How to Help Your Kid to Pick a Right Sport

Guest Post

 

Do you remember as a child what the first sport you ever played was?

Maybe your dad was the star of his high school football team and just could not wait to get you out on the field, training to be his prodigy.

Or, maybe your mom just could not get over how adorable she always pictured you would look in a little leotard at your first dance recital.

Now, you have your own child and you are trying to get them involved in something…

But, you don’t want to be the overbearing parent who forces them to participate in the sport of your choice, but you also don’t want to pay five different entry fees only for them to quit each team after the first week because they can’t decide what they like.

Sports are a great way to get your child involved in physical activity, to help them develop skills, and to help introduce them to new people. Health benefits of sport participation for children include: reduced risk of obesity, better cardiovascular health, good mental health and better sleep, improved coordination and balance.

So, when it comes time to consider signing your little athlete up for little league, how do you decide if a little league is the right choice?

Well, whether it is little league or cheerleading, be sure to consider these aspects of the sport:

 

• Does it include your child’s physical traits?

Is your child flexible? Are they tall? Are they extra strong? Most children have a distinct physical trait about them that sticks out more than the rest.

Typically, this physical trait is one that can be maximized on with a specific sport. For example, if your child is tall, you might see if they would like to pursue basketball.

Of course, this is not always the case, coming from a tall person who was only decent at basketball. But, it does give you a good place to start.

• Does it match their temperament?

Some children are extremely competitive, while others are not. Some prefer to focus on individual goals, while others prefer to focus on team goals.

One thing that can really make or break a sport for your child is if they enjoy the atmosphere. For example, a non-competitive child thrown into a competitive sport can make the child act extremely timid and shy.

• How much is your child willing to put in?

Another aspect of a sport that contributes to how much your child enjoys it is the aspect of time.

 

How much dedication and time will this sport require?

There are sports that meet once a week and others that meet numerous times each week – it is all about finding a balance between what your child wants and what different sports offer.

As parents, it is not our job to force our child to pursue any sport. But, rather, we should guide them into a place they will enjoy and excel in.

Start by asking them questions to find out what they think they might enjoy, what some of their friends might be involved in, and how much time and effort they are willing to dedicate to their chosen sport.

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AWE Süsse PD All-In-One Diaper Review

The AWE Süsse PD All-In-One Diaper was designed and created by three moms that decided to open an eco-friendly family store! Their store, AWE Süsse was named with their youngest children’s names in mind, along with their German heritage. They carry many of the brands we all know and love- but they also have created their own diaper!

About the Diaper

This diaper was designed with their babies in mind. It is easy to use for babysitters and daycare providers- but also absorbent enough for bedtime! The diaper has a PUL outer layer around French terry, to keep clothes dry. On the inside, you’ll find a layer of athletic jersey lining to pull the wetness away from baby’s sensitive skin. The absorbant stiched in insert is made up of French terry, organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. The insert is wrapped in organic cotton so only the softest material touches baby. With four rows of snaps, there’s many size settings to make sure your baby gets the best fit possible.

On to one of my favorite features: the rainbow snaps. We’ve seen rainbow snaps on Lalabye Baby diapers, and it’s one of their big selling points. The AWE Süsse PD All-In-One Diaper also has rainbow snaps to make diaper changes easy for other caretakers. Its super easy to grab a index card and color the outline of the diaper and then circle which color snap setting baby is currently fitting into. This makes it a million times easier to leave baby with someone that is unfamiliar with cloth diapering!

Want to use it on a newborn? This diaper also features an umbilical cord snap down! Because of the way the snaps are designed, you also have the option of a fifth rise to make it even tinier for the itty bittiest of babies! This diaper will start to fit around 8 lbs and fit until 35 lbs.

My Experience

I refuse to post about a diaper that did not work for us- because how can I tell you to use it if I wouldn’t? Well- this is not the case here! I love this diaper! It fits SUPER trim but it so absorbent. It even passed our bedtime test! 😉 Jackson seemed comfortable and his super sensitive skin wasn’t red, even after spending the night in it- which is a constant issue we have with using cloth for nighttime. The available designs are super adorable! I absolutely love the galaxy print: AWE Süsse Dreams. Isn’t it amazing?!

 

Overall- my experience with the diaper was fantastic. I love the elastics, the rainbow snaps, the materials used, and of course…. the absorbancy! This diaper is a winner in my book. I just wish I had a teeny tiny squish to try it on and see how it would fit on a newborn!

 

So now- a giveaway! You’ve seen what I like about the diaper so tell me in the comments- What’s your favorite feature of the AWE Süsse PD AIO diaper?

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Please note: I did receive the diapers for the review. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.

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A Look @ Babyganics + a Review!

 

As a Guidance Guide Brand Ambassador- I received this amazing package from Babyganics! Inside the package included baby wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, body lotion, and body wash/shampoo. I’ve used a few Babyganics items in the past- but not all of these!

Baby Wipes

Babyganics face, hand & baby wipes are made with plant-based ingredients. These baby wipes are super thick- but not so thick that you can’t handle them easily. They also have a slight texture to them to help clean up the messiest messes on baby! They’re fragrance free, so super gentle on baby’s sensitive skin. Added bonus? They’re also free from alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial dyes! I’m very particular about what baby wipes I use for diaper changes and these are my new favorite- hands down! They get the job done but without a bunch of added “stuff.”

 

Hand Sanitizer

Visitors in my house probably think I’m a germaphobe because there is hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE throughout my house. I also be sure to keep one in the diaper bag. This was a product that I already owned and love. There are seriously only 7 ingredients in the alcohol-free version. This particular hand sanitizer also foams, so it’s fun for the kids! And we all know that if the kids think it’s fun…. they’ll actually use it! 😉 My favorite part about this hand saniziter is that it doesn’t have a sticky feel after it’s all rubbed in. A little bit also goes a long way, so even the travel size lasts a long time!

