Quick Tip Tuesday: Video baby monitor


When I got pregnant with my first child I wouldn’t accept anything less than a video baby monitor! I know, I know… many people have been fine with audio monitors but I felt it necessary to have a video monitor.  Funds were tight… so I got a a Levana monitor from Groupon.  It worked pretty well for a while.  Eventually, we moved on to a Samsung.  The Samsung was okay but eventually quick working.  Finally, when pregnant with my second, my mother-in-law gifted me with a Motorola Video Baby Monitor with 2 Cameras.

The Motorola was my favorite camera of the ones I tried, but eventually it stopped rotating.  Being able to control the camera was one of my favorite features so this bummed me out!  Then, the cord broke.  I got a new one from ebay, but that one broke too.  I couldn’t find another, so I looked for a cheaper option.

My husband went to Amazon and found this gem!  Wansview Camera

It is $32.99!  Yes, you read that right- it has all the features of these other cameras (more than some) and it is $32.99! win!  So I was skeptical at first… but we got the camera, set it up and it works perfectly!

You set it up, download an app on your phone and there you go.  Your sleeping babies are right there in view.  You can listen in on them, talk to them, change the clarity of the image, etc.  It is amazing, especially for 32 dollars!  I *WISH* I’d had this from the start.  I wouldn’t have wasted hundreds on the other monitors.

Check it out 🙂  And if you have any other items you’ve saved a ton of money on share in the comments! I would love to hear about them.  <3.

Advertisements

Quick Tip Tuesday: Talking It Out 


Today has been exhausting.  I mean, every day for the past 2 years has been exhausting I think…but today I had to make a 9:30 am doctor’s appointment with my 4 year old and 1 year old.  They’re readjusting to our schedule after a month of craziness. I honestly had no idea if they’d wake up at 6 am or 10 am.  So- last night I set my alarm…I prepared my son for the doctor’s appointment (who is traumatized from a throat culture in March) and went to sleep. 

Of course, this morning I wake up to a text from my husband at 8:30 saying– shouldn’t you be awake?  Yep. I overslept. My very brilliant 4 year old got into my phone and turned the alarm off, and then sat there quietly while I snoozed.  (He’s clever).  I had 30 minutes to feed the kids, change diapers, get them dressed, etc.  After much stress, I did it. We made it by appointment time. 

And of course, as soon as the nurse called our name all hell broke loose. My son screamed. He grabbed onto the fish tank for dear life. He flopped around, fell backward, etc. I had to pick him up and carry him to the room. He kicked, screamed, cried, pushed, punched. It was pretty impressive.  He’s done this the past few times we’ve been to the doctor so I wasn’t surprised. I did, however, change my approach to the situation. 

First off- I said a prayer. I asked God to please help me and guide me.  Then, I talked to my son. I asked him if he was scared. I reassured him. I held him tight. I sympathized with him and I didn’t lose my cool. I didn’t become embarrassed by his outburst — I got down to his level and reasoned with him.  I was able to exclude everyone else and allow the conversation just to be between us.  So often I feel judged by others. Am I being too lenient? Am I being too harsh? What are they thinking?  For once, I didn’t care. The important thing was taking care of my baby. He was scared- that was all this outburst was about. Fear.  We talked and after a few minutes he calmed down. He got off the floor and he sat down and did everything he was supposed to do.  I was so proud of him.  

When everything was done I gathered our things and the doctor told my son he was a great little boy and did a wonderful job. The nurse took a moment to tell me that I did everything right. “You really handled that situation. He was upset and you diffused things- and he’s fine. You did everything right. Good job mom.”

Wow. When I stopped worrying about what others thought of my parenting…it was actually complimented.  When I took the time to talk to my kid instead of scoff, threaten, or voice my frustration I got better results than ever before. 

Communication is key. Whether it be between spouses, friends, or a mom and her very pissed off, scared 4 year old.  Talking it out is never a bad idea. ❤️

Quick Tip Tuesday: Target Red Perks & Cartwheel


I am addicted to Target.  There, I said it.  Admitting it is the first step right? hahaha.  My first job was at Target, so this has been a long obsession.  As for me, I didn’t need any reason to go there more often… but good o’l Target is always looking out for me and they developed a few really good reasons to shop there… for everything.

1- Red perks.
2- Cartwheel.

So if you’re a Target regular you may already know about these sweet treats… but if you’re only there every now and then, you may want to take advantage of these offers and visit more often.

