Potty Training Tips for Parents


So the time has come. Your child is showing potty training readiness signs, so you think you and your child are ready to start. But where do you start? What do you need? And just how difficult is this going to be? These potty training tips below, sponsored by Pull-Ups, will help outline a few things I’ve come to pick up after seeing my two kids learn to use the potty.

They might work for you, they might not! But I can tell you one thing. Potty training varies from child to child and can be a drastically different experience from one to the next.

Potty Training Tips for Parents

1. Wait until your child is ready

There is no magic number for the perfect time to start potty training. Some kids are ready as early as 18 months and others will be closer to 4 years old. Don’t try and force your child to potty train too early or else it can become more difficult than it needs to be.
My son started showing all of the signs of being ready to potty train at around 18-20 months. He told us when he went pee and poo, loved to sit and play on the potty, and had a great attitude about the potty. Since I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to wait until after she was born to start the potty training process with him.

At age 2 we decided to try potty training but quickly realized after my son regressed that this would only be accomplished if we followed his terms. We tried again to re-attempt potty training with him, but it wasn’t until he was ready at 3 1/2 that we actually had success.
We do still have times where he has accidents on occasion while my second daughter has none. But guess what? It’s all normal. We just deal with it in a calm and caring way and move on.

Want to check and see if your child is ready for this potty training journey (because it’s not a race)? Visit Pull-Ups.com to check out the Readiness Check List and see if your little one might be ready.

And that brings me to my next tip…

2. Don’t get frustrated

I know, easier said than done right? But it’s true. Your child will feed off of your energy throughout the journey and they’ll take your frustration as a leveraging tool against you. They know they have control over you when you react negatively.
I let my emotions get the best of me with my son and sometimes I was not happy with the way I reacted to accidents. I just wanted him to go on the potty and be over it, but it’s not that easy.

Potty training is an incredibly important milestone for toddlers, and it’s also an opportunity for parents to work together with their children. It sounds daunting to so many parents, but why not make it fun?

It’s important to partner with your child every step of the way instead of trying to run the show. But it’s also important to listen and watch for their cues. My first daughter surprised us all when she decided she was ready for the potty at 25 months. She simply asked for big girl underwear and in a few short days was having no accidents at all.

I didn’t get upset or frustrated when she would only go on the little potties, refused to potty in public, and held herself until she got home, or made me run from one side of the zoo to the other to use the small potties in the Children’s Zoo. We went along with it and learned not to question her if she said she didn’t have to go.

Now that my second daughter is starting to show signs of readiness (dry when she wakes up, verbally lets us know when she’s gone potty, shows signs of interest in sitting on the potty), we’ve started slowly introducing the potty to her.

And she is OBSESSED with her Pull-Ups. Motivation is key here. Pull-Ups Learning Designs Training Pants have an underwear-like design and all-around day and night protection. And she is motivated to get to wear her Pull-Ups when we go out of the house. By letting us know when she needs to go, or trying to go before we leave the house she’s on her way to potty training success.

3. Be Prepared

Because my first daughter didn’t give us much time to prepare and react to the fact that she was ready to go and wasn’t looking back, I’m happy that we had a few key things on hand to make the transition easy.

The key items I always keep with us are:

  • Little potty – We have a little potty in the kids’ bathroom as well as in the back of the car just in case
  • Extra Pull-Ups – Once your child shows an interest in the potty, grab a few packs of Pull-Ups to keep in the house. Stash some in the car and in your purse just in case. Pull-Ups Training Pants help your child recognize potty training as a significant milestone in their development by providing independence, teaching physical and cognitive skills, and offering a consistent representation to your child of their potty training journey. So, once you buy those first pack of Pull-Ups, never go back to diapers!
  • Sanitizer – your child will miss the potty sometimes (or all the time) and you’ll need to clean it up
  • Extra clothes – just like when they were babies and had a blow out or two, an extra set of clothes is a must in the diaper bag. With Pull-Ups you won’t have many true accidents but it is still helpful to have on hand.

4. If they regress, don’t stress

As I said before, my son regressed after being potty trained for 6 months. He did eventually hop back on the potty training wagon and was successful the second time around. Sometimes our kids might seem ready but they have other plans.

Pull-Ups has simple ways to make potty training easy and fun for parents and children to start together, with guidance on how to tailor the journey based on your little one’s unique personality. In fact, 3 out of 4 moms prefer the Pull-Ups offering* including packaging, in-pack prizes (like stickers) and activities on Pull-Ups.com.

*vs Pampers Easy Ups

Follow your child’s cues and just go with what they’re telling you. If not, you might make it worse for the second (or third) time around.
Good Luck!

Let’s Get Ready to Potty Contest

You could win $1,000 and be featured in an upcoming issue of Parents Magazine by telling Pull-Ups how you got your kids (and yourself!) excited to start potty training and made the journey fun.

Three runners-up will win a 1-month supply of Pull-Ups Training Pants. The contest will run through June 30 so enter now at parents.com/itstimetopotty!

Have any great potty training tips for parents? I’d love to hear them!

