4 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV!

Television has brought a lot of good into the lives of children. Learning videos, songs, lovable characters, the list goes on and on! When used in moderation, television can be a great tool. You can have too much of a good thing, though. It's important to unplug from time to time and give your body and mind some exercise! Here are a few fun activities that will get you off the couch.

 

Get Outside!

Before there were video game systems galore, there were jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, and secret forts. Think back to the "good old days" and include your kids in a few of your favorite childhood games. If you don't have a yard of your own, head to the nearest park or trail.

 

Read a Book!

Books have been replaced with movies and television shows. While it's great to see scripts come to life, there's a certain magic that comes with picking up a good book. If you have little ones, choose a fun, easy to understand classic to read out loud. If you have older ones, take a trip to the local library. Make reading a daily habit by blocking out some quiet time. Before you know it, you'll have children dreaming of princesses, knights, and dragons!

 

Think Outside the Box!

Instead of indulging in a Netflix binge session, create your own play or show. Bring out the old clothes and costume jewelry, write an epic script, cast your actors and watch your ideas come to life in a creative way.

 

Get Your Game On!

Never underestimate the fun of a board game! There are awesome games for all ages and tastes. Some family favorites include Twister, Uno, Monopoly and Yahtzee. If your children are into video games, this is a great alternative. Make it more appealing by offering a special treat or prize to the winner. This also creates a great bonding opportunity if you play on teams.


Unplugging refreshes your mind and soul and gives you a little something different from the norm. It's important to teach our kids how to entertain themselves. I'm sure you'll love seeing the benefits that unplugging brings to your family. I notice a lot more imaginative play and sibling playtime goes on when parents pull the plug.

What ways do you unplug?
April 01, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

5 Ways to Celebrate Spring

 

Spring is here and with the new season comes so many fun activities to do with your little ones! Welcome Spring with one of these fun activities!

A Party!


A party is a great way to celebrate the new season. Think bright colors, flowers, outdoor activities and possibly even colorful treats that are Spring themed, like these healthy fruit snacks!

 

Nature Walk!


What better way to welcome Spring than by getting outside? Creating a fun nature walk for your child is an easy way to burn off extra energy and learn something. You can create a scavenger hunt by having them look for certain Spring themed items like a leaf or a flower bud. You can also gather items for a collage or press leaves and flowers. The possibilities are endless!

 

 

Spring Clean!

This one benefits you more than anything, but it's still a great way to say, "Out with the old, in with the new!". Teach your child responsibility by giving them age-appropriate chores. Even the littlest in your family can do simple tasks like throwing things away or putting clothes in the laundry bin. Spring cleaning will not only get something accomplished, but it can also be a great way to bond. If this suggestion sounds like a drag, feel free to amp up the fun factor a bit by playing loud music, or creating a game out of it!

 

Go Out For a Special Treat!

Create a tradition that's all your own by going out for a special treat to celebrate warmer temperatures. Smoothies, ice cream, and frozen yogurt are all fun options that just beg to be enjoyed in warmer weather. Extra points if you can eat outside! You could also have a picnic, bonfire or grill out. Don't forget the fun outdoor games!

Be a Tourist!

Spring has a way of making even the most basic things beautiful. Look online or ask around about fun activities. Many towns have special festivals, concerts or library programs when the weather changes. This can be a great way to give your children the gift of being content with where they are.


Celebrations aren't just for big events. Learning to celebrate the seemingly mundane things in life brings a bit of magic to ordinary situations. Spring is a time for new things, so use this opportunity to start celebrating the small stuff!
March 25, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

4 Ways That Mama's Can Take Care of Themselves

Self-care is one of the most important things a Mother can do. When you take care of yourself, you're able to take better care of the ones you love. Here are a few areas that you can focus on with some inspiration on how to apply self-care to your own life.

Emotionally

Taking care of your emotions means taking control over how you react to life's problems. You can focus on your emotions by journaling your thoughts, trying meditation techniques when you feel overwhelmed and by reciting affirmations to put your emotions in their place. Think about what triggers negative emotions in your life and do what you can to eliminate it!

Physically

Taking care of yourself physically involves eating right and getting some movement in. When you're physically in a good place, it's easier for the rest of yourself to follow. Try eating a cleaner diet, adding some supplements to your routine, exercising a few times a week and including new healthy recipes to your menu plan. Your body is a temple and it's important to treat it with the care it needs! Pay attention to your body when it says it's hungry or thirsty and watch your physique change!

 

Mentally

Just because you're a parent doesn't mean that you can let your mind go to waste! Make it a goal to constantly be teaching yourself something new. This could mean reading a challenging book, taking a class, or learning a new language. You never stop learning!

 

Spiritually

Connecting with something bigger than yourself is proven to calm anxiety, heal your body, and give you a greater sense of purpose. Prayer, reading the Bible and practicing the art of living a moral life refreshes you from the inside out. If you've never tried it before, now is a great time!