My first obsession was Cartwheel.  Cartwheel is a money saving app at Target.  You get a certain number of “free spots” and you can add featured products for the week and save a certain percent off on these items when shopping.  You download the app to your phone and the cashier scans it at checkout.  Your discount is applied right there.  Now, you can even scan the items in your cart before you get to the checkout to see if anything you bought is featured on cartwheel.  I love it!  If you’re not brand specific in your purchases, it can show you similar items that are on cartwheel if your selected item isn’t featured.  I’ve had Cartwheel for a 2 years or so… and have saved over $400!  I’ll take it!

In the same app as cartwheel, is Red perks.  Previously, these were different apps but Target made it convenient by putting them together! Basically red perks is a way to earn points for every dollar spent.  10 points for every dollar.  Once you reach 5000 points you can choose from a list of freebies!  Let me tell you something about Red Perks.  I haven’t bought a package of baby wipes in months.  One of the freebies is any brand wipes up to $10.  (This used to be 20, so I was bummed when they bumped it down to $10, but hey, you can’t have it all I guess).  Anyway, I shop at Target so often that I get to the 5000 pts fairly quickly and always choose wipes!! Other examples of featured freebies are:  free pajamas, sunglasses, laundry detergent, movie/cds/books, coffee, pet item, etc.   At one point I know that this feature was only available in certain markets.  I’m not sure if this is still the case… but if so, come on Target!  Give it to everyone! Its awesome!  And if you’re listening, my store could really use a Starbucks– and a babysitter.

Okay, so …there you go.  My tip for today.  If you’re going to go to Target and spend money anyway, may as well find ways to save! Right?   Do you enjoy money saving perks at other stores?  Share your favorites in the comments!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Calm down app for kids


Today’s quick tip Tuesday is coming at you on Wednesday, again.  I’m sorry.  This week has not been what we expected.  A close family member is sick and in the hospital.  We’ve been hanging out there this week and I haven’t had much time for blogging.  I haven’t even thought about it really.  But, I’m here now and I’m excited to share this tip with you…& if you wouldn’t mind sparing a bit of time to say a prayer for our family that would be pretty amazing and greatly appreciated.

So! For the tip… it is an app download.  My son is very anxious.  He is also prone to tantrums or meltdowns.  I think he’s growing out of them, but when kids are young… it happens.  One thing I found to be really helpful is an app called “Settle Your Glitter”  Basically, it is a glitter jar… but in your phone– which is actually super convenient because sometimes you don’t have a glitter jar, but you usually always have your phone.  At least that is the case for me.

This app starts by asking how you’re feeling.  It has silly faces and choices and you can select the best description (mad, sad, silly, worried…).  My son is very responsive to this and seems to like that he can put a label on how he feels at the moment.   Once you select your feeling it asks how intense the feeling is.  (a little, very, extremely) …then you shake your phone (which is kind of awesome in itself… it puts the focus on something else and lets your child get rid of some of that built up anger and anxiety.)   You then see the “glitter” swirling around in the circle and a little character practices mindful breathing with you!  We’ve used this multiple times and it usually does the trick! 🙂

Anyone know of any other great mindfulness, calming apps for kids?  I would love to find more!  Leave suggestions in the comments– and check out the app!

Why I won’t spank my kids

[note:  this opinion is solely my own! it is what works for me and my family. everyone is doing their best to parent the best way they know how.  I can appreciate all parenting techniques. people I know and love discipline all sorts of ways and they are wonderful parents. This isn’t meant to offend– it is just something that has been weighing on me and I felt like writing about it. love you all! ]
Tonight I’m posting about something that has been on my mind and on my heart lately. I’m not sure why I feel so compelled to write about it, perhaps because my son is 4 and he lives to try my patience. At some point in each day I sit with my head in my hands and wonder how I can make him listen! It is so frustrating and so perplexing. I wonder what I can do to make him do what he is supposed to do.

When it comes to discipline I’ve tried just about everything. Time out, taking away privileges or toys, etc. I’ve even tried “spanking.” (In quotes because they weren’t the spankings I got as a kid.) I’ve heard it time and time again from older family members, etc…, “He wouldn’t act like that if you spanked him.” “What he needs is a good spanking.” In my most insecure parenting moments I’ve taken these comments to heart and felt that maybe I was being a bad parent by NOT spanking my son. So… a few times here and there I’ve popped him on the butt. A little pop here or there to get him to really pay attention to what I’m saying. NEVER anything more. Guess what? A little pop here or there, still feels terrible. It still sucks. and oh yeah, it doesn’t work in the long run (or even in the short sometimes).

So, spanking. Let me tell you all the reasons I won’t spank my child. First of all, it feels wrong. Nothing about striking my child feels okay. My children are precious and I don’t want anything to hurt them. Or anyone. Including their parents. Even if it is a socially acceptable form of discipline. It is not acceptable in my house.