Potty Training Tips for Parents

Potty Training Tips for Parents be prepared

Things to Do With Toddlers at Great Wolf Lodge

Is Great Wolf Lodge a good place to stay when you have a toddler? Check out these things to do with toddlers at Great Wolf Lodge! 

The day after the big kids got out of school for the summer we surprised them with a fun staycation to kick off the beginning of summer. Over the 4 day getaway, we spent two days at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. We’d never stayed at a Great Wolf Lodge and have been dying to try out the closest one to our house. So when I saw the opportunity to purchase a Groupon again (we missed the first opportunity), I jumped on it and booked a night. 

As we did a bit more research on our upcoming stay, one thing was clear: there is a TON to do for all age groups. Including toddlers. And once we got there, we found this to be 100% accurate. Not only were there fun things for the big kids, but for the small kids and adults as well. 

If you’ve planned a night at the Great Wolf Lodge, here’s what you should put on your list to do with your toddler: 

Things to Do With Toddlers at Great Wolf Lodge

1. Grab a puddle jumper or bring your own – 

While there are quite a few places your toddler can go at Great Wolf Lodge, safety is first. Make sure you either bring your own life jacket (or favorite puddle jumper) or use one that’s provided for you at the various life jacket stations. We preferred our own because sometimes they’re out of life jackets at certain times of days or locations and it’s easier to just grab our own. 

2. Park yourself somewhere close to the Cub Paw Pool – 

After enjoying an afternoon at the water park on our first day there (you can enjoy the park starting at 1pm on your check-in day even though check in is at 4pm) and exploring everything for the first time, we knew that as soon as we arrived at the water park on our full day at the park, we needed to snag a spot near our toddler’s favorite area: Cub Paw Pool. 

Now not only does this area have a zero-depth entry that makes it easier for toddlers and infants alike to explore at their own pace, it only goes to 24″ deep in the deepest area. There are age appropriate slides, water funnels, and fun splash areas that are sure to excite any little one. And parents can just relax (as much as one can when they’re in the water with kids) while their littles play around them and have fun. My husband literally sat at the bottom of a small slide as he watched our daughter go up the stairs and down the slide 100s of times as I took the other two to the “big kid” areas of the park. She seriously did not want to leave to go anywhere else once she found Cub Paw Pool. 

3. Enjoy a fun splash area that older siblings can have fun at too at Fort Mackenzie – 

While Cub Paw Pool was perfect for the toddlers and infants, if your toddler is a bit more adventurous, let them splash and explore around Fort Mackenzie. The older kids can enjoy the medium size slides while the younger kids take turns trying to shoot water at passersby or stomp around in the big puddles. But watch out! That bucket on top of Fort Mackenzie does fill with water and tips to empty every few minutes. 

You may be surprised to find that after your toddler tries out the small slides in Cub Paw Pool that they ask to try the medium sized slides over at Fort Mackenzie! Maybe. If they’re daredevil 2-year-olds like mine…

4. With life jackets on, enjoy the waves of Slap Tail Pond’s wave pool.

There are lulls in between the waves (pictured above) but once the wave machine starts going, the littles LOVE trying to jump over the waves closer to the shore as the big kids swim in deeper. This pool also has a zero-depth entry that makes it easy for all to enjoy. And your little one might surprise you by asking to be taken further into the waves. Just make sure to hold on a bit tighter as you go in deeper. 

5. Looking for some sun? Enjoy the rays (with sunscreen lathered on, of course) at Raccoon Lagoon. 

Another zero-depth entry pool that gets to about 4 feet deep, this pool has two entrances on either side that offer fun play areas for toddlers to explore. The big kids will take over the center of the pool where the basketball hoops are but that’s ok, the edge is closer to the restaurant and drinks! 

In between splashing in the water and played with the water funnels, our 2-year-old munched on a delicious corn on the cobb snack from the Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill. I couldn’t pull all of the kids out of here but sadly had to as our day was coming to a close. You can stay the full day on the day you check out but we were ready to dry off and head to our next adventure by then. 

6. Staying a second night? Make sure to head down for storytime. 

Some littles may be in bed by the time this starts (I believe it was 8 or 8:15pm) but both of our girls headed down with dad to check out The Forest Friends Show followed by Great Wolf Lodge bedtime stories as told by one of their Ambassadors of Fun. Don’t forget your camera because after Story Time, meeting Wiley, Violet or one of the Great Wolf Kids characters is an unforgettable memory you won’t want to miss – and a pretty cute one too! High paws are always welcome and definitely encouraged.

As you can see, there is plenty to do at Great Wolf Lodge when you have a toddler. And some things we didn’t even get a chance to do! Good thing the whole family was in agreement that we’d have to come back soon! 

A few highlights I didn’t mention above but the toddler loved: Pizza from Hungry Like a Wolf for dinner, Donuts from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, brownies and fudge at Bear Paw Eats & Sweets, the mini carousel and candy claw at the Northern Lights Arcade, and ending our trip with a souvenir wolf from the Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop. 

