Tag Archives: parenting

Top Gift Ideas for the Home School Family (2018 Holiday Gift Guide)

Gift Ideas for the Homeschool Family (Holiday Gift Guide 2018)

 

As a homeschool mom myself, I came up with a list of what I think would make great gifts this Christmas.  They are mostly practical and encourage education or physical activity, while also being fun!  Take a look and let me know what your favorite idea is or if you have something else to add to the list!  

 

 

Flybar iPogo Jr – more than just a basic pogo stick, you will find that this one counts your child’s jumps and encourages them to keep going!  Recommended for ages 5+ and 40-80lbs.  The Aero 2-Wheel Scooter and Pogo Ball Trick Board are also great gift ideas to encourage physical activity.

 

Minecraft Workbooks by Skyhorse Publishing – Make learning extra fun this year with this themed workbook!  Available for grades 1 & 2 and 3 & 4.  For those who are reading youth chapter books, check out The Unofficial Minecrafters Mysteries Series Box Set

 

 

Casio 61 Key Keyboard with App Integration – my own 2nd grader started having much more interest in music this year while learning some basic tunes on our keyboard.  It is absolutely amazing how he has taken to it and I can’t wait to see his musical skills grow.  Having a keyboard in our home has been a wonderful experience for our family and I highly recommend it.  I received my first as a 6 year old on Christmas and I have had a love for piano ever since.  There are many to choose from with varying prices for every budget.  

 

 

Thinkfun Math Dice JR (or the original Math Dice) – I have been eyeing these dice for a while now and I think this is the year I will finally get them for my kids since both are old enough to play the Junior version.  They will be a great way to practice math while still having fun!        

 

 

Learning Resources Pretend & Play Cash Register – another fun way to add math to daily play is this cash register.  My kids love playing grocery store (or toy store), exchanging play money, while not even realizing the educational value it is to them.  

 

 

Lil Gadgets Headphones – kids with tablets or laptops will be excited to have their own pair of headphones!  Lil Gadgets has wired and wireless options, as well as earbuds.  All are volume limiting and durable.  My boys have had the Untangled Pro for four years now and love using them as they complete online lessons or games.  

 

Crayola Create ‘n Carry 75 piece art set – every year, my kids tell me they want more art supplies for Christmas.  You can really never have too much :)  This set is great for kids to take with them on-the-go or around the house and keep their supplies together. 

 

 

3Doodler Start Essentials 3D Pen Set for Kids – this STEM inspired gift idea is made especially for ages 6 – 13.  It is safe to use with no hot parts.  Your creations are only limited to your imagination! 

 

Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet – the Fire tablets have come a long way.  With 1 year of FreeTime Unlimited (giving access to over 15,000 popular apps, games, books, and educational content), this affordable tablet is a great option for any budget.  There is also a great replacement guarantee for accidents.  

 

 

Boogie Board 8.5″ LCD Writing Tablet – rather than dry-erase, chalk, or classic paper and pencil, this LCD writing tablet is a fun way to get kids to write and draw.  The drawing will stay until you simply press the button above the screen to make it disappear.  There is no need to charge it or connect it to anything.  The Scribble & Play or Play & Trace versions are great options for the younger children ages 3+.  

 

 

Wall Pops USA Dry Erase Decal – this 36″ x 24″ poster decal would make a fantastic gift for elementary or middle school aged kids. It is easy to read and works great with dry erase markers.   The dry erase monthly calendar is a great option too for older students or the homeschool parent.  

 

 

Book of Paper Airplanes – my boys have a similar book and have so much fun trying to create the different paper planes.  While they think they’re having fun, they’re actually learning about physics! 

 

 

Grow Your Own Crystal Mini Worlds Kit – while learning science and Chemistry, your homeschooler can create 3 projects: a dragon’s cave, a unicorn’s forest, and a seahorse’s coral reef.  

 

 

Blank Comic Book – bring out your child’s imagination and drawing skills with this fun Blank Comic Book.  This is perfect for girls and boys alike as they can create stories to their heart’s desire.  

 

 

Genius LEGO Inventions with Bricks You Already Have – inspiring STEM creations, this book will take the LEGO bricks you already have and show you how to get even more creative with them. 

