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Archive for the ‘parenting’ tag

June 12th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Homemade Snack Alternatives


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As a child, I went food shopping with my mom every Sunday. She always had a list of meal ingredients and such, and as we walked down each aisle there was always something I wanted that wasn’t good for me. Fruit rollups, cookies, potato chips, sugary cereals etc. filled with tons of high fructose corn syrup, sodium, and additives. You can give your kids what they want with these healthier alternatives, and save money at the same time!

Cheesy Goldfish Crackers

Apple Chips

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Homemade Fruit Rollups

Homemade Fruit Snacks

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars


Healthy Oreos

Peanut Butter Cookies


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June 6th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Bad Weather Safety

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Weather can be very scary for children this time of year.  It is important to prepare your children for bad weather such as thunderstorms, tornados, and hurricanes, depending on where you live.

One thing that is great to do is to create an emergency kit with your children. Purchase a plastic tote to keep under your stairs or another safe place in case of a disaster. In it you can include water (a gallon per person for a few days is recommended), canned foods and an opener, a first aid kit, emergency medications, blankets, towels, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a whistle or horn to signal for help.

Thunderstorms with Lightening
These can be very scary for children. A neat way to ease a child’s fear is to count from the flash of lightening until you see the BOOM of thunder. Once you have your number of seconds, divide that number by five. For instance if you count 30 seconds divided by five, the thunderstorm is six miles away.

Safety Tips 

  • If they see or hear a thunderstorm, they should come inside right away.
  • Stay away from metal objects when a thunderstorm is going on.
  • If they cannot get inside, they should stay away from anything tall and crouch down on their knees, protecting their head with their arms.

Tornadoes are very dangerous for communities. It is good to discuss with your children things to look out for when a large thunderstorm is approaching. This would include coming inside before a thunderstorm hits, the sights and sounds of a tornado, what the warnings mean on the news, and ways to safely secure themselves should a tornado hit.

Tornadoes often sound like a train or airplane. If they hear a siren or these sounds, they should take cover right away. When bad weather is approaching the news or a radio should be monitored constantly.

Safety Tips 

  • Go to a basement, or if there is no basement go under something sturdy, such as a staircase, or in a closet in the center of the house. This should be the lowest lying area in your home as well.
  • Stay away from windows or doors.
  • If you are in a car, get out and go to a sturdy building or the lowest lying area of ground you can find, such as a ditch.
  • Keep your face covered with your arms protecting your head.

Talk to your children how hurricanes are formed. These storms are able to be tracked and form over the ocean so there is typically more time to prepare for these than other storms. Talk about the different effects of hurricane on coastlines and watch for warning alerts that occur with hurricanes.

Safety Tips 

  • If you live in a mobile home, near the water, or in a high-rise building, seek shelter in a safer area.
  • If you must stay in your home, go to a basement, safety shelter or the most secure area.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.

If you live in an area where flooding can occur, go over safety information. Be sure to stress that playing with water is fun, but floods are dangerous and can be harmful.

Safety Tips 

  • Get to the highest point in your home.
  • Do not drive through rushing waters during a flood.
  • If you are caught in flooding waters get to a tree, higher ground, or grab ahold of anything that is floating in the water to climb on.
  • If you are in a car, get out ASAP.

Here are some fun resources to explore the weather:

NOAA’s Play time for kids –

Interactive Weather Maker –

Weather Wiz Kids -


Most importantly, make sure your kids know that you will do everything in your power to keep them safe!!


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May 16th, 2014 at 6:30 am

Coming To Terms With Kid Mess


Do you feel like you constantly have a mess somewhere in your house?

Is your furniture all scratched or torn?

Are your walls colored on or covered in dirty handprints?

Do you constantly walk on bits of things and need to sweep ALL. THE. TIME?

Do your windows show little hands, nose prints, or even look like someone licked them?

If they are, I know you are a mom. As soon as you clean something up, a little tornado comes behind you and the mess returns.