Studies over the past 30 years have shown time and time again that spanking is ineffective long term. It is a quick fix. It is lazy parenting. (Don’t take offense to this, we’re all lazy parents at some point in some way). I don’t want to be lazy in this VERY important part of my life. I want to be a good mother that understands my children. I want to see behind the reasons they act out. I want to listen to them, understand them and react accordingly. Spanking is dangerous because it is lashing out from our own frustrations. I think that sometimes spanking can be more of a release of frustration from ourselves instead of an appropriate discipline technique for our children. How is that okay? We tell our children not to hit. Keep their hands to themselves. Don’t act out… and through spanking we contradict every bit of what we’re saying.

Spanking is confusing for a child. Personally, I was spanked, and yes, it worked. (In that I was terrified to do anything wrong). I feared it to the point of feeling sick at the threat of it. My parents didn’t take joy in it. They hated it, I know. They even said it. As a child all I could think was, “if you hate it, why are you doing it?” 30 years later I still feel the same way. If it feels wrong, why do it? It was scary, caused a lot of worry, and it was very confusing.

A parent’s job is to guide us. They’re supposed to show us how to live in this world. Spanking a child because they do something wrong is not showing us how to live. We do not hit the first person that wrongs us in a day. Every situation is a learning experience. We should take these punishable situations and learn from them. We should teach our children how to think, react appropriately and make a better decision in the future.

In very stressful moments when my son is at his peak of rip-my-hair-out behavior, I can usually take a moment to find out what is really going on. He is 4. He doesn’t know all the perfect words. He doesn’t understand all of his feelings. Little children are so complex. Sometimes they act out because they don’t know any better. Often, my son acts out because he is tired, he is scared, he is frustrated, etc. LISTENING to my child can guide my own actions. I can prevent meltdowns by making sure he gets enough sleep, stays on a schedule, etc. I can listen to him when he tries his best to explain his own insecurities and fears. Even if he does them loudly, in the floor with giant tears. Our children don’t want to make our lives hard. They don’t WANT to meltdown or be upset. If we took the time to see this rather than get frustrated by the external behavior we could approach situations with compassion.

The times I’ve felt like spanking my child I’ve known that taking that way out is the lazy way. I don’t want to be lazy. I want to be an active parent that listens, engages, redirects and teaches my babies. I want to show them how to handle difficult situations in a positive way. Studies have shown that children who are spanked are more likely to have emotional problems in the future. They can be more aggressive, depressed, etc. (Please see this wonderful article for more facts and citations http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/should-I-spank-my-child ) I fear these things with my family history of depression/OCD/anxiety. The very LAST thing I want to do is contribute to the possibility of these outcomes.

I’ve seen the effects of being lazy on a child. My son was in a preschool last year that punished him for everything. If he didn’t want to stand in line he was sent to time out. If he ran from the teacher he was sent to time out. His first time out was at 2 years old. He was sent to the director’s office for the remainder of the day. Rather than try to understand the reasons for my son’s behavior, he was disciplined. They saw him as defiant. They grew frustrated with him and angry. They isolated him from his friends and activities. Eventually he stopped making art, his behavior got worse, he voiced troubling things to me and he was removed from the school. At his new school he is approached with love and compassion. He is appreciated for being the bright, beautiful child that he is. He is redirected when necessary. He is listened to and valued and he hasn’t been in trouble once.

I know I’ve rambled on a bit in this post but the most important thing I hope to express is that there is a better way to discipline our children.   Finding our own individual ways to discipline is our own journey unique to our children and our circumstances.   I think we’re all figuring it out as we go.  I’m also not judging generations before us. My parents were really good parents. Most parents are trying REALLY hard. We want to do a great job at this whole parenting thing. I think it is important to be willing to grow and change though. I saw on a friend’s facebook a quote that said, “When you know better, you do better.”  In 2017, we know better. I plan to do better.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Skipping the party!



So, I’ve been slammed with work. That is why I haven’t been updating. I watch my kids full time and do transcription for a dermatology clinic part time. I stay busy! I wish I could blog whenever I wanted to… but I can’t unfortunately. I love it when I have the time!!

Today’s tip is kind of up to you to decide if it works for you or not. Today is my son’s birthday. He is 4! I cannot believe he is 4 years old. I feel like I had him yesterday. I remember them placing him on my chest. I sobbed. I was so happy to meet him. I was so tired. I was so in love. The nurse looked over at me and said “what’s wrong? are you in pain? why are you crying?.” I thought it was very bizarre. This was the single most important moment of my life to that point and this lady was weirded out over my emotion!

