5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun + Sweet Incentives

We’re celebrating potty success with help from our sponsor, Pull-Ups Training Pants! Check out these 5 ways to make potty training fun plus a recipe for crazy cake below.

We’ve been on our potty training journey for a few months now and I’m happy to tell you that our youngest is now 100% potty trained. And we couldn’t have done it without the help of Pull-Ups Training Pants. Pull-Ups products are all about providing parents and kids with tips and advice to help make potty training easy and fun, plus they provide plenty of tools specifically designed to keep children engaged throughout the potty training journey. Pull-Ups has potty trained 50 million Big Kids and counting – so I’ll take this one from the experts.

Potty training success starts with attitude. And if you don’t have the right attitude, neither will your kid. This is such an important milestone for toddlers and it’s also an opportunity for parents to work together with their children to reach the end goal: potty training success! It sounds daunting to so many parents, but why not make it fun?

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

1. Purchase your first pack of Pull-Ups – 

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 offers a consistent representation to your child of their potty training journey.

With different design options, let your child choose a package that they identify with to make the process fun! 

2. Singing the “Time 2 Potty” song – 

Following the fun path, sing the Time 2 Potty song with your kid to get them used to the idea of being a big kid and all that being a big kid entails. 

Time2Potty Song:

We’re gonna do this together, 

we’re gonna stick to the plan. 

Do everything we can to make it easy and fun,

It’s time to potty everyone!

They’re designed like underwear, 

special friends make ’em fun to wear.

So boys and girls sing out loud:

I’m a Big Kid now!

3. Donate unused/leftover diapers – 

Find a local diaper bank that needs diapers or donate your unused diapers to a friend or family member with a baby to help your child get used to the idea of transitioning out of diapers and into Pull-Ups. By removing the diapers from your home, you’re preparing for the potty training journey and removing any crutches.

Once your child has transitioned from Pull-Ups to underwear, you can do the same thing with your unused Pull-Ups. My daughter decided to gift our Pull-Ups to her 1 year old cousin (hence the bow on the package in the photos). She may be too young just yet but my daughter knows that all the Pull-Ups were given to her cousin and we don’t have any more in the house to use. 

4. Print, color, pose and post with a Potty Training Certificate –

Grab a Potty Training Certificate and print it out for your child. Let them color and personalize it, then snap a photo of them with it to commemorate the moment. You can do the same thing when they’ve successfully potty trained to commemorate their progress and their “graduation” into big kid underwear.  

5. Celebrate potty training success with sweet incentives – 

When your child has transitioned into Pull-Ups and starts to have accident free weeks, consider a sweet incentive to encourage them even more. We would use lollipops and other small prize rewards to give to our kids when they successfully went on the potty, when they had an accident free week, and finally, when they transitioned from Pull-Ups to big kid underwear, we celebrated with a Crazy Cake! 

Cakes mean celebrations for us and this Crazy Cake recipe is one that my husband’s family has been making for years. It’s a super easy recipe that the kids can help with AND it’s egg and dairy free. Most of the ingredients are staple pantry items. 

Chocolate Crazy Cake Recipe

Print

Chocolate Crazy Cake

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water

Instructions

  1. Sift dry ingredients together directly into a 9 x 13-inch ungreased baking pan.

  2. Let your child make three wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the oil into one well, vinegar into the second well, and vanilla into the third well. Pour cold water over everything and stir well with a fork.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Frost with your favorite icing.

What sweet incentives would your child love to celebrate with? 

Loved the tips we shared in this post? Check out these other potty training tips: 

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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. 

10-tips-to-teach-children-the-basics-of-organization-before-and-after

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. 

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

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? 

How I’m Teaching My White Children That Black Lives Matter

How I'm Teaching My White Children That Black Lives Matter #SaySomething

Things have been quiet over here. My family and I are on the road driving back home from a week away. We were in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a blogging conference and I decided it’d be fun to turn it into a family road trip. While we were away we learned of the horrific tragedies that took place in the US. Brutal, un-provoked murders of yet two more men. Black men. 