Don’t forget to book a Wolf Den room if you have more than one cub! The bunk beds were a huge hit with our kids. While one night may be great for a lot of families, we’ll be booking two nights next time we head up so we can enjoy more of the amenities offered. 

Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? What was your favorite part? 

Tips for Working At Home With A Toddler

Tips for Working At Home with a Toddler

When I started working from home full time, my kids were already in preschool and I had at least a solid 4 hours 3 days a week to get things done. As business picked up, so did the hours my kids were away at school and I was none the wiser of how lucky I truly was for this.

Then we got pregnant with my third and I was confident in my ability to continue working from home and rocking it even with a baby on the way. Once the baby got here, things seemed to work out. I was able to work while she napped, or put her on the floor next to me and let her play beside me as I worked. But then she became more mobile. And more demanding of my time while she was playing. She didn’t want to just play with a ball, she wanted me to play with her.

Today started as most mornings start. I got the big kids ready for their day, and we all got out the door for morning drop off. But when we came back home my youngest was ready to play instead of nap like she normally does. So we had to shift gears a bit and move our schedule around to accommodate her needs. She’s always throwing a wrench into my routine so I have to learn how to be flexible with my work hours to make things flow well throughout the day. Working at home with a toddler is hard. But it’s not impossible!

Here are some tips for working at home with a toddler so that you can stay focused but still spend time with your child.

Tips for Working At Home With A Toddler - ways to make life easier when working with a toddler

Tips for Working At Home With A Toddler

Create Work Hours

Over the past years the biggest change I’ve found between working outside of the home and working at home is office hours. In an office setting I would come in at a certain time, take lunch at a certain time, and leave at the end of my work day. But at home it’s hard to think along the same lines. So I’ve set out time throughout the day dedicated to working.

This doesn’t have to be fancy. My office hours are written down on a post it note and stuck on my computer screen. By scheduling my day, I not only am aware of when I should be working and when I’m playing with my little one, I also take the time to feed myself and give myself the breaks I need.

Be Flexible

I’m very aware of the fact that toddlers are finicky. They can be fine playing with their train table one moment and absolutely need you RIGHT NOW the next. So I’ve grown to learn how to adapt to the quickly shifting focus of working on a task I have and then spending time with my toddler.

If I’m in the middle of working on something, I take a moment to note that in Google Keep so that I can pick up where I left off without spending time remembering where I was at.

I’ve also been able to schedule important work that needs my complete focus in the evening hours when she’s either sleeping or with my husband. This gives me peace of mind during the day because I know that I can stop and start when needed to focus on her.

Find Other Work At Home Moms

Whether it’s a neighborhood mom who also works from home with her kids, or mamas around town who you meet on meetup.com, finding other moms who work from home can help you in a variety of ways. Whether it’s socializing with them on a weekly basis and letting your kids play together, or exchanging care can help when a last minute meeting pops up or if I need to have a chunk of time during the day that I focus on getting a project done.

Schedule Play Time

I know my daughter’s routine most days and have been able to schedule play time so that we’re doing fun, interactive things throughout the day. Before I had my third, I found that I was hardly ever getting outside the house during the day when I worked. So I’ve now scheduled outdoor play in the mornings and afternoons. Since it’s warmer out, I’ve been able to set up her water table and sand box and while she plays, I can work outside. Fresh air does wonders for morale!

We then take an afternoon walk before picking up the older kids so we can explore other areas around the neighborhood and get out and about. I’ve found that I’m more productive in the afternoons after our walks than I was when we stayed home all day.

Rock Nap Time

As soon as my daughter is down for nap time, I have a pre-made list of tasks in Google Keep to tackle that I’ve made the night before. This is anything I need done without interruption that has to be completed before the end of the work day. Since I’m working with people in different time zones, I need to make sure that I’m aware of the tasks that need to be done by end of day depending on the time zone.

Utilize Tools Available

As I mentioned before, I use Google Keep for a lot of my tracking and accountability. I keep notes of my daily tasks and check them off throughout the day. I also utilize my Google Calendar and put everything on there. Whether it’s a meeting, a deadline, or even volunteer time at my son’s school, I keep it on the calendar and set notifications to pop up.

I also use IFTTT and have created recipes to help me be more efficient with my time. I can automate a lot of the tasks I have to do by using schedulers and tools built for my needs. Spending a little money is worth it when my time is used efficiently.

Tips for Working At Home With A Toddler - letting go of perfection

While working from home with a toddler is hard, it’s not impossible. By staying organized, being flexible, and knowing my limits, I’ve been able to find a groove and continue working from home with success.

What are your tips for working at home with a toddler?

Exploring Downtown San Diego With Kids

In San Diego and looking for a fun way to spend the day? If you’re heading downtown there is plenty to do and see with the kids! 

From great kid-friendly museums like the San Diego Children’s Museum to kid-friendly activities at Horton Plaza Park and kid-friendly restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe, you’ll never tire of the fun to be had in Downtown San Diego. One thing we love doing is planning one day a month where we do something new in our city. 

This month we decided to hit up Horton Plaza Park for some playtime and grab lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Not only was it the perfect afternoon out of the house, it allowed us to enjoy our city and the gorgeous weather we’ve been having lately! 

