I’ve always heard that the transition from one child to two is harder than any other. I can’t say that this was the same for me and I think that each child is so different that the level of challenge will be different for everyone, but it is still super hard no matter how many kids you have!
Today, I’m excited to share how Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes have helped make it easier to go from one baby to two.
Our transition from one child to two has been equal parts amazing and difficult. Many days I go to bed feeling guilty that the house isn’t clean enough, I didn’t play with my oldest enough, or that I hardly was able to speak to words to my husband before bed. BUT, I also love our family of 4 and love seeing how much my oldest daughter loves her new sister.
There is only so much you can do to prepare for this transition. Sometimes you have to just be thrown into the craziness and embrace it to find out what works for you, but here are some tips that have helped me in our transition from one child to two.
Give Yourself Grace
The first and most important piece of advice I have is to give yourself grace. Your dishes won’t always be washed, dinner won’t always be perfect, and your kids might go to bed dirty every now and then… it’s okay.
Your kids aren’t going to remember that you left the dishes in the sink one or two nights. They are going to remember that their mom was happy and not stressed out.
Include Older Siblings
One of the best things I’ve done for my oldest daughter is to make sure she feels included. I let her “change diapers”, wipe bottoms (we use Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes they are made of 100% plant-based fibers so they are super soft, but durable and they are made of 99% naturally derived ingredients), and dress the baby. I even let her pick out outfits and bows for the baby.
Doing this has really made her feel included and not pushed aside. She feels super important and I am always sure to give her a ton of extra praise about what a great sister she is and how helpful she is.
The other day we left to go to the grocery store (40 minutes away) and when we got there we realized that in all the chaos of loading up and leaving, we forgot the diaper bag.
A month or so before the baby was born I had backed a bag to keep in the car that was filled with extra bottles, outfits, Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes, and other baby necessities. Thank goodness I did this because even with forgetting the diaper bag, we had everything we needed in the car already!
At HEB, you can get different sized packs of these wipes too. We buy the large boxes for at home and keep the smaller individual packs in the car. There are 2 different types, unscented wipes or green tea cucumber!
So I keep little baskets and/or totes around the house, in the car, etc. filled with things that I might need if I ever forgot or ran out of something. It relieved so much stress being prepared and having everything stocked up.
Also, having Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes on hand EVERYWHERE is useful for my older daughter too. They are super soft so we use them for her hands and face if she gets dirty at a restaurant or at the park.
One on One Time
It is super hard with a new baby, but try to carve out some one on one time for you and the older kids. You can do this by having Dad watch the baby so you can get out for lunch or to the park or you can even do it at home by having a “movie day” while the baby is napping.
We turn the living room into a “movie theatre” and have snacks and popcorn while watching Netflix. My daughter loves it and it doesn’t take much effort on my part!
I hope these tips help make your transition from one child to two as easy as possible! You can head to HEB to purchase Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes today!
This is my first Valentines Day with a toddler and I am super excited to have a little buddy to do crafts with. Since it is right around the corner I gathered these 20 Valentine’s Day crafts for kids (and you!) to enjoy.
Color Your Own Valentines– Easy coloring Valentines that your kids can give away at school!
Homemade Valentines Day Gift– You can change this into a finger-painting activity for younger children.
DIY Valentines Day Wreath– This is pretty for the house and you can recruit your children to help make it for some fun family craft time!
Valentines Day Science Experiment– SO COOL!
Valentines Slime Sensory Play– My 15 month old is going to love this activity!
Crystal Hearts Valentines Science Experiment– This one is a fun project for science teachers to do in February!
Valentines Frozen Hands Ice Melting Science Activity– I’ve never seen anything like this one. It looks so fun!
Easy Valentines Play Dough Recipe– You can make this play dough with simple items from your kitchen!
Heart Necklaces– I used to LOVE finger knitting in grade school. It’s a really fun way for kids to get started with yarn projects.
Easy Valentines Day Necklaces– These would be cool to hand out at the kids Valentines Day parties at school.
Paper Reinforcement Heart Art– This is a really fun motor activity for kids!
Pine Cone Love Bugs– I love these little guys!
Rainbow Heart Suncatchers– so pretty!
Recycled CD Valentines Day Owls– I know you all have those embarrassing old boy band CDs laying around from your teenage years…or is that just me? 😉
Paper Bag Valentine Mouse– My old preschool classroom LOVED paper bag crafts. Especially making animal puppets out of them like this!
Paper Plate Hershey Kiss– Almost cute enough to eat 😉
Paper Plate Love Monster– Another great classroom activity after you all read the book.