I’ve thought about this moment so many times in the past 4 years. It represents so much more to me. The nurse, for whatever reason, felt that I wasn’t acting appropriately. Maybe she was concerned something was wrong… but I kind of just wanted the space to feel my feelings.

This past year has been a hard one for our family. Jack has had troubles at preschool (his former preschool) and Claire has had her allergy battles, etc. I suffered with my postpartum anxiety/OCD and we’ve just been run ragged it feels like. Once again, I haven’t really been allotted the time to “feel my feelings.”

Because of the craziness of the year I chose to do “no party birthdays.” This was a hard decision because it was Claire’s first birthday and Jack is obsessed with birthdays! (really, the kids in his class had to list something they love at valentine’s day- most kids in his class chose their mom or dad… Jack chose birthdays). I made this decision because every year I’ve gone all out and thrown Jack full on Pinterest parties. We’ve had tons of people… too many gifts, big cakes, etc. At the end of the day we’re ALL exhausted, our bank account is a bit smaller, and Jack has a ton of toys he doesn’t touch for 6 months. Also, I read this article recently and decided that I want to be a family like this.

I’ve REALLY realized recently how rapidly my children are growing up. It is happening so quickly. I want to experience things with them. I want to connect and enjoy them. I won’t care about a billion cutesy pinterest inspired pictures in the future, I’ll care about having an amazing birthday experience with my 4 year old! As long as he is happy, I’m happy. I’m glad we will have a birthday where we don’t have to worry about details and can focus on the joy his birthday brings!

He has made a few requests this birthday. He wants to go to “target, the movies, food lion, lowes, and the mountains.” LOL. I can make some of those happen. I took him to Target and he got birthday hats and a scooter. He had cupcakes with his friends at school. We’re going to jump at a trampoline park this weekend and eating dinner at his favorite restaurant tonight. We’re going to the beach next month. (what we also did with his sister for her first birthday! she saw the beach for the 1st time on her 1st birthday!) He is excited and I am getting the opportunity to share that enjoyment with him– rather than worry about small details.

Give it a try. See if it works for you 🙂

Quick Tip Tuesday: Diaper Bag Dispenser 


My quick Tip Tuesday is late again 😩. In my defense …this is due to my computer issues. The fan broke on my laptop and it won’t be back until tomorrow. So… this got delayed! Doing updates from your phone is hard!  Anyway…here we go. (edit: got my husband’s work computer to complete this… mobile is too hard for me..)

My tip this Tuesday is amazing for diaper duty. Just this week…I was taking my son to a doctor’s appointment and in the 5 seconds I was dropping him off …my daughter pooped.  I had to run out to the car, change her in the front seat..and then I was left with a dirty diaper in an 80 degree car! 😩. I learned from last year…the heat of summer + poop diapers = disgusting.

My previous solution to this was to try to keep Target/Food lion/plastic shopping bags in the car so I can at least bag up the mess… but I kept forgetting to take them to the car and when I remembered, they didn’t mask the smell very well anyway.  So… I was scrolling through Amazon Prime Now recently (Bless my heart… Prime Now is going to be the end of me… or my banking account at least) and noticed the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser.  I read about it and thought I’d give it a try.  It is only $3.99 so I thought that seemed worth it.  So… details– here we go…

It has a hook so that it can clip on to anything– diaper bag, stroller, changing table, etc.  It has a roll of plastic bags that are infused with baking soda and lavender.  They smell really nice and clean!  They are large enough to fit a few dirty diapers + wipes.  (I know this because I change entirely too many poopy diapers at the same time ha)  and they tie up easily.  AND- if you forget and leave it in your car or bag for a day… (don’t judge me) your car will not smell like a dumpster.  It is amazing.  You can also get refills.  (Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Refills, 72 Count)

Truthfully, I feel like a ton of “essential” mom products are ridiculous and unnecessary– and I wondered if this would be one of those products when I ordered it on a whim… but… it really is a very helpful item!  It is inexpensive, convenient, and helps me feel like I have my life together.  (That got a little heavy…)   But you know what I mean.  When you’re tired, it is hot, your car is a mess, your 1 year old pooped and is screaming while your son is running away from you in a parking lot… it is nice to have one thing in place hahaha.  Rather than throw the diaper on the floor of my car and deal with it later, I can reach for one of the bags…tie it up– and if I forget it for a moment… I won’t pay for it later ha.

So… there is my Tuesday  Wednesday Tip.  Grab you one of these dispensers and then come back and thank me in the comments 😉