10 Must-Do Activities with Kids in Downtown San Diego

Where to Play

1. The New Children’s Musem – 

This museum is great for kids 10 and under who are looking to enjoy hands-on experiences. There are interactive art exhibits, workshops, and camps, as well as immersive art studios to allow the kids to do what they do best – explore, learn, and create! Learn more on their website

2. Horton Plaza Park – 

Horton Plaza got a snazzy new upgrade and is now home to Horton Plaza Park, a gorgeous area in front of Westfield Horton Plaza that includes a Starbucks, Sloan’s Ice Cream, and water play at the fountain. While you’re there, take advantage of Plaza Play and enjoy a game of Lawn Darts, Jenga, and other lawn games every Thursday & Friday from 11:30AM – 2:30PM and Saturday & Sunday from 11:30AM – 4:30PM. 

If you are planning on letting the kids enjoy the water fountain, make sure to bring an extra pair of clothes! We may or may not have had to step into Gymboree to buy a few outfits for them after allowing them to enjoy a nice soak in the fountain water. But they loved every minute of it! 

3. Balboa Theater or the Civic Theater – 

My husband and I absolutely love heading to the Civic Theater to watch the latest shows at Broadway San Diego. We’ve been season ticket holders for the past 3 years and it’s something we look forward to every year. Throughout the year there are some great shows to bring the kids to! Just recently we saw Matilda and coming up is Finding Neverland! 

You can also watch your favorite movies at Balboa Theater through Cinema @ Balboa Theatre & Hard Rock Cafe. Enjoy a cinematic movie experience at the historic Balboa Theatre every month and meet-up with your fellow fans before or after the show for 15% off food, non-alcoholic beverages and non-charity retail with your movie ticket. And get $2.00 Off Cinema @ Balboa Movie Tickets at Balboa Theatre online or at Balboa Ticket Window & use code: HardRock. For Cinema Show listings and times: http://sandiegotheatres.org

Where to Explore

4. Seaport Village and The Headquarters

The one place I love visiting over and over again when I’m downtown is Seaport Village. I don’t know what it is about this little shopping area or why I always want to come back. And now with the Headquarters right next door, I have even more reasons to come visit again. Maybe it’s just because I love good shopping and delicious food? 

The kids will love hitting up the carousel and Ben & Jerry’s while at Seaport Village. And don’t forget to check out the old jail at The Headquarters. This is my kids’ favorite place to visit. My daughter loves reading what the inmates were incarcerated for back when the jail was still operational. And she loves sticking her brother in one of the cells. You can also purchase great gifts, cheeses, and chocolates while you’re there among other things. 

5.The Embarcadero – 

With the Star of India, USS Midway, and many other gems along the Embarcadero, it’s a must see for those visiting San Diego or exploring for the 100th time. You can also enjoy a harbor cruise on one of the many cruise ships in the Embarcadero. We love checking out Flagship Cruises to see if they have any special events happening. They’re also perfect for whale watching season! 

6. Balboa Park

While it is a bit farther than the other areas, we love heading to Balboa Park to explore the various museums and attractions (including our famous San Diego Zoo). If you have time, grab an explorer pass and really get to explore what Balboa Park has to offer! And don’t forget to stop by and see what’s new at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Dinos are taking center stage right now! 

Where to Eat

7. Hard Rock Cafe – 

We were recently invited to head down to the Hard Rock Cafe San Diego and try out their awesome menu. The location was so convenient for our family as it’s within walking distance of Horton Plaza Park (across the street). The menu was extensive and they had a great selection of drinks and kids items. 

I enjoyed a delicious Texan pulled pork sandwich paired with a southern rock while my husband had a burger with strawberry lemonade. The kids took advantage of the delicious smoothies and hot dogs on the kids menu. We ended our meal with an amazing hot fudge brownie. Pictures do not do this dessert justice! It’s massive and was perfect for our family of 5. No one felt left out. Next time we’re trying the fresh apple cobbler per my husband’s request. 

The best part about this restaurant is the ambiance. Being surrounded by our favorite band’s memorabilia and quotes made our experience even more awesome. And just like the Hard Rock Hotel (which I highly recommend), the service and attention to detail is spot on! You feel like a part of the family as soon as you walk in. 

8. Food Trucks – 

When you’re out and about in Downtown San Diego, especially when there’s an event going on, make sure to keep an eye out for the delicious food trucks our city has driving around. You can take a look at the food truck schedule by visiting their website

9. Double Standard – 

While we love quite a few restaurants in Downtown San Diego, the sandwiches at Double Standard keep me coming back for more. Plus the kids love their pizza! The menu is always changing so stop by and check out what they are serving up. I’m sure it’ll be delicious! When we’re with the kids we prefer coming for lunch as it’s a little less crowded and we can snag a comfy couch seat. 

10. Ghiradelli – 

If you didn’t snag an amazing brownie sundae at Hard Rock Cafe, stop by Ghiradelli. For a scrumptious ice cream dish to share with the whole family! It’s close to all of the other restaurants and places we’ve previously mentioned so it’s a great place to end the night (or day)! 