 

Sunscreen

Here in Ohio, we don’t need sunscreen until May…. sometimes June! I’m really picky about the sunscreen I use, if I’m being honest. Babyganics’ Suncreen is SPF 50 and is mineral based. In their sunscreen, you will not find PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles. It’s made with plant-based and certified organic ingredients. Being tear free and non-allergenic, it seems like a pretty good sunscreen to try! Babyganics also states that it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes! I’ll definitely be trying this on the kids this summer for sure!

 

 

Body Lotion

I absolutely love this body lotion! Jackson loves his bath time, but it’s hard on his skin since he has some eczema. This lotion isn’t harsh on his sensitive skin but still smells super good! (We have the chamomile verbena scent!) It has all the good stuff- plant-based and certified organic ingredients like aloe, shea butter, olive oil, vitamin E and avocado oil. And again, you won’t find any parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, artificial fragrances or dyes in this lotion! Jackson’s skin is super smooth after we use it and it also doesn’t get that sticky feeling. I’ve even started using on super dry hands- totally helps moisturize them. It’s also not super thick, so it’s much easier to rub in than some other baby lotions we’ve tried.

 

 

Body Wash/Shampoo

The Babyganics Shampoo & Body Wash is also a foaming soap- like their hand sanitizer. So obviously, it’s a huge hit with the kids! I love it because I don’t have to lather it up. I feel like that step has already been done for me! This particular soap makes me happy because it’s also tear free- we all know babies and toddlers don’t sit still for long! I like knowing that we won’t have a complete meltdown if some gets into Jackson’s eyes. Like the rest of the products, it’s made with plant-based and certified organic ingredients and is free of all the junk. It not only cleans baby’s sensitive skin, but it also has a 100% natural NeoNourish® seed oil blend to nourish skin as well.

 

 

All in all, I’m really happy with the Babyganics products! Last summer, I found their Insect Repellent and fell in love with it right away! But after trying all these products- it really makes me want to take a trip to Target and grab a few other of their products to try! So tell me this- do you use any Babyganics products in your home? What’s your favorite??? 🙂

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MommyCon Chicago- An Attendee’s Point of View

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to attend MommyCon Chicago! I traveled 6ish hours from Columbus- and it was SO worth it! This mama needed a vacation and I figured what better place than MommyCon?! I took Jackson with me and attended with my sister-in-law and nephew. While I wasn’t totally “child-free,” it was still a little freeing to get out of the house and have two children less for a few days! 😉 MommyCon Chicago was combined with WEAR this year- so we were looking forward to three days of the event!!!

 

We left Ohio Friday morning and made it with very little bumps in the road. We only stopped twice; once for lunch and once for gas. Can you believe we only stopped twice with TWO rambunctious toddlers? Yeah- I can’t either. But it worked out!!! We made it an hour before check-in, but Hilton was amazing and let us check-in early since our room was ready. After we got into the hotel room, we got ready and headed to MommyCon! Luckily, I really only wanted to attend one of the sessions on Friday and it was the last session of the day. After the session- I stopped at the MommyCon Shoppe and grabbed a new Milk & Milk & Milk shirt for Jackson!

Friday evening was the Wear Party presented by Abby’s Lane. Christy from Smartbottoms, Ula from Tula Baby, Julie from Cloth Diaper Geek and Stephanie from Abby’s Lane were on stage and spoke to the party-goers. It was hard to hear the amazing women on the stage, which was disappointing. But we all had a drink ticket, entered to win some prizes, and had some delicious food! (They served brownies, cookies, and a veggie tray with hummus!) Jackson enjoyed dancing to Miss Jamie’s music!

 

Saturday was the main event day! The exhibitor hall was full of amazing exhibitors and I picked up some amazing goodies! 😉 As a blogger for Cotton Babies, Jen Labit invited me up on stage during the mob party! I (unexpectedly) spoke to the attendee’s about why we started cloth diapering and why I started this blog. It was super exciting. I feel like I looked silly- my last “public speaking” was 8+ years ago in high school!

Also on Saturday, I took pictures with everyone I could! I love meeting new people and seeing my internet friends! Saturday felt really hectic so it was nice to be in the hotel connected to the convention center. I could go back to the room as I pleased to just decompress, grab a snack, etc.

 

Saturday night was a night to remember! I snatched tickets for the Tula Party! They did not disappoint- when using the #freetogrow on instagram, there was a printer printing out your photos! There was also an awesome green screen for pictures and they printed out those pictures right there as a souvenir! We were the first to see the upcoming release of the new Free to Grow Tula carriers and we were able to not only see them- but we could try them on as well! And did I mention…. open bar? Yeah. It was a phenomenal party! Perfect for a mom-cation! 😉

 

Sunday was our last day. The initial plan was that we would stay until giveaways that day- but it just didn’t work out. We were tired. And we didn’t pace ourselves well on Saturday. I attended a social media session with Xza and Mat York first thing in the morning and did a little bit more shopping. By that point, the toddlers were done. And the mamas were tired! Plus, add in the fact that we had a 6+ hour drive ahead of us…. it was just time to go. 🙁

 

MommyCon Chicago did not disappoint. Per the usual, we left with amazing freebies from sponsors and bags full of items that we purchased. I got to meet some of my new friends, take pictures with people I love talking with everyday, and got a weekend away. It was perfect. <3

 

 

*Want to see more pictures? Check out my instagram! I took so many pictures and don’t want to overwhelm this post with all of them! 😉

Thinking about attending MommyCon? Check out my “MommyCon 101” Page for tons of helpful tips and information- including a coupon code for your general admission ticket! 😉

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Cloth Diaper Accessories: The Must-Have List

There are many cloth diaper accessories on the market. Some are more helpful than others while some are, in my opinion, a must-have. You can cloth diaper on the cheap without many of these amazing products but I personally love these 6 must have cloth diaper accessories because they make my life just a tad bit easier.

