Holiday Gift Guide for Babies 0-12 Months

This is the third under 1 year old baby that I’m buying for and it hasn’t really gotten easier. The third baby is even harder because I feel like we already have so many things. There are hand me downs galore from Kyla! BUT Emilia is her own person, which means she needs her own things too. Whether it’s your baby or someone else’s baby shopping for them isn’t always the easiest so I’ve put together a holiday gift guide for babies to help you find the perfect gift for that special baby in your life!

holiday-gift-guide-0-12-months1. Mr. Tambourine Wooden Instrument –Making music has never been easier than with Mr. Tambourine! All it takes is a little bit of shaking by you or your little to create musical sounds!

2. Aden and Anais Dream Blanket–These blankets are amazingly soft and will be something that they use from birth to toddlerhood and even beyond.

3. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank–My favorite part about this piggy bank are the huge coins. Babies can chew on them like they chew on everything else without choking and they’re are so many different ways babies can learn while playing.

4. Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone–I love the cause and effect this toy creates. Baby can hammer the ball in and then it slides down the Xylophone to make noise!

5. OBall Toy Ball–This ball is super easy to grip making it easy for baby to pick up and throw.

6. Wooden Stack and Sort Toy–Skip the traditional stacking toy and instead give these a try. Squares, Triangles, Circles and Rectangles all in one toy for baby to sort and stack.

7. Mini Bilibos Baby–I came across these little guys after seeing the kid version of them and I fell in love. I love that they can be anything you want them to be including a stacking toy or bath toy.

8. Wooden Activity Cube–I love how sturdy activity cubes are. Not only can baby find something to do on each side of this busy cube but it can also help them master the skill of pulling to stand.

9. Playsilks –You know how they say kids love to play with empty boxes? They also love those little eggs that rattle and play scarves. I suggest getting a wooden tissue box and filling it with the scarves so baby can pull them out of the tissue box over and over again.

10. Nuby Octopus Bath Toy–Bath time is the best time! I love that this toy grows with baby and will be even more fun as they get older!

Do you have any babies on your list? What do you have in mind for them?


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How to Help Children Cope with Stress

There’s a lot of talk about the detrimental effects of stress on adults, but children can be victim of stress too, with a similarly negative outcome. The issue is all the more difficult because of the fact that kids cannot fully understand themselves and their surroundings yet. As a parent it may appear to be a daunting task to know when they’re stressed, but it’s imperative that you tune into their thoughts and feelings as much as you can. 

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Play with them regularly

I get it life gets busy. It’s go time all the time and that makes it really difficult to stop and enjoy quality playtime with your kids. However, for their well-being, it is important to create time just for the family. As parents we are responsible for all aspect of their well-being and that includes their mental wellbeing. Taking the time to sit down and play with your kids, go on a walk or head to the park will brighten their day and I bet yours too! 

Don’t Pack Their Schedule 

I know your schedule is jam-packed, mine is too. It feels like we always have something to do. My kids? They don’t love that. Sometimes they just want to hang out and be. I’ve made a huge effort to get everything I need to get done errand wise while Mason is at school so that when he comes home he can just chill out. School days are long and it’s nice to let your kids relax and not feel so much pressure. When it comes to after-school activities for the kids we also try to limit them. They’ll have the rest of their lives to have somewhere to be! If the kids aren’t in love with an extra-curricular we move onto the next thing.  

Proper Diet & Sleep 

What your kids eat and how much sleep they get has a direct effect on their health. And I’m not just talking about germs. Kids who are healthier are more resistant to stress. Make sure you’re feeding them high energy foods that help fuel their brains and bodies for playing and learning. When it comes to sleep make sure they’re getting enough. How much they need depends on their age. For my older two, aged 3 and 6 I aim for 10-12 hours a night, comfy pajamas with their favorite characters might help. Try looking for those in Kohl’s, there are plenty of special deals right now if you shop with coupons that you can find at Discountrue.com or other couponing sites.

Publicly praise your children

Help elevate the esteem of your children by pointing out the best in them, this is especially effective in front of their friends. This will help them to cultivate a positive attitude towards themselves and lower their likelihood of being stressed in social situations. Reprimanding them unnecessarily and publicly can destroy their self-esteem and it’s our jobs as parents to build it up, not tear it down. 

Listen to them

Children are happy when they are given the attention they need. They especially want to know that they’re being heard. While it can be very hard in the heat of the moment to stop and liten to your children it’s so important to make sure that you’re letting them share their thoughts and feelings with you. I highly recommend “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” to help you figure out the best ways to listen and acknowledge your children. Knowing that they can tell you anything and that you will listen is huge for kids. When they are stressed out and feeling anxious they will come to you instead of bottling it up because they know you’re there for them! 

Manage your own stress

Children are sponges. Not only are they learning something new every single day but they’re also picking up on the way you are feeling. Teach them healthy ways to manage and cope with stress like coloring or journaling. You also want to make sure that you’re not sharing your stress with them. Your children do not need to know that you’re fighting with their Dad or that you’re late on paying a bill! Naturally, you will have good and bad days and sometimes your kids will know about the problems you are facing. The important thing is to make sure your problems aren’t becoming their problems!  

Doing all of these things will be such a huge benefit to your children. It all boils down to the parent-child connection. How connected are you to your children? How can you improve that connection?

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Smooth as Silk Playdough

As the weather begins to cool down I’m trying to think of  more indoor activities to do with Kyla, activities that don’t involve hours of sitting in front of the television. The other day as I was trying to think of something that would keep Kyla occupied I remembered that a while back I made her some awesome play sand so I pulled it out. I realized we were going to need some so I made a batch and quickly realized I wasn’t making a sand but instead a dough aka conditioner dough. DUH! Mom brain is real you guys. So instead of sand we got smooth as silk playdough.

conditoner-playdough

This dough is super smooth. The dough comes out white but Kyla wanted to dye hers pink, Mason picked green. It’s a messy job so if you decide to dye it you may want the kiddos to wear gloves or do it yourself.

dying-the-dough

I found that baking soda helped a ton for getting the dye off my hands but didn’t get rid of it completely. Mason also decided to scent his with essential oils (Rosemary and Lemon).

Kyla can literally play with her dough for HOURS. She loves it more than any other activity we do like coloring or painting. She has a set of mini figurines that she uses to play pretend with the dough. Mason loves to roll his out and use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes.

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We store it in a ziplock bag and pull out whenever we’re ready to play. Even in a ziplock bag this dough does not hold up super well, after a couple of days it becomes very crumbly however this makes it just as fun because you can still roll it in a ball as pictured above or you can crumble it up to make a type of sand as pictured below.

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I can’t wait to experiment some more and make other playdoughs for the kids. I have some lotion I need to get rid of and I’m excited to see what kind of playdough it will make.

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Smooth as Silk Playdough

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup conditioner
2 cups cornstarch

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine 1 cup conditioner and 2 cups cornstarch until the dough is sily smooth.
  2. Add essential oils of choice for a scent.
  3. Add food dye to color.

Notes

This fun dough takes about five minutes to make and requires no cook time which is one of the reasons why I love it so much. The dough comes out silky smooth!

http://littlebgcg.com/2016/11/smooth-as-silk-playdough.html

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In the Kitchen

slow-cooker-southwestern-chicken-over-rice

Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken

After two years of Mason being the pickiest eater ever he's finally starting to eat the way he used to eat. He's finally willing to try just about anything that we put in front of him. Now of course Kyla has taken Mason's place as pickiest eater but I know that in due time she will see the light ... read more