We were sitting in a McDonalds for one of our many pit stops during the long drive and a TV was on and turned to the news. The first thing we saw were the headlines. Alton Sterling, a 37 year old black father of 5, died of multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest after a homeless man called 911 outside of a convenience store. 

I’m sure by now, many have been able to read and research this shooting along with that of Philando Castile. Philando. A man who was in the car with his girlfriend and 4 year old child. Stopped for a broken tail light. Both incidents filmed and shared on social media. 

In that moment, with the tv on and my middle child right there listening to everything, I knew that I had to do something. Even if it was as small as what I chose to do. Because this is just too much. I turned to my daughter (as my son ate his chicken nuggets and played on my husband’s phone a few inches away within ear shot) and watched her reaction. Watched her take in the information she was hearing and seeing. And I allowed asked questions – as she does about everything. I tried my best to answer. I was open with her. I was honest. And I voiced my opinion. 

I am a white woman who fully acknowledges that I live with the white privilege I was born with. And I didn’t fully realize this until earlier last year after speaking with and reading comments from friends and colleagues. I have not stopped reading, watching, and listening to the pain my friends are crying out on social media. The outrage, the anger, and the helplessness they feel. And with this witness to their raw emotion I cannot help but feel drawn towards wanting to do something – anything – to acknowledge it. 

And I’m trying to do the only thing I can at the moment. I will try to share those voices, to talk with my black friends, and to educate my children on the inbred racism that not only exists in this country but in our own daily lives. I want them to see me challenge racist comments made by strangers and/or family members. I want them to hear me when I explain their white privilege and how they can use it for good. I am teaching my children to speak up and speak out for and with their black friends. Even if that means calling out a family member or feeling uncomfortable. Or coming to talk to me about it. Because I am teaching my children to respect and to love. To be less judgmental. To be accepting of those who appear different. And to question the events going on around them. 

How I'm Teaching My White Children That Black Lives Matter too

How I’m Teaching My White Children That Black Lives Matter

Here’s what we’re doing more of: 

Asking Questions

While my son is still very much in his own world and doing his own thing, my daughter is very aware of the outside world. She hears and sees everything and there’s not much you can keep from her. She’s also pretty darn smart. Now I’m not saying that my son isn’t smart, he’s just not as vocal as she is. With her increased desire to experience the world around her, she asks a lot of questions. A lot. And I’ve tried my very best to be open to her questions and helping her find the answers. 

I’ve realized that I can’t shield her from the news. I can’t shield her from hearing the bad that is happening in the world right now. I can’t shield her from her emotions after hearing someone has been shot and died and his kids don’t have a daddy anymore. All I can do is provide a listening ear and help share the information I can find with her. Even if that means I don’t have all of the answers.  

Saying “I Don’t Know”

Because I am a white woman, I cannot possibly fully understand what some of my friends are going through right now. The fear they feel as their black husbands walk out the door. The concern they have for their black son’s future. So when I run into a question from my children that I don’t know, I am more than welcome to acknowledge that I don’t have an answer. But I offer to research and read more to help educate us all. I will continue to read personal stories and reactions from those around me and keep my eyes open to what is going on around us.  

Acknowledging Our Situation

And with listening and answering my kids questions, as well as helping learn more about what is going on, I also will acknowledge our part in what is going on. I will acknowledge that I cannot speak for those affected. I cannot can only share their voice. And I can teach my children to do the same. I can teach them that there is power in stepping aside and allowing others to speak in our place. Because we can’t even begin to understand what our friends have had to live with their whole lives. And we can only help that by sharing our platform that we can educate others and open their eyes to what is going on right in front of us. 

Black Lives Matter. 

Lets teach our children to be advocates for change. Let us end unnecessary violence and killings. 