 

  • Diaper Sprayers
  • Spray Pal.
  • Smart Bottoms Wet Bags.
  • Fleece Liners.
  • Fresh Wave packs
  • Snappis

 

Diaper Sprayer

Cloth diapers are fun and all…. until the baby has peanut butter poop. Poop that just won’t plop off and is no longer exclusivly breastmilk poop needs a little something extra. For this- I love my diaper sprayer. There are many diaper sprayers on the market to choose from but we decided to go the DIY route and made a sprayer from the materials found at our local hardware store. It was pretty easy and it cost us about the half the price. (I would, however, purchase one next time.)

Spray Pal

I have done quite a few Spray Pal reviews in the past three years- because really, I have no idea if I’d still be cloth diapering without it. Spraying off the poop is a cloth diaper reality. Afterall, the first question people usually ask is, “What do you do with the poop?” For some people, this means dunk & swish. For others, this means having a designated poop scraper. For many, it’s the sprayer attached to the toilet. The sprayer can be a little messy so the Spray Pal saves my bathroom time after time.

 

Smart Bottoms Wet Bags

Smart Bottoms wet bags are truly my favorite of all the wet bags I’ve owned. They’re heavy duty and trap in the stinkiest of stinky diapers while we’re out and about. They’re the perfect size to use for a few hours out of the house or all day. I even use them for swim suits in the summer time!

 

Fleece Liners

Where have these been all my life?! I loathe stained diapers. It’s weird- I know. But I just am not a fan. But I’m also kind of lazy and don’t want to put in all the work of sunning my diapers either. Fleece liners are basically my best friends. I put these in all my natural fiber diapers (since those stain easier) and the poop is *mostly* contained on them. No poop on the diapers themselves means no stains on them! Score! Plus- They make it super easy to spray off of diapers that have flaps that don’t stay in place. Double score!!! 😉

 

Fresh Wave

Diapers stink. It doesn’t matter if you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers. They just stink. Fresh Wave odor eliminators remove the stink naturally. Instead of just covering the odor up, they get rid of it! It makes the room smell fresh. I use them in the bathroom and in the baby’s room. I also use the little packs between the cloth diaper pail and the liner and in the trash can between the can and the bag.

 

Snappi

I don’t use prefolds and covers very often- but when I do, I love my Snappis! They’re so much more convenient than trying to use diaper pins. But let me warn you- these suckers do hurt if you step on them…. Worse than a Lego. Prefolds with a Snappi and cover was my favorite option when Jackson was a newborn- as you can see tiny newborn chicken legs above. 😉

 

 

What are some of your “must have” cloth diaper accessories? Tell me in the comments below!

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Upspring Baby Products Review

As a MommyCon Parent Squad member, I received the opportunity to try some of the Upspring Baby products made for breastfeeding moms. Jackson is 15 months old and still nurses pretty regularly throughout the day and sometimes during the night. Throughout our breastfeeding journey, we’ve (luckily) had very little bumps along the way. At one point, I had doubts about my milk supply. At another point, I learned (rather quickly) that my breasts don’t respond well to pumping. Recently, I started to doubt my milk supply again- so these products arrived just in time!

 

Vitamins

Upspring sent me prenatal vitamins that you continue to take while breastfeeding. With these gummy vitamins, there’s also a softgel filled with Omega 3, DHA/EPA, and choline. These vitamins are non GMO, gluten free and have no artificial ingredients. I’m really terrible at remembering to take my vitamins, but these are seriously SO good- that I look forward to eating them. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve tasted some horrible gummy vitamins before!) I was prepared to hate them but the Mango-Peach flavor is just right.

 

Powder Drink Mixes

I also received samples of their Milkflow Fenugreek + Blessed Thistle Powder Drink Mixes. I received the Orange, Berry and Chocolate flavors. Here’s how they affected my milk supply:

On day one, I just received my package and couldn’t wait to try one. I also received a shaker bottle to mix it up quickly and easily. I went for the Berry flavor- because I just don’t think you can go wrong with berry drinks. I honestly really liked it. It smells a little weird- you definitely can smell the fenugreek! But it’s sweetness of the drink masks the flavor of the herbs. Pretty good! I couldn’t see much of a difference yet, but I was sure it took more than one drink to pep up my supply. That first night, I could tell a difference in my milk supply. It really felt like I had more milk. Jackson wasn’t fussing at me as much as usual and wasn’t unlatching like crazy, like he had been.

Throughout the past few weeks, I added the drink mixes into my water. (Or milk- the chocolate mix uses milk instead of water.) I have really noticed the affect on my milk supply. It’s been awhile since I would leak from the opposite side he was nursing on- but it has started happening even in the middle of the day. My opinion? They work! The Berry flavor is totally my favorite of the three choices. (Which, is also the only flavor conveniently sold at my local Target!)

 

Coconut Oil

Also in this Upspring goodie box, was coconut oil. Not just any kind of coconut oil but 100% Pure Virgin Coconut oil. It’s USDA certified organic and is lanolin, petroleum, paraben, gluten, and GMO free! We replaced lotion after bath on Jackson with this stuff- and it’s amazing! He smells good and his skin is so much softer! It’s also helped his eczema! I’ve also used it a few times on my lips since they’ve been extremely dry- darn Ohio weather! There are so many uses for coconut oil and I’m finding new uses for it every day.

 


Upspring also included Breastmilk Alcohol testing strips and Nipple Balm. While I haven’t been able to use them, I still thought I’d give you some information on them as they are great additions to any mama’s breastfeeding supplies!

 

Nipple Balm

Nursing can be so tough on our nipples. I don’t know how I would have continued breastfeeding without nipple balm. I have not had the opportunity to use this specific nipple balm, but I would definitely keep it around if I need it in the future! 😉

This nipple balm is made with beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, calendula flower extract, and rosemary seed extract. All these ingredients are natural and 100% organic. No need to wipe off before nursing baby again!

You can also use the nipple balm as a lip balm, dry skin moisturizer, ointment for cuts and scraps, and so much more!

 

Breastmilk Alcohol Test Strips

While studies have shown that some alcohol consumption while breastfeeding is okay, some mothers don’t want to chance the slightest amount of alcohol in their breastmilk. Upspring created these handy test strips that take just a few drops of breastmilk. You can either drip a few drops onto the strip or dip the strip into a small container of breastmilk. Within 2 minutes, you’ll have a result of whether or not there is alcohol detected in your breastmilk. I have found these at my local Target store- and they’re available online.

 

 

All in all, I highly recommend all of these products from Upspring! A huge thank you to MommyCon and Upspring for sending me the package to review! My milk supply, my toddler, and I thank you!!! <3

 

 

 

*Please note: I did receive these goodies in order to conduct the review. No other compensation was made. My opinions are 100% my own.

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How to Plan for Baby’s Day Out

*Sponsored Guest Post

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Okay, so one of the most relaxing things anyone can ever do is take a holiday, go on a nice vacation or short staycation. It’s a way of recuperating from the stresses of life. A chance to put your feet up and catch up on overdue Zzzzz’s. However, when you have a baby, the idea of a relaxing holiday becomes a myth as far-fetched as any classical story and mythical beast. Basically, holidaying with a baby is no easy feat. But don’t worry, don’t despair and don’t fret, because we have spoken to a few mums that travel and compiled a list of their top tips to help you through and make your break as easy and relaxing as possible.

 

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Pack More Than You Need

While pre-baby holiday packing was all about having one outfit for each day (maximum!), when you are packing for a baby you need to make sure you have two outfits for each day (minimum!). You don’t want there to be a series of accidents that leaves you high and dry on the clothing front. You may have been told there was a washing machine, but what they didn’t specify was that the washing machine doesn’t work. So, yeah, two outfits a day minimum.

 

Research The Destination

This means every aspect imaginable. Know what the weather is doing – what the highs are in the day and lows are at night – so that you can pack appropriately, such as sun hat in the day and sleep suit at night. Research whether there it is prone to insects during the warmer months so that you know what insect repellent to take. Know what the terrain is like so that you know whether to take a simple stroller or a off-road buggy or something that offers you both. This one is pretty crucial click here to learn more about what’s on offer. If it is a city break you’re going on, you are going to need something different to a camping holiday, that’s all we’re saying.

 

Have Snacks On Hand

The more snacks you have the better. If you’re going on an airplane, then prepare for delays by having lots of snacks to entertain your kid’s bad moods. Maybe turbulence will scare them or the air pressure will make them uncomfortable; their favourite snack will cure this pretty fast. If you’re going on a road trip, well, chances are they will get bored in the car and what cures boredom? That’s right, food.

Nappies Are Needed

The last thing you want to do is run out of nappies because chances are, it will happen when the worst accident you’ve ever seen occurs. So save a chunk of suitcase space or car space for a large stash of nappies. You may presume that you will be able to buy some nappies at your destination, but you know what they say about presumption.

 

Take Accessories

If your baby doesn’t catch much of sleep in a stroller, or if a stroller may prove a difficult choice as you decide to take a nice walk or hike, then why not pack a backpack or front carrier or even a sling. They don’t take up much room and could prove to be a seriously useful accessory to have at hand. Another great accessory to have is a camera. You’re going to want to capture some memories, ones that you can keep forever.

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MommyCon Q&A

 

How much money should I bring with me?

This greatly varies from person to person. Some people will walk in and not spend a penny. Others, could spend $500+. Make yourself a budget- do you cloth diaper? Will you want to buy a baby carrier? Will you want to buy a new diaper bag? Put a little wiggle room in your budget for new items that maybe you’ve never seen before. A lot of vendors also have MommyCon exclusive items so keep that in mind. You may find something you love that you can ONLY get at MommyCon!

 

How many diapers should I bring?

MommyCon has teamed up with Babyganics to have diapers and wipes available in the changing areas. Diapers are available in various sizes. Many parents bring a handful of their own diapers and then use the Babyganics diapers throughout the day as well. Last year, I mostly used the Babyganics diapers with a Flip cover on top, just in case since we cloth diaper 95% of the time. However, keep in mind that this is supposed to be a secondary option- not all you should use for diapering your baby during the event!

 

Are tickets sold at the door?

No. Most of the time, the event sells out. Don’t plan on being able to purchase a ticket the day of the event. Plan ahead and get your ticket weeks in advance so you don’t miss out! (Use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off your general admission ticket. Combine it with the social share option at checkout for a total of $7 off your ticket purchase!)

 

What should I bring?

Bring your bump, your baby, your toddler, or your child. Don’t forget the things they’ll need throughout the day- but try to keep it light! It gets crowded, especially in the exhibitor hall. And you’ll have enough to carry between the goodie bag and the items you also purchase. Plan ahead and maybe bring a reusable tote to carry your purchases in as well! I also recommend bringing along a phone charger or one of those portable chargers. I use my phone so much during an event between taking pictures, looking up companies’ social media sites, and checking in the MommyCon hashtags to see what everyone else is doing!

I’m done with the baby phase- is MommyCon for me?

Check your event’s schedule to really decide. While there are products there for toddlers and older children, MommyCon focuses more on newborn to age 5. The sessions and exhibitors vary from event to event. Some sessions that are scheduled for MommyCon Chicago that I think any mother would enjoy include everything from Vagina Village, Angel Laketa Moore’s “Fall in Love with You,” “Redefining Motherhood” with Amy Appleton and Ilana Grostern, and the “Loss Mama Sanctuary” with Ambyr Amen-Ra- if that applies to you.

Does my child need a ticket?

Children under 16 years of age do not need a ticket when attending with an adult! Bring along your newborn, infant, toddler, school age kid, teenager or leave them at home and enjoy mom’s day out!

 

What time should I show up?

Come about 15-30 minutes before the event’s start time. There will be a line for registration! Be prepared with a print-out of your ticket or will it pulled up on your smartphone! This will help the line move a little faster. Be aware that the exhibitor hall will not open until the event’s start time so you may have a few minutes of waiting.

Can I bring items to donate?

