Sunday, January 13, 2019

Is Your Garden Really Safe for Kids?

Written by a contributing writer


When we’re younger and living alone, our gardens are rarely a priority. You might plant some pretty flowers and invest in some nice outdoor seating so that you can eat outdoors in the summer, or relax with a good book and a glass of wine on a warm evening. But, that’s often as much thought as we put into our outdoor spaces. Then, kids come along, and this changes. The purpose of our gardens change. They are no longer a space for us to relax and unwind. Instead, they are a safe outdoor area where our children can play, get messy, burn off some energy and even get creative.

This means that safety becomes a primary concern. Kids need protecting in a way that adults don’t especially if you want to be able to give them some freedom to play without your constant hand holding.

Unfortunately, however, garden safety isn’t always as easy as it seems. It’s all too easy to add a tall fence and a gate. But, the dangers of the outdoor world often require more safety measures than these. Let’s take a look at some ways to ensure your garden is safe enough for your kids.

Is it Enclosed?

The first thing to ask yourself is, are they secure when they are outdoors? Could they wander off? While you should be keeping your eyes on them, we all know how much trouble a toddler can get into in just a few seconds when your back is turned, and as they get older, they’ll want more freedom to play alone. High fences are great, but you should also have a lockable gate if your garden isn’t totally enclosed.

Is there Water?

Did you know that very young children can drown in even very shallow water? Even older children can slip and hurt themselves if the ground is wet. You might want to hold off on a water feature until your children are older, but if you’ve already got one, make sure it’s safe and secure. A pool alarm can be essential if you’ve got a larger mass of water like a swimming pool or big pond.

Are there Pests?

By pests, we don’t always mean things like rats and roaches. Bees, bugs, mosquitos, and more can all pose a hazard. They’re not always easy to spot until it’s too late either, so get in touch with a pest control company if you’ve got any doubts at all.

Do You Use Chemicals and Tools?

You might think that your garden is simple, easy to maintain and that you have no need for power tools and harsh chemicals. So your garden must be safe. But, even mild garden cleaners, basic tools like grass rakes and forks and paints can be dangerous in little hands. Make sure even the safest of tools are locked away in the shed or inside when not in use and try not to use them around your children.

Are the Plants Safe?

Most common garden plants, shrubs, and flowers are safe for children and pets. But, not all. You should be especially careful if you didn’t plant things yourself and they were in the garden when you moved in. Try to identify everything, and check its safety as some plants cause rashes and sores and can even be poisonous is eaten.

Make An Impact On Your Household: The Top Tips To Help You Do It

Written by a contributing writer 

Being a mom is not an easy role. Of course, you love it, that goes without saying. You love your children and that’s that. But, as a mom, it seems that not only do you have the welfare of the children to consider, you also have the role of homemaker to fill. This is when things can get overwhelming and you may find yourself feeling that there is just not enough hours in the day to fulfill each duty. However, you can gain some control and make more of an impact in your household. Here are the top tips to help you do it.

Image source

Create a cleaning schedule

It makes sense that having a schedule and routine can really help you gain more control over what needs to be done and help you be more productive with the time that you have. Having a cleaning schedule in place is one way to do this. Instead of looking at the task of cleaning your whole home at once and feeling like too much, a schedule can break down those tasks across the week. Enabling you to stay on top of the chores rather than letting them mount up. It may be that you allocate a room per day or use specific hours to try and tackle some of the chores. This can work well for things like laundry as well, spreading the jobs across the week rather than letting it build up.

Plan ahead

The next thing to consider doing would be planning, not just for your day or your week, although this can be very helpful to help you manage your time, but also for the month and even the year ahead. It’s the things you are likely to forget, such as an ac service or getting your heating system checked. It’s birthdays, it’s Christmas, it’s vacations. Planning can really help you save time in the long term and only requires a little investment from you to think about these things ahead of schedule.