Doily Bumble Bee Valentines Day Craft– I would say this is an activity for older children. My teacher friends should try this and hang them in the classroom!
“You Make My Heart Soar” Fingerprint Card– I know my kids Grandparents would LOVE these.
Handprint Lion Card “You’re A-Rawr-Able”– these are so adorable and something you can do with smaller children as a gift!
One of the best parts of Valentine’s Day as a kid is taking your DIY Valentine Boxes to class and collecting Valentines from your classmates. Try one of these creative ideas if you and the kids are stuck and can’t think of how to design your boxes this year!
DIY Valentine Box for Kids
Starting with the most simple (and cheap!) Valentine’s box…the duct tape Valentine’s Box!
Transform a cardboard box into a heart flower garden to collect your Valentine’s.
Have some fun with your little monsters creating a Valentine’s monster box.
Reptile lovers will be thrilled to bring crocodile Valentines box to collect their special Valentines!
Almost all kiddos go through a Lego loving phase…if your’s in going through it they will love the Lego brick Valentine’s box.
Try out this pink googly- eyed robot Valentine’s box!
Now were taking robots to the next level with a R2D2 Valentine’s box!
Sticking with the Star Wars theme…a Darth Vadar Valentine’s box.
Here is a mean purple minion Valentine’s box from Despicable Me 2!
If you kiddos love superheroes then they will be obsessed with this Superman Valentine’s box.
Valentine’s Day Boxes for Kids
This Valentine’s box is so simple. Using only 3 materials you can make a perfectly simple Valentine’s Day box.
I have a feeling I will be making this one for my daughter someday…a Frozen Olaf Valentine’s box!
For the insect loving kiddos here is a bee Valentine’s mailbox.
This fingerprint Valentine’s box is so sweet. You can use your kid’s fingerprints to fingerprint hearts all over the outside.
Do your kids love the book Pete the Cat? Here is an adorable Pete the Cat Valentine’s box with a free printable template to make it easier to create!
This realistic looking mailbox as a Valentine’s box is the most adorable thing EVER!
Here is another “mailbox” version of a Valentine’s box, but this one is bright and girly. So cute!
DIY Valentine Boxes
Another Despicable Me minion Valentine’s box. This version is the yellow minions!
I am totally obsessed with this Mickey and Minnie mouse Valentine’s Day boxes. I can’t help but think of how cute these would be for girl/boy twins!
Unicorns are all the rage right now and this unicorn Valentine’s day box ranks right up there with the best!
Another animal lover Valentine’s box…a panda bear!
A fashionable purse Valentine’s box is just what your girly girl needs to tote her Valentine’s cards around.
Wanting more DIY Valentines fun? Try out these 20 Valentine’s Day Kids Crafts:
Running has always been my go-to form exercise when I decide to become more active, but I could never actually stick with it. I’d do well for a few weeks and then life would get busy and I wouldn’t pick it up again for a few months.
This past year I decided that I was done with that. I poured over articles, blogs, and podcasts to find out the best way to start running, stick with it, and not absolutely hate it.
So now that I have developed a solid routine and LOVE running again, I thought I’d share my tips for beginner runners! I truly believe that anyone can become a runner if you take it slow and listen to your body.
How to Start Running
Ease Into Training
Even if you can’t run at all, you can still become a runner. It just takes getting up and active to start out. When I first started I couldn’t run a mile without feeling like I was dying and now I can run 4+ miles and feel great.
Start out with walking 30 minutes per day and commit to that for however long it takes until you feel comfortable with jogging. Just because you are walking and not running doesn’t mean it is a waste of time. Walking 30 minutes per day can significantly improve your cardiovascular health.
I started out using a Couch to 5K app. The first day of the program had me run for 30 seconds and walk for 1.5 minutes. It was hard, but it was just challenging enough to improve my fitness without making me want to quit.
Using that app you commit to exercise 3 times per week and the program will gradually build up your run time over 8 weeks until you are running a 5K. It is a free app too!
The best way to motivate yourself to run is by finding someone to commit to doing it with you. Even if you don’t live in the same neighborhood, you can still keep each other in check! Use a running app like RunKeeper or add each other as friends on a FitBit or Apple Watch so that you can see when the other person exercises.
The Runkeeper app has fun challenges and even a friend “leaderboard” which is super motivating!
If you can’t find someone to run with you, then use a training program like Couch to 5K to keep you on track.
Set a Goal
One of the most motivating things I have done for myself is set a goal for myself. After I finished the Couch to 5K app I decided that I was going to train for a half marathon. I googled half marathons in my area, picked one, and came up with a training plan over the next 12+ weeks to train for that race.