YES! Cotton Babies’ cloth diaper bank, Share the Love, will have a box for cloth diaper donations and The Carrying On Project will have a place for baby carrier donations! Share the Love provides cloth diapers to families who could not otherwise afford them, and the Carrying On Project provides baby carriers to military families. They both accept new and used items.

 

How do we sign up for sessions?

All the awesome sessions you see in the schedule is included in your general admission ticket! No need to sign up unless it’s a special event that requires RSVP. Just show up to the room at the time of the session and find a seat!

 

 

Have any additional questions? Check out the other posts on the MommyCon 101 page or ask them in the comments below! Enjoy MommyCon!!!!! 🙂

 

 

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4 Simple Reasons We Eat Dinner Together 


You could say we’re “old fashioned” when it comes to dinnertime. A majority of our dinners are homemade and we eat together at the dining room table every night. (Sure, there’s an occasional “eat wherever you want” but it’s few and far between.) Here are 4 reasons we eat dinner together as a family:


Healthier Meals.

I’m sure this isn’t the biggest reason why we eat dinner as a family- but as a family of 5 on a budget, it helps. Homemade meals are much healthier than buying take-out regularly. Sure, there are nights that we buy take-out AND eat together but it’s still few and far between. Plus: Healthier foods equal healthier kids.

 

Communication.

Now that the older two kids are in school, sometimes our dinnertime is the only time we can really sit down and talk about our day. I love listening about what’s going on at school and what they’re learning. They always have the best stories to tell us and we usually end up laughing more than eating! 
 

Unplug for 20 minutes.

My husband and I have a rule- no phones at the table. If someone calls us, texts, or emails us… they just have to wait until we’re done. This time is 100% for us as a family. We want zero interruptions in our time together. 
 

Teach manners.

Table manners are important to us too. We started teaching them to the girls pretty early. Some family members think we’re just mean- but I’m pretty proud to be raising little ladies that have good table manners. How can you teach good table manners when your kids aren’t eating at the table? 
Do you make it a point to have a meal with your family at the table regularly? What’s your biggest reason? Comment below and let’s talk about it! 🙂  

 

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Keeping Mum: Secrets Of Looking Good On The School Run

Photo credit Unsplash

 

Having kids can mean anything resembling a personal morning routine goes out of the window, this is why so many mums can be seen doing the school or nursery run in hoodies or tracksuits and perhaps coming over as a little socially awkward in the playground.  However then there are the supermums.  A special breed of lady who must get up before the lark to look so groomed, together and organised.  How do they do it?  I’ve got some simple hacks to getting yourself, as well as your kids, playground ready.

 

Early to Bed, Early to Rise.

I know, this isn’t as simple as it sounds especially for working mums.  Even full time mums will struggle to get to bed at a decent hour.  After organising the children then reorganising the house, we need time to relax and it can be easy to end up watching TV – whilst ironing – until the very late hours.

However, a late night is going to lead you to a late morning.  So set yourself an alarm to remind you to go to bed.  Studies say that 10pm is the best time to catch quality sleep.  So aim for that if you can.

It’s really important to remember this if your kids are moving up from nursery to big school.  They are going to need you in the playground with them, boosting their confidence.  Which means you need to be feeling your best!

 

Preparation is Key

As with getting the children organised before bed, there are loads of things you can do to get you organised before bed.  Glam up your hair by setting it in sleep in rollers to give you volume and movement with little or no maintenance the following morning.  Keep your skin glowing with a good regime and a branded SPF like this from vitage skincare.  A natural glow in the morning isn’t always completely natural and if you are looking to save time, having a natural look you are proud of means you can ditch makeup until later on in the day.  Maybe just fill out your brows and add a lick of mascara to give you a little boost.  The rest is totally down to the quality of your creams though!

 

Image from Markus Spiske

 

Deep Breath.

Before you step out of the car take some rolling deep breaths to help relax you.  In through the nose and out through the mouth.  Increasing our oxygen intake is a great way to reduce stress levels and after the morning dash there is a good chance you’ll be feeling a little tense.  Those playground supermums make everything look effortless so step out of your car, light on your feet and with a spring in your step.  You’ll have everyone asking what your secret is!

 

Finally, Smile.

First thing in the morning can leave you deep in thought.  You have successfully got the children to school on time but now you are starting to think about your day ahead.  Try to leave these thoughts until you are back in your car and on your way home.  Chin up, eyes bright and show off those teeth – unless you suddenly realise you forgot to brush them!



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Why I Love Target- The #MomLife Addiction

It’s true- I’m addicted to Target. You’ll find me browsing around the store maybe two or three times a week. Why? Well- Because it’s the magical land of the basic stay-at-home-mom. You might think I’m joking. But this is serious. I really do love Target.

10 reasons we’re all a little (or a lot) addicted to Target:

It’s basically the SAHM meeting ground. I meet up with a couple other moms for “Target dates” a few times a week. Other than hanging out with my husband after he comes home from work, this is sometimes my only other form of adult interaction.

Starbucks. I basically function on caffeine at this point. With three kids, I’m not allowed to sleep through the night. One of them is always waking me up. Starbucks in the store makes it much more worth it for me to go to Target. Plus- I earn free Starbucks because of the Starbucks rewards program!

The dollar section. Well, not everything a dollar anymore. All the items in Bullseye’s Playground is between $1 and $5. It’s super rare that I don’t have at least one product from that area. You can find holiday décor, arts and crafts, party supplies, gift wrap, toys for kids, candy. So much to choose from!!!

Baby Nap. Jackson gets some of his best naps during our Target trips. He usually ends up driving me crazy in the cart so he ends up in a baby carrier on my back. Within a few minutes, he falls asleep. Of course, this doesn’t happen every time. But it’s still a perk when it does! 😉

Cartwheel. If you haven’t heard of the Cartwheel app, then you’re seriously missing out. You can find a lot of instant coupons on your phone in this app. I save a good amount of money using it!