No matter what you do while you’re in Downtown San Diego, I’m sure you’ll have fun doing it! If you have any suggestions for kid-friendly activities, please feel free to leave them in the comments below! We’re always looking for something new to explore in San Diego! 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Downtown San Diego? 

Disclosure: Our family was provided a free meal at the Hard Rock Cafe San Diego. 

Tips to Keep Teen Drivers Safe + a New Teen Driver Kit

Have a new teen driver? We’ve put together a new teen driver kit with help from our sponsor, Mercury Insurance, to help keep teen drivers safe on the road.

This past week one of my youngest siblings passed her driving test and will be on the road with her license. And with the stats I’ve been seeing lately, that scares me! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 2,524 teen drivers and passengers were killed and 177,000 were injured in 2013. And with mobile technology and the use of mobile apps steadily increasing, distracted driving accidents are also on the rise.

To commemorate this milestone, though, I’m hoping to share some tools with her that will help keep her as safe as possible. That’s why I put together a new teen driver kit for her to utilize when she’s on the road. Complete with items like a hands-free phone stand, mobile charger, and other items that may come in handy (jumper cables!), I hope she feels more confident on the road when she’s driving alone. 

In addition to my new teen driver kit, I have the help of our sponsor, Mercury Insurance, and their Drive Safe Challenge. The Drive Safe Challenge is an interactive website that provides teens with safe driving and vehicle tips, as well as gives parents tools to help encourage responsible driving behavior. 

The site features:

They don’t just want to help teens, they also want to educate them (and their parents) about the dangers and responsibilities that come with getting a driver’s license. Apply the brakes on the leading cause of death for teenagers and share what you learn from the Drive Safe Challenge website with a new teen driver you know.

What To Include: New Teen Driver Kit

  • storage container (to hold everything)
  • booster cables
  • drink cup 
  • microfiber towels
  • portable charger (for any device)
  • flashlight
  • cleaning wipes
  • phone car mount (hands free!)

Make sure to print out a copy of the Mercury Insurance driving contract parents and teens can sign to set the rules of the road and outline the circumstances under which driving privileges would be lost. It makes the perfect addition to this kit! 

Do you know a new teen driver who’s about to hit the road? 

Greystone Steakhouse | San Diego Restaurant Week January 15th – 22nd 2017

 

One of the best things about date night in San Diego, besides the weather, is the plethora of dinner options downtown after we head out of the theater. This past weekend our season tickets to Broadway SD took us to see Rent. It was my first time and I loved it. Why hadn’t I seen it before? I have friends who’ve seen it over 5 times (at various theaters)! After the musical, we were invited to try out the delicious sounding Restaurant Week menu at Greystone Steakhouse on 5th Avenue. Neither my husband or I had ever been there but the menu online was quite intriguing. Certified waygu beef straight from the source? Delicious surf and turf options? Yes please! 

Greystone Steakhouse | San Diego Gaslamp

We were able to walk to the restaurant from the civic theater in less than 10 minutes. The perfect distance to take in the city but not feel out of breath getting from one place to another. And once we walked up we were greeted by a host at their outdoor patio. We walked in and went through the bar and up to an intimate seating area. There was another seating area downstairs from where we were that mirrored the same layout. 

Greystone Steakhouse | The Food

To start we ordered the kale cesar salad. It was the perfect ratio of lettuce to cheese to dressing and the crunch of the romaine fit in perfectly with the earthiness of the kale. Shortly after enjoying our salads we were asked if we’d like to try a few of their other options. The wildboar sausage and big eye tuna tartar were brought out for us to sample. I could not get enough of either however my husband preferred the wildboar sausage. Sweet and savory all on one plate! But to be fair, he’s not much of a raw fish person. 

Then our entrees came out. My husband is a huge steak fan and ordered the petite filet where I wanted to try something a little different. Now I know chicken may not sound different but I hadn’t ordered a chicken dish in so long. And the smoked butter-basted chicken breast with leeks, artichokes, and mushrooms sounded too good not to try. I was also pleasantly surprised to find saffron cauliflower mash. Since I’m following a low carb diet, this meal was right up my alley! And for those who are gluten free, almost the entire menu is gluten free as well! There are also select dishes that are dairy free also. What a great find, right? Another delicious side that was brought out for us to try were the bacon fig brussel sprouts. I thought they were a bit too sweet for my taste but my husband enjoyed one or two alongside is mashed potatoes. 

When dessert came, my husband couldn’t decide between the chocolate lava cake (they flambe it!) or the lemoncello sponge cake so our kind waiter talked him into getting both. The tableside flambe really was a treat! And the lemoncello cake came with a shot of lemoncello. I know a few people who would LOVE this dessert. Since I’m not eating sweets right now, we had plenty left over for the kids to help dig into. And boy did they like that. 