You can do this with a 5K too! Pick a friend to run it with you so that you’ll be more likely to train for it. I mean, you wouldn’t want to be the friend that gives up and doesn’t get to run the 5K right!?
When I start to feel unmotivated, I take a look at my inspiration. I follow runners on Instagram and scroll through their feeds to remind myself that if they can do it, I can do it.
Maybe your inspiration is showing your children how to live a healthy life, maybe it is to get in shape for a wedding, or to get back to a weight that you were previously at. Whatever it is, take a look or remind yourself WHY you are doing this!
Get the Right Gear
First off, get a good pair of running shoes. They don’t have to be crazy expensive, just something that can provide the support you need. I promise, if you don’t have the right shoes you will end up quitting.
I started out running in Nike shoes and my shins and knees hurt SO BAD. I always had blisters on the tips of my toes and my heels when I was done too. It was horrible. I realized that I obviously needed to change up my shoes and now I run in Asics.
If you live in a cold weather area get running gloves and something to keep your ears warm. I live in Texas so the majority of the time I need to be running in shorts and a tank/sports bra. Get the proper gear to run in or you will dread running every time.
Not too long ago I posted a post with all of my favorite running gear if you want to check it out!
Find Your Distraction
For so many people, they think that music is what everyone listens to when they run. So not true!! I do have a fun running playlist on my Spotify account that I use regularly, but I also listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and even watch TV if I am running on the treadmill!
Find what works for you! Just because your neighbor can only listen to music while running doesn’t mean that is going to work well for you. Try it all, you might be surprised about what you end up enjoying.
Those are my biggest tips for beginner runners, but the main thing that I’d want to tell anyone is that you totally CAN do it. You just have to be motivated and really want it! Once you get past the challenge of starting it really is a lot of fun and super empowering to know what your body has just accomplished.
The best way to celebrate the holiday season isn’t only showering your children with gifts (even though that’s fun too!), it’s teaching your children to give back.
This post contains affiliate links.
Give Back by Volunteering at a Food Bank
There are two different ways you can commit to giving back to a local food bank.
The least time consuming way is to donate money to the organization. For every $1 donated to the Feeding America network of Food Banks, they will provide 11 meals for people.
The second option is to use the find your local food bank tool on Feeding America’s website and volunteer at the nearest location.
Consider volunteering at local food banks year round. The holiday’s are a popular time for people to volunteer so there may be an influx of people wanting to help in the winter months, but the rest of the year the food banks may be struggling to find help.
If you need more help finding a food bank or soup kitchen near you to volunteer at visit www.foodpantries.org
Give Back by Adopting an Angel
The Salvation Army provides a service that is the go between for families who need help providing items for Christmas and people who have the means to help. The items needed for the children are written down (along with their names and ages) on paper angels which are hung on Christmas trees in malls.
Shoppers can then take an angel off of the tree, purchase the items, and bring the items back to the tree! I think it is a great idea to try and adopt an angel close to your children’s ages so that they can grasp the idea that there are children out there just like them who are less fortunate.
Contact your local Salvation Army office to find angel tree locations.
Give Back by Creating a Blessing Bag
Using an old bag or backpack (gallon zip lock baggies work too!) pack up some essentials like toiletries, mittens, and small snacks. Most of these items can be bought at the dollar store, this does not have to cost you a ton of money to do.
You can keep the bag in your car in case you happen to cross paths with a homeless person or you can take a couple of blessing bags to the homeless shelter.
If it is cold where you live, consider adding hand warmers to the bag! They work miracles on hands and feet!
Give Back by Sending Holiday Cards to a Soldier
Operation We Are Here has a giant list of resources to help you figure out how to do this. You can send letters to deployed military personnel, veterans, new recruits, and wounded warriors. There is even a service where you can send soldiers blank cards so that they have something to send home to their own families this holiday season!
Give Back by Assisting Children’s Hospitals
The ways in which you can do this are going to vary by location, but a simple google search should bring up toy/gift lists for children who are living at the children’s hospitals in your area.
If a specific gift list does not come up, most children’s hospitals do accept donations of new items for the children to use. To be on the safe side you should call or find their regulations online before purchasing any items.
Give Back by Donating Winter Coats
There are a few different organizations that offer this service, but One Warm Coat seems to have the most locations (there were 8 in my area).
Have your kids help you pick out some gently worn coats from your family’s closets. They can be coats that are too small for your kids or just coats that you haven’t worn in a long time.
