to make
    • When ready, thaw in refrigerator and cook in oven for 30 minutes

    4. Sausage with Onions and Peppers

    Ingredients:

    • 1 16oz sausage, sliced
    • 1 white onion, sliced
    • 3 bell peppers, (red, yellow and green)
    • 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes, fire roasted, not drained
    • 1 chicken bouillon cube
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp cajun seasoning

    Directions:

    • For meal prep – combine all ingredients into freezer bag.
    • Place thawed contents in slow cooker on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3 hours
    • Serve over rice

    5. New England Chicken Chowder

    Ingredients:

    • 4 slices of uncooked bacon, chopped
    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
    • 2 15.25 cans corn, drained
    • 1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 garlic
    • 1 packet Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing and recipe mix
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Parmesan cheese and thyme, for garnishing

    Directions:

    • Combine bacon, chicken, chicken broth, carrots, onions, celery, half the corn and potatoes in freezer bag
    • Place thawed ingredients from freezer bag in slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours
    • Uncover and shred chicken
    • In blender, smooth corn and milk. Add to soup with salt and pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning packet
    • Cover and cook 10-15 minutes. Garnish with parmesan cheese and thyme

    Use this grocery shopping list for the 5 make-ahead freezer meals

    5 Freezer Meals in 45 Minutes | Rock It Mama | Shop using this complimentary shopping list and make 5 make-ahead freezer meals in under an hour! grocery list

    To make things even easier during the week, I highly recommend trying out Instacart., where you can shop online and schedule your grocery deliveries from local stores! I plan our dinner schedule in advance and place my order with Instacart on Fridays to be delivered on Saturdays, then begin prepping the meals right away. Feel free to use this link to receive $10 off your first order.

    For more family recipes we enjoy, be sure to follow our board on Pinterest.

    If  you have tried these recipes OR if you would like us to share more make-ahead freezer meal recipes in the future, let us know in the comments below!

    Bon apetit,

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