Make meal planning part of your routine

Many of us will already have some sort of routine in place, but one of the biggest issues moms can have is meal times. So make meal planning part of your routine for the future. It takes a little time to think about the meals you are going to prepare and to write your list of things you need, but once it is done it can be a huge time saver. Not only that, but it can also mean that you save money and also reduce your food waste. There will be evenings when you are late and feel frustrated about cooking, but having it already planned out makes things simple and easier to overcome.

Share the load

Finally, it doesn’t always have to be you that does all the hard work. This year why not think about delegating jobs to other family members? Maybe children can be in charge of their bedrooms? Partners can cook or share the load with laundry or cleaning perhaps? It’s up to you to decide what will work for you as a family, but doing this could really help take the pressure off you.

We hope these tips have the desired impact on your household.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

If you've followed me for a while, you know that I normally split up the gift guide into separate posts. For example, I'll have a "beauty lovers," gift guide, a "for him," gift guide, etc. But I've realized, that makes it a little difficult to share the entire gift guide.  So this year, I'm trying to do them all in one.  And if we don't like it, we can go back to separating them all again next year.

First up:

For the Kids

I realize there is a TON of advertising on what to get kids for the holidays. Hatichmals are still happening (we gave in this year and my son is getting one). Along with tablets, video games, and all sorts of technology. But you don't need to spend a ton of money or have the latest tech to give a great gift. Sometimes, it's all about the classic playthings.

Play Visions Crayola Compounds are always a hit. Little ones can use these sets and their imaginations to create their own barber shop/hair salon, an underwater sea adventure, or a lair for monsters. Kids have been playing with toys like these for decades. They remain popular and may give mom and dad a little break to relax while the kids play.

Disney The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: A Center Stage Pop-Up Book
is a gorgeously illustrated book that will capture the attention of both children and adults. Perfect for the holiday season, this classic tale with a twist is full of fun and adventure.

For the Couple

Great couple presents are often hard to find. Either they are too assuming, too impractical, or too expensive for most people to feel comfortable giving.  That's where Crate of Love comes in.  I featured them in last year's gift guide and I'm doing it again. This subscription box is so cute AND affordable. A date in a box, this subscription is just $19.99/month and perfect for new parents or parents with young kids who can't do date nights out of the house often or couples who are homebodies and looking for new ideas on how to get closer. The website also offers a digital subscription with weekly games and challenges for just $1.99/month.  If you want to give this subscription as a gift without being billed monthly, there is an option to give three months for $59.99.

For the Beauty Queen

You guys know this is where I fall. Makeup and beauty products are my jam.  And you can't have makeup and beauty without...Sephora.  The Sephora collection is one of those "store brands" that doesn't behave like a store brand. They're on point but much more affordable than other higher-end brands.  My FAVORITE things from the Sephora collection are always the brushes. Sephora's brushes are my go-to. They perform beautifully and are still pretty affordable when it comes to quality makeup brushes. The Sephora Collection Spellbound Brush Set is gorgeous and on sale for $25 as I write this!

Other favorites include the Sephora Collection Moon Phases Palette (now on sale for $12),  Sephora Collection Mix & Mingle Lip Collection (now on sale for $19), and the Sephora Collection Enchanting Glow Palette (now on sale for $8).

If you're looking for beauty products that are organic and a bit more natural when it comes to ingredients, I recommend The Organic Skin Co.  Their products are cruelty-free and vegan (that means no carmine/ pulverized Cochineal in their lipsticks). I really love their lipsticks, cheek and lip tints, and their Almond face scrub called Nitty Gritty. All of their products feel great going on and perform beautifully.

For Him

This is always where I struggle. Men can be difficult to buy for. Especially if you're on a budget. But here are some ideas. I shopped at ULTA this Black Friday and walked away with so many gifts for friends and family. I bought the Fragrance Faves for Him and the Grooming Essentials sets. They also have a really nice gift set by The Art of Shaving on sale now for just $15.  Gift cards are another go-to. I know they can feel thoughtless. But if you know of a particular hobby or interest of the man in your life, you can put together a really nice gift basket with a gift card inside. Examples: For a coffee lover get a nice steel travel thermos, some coffee syrups, and a gift card to their favorite coffee shop. For the golf addict put together a basket of golf balls, golf tees, and a gift card to a nice golf club or resort. For the music fan, a band t-shirt, nice earbuds, and a Ticketmaster (or specific venue) gift card would be fitting.

Last Minute

If you are shopping last minute and need something that will be here in time, Amazon Prime is the way to go. Here is the link to my Amazon Favorites List. I'm always updating it. (I'm an Amazon Mom, not a Pinterest Mom.) Free Two-Day Shipping is always your friend.

  **This post is not sponsored. I did not receive payment for featuring these products. Some (not all) of the products were sent to me free of charge for review purposes.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Educational, Fun Activities To Enjoy With Your Kids Over The Holidays

Written by a contributing writer

With the holidays just around the corner, parents all over the country will be looking forward to taking time off work and spending some quality time with their kids. The holidays represent the most exciting time of the year for many families, but sadly, most parents are familiar with the sounds of kids moaning that they’re bored a few days into the break. If you’re keen to make the most of the time you have as a family this Christmas, and you want to keep those complaints at bay, here are some fun and educational activities to enjoy together.


Christmas is a great time of year to take part in family quizzes and general knowledge contests. You can team up with other members of the family or fly solo, and you can select a range of topics that are geared towards all ages. Make your quiz fun with interactive music and photograph rounds, inject some friendly competition, and find a small prize for the winners. You can choose from categories like science, nature, geography, the animal world, TV, cartoons and movies, comics and famous faces, for example. If you’re struggling for inspiration, and you’re the quiz master, you’ll find hundreds of questions online.

Building and construction

If you’ve got train tracks, building blocks, or endless boxes of Lego at home, get creative this Christmas and flex your architectural and construction skills. If you’re not au fait with the different elements of your child’s collection, take a look at LEGOways to find out more about different types of Lego and get some helpful tips for your latest creation. Building at any age is beneficial for hand-eye coordination, concentration, and fine motor skill development. This is also an activity that everyone can get involved in, and you can share in the joy and pride when your masterpiece is complete.

Image from

Board games

Board games are a dying breed in many modern households thanks to the rise in popularity of video games, but there’s a lot to be said for playing games around the dining table over the holidays. Board games enable you to play together, they teach kids how to follow rules, and they’re usually really fun. There’s a vast array of options on offer, from silly games that throw custard pies in your face to educational classics that are designed to maximize your cerebral prowess. If you’re buying new games for Christmas, look at age ranges, and think about what hobbies and interests your kids have.

Picture via

Reading and storytelling

If you have young children, Christmas is a wonderful time to read together and make up stories. There’s a dazzling array of festive titles on offer, and you can snuggle up, get cozy, and embrace that festive feeling as you flick through the pages. Practice makes perfect with reading, and reading aloud can also help children to feel more confident. Telling stories can fuel creativity and enable kids to use their imagination.

The holidays are coming, and what better time of year to enjoy some quality time with your kids? Hopefully, these ideas will ensure hours of fun!

How to Get Children Interested in Music

Written by a contributing writer

It’s never too early to read to children, but how early can you get kids interested in music? Some parents play classical music while their babies are in the womb in hopes of boosting their brainpower. While research shows that classical music may not increase IQ, it might enhance listening abilities and spatial reasoning skills. Exposing children to music at a young age may also help them learn to speak and read. As kids get older, they can use music to build confidence, express themselves creatively and develop social skills.

Take Infants to Music Classes

When children are young, they and their caregivers can benefit from music classes. They’ll hear rhythms and melodies, and they’ll practice their motor skills by clapping and playing with musical instruments.

A 2012 study showed that infants that attended music classes before the age of 1 smiled more and had better communication than other babies. Another study found that toddlers were more likely to assist adults who had bopped along with a particular rhythm than grown-ups who were out of sync. This reveals that music may enhance social development.


Dancing helps children learn that they can express themselves. When dance is paired with music, it adds a sensory response. Children learn how to feel music instead of just listening with their ears. This promotes spatial awareness and coordination. It also helps young people express their ideas when they can’t come up with the right words.

Play Your Favorite Music

Some experts say that children’s music isn’t diverse enough to give children a healthy musical foundation. If you’re in a band, play for kids once in a while. You’ll get a kick out of seeing them rock out, and they’ll appreciate hearing good tunes. If you’re a parent, play music that you like when you’re around your kids. They might end up singing along and getting into the groove. Adult-quality music that changes its sound frequently is ideal.

Get Involved in a Charity

Many organizations across the country use volunteers to bring music into schools. For example, some donate piano NYC programs end up placing the artist-decorated instruments in local public schools. If you have musical skills, ask how you can share them with children at schools and youth organizations in your area.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

How To Save Money When You're A Busy Mom

Written by a contributing writer

When you’re a busy Mom, you can’t always spend a long time hunting around for the latest deals and there are some things that you just have to pay for. However, it’s also important to be saving money where you can, as being a parent is never cheap. As soon as you think you’ve got all of your expenses covered, your kids tell you that one of them has lost their shoes and another has no clothes that fit them. Whilst there is no remedy for the ever-occurring costs that you have to pay as a parent, there are some quick hacks that could save you a bit of cash.

Image credit


Thrifting is often disregarded by people as something that can only ever bring you musty old clothes that have been rescued from the bottom of somebody’s wardrobe. This is a misconception, as many parents give their children’s clothes to charity after realizing that they’ve outgrown them within 6 months. There is an abundance of children’s clothing out there that have only been worn for a short period of time and will put a smile on your kids' faces. Thrifting is good for your wallet, good for the environment, and will enable you to get your hands on some items that are in near-perfect condition for much less. You’re welcome.

Look at comparison websites and reviews

Look, no parent has the time to go and look through millions of reviews, visit separate websites, and then decide what are the best places to get their gas and electric from. Luckily, there are a whole host of websites out there that compare and review things, from US mobile plans to the cheapest stores to shop in. Not only will this save you the time and effort of researching all of these things for yourself, but they are usually based upon what a variety of people think, from experience. Therefore, they are trustworthy ways to find out what companies are really like and what the typical consumer experience is like. What’s better than an honest opinion?

Use coupons

Ok, you may have watched a show like ‘Extreme Couponing’ and be a bit turned off by the idea of using coupons. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stand in Walmart waiting for a member of staff to scan over 100 coupons. We’re not trying to get you to annoy everybody in the store. Whilst it’s good to look out for coupons when doing your in-store shopping, there are other ways to get discounts. If you’re buying something online, then look out for codes that you can enter at the checkout. You could save up to 50% by looking out for these and if you can’t get something that impressive, then you can usually at least get free shipping. Don’t pay it if you don’t have to!

So, there are many ways to save money if you’re a busy mom; don’t forget these quick hacks and you’ll be well on your way to having a jam-packed wallet!

Friday, November 30, 2018

How To Develop Emotional Strength In Your Children

Written by a contributing writer

As a mom, you’re always going to want the best for your children. But actually establishing what that looks like can be hard. It’s so easy to envision what you want for your children in your mind. But turning that into a reality is the tough part. And it can be really hard on you. Because they have their own idea of how things should go, usually acting out of emotion at first, and you’ve got a completely different idea of what should happen. So motherhood can often seem like a constant battle. Yet, when you know that you really do want the best for your children, you really need to be able to push past this and onto what matters the most. Namely, your children's future happiness and success. Because that can often mean that you make the best decisions today, for the future.

One of the ways that you can do that is to focus mainly on building them up emotionally. If you want to have happy and healthy children, their minds need to be strong. Without strength, they may crumble emotionally in life, shy away from hardship, and struggle to make it through. But at the same time, you may also wonder exactly how you’re going to do this. So let’s take a look.

Be Intentional

To start with, it’s going to help you if you can be much more intentional with what you’re doing. This can often seem quite difficult, but it really doesn’t have to be. You just have to make sure that you know what you want to achieve in a scenario, activity, or even on a set day, and focus on the actions that will get you that result. But also, you may find that living more intentionally feels like a breath of fresh air too.

Be Present

As a step on from that, you’re then going to want to ensure that you’re more present as well. Because if you’re going to be able to make this happen, you need to be out of your head and completely aware of the moment. Plus, the more present you are in your life, the more enjoyable you are going to find it. So it’s essential for you to be able to start making these steps.

Work On Your Own Strength

But then, something that you will really need to make sure you master BEFORE you start on any of these other points is building your own strength. Because if you are not mentally strong, you may not have the willpower of the patience to ensure that your children are. Nor will you truly understand how to achieve it. So you need to spend some time working on your own emotional strength first.

Don’t Baby Them

Now, when it comes to your actions and how you parent an emotionally strong child, the first step is to make sure that you’re not babying them. If you wrap them up in a cotton blanket and do everything for them, they are not learning what it means to be strong, secure, nor how to take care of themselves...which is a huge part of this.

Let Them Understand Consequences

Now, something that is really effective here, is the idea of consequences. And it’s incredibly important for you to be able to make sure they understand what a consequence is. Because if you give in to them over and over, they will not be prepared for the real world. And consequences are a huge part of life. And they need to understand what their choices and actions will really lead to in life. When they do, they will be mentally tougher.

Explain Things To Them

It’s so easy to ask your child to do something (or not do it) and then wonder why they don’t listen. Sometimes, you need to explain to them more. When they understand the why, they can connect the instruction with the consequence. The more you can talk to them and educate their minds on actions and thoughts, the more they will be able to think for themselves and make the right choices with their actions.

Focus On Thought, Not Emotion

Another very important step is to encourage them to think before they act - which isn’t usually what children do. Typically kids react according to emotion almost instinctually. Yet the more control they have over their emotions, the more equipped they will be as they get older.

Nurture Their Imagination

It’s also going to be helpful for you to work on their imagination. Because this can help children to expand their minds and think of creative solutions. Magical trips and explorations and this Disney's Magic Kingdom guide could do the trick. But it could also be something simple like reading stories, playing pretend, and imaging things too.

And Their Intelligence

As parents, we all want to make sure that we’re really helping their inquisitive minds to develop too. Because the more they understand in life, the more they can grow mentally and emotionally. Plus, it’s always good to help your child to be as curious as they can be.

Show Them How To Be Strong

Sometimes you just need to show them how it's done! You know that leading by example works. So really demonstrate how they should respond and problem solve. Show them how you handle things, how in control of your emotions you are, and how rational your mind is. They will learn and hopefully, they will follow your lead.

Help Them To Face Their Fears

Something that is really important here, but can be hard on you, is to encourage them to face their fears. They won’t always want to do it at first. Especially when children they are younger. And this can make you feel as if you do not want to push them. But if you let them stay scared, they will not learn to overcome difficult situations. Just make sure that you have a plan when it comes to going about this.

Push Their Comfort Zones

Along with facing their fears, it's good for kids to step out of their comfort zones a little. It can be hard with children, but this really will set the tone for how they approach things in the future. So where you can, really try to encourage them to push past what’s familiar to them.

Focus On Living Well

Above all else, you’re going to want to make sure that they are happy. Because happy and content children rarely have emotional issues. Sure, we all have our moments from time to time. But if you can focus on happiness and living good, wholesome lives, you’re all going to have a better time. So make sure that you do focus on that intent and being present, and you will be able to ensure that you all live well.

And there you have it. To some moms, this may seem like an impossible challenge, but it really doesn’t have to be like that. Instead, you can plan how you’re going to work on this so that your children are happy, healthy, centered, and grounded. Make sure that you work on the ideas that you know will help your children and fit into your lifestyle to get the best possible results for you all too.