There are so many simple ways to pamper yourself from buying a new book to taking a long bath. When you take care of yourself, your family gets the best version of you and you're less likely to have a bad attitude towards them. Try using a few of the above ideas and see what difference you can make in your health!

How do you take care of yourself?
March 18, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

5 Nourishing Baby Food Combinations

A great way to nourish your baby is to make homemade baby food. Not only will you know exactly what your baby is eating, but you get to have the fun of customizing their meals. You can introduce your baby to virtually any combination of food that they’re ready to eat, adding safe spices and other flavors to expose their pallets to new things. The great thing about these recipes is that they can easily be frozen for later. Here are a few of my favorite baby food combinations:

 

Blueberries, Spinach, and Applesauce

This is a bright, fruity puree that has a secret ingredient: Spinach. The spinach goes unnoticed thanks to the strong flavors of the fruit. Simply blend ½ C. fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, ½ C. Applesauce and 1 C. packed spinach in your blender.

 Avocados and Bananas

This is a simple mix that brings a lot of healthy fat to your baby’s diet! This puree is so creamy and delicious, it tastes like ice cream! This is safe even for babies who are just starting their solids journey. Mash one avocado with one banana. No blender involved!

 

Chicken, Rice, and Carrots


This blend is for older babies who have been eating solids for a few months. Take 1 cooked chicken breast, ½ C. cooked rice and ½ C. steamed carrots. Blend until smooth. This gives your baby much-needed protein and is a wonderful way to introduce meat to their diet.

 

Oatmeal and Bananas

This is a great breakfast recipe for your little one! Simple cook ¼ C. Oatmeal, add a little extra water and ½ a mashed banana. Sweet and hearty!

 

Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

This is a bright, fun puree that gives your little one the benefits of gentle carbs with the added health benefits of sweet potatoes. This is one of those recipes that will fill your baby up, so it’s great to feed them before bed! Steam ½ of a sweet potato and ¼ C. quinoa. Add about a tablespoon of liquid (bone broth is great!) and blend until smooth.



Making baby food doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. A lot of parents prefer to have one day where they create all of their recipes for the next month. Freezing any excess isn’t hard at all: Just take an ice cube tray or mold, spoon any extra puree into the compartments and freeze until solid. You can store these cubes in a freezer bag for about a month.

What creative combinations can you come up with?

March 11, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

Fun Activites for Little Ones

 

Little ones have so much energy! As a parent, you can choose to let that energy go to waste, or you can put it to good use by creating intentional play time. Here are some great ideas that will entertain your toddler’s hands and mind!


Give Common Items New Purpose

Everyday household items can be the most fun adventure ever for a child. Try to see the things you own through their eyes and come up with some creative play ideas! Kitchen items like pots and spoons can be used to create music. Old makeup brushes can be used as paint brushes. Ingredients from the kitchen can be turned into slime or playdough. Not only will you have a blast re-purposing these things, but your child will also learn to make the most out of what they have.

Imagination is Key

Playing pretend games is a favorite past-time for a reason! These games encourage creativity in little ones because they’re constantly thinking up new scenarios. Help your little one with imaginative play by giving them old clothes and hats, old cooking utensils, boxes and art supplies. You can prompt imaginative play by reading a favorite book and having your child come up with their own addition to the story. Then join in the fun and take on whatever role your child’s mind comes up with!

Arts and Crafts

Creating something is a great way to keep a tot busy. Whether you choose to mold, paint, draw or build, a project is sure to spark inspiration. Keep arts and craft time simple for young ones by choosing age appropriate activities such as molding clay, finger painting, coloring with large crayons or making a collage. You can also create your own fort and a special snack to go along with it!

Sensory Play

Sensory play opens your child up to new experiences. You can use textures like soft fabric, rough thread, fuzzy socks and smooth plastic to stimulate your child’s senses. You can also use things like sand, rice, beans or any other item they can sift through their hands. Some children prefer to have water be a part of sensory play. I like to use all of the above, with plenty of measuring cups and sandbox toys to encourage play.
 

Creating fun activities for your child doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Quality time is the best part about these fun things! What are your favorite activities to do with your child?
March 10, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

Smoothies: The Perfect After-School Snack!

When your children come home from a long school day, they’re most likely in need of someone to vent to, a relaxing atmosphere, and a nutritious snack. There are so many snack options marketed towards children these days, most filled with sugar, unpronounceable ingredients, and dyes. While fun to eat, these options don’t do much for kids nutrition-wise. I’ve found a great alternative to these snacks: A smoothie. My child loves them, they taste good and there are so many different varieties. Keep reading to get some smoothie inspiration for your own family!