Greystone Steakhouse | Restaurant Week Highlights

For San Diego Restaurant Week, Greystone Steakhouse offers 3 different selections for dinner options with them. a $40 person menu, a $50 person menu, and a $60 person menu. You can find all of the selections offered in each menu here

And as I mentioned previously, this restaurant is perfect for those who are gluten free or dairy free and have such a large array of options to fit any dietary needs. The saffron cauliflower mash was amazing and paired perfectly with my chicken (or my husband’s filet). And the food was so full of layered flavor. Definitely a treat for date night! 

San Diego Restaurant Week | January 15th – 22nd 2017

The 13th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, January 15th through Sunday, January 22nd for an edible extravaganza to ring in the New Year! With over 180 participating restaurants offering prix-fixe menu options throughout San Diego County, you’re sure to find the perfect place to satisfy any craving. San Diego Restaurant Week is proud to announce a very delicious partnership for January 2017 as many of the San Diego Restaurant Week restaurants team up with local Girl Scouts to celebrate the arrival of Girl Scouting in San Diego 100 years ago, as well as the 100th anniversary of delectable, scrumptious, delicious Girl Scout Cookies! To celebrate, chefs are getting creative with America’s favorite cookies to dish out special offerings for SDRW diners.

Over 180 participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person and/or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus for $10, $15 or $20 per person. The participating restaurants span across the county from the South Bay to East County and to the borders of Oceanside and Fallbrook to the North.

Satisfy your cookie cravings early by dining out at participating restaurants offering sweet and savory menu items before Girl Scout Cookie Season begins! Enjoy dishes featuring Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Samoas, Tagalongs, and Savannah Smiles used in recipes that are sure to surprise you. Naturally, you can expect decadent desserts featuring these beloved cookies – but our restaurants are taking Girl Scout cookies to the next level with dishes like Samoas Crusted Fried Shrimp, Do-si-dos Peanut Thai Chicken, salads featuring toasted Trefoil croutons, and more!

Now is your time to dine with over 150,000 fellow diners to celebrate San Diego’s thriving culinary scene. Tickets are not necessary for this delectable week of discounted dining, but reservations are recommended! Visit SanDiegoRestaurantWeek.com for more information, including a list of participating restaurants, or to make your reservations in advance!

What restaurant are you looking forward to trying?

Here are a few we’ve tried in the past: 

Double Standard

SHIMBASHI Izakaya

The Hake Restaurant & Bar

Grant Grill

Oceanaire Seafood Room

 

10 Tips To Teach Children The Basics of Organization

These 10 tips to teach children the basics of organization can help get your kids to start picking up after themselves and stop leaving messes all over the house. 

10-tips-to-teach-children-the-basics-of-organization

Teaching your child how to organize can be comparable to brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. As much as parents like to do things themselves, there comes a point where children must learn to do things on their own. And now is about the time that my kids need to start picking up after themselves and learning how to keep their areas organized. 

After two weeks home with the kids and little messes made in every.single.room of the house over the holiday break,  I was done. And at one point I’m pretty sure I grabbed a big black trash bag and threatened to pick up everything I see on the ground and give it away. Mama was over it. And the kids picked up on that. 

Our house is set up so that our children can let their inner creativity shine. BUT at 6 and 7 years old I think they’re old enough to start learning how to start organizing their things. Putting stuff away once they are done using them so that they’re not in every corner of our home. Or so that they don’t end up in a pile on their bed or bedroom floor. 

Starting with the basics is one way to help your child learn how to organize. And that’s exactly where we’re starting. 

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10 Tips To Teach Children The Basics of Organization

#1. Simplicity

Teach your child that organization doesn’t need to be complicated. Organization should be used as a tool to make everything simpler.

#2. It Takes Time

One thing a child should know about organization is that it takes time. Even the most basic forms of organization will take some time.

#3. Limits

Your child should know that to be successful in organization there has to be limits put on things. You can’t collect every single paper you bring home from preschool.

#4. Donations

It’s amazing how much one person can collect overtime. Teaching your child the basics about donations will help them learn about organization. They should know that when a person has extra of something, it’s okay to donate to someone else less fortunate.

#5. Bring one in Take one Out

One rule a child should know about organization is the value of doing it “as you go.” If you buy something new and bring it home, then the rule is that something else has to leave. Learning to let go of items can be a hard lesson.

#6. Everything Has a Home

I think one of the most valuable lessons a child can learn in organizing is that everything has a home. You don’t need to leave everything out on the floor, simply put it away. When everything has a home the basics of organization seem pretty simple.

#7. Teamwork

Teach your child that it’s okay to ask for help when they need it. Sometimes organizing can be incredibly overwhelming. Teaching your child to ask for help is a tip they’ll need to carry with them for a long time.

#8. Know Their Limits

A child should be taught the basics of organization, but there is no need to be incredibly pushy about it. There should be a happy medium between proper organization and overzealous organization. 

Your child doesn’t need to spend every waking moment organizing their room. Have your child set a 15 minute timer for their organizing time. When that time is over, they get to take a break.

#9. Prioritize

Organizing can be overwhelming because sometimes there’s too much to do and not enough time. Teach your child how to prioritize one task over another. For example—The floor needs cleaned up before you can sweep.