The atmosphere. I swear they have to be pumping something into the air in Target. It almost makes me instantly happy walking through those doors. It could be because I’m a shopaholic. Or it could be the air. Ehhhh. Whichever it is, it’s fine for me.

Clearance. Let’s be honest- Target makes it super easy to find clearance items. Again, I usually end up with at least one clearance item in my cart. I’ve found some pretty good deals through the years!

Price matching. Did you know that Target will price match? Yep. I went to purchase a new cup for Jackson and it was $3 cheaper on Amazon prime. I really didn’t want to wait 2 days for the cup so I went to customer service. They price matched it quickly and easily! I got the Amazon Prime price but that day. Oh and I got to use the next reason I love Target…..

RED Card. My RED card makes me so happy. It’s a debit card attached to my bank account. Every time I use it, I automatically get 5% off. I can also use it to get free shipping with that 5% discount on target.com. Sure, 5% doesn’t sound like a whole lot…. but using it with the Cartwheel app, printable coupons on their site, manufacturer coupons, clearance- all that savings really adds up!!!!

Awesome Stuff! You see that amazing sweatshirt and giant coffee mug in the picture above? Yeah. Those are Target purchases. Basically the best coffee mug and sweatshirt I’ve ever purchased. I love Target. <3

 

 

BONUS. I’m raising little Target lovers as well. Baileigh loves Target just as much as I do. I see this as both a good thing…. and a problem. 😉 She asks me to take her to Target multiple times a week. Thank goodness she goes to school through the week so she only goes once. Because she talks me into things like little hats:

 

 

 

*This is not a Sponsored post. At all. I received no compensation for posting how much I love shopping at Target. However, there are some affiliate links throughout the post to help make a tad bit of $$$$ to keep this website going.*

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Pregnancy Survival Guide: Looking After Mom And Baby

If you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride. Some days, you’ll be over the moon and incredibly excited. Others, you may feel exhausted and emotionally drained. When you’re pregnant, it’s normal to go through ups and downs and to experience both physical and psychological changes. Most women prioritize their baby from the moment they find out that they are expecting. However, the best thing you can do for your baby is look after yourself. This simple guide will hopefully help you to stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Rest

You don’t need to spend all day every day in bed from day 1 of pregnancy, but rest is essential. Most women experienced tiredness in pregnancy, and you may hit a wall in the afternoon even when you’ve slept well the night before. As you go through your pregnancy, you may find that your energy levels peak and trough. In the latter stages, exhaustion is common. As you approach the third trimester, increase the number of rest breaks you take at work and take things easy at home. If you feel tired, take a nap. It can be really difficult to get comfortable when you go to bed, and this can affect your sleep patterns. If you can’t sleep in certain positions, or you’re tossing and turning, you may benefit from using a pregnancy body pillow. The pillow helps to support your body weight, and you can use it during the day and night.

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Eating well

Your baby relies on you for vital nutrients, so your diet is really important. The foods you eat can also help to boost your immunity and keep your body fuelled when you’re feeling lethargic. There is a list of foods you can’t eat when you’re pregnant, but you shouldn’t have to overhaul your diet completely. Start the day with a hearty, healthy breakfast, and try and incorporate fruit and vegetables into your lunch and dinner. If you find that your energy levels dip between meals, snack on raw vegetables, fruit and foods like whole grain crackers or toast. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to eat for two when you’re pregnant. In fact, you only need around 200-300 extra calories per day.

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Supplements

Pregnant women are advised to take certain supplements, including folic acid, from the beginning of their pregnancy. Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of birth defects, such as spina bifida. You can buy supplements specially designed for pregnancy, which contain a host of different vitamins and minerals.

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Exercise

Exercise is great for pregnant women because it lifts your mood, tackles stress, and keeps you supple. It can also strengthen your core muscles and improve your circulation. Check with your doctor before you exercise, as some activities are not recommended for pregnant women.

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When you’re pregnant, it’s important to look after number 1, as well as your unborn baby. If you’re fit and healthy, there’s every chance that your little baby will be too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MommyCon VIP Sessions- A Community Post

I have not personally attended any of the MommyCon VIP sessions- although I have heard many great things about them! VIP Sessions take place the day before the event, so on a Friday, and they are small seminars with some amazing people. Because I can’t personally tell you about my experience and why they’re so great- I asked some of my blogger friends to help with this post! 🙂

Want to purchase a VIP upgrade? VIP sessions are typically announced 30 days before your city’s event.

** Still need to buy your MommyCon ticket? Remember to use the code FLUFFBUM17 for a $5 discount! Please not that this code is not valid on VIP ticket upgrades. **

 

Cotton Babies VIP Session

I attended the Jen’s VIP session at MommyCon OC 2015. It was a small circle of about 15-20 women with babies having freeplay in the middle of the circle. We had light snacks and drinks and it felt very inviting. Jen had everyone introduce themselves and share what we wanted to get out of the session. We were able to ask questions and it never felt rushed it was very natural like a group of friends. Xza was in and out of the session visiting too. We each got a tote from catbird baby, and inside was a bum genius diaper, wet bag, wipe spray, maxaloon style pants, and several samples of other cloth diaper safe products. The products we received were well over he $40 session price, the inspirational message from Jen was worth more as well. I’m still friends with some of the moms I met there 2 years later.