Shamrock Green Smoothie:

We love this recipe because it’s a healthy take on the fast food favorite! This smoothie has coconut milk, bananas, and dates. It gets its gorgeous green color from fresh spinach and mint. You can top this smoothie with sundae-type toppings if you choose. You can find the recipe here.


Pina-Colada Smoothie:

This smoothie will make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. This is a fun smoothie to serve during the colder months and it sparks a great game of imagination! The tropical flavor comes from a combination of coconut flakes and fresh pineapple. Find the recipe here.

Strawberry Peach Refresher Smoothie:

There’s a secret ingredient in this smoothie: Bok Choy! If you have a little one that’s starting to get sick, this is the smoothie for them. It gives them so much of their daily vitamins and minerals and a HUGE dose of Vitamin C! Don’t be put off by the Bok Choy. The taste is very mild and totally unnoticeable. The recipe for this sickness-buster is here.


Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie:

This is more of a decadent shake than a smoothie. Cherries and cocoa provide a burst of antioxidants. Cherries also contain melatonin, which will help your child sleep better at night! This smoothie serves two and is a great treat! Find the recipe here.

Peach Coconut Dream Smoothie:

If you’re looking for a not-so-sweet treat, this smoothie is for you! The grapes, peaches and coconut water create a mildly sweet, creamy smoothie. This is a great smoothie for an after school sport since coconut water contains a lot of electrolytes! The recipe can be found here.

The great thing about smoothies is that they can be customized to fit your individual tastes and what you have on hand. Feel free to use these recipes as a base and experiment with your favorite healthy ingredients! I’d love to hear what smoothie concoctions you create!
 

March 03, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

How to Survive a Road Trip with Kids

Traveling with kids is always a challenge. Even the best-behaved little one can get restless after a few hours in the car. There are some tips and tricks that can help you have a sane, fun road trip. Try a few of them out on your next vacation!

 

Bring Entertainment

 

A bored child is an unhappy child! Bringing toys, books, and little games is a great way to keep kids busy. I’ve found that purchasing a small bag of new to them toys from the dollar store keeps their interest even longer. We only bring those toys out during car rides, so they keep their novelty. Another timeless favorite is to listen to an audio book.

 

Don’t Let Hunger Strike!

 

Bad moods tend to strike when hunger is present. Bringing healthy snacks that fill tiny tummies is a simple way to fight the munchies. Cheese and meat sticks, fruit, and granola bars are easy to eat and contain lots of protein so they’ll stay full until you hit your destination.

 

Play a Game

 

Those car games that you used to play as a kid worked for a reason! They kept you busy and gave you something to think about besides the long ride. Car games are a timeless tradition and are a simple way to create a happy atmosphere. My personal favorites are I Spy, license plate scavenger hunts and 20 Questions. You can also purchase portable games like checkers and tic-tac-toe.

 

Make Rest Easy

 

Sleep will not only make time pass faster, but it will also make sure your family is able to fully enjoy themselves. Bring along a favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal to make rest come easy. You may not be able to completely mimic bedtime routines, but having a few comfort objects along for the ride makes sleeping easier.

 

Plan Ahead

 

Careful planning can eliminate a lot of road trip frustrations. Create a loose itinerary to help your kids (and yourself!) know what to expect. Plan for any bathroom stops, snack breaks and attractions along the way. Make sure that you have items for any situation like medicines, extra clothes, and umbrellas. Planning ahead makes sure that you’re able to fully enjoy your trip without the stress of forgetting something!

 

Road trips don’t have to be the chaotic scene shown in most movies. You can have a peaceful, fun-filled time by using some of these tips. What’s your favorite road trip hack?

February 19, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

 

Congratulations, you’re expecting a little blessing! You’ve already got the nursery ready, wrote your birth plan and have baby shopped until you dropped. The only thing left to do is to pack the hospital bag. If you’re a new Mama, read on to see the must-haves for your hospital stay. If you’re a veteran Mama, I hope you learn some new tips!

Labor Necessities

You’ll want your hospital bag to contain a few basic things for labor. When packing for labor, think of comfort items. Things like fuzzy socks, a robe, lip balm, hair ties and a favorite pillow can do wonders when labor pangs hit. You may want things that will distract you such as a tablet, books/magazines, a specific playlist, or a favorite puzzle book. If your hospital allows eating and drinking during labor, pack some strengthening snacks like granola bars and juice. Packing things that calm you is also a great idea. Essential oils, calming music, visualization podcasts are great examples of nerve-soothing labor tools.

Don’t Forget Daddy!

Your partner will love having a few special things packed. It can be hard to leave a hospital room, so pack your man’s favorite snacks and drinks. A phone charger and pillow will help your partner have all the comforts of home and be able to rest. Pack an extra change of clothes for Daddy as well! Put Daddy in charge of electronics, like cell phones and cameras.

