Fall family photo sessions are my favorite and these days they are also the most popular since everyone wants a new photo for those upcoming holiday cards. Since we’ve had 10+ family photoshoots since Charlie was born I feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expert. And while some of these tips are kiddo related, you can use a lot of these to prep for an engagement session or other shoot as well. Oh, and be sure to check my coordinating family wardrobe picks below.
After 14 months of living in Ohio and a few weeks into our second fall here, we finally made it apple picking! If you follow on Instagram you might remember that I tried to take my boys apple picking alone last year (my husband was still working in LA) and that it was a total disaster. I got points for trying, but it was still a fail. So we tried again, this time with my husband and a Quincy who is a little (depending on the day) less tantrum-y. And I can finally say WE DID IT. We went apple picking and we survived. We actually had so much fun!
We went to Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, which is about 40 minutes away from where we live. You can check their website to see what apples are available in their u-pick areas that particular week. Our options were Rome, Fuji, or Winesap — we went with Winesap because they are good for all uses, including baking. There are signs directing you to the u-pick area, and then you park and you are right nights to the orchard. We didn’t have to walk far at all to fill our bag (the farm has two sizes — you can fill a small bag for $15 and a large bag for $25). We snapped some photos, ate an apple, filled our bag, played a little apple baseball with some bad ones already on the ground, and called it an afternoon. Some people were enjoying picnics nearby and I realized packing a picnic dinner would have been really fun. Once we were done picking we checked out and then drove to the market/shop area of the farm. Here they have picked pumpkins for sale, as well as produce, jams, fruit butters, and lots of other foods and gifts. They have a great variety of pumpkins at reasonable (but on the high side) prices. But personally I’d rather support a local farm than buy pumpkins for $3 at Walmart or Kroger.
Have you ever gone apple picking with your family? This was our first time and it will definitely be a fall tradition. Plus, the apple cider and pumpkin donuts after are worth the trip alone.
Please share your favorite apple recipes — I’ve got a lot of apples to make something with 🙂
You can find Lynd Fruit Farm at 9399 Morse Road SW, Pataskala, OH 43062. Be sure to check their site for hours and apple availability.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PlayWithPlaymobil #CollectiveBias
My mom philosophy is two parts “everything in moderation” and one part “survival, man.” So I don’t forbid screen time and I’m not above throwing on a movie when I have work I have to get done (especially since I work from home while providing full-time care to my kids with no hired help). But I also try to limit those things as much as possible and encourage imaginative play for my kids as much as I can. Imaginative play is so so important to child development. It helps to develop both cognitive and social/emotional skills. Children LEARN through PLAY. So I thought I would share a few tips for how I encourage imaginative play with my kids, especially as a mom who can’t always get down on the floor and play with them all day.
How to Encourage Imaginative Play
Schedule Free Play
We over-schedule our kids these days, even the little ones. Instead of packing their days with playdates, preschool, and other activities, leave their days free for play — or “schedule” free play. You would be amazed at how much and how well your kids play on their own when given the freedom to do so.
Provide Open-Ended Toys
Give your kids a variety of toys that encourage them to use their imaginations like building toys, dolls, dress up items, animals, cars and trains, and craft supplies all fall into this category. One of my and my kids’ favorite types of these toys are PLAYMOBIL sets. PLAYMOBIL sets are high quality with a strong attention to detail. They have sets that focus on real-life, like police and firefighter sets as well as sets that capture fantasy like dragons and dinosaurs. I like them because they often have both vehicles and people included which allows multiple facets of imaginative play. Hover over the image below to get more information about the PLAYMOBIL toys shown and to purchase at Walmart.
Show Them How It’s Done
If your kids are asking for you to play with them, show them how to use their imagination by getting them started and doing it yourself too. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t want to pretend to be a kitty cat all day long (and that’s ok, so exhale that mom guilt) but if we spend a few minutes at the start getting down and playing our kids will often get lost in their own imaginative play after a few minutes.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to spark the imagination. Get outside to play, or pack up a few favorite imaginative toys like the PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets or some favorite cars and head to the backyard or the park. The same toys in a new environment can make all the difference in new ideas and ways to play.
PLAYMOBIL toys are a family classic, but they are now new to Walmart – how awesome is it to be able to find quality toys at a convenient retailer and at a great price!? You can find them at your local Walmart or Walmart.com.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #DASANISparkling #FlavorContest #CollectiveBias
Life’s adventures in my thirties (especially the second half of my thirties) look much different than the adventures than I had in my twenties or early thirties before I had children. It doesn’t mean I don’t have adventures (I mean, each day of parenthood is an adventure for better or worse) but they are less “coastal road trips or international travel” and more “getting three little boys to the pumpkin patch this weekend or walks to the playground to collect fall treasures with two toddlers.” But I think when you can appreciate the adventure in those little moments, and make them a big adventure for those little people, the motherhood adventures I experience now are just as enjoyable as the ones I had before kids. Sometimes even more so (and occasionally they are a complete fail but I’m always proud that I tried).Read More
This post is sponsored by Chicco, but the opinions are my own.
Did you know that September is Baby Safety Month, with the week of September 23 – 28 celebrated as National Child Passenger Safety Week? It comes as a good reminder and it is the perfect time for parents to brush up on top safety tips for your child in your car, on a plane, in the stroller, and in your own home to keep your child safe.
When You’re On The Go
When you and your child are out and about, always use a car seat to arrive safely at your destination. Baby should always be restrained in a car seat every time they’re in the car, whether it’s your car, your caregiver’s car or a taxi. If you are able, purchase a seat for baby when flying and have them restrained in their car seat on the plane as well. Never leave your baby in your vehicle. Put a critical item—your purse, cell phone, or even the shoe from your non-driving foot – next to your baby in the backseat each time baby is in the car with you to serve as a reminder as well.
Make sure to carefully follow all of the car seat manufacturer’s instructions when installing the seat in your vehicle. Get baby’s car seat installation checked at a fire or police station; they’re hard to install correctly! That is why I love the Chicco MyFit. It is designed with smart functionality that makes it the easiest to install simply, accurately, and securely. A four-position ReclineSure leveling system and RideRight bubble levels help achieve and verify proper angle in the vehicle seat. I love these features because it is basically the green light that tells you you’ve installed the seat correctly. Premium LATCH connectors with a SuperCinch tightener and a LockSure belt-tightening system with wide routing make it easy to achieve a tight and secure fit with LATCH or the vehicle seat belt. I personally use the LATCH system in my car with this seat and find it super simple and easy to use and install correctly.
Using your stroller? Always put your stroller in the locked position when putting your baby in the stroller or when remaining stationary. Place any other items you’re carrying, like your purse, in the storage space beneath the stroller seat, and do not hang heavy items off the back of the stroller — this could cause it to tip. Make sure to buckle the safety harness in the stroller seat or, if using a travel system with your infant seat make sure to buckle your baby in safely like you would if they were riding in the car.
In The Nursery
Your baby’s nursery should be a secure environment for your baby to learn, grow, and sleep safely. Keep furniture away from windows to prevent babies from falling through the screen or becoming tangled in blind cords. Never leave your baby on the changing table unattended or unsecured. In the crib, always use a sheet that fits securely on the mattress. Make sure the mattress fits snugly within the crib to prevent your baby from slipping between the mattress and the side of the crib. Never use blankets or pillows in the crib with your baby. A swaddle or wearable blanket like a sleep sack is safest. And remember that back is best when placing your baby in their crib.
In The Rest of Your Home
Kitchens are full of potential safety hazards, so it’s important to take extra care in this area of your home. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent hot foods and liquids from being tipped over. Keep knives, heavy pots and breakable dishes out of reach. Secure heavy furniture to the wall to prevent tipping, as well as securing your television to the wall or other secured furniture. Use outlet covers to keep little fingers out of the electrical outlets and hide or secure cords, wires, and plugs.
A bit more about Chicco, since I love our MyFit seat so much. Chicco’s car seat line is designed to help parents keep their children as safe as possible on the road at every stage. The MyFit is designed to keep little big kids comfortable and content with the security of a five-point harness. A nine-position extended headrest and easy transition to a belt-positioning booster accommodate years of growing. The MyFit can be comfortably installed three across in your vehicle, maximizing space for you and your children. And that means all three of my boys (who are in either convertible 5 point harness seats or a booster) can all fit in any car if necessary.
I chatted with Chicco’s car seat safety advocate Courtney Barry and she shared some really helpful tips for parents who aren’t familiar with harness boosters like the MyFit, check them out below:
- Maturity plays a critical role in the type of booster seat you should be using with your child.
Before transitioning your child from a forward-facing convertible car seat to a belt-positioning booster seat, you must feel confident that they are mature enough to sit upright, without playing with their seat belt and accidentally shifting it into an unsafe position, for the duration of your trip. For children that are not quite there yet, manufacturers like Chicco have created transitional seats that are designed to not only keep children safer longer, but also prioritizes their comfort, like the MyFit Harness + Booster.
- Harness boosters, like the MyFit, offer the safety benefits that come with having a 5-point harness.
Harness boosters, like the Chicco MyFit, offer added protection and security for little big kids that have outgrown their forward-facing convertible car seat but aren’t quite mature enough for a belt-positioning booster. This is because they utilize a 5-point harness, much like an infant or convertible car seat. The 5-point harness on harness boosters are designed with higher shoulder strap slots that allow taller children protection and security for longer, in a more comfortable position, until they are ready for the next step.
- Know your options and what to look for when it comes to selecting a car seat.
The best car seat is the one that fits your child, fits your car and that you’ll be able to use correctly every time. Do your research to learn what your options are, as there can be several different car seat paths to take depending on the size of your child. Car seats like the Chicco MyFit can be a great option when a child is too tall for their forward-facing convertible car seat, but are not fully ready to use a booster seat. There are also many car seats that grow with your child, which can help save money without compromising safety. The MyFit does just that, as it easily converts to a belt-positioning booster to accommodate years of growing.
Go here to learn more about the right Chicco car seat for you.
Parenthood is hard. We’re sleep deprived and just doing the best we can, so keeping these safety tips in mind and preparing ahead of time with babyproofing tools can help keep your baby safe, even when life gets chaotic or overwhelming.
What’s your best baby safety tip?
This post was done in partnership with Minted by the opinions are my own.
I often get asked on Instagram or via email how I decide what to hang on my walls, where to hang it, and where I find it. So I thought today I would share some of my favorite ways to decorate and style our walls, the cardinal rule I follow, and where I source some of my favorite things to include on our walls.Read More