Trevor Noah The Daily Beast

And just so it’s clear… I am pro-cop and pro-black. And I am also raising my children to respect law enforcement. I acknowledge the fear that families of law enforcement also live with and appreciate all that those officers and families sacrifice for my family’s safety. Trevor Noah said it better than I could in the statement in the picture above. This statement may be why I’ve only discussed this topic and others with my family and close friends and not publicly. Along with the fact that I’m admittedly really uncomfortable with controversy. Especially when I don’t have all of the answers. I like to be prepared. And I’m not.  And it makes me feel uneasy. But if that’s all I have to feel while others feel so, so much more, then I can’t stay silent. 

All I ask is that you open your minds and your hearts to hear what the black community has to say. 

 

A few words from my friends and colleagues. I hope you’ll watch and read.  

Speak Up. Say Something. #AltonSterlingBrandi Riley

It’s Time For You To Say Something #AltonSterling – Amiyrah Martin

This Is Bullshit #AltonSterling – Amber Dorsey

Groundhog Day of Police Brutality Bullshit. ‪#‎AltonSterling‬ – Awesomely Luvvie

10 Reasons I Don’t Want To Be Your White Ally – Colleen Mitchell

Please feel free to link to your posts below in the comments as you #SaySomething and I’ll share. 

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers: Creating a Toddler Room To Grow

This post brought to you by Disney Junior. The content and opinions expressed below are that of mine alone.

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers Creating a Toddler Room To Grow

Babies turn into toddlers quite quickly. One minute they’re crawling on the ground and cooing and laughing and the next minute they’re running down the hall pointing at an object and saying (kind of) words. Their little brains are working so hard and so fast that if you don’t keep a look out for the changes, it may happen without you even knowing it!

Luckily we’ve been through this a few times before and it’s come to my attention over the past few weeks that my 15 month old has officially changed from a baby into a toddler. It almost feels like overnight. She’s still very much a baby but through her actions and reactions to our everyday adventures she is starting to act a whole lot more like me and her sister. She’s definitely our little MinnieMe.

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers Playing with Siblings

From wanting to help us bake and cook, to demanding that we read her a favorite book before bed as we cuddle on her new full size bed with cute new Minnie Mouse bedding, to insisting she wear the same thing as her older sister like her new adorable Minnie Mouse Toddler Girl 2-Fer Dress, or use the same Disney Minnie Mouse Bows and Dots Beach Towel after bath time, our little toddler loves to try and keep up with us no matter what we’re doing.

I cannot believe how much or how fast she is changing. And I don’t know if I can keep up! I feel like she went from not caring one bit about walking to going non-stop in her own direction. She definitely takes after us and I know she’ll be just as energetic and opinionated as her sister. 

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers - bedtime routines

So the time has come for us to give our baby turned toddler her own space. We’ve fixed up a new room for her brother upstairs and have begun creating a room just for her. Inspired by her baby shower and her first birthday, we’ve used elements from Minnie Mouse to create a fun, playful atmosphere for her to learn and grow in. 

This Mother’s Day reminded me of how quickly these kids change and how much we need to preserve our memories with them. So as I transform her room for her, I want to share what we change and what we add to encourage her journey into toddlerhood. 

Tips on creating a toddler room to grow: 

  1. Purchase a twin or full size bed. Toddler beds are not comfortable… let me tell you! And when we transitioned the kids into their own beds, it was much easier to give them a full size bed then a small bed. And we didn’t have to buy another bed when they outgrew the toddler bed! 
  2. Get a full size dresser and add a changing table box with pad to the top of it instead of using a separate changing table. Again… one less piece of furniture to buy! 
  3. Utilize photos or memorabilia from your child’s baby shower, birthdays, etc to decorate the room. We were able to repurpose her name sign from her baby shower as wall art.

Here’s a sneak peek at her almost finished toddler room:

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers Creating a Toddler Room To Grow with Disney Baby

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers Creating a Toddler Room To Grow #MinnieMe

When Babies Turn Into Toddlers Creating a Toddler Room To Grow changing table

Looking to create a fun toddler room of your own?