– Hannah

 

Mommy-con Atlanta 2016 was my second mommy-con experience and my first time going all the way and doing a VIP session as well as breakfast with Jen before my VIP session. My sister in law and best friend took the plunge with me as my twins and her son are 10 days apart and we share many parenting values. She had also been by my side during our first mommy-con in 2015!
Bright and early on Friday morning I picked her and my nephew up and we drove to the hotel that the breakfast was scheduled at. When we arrived Jen and Jimmy were already seated and there was coffee ( a twin moms lifeline 😂) ready to drink! We were joined by a few other moms including both Dona from black women do cloth diaper and Deja from sunshine fabric and designs. We had an excellent conversation about race and equality in the diaper industry over an amazing breakfast. We talked until it was time to head over to the convention center for the first VIP session of the day With Jen!
When we got to the convention center I had a good idea of the layout as I had been there before so we knew where to park and walked right in. The mommycon shoppe and the tekhni booth were both open allowing us first pick at all the merchandise as well as the tekhni exclusive which was amazing! We got there about 30 minutes before our VIP session was set to begin so we mingled with eachother as our kids played with the amazing variety of toys set out for them. I will admit I was attempting to wrap one twin when the other ran through my legs and toward the door but was thankfully quickly caught by another mom and returned to me.
I’m not going to lie I attended Jen’s session purely because I wanted to see her not because I have any interest in running my own business. The session was however amazingly interesting and informative! My twins were pretty interested in the toys which was nice so I even got to listen to her talk without one of them yelling in my ear. We also got some amazing swag in our bag (which was it’s self super cute) including a cloth diaper and wet bag, doodle pants, mother love diaper and thrush cream, a tekhni head wrap, and other fun goodies from mom owned businesses! I’m so glad I chose to do a mommy con VIP session it added so much to my weekend!!!!

– Colleen Walker Sondergaard

 

The first VIP session I attended was hosted by Jennifer Labit the creator of Cotton Babies who shared insight into her life journey. She spoke openly about how she transitioned from a mother struggling to balance the home budget, highlighting how her struggle was the catalist into becoming an entrepreneur and founder of a successful business. Her honesty was refreshing and encouraging. We all struggle and fall; hearing how the most difficult times of her life.

– Patricia @ Dr Mommy Rx

 

Pool Party

At the Baby Safe Pool Party with Mat York from that That Dad Mat we were treated to a full table of Babyganics goodies and a bag absolutely stuffed with poolside treats including a Beachfront Baby ring sling. Mat helped everyone get comfortable with the slings. Unfortunately we were inside because of Hurricane Hermine. It was a good thing the session was hosted by Mat because it was the most fun pool-less pool party ever!

– Alexandria Lawrence @ Naturally Made with Love

 

Feed the Baby

The Feed the Baby VIP with The Leaky Boob’s Jessica Martin-Weber was something I’ll never forget. We had a rap session about how not every experience is a “rainbow farting unicorn one”. The swag bag for this session had some seriously cool gadgets. Gootensils, and EZPZ mat, Bitsizers, a donut rattle from Pebblechild, a gift voucher for Undercover Mama, a Re-play set, a reusable squeeze pouch… and more! A lot of these have become regular daily use items for us, that I can’t imagine our life without.

– Alexandria Lawrence @ Naturally Made with Love

Babywearing

Laura Brown from Ergo and Angelique Geehan of Beco gave us some helpful insights at Babywearing VIP. I got an Ergobaby organic SSC (which is still my favorite carrier to date!) in my swag bag. After a run down on the carriers with how to-s and safety features we played two rounds of a game like heads up. All of the cards had terms used during the session. What an exciting way to use the knowledge we gained from our fun instructors!

– Alexandria Lawrence @ Naturally Made with Love

 

The second VIP session I attended Friday afternoon was called Babywearing. This session is very popular because each attendee is randomly given either an Ergo or Beco baby carrier. Hosted by two industry professionals, including Laura Brown of Ergo, this session focused on proper ways to wear Ergo and Beco soft structured carriers. Additionally, they were more then happy to take the time to help parents trouble shoot any struggles they are having with their own person baby carriers (of all forms). 

– Patricia @ Dr Mommy Rx

 

 

Want to see more posts about MommyCon? Here are some other posts a part of my MommyCon Series:

 

~ MommyCon Basics and FAQS ~

~ MommyCon on a Budget ~

~ 10 Tips for MommyCon ~

 

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10 Tips to Make Your MommyCon Experience Amazing!

 

Another post for the MommyCon Series! Can you tell I’m a little excited? I’ve been to two MommyCon events so while I wouldn’t consider myself an expert MommyCon attendee- I’ve been around the block twice so I’ve learned a few things. Here are 10 tips to make your MommyCon experience amazing, fun and the best that it can be!

 

10 Tips as a MommyCon Attendee

Plan your day ahead of time. MommyCon is very fast paced and a lot goes on throughout the day. There are multiple rooms with different sessions going on plus the vendor area. Writing out your schedule ahead of time on paper or your phone is a great idea. You don’t want to miss the seminars you wanted to attend because of mom brain! (I highly recommend attending Cloth 101 with Jennifer Labit and Kim Rosas’ Reusable Menstrual Products seminar!)

 

Grab your tickets early. While MommyCon is a huge event, there are restrictions to how many people can attend due to the location. MommyCon  events tend to sell out, so waiting until the day before isn’t the best idea. MommyCon offers Presale tickets at a super discounted rate, some promotions throughout the year for discounted tickets, and Bloggers/Street Team/Parent Squad members have discount codes. (You can find mine here.) If plans change and you can no longer attend the event, MommyCon does not refund your ticket BUT they do allow selling of your tickets on your location’s Facebook group.

 

Join the Facebook Group. Speaking of the Facebook group- did you know that MommyCon has Facebook groups for the different locations? This is a great place to be to find out important information. This is also where they’ll share volunteer opportunities and sneak peaks to the event behind the scenes. Like I mentioned above, this is also the perfect place to find a buyer for tickets you may no longer need or where you may be able to find tickets yourself if the event has sold out! (You may even be able to grab a VIP ticket this way!)

 

Get your goodie bag later. The goodie bags will not run out. (Usually there’s actually some extras at the end of the day.) But they will get heavy. And bulky. And you can’t just check them in somewhere for later. If you don’t want to carry them around all day, wait a little bit to get them. Just before lunch is the perfect time because chances are- you’re going to your car or hotel room anyways. And if not- its the perfect time to dip out and head to your car or hotel room since you won’t miss any sessions.