#10. Get Creative

There are no rules to organizing. One family’s idea of organizing is different than another. Teach your child the basics behind organizing and they should be good to go. Also teach them that getting creative with the resources is a smart move. For example—You don’t need to go out and buy organizing items, you can use what you have at home. Use a milk crate for a toy box and etc. 

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Try to refrain from getting frustrated or yelling when you’re teaching your child about organizing. Children should grow up to love this sort of exercise, not grow to hate it.

How do you get your kids involved in the organization process? 

Creative Ways To Find Bonding Time With Your Kids



This post featuring creative ways to find bonding time with your kids is sponsored by K’NEX. 

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As the kids grow older they start to become more of their own person. Family game nights aren’t always as easy as they were before and choosing something each child likes to do can be downright hard. So I’ve started thinking outside the box when I want to find bonding time with the kids. When we were sent the K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster I knew  I could get creative and find a way to turn this fun toy into a way to spend more time with my oldest.

You can find a few tips on more creative ways to find bonding time with your kids below. 

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Creative Ways To Find Bonding Time With Your Kids

When I had my son I was so excited to start planning all of the fun activities we’d do together. I planned zoo trips, playdates, and as he got older, I purchased games we could play together. But as he got older, and as his siblings arrived, I realized that one on one time with him was getting fewer and farther between. So I started to make an effort to spend time – quality time – with him (and his siblings) one on one. Sure we have a lot of family outings and activities, but spending that time just the two of us is so important. And every time I’m with him I learn more about the person he’s becoming. 

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Plan Ahead

The first step in making sure bonding time actually happens is to schedule it. Look at your family calendar and talk with your significant other to plan a day or a few hours where they hang out with the other kids so you can enjoy one on one time. If this is something you want to do regularly, keep it on the calendar and repeat it once a month. 

Find Fun Activities

While it may be hard to find fun activities that both of you enjoy together, there’s always something out there. I start by seeing what my son is interested in and suggesting we do something centered around his likes. Then after a few times of playing video games, or building fun K’NEX sets, I start suggesting other activities. And by planning ahead, I can find projects we can work on together, places we can visit, and other things we can do just the two of us. 

Get Outdoors

When all else fails, get outdoors! My son loves staying holed up in his room playing on the tablet but when I actually get him outside the house or doing an activity, he starts opening up and actually enjoys himself. Even when we’re short on time, I’ll grab him and ask if he’ll go for a walk around the neighborhood with me. Pretty soon he’s finding a bug or tracking a lizard and talking about everything he knows about them. I love it! 

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Over the past weekend my son and I tackled our next project together. We built an awesome roller coaster! The Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster stands over 2 1/2 feet high when built and provided hours of amusement for us. We worked on problem-solving with plenty of brainteasers for my son and I to tackle together. And while my head may have hurt at times, it was so worth it to complete this set with my son and watch his joy as the roller coaster finally worked and took the car up and down the tracks!

You can find this set exclusively at Walmart. It’s a great gift for kids ages 9+. But my 7 year old was able to complete it with my help which made it even more awesome. 

How do you find bonding time with your kids? 

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Where Do Babies Come From? And Other Questions Brought On By The Storks Movie

STORKS

Storks deliver babies…or at least they used to according to the animated adventure “Storks” staring Andy Samberg. Now they deliver packages for global internet retail giant Cornerstore.com. Junior (Samberg), the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when the Baby Factory is accidentally activated on his watch, producing an adorable – and wholly unauthorized – baby girl.

Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, race to make their first-ever baby drop, in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world.

When we were invited to check out the film, I knew the kids would want to go see it. Every time they saw a trailer, they immediately asked when it was coming to the theater. And when the day finally came for our screening, both kids were happy to finish up their homework and eat dinner early so we could take off to the theater. They were prepared for a great time. I was not prepared for the barrage of questions I would get after the movie showed. 

STORKS

A few questions that were hurled at me as we drove home: 

  • Where do babies really come from? 
  • Why would someone not have a mommy and daddy?
  • How would a stork know how to find a baby’s family?
  • What is an orphan? 
  • Are there really orphans out there without a mommy or daddy? 
  • Why can’t you be their mommy? 
  • Why can’t we get another brother or sister? 
  • Can we put a slide on our roof too? 

You get the point. 

STORKS

While most movies do bring on a lot of questions from our kids, especially the middle child, I was definitely not prepared for the questions they wanted to know after we saw Storks. And had a done my due diligence and really paid attention to the trailers, I would have been able to prepare myself to what was to come. And, hey, maybe you won’t get the same questions I did. 

Note: If you have a child who is adopted or was, at one point, an orphan, please read this post from our friend over at Highlights Along The Way. This movie may have possible triggers that can affect your child and/or yourself. 

Other than the questions we received, and tried to answer as best as we could (for their ages), the movie was a fun-filled movie with great animation and a fun storyline for the kids. They loved watching Tulip and Junior on their adventure and laughed out loud for most of the movie. Their favorite part? When a pack of wolves turned themselves into a submarine. Quite entertaining! 