 

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition – I highly recommend adding a smart speaker to your home, whether it is an Amazon or Google device.  There are many fun activities, free music (I personally enjoy Piano Guys while my boys study) and even Audible Books available through these speakers.  The Echo devices connect to each other, allowing you to even use them as an intercom system throughout the house.  

 

Homeschool Mom Shirt – Don’t forget the homeschool parent too!  I just love this and so will the homeschool mom in your life.  Got a homeschool dad instead?  I recommend looking around on Etsy.  There are a lot of fantastic options on there as well! 

Top Gift ideas for busy moms (2018 Holiday Gift Guide)

Gift guide for busy moms (we all have one in our life!)

 

Welcome to my list of gift ideas for busy moms!  We all have a busy mom in our life…whether it’s our own mother, a friend, sister, or even daughter.  And often it’s tough to figure out what to get that mom because they are always on-the-go or seem to have it all already.  But there’s always something out there that they could use!  

The items on this list are personally recommended by myself – many I have even personally tried.  Others, I have simply heard raving reviews from friends, family, or even other bloggers I chat with.  Regardless – these are some pretty awesome products and I hope you find just what you are looking for!  

 

Erin Condren Undated Planner – Impress her with this trendy 12 month planner, flexible for any schedule.  Includes stickers to helping her mark important dates, detailed pages for projects, and even inspirational quotes.  Erin Condren planners are known for their quality and ability to be everything you need in a planner.  There are several branded and unbranded planner accessories to help make this planner become even more useful! 

 

JJ Cole Caprice Diaper/HandBag – This bag is a diaper bag in disguise.  With pockets galore and all the typical diaper bag features, this bag can also function as a nice handbag as the babies grow out of diapers.  The mom in your life will love having such a versatile bag!  

 

 

 

Nomad 0.3m Rugged Universal Cable – as a mom myself, I can tell you it is becoming more of a need to keep a charging cable in my purse.  Whether your own phone needs a quick boost to take that call from the pediatrician, or your kids’ tablet needs a charge to keep you sane while grocery shopping, it is very useful to keep one on hand.  This short cable has it all.  Rugged (sturdy), short and convenient yet long enough for basic use, and usable by nearly any device…not to mention it supports fast charging.  This is definitely the cable the mom in your life needs! 

 

 

Apple Watch – You know this was going to make the list didn’t you?  What busy mom’s life wouldn’t be made easier with a smart watch?  There are 4 series available, each increasing with price, but also increasing with features and processor speed.  Not only will this device let the mom in your life read and respond to texts without digging out her phone, but it will also help her stay accountable for any fitness goals she has.  

 

 

Amazon Prime Subscription as a Gift – gift the gift of quick and free 2-day (and sometimes 1-day) shipping.  If she has an Alexa smart speaker device, she can save even more time shopping by simply making a voice request for any Prime-eligible item.  

 

 

Aura Cacia Essential Solutions Mist –  this spray-able mist contains essential oils intended to relax and calm the mind.  A little spritz on my pillow before I go to bed can make all the difference. Other scents are available as well, such as Relaxing Lavender and Invigorating Ginger and Mint.   

 

 

Keurig Coffee Brewer – does mom love to have a hot cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning?  If she doesn’t already have a k-cup brewer, that is just what she needs!  A Keurig can have her beverage of choice ready in less than the time it takes to check her Facebook newsfeed in the morning.  There are several varieties to choose from depending on size and brewing options – even different colors! 

 

 

CHI Original 1″ Flat Iron – every mom needs ease in her morning routine and this CHI hair straightener brings just that.  I have had mine since my husband gifted it to me before our wedding, 10 years ago.  I still receive great results after nearly daily use.  

 

Heated Coaster for Mugs – mom should get to enjoy that hot beverage before it cools off but more often than not, she probably doesn’t.  This mug warmer is the perfect solution.  If you are looking to splurge a little more on the same idea, check out the Ember temperature controlled mug!  

 

 

myCharge Wireless Power Bank – this item is all about convenience!  When mom’s phone is running low, she can simply pull this little device out and set her phone on top…voila, instant quick charging anywhere for Qi compatible devices like the newer iPhones and Android phones.  This power bank is small enough to fit in a purse without taking up much space and packs enough power to charge the typical phone up to 5 times before having to recharge the power bank itself.  Mom can recharge her phone anywhere without having to worry about cables.