Does it drive you crazy? It feels like you could clean all day and it doesn’t stay clean for long. As soon as you buy some new stuff, it gets wrecked… so you figure “why bother?” I feel like I struggle with this every day. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and realize that letting those things go will lead to wonderful memories. There will be a day when we will all long for a window to be covered in handprints, a dirty wall, or even toys all over the floor. Take the time now to treasure this time a little more!



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March 20th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

DIY Cleaning Products


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Let’s face it…when you have kids, you do a lot more cleaning. These messy little creatures always seem to find a way to make things dirty! Unfortunately, all the cleaning supplies can add up. You can save money by making your own cleaning products! Some of them are so simple, requiring only two or three ingredients that you probably have around the house already, and they work just as good, if not better! Check out some of these DIY cleaning products and let us know what you think!

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February 27th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Cake Pops!




Cake pops have exploded onto the foodie scene as the dessert du jour. They’re delicious, bite-sized portions that are easy to eat. Because of this, they make great gifts or party favors for any occasion. For us, the fact that kids can eat them with minimal mess and not go into sugar overload means they’ve risen to the #1 dessert spot! There are so many recipes on the Internet, ranging from “simple for beginners” to “holy cow, that’s a delectible work of art!” You can match them to holidays, party themes, or favorite characters. Take a look at these awesome cake pop recipes.


Red Velvet Cake Pops

Funfetti Cake Pops

Lego Cake Pops

Hello Kitty Cake Pops

Mickey/Minnie Mouse Cake Pops

Sports Cake Pops

Princess Cake Pops

Monster Cake Pops

Sesame Street Cake Pops

Flower Cake Pops

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February 24th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Keeping Your Kids Active When Stuck Inside


This winter has been an extremely long one for my family.  Living in Wisconsin, most days the temperatures aren’t even hitting zero, so playing outside isn’t always an option and we have had to get inventive to help rid the boys of their never-ending energy.  I want to share some ideas with you to get some physical activity into your children’s day when you are stuck inside.

Do you have a room big enough to blow up that bouncy house inside? We move all our furniture out of the way and on our “cold” days when school was canceled we ran the house inside. The boys had hours of fun jumping up and down.

My parents have a heated sunroom that is covered with tile. When the kids were infants and toddlers we would sometimes blow up a baby pool on a sunny day and fill with some warm water. Stick on the boys swim trunks and its time to go swimming, or at least splash around.

If you have a basement in your house, there are so many great things you can do!  Hang some swings from the ceiling joists and bring outdoor fun inside. Also, if you have a lot of empty room in the basement bring in bikes, scooters, or even roller skates. I used to love roller skating through our basement growing up. The basement is a great place to practice dribbling a basketball and if you have decent ceiling height you may even be able to perfect your jump roping skills! Also, if you have a cement floor and accessible floor drain play with sidewalk chalk or even draw a hopscotch or foursquare area.

As moms, we like to limit our children’s electronics time. I don’t mind a little extra time though when they are playing active games. My kids love to use the WiiFit or play Just Dance. If you don’t have these it is just as easy to find some Just Dance videos on You Tube or run a family exercise class using online exercise videos. One night we had a competition to see who could plank the longest. Needless to say, I did not win.

Get inventive when trying to keep active and wear out some of that energy while the Polar Vortex takes over. We are in the home stretch; Spring is right around the corner.

How do you stay active inside?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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February 17th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Making Lunchtime at Home Easier

Kids-lunchSometimes I feel like the greatest challenge of each day is meals. My family would love for me to be a short order cook, but I refuse. Instead I have to make sure that each meal has elements that each kid will eat. Lunchtime is definitely not an exception to this.

I’ve written previously about ways to make the lunchbox fun, but how do you break up the monotony of the everyday lunch at home.

If I have good leftovers I like to take advantage of those first. Mix things up to reinvent the leftovers if the kids don’t want the same thing again. My mom always took leftover sloppy joes and added in noodles. Another way to reuse leftovers is to make a smorgasbord of all the different things in the fridge and choose a little of each.

Pizza is another of my favorite lunch options. Make your own dough and freeze it so it is ready to go, buy pre-made dough, or pre-made crusts. You can also make pizza with english muffins, french bread or bagels. Plus each child can make the pizza to their liking.

