tips

5 Tips for Road Trips with Littles

5 Tips for Road Trips with Littles

On Sunday we just got back from our first long weekend away with the kiddos. We drove from NY to PA and spent Thursday through Sunday relaxing and spending some time away from real life.  We all had a blast especially Tyler. The trip went really well and aside from one very minor snafu, it was a nice break.  The following are a few tips we have from the experience.  

Does Your Schedule Run Your Life?

Does Your Schedule Run Your Life?

Do you ever feel like your schedule is running your life? The other weekend was kind of like that. On Saturday we had an inspection at my house at 9 am, T had dance class at 10, I had to go to the store to pick up something for my brother's pot luck engagement party later that day, a house showing at 2pm, and then the engagement party at 4pm.  After the engagement party my husband also had a cast party for a show he was in while I stayed home with the kids.  The next day my son had picture day at the dance school at 11:30, and then I had to pick up my in laws, and then my daughter's cake, and be back home for Hailey's birthday party at 2pm.

5 Top Tips for Decluttering With Kids

5 Top Tips for Decluttering With Kids

Decluttering is hard. Decluttering with kids is even harder.  When we start to sort through our kids belongings, we get nostalgic, they discover how much they really love that thing they never played with for the last year, and letting go becomes hard.  The following 5 tips will help you to declutter your kids' rooms with less stress and more fun!  

The Busy Mom's Guide to Spring Cleaning

The Busy Mom's Guide to Spring Cleaning

This guide walks you through some of the major areas of spring cleaning the busy mom way.  It has been spring for a few days now, so its officially time to start opening the doors and windows and cleaning house.  But if you are like me, you don't suddenly have tons of time to devote to cleaning.  This post will break down how to get that deep down clean feeling in your flooring, windows, and curtains with simple steps and in less time!

A Bedtime Routine that Works

A Bedtime Routine that Works

Getting your kids to bed is hard.  They don't want to go to bed yet, they want these pjs not those, they need 10 bedtime stories, now they need water.... Getting the kids finally settled can be exhausting especially when you are already exhausted.  I'm usually on my own for bedtime since my husband mostly works nights.  Because of this, I have developed a process that gets both kids to sleep without fuss 6 out of 7 days a week.  

Pantry Quickies: Quick Tips For Cleaning Your Pantry

Pantry Quickies: Quick Tips For Cleaning Your Pantry

It happens to all of us. We have the best of intentions for an organized pantry. We plan to use things before they expire and keep things rotating. Then one day we look in our pantry and it's a mess. Something has spilled, other things have  expired and our organized rows have become a jumble. When you don't have time to really take apart your pantry, here are some quick tips to help it feel more organized.  

Quick Tips To Make Cleaning Go Faster

Quick Tips To Make Cleaning Go Faster

I hate cleaning. Plus sometimes it just feels like a wasted effort when the mess is back an hour later.  And then if that weren't enough to dissuade you, the time it takes can be incredible.  Hours to clean what takes my kids 30 seconds to dirty.  On the other hand, the peace of mind that comes with a clean and organized home is amazing. You can physically feel the difference when you enter a clean room. It also does wonders for your mindset! So, in order to help you get in and out of cleaning mode more quickly, here are some tips to make cleaning go faster.

Staying Fit During the Holidays

Staying Fit During the Holidays

It is that time of year when foods are rich and desserts seem to be available in abundance.  Even those who have a steady fitness routine throughout the year can succumb to the temptation of holiday treats.  It really is hard this time of year with less opportunities to workout outdoors and more sugary treats appearing everywhere we turn.  I've put together a list of tips to help us all stay fit during the holidays.

Tips For Reducing Your Holiday Shopping Stress

I know, I know, it's not even Halloween and I'm talking holiday shopping.  I'm the first to complain when I see Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving.  I am all about giving each holiday it's due. Plus now that I have a child that can actually anticipate holidays, I don't need him pestering about presents so far in advance.

On the other hand, there is no logic to cramming all that shopping into the month of December.  I mean with so many other holiday things to do like holiday parties and visiting Santa, who can possibly do all that and not stress?! Not I. For me, slow and steady wins the race.  So, here are some tips on how I keep holiday shopping stress free.

  • Start Early

    If you haven’t started yet, start now. There are two big benefits to this; time and money.  Starting early means you have months to get your shopping done instead of weeks. No pushing your way through over crowded stores. No running around on Christmas Eve. No rushing from store to store because what you want is sold out.  Expense wise, you get to spread the cost of the holidays over multiple months prior to the holidays.  Unlike spreading the cost over multiple months after holidays, this method does not involve paying interest.