Look up donation locations on the One Warm Coat website and drop them off. You can even organize and host your own coat drive for your area!
If you love Christmas, check out these posts too!
I am a stay at home/work at home mom and often I find myself racking my brain to find free activities for toddlers.
Even though we are definitely not a screen free family I try my hardest to do enough activities with our toddler so that she isn’t sitting in front of the TV all day.
All of these activities are virtually free. There area few that require materials, but most people probably have them around the house.
50 Free Activities for Toddlers
- Go for a nature walk
- Have a tea party
- Play hide and seek
- Have a dance party
- Go on a picnic
- Blow bubbles
- Go to the park
- Build a fort
- Draw with chalk
- Have a movie day
- Plant flowers
- Read books
- Color or draw
- Play in the sprinkler
- Go to the library
- Make popsicles
- Play with play doh
- Play tag
- Fly a kite
- Play dress up
- Go bug catching
- Play hide and go seek
- Build with blocks
- Play catch
- Play in the sandbox
- Dig in the dirt
- Pick flowers
- Go on a treasure hunt
- Make your own instruments
- Play with puzzles
- Sing songs
- Play Simon says
- Play with stickers
- Bake cookies
- Play house
- Make macaroni jewelry
- Play in the rain
- Create a sensory bin
- Play with stamps
- Play with water balloons
- Make lemonade
- Go on a wagon ride
- Camp in the backyard
- Catch fireflies
- Do a mommy makeover
- Paint nails
- Watch birds
- Put on a puppet show
What do you do with you toddler during the day? I know when you stay at home with your kids the day can get repetitive, but going out to do something just ends up costing too much money. Hopefully this list gives you some solid activities to spend some quality time with your toddlers and get them away from the electronics while still staying under budget!
Getting your toddler to sleep through the night is no easy task and no night is predictable, but there are ways to help increase the chances that your toddler is going to sleep through the night.
This post is sponsored by My Green Mattress, but as always the opinions are 100% my own.
How to get your toddler to sleep through the night
I always say that if there is one thing that I have learned from being a parent it is that parenthood is a constant cycle of feeling like you’ve finally figured it out to feeling like you have no idea what is going on.
My daughter will sleep through the night for weeks and then one thing will happen to knock her off course and we will be starting back a square one trying to get her to stay in her bed at night. After doing this for a couple of years now I have learned a few tricks to keep her sleeping through the night.
One thing that really seems to make a difference is having a bedtime and sticking to it. She knows what to expect, her body gets on a schedule, and it makes all of our lives easier. Plus it gives me the time that I need at night to get my stuff done. I know that I have the hours after 8 to do whatever it is that I need to accomplish before the end of the day.
Sticking to a Routine
Kids know when their routine is messed up. When our toddler spends the night at her grandparents houses, she is so messed up on her routine that when she comes home she usually gives us a hard time when her bedtime rolls around. Most of the time when this happens it takes us about a week to get her back on schedule so we try really hard to keep her on the same routine.
Our routine looks like this:
7:30- brush teeth, watch a little cartoons, read
Obviously every night isn’t the same because life with kids is unpredictable, but we try to stick to this routine every night.
Make them Comfortable
Kids are just like us. If we don’t feel comfortable where we lay our heads at night then we aren’t going to be able to sleep. Have you ever woken up in the morning with a stiff neck and an achy back or tossed and turned all night because you aren’t comfortable? I know we don’t like to acknowledge it because it is easy to say that we feel this way because we are older, but kids feel the same way!
We initially got a cheap mattress for our daughters crib. As we transitioned it into a toddler bed we occasionally would lay down with her to read a book or watch a movie and the mattress was so uncomfortable! We recently transitioned her to an Emily Natural Crib Mattress from My Green Mattress and she loves it.
We got the Emily Natural Crib Mattress on a Saturday and it has now been a full week of her sleeping on it. She has not waken up in the middle of the night at all! We were previously having an issue with her waking up around 4AM and wanting us to come put her back to sleep (which would take about an hour).
The mattress is also made with natural and organic materials which is a HUGE plus for us as we are always looking for healthier products for our home. If your child isn’t sleeping well and has been using an uncomfortable crib mattress, I would suggest calling a chiropractor that takes children clients. You would be surprise at how much it can affect their bones and sleep quality.
Use Essential Oils
We are obsessed with using essential oils in our home and one of the ways that we regularly use them is to promote relaxation and healthy sleep habits. There are a few oils that you can do to achieve this, but we use lavender essential oil.
I diffuse it in our room at nighttime and it is safe to diffuse in your children’s rooms at bedtime as well. I have also been using a mixture of lavender oil and coconut oil to moisturize and relax our toddler at bedtime since she was born!
