Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

April 30, 2018

How to Encourage Your Toddler to Be a Leader [ & a Happy Tots Super Morning Bowl Coupon]!

This post is sponsored by Happy Family but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I have one extra happy little adventurer on my hands today. But "why?", you may ask...

Well, she spent the day being the leader of the pack, so to speak. We let D be in charge of all of our activities. From choosing her own breakfast, to wondering around the garden, to shopping for her favorite foods and getting to try some new ones, she truly got to lead the way and she was all too happy to play the leader.

Want to encourage your toddler to start playing the role of a leader as well, here's five ways we encourage her to take the lead (while still keeping her safe, of course)...

1. Express Creativity & Learn - We try to do a creative project or something STEM related at least once a day, from finger painting to making slime - me and my sidekick are always trying new things and making a mess. I let her do her own thing with a paint brush and I typically give her free reign of our creative process, this allows her to enjoy the activity and it also produces some amazing art work and cool results with our experiments.

2. Try New Things - Speaking of experiments, encouraging Delainey to try new things is always at the top of our list of activities. From letting her try sushi (a veggie roll, nothing raw yet) to encouraging her to find her own way on a new playground, I want D to know NEW is okay!

Today she decided she wanted to try Happy Tot Super Morning Bowls and I would say she's a pretty big fan! We chopped up some fruit to add a pretty touch to this already delicious meal and she pretty much devoured it like it was dessert - the best part is, there's no added sugars! Want to encourage your little one to try something new? Here's a coupon to save on the NEW Happy Tot Super Morning Bowls!

So far, she's proven to like most new things including these delicious, healthy bowls. I'm hoping by encouraging her to try new things, she'll always embrace change and want to explore all kinds of new, exciting things in her life.

3. Choose Her Own Path - Speaking of exploring, choosing the way we go while on a walk, picking which aisles we wonder while in the store, or just being in charge of what toys we play with means a lot to her... and it's an easy way to encourage leadership.

A lot of times, we let her wander and play as she pleases as long as she's not hurting anything, especially in the house. Daddy is on the braver side and he lets her climb, explore and wander without having an eye on her always... I'm a bit more helicopter parent-ish (learning to change that) and I like to at least go from room to room with her, regardless - we let her choose what toys she wants to play with most of the time and encourage her to test new skills and learn.

4. Chores - While we are on the topic of new skills - Yes, D is only 19 months old and she's already doing chores. She may not be the best at sweeping, but when she wants to - we let her help clean. It's also her job to help daddy take out the trash and she is pretty keen on helping daddy pull weeds too. It's not as though we're making her work, she enjoys taking care of these jobs (or at least helping with them) and we enjoy watching her gain independence and growing.

So tell me, how do you encourage your toddler to be independent? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below! Plus, don't miss your chance to try the NEW Super Morning Bowls with this coupon!

April 4, 2018

Embracing Life's Messes, A Simple and Fun DIY project, & How We Clean It All Up!

Life is messy, we all know this... especially when kids are in the picture! From daily food fights with herself during lunch, to encouraging her creative spirit with crafts and other activities, I'm always cleaning up after my little blessing and her messes...

Today I want to share with you one of many ways we love to make messes... and how we clean it up in seconds! But First, we'll start with the fun stuff... We had a blast making this abstract painting. From wandering around trying to find some pretty pieces of nature to include to smacking a sponge into the canvas, we both loved every second of this craft.

For this project you will need:

Paint in a variety of colros
Tape or Hot glue
3-8 items from nature - think leaves, roots, weeds from your yard, etc... (Confession: I sent hubby to trim a neighbors palm so we could have a good variety of items. LOL. Get creative!)
Water in a spray bottle
Paint brushes and/or sponges
Libman Freedom Spray Mop & Cleaner

To get started, you'll want to trim up your leaves, branches, or other items and make sure they are a going to be easy enough to paint or sponge paint over. I will say, the flatter the item the better print it will create!

Attach to the canvas with a tiny dot of hot glue or a small folded piece of tape to try and secure it in place.

Next, you'll use your sponge or paint brush to apply the paint. Wild strokes are preferred... thank goodness D has the best little wild hands to help provide those! If you have a little one, let them go nuts... We just made our pretty new piece of art on the ground & cleaned up with our Libman mop shortly after completing our project.

Finally add some of the water from the spray bottle and swirl and blend it onto the canvas with a sponge or the brush... helping the colors to flow into one another.

Now, tell me, isn't this the most gorgeous piece of abstract art you've ever seen an 18 month old helpcreate? We definitely think so!

As you can imagine, paint is messy with a crazy, independent toddler, that's why the last step in our project is cleaning up! I just removed the plants from the painting and tossed them. Then, I grabbed our Libman Freedom Spray mop and it cleaned up our mess in just seconds. A few sprays and our wood floors were shining like they had never met Delainey!