 

 

Isotoner Women’s Smart Touch Cable Knit Gloves – I love a good pair of gloves and this pair is absolutely perfect.  Maybe my own kids will get them for me (hint hint!) because not only do they look cute and warm to keep mom warm on-the-go, but they are also touch screen compatible!  I also recommend making it a set and adding in these matching Isotoner cable knit slippers

 

Jaybird RUN True Wireless Earbuds – whether mom loves listening to music while working out, talking on the phone while driving, or just wants a moment of peace and quiet from everything else, these earbuds would make a great gift.  They are water resistant and the case holds another 8 hours of charge for recharging on-the-go.  

 

 

SipCaddy Portable Drink Holder – every busy mom needs a chance to unwind.  This cup holder is a fun gift to let mom know it’s ok to take a break and relax.  This “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” Wine Glass goes perfect with this holder! 

 

 

Oversized C.C. Beanie – for the mom on-the-go, this beanie is just what she needs to keep her head warm!  Comfy, spacious, and a popular brand, mom is sure to be excited when she unwraps her gift to discover it.

 

Sound+Sleep Sound Machine – mom deserves a good night of sleep for whatever she has to come the next day…work, school, appointments, you name it.  I have had this same sound machine for 3 years and it has helped my sleep immensely.  

 

Fossil Fiona Small Crossbody Bag – a crossbody bag can make life so much easier for the busy mom.  Sometimes she only needs space for the essentials.  At an affordable price for a designer brand, this bag is available in several colors.  You’re sure to find a perfect match for mom!  

 

Ja-Vie Flats – that special mom in your life will love Ja-Vie flats.  They are comfortable, flexible, water resistant, and lightweight.  There is no need to wear socks with them as they have their own built-in sock liner.  Plus they come in some pretty cute patterns!  

 

Stay tuned.. if I think of anything else, I’ll be sure to add it to this list!!! 

 

Easy Ways to Encourage Physical Activity

Easy ways to encourage physical activity (in the digital age)

 

In the past few decades childhood obesity has tripled in the United States and it is now believed to impact the lives of more than 12 million adolescents and children. It has become a particularly sensitive subject, which has left many parents looking for practical ways to help their kids get a grip on their weight and steer clear of the many weight related health conditions.

So as a parent, what can you do to help your children stay fit and healthy?  As well as adopting healthy eating habits as a family, another fundamental goal is to encourage kids to maintain an active lifestyle. This certainly isn’t an easy task in the age of the internet, where computer games and smart phones are unavoidable, but with a little effort, it is certainly doable.  

 

Stop Driving Everywhere

The modern car revolutionized the way society operates and made getting to work, school, and seeing friends and family so much easier. Yet that does not mean we are obliged to use our cars for every journey.

Is it really necessary to drive to a friend’s house that lives just around the corner? Walking whenever possible is a sure way to encourage your kids to get active and appreciate the outside world. Even better, it will help you save on fuel and avoid additional wear and tear of your vehicle.

 

Make it a Family Event

Another great way to make exercise fun is to make it a family event where every generation of the family can feel involved. Instead of planning a day out at the cinema or going for a meal, consider activities such as a family bike ride.

This will allow kids of all ages to get involved and it can be made into a fun fuelled adventure that doesn’t feel like exercise one bit. Not only are bikes a great way to get active, but allow you as a family to explore local environments and make treasured memories.

 

Consider Garden Activities

Don’t just allow your kids to play on their computer games or watch TV all day. Ensure you are limiting their screen time to a healthy amount. The rest of the time they should be taking part in other activities, such as study, socializing and physical activity. Of course, sports aren’t for everyone, so if your child really isn’t a fan, then there are still many other opportunities.

For instance, my kids have various outdoor toys in the garden, including a trampoline, climbing toys and swing sets. These are affordable and a fun way to get kids outdoors and active.

 

Keep Play Fun

If you are playing a sport outside, don’t get too wrapped up in the details and rules of the game,  especially with regards to younger kids. Allowing your children to let loose without any restrictions is likely to be much more fun for them.