Healthy sleep for our kids is just as important as us getting a healthy amount of sleep. It can make or break our moods the following day and impact our overall health! I truly believe that getting our children a solid foundation of sleep can change their behavior during the day.
“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
Another year, another holiday where I am drowning in clutter. New toys, old toys, broken toys, and toys they don’t even remember they have.
Every year I tell myself (and family!)… please no more things.
As a family, we enjoy experiences significantly more than toys. It isn’t the play kitchen or the millions of LEGOs that our children are going to look back on one day and cherish. It is the trips to the zoo, the vacations, and the days spent together that are going to stand out in their minds.
Think about your own childhood. What stands out to you more? I guarantee there are only one or two toys that you can even remember let alone have an emotional connection to.
I’m not saying that we don’t buy toys or love seeing our daughters face when she opens a new toy on Christmas morning, but over the past few years, we have learned to limit our spending on toys and use it towards experiences that we will never forget.
Experiences to Gift Kids Instead of Toys
We have so many that we have tried out and love, but these are our favorite experiences to gift over toys.
One thing I either get for my daughter or let other family members know she wants is a movie theater gift card. She loves to have family dates to the movies where we share popcorn and coke and watch the newest cartoon out.
I usually get her a gift card that has enough for several movies on it that way she can go multiple times. If you go during the day it costs significantly less too!
We have done swim lessons, gymnastics, soccer, and most recently dance classes. It is such a fun gift to give to a child that lasts for months!
Most museums sell annual or season passes that you can use over and over again and we have some really great museums for kids in the Dallas area. Plus they are super educational!
Six Flags, Sea World, etc. We have had so much fun as a family at amusement parks or water parks over the years. The best part is that usually, attractions like this have activities for all ages so it can be a gift for the whole family!
Most zoos have some kind of season pass program where you can purchase tickets to get in several times per year. We love visiting the zoo as a family and there are a lot of opportunities to learn at the zoo too!
Vacations or Overnight Trips
We have a Great Wolf Lodge nearby and it is a popular destination for staycations!
Or you can make a vacation a big gift to give the whole family on Christmas!
I will never forget as a kid my favorite Christmas gift ever was tickets to my first concert (Christina Aguilera!). My mom gave me tickets for her, myself, and a friend of my choosing and it is still one of my best memories.
If your kids are interested in music or sports, try gifting them tickets to a game or show!
Technically this could be a crossover between a toy and an experience, but I would say it is definetly more of an experience. There are tons of kids subscription box companies that will send your kids a box of activities each month.
They are super fun for kids to do alone or with the whole family. A couple of our favorites are:
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If I let her, my toddler would play on my iPhone 24/7. We obviously don’t allow that, but there are certain circumstances that we do let her play with some educational apps or kids youtube. For the longest time I had to sit with her and help her play because she was constantly clicking on ads that would take her to the app store or pressing the home button and posting gibberish on Facebook. Until I had a friend message me on Facebook and tell me about this way to toddler proof your iPhone!
Guided Access is a setting on your phone that enables you to lockdown every button except the touch screen on any app. So now you can keep your toddler from turning up the volume and switching between apps until you type in the passcode to unlock it!
Once you do the steps below to ensure Guided Access is turned on you will open any app and triple click the home button to lockdown the phone. In order to get out of Guided Access you will triple click the home button and you will be asked for the passcode you set in the initial steps below.
To control which features are available during Guided Access triple click the home button on any app and select “Options” from there you can choose which buttons (like volume) can be used when Guided Access is turned on. You can also select certain areas of the touch screen to be disabled by triple clicking the home button on an app and drawing a circle around the areas on the touch screen that you would like to be disabled. This is a great feature for ads or the “home” button of an app to keep your toddler from exiting the game they are playing.
This all sounds super complicated to do, but bear with me and just try it out because once you see it you’ll realize it’s super easy and WAY worth it.
Below are the steps to enable Guided Access on your iPhone:
Step 1: Open the iPhone settings app and select “General”.
Step 2: Select “Accessibility”.
Step 3: Select “Guided Access”. Mine is already turned “On”, but yours will most likely say “Off”.
Step 4: Turn the “Guided Access” switch to “on”. I boxed in the description of what guided access means. Then select “Passcode Settings” to set your passcode for guided access.
I also highly recommend a Lifeproof case! I have had the same case since my daughter was born and my iPhone looks brand new underneath. No scratches, cracks, and the case is waterproof (which translates to baby slobber proof for me)! 😉