  • Make a list

    Make a list but only be super specific when you have to be.  For example, Tyler is at an age where he wants specific things.  He wants to complete his collection of Ghostbusters mystery minis, and he wants certain Lego sets. Items for him are very specific.  Hailey on the other hand is unable to voice her opinions. Therefore, her list might look more like: clothes, stuffed animal, educational toy. For my brother I might write model train equipment.  Then anytime I find model train equipment on sale, I can buy him something and check him off my list.  The less specific you can be for people, the better.  Then you have a broader range of options and can find better deals.  Of course, you want it to still be something they would want/need and like.

  • Put your list into a spread sheet

    Make a spreadsheet listing each person or group of people you need to buy gifts for in the first column.  For example, individuals I need to buy gifts for include, my hubs, Tyler and Hails, my nephews, my mom, my brother, etc.. Groups might be my aunt and uncle, Tyler’s teachers, etc. In the next column list what you plan on purchasing them.  If they are getting more than one item, make a new row for each item. The next 3 columns are as follows: bought, wrapped, delivered/shipped. You could of course do this by hand, but I love the clean look of spreadsheets!  Print out your completed list and bring it with you wherever you go. If you are not sure what to get someone, leave their line blank.  You can fill it in when you get inspired.  Now anytime you find something that someone on your list would like, you can check it off your list.  No more over buying because you forgot you already got something. This also keeps track of your wrapping so you won’t get behind on that either. Check out my sample spreadsheet below. Note that this is not my actual list incase these people are reading my blog…

 

  • Make 2 lists for your kids

    If you have been through any gift giving occasion with kids before, you know you will be bombarded with questions from relatives of what to get your kids.  Be prepared.  Once you make the list of things that you will be getting your kids yourself, make a second list of things that they want or need.  Keep this second list with you as well or give it to your husband, but not both.  You need to have a designated go to person for this list.  You don’t want both parents giving items out because the whole purpose here is to avoid multiples of the same gift.  Now when someone asks what to get your kids, your go to person can give them items from your list.  Be aware that these people may not necessarily get the item you suggest to them, but you can hopefully prevent multiples of the same gift.  You also avoid the texts back and forth “did you get so and so this?”, “No, OK then I’m getting it”, “OK so then what should I get them now?”….  You can always hold onto the list and if your kids didn’t get the item for Christmas, now you already have a list for their birthday!

I hope you find this list helpful! Do you have tips to reduce holiday shopping stress?? If so leave your tips in the comments!

Cheers,

Emily

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Tips For Dressing Your Breastfeeding Body

Tips-For-Dressing-Your-Breastfeeding-Body.jpg

In case you didn't know, the only thing more difficult and awkward than dressing a pregnant body, is dressing a postpartum body. Especially if you are breastfeeding. There are just so many things to consider. You are likely not back at your pre-pregnancy size yet. You have to consider fit, whether it's appropriate for where you are going, can you access your boobs for feeding or pumping, etc..  You can no longer just throw something on.

Then you discover nursing clothes and you think you are saved only to discover that many nursing tops are made to serve both through pregnancy and beyond. While this may be economical, in many cases it's not flattering. If you want to discourage people from asking if you are still pregnant, this is not the way to do it.

The following are some tips for dressing that post baby, breastfeeding body.

1. Tank tops and Camisoles: These tops are generally stretchy and can be pulled down allowing you access to your boob out of the neck hole. It's appropriate for summer and, paired with a light cardigan, it can be worn to work. Whilst this doesn't conceal your belly per se, it also doesn't make it look any bigger. Another plus is they are comfortable to wear under a baby carrier.

2. Old Navy Nursing Tops: These can be hit or miss. Old Navy has some inexpensive options, but I definitely recommend going and trying them on. I found a cute tank top which you may have seen in my postpartum update on Friday. You can see it again below. I also found a dress that made me look more pregnant than when I was pregnant. I didn't get that one.... So try things on!!

3. Button Downs: Button down shirts are great while breastfeeding. You may have to go up a size though depending on how much your boobs have grown. I picked up the top below at H & M and I love it for the office. It's cute and I just have to open one or two buttons to feed the peanut.

