NESHEAHOLIC

Sunday, June 11, 2017

3 Ways to Keep Kids Interested in Their Toys


It used to feel like BabyCakes had a boatload of toys but we still found ourselves trying to figure out ways to entertain her. We do have a lot of toys, but they weren't keeping her interest. I stopped buying new toys and tried three things have that proven to keep her playing with the toys she does have.

3 Ways to Keep Kids Interested in Their Toys

Rotate Toys 

A great way to keep kids interested in their toys is to rotate them. Don't have all your toys out at once. Have a group of toys out and rotate them occasionally. Because BabyCakes is at school during the day and doesn't play with much during the week we rotate toys about once a month. If there is a long stretch of time when we are stuck in the house I may rotate them more often. Most people suggest 6 weeks as a good amount of time between rotations. This makes kids re-engage with items they haven't played with in a while and it's like they have a new toy!

how to keep kids interested in their toys


Use Toys in a New Way

If your child doesn't seem interested in a toy anymore try using it in a new way. If they are tired of building with blocks try having them sort blocks by color. Create a homemade ramp to race toy vehicles down. Hook vehicles together with pipe cleaners and create a long train of vehicles to push around. Think outside the box!

Play in Different Spaces

Playing with a toy in a different area can be all a child needs to get excited about the toy again. If it's warm bring some toys outside for play. Set up a play space in the kitchen or any other room where your child doesn't normally play. This will give them the opportunity to interact with the toys in a new way!

Even with trying these techniques there may be toys that your child is just not into any more. Check out my tips for decreasing toy clutter.

How do you keep your child interested in their toys?

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Corner Bakery Cafe Giveaway

Corner Bakery Cafe was gracious enough to send me $30 in gift cards and I'd like to gift them to one of the lovely Working Motherhood readers!



Corner Bakery Cafe started in downtown Chicago creating artisan breads and freshly baked sweets. Neighbors began to ask for sandwiches made with that fabulous bread, followed by homemade soups and salads. As guests' requests grew so did their menu and business.

Today they are serving ingredient-inspired, prepared-to-order food in 26 has states. Their menu includes salads, sandwiches, breakfast items, soups, chili, bakery goodies and more. Their kids menu is also very diverse.

Credit: Corner Bakery Cafe Facebook Page

If you live near a Corner Bakery Cafe enter to win $30 in gift cards below!
Giveaway closes midnight June 11, 2017. 

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Monday, May 15, 2017

5 Reasons You Should Go to Therapy

Today's post is in honor of Bloggers for Mental Health Awareness. Follow the hashtag #B4MH for more content from Bloggers in support of Mental Health Awareness. 



I've been going to therapy for six months. There. I said it. Actually, if you interact with me IRL you probably already know this. I am a huge proponent of therapy. I'm not ashamed to say that I need help. I acknowledge that I am privileged in my ability to be comfortable in that confession. For many, having to seek therapy is something taboo or embarrassing.  Life can be overwhelming. Don't be ashamed to seek help. Whether you keep it to yourself or shout it from the rooftops you need therapy. Here are 5 reasons you should go to therapy:

Mental Health is a Part of Self-Care
I am a self-care advocate and an essential part of self-care is mental health wellness. Mental health is just as important as physical wellness. Maintenance of your mental health should be as routine as eating right, going to the gym, and brushing your teeth.

Your Friends, Family, and Spouse are Bias
 Many people think they don't need therapy because they have a vast network of friends and family, or a partner who they can go to to talk about their problems. The issue with this is that friends, family, and partners will always be biased. It is essential to have a person who has no stake in your life helping you to sort through issues. Friends and family, even if unintentionally, will steer you in a direction that is best for them. Your therapist is 100% on your team. They have no biases and function completely to support you and no one else.

Therapists are Professionals
 Another deficit of friends and family is that they are not professionals. Therapists go to school for years to learn methods and tactics to help identify issues and work through them. While it is great to have someone to lend an ear, therapists are professionally equipped to help you. A huge component of their skill is that they are able to help you work through your problems without taking on the emotional burden.

It's the Ultimate in Me-Time
How often do you focus 100% on yourself? Therapy is one of the only times where the focus is completely on you. It is a brief opportunity to focus completely on yourself without distraction. This is very important.

You Need to Get Your Feelings Out to Deal With Them
Keeping your feelings and emotions bottled up inside is not healthy. That practice will leave you extremely unhappy or to an explosion of emotion. I really love journaling as a way to get my feelings out. The combination of journaling and then talking about the things I've journaled in therapy has really been helpful in sorting out emmotions and taking action to change things that make me unhappy.

I can't end this post without acknowledging that everyone cannot afford traditional therapy services. If you fall into that category, please check out this post: 81 Awesome Mental Health Resources when You Can't Afford a Therapist. 
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Unconventional Potty Training Supplies

This post contains affiliate links. For more information view my disclosure policy

We're currently in the process of potty training. While I'd hoped we'd skate through on the three day method it's taking us a little longer than that to really get this potty training thing off the ground. We've had some potty successes, and I've cleaned pee from the floor a few times, but we're getting there!

In preparation for potty training I got all the usual supplies - a potty chair, a potty seat for our standard toilet, panties, etc. Now that we've been in this potty training game for a little over a week there are some other items that have come in handy that I didn't see on anyone's potty training prep list.

Unconventional Potty Training Supplies




Grubhub

Do you know what's extremely stressful? Trying to watch your child for signs they need to use the potty, putting them on the potty at set intervals, and trying to cook, all at the same time. I saved a bit of my sanity a few days by ordering food via Grubhub and putting all my focus on my daughter. It really is an all consuming processes if you're being as present as you should be so not having to cook dinner simultaneously was a weight off my shoulders. Alternatives are planning some freezer meals or crock-pot meals ahead of time, anything that doesn't require you to watch the stove tentatively.

Prefolds

We have prefolds around the house because we started our diapering journey with cloth diapers. I've found prefolds extremely handy during potty training for placing on surfaces like her high chair and car seat. Those are situations where she's seated for a while and not taking a potty break so I feel more comfortable knowing there is a barrier. An alternative I've heard of is people using puppy pads this same way. But prefolds are washable so it's more economical to use them and toss them in the laundry with any other casualties of potty training.

Babylegs

Babylegs are another item we had around the house that we've pulled back out during potty training. You're encouraged to have your child in either nothing or just underwear on bottom when you're at home to make for easy removal when rushing to the potty. When it's cold weather or your have the air conditioner running it's nice to have something covering your child's legs for warmth that doesn't need to be pulled down. And in all honesty, they help to catch pee if accidents to happen as well.

I'm crossing my fingers that we'll be out of the potty training weeds within a month. Please feel free to share any potty training tips, tricks, or resources you may have!

potty training book and potty training chart


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

6 Expired Items In Your Kitchen Right Now

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase I get a small percentage of your order but your price remains the same. 

The other day while dinner was cooking I decided to go through my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator to toss any expired items. I filled almost an entire kitchen trash bag with expired items and I was amazed at how old some of the things I found were! I'm talking items that expired more than two years ago. There were some items that I honestly didn't think even had expiration dates. Here are 6 items to check the expiration date on today:

kitchen


Spices. 

I assumed because salt is said to never expire that all spices had an infinite shelf life, but that is not the case. Spices were the worst offenders in my purge. My issue is that I have so many spices in my cabinet that I often repurchase spices when I don't need them because I forget I already have them. I'm going to grab a couple of these revolving spice racks for my cabinet so I can better see what I have in stock and avoid double purchasing. I really don't need three containers of paprika lol.


Dried herbs. 

Similar to the spices, I often double or triple purchase dried herbs when I'm shopping for recipes because I forget I already have them. While dried herbs last much longer than fresh herbs they do expire! 

Sauces. 

Keep an eye on your sauces for two reasons. First, of course, is the expiration dates. Secondly, be cognizant of whether the sauce is to be kept in the cabinet or in the refrigerator after opening. While I was checking expiration dates I also found items that I'd kept in the cabinet for months that were supposed to be refrigerated after opening so I tossed them. Always rely on the manufacturers recommendation for how to store products. 

Flours. 

If you don't use flour often opt for the smaller bags to fit your specific recipe needs. Getting the big bags may seem cost effective but if 90% of your bag of flour will expire before you can use it it's not worth it. 

Sugars.

In this cabinet purge I ended up tossing all my sugar! I had some brown sugar and coconut sugar that were both expired. I also made the mistake of putting my white sugar in a separate container and not making note of the expiration date on my new container. Don't be like me! Label your items if you move them from their original packaging. 

Teas. 

Who knew tea could expire?! I had such a large tea stash and ended up having to toss a lot of it that had expired. I'm going to stick to sampler or variety packs of tea from now on so I can have flavors to choose from but not such a large volume since I'm the only tea drinker in the house. 

Now that I know these items indeed do have expiration dates I'll make checking them part of my spring cleaning routine each year. 
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Trip to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia + GIveaway

Thank you to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia for our complimentary tickets and the tickets I'm giving away! 



The new LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia  just opened and we had a chance to visit this weekend. We had such a good time. I love places where BabyCakes can run around and explore to her heart's content. The facility is much bigger than I thought it would be. The 33,000-square-foot Discovery Center features 10 LEGO Play Zones.



As an adult I was really impressed by MINILAND®. It showcases Philadelphia landmarks recreated from nearly 1.5 million LEGO bricks. It's pretty impressive.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center MINILAND

LEGOLAND Discovery Center MINILAND


There is also the LEGO 4D Cinema, LEGO Racers Build & Test area where you can build a LEGO vehicle and take it to the ramps to test, LEGO® NINJAGO Training Camp and Laser Maze which are great for older kids looking to test out their ninja skills, Pirate Adventure Island which is a really cool pirate themed play area for kids between 36" and 60", and DUPLO® Park which was BabyCakes's favorite area featuring special big soft bricks.


Click here for the full listing of attractions. I was disappointed that the Imagination Express, an interactive LEGO ride, was having technical difficulties while we were there so we didn't get a chance to ride it. I definitely want to do that the next time we visit. 

I highly suggest if you plan to attend that you purchase your tickets and reserve your time-slot ahead of time. There were people attempting to purchase walk-up tickets when we were there at 10am and they were told there were no time-slots available until 2:45pm, so plan ahead!

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia

I'll make getting tickets even easier for you! I will be choosing two winners to receive 4 tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Philadelphia. Enter in the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway closes April 28th. Good luck!

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

I Wasn't Ready to be a Mother to a Toddler

To my recollection I was a good kid. I can recall two spankings in my life - one for cursing, and one for saying our house was "ghetto." Because I was a good kid I assumed I would have a good kid. We had BabyCakes, she's a great sleeper, good eater, and says please and thank you. And then... the Terrible Twos hit.

flower nested in rocks

I suppose I should be grateful that they didn't come until 2 and a half. The tantrums, the intentional defiance, she became a tiny tornado in the house. Her daycare provider commented on her new level of noncooperation.  I had no idea what to do. Because I assumed I would just get a good kid, I hadn't deeply thought about discipline and behavior modification.

The reality is she is still a good kid,  great in fact, but I needed to step my parenting game up. Children NEED discipline, and I'd really only been intentionally disciplining about half the time. The other half I tried to placate  her to attempt to avoid a tantrum. She had been such an easy kid until 2.5 but she now needs more discipline and more structure. The toddler  years are really all about them exploring their boundaries, and if you let them, they will push you to the edge.

I've re-calibrated, and I'm putting more intentional effort into behavior management and I feel like I already see a change. I also picked up the parenting book (affiliate link) 1-2-3 Magic which was recommended by a lot of moms and I'm looking forward to reading it.

This is just one of many times I've wondered if I'm doing any of this motherhood thing right, and it surely won't be the last. Motherhood doesn't come with a manual and every child is different. I may not always know what's right but I'll always do the best I can to take care of BabyCakes and that's all I can do!



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