For After the Delivery

After your baby arrives, you deserve star treatment. Focus on packing items that help you feel comfortable and pampered. Pack comfortable clothes that will easily accommodate your healing body. Pack your favorite bath and beauty products for your post-partum shower. If you are nursing, pack things that will help the transition such as nipple cream, prenatal vitamins, and a nursing pillow. The hospital will have post-partum pads and underwear, so you don’t need to worry about those until you get home!

For Baby

The hospital will have diapers, wipes, pacifiers and baby hats. Pack those fun items that you chose specifically for your little one like knotted sleeper set (duh). They are easy to slip on and off for diaper changes. Bring baby lotion and other baby hygiene items.

Going Home!

For your trip home, you’ll want a comfy outfit for yourself and a special outfit for your little one. You’ll want to bring your car seat, as most hospitals check to make sure you know how to properly secure your baby. When leaving the hospital, go through your room and take leftover diapers, nose aspirators, hats, wipes, and pacifiers. These things can’t be used for another patient and are added to your bill, so they won’t be missed!

What are your hospital bag essentials?

February 15, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

How to Establish Family Traditions


Family traditions are a wonderful way to bring your family together. Traditions create memories that last a lifetime and they add an aspect to your family history that is uniquely yours. When creating a tradition, you’ll want to choose things that are doable, enjoyable and fit your families unique needs. There are so many different traditions you can incorporate. Here are some of my favorite ideas:


Family Night

I absolutely love the idea of having a family night. Once a week, set aside an evening for family fun! Play a board game, create artwork or watch a movie. Take it outside and have a bonfire, act like tourists in your town or go for ice cream. Make sure to bring out the big stuff like special snacks, drinks etc. You want this to be enjoyable for the whole family, so ask their opinions. You can also take turns choosing what to do. This can be a great way to learn more about the people in your family.

Create Tradition with a Special Meal

Creating tradition with a special meal is a great way to pass down a bit of yourself to generations to come. A great example of a meal tradition would be to make your pizzas from scratch whenever possible. Perfect a homemade dough recipe (We like this one!), create your own pizza sauce and determine the best toppings possible. Meals tend to bring people together, so whenever your family makes this special meal, expect some soul-sharing moments to happen!

Rituals

Creating family rituals is a great way to place your unique stamp on daily life. A ritual can be something as specific as having a family quiet time each day where you read something inspiring together, or it can be as vague as always doing an outdoor activity on Sundays. Rituals are comforting and if they are fun, they can be something to look forward to on rough days.

Birthday Traditions

Holidays are one of the easiest times to create traditions. Birthdays, specifically, are a great starting point. Think of something unique you can do to celebrate the birthday boy or girl. It might be Funfetti pancakes for breakfast, a pajama day, a special outing or even a special gift you give each year. Maybe you’ll come up with your own silly song or tell the celebrated person all the things you love about them. Be creative with your traditions and have fun!

Traditions are a great way to leave your special mark for generations to come. What traditions does your family have?
February 10, 2016 by Irina Hubbard

Baby’s First Birthday: What to Do, What Not to Do

 

Fewer events are more exciting than your baby’s first birthday. As parents, our natural tendency is to do our best to create the perfect day for our little one. Between the cake, party, presents, adorable outfits and Pinterest boards galore, it’s easy to become overwhelmed! There are some simple guidelines, however, that will help you navigate the waters of the planning and execution of your child’s first birthday party.

Do: Set Realistic Expectations

There is no such thing as a perfect experience. Your child might hate his birthday outfit, throw cake on the walls or choose to have the world’s worst tantrum. Keep your expectations level and reasonable for your child’s age and your situation. Giving your child (and yourself!) grace is key to being able to enjoy this special day.

Don’t: Stress

As the chief party planner, it’s easy to get stressed out. Take a deep breath, go with the flow and just let things happen! Stressing out about the small stuff takes away from what is really important. Your loved ones aren’t going to remember the Pinterest perfect details, but they will remember the atmosphere of the party.

Do: Keep It Simple

Simplicity will save you a lot of trouble, so simplify where you can! Try paper products instead of china, easily made foods instead of gourmet options and a simple cake instead of an elaborate one made from scratch. Little ones get overwhelmed easily, so cutting a few things out isn’t going to hurt them!

Don’t: Do It Alone

Your friends and family are there to help make your little one’s day as special as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for their assistance with the party details! Enlist loved ones to bring food, help decorate or give their best party planning ideas. Chances are, they’d be honored that you asked!

Do: Document the Day

The most important part of your child’s first birthday is creating a memory that will last forever. This special day only comes once, so document it the best you can. Have a friend take pictures, keep a little box of party reminders (candles, invitation, etc.), or create a scrapbook of the day. You can even create a home movie with your guest’s wishes and blessings for your child! Be creative and have fun!


Creating a great day for your child doesn’t have to be hectic. By using the above guidelines, you can execute a wonderful party for everyone.