Best Buy Wedding Registry is HERE! #BestBuyWeddings

Is your special day fast approaching?  The wedding of your dreams deserves the gifts of your dreams and with Wedding Registry at Best Buy, they can help make sure you get the gifts you really need and WANT.

WR_Wendy_NavyYellow_Gline_TM2In February 2015, Best Buy officially launched their wedding registry.  They took careful consideration into everything they put behind this to offer the best wedding registry experience for the registrants and the gift givers.

What I am most excited about is that when you are registering at Best Buy, you and your future hubby will both be excited about this.  This gives you the opportunity to register for those gifts you want (the Kitchen Aid Mixer, Microwave, or even a washer and dryer) AND the gifts you BOTH want (that GoPro Camera for your honeymoon).  Best Buy is a fun place to shop and get goodies, why not give your guests the chance to shop for YOU  there :-)

Best Buy Registry

When you register at Best Buy for your wedding you are also giving your gift givers perks too.  Every registry order, no matter what the size or amount ships for FREE!  This is a huge perk, no pesky shipping costs added on for your guests.  Another really cool option is the Group Gifting Option, your guests can spend what they want and you get the gift that you want!   I love this option because it your guests can pick a larger item and work together to purchase it.  No one person collecting money and things getting lost.  Best Buy has set this up to be very easy for everyone!

Now that you know all about the new Best Buy registry, what are you waiting for?  Go check it out, register for all those awesome gifts you want, with Best Buy Wedding Registry, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

Best Buy Weddings

 

Disclaimer:  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

 

Why I’m a Mom

Why am I mom?  Why is it all worth it?

I am sitting here expecting #2 and thinking back to all the firsts I had with Colton.  I am excited to hold my very own teeny baby again and enjoy the cuddles and love that happen only between a mother and baby.  I wish I could pause those moments and make them last forever.  I remember holding Colton, just a few days old, on my chest and rocking him.  I could feel right then that he needed me more than anyone in the world.  He smelled so fresh, he was so calm, and not a single sound other than him breathing… it was magical, truly magical.

me and colton halloween 2014

Now fast forward and I have a 5 year old.  And this little boy means the world to me… and more.  He is the sweetest little boy and he loves his mom so much.  Nothing in the world compares to how much I love him and how happy it makes me to read him stories before bed, or for him to WANT me to eat lunch with me at school.  I know these moments won’t last long either, just as everything else has… this too will fly by before I can even blink my eyes and he will be “too big” for my lap, or too cool to give mom extra hugs and kisses at the door when I drop him off to school.  So for now, I will take all the love he wants to give me.  <3

I live for the good moments.  The memories that I want to keep are the good ones.  Forget the tantrums, the crying, the frustration and remember the love, the kisses, the hugs, the bonding, the fun, the learning, and the watching them grow.

Thank you to Mommy’s Bliss for sharing this video and reminding me of how great it is to be a mom <3

Fun Family Craft Acitivies For Rainy Days

It can be an extra struggle to keep your children from getting bored and restless when it’s pouring down outside. So, I hope that this post will bring a little sunshine into your lives when it’s miserable outside. Here are my favorite arts and crafts activities that are perfect for keeping the whole family entertained on rainy days.

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Occasion crafts
Occasion crafts are extra fun because they give the whole family a project to work on. I look through my diary to see if there are any birthdays coming up and if there are we all work together on making a handmade card for the birthday girl or boy. Even if there isn’t a family celebration in the immediate future, there is always some event going on around the globe that you can use to structure your craft day. Last time we had an arts and crafts day at home we made outer space-themed paintings to celebrate National Science Fiction Day. This is also a great activity for keeping the kids busy when you have your own things to get on with.

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Baking
Baking is an old favorite among many families and is effective way to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day. It gives the kids an opportunity to be creative, learn about different ingredients and the science of baking. There are many family-friendly recipes out there so have a good look online for inspiration. We love to make mini pizzas that we decorate like faces and cookies. If you’ve never experienced baking with kids before – do be prepared for the mess!

Toilet roll crafts
Okay, I know it sounds like a weird one, but my kids absolutely adore this activity! It’s incredible how many creative things you can make out of cardboard toilet roll tubes. If you don’t believe me; google it. We have made minions, pencil and pen holders, Christmas decorations and plant holders, to name just a few. All you need is a stash of toilet roll tubes and a good box of art supplