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You and Me + 3

When I met my husband, I was blown away. “He is perfect.” I told my mom. There are a couple of other things you need to know though. He is divorced, has 3 kids, and is 10 years older than me…I know. A lot to swallow especially coming from her 18 year old daughter. Needless to say, she was speechless and my dad was not happy at all.This guy was so perfect, I didn’t care at all. In fact, a week after meeting him I moved from Texas to Washington D.C. So I became insta-mom. FAST.

family

Being a stepmom is no piece of cake. It is hard work. It is probably the most challenging thing I have ever experienced.  I don’t think any woman ever dreams up a fairy tale of being a stepmom. The same goes for marriage. Nobody gets married with the intention of it ending in divorce. It has been almost 7 years since we met and here are some key points I have learned during my time so far as being a stepmom to 3 kids.

  • Leave the discipline to their dad. This is tough to learn and respect. I will never be their ‘mom’ and I shouldn’t try to be. When we first met, I would try to discipline the kids and the outcome was laughable. Who are you to discipline me? We just met you! Believe me when I say this, Leave it to their dad! If something comes up where the kids need discipline, tell the dad and let him handle it. (At least in the beginning.) Once your relationship grows, the kids will learn to respect you and your rules.                           (more…)

Considerations About Day Care

For many moms, there comes a time when when choosing a day care is part of the parenting process.  Whatever the reason, it is not an easy decision.  It can be a very stressful time because you are choosing the place where your sweet child will spend the better part of many days.  As a former infant/toddler, twos, and preschool teacher, I have found myself giving friends and family advice when they are on their quest to find the best center for their child.  There are a few things I always stress when having this talk and I would like to share some of those things with you in this article.

parents 7.04.00 PM

One thing that shocks most new parents is the high sticker price for child care.  It is especially expensive for infants and toddlers.  It is tempting to shop around for the best price, but you may be making sacrifices that aren’t apparent when you choose a less expensive day care.  Centers that charge less have a smaller budget to run their business.  Since it is a business, after all, you will find that these facilities go to great lengths to cut costs in order to keep their business profitable.  This doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a bad place, but you will find that they are most likely striving to meet legal requirements and not much more.

For example, an infant/toddler ratio is four babies to one teacher/caregiver.  Two-year-old children have a legal ratio of one teacher to twelve students.  Depending on your experience with children, you may or may not realize that these legal requirements are quite a bare minimum.  Twelve two-year-olds are A LOT of two-year-olds! As are four infants to one caregiver.  I am not claiming it is an impossible situation, but when you consider the type of care and attention your child gets when they are one-on-one with mom and dad,  they are definitely going to get less personalized care when the ratio goes up.

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Embracing Your Child’s Personality

by Michelle on March 25, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),3 – 5 years (preschooler)

I was at the park with my kids last week, when I stopped for a moment, I took a look at each of my children. My two-year old was climbing the rock wall, and my five-year old was playing quietly in the sand. It was at that moment, that I realized how different, yet, alike my children are.

girls dressed up

My first born is now five. She was a very quite baby, I could hold her and rock her all night long. She loved to cuddle, she was always so happy and content. She ate extremely well. Even at a very young age she always liked her vegetables.

I remember people asking us, “Are you getting much sleep at night?” Joking of course, because usually parents don’t get a lot of sleep with a newborn. Ironically, we would say, “Yes we are…a full eight hours” She slept like a baby through the night.

As first time parents, we were in heaven. We thought that if this is what having kids was like, we got this in the bag. Fast forward five years, and she is now in Kindergarten, extremely independent, very competitive, excels in all her courses with school, and yet she still loves her quite time to read, play with her ponies, and even puts herself down for a nap.

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Recycling IS fun!

by Tara on March 11, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),3 – 5 years (preschooler)

Feel like your child is growing tired of the toys he sees every day? Looking for ways to change up his play routine but don’t want to spend a bunch of money on toys that he will tire of too quickly?  I have the solution for you! One adult’s trash can be a a toddler’s treasure with a little re-purposing of household items.  The following is a compilation of some of my most successful recycled-item activities.  These things are easy to make and are guaranteed to provide a fun-filled play day with your tot.

homemade bowling

  • Water bottles and pop cans make wonderful musical instruments! For this activity, I like to use a variety of recycled bottles and cans of different shape and sizes.  Then I add whatever dry food I have on hand, like beans, rice, pasta, peas etc.  With a little duct tape ingenuity you can easily cover the holes in a can or secure a lid on a bottle.  Now you have an array of musical shakers for some music and movement time with your toddler.  Show your child how they work and then have fun, the sillier you are the better!
  • We all have a few clothes hanging around that we can’t wear and can’t donate.  These make perfect fabric choices for homemade bean bags! Yes this will require some sewing, but it is worth it when you see your child having a good time tossing them around.  Simply cut a few squares out of the old clothes.  Fold the patch in half, print side in and sew two edges.  Flip the fabric right side out and fill bag with beans.  Sew up the third side and now you have a bean bag! Games with this can be as simple as throwing them in the air and trying to catch them.  You can also cut out shapes from construction paper or newspaper and put them on the floor, then ask you child to help you throw the bag to the different shapes, now we are learning shapes too! You can make as many games as you or your child can imagine.
  • This is a super simple way to keep your child entertained and all you need is an old magazine.  Start by clearing your play space of all other toys. Then rip about 20-30 pages and crumple them into balls.  Now you have a ton of house-safe balls to throw all around the room.  Put a box in the center of the room and try to make throw them inside. Throw them all around the room and see how fast your little one can get them all back in the box.  After your child is tired of all that running, they will be happy to sit and shred the paper balls.  They will be happy to crumple, tear, and taste until it is clean up time!

I hope your family finds these activities are as fun as we have!

Have some recycled-fun ideas of your own? Post them here for us to try!

 

 

Finding the Right Cleats for Young Children

Finding the Right Cleats for Young Children

Everyone knows that kids grow quickly and having the right shoes is instrumental in not only protecting their feet, but in allowing them the ability to play their sport of choice to the best of their ability.  Here are a few tips for keeping them safe and finding the right equipment.

Tennis Shoes

Many kids choose a sport and lose interest after a few short games. This makes many parents skeptical because they don’t want to invest a lot of money into something the child may not enjoy doing. Luckily, kids can play the sport in tennis shoes until you decide that they are dedicated enough to invest a bit of money into the sport. You should purchase a pair of tennis shoes for them to use specifically for soccer, though. These shoes will get grass stains and dirty, so they shouldn’t use their good pair of tennis shoes for it. soccer

Turf Cleats

Soccer is a popular game throughout the world. In the past decade, the sport has gained much popularity within the states, and many young people are choosing this as the sport of choice over others. Soccer turf cleats are a bit of a hybrid between traditional cleats and tennis shoes. There are no prongs on the bottom, which brings a disadvantage when playing outside but for young children, this is often the only type of cleats they are allowed to use.

These cleats are specifically designed for playing indoor soccer on turf. Classic cleats are not allowed in this type of environment, so players must use turf cleats. They are more sturdy and not as bulky as tennis shoes, which means they’ll hold up longer. Plus, the lack of prongs on the bottom make them safer for younger children to play in.

Classic Cleats

These cleats are used by the majority of soccer players around the world. They are cleats in every sense of the word. You will find prongs on the bottom of these shoes that help you get traction when running across the field. These classic soccer cleats make it easy to change directions quickly because the prongs dig into the ground.

It also makes playing in wet conditions a whole lot easier. If you were running around in turf cleats or tennis shoes, the lack of prongs on the bottom would leave you slipping and sliding all over the place.

If you’re worried that you child may not enjoy the sport, regardless of your encouragement, it’s wise to let them play a few seasons using tennis shoes. As young kids, you may find it safer for them to play in turf cleats until they really learn the game to avoid injury from the prongs on the bottom of the classic cleats.

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