Check out these adorable Disney Junior Minnie Mouse items and grab a few things that would work for your explorative toddler! Not quite ready for a full size bed? Check out this Disney Minnie Mouse Bow Power 4-piece Toddler Bedding Set! So cute.

Watching my two little “MinnieMe’s” grow has been one of the greatest joys in my life. This time together with them goes quickly and I’m definitely soaking up every minute of it!

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Science in the Kitchen: Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag

We’re getting creative in the kitchen with this fun Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream in a Bag recipe brought to you thanks to our partnership with Hershey’s via MomTrends.  

Science in the Kitchen Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag

This weekend the kids and I got a little creative in the kitchen. After finding that my husband ate the last of the ice cream, they were determined to make a fun sweet treat to enjoy while we watched movies together. So I suggested we make ice cream. Now their first reaction was one of disbelief. Not that they hadn’t made ice cream before, but because our ice cream maker has been in the garage since we’ve moved here and they knew that wasn’t going to happen. So when I suggested that we shake and make our own homemade ice cream in a bag like I used to with my grandma, their eyes lit up and they were 100% on board to try things out.

While we were going over what ingredients we needed – ice, ice cream salt, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, sugar – my son spotted the HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup and asked if we could turn our ice cream into chocolate chip ice cream like the kind we’ve made before with a ribbon of homemade ganache. Instead of nixing the idea right away, I asked him what he’d do to make chocolate chip ice cream from the syrup. His mind started going and the ideas started cranking out.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag ingredients

He settled on an experiment he wanted to try out: If we squeezed a ribbon of HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup onto wax paper and froze it, would it become hard so we could break it up into our ice cream?

So I let him set everything up and try it out. After about 3 hours in the freezer, though, the syrup was very cold, but not solid. So he decided that we’d just drizzle the chocolate in the ice cream mix to make a chocolate ice cream. Even though his hypothesis was wrong, he still ended up with a pretty yummy outcome!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag with Hershey's Simply 5

Each of the older two had their own bags of ice cream and both decided on stopping when it became the consistency of soft serve vs. waiting until it became a more formed ice cream (see the photo below). If you don’t like a little melted ice cream, feel free to shake until the ice cream turns harder.

Just a little squeeze of the HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup, brings back cherished childhood memories I created with my family so it was fun to do this with my kids. It’s an easy way to share a sweet and simple moment with my family. We also love enjoying a glass of milk with a little swirl of syrup inside!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag and just right

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 drizzle of HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup
  • 6 tablespoons ice cream salt
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 gallon size zippered plastic bag
  • 1 quart size zippered plastic bag

In the quart size zippered plastic bag, add heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup. Seal tight making sure to get most of the air out.

In the freezer size zippered plastic bag, add the ice and ice cream salt. Then add the ice cream mixture bag. Shake, shake, shake like crazy until your ice cream starts forming (about 3-5 minutes of shaking). I suggest putting on some dance music to make it more enjoyable!

Once your ice cream has formed, wipe off any excess salt from the bag and snip a corner of the bag with some scissors (if soft serve consistency) to pour into a cup or bowl. Or use a spoon to scoop out (if harder consistency). Drizzle with more HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup and enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag with Hershey's Simply 5 syrup

HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup is a sweet and simple take on the HERSHEY’S classic, now made with five simple ingredients. You can find more recipes and fun things to do with HERSHEY’S by visiting them on Facebook or following along on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Hershey’s via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hershey’s or Momtrends.

Finding Teachable Moments With Our Kids

This conversation featuring 10 places to find teachable moments is brought to you by Vroom

Finding Teachable Moments With Our Kids

Over the past few years I’ve come to realize how important it is to turn average, everyday moments into teachable moments with our kids. Not only are they the most relaxed when we’re just doing our own thing and going through our day, they’re also more apt to ask questions and really take in what you’re telling them when you share something with them in the moment.

In an effort to take advantage of these moments, I’ve listed our top 10 places to find teachable moments below.