As kids get older, they will organically become more and more familiar with the rules, so for now just let them concentrate on having as much fun being active as possible. This can be a difficult task for sports fans, but still an important factor to bear in mind.  

 

Age Appropriate  

Another thing to consider is whether or not an activity is age appropriate. The most important part of encouraging kids to stay active is to ensure they enjoy it. The reality is that if they find it boring or too difficult then they are going to become dissatisfied with the activity and lose interest.

As a parent, you main role is to ensure they stay motivated and engaged. Younger kids and tots can really benefit from simple activities such as kicking a ball around the yard. Not only will this help them burn off some steam, but will also help them develop hand eye coordination and motor skills. Older kids and teens tend to find sports such as soccer and baseball more rewarding and the social aspect can also greatly aid them in their development.

 

Be a Motivational Parent

As the parent, you have the responsibility of ensuring your kids stay motivated to participate in physical activity including sports. Often, all a child needs is a little bit of encouragement from their loved ones and they will find the confidence to participate. As they get involved, continually let them know how proud you are and praise them whenever they make progress. The influential effect of a parent’s compliment should never be taken for granted.

 

The Bottom Line

Keeping kids motivated is arguably more difficult than ever with so many distractions from the digital world, but it that makes it even more important. Exercise is not only essential for a healthy and well balanced body and mind, but it can also help in a myriad of other ways too. This can include childhood development, confidence building and acquiring social skills.  You may even find that it builds a closer relationship between you and your child! 

4 Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

4 Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

 

When children come along, the garden becomes less of a relaxing area and more of a play place for the young ones. However, you don’t have to worry about your child getting hurt or work on labels saying “No, don’t touch that,” “Keep distance,” et cetera. Here are some clever ways to turn your garden into a children’s haven that grown-ups can enjoy too.

 

  1. Grow Sensory Plants 

Encourage the kids to spend their time in the garden by installing plants that stimulate their senses. For example, rattling seed head and rustling grass are great to listen to in quiet moments, while bright flowers like sunflowers, nasturtiums, and marigolds make for a lovely sight because of their multicolored blooms. Also, consider adding a variety of textures while decorating your garden, like downy sage leaves, to persuade the children to utilize the sense of feel/touch. In addition, parents can plant chocolate cosmos and other plants with fun smells, as well as stimulate taste buds by growing a pot of flavorful berries. 

 

  1. Make Your Garden a Pest-Free Zone

Slugs, ants and other insects can damage your garden and may make your children vulnerable to diseases. To ensure that your kids don’t come in contact with harmful pests, experts at Joshua’s Pest Control San Diego recommend professional pest control services. Specialists acknowledge that each business or home has varying pest challenges so they take extra care in inspecting the establishment to discover the best solution by developing customized solutions that suit every need. If you’re worried about pesticides, you can inquire if the vendor offers organic pest control. Organic treatments are based on the vendor visiting your garden on a regular basis to minimize your pest issues. These provide a natural alternative that features the use of natural ingredients, including rosemary oil and high-quality clove.

 

  1. Set Up a Mini Jungle

This can be done by planting weeping trees and grasses in one corner of the garden. Consider laying stepping stones to create a pathway through the mini jungle where children can let their imagination run free. Parents even have the option to seed giant sunflower and put a huge boulder for children’s climbing. The fun and inviting area will definitely get the little ones to utilize the garden, and be excited about spending time outdoors, away from their TVs and iPads. However, this can also create some good hideouts for unsafe critters, so it’s recommended that you keep the plant and grass to a minimum quantity and height. 

 

  1. Invest in a Trampoline 

This can be done by planting weeping trees and grasses in one corner of the garden. Consider laying stepping stones to create a pathway through the mini jungle where children can let their imagination run free. Parents even have the option to seed giant sunflowers and put a huge boulder for the kids to climb. The fun and inviting area will definitely get the little ones to utilize the garden, and be excited about spending time outdoors, away from their iPads. However, this can also create some good hideouts for unsafe critters, so it’s recommended that you keep the plant and grass to a minimum quantity and height.

 

By taking just a few measures before the summer comes to an end, you’ll be able to create a safe outdoor haven for your loved ones.

 

 

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