4. Bearsland: This is a brand that I recently found following my second pregnancy. This is a brand created by a mom who wanted cute breastfeeding tops that also covered the belly that she was still working on. The tops are both comfortable and cute. They cover what they need to cover while still providing easy access. I have purchased several of their tops. You can see one below.  You can find the one I'm wearing here.

Do you have a favorite brand or type of nursing top? I really dislike having to do the whole lift up your shirt thing to feed the baby. I also still want to look cute. And I don't want to have to pump when I'm actually going to be with my daughter. Therefore, I'm always looking for new nursing options. So if you have any good ones, help a mother out. I hope I have returned the favor!

See you Friday!

Cheers,

Emily

How to Cope with Sleep Deprivation 

I will start by saying that sleep is super important. As far as your health goes, assuming you have the choice, it is far better to get enough sleep than workout. Note, it's not that you shouldn't work out, it's that sleep is even more beneficial for your health. This is coming from someone who loves to workout daily.

That said, having a newborn implies sleep deprivation. Add grad school on top of that and a rambunctious 3 year old and there is no way that you are getting a full nights sleep. Today I finally took my final for my last summer class. Considering that spring semester ended the day after Hailey was born and the summer semester started two days later, I haven't had a break from school since January. To say that I have been looking forward to a month off from classes before the fall is an understatement.

No matter what kind of schooling you do or what you major in, there are some classes that are more difficult than others. This last one was intense! Couple that with jam packing the information into a short 6 weeks of classes and well, I'm praying for a B by the skin of my teeth. In order to get even that I used a few tactics to combat my sleep deprivation.

1. Naps:

If you can't sleep at night, try to get a little shut eye during the day. Even a 30 minute power nap can recharge your battery for the rest of the day. Nothing combats sleep deprivation like, well, sleep. I can't get a nap every day, but when I can I try my darnedest to take it. Sometimes I just lay there with my eyes closed without actually  getting to sleep. But even that can help relax and restore.

2. Caffeine:

I'm a breastfeeding  mama so the amount of caffeine I can consume is limited. If your baby becomes jittery or agitated when you consume too much caffeine, it can keep your baby up. This can decrease your sleep even more. Otherwise, caffeine early in the day can help with your exhaustion. Since I sometimes have long drives for work, last time I had a newborn I would have coffee during the drive. Long monotonous drives can make you tired otherwise. I expect I will be doing this again when I start work again this time.

3. Exercise:

If you have to be up anyway, exercise is actually a good way to get energy. This may seem counterintuitive since you would think that you are expending energy. But, exercise can actually help you think more clearly and feel more energized. I like to exercise in the morning, but 5 minutes of increasing your heart rate can definitely give you a boost. Feeling drowsy mid afternoon? Go for a quick walk or jog or just dance to a few songs in your living room. You will definitely feel a lift in energy.

4. Keep busy:

Yesterday, the family took a trip to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. On a day that I would otherwise be exhausted after days with the kids and studying before they wake up and after they go to bed, I was able to keep up with them because I was busy. The monotony of day after day at home with a newborn can add to our exhaustion. The same can be said for any monotonous routine.  Take the kids to the park or zoo or grandma's house. Anything you do to change up the routine can help with your sleep deprivation.

That said I am looking foward to tomorrow morning when I can wake up and feed the baby and then relax until T gets up. Maybe even do a morning workout again! I can't wait!! As for tonight, I will be going to bed early to reclaim some of my sleep.

How do you combat sleep deprivation?

Happy weekend!!

Cheers,

Emily

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5 Tips On How to Get Ahead In Math This Summer

5 Tips On How to Get Ahead In Math This Summer

As you may know, I am currently studying for my graduate degree in math, so math skills are very important to me. Math is not only about computation, but also logic and ordered thinking. The following is a guest blog post from Zap Zap Math on helping your kids maintain their math skills over the summer in fun ways. 

Stop Procrastinating 

Procrastinating is easy. We all do it. We even rationalize it. I can either do that one difficult thing or a bunch of easy things. We tell ourselves that getting more done is better. Often times however, it is that things that we procrastinate on that will help us move forward the most.

Eat That Frog is a fantastic book by Brian Tracy about ways to stop procrastinating. It is a quick read but really life changing. It teaches you how to get the most important things done. This saves you time and energy. I have found this book to be invaluable.

One of the biggest tips in the book is where the title of the book comes from. Essentially, it says to get the big task, the one you want to put off or avoid, done first. Often times we want to work up to the big task. We do the easy little things first. This means that the big task looms over our head all day. It may or may not even get done. Then the next day comes and we do the same thing all over again. It's a vicious cycle. The things we really need to do get delayed far too long or don't happen at all. Obviously, this is not good.