 

Bring snacks or get lunch close. Lunch break is an hour long. This may seem like a lot of time- but once you take your goodie bag to your car and scope out the nearby places, lunch will be over in a flash. Just like planning your day ahead of time is important, figuring out your lunch plan is important too! It’s a long day so you’ll be starving. (Trust me on that.) Have a plan for lunch and a backup plan in case the first place is too busy or closed. My first year, the places we wanted to eat were closed. (Silly large cities.) And my second year, lunchtime is when I discovered I locked my keys in my car. Ended up eating lunch at the hotel’s Starbucks while waiting for AAA. You better believe I’ll know what I’m doing beforehand this year! 😉 Also scope out the nearest coffee shop. If you’re lucky enough to have a coffee shop in the connecting hotel- take advantage of that. You may be wired with caffeine, but it’ll keep ya going all day long!

 

Take pictures! Take lots of pictures! The day flies by so fast and you’ll want to remember the cool toy your kiddo loved at the event, meeting somebody you follow on social media, and just your overall experience. I highly suggest you bring your phone charger too just in case. If you have service or wifi at the event’s location, put your pictures on social media and tag MommyCon and/or use the hashtag for the event! All the mamas at home are waiting to see/hear about your day! 😉

 

Wear comfortable shoes. It really is a long day. And while you think you’ll be sitting a majority of the time while attending sessions, it’s still a lot of walking. Don’t wear heels unless you’re a pro at them. And don’t wear brand new shoes unless you want blisters. Be comfortable.

 

Pack light & babywear. Chances are, you’re going to be shopping for a few things during the event. The vendor’s hall is usually pretty packed with your favorite vendors and full of ones you’ve never heard of before (and will also love!). If you’re going by yourself, pack a small bag with just the necessities. And if you’re going with a little one, pack only the things you will need and leave the “maybe needs” in the car. Try to not bring a stroller if you’re bringing a little one too. While MommyCon doesn’t have a “no stroller” policy, they may ask for you to park it along the outskirts of the room or ask you to fold it up if it’s too crowded. There are so many little ones crawling and walking around that you really need to be careful. While going stroller-less isn’t an option for all parents, if it’s an option for you to just babywear- please do that.

 

 

Bring a friend! My sister in law and I have made it our thing. We love going to MommyCon together and making it a “Mom’s Weekend Away.” There are so many other parents to mingle with at the event sp there’s always the option of making new friends! But if you know someone expecting, trying to conceive, or another mama with little ones, why not ask them to come along??? You may be able to convert someone into cloth diapering, show them the awesomeness of babywearing, or give them a day kid-free!

 

Snatch a VIP spot! I’ve never attended a VIP session so I really can’t speak much on this topic. You can totally have an amazing time at MommyCon with a general admission ticket and no extras. But if you have the funds and the availability to attend a VIP session (or two!) then go for it! VIP sessions have extra goodie bags and they’ll also snatch you another entry into the giveaway! (Look for a “MommyCon VIP Sessions 101” post later this week!)

 

Need more MommyCon Info? Check out the other posts in my MommyCon Series! This series of posts is leading up to a MommyCon ticket giveaway!!!!! 😉

 

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ezpz Placemat Review

ezpz mats have become a “must-have” product in my book for toddlers. We currently have the Mini Mat, the Happy Mat, the Snack Mat, and the new book- Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat.

Some of you may be wondering…. “What is ezpz?” ezpz placemats are silicone placemats marketed for kids that suction to most tabletops. These mats are made of food grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, latex and phthalate free.

ezpz placemats are super handy once your child has reached the age of eating food, but wants to play and throw their plate or bowl on the floor. The Happy Mat suctions nicely to tabletops, while the Mini Mat is designed to fit on most highchairs.

 

I will admit that I’m not a Pinteresty mom in any way, shape, or form. This is one reason why I love these mats. Jackson’s food can look so fun with very little effort. And let’s face it- kids seem to eat more when their food looks fun. I don’t understand the logic behind it, but we all know it’s true! These placemats are also dishwasher safe, microwave safe, and oven safe (up to 350 degrees) so cooking with them and clean-up are easy!

 

Jackson really likes to snack, but he doesn’t want to sit in his highchair during snack time. The Snack Mat has become a favorite, and was actually our first ezpz mat! I can put his snack in the bowl, suction it to our floating floor, and he can play while snacking- and I don’t have to worry about him just tipping the bowl over for fun!

 

Now this may sound silly…. But I’m a mom on a budget. These mats aren’t exactly cheap, although I wouldn’t say they’re expensive either. Because they’re made of silicone, they won’t show signs of wear. This means that they really won’t have to be replaced. The ezpz mats that I use for Jackson now, can be stored away for any future babies. It doesn’t hold onto bacteria either since it’s a nonporous material- and it also shouldn’t stain! (although, I’m sure cooking some red sauce in it may be harder to get out!)

 

We really like to take the ezpz mats with us when we leave the house. Jackson has used his mats at restaurants and family member’s homes. We put the Mini Mat into a Smart Bottoms wet bag and the Happy Mat fits perfectly in a Smart Bottoms On-the-Go wet bag. It really depends on where we’re going, what’s clean, and what we’ll be eating for me to decide which one to take. If it’s super messy food, I’ll take the Happy Mat (for example) because sometimes my Mini Mat doesn’t want to stick to all surfaces. If it’s somewhere that he’s eating chicken and fries or something just not messy, and maybe it’s a quicker meal, then I’ll probably bring along the Mini Mat.

 

You can see in the photo above that there isn’t much size difference in the actual plate portion of the mats. A Happy Mat’s portion sizes (designed with toddlers in mind) are 4oz, 4oz, and 10oz while the Mini Mat’s (designed more for infants) portion sizes are 2oz, 2oz, and 4oz.

 

All in all, I’m really happy that I decided to try these ezpz mats and I like that they do make my life a bit easier. Jackson also likes them and in reality- that’s really all that matters.

 

 

*Please note: I purchased the Mini Mat and Snack Mat myself. The Happy Mat and book were provided by my participation as a Guidance Guide Ambassador. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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