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Ways to Beat Summer Break Boredom With Your Kiddos

ways to beat summer break boredom with your kidsSince this weekend is the unofficial start of summer and many of your kids are already embarking upon their summer break from school (mine has two more weeks) I know as parents we are all fighting some mixed feelings. There’s a sense of adventure and a more laid back attitude that summer brings. But it also comes with having one more kid at home all day (who is too old to nap and give me a break) and sometimes balancing all of our schedules means there is some downtime to deal with that we aren’t used to. While it might be nice at first, when the newness of being home wears off there’s an antsy boredom that can set in. And while I’m fine with the occasional movie for my oldest, I’d also like to come up with some fun ways to bust us out of a summer boredom rut. I do think it is ok for kids to be allowed the time to get bored and figure out somethings they like to do. But as a work-from-home-mom with two other young children, sometimes I need some tools on hand to help as well. One is a fun summer day camp, which my oldest will be going to for part of the summer. And I thought I would round up some of my other favorite toys, games, and ways to beat summer break boredom. Read More

Real Talk With Real Moms: Vacationing With Kids

Vacationing With Kids: Destinations, Tips, Tricks, and Survival

The phrase “vacationing with kids” is pretty much an oxymoron when you have small children. Traveling is usually so much work that vacation is just not the right word. But the adventure and memories made are almost always worth it. At least, that’s what I tell myself each time I’m planning a trip.

I’ve traveled with one kid, with two kids, and now with three. It’s funny how it felt really tough at each stage, and now looking back I think “what was hard about traveling with one kid? Traveling with one really IS a vacation!” And while it doesn’t get any easier the more kids you have, you do get better at it. So I thought I’d share a few lessons learned about “family vacations” and traveling with small children. Read More

Family Meal Planning Tips and Ideas + Free Downloadable Meal Planning Worksheet

Tips and Ideas for Family Meal Planning: How one mom of three finally figured out how to meal plan successfully without a ton of work. Great tips for healthy meals that are family pleasers and save money by planning ahead!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but meal planning and preparing used to be one of my least favorite parts of this motherhood thing. My husband can make a mean PB+J and reheat leftovers, but that’s as far as his culinary skills reach. I’d say I have basic cooking skills but I’m more of a ultilitarian cook — I do it because it needs done but I don’t love it or find it relaxing. It isn’t something that I do simply because I enjoy it. I think one reason is we are renters and city dwellers, so we don’t have a great kitchen. It is separate from the living space so it removes me from the rest of the family and prevents me from keeping a good eye on the kids. I often do a lot of back and forth between them and the cooking, which can get annoying. Also, I’ve always been really intimidated by planning meals ahead of time. It has never been a strength of mine but especially not since having so many kids. Sometimes I feel like I live minute-to-minute and don’t think about what to have for dinner until about 4:30 pm when it is usually too late to make anything that needed some extra time or planning (like thawing something). But now that I finally have a handle on having three kids I set a goal for myself to start meal planning on a regular basis. I’m three months in and it is going really well! Once you get a handle on it things are much more manageable.

If you are a busy parent and are struggling with how to prepare and cook healthy, homemade meals for your family without spending a ton of time or money doing it, then this post is for you. Read More

Tips for Introducing Siblings to a New Baby

Calvin's birth story | Oh Lovely DayI remember being pregnant with Calvin and worrying so much about how Charlie was going to handle it and if I would be able to show enough love and attention to both of them. Charlie was three years and 9 months old when Calvin was born, so he understood what was happening and was pretty pumped to meet his baby brother. But still, he had been our whole world for almost four years and I was feeling all of the emotions. A few friends who had already had second kids gave me some different pieces of advice for introducing Charlie to his new baby Calvin, and I took what worked for us and used it again when we had Quincy. I thought I would share what seemed to work well for us when introducing our older boys to their new baby brother(s). Oh, and scroll to the bottom of the post for just about the cutest video of all time when Charlie first met Calvin 🙂 Read More

Family Weekend in Laguna Beach

Family-Friendly lodging and fun in Laguna Beach

Traveling as a family with small children is never easy. I wish I could just let go and do it more often and not worry about how hard and exhausting it is going to be. It’s almost always worth the fun and memories made, but there are just so many variables and logistics to figure out that sometimes just the planning itself starts to make my brain hurt. We had only taken one trip since Quincy was born, and that was to visit family back in Ohio and West Virginia where we grew up. But to “vacation” (and I use that term loosely since travel with small children is never really a vacation) and stay at a hotel or resort means figuring out a whole slew of things: where will everyone sleep? Is there a crib or high chair available? Is the property family-friendly? Are the rooms baby-proofed? How many stairs are involved? Is there a refrigerator for keeping milk cold or a microwave for easily heating food? — the list goes on and on. And that is exactly why I love staying at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. It is the most family-friendly place I have ever stayed! If you’ve been a reader for a while, you might remember our first stay here when I was very pregnant with Quincy. It was the most amazing visit and I was so glad we had the opportunity to go back and experience it as a family of five.

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How We Do Bathtime With Two Toddlers

Bathtime Fun With Toddlers

Bathtime is probably one of the most challenging times of day with three kids, especially since two are toddlers. I don’t know if it is because they are all boys, or because of their ages, but when we try to bathe all three together it is just a crazy mess. There is way too much boy energy in that little tub and they get really bonkers, all the water ends up in the floor, and someone inevitably gets hurt. So my husband and I tried out an assembly line style of bedtime routine: He bathes one, then I put that one to bed while he bathes the next one, and so one until all kids are clean and asleep. But doing them one at a time can sometimes make the process go long and someone ends up staying up a bit too late. The happy medium that is now working for us is the two toddlers in the bath method. We bathe the littlest together, then I take Quincy and nurse and put him to bed while my husband takes Calvin and reads and gets him to bed. Meanwhile Charlie is finishing his dinner (he’s the slowest eater of all time) or doing homework or if that is all done, watching one 20 minute show until it is his turn. I think the key to this method’s success is the fun distractions we have in the bath for the toddlers. So I thought it would be fun to share my favorite tools, toys, and tricks that makes bathing two toddlers a much easier and more pleasant experience.

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