The same can be done with Quesadillas. These are made quickly and can contain so many different things!

Have you ever thought of offering a salad to your kids? A salad seems like something for older kids, but  young kids love to eat salads. Top them with some cut up chicken for protein and you have a well balanced meal.

Ever think of making breakfast for lunch? We make breakfast for dinner all the time but don’t always think about it for lunch. That’s the key to lunch… it doesn’t have to always be sandwiches. Anything you eat at other times of day can apply. Sometimes lunch is when my boys are truly the hungriest so I’m fine with it being their biggest meal of the day!

What are some of your favorite lunchtime options?

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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January 30th, 2014 at 5:00 am

Rediscovering Favorite Movies of your Childhood

IMG_3040There may be certain movies that you love from your childhood… “The Goonies”, “Mary Poppins”, “Bednobs and Broomsticks”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Harry Potter” or even ”Star Wars”.  These movies carry a special place in your heart. You may have acted out scenes as a child with your friends. Now you are a parent with children of your own. My husband and I have discovered that so many years later you can create new memories of old favorites.

Locally, we have an old theater that plays old movies a couple of times a month. We have started to take our boys to experience these movies as we did on the big screen. Although, instead of finding myself engrossed in the movie, I am engrossed in my children. What are their reactions during some of my favorite parts? Do they like the same character that I may have hooked on to as a child?

Then there is the discussion after the movie. It is so much fun to hear them describe the movie and talk to you about your favorite parts. Some movies are even more fun because they might have toys that go along with the movie. My husband is a huge Star Wars fan, because of this he has many of his old toys packed away in our home. Watching the movies led to pulling out the old toys and sharing a part of his childhood. It was fun for the boys to see how toys used to be made.

Our Christmas was filled with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for my youngest son. Never did I think my knowledge of the turtles names and their catch phrase “Cowabunga” would ever enter my life again. Plus, my kids truly thought I was cool because I knew so much about the turtles.

It’s fun when your present takes a little trip of reflection into your past.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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January 23rd, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Lunch Bento Boxes for Kids


Lunchtime is an important meal for kids, especially when they’re in school. It’s best to give them a variety of healthy foods they enjoy, because with all the learning and playing, they work up an appetite and need food that’s good for them and gives them energy. A popular lunch trend for kids is bento boxes. Originating in Japan, bento boxes are compartmentalized meals, usually taken to go. has a number of great bento lunchboxes for kids, but you can always make your own with regular lunchboxes by placing small Tupperware, or dividers such as cupcake wrappers, inside. It’s all about the look of the meal. You can even do bento box themes with your little one’s favorite characters from movies and TV!

Here are some great ideas for lunches your kids will LOVE to eat!

Animals, Flowers and Sports Bento Boxes from

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Baseball Bento Box

Bunny Bento Box

Flower Bento Box

Lion Bento Box

Sheep Bento Box


Character Bento Boxes:

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Winnie The Pooh Bento Box from

Hello Kitty Bento Box from

Toy Story Bento Box from

Angry Birds Bento Box from

Spongebob Squarepants Bento Box from



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January 20th, 2014 at 5:00 am

Children and the Inappropriate Words They Use

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2014_01_19_17:29:46We all have those words that we don’t allow in our house. Our kids know not to use them. We should never hear them come out of their mouths, but sometimes they do.

Sometimes, they escape when they are playing with their siblings, or at the grocery store, or even sometimes at church. The best part is when one of my boys says out loud (for everyone to hear) “Mom, he said the ____ word!!!!!!” Of course whenever they say this there are so many people around and they say it super loud.

I want to hide. I know what everyone is thinking and I can’t believe that this is happening. So embarrassing. Everyone who hears is totally judging me and watching what I will do to discipline the boys after such a travesty.

These are the times I never thought much about when my kids were younger. As they grow up parenting certainly takes on a whole new meaning! My advice is to keep your cool and let them know the limits. Then get out of there as soon as you can… and no eye contact.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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