The best part is, it's so easy to mop with this baby, that I can clean while she's snacking... I quickly grab it and go to town and by the time she says she is done... so am I! We both run out and throw the microfiber pad into the washer... and then it's ready to take on her next mess in just one quick wash!

Interested in finding out how Libman can make your DIY project clean up and spring cleaning a little easier? Check this out and sign up for their mailing list to snag a coupon on your new favorite cleaning supply!

March 31, 2018

How to Raise a Happy Baby & Foster Independence in a Toddler

It's official, Delainey is a true toddler - melt downs galore, wiggling until the cows come home with silly little giggles involved, constantly gracing us with potty training chatter, pretty much falling and scuffing herself up daily, and non-stop expressing her opinions... she's a full blown toddler, in every way. Most days, no matter the task, she insists she "do it" and only is content when things are being done her way... and for that, I'm equal parts thankful and intimidated.

This little girl of mine definitely has a mind of her own, with such a personality behind it. She's a little fireball and so full of love. She is flourishing and her adoration for being independent is evident, she expresses her emotions easily and freely, and she often shocks me with the amount of knowledge she has. From surprising me with being able to complete new tasks without even being taught how, to saying new words and sentences without prompting, she really fills me with pride and is my greatest joy.

Speaking of awe-inspiring joy, D's really been teaching me a lot about life and parenting lately. I'm a "recovering helicopter parent" and I'm really trying to do my best to help Delainey succeed in life without interfering. Wondering how you can find the fine line between doing too much and too little?

I think it all starts with encouraging manners and fostering independence. That all sounds great... but I bet you are wondering... How do we do that?

Today I'm sharing a few tips on how we've been trying to let D be "independent" while still making sure she's safe. If you have a little wild child, these tips are great ways to make sure your little one can gain independence while also learning.

One of the easiest ways to help a toddler feel like they are independent is with food. I'm not suggesting baby led weaning is for everyone, but it worked for us. D will eat nearly anything and everything and enjoys eating. We don't have a picky toddler, at all... she loves broccoli, chows down on her Happy Tots Yogurt, and goes to town on any and all fruits.

We started with Avocado whenever she was a little over 6.5 months old and slowly introduced more and more foods, once at a time. She loves them all now... and is willing to try any food we offer now! She recently had a veggie roll at our favorite sushi joint and she loved it. How many 18 month olds can say they like sushi?

With that said, one of her absolute favorite foods right now is Happy Baby Yogurt. She loves to "coop" out big bites on her own with her tiny little spoon. She lights up with delight with each bite, partly because feeding herself is the thing she's most proud of in her life and because she adores each flavor we've tried so far - from blueberry to banana & sweet potato!

Whether your packing these babies in a daycare lunchbox or sharing them as a snack, they are the perfect way to make sure your little one is getting the nutrition they deserve! Sometimes we hand one to D and tell her it's her "dessert" and she just gobbles it up... who doesn't love delicious, healthy dessert?

Want to let your little try yogurt for the first time? Find out how Happy Family fits into your toddler's nutrition and grab a coupon here. But one thing I bet you'll be overjoyed to know now - they have NO ADDED SUGAR... that's a definite #momwin, am I right? I'm definitely a fan of these healthy "treats"!

Speaking of being a fan... I'm pretty much Delainey's #1 fan. I love cheering her on and telling her she's doing great with everything she does. The thing is, we are now at the point with her that she's constantly expressing likes and dislikes, even with her clothing... and while I would love to tell her that she can regularly wear bloomers on her head, a backwards dress, tights with holes, and rain boots on her hands (like she sometimes does)... that's just not gonna fly all the time. So instead of fighting her and just dictating to her what she must wear each day, I allow her to choose between a few options...

I show her 2-3 outfits to choose from every morning, all laid out and ready to go... and she chooses which one she likes better. This makes us both happy... she feels heard and acknowledged with her choices and I know she's not wearing shoes for gloves, that's a definite win. I know as the years go by, this fashion battle won't be one worth fighting... but for now, I'm happy that we're both satisfied with this solution.

Another way to foster independence in a toddler is allowing them to take the lead. I don't mean that they are in charge all the time, because that's just not going to end well for anyone. BUT, sometimes allowing your kiddo to choose which direction you walk or letting them go ahead on a walk for a few paces can be rewarding for you both.

Almost any time we go on a walk or to the store lately, D loves to run ahead of us by a few feet, stop turn around, smile, and keep going. She's practically showing off for us on most of our adventures and she eats up that attention. It's an easy way to allow her to make choices and overcome obstacles without endangering her.

From walking through the park and selecting which slide to go down to spending time navigating the busy aisles of Target, I think it's important to let her wander sometimes and while this can be difficult to not police - I've noticed the less I demand D stay nearby, the better she is about just wanting to be there with me. I know some kids are a little more wild and like to get into everything... so maybe start doing this only on a couple of woodsy adventures first... and I'll bet your trips to Publix for Happy Tot items become a little calmer too.

Speaking of calm, I think an often overlooked way to encourage independence is teaching her self-care routines early. From calm breathing while she's upset to teaching her to brush her teeth, I want D to feel like she's capable of and enjoys taking time to care for herself.

We've been encouraging her to brush her own teeth (after we give them a good brush), we do the same with brushing her hair... and when she's upset I work with her to calm her breathing and we talk through how she's feeling. While she's only 18 months old, my hopes are that we are starting healthy habits young and fostering good personal care in all aspects.

Speaking of all aspects of independence, one that we haven't touched yet is cleaning up after one's self. This is definitely a hard one to teach a toddler. D would much rather spin like a tornado and take everything off the walls than to pick up the pieces and put them back where they belong, but we're working on that.

From encouraging her to help throw away pieces of trash, to spending time helping her clean up her books and toys, we are doing our best to teach her to clean up after herself. She's also started to help unload the dishwasher, put away the groceries, give the dog her daily vitamin, and sometimes she even helps water the plants. Some may say 18 months is too young to teach her to do chores... but she loves "helping" out around the house and I love watching her learn a new skill, especially one that teaches her to be more independent!

So tell me, how do you (or did you) foster independence in your toddler? I'd love to hear your experiences with your fireball in the comments below!

February 27, 2018

Start Saving Now with Florida Prepaid!

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

I can't be the only one that feels like the baby stage just flew by.  I mean, it is like I BLINK and Delainey's grown an inch and learned a new skill.

I try and cherish every moment with her, but they just keep slipping by and I know someday soon I'm going to turn away and look back and it'll be time for her to head off to college... and that's why I'm hoping to do everything we can to make sure she's prepared once that time comes. Well, maybe not everything... I'm not teaching her how to cram for a mid-term or anything, although maybe one day I'll share that knowledge.

I'm doing what I can financially to make sure she feels supported and taken care of while she's furthering her education and today I want to share exactly how we're doing that.

While we're working on budgeting and how we spend our money, it seemed wise to start saving for her college years. As I discussed on the blog previously, saving with Florida Prepaid is super easy to do. You can literally sign up for a plan over your morning coffee.

The thing is, if you're wanting to enroll - you need to do it now! The enrollment period for a Florida Prepaid plan is coming to an end on the 28th and that means you'll have to wait another year to lock in your plan! So don't delay, pick your plan & get started!

So hurry on over & sign up today and be sure to use the code LAUREN1718 to save on your application fee!

January 28, 2018

DIY Happy Baby Valentine's Day Love Birds Craft

This post is sponsored by Happy Family, regardless all opinions expressed below are my own.

It's no secret, Miss Delainey is one happy baby. I mean, I'm fully aware she can be a bit of a diva, her happy disposition is pretty obvious most days, so much so that we actually get stopped and complimented on her sweet spirit almost every time we leave our house.

The thing is, I wouldn't say we do anything specific to make sure she's "happy". I know both my husband and myself work hard at making sure we are present with her and we both want her to always feel loved and heard so she gets a LOT of one-on-one attention. Maybe that has something to do with it? I'm not certain, honestly.

One thing I do know, her sweet spirit is kin to mine. We both love spoiling people so with Valentine's Day coming up, we teamed up and made her buddies some sweet little birdy treats with one of her new favorite snacks - Happy Baby Baby's First Whole Milk Yogurt.

While Delainey isn't a big fan of drinking milk, we're both pretty big fans of Happy Baby Whole Milk Yogurt! I'm a fan because she's getting organic whole foods, without added sweeteners or GMOs! She's a fan because the taste is delicious, she even sighs and says "mmmmm" after each bite.

Want to share a mindfully made little snack treat with your kiddos toddler buddies? Here's how we made these sweet lovebirds!

Supplies: Happy Baby Whole Milk Yogurt, googly eyes, glue, and felt or construction paper!

Now pay attention, this is really complicated... Okay, well, now that you're paying attention- I'm totally joking!

This is so easy I had Miss Thing help me assemble a few!

You'll simply cut out a circle from one color of felt, a triangle from the other and glue them together. Then glue the pair of shapes onto the yogurt cup with a pair of googly eyes... and your sweet little tweet lovebirds are done!

I'm going to hand write sweet little notes that say "you make my heart sing" and "owl always want to be your buddy", but I think these are precious little love birds without any extras too.

So tell me, what kind of Valentine crafts are you planning during this season of love? Delainey and I look forward to sharing some more fun, loving ideas with you in the future and we can't wait to hear your thoughts on the NEW Happy Baby Whole Milk Yogurt!