Instead, eat that frog means you get the big overwhelming task done first.  This does several things. First, it ensures that the important thing gets done in a timely manner. Second, it does wonders for your mindset and energy. Instead of spending your day weighed down by the thought of what you are putting off, you have a renewed sense of accomplishment. You know that you accomplished the really hard thing, so your other tasks appear that much more manageable.

So now that we know that we need to get out most important task done first, we need to determine what that task is. Thus we need to prioritize and assess our goals and the things we need to do. This book delves in to how to determine what exactly is the task that needs to be done first.

There are tons of great practical tips and advice in this book. I definitely recommend checking it out. You can click on the link above to get it from Amazon. Go check it out!

Happy Weekend!

Cheers,

Emily

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

An Exercise in Patience

So today is May 10, 2016.  I was hoping that today's post would be a joy filled birth announcement with pictures of our brand new baby girl.  Well, Hailey has other plans.  Apparently, my womb is so comfortable, she has decided to never leave... Tyler was 3 days past his due date.  Hailey clearly was determined to beat that record.  Now that she has beaten his record, I have no idea what is holding her back.

As any mom knows, the last month of pregnancy is already an exercise in patience.   You are becoming progressively more uncomfortable and you're ready to meet your baby.  Plus there are just so many things that you are missing, like having a lap, sleeping on your front, drinking wine, having a hot dog, having sushi, not being swollen, having a deli sandwich, etc.. The list goes on and on.  During your pregnancy, your due date is like the light at the end of the tunnel.  You think, I just need to make it to that date and then I will have a beautiful baby and things can start getting back to where they belong.

When you exceed your due date, it is hard to see beyond your impatience.  This year, it seems like everyone I have ever met became pregnant.  On top of that, in the course of the last week, 5 people I know delivered their babies. FIVE. One of them on my due date.  Some of them were even early.  For someone who is already impatient, this only adds insult to injury.

In light of my need to relax and just let Hailey come when she is ready, I have put together some tips for practicing patience.

Tips for Practicing Patience

1. Breathe:

Deep breaths have the power to increase your calm and slow down your heart rate.  When you are impatient, you create your own stress and in my case stress can actually delay labor.  Practicing deep breathing can help you reduce your impatience.  This is a great time to take a yoga class or go for a nice swim.  Take a bath or a long shower if you can.  Anything that makes you more relaxed.

2. Distract:

A great way to increase patience is to distract yourself from whatever it is you are waiting for.  If you dwell on whatever it is that is making you impatient, it will only increase your impatience.  Find something to distract yourself like playing with your kids, de-cluttering, grad school homework, anything that will take your mind off of what you are waiting for.  I am supposed to take my last final this week.  So I have studying to distract me.  Of course I also have the concern that she'll finally decide to come when I have to take my test, but my professor has stated that arrangements can be made.

3. Think:

Remind yourself that the thing you are impatient about is beyond your control.  Instead, think about any benefits or positives in the situation.  In my case, I have several positive thoughts to help me through my impatience.  My baby is definitely not a premie, so we don't have to worry about the health issues that can come with that.  We have gotten extra time to finish any last minute preparations for Hailey.  Tyler gets a few extra days being the only child.  I didn't have to spend Mother's Day in the hospital.  The later she comes, the more of the summer I have off on maternity leave.  This very much links back to looking at the silver lining which we talked about last week.

4. Figure Out Plan B

When you are waiting on news or results, its easy to be consumed with the waiting.  Instead take this time to figure out plan B.  What will you do if the answer is what you wanted? What will you do if it is not? In this case, I know that my doctor will not let me go past 42 weeks the latest and every few days I will schedule an appointment to make sure Hailey is OK in there.  Knowing that I will not go beyond May 20th still seems like forever at this point, but at least its a maximum.  Hopefully, Hailey decides to make her exit much earlier.

There are some great resources out there about things you can do to increase your patience including here and here.  However, many of these tips are for developing patience for some future situation.  These four tips are for the here and now.  If you are already in a situation where you are impatient, these tips can help you relax and be more patient.

Fingers crossed that Hailey is here by Friday.  If not, I will definitely be continuing to put these tips into practice.  In the meantime, I am gratefully accepting any prayers and positive thoughts that Hailey will grace us with her presence.

Cheers,

Emily

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers