The summer before our oldest was going into kindergarten, she expressed a BIG interest in reading. Never having taught someone to read before, we were at a loss as to what to do. Lucky for us, a college nearby was hosting a reading program for different age groups, beginning with 4yo and rising kindergarteners. And so we signed up.
It was a 5 or 6 week program. We spent maybe 2 hours on a Saturday morning there. They provided the materials and a cd. We showed up, paid attention, and practiced during the week. After the class and continued practice, she was reading before she ever went to kindergarten. She was 4 years old. Not only did the class help us work with her, but it sparked in her a love of reading that she continues to possess today.
I hope that if you, or someone you know, has a little one that wants to read – or even an older child that needs or wants help with reading and reading comprehension – you will check out the Institute of Reading Development website and find a class near you. No matter how hurried you may be, the few hours of work that this takes have a lifetime of positive results!
Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post.
About two weeks ago, I got an invitation to check out the premier of Country Dance for Wii here in Nashville. The invite was noted for “media and industry” so, naturally, I asked about bringing the hub (a singer/songwriter, performer, and record exec) and my kids. Luckily, it was cool. So …
The next week, I loaded the girls up and headed into town to pick up the hubs. We made the short drive over to the Country Music Hall of Fame to check out this new game.
Keep in mind, we do did not own a Wii (more on this in a minute). But the kiddo had played at friends’ houses (since pretty much all of them have one). I just have never been convinced why we needed to own one.
First off, it was a small and intimate presentation with demonstrations by girls who make a mom of 2 try to remember the last time she could wear jeans that tight (and look good in them). It looked like lots of fun, but then again those girls would make anything look fun – the question was, could I do it?
Then, they got the kiddo up to try it out with the PR gal and 2 other volunteers. She did great and then asked me to join in on the next one. I reluctantly agreed. But the baby had other plans – crying for Mommy. And so, I did it … while holding my 2 yo.
Um … Best. workout. in a LONG. time. No joke. (And I only partially say that because I was holding the babe.)
Not only was it a terrific workout, but it was a BLAST! We ALL had so much fun.
They gave us a free copy of the game and we left. What did I do? Dropped the hubs back off at his office, took the kids to Target, and yes … I bought a Wii. Seriously.
I play by myself after the kids have gone to bed as my “workout”. I have seriously already lost a little weight and have begun toning – just from this game!
Here’s a quick video out about the game:
It is LOADS of FUN (and I’m not just saying that because I got a free copy of the game)! It will be available March 29, 2011 in stores – and WalMart will carry a special copy with a bonus track (Alan Jackson’s “Good Time”).
Songs are great – everything from “Achy Breaky Heart” to “Cowboy Casanova”
Songs are ranked with 1-3 stars for difficulty level
As I mentioned before, we joined our local CSA for fresh, organic, locally grown veggies for the winter. This means a LOT of winter squash! Since we haven’t really included much winter squash in our diets until now, we have tried many recipes. Here are links to my favorites so far (thanks to epicurious.com):
I asked Michelle from doudou bebe, one of my favorite online baby boutiques, to write a guest post. She has amazing taste and some fabulous ideas. I love that she decided to write about birthday gifts. And not just any birthday gifts – she is right up my ally with this take on ideas/tips for the mom who is thinking about greeness, budget and ease of purchase, while still wanting to get something that the birthday child actually will enjoy.
Be sure to get more great ideas and advice from Michelle by following her on twitter (@doudoubebe), on her blog, and/or her fabulous website.
In the early years, I was always excited to get a birthday party invite for the kids: it meant a nice afternoon of playing and cake. For me and for them because back then their friends were exclusively the children of my friends. But as they’ve gone out into the world and acquired their own little circle of friends (humph!), brightly coloured envelopes come home in their backpacks and cheerful emails arrive with RSVP by dates that I will never actually meet.
One of the more difficult aspects of this has been selecting appropriate gifts for kids that I don’t know well whose parents I know even less (if at all). Until you’ve faced it, it seems like a minor thing, but the things we give our kids have says a lot about our values. With my friends, I know pretty well if a craft set will be well-appreciated or relegated to the back cupboard because it’s too messy (or too potentially toxic or too ‘feminine’ for their boy… the pitfalls are many).
I know well how frustrating it is to have gifts that contradict the values that I want to teach my kids – but that the kids inevitably love more than life itself. Recognizing too that our low-plastic, creative play focus isn’t what every family sees as ideal, I’m also trying to use these opportunities to teach the kids about kindness and generosity in the wider world. It’s not easy to balance, but it’s a big lesson so we keep at it.
It doesn’t help at all that asking a 5 or 6 year old what their little friend likes rarely elicits useful information. I once trekked out to the toy store to buy a Spider-Man doll that Isabelle was quite sure her friend really wanted for his birthday – only to find out that the way she knew he liked it was that he had brought the one he already had to show and tell. Sigh.
Nonetheless, with a few years of school under our belts now, birthday season has become much less stressful. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up:
Set a general budget based on the number of parties you’re likely to attend in the school year and stick to it
Have your children participate in the selection, wrapping and card-writing for the gift
Have one or two back-up gifts in case you find yourself remembering at the last moment that you have a party, at noon that day (not that this has ever happened to me, of course!)
For older kids, gift certificates can be a good option; for younger kids, the idea of a gift certificate is too abstract. Also, the gift preparation that’s so important to your kids largely gets lost with a gift card
If in doubt, be conservative: if it occurs to you that someone might object, then chances are someone will. If you go for it anyway, be sure to have a gift receipt.
If you find a cool neutral gift on sale, buy a couple of the same one to keep on hand (but remember that without the gift receipt, if it’s not a really cool universal gift, some of them may end up in the broom closet)
Take heart too – birthday parties are for the kids and they are supposed to be fun. Even if one or two (or even all) of the gifts you thoughtfully purchase and present are never really used, it really is the thought that counts.
Last week was our first long family trip with two kids. We’ve taken the short 4-hour drive to Nashville with both kids, but we haven’t taken a full-fledged trip since our last vacation (which was when we had only 1 kid). I asked around the Twitterverse and FB-union for some tips on traveling with kids and got a couple suggestions. The rest was up to us to figure out on our own, and we did. I will, in turn, pass along what I recommend.
The oldest is 8 and the baby is 18 months … there are none in between, so we have a huge age difference to contend with.
The baby is what one might call “high maintenance” – she is demanding, picky, and can throw a tantrum better than any 2 or 3 year-old I’ve ever seen.
The trip required two early wake-up calls – as in 4am and 5am!
Two airplane rides in one day with a toddler – doesn’t that sound fun?
One of the planes was an 18-passenger tin can with no beverage service, much less a bathroom. (Of course we wouldn’t know about this challenge until after we were about to board.)
Tips from Others
My friend Irene (@notsusiehomemkr) recommended ring pops … (doesn’t work for me since I try to avoid giving candy, but may for someone else)
My cousin suggested the ABC game (great for kids who know their ABCs)
As you can tell, I didn’t get a ton of ideas from the world-wide web. So, it was up to me and the hub to figure it out. If you know anything about my family, you know that by “me and the hub” I really mean “me” because the hub got back in town only a few hours before we had to get up to catch the first flight. So …
Our Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids
Early AM flights are actually a good thing – tired kids sleep on airplanes
Wheel Easy Car Seat Travel Bag is perfect for toting along the car seat to check with baggage (there are a number of other options out there, but I found this was the most reasonably priced option for our travel needs)
Pack a small bag for the oldest to carry-on filled with all-age activities (a pad of paper, Crayola Twistable crayons, Play-doh, Rubik’s cube, and finger puppets filled our bag)
Have a change of clothes for each person in a carry-on. Fold each item in 1/2 and roll to avoid wrinkles.
Bring along a diaper bag for the little one, but have your diapers delivered to your destination ahead of time using a service like diapers.com.
Dress everyone in layers: We left Atlanta at 6am and it was about 75 degrees and humid. The plane was comfortable. We landed in Denver to 59 degrees and breezy. Then we got on a hot little airplane to get to South Dakota, where it was 89 degrees but windy. On the way home, it was FREEZING on the airplane, then warm in Denver, comfortable on airplane #2 and then HOT in Atlanta. Layers, people.
Nurse that baby on the plane. I cannot emphasize it enough – their little ears have the hardest time with the pressure changes. There were 2 babies other than ours on the plane at one point – I nursed, they didn’t. Guess who’s baby was screaming? (Hint: it wasn’t mine.)
Have to take more than 1 flight? Schedule yours so that your layover is about 2-3 hours. This gives the kids time to wander the airport, stretch their legs, get a snack, go to the bathroom, and play for a bit. And then take a nap on the next flight.
Different time zone? Try to keep everyone on the time zone in which you’re accustomed – this is only reasonable if you’re only an hour or two off.
Relax. Being uptight about every. little. thing. makes the trip stressful and difficult to enjoy. Every moment doesn’t need to be planned. There are bound to be hiccups that will throw things off a little. It is ok. Enjoy it.
Do you have other tips that I should have mentioned?
P.S. – Here are a few of my favorite farm-country pics from our trip:
Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post. We are actual customers of all products/companies mentioned above.
If you are anything like me, you love designer duds for yourself, hubs, and kiddos. And if you’re anything like me you can’t afford them full-price, or even the so-called “sale” price. I have collected a list of sites that are top-notch for buying designer on a budget. All these sites feature sales of a particular brand or product for a set period of time. The popular products or sizes go fast, so signing up for the email list is essential to getting to the deals fast.
Without further ado:
FOR THE KIDDOS
FOR MOM & CHILD
Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post. This is a collection of sites that we use in real life and wanted to share our knowledge with our readers.
Millions of chemicals seep into our bodies over the course of our lifetime … chemicals that can cause all sorts of harm. As you are probably aware, I am still breastfeeding my youngster and it only makes sense that what I put on and in my body goes to her as well. So, I was thrilled when Jim Kueny from ONEgroup/Miessence contacted me to try some of their products. I had heard about Miessence, but had never tried anything made by them. I will try to break the info in this post down to the essentials along with an overview of my thoughts on the products I tried.
There are many chemicals in the everyday products you use that can cause harm. This was included in the MiTme Newsletter (the ONEgroup/Miessence newsletter):
ABOUT ONEgroup (from their website):
Organic and Natural Enterprise Group (or ONEgroup) is an Australian based company who creates and manufactures the world’s first Certified Organic skincare, haircare, personal care, health care and cosmetic products. ONEgroup’s range of products stand in a class of their own by being independently certified to international food grade standards by some of the world’s most respected organic certifying organisations, namely, Australian Certified Organic (ACO), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and IFOAM (Europe).
I tested 3 of their skincare products: AROMA FREE ROLL-ON DEODORANT
• No Aluminum (aluminum is a toxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease)
• Based on bi-carb soda (bicaronate of soda neutralizes bacteria that causes odors)
• Natural antibacterial ingredients
• Doesn’t block pores
• Effective long lasting deodorant that actually works!
• Certified organic
• 3 varieties to choose from:
Ancient Spice – a blend of fresh citrus and spices.
Tahitian Breeze – a blend of intense floral and citrus
Aroma Free- no essential oils added
Honestly, at first I didn’t really love this product. I was used to using a deodorant that was scented. It also seemed as though my old deodorant was lasting all day because it took a good scrub to wash off in the shower. I used the Miessence aroma free roll-on deodorant for a few days and discovered a slight sting after shaving. I emailed Jim about it. He emailed the formulator asking about it and she responded! Wow! Turns out the slight sting after shaving is due to the bicarb and the fact that my old deodorant had some sort of numbing agent in it.
I decided to keep using the deodorant to give it another shot. Now it is all I wear. I feel clean and fresh when I apply and still at the end of the day. On days where I am super-active, I apply a second time to insure freshness. This was
something I’ve always done anyway, so nothing new there. The only difference? I smell like me (remember I use the aroma free) and I’m not applying any harmful chemicals to my underarms. I feel good knowing that, especially since I know that nothing from my deodorant is getting into the ducts that make and supply milk to my little one.
• Evens out the complexion
• Translucent natural coverage
• Contains zinc oxide (known for its superior sun protection capabilities and preventing skin damage, the safest and most effective ingredient that protects the skin against UVA rays)
• Keeps skin hydrated and protected from pollution
• Natural mineral colours in four different shades
• Certified organic ingredients
I am a makeup snob, I’m not going to lie. I was hesitant to try this foundation for several reasons: (1) I don’t wear liquid foundation; (2) my face can be sensitive to new products; and (3) I don’t wear makeup on a regular basis. But I decided to try it anyway. It went on smooth and even. It blended with my complexion beautifully. It was so lightweight that by the end of the day I had forgotten I was wearing it. My sensitive skin looked like I had simply worn moisturizer all day – no break outs, no oiliness.
• Nutrient rich active ingredients makes this a vital step!
• Replaces the use of a toner with an alcohol-free herbal infusion
• Dual purpose – feeds the skin, and provides hydration base for moisturiser to seal in
• Moisturiser will last longer
• Balancing – nourishes and tones
• Rejuvenating – energises and stimulates
• Soothing – calms redness and soothes
• Purifying – balances secretions and purifies
• Pat onto skin and leave to absorb for a few seconds before applying moisturizer
• Certified Organic
Again, I was a bit hesitant to try something new in my facial skincare routine, but I did it anyway (just for you wonderful readers). And am I glad I did! I wish I had gotten more of this stuff. There are days where my skin is dry and I feel like I am applying moisturizer all day long. And because it is dry, it is sometimes spotted with redness. And to top it off, my pores are large (great for looking young, terrible for soaking in everything that goes on my face). The skin conditioner did just that – conditioned my skin. The redness faded and the moisturizer stayed put. Especially on days when I wore no makeup, this kept me feeling confident that my skin still looked great. Bonus points for making me feel like the beginnings of aging are paused every time I wear it!
Miessence makes a huge line of skincare and makeup products. If the rest of their products are anything like these three, I would recommend them all.
Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this review. We did receive samples of the products mentioned in order to provide a proper review, but the opinions expressed are our honest thoughts.
One of my favorite organic clothing lines is Kate Quinn Organics. I got notice this morning that they are having this fabulous (and almost unheard of) sale! Don’t forget, you get 20% off your purchase when you use code hurriedhome20!
Want to feel fabulous this Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re pregnant, a breastfeeding newbie, well into your second year, or done nursing your little one, I just discovered this …
Their motto is “Being a Mom doesn’t mean you stop being a woman”. We could all use that reminder at some point (remember when I needed that not so long ago?). Since the baby was born (just over a year ago) I have been searching high and low for a pretty, but affordable nursing bra. They all seemed to be either ugly and inexpensive, or pretty and costly. Enter Passion Spice!
I was sent the Carla Orchid Underwire Nursing Bra and matching Carlie Tap Pant (also in Orchid). Both fit beautifully and are so pretty! The bra is surprisingly comfortable. I thought the “tap pant” was more of a boyshort, but they are SO cute and strageically cover those lovely hip stretch marks. Not only was it nice to feel pretty (sexy even) under my clothes, my husband was quite pleased too! (And since my Dad reads my blog, I’ll leave it at that.)
I am actually about to order the Carla & Carlie in black and probably one or two different ones, too. They are THAT AFFORDABLE! Since I plan to nurse a while longer, I’ll need more than one fabulous set. I think I’ll even be wearing these beauties when my boobs belong to me again!
2010 Super Sale offers the lowest prices yet!
Total satisfaction guaranteed
Free shipping on all orders over $40
Maternity and nursing lingerie
Now, one of you luckies gets to win a $25 gift certificate to pick out your own lingerie – whether you want to hide it under your clothes or share it for Valentine Day, it’s up to you!
Giveaway ends February 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm (EST). Winner will be chosen by random.org. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Good luck!
Go to the Passion Spice website and leave a comment telling me what your favorite item is. Be sure to enter your email address where requested.
ADDITIONAL ENTRIES (leave a comment for each):
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Click on the “Top Mommy Blog” icon on the right sidebar to vote for HH – 1 extra entry
Grab our button (left sidebar) for your blog/site – 3 extra entries
Blog about this giveaway. (Be sure to include links to HH & Passion Spice) – 3 extra entries
Follow @hurriedhomemakr and @passionspice on Twitter and tweet about this contest (must @mention both) – 1 extra entry (Tweet once per day, must have over 50 followers.)
Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this review. We did receive this product for free from the company, which had no effect on our review or opinion of this company/product.
I am not sure if you know this about me, but I am pretty passionate about art. My husband is a musician and we strive to surround our kids (and selves) with art of every form! So, when I was asked to tell you lovelies about this contest, it was easy to say “of course!”
To show support of the arts, Kim Crawford Wines launched The Artists’ Lounge online community as a place for emerging artists and those who appreciate the arts to share inspirations and artwork with each other for the chance to inspire. The Artists’ Lounge is featuring five emerging artists who are gaining inspiration from the community to create their own artwork.
What does this have to do with you? You get to join the community and be part of the inspiration. Even better – you could win an original piece of artwork and a trip for two to New Zealand! All you have to do is join and offer your own ideas, thoughts, and inspirations.
What are you waiting for? Go! Reach in and grab your inner artiste! You could be the winner … but you better hurry – contest ends January 18th!
The Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post.