STORKS

The Storks movie hit theaters on September 23rd and is rated PG

Pool Party Etiquette + A Simple Solution To Party Gifts

We’re sharing some tips on pool party etiquette and our simple solution to picking the perfect party gift with help from our partner Google Express. Also? You can score a free 6-month membership by using code FREETIME when signing up!  More savings at the bottom of this post including $15 off your first order.

Pool Party Etiquette plus A Simple Solution To Party Gifts

This past week was very busy. It was the first week the kids didn’t have camp and things were a bit… busy… in our home. Not only was I working from home while the kids tried to entertain themselves, but we are also preparing for vacation. 

And that means extra work, extra things on my to-do list (what items did we need for our trip?) and extra chores. You see, I hate leaving the house un-tidy when we leave for vacation. It’s just not fun to come back from being away and not having things perfect at home. Does that make sense?  Basically I had to do all.the.things in one week. 

Pool Party Etiquette - bring your own gear

So when we were invited to a pool party for my son’s friend that weekend, I wasn’t sure if I could do one more thing. But luckily with the help of Google Express, I was able to not only tackle my to-do list from my house, but I was also able to pick up pool supplies and a gift for my son’s friend all from the comforts of my home. And it was all delivered with time to spare. That means less running from one store to the next to the next and more spending time at home getting things ready here. 

Checking off things on my to-do list not only give me personal satisfaction but also free up time during my day so I can do fun things with the kids. Total win in my book! 

I just perused the site (and over 25+ stores) and added what I needed to my cart. Sunscreen, cell phone tripod, sea bands for the trip. A LEGO for my son’s friend’s gift. And cleaning supplies for the house. All within 15-20 minutes of looking for what I needed. That would have taken me a lot more time driving to a few different stores. In two days the items arrived at my doorstep and I was able to continue to go about checking off everything on my list before our trip. And next month when we need more sunscreen I know exactly where to go! 

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Pool Party Etiquette

1. Bring Your Own Towel

And goggles, and floaties, and change of clothes, and… you get what I mean. Don’t expect the host to provide anything you might need at the party. I also find that it’s helpful to bring a wet bag to put the wet clothes in after the kids get out of the pool and dry off. 

2. Make Sure To Designate Supervision

For me, personally, if my kids are in the pool, so am I. While my son is a strong swimmer, my daughter still lacks the confidence to swim for a long period of time without me close by. Even if I’m not right there in the pool, I’m on the side of the pool with bathing suit on just in case. If you’re dropping your child off at a pool party, don’t feel weird asking the host how many parents will be watching the kids and if the parents will be in the pool. 

3. Go Over Pool Rules

Before you leave the house, remember to go over the pool rules with the kids so they’re up on pool safety and what’s to be expected of them. Make sure they understand who’s in charge, what is ok and not ok, and what to do if they need something. I find that the kids actually remember the rules when I go over them a few times. 

4. Remember Sunscreen

It may be obvious but for our family we stock up on sunscreen like it’s going out of style. And then we buy more. Because even when wearing sunscreen I will burn. So I am that parent who will re-apply my kid’s sunscreen every 1-2 hours. I’m also the parent that has extra for the kids who forgot their sunscreen. It’s an important part of the pool party equation. 

5. Have Fun!

Whether it’s fun in the pool or out, the key to any good party is to have fun. And that means SAFE fun. Plan a few activities for the kids to do outside of the pool so that when they’re done playing in the water, they have a safe activity to participate in. 

Pool Party Etiquette - water balloons

Great Gift Ideas with Google Express

With over 25 stores to choose from, you can find everything from pool toys from Target, to LEGO sets from Toys R Us , to books from Barnes and Noble. And don’t get me started on the awesome Costco finds I was perusing! There are so many great gift ideas all in one place. 

Plus, you get same-day, overnight or 2-day delivery from these stores with Google Express. It’s your everyday, delivered. We’re at Target or Costco at least once or twice a week so the fact that we can shop at these stores all in one place, add items to our cart, choose when we want delivery from each store, and check out using Google Payments makes everything so much easier. One place, not 10.  

With a Google Express membership, you can get fast and free delivery on eligible orders. For non-members, delivery starts at $4.99 per store for eligible orders which is definitely reasonable for what you’re getting. 

Google Express delivered to your door

 Want to check out Google Express yourself? Sign up for a FREE 6 month membership by using code FREETIME. Just click on the Try It Free button after following the link. Then you can shop and use BJK8N924Z at checkout for $15 off first purchase. You will need to sign up first with code FREETIME before you can use the $15 off referral code. 

Once you’ve enjoyed the freedom Google Express brings, post a comment or photo of your Saturday on social media with the #MyNewSaturday and #GoogleExpress hashtags to share how you’re spending your newfound free time!

How will you spend your free time this summer?

Give $15, Get $15: Offer may end at any time/valid until 08/31/2016 while your account is active. Limited to Google Express accounts that received the offer from Google. Each valid referral gets you a $15 courtesy credit when the new users you referred place their first order using your referral code. Alcohol, gift cards, membership costs, and shipping & service fees excluded. Credits you give are subject to these terms. Credits you get are subject to these terms.*



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