10 Places To Find Teachable Moments

Finding Teachable Moments in the Car

1. In The Car

The one place that I find ourselves the most disconnected from tablets and computers and phones is the car. For one… no wifi! And we’re in the car at least twice a day to and from school for drop off and pick up. While we don’t necessarily talk the whole time we’re in the car, we are together in a confined space with no where else to go until we get to our destination.

I’ve found that this is the great time to not only ask about their day, but to open up about topics we might not have thought about. And what’s most crazy is that those topics don’t just pop up… they’re provoked by the one thing that is on in the car: the radio. Whether it’s a song that comes on, or something the announcer says, my kids and I have had great talks about everything from racism to politics to math after a topic was sparked by what we hear on the radio.

2. On A Walk

We love taking family walks. It’s important for us to get outdoors with the kids so we try and make time for walks as a family. Whether we’re heading out to the park or up the road to grab an ice cream cone after dinner, it’s a great time to bring things up. We also love talking about what’s going on in our neighborhood and what we see around us.

3. After School

I don’t know if this is the same for everyone but my son never gives me any information about what’s going on at school or what’s coming up. My daughter, on the other hand, gets in the car after school ready to share about her day. But when I do want to know what’s going on with him I don’t just ask what he did at school. I find ways around the obvious question and ask him other things that might lead to a conversation about his day. I found some really great conversation starters here.

4. During Dinner Time

Dinner time in our home is family time. And it doesn’t just start when we sit at the table to eat. By getting the kids involved in making dinner with me, I can teach them little things in the kitchen that they can continue to learn as they get older. Whether its dumping in the ingredients into a bowl like my 15 month old, chopping up veggies like the older kids, or unloading the dishwasher like my husband, everyone has something to do when we get dinner ready. This gives us the opportunity to spend time with one another while we teach each other new things. You can find more tips for creating a family table at meal time here.

5. On A Trip

When we leave home for trips, whether it’s for vacation or a simple get away for the day, we try to take any opportunity we can to teach our children about something. If we’re heading to Boston to visit family, we make sure to schedule a few historical stops along the way, or if we’re going to the San Diego Zoo, we try and get the kids involved in learning more about the animals we see. By just exploring the world around them, they soak in everything.

6. In The Bathroom

So if you’re a parent you know that you can’t do anything alone anymore. And that includes going to the bathroom. While it may not be the most enjoyable thing, I’ve found that my kids curiosity in the bathroom has helped open our channels of communication about things we might not have discussed until a later age. I’m pretty open about the birds and the bees with my kids. While I do make sure to keep it at an age appropriate level, most of the talks I’ve had with my son and daughter have started in the bathroom.

Finding Teachable Moments in the back yard

7. In The Back Yard

Our back yard is our oasis. Whether we’re gardening together, playing together, or taking care of our many animals, having an active back yard has allowed us the opportunity to continue to teach our children about how to grow their own food and how to take care of another being. By just making things available to them, like a few planters to plant whatever veggies or flowers they want to plant, I’ve come to realize how independent they become and how much they’ve learned by just observing us.

8. In The Classroom

Now this might sound like a no-brainer but it’s not on the list for why you think. If you work outside of the home it may be hard to do, but volunteering in your child’s classroom can really open the doors of communication and help in teaching them at home.

I’ve found that by observing my son in class and seeing how he learns things there has helped how I approach teaching him certain things at home. Homework time is also a great time to check in with them and see how they’re doing.  By being active and in communication with his teacher, I’ve been able to see what his strengths are academically and what he needs help with.

9. At A Friend’s House

Growing up I learned so much about the differences between each family after heading to a friend’s house for a playdate or sleep over. The family dynamics are so different between one household and another and by going to friends houses to see their family dynamic, we’ve been able to teach our kids that being different is great. We also make sure they feel comfortable in asking questions they have about those differences.

10. With Family Members

One thing I absolutely love about living close to family are the different life lessons their grandparents and aunts and uncles can teach them. Whether it’s just hanging out at Grandma’s house or going on an adventure with their Great aunts or uncles, being able to learn different ways from different people has allowed our kids to get a bigger perspective on the world around them.

Finding Teachable Moments with Family Members

In an effort to inspire every caregiver to think more about teachable moments, the Bezos foundation has started a fun campaign called the Vroom initiative. Vroom was developed based on the premise that every child is born with enormous potential, and every parent can help them realize that potential. The Vroom Superhero campaign demonstrates the heroic role that every parent and caregiver plays in the lives of children, and reinforces the message that anyone can be a Vroom Superhero to a child.

You can find a little more about the campaign in the video below:

Vroom was designed to give parents and caregivers simple tools that turn everyday activities, like mealtime and bath time, into brain building moments. We want to empower parents and caregivers like Camellia to interact with their children during their daily routines, engaging them in activities that require no additional time or resources but have outsize long-term benefits.

Become a superhero and join Vroom today!

How do you make teachable moments fun?

Incorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine: Math For Screen Time

Today we’re sharing how we incorporate STEM into our daily routine. With help from Post-it® Brand, this sponsored post features how we use Post-it® Products to help our son with STEM learning.

Incorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine Math For Screen Time

As we’re prepping our son for back to school, I wanted to make sure that he didn’t have a summer slump over break. We’ve been working on the curriculum he was learning at the end of the school year through his summer vacation so that doesn’t happen.

At the last PTG meeting I attended, we learned that a STEM curriculum would be added into the coursework for the new school year for all grades. Since my son thrives on those subjects this was music to my ears. And since he has an engineer for a father and a mother who loves math and science, we were hoping a little of that interest would rub off on our children.

But even though he loves math, science, and engineering, he seems to be using a lot more technology than the other three STEM subjects. He’s found Minecraft and it’s sucked him in.

It is important for parents to understand their child’s learning style and adapt STEM  study techniques to that learning style. Our son is a visual learner, so it is helpful for him to see information to absorb and understand it. In an effort to still make math fun, we’ve come up with some unique ways for him to earn more screen time and learn other STEM subjects.

Here’s what we did.

Incorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine Math For Screen Time on Post its

Visual STEM Learning Project: Math For Screen Time

What you’ll need:

  • Post-it® Super Sticky Notes from the World of Color, Rio de Janeiro collection
  • Post-it® Flags from the World of Color, Rio de Janeiro collection
  • Pens or Permanent markers

Incorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine - Post it products

What you do: 

1. Using the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes from the World of Color, Rio de Janeiro

collection, use one color for each part of the equation.

2. Leave the answer Post-it® Super Sticky Note blank to let your child fill in the answer.

Incorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine - addition

3. On each of the colored numbers, use the Post-it® Flags and attach the same color to each of the numbered Post-it® Super Sticky Notes.

4. Have your child complete the equation.

One answered question equals 5 minutes of screen time. Please add or subtract minutes as you see fit.

Incorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine - Post it flagsIncorporating STEM Into Our Daily Routine Math For Screen Time practice

By creating a simple visual for my son to see the numbers on the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes AND see the Post-it® Flags on each number, he is learning quicker than simply seeing an equation on a piece of paper. In a study conducted by Post-it® Brand, results showed that 86% of parents think the best way for their students to learn STEM-subjects is through visual learning, like reading or seeing pictures. And I believe it!

We’ve been able to switch around the equations each day by rearranging the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, and add numbers in to mix things up. Next on our list is to enroll him in a Minecraft programming class. Since he’s become so interested, we’re finding more ways to increase his interest in STEM subjects.

Before long, I may need to start taking classes at the local community college to keep up so I can help him with his homework!

How do you inspire your children to be more interested in STEM-related activities?

Find out more great ways to inspire your kids to jump into STEM curriculum with the help of Post-it® Brand by following them on Twitter and Instagram, visiting them on Facebook, or pinning a few of their ideas on Pinterest.

How To Keep Your Child Focused Through Free Play

How To Keep Your Child Focused Through Free Play

Over the past few years I’ve watched my children engage in free play just about every day. And I see their minds working and the wheels spinning. I love seeing them play and seeing how different each of them are when they play. From a son who talks and acts out scenes from his imagination out loud, to a daughter who quietly plays until other kids join in.

When you send your child off to “play” you are probably not aware of what you’re doing for their minds. A child who is involved in free play is building their brain power tremendously. Free play is more essential to a child than any adult could ever know. You can actually keep your child focused on learning through free play.

How To Keep Your Child Focused Through Free Play - imaginative play

Here are five ways to keep your child focus through “free play.”

How To Keep Your Child Focused Through Free Play

#1. Dress Up

Reading is one way to keep your child focused and to help them develop their imagination. However, dress up is one way you can keep a child focused through free play and also feed their imagination. Children love to dress up like princesses, super heroes, and so on. You can get involved by helping your child create a living room fort or an outside bunker. You may think you’re only getting your child to stay busy for a little while, but you’re actually helping them learn and focus!

#2. Puzzles & Music

Not everyone sees music and puzzles as a “play” activity, but it can do so much for your child’s mind. The great thing about puzzles is that a child can start putting these together at a young age. Playing music can also help a child stay focused and can also help build their brain power. Puzzles and music playing gives their brain a break from electronics and let’s them center in on just “playing.”

#3.Heading to the Park

Your kids probably get incredibly excited to go to the park and they should. Running, jumping, and playing are all ways to help keep your child focused through free play. If you don’t have a park nearby, consider creating an obstacle course in your backyard. Your child’s body needs this time to release stress, get exercise, and just be a kid (not to mention heading to the park also helps your child F-O-C-U-S).

#4. Make Believe

Did you know playing make believe is an excellent way to keep your child focused through free play? Make believe is awesome because your child can pretend to be or do anything they want. There are no rules when it comes to make believe either. A child can stay focused through playing make believe because their brains are processing, dreaming, and imagining. Make believe is something a child should be allowed because but they’re learning so much in the process.

#5. Play Dates

You may not understand the true value a play date has on your child. When playing with other children, they are accelerating physically, emotionally, and socially. Let your child have a say in whom and what they play with. Children can gain confidence and learn how to focus on one activity at a time through the free play at play dates.

All of the aforementioned activities can help your child learn how to focus. Free play is something natural your child can do without a terrible amount of initiation. If your child struggles to focus on anything, try out some of these activities.

Do you see your children growing and learning through free play?

Seeing Myself Through My Daughter’s Eyes

Seeing Myself Through My Daughter's Eyes

This past weekend I headed up to Temecula, a short 45 minutes north of San Diego, to attend Bloggy Boot Camp with the SITS Girls. While I learned a lot about the business side of blogging, networking, etc., I also learned far more beyond blogging.

In addition to the great tidbits about the latest social media platforms (::cough, cough:: SnapChat?? No, maybe it’s Periscope…), Tiffany Romero of the SITS Girls shared ways to simply be a better person.

Now I’m totally going to paraphrase this because I’m no good at exact quotes but when Tiffany suggested that we stop and think of our daughters in our shoes. Then look at what our daughters are doing and tell them what they need to do – more sleep, less work, exercise and eat right, never give up – basically giving myself the advice I would give my daugther should she be in my shoes. And this opened my eyes a bit more to how I’m living my life.

After Women Get Social last year, also put on by the SITS Girls, I had taken away quite a bit that I actually put into action. I made office hours, I hired a Virtual Assistant. Heck… I even hired my house keeper back after a long break without her (and my friends thank me every time they come over and have to use our guest bathroom that is also my son’s bathroom). But there were a few things I hadn’t been doing and now I need to start working on weaving those into my life.

I also want to start considering what my daughters see when they watch me. I want to be more cognizant and aware of how I’m living my life and make sure that I’m living the life I want to live and being the person I want to be. But I also want to portray that to my daughters So that instead of just a frazzled, crazy woman who’s over-extended herself in an effort to do everything, they’re seeing a dedicated, hard working woman who loves to support those around her.

I have stopped saying negative things about my appearance and myself in front of her. When I weigh myself in the morning I smile even when I want to cry. And when I’m trying on clothes I make sure to critique the fit of the clothes, not the look of my body in the clothes. Because she’s watching… she’s watching everything.

And it’s only a matter of time until she starts to look at herself in that mirror. It’s only a matter of time until she’s over-extending and wondering why she feels like she’s the only one drowning. Until she realizes that she’s not alone. And it’s ok to feel that way.

Oh, and the photo above? I had my daughter take it. I’m going to have her take a lot more photos of me too…

Using Disposables At Night

This post featuring why our family chose to use disposables at night is sponsored by Huggies.

Using Disposables At Night - why we made the decision

 After having my third child I thought things would go just like the other two. We’d continue to do all of the things that we did with the other two this time around. But every child truly is different and we’ve had to tweek some things here and there to create a new normal for our family of 5.

One of those tweeks is that we’ve chosen to use disposable diapers at night. Little Miss was just too much of a heavy wetter and I hated waking up soaked every night. She’d start out dry in her co-sleeper and then would end up soaked on me in the morning. No bueno.

cloth during day disposables at night baby girl

My old night time diapering solution just wasn’t cuting it and I needed a change.

After using disposable diapers on our trip to Seattle for SoFabU On The Road, my mind was made up. I was going to use disposables at night. (Need tips on staying in a hotel with an infant? Check out this post here!)

Since I am not very familiar with disposable diapers it was a bit of a learning curve to figure out what would work best with our baby. And after a few trial and errors we’ve found the perfect solution.

Fun Fact: I totally tried to put the diaper on backwards the first few times I used a disposable during my trip to Seattle. Oy! And? I had no clue how to tell if she was wet. My mom had to show me.

Huggies® Snug & Dry Ultra diapers at Walmart

We picked up a box of new Huggies® Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers, available exclusively at Walmart, because we heard that they lock away wetness better than other brands and provide up to 12 hours of long-lasting leakage protection. 

Since this little one likes her beauty rest (and co-sleeping makes it possible to quickly nurse to appease her appetite) keeping baby dry all night long gives me the confidence that I’m making a smart choice for my family.

cloth during day disposables at night with Huggies

5 Things To Know When Making The Switch

  1. Put the tab side down first. Don’t try and diaper your baby backwards like I did (unless they’re older and try to remove their diaper at night). 
  2. When checking to see if the diaper is wet, feel the front with your thumb and pointer finger. If it’s squishy, it’s wet. 
  3. Don’t worry about sizing up in PJs. Slimmer bum = wearing their true size in sleepers. 
  4. Size up! Especially if your baby is on the cusp of going to the next size, always size up. 
  5. Don’t try to stock up. Since you’re only using them at night, you only need 1-2 diapers a day (depending on how heavy of a wetter you have).

These might sound like “duh” things to think about but from a mama who’s only cloth diapered, I was truly clueless when making the switch.

Cloth during day disposables at night - no leaks

Instead of adding layers upon layers into my fitted cloth diapers that I used with the other two, I now just grab for a Huggies® Snug & Dry Ultra diaper as we go through our night time routine and I know that I won’t be frustrated when I wake up. 

A happy mama equals a happy baby! 

cloth during day disposables at night - Huggies stay dry

Share a Huggies #UltraHug and Win A Grant For Your Community

Give your baby an Ultra hug every time you diaper them in Huggies® Snug & Dry Ultra Diapers, and make someone else’s day better by sharing an #UltraHug. 

Share a selfie of you and baby on Twitter or Instagram and nominate a community project in need such as a local park, playground, or rec-center. Tag the post with #UltraHug and you may receive a $2,000 grant from Huggies for your community’s project!

You can post between now and June 25 to enter. Beginning July 6, Huggies will feature 20 of the nominated projects HERE. The top 10 will receive community project grants.

Did you do the same thing with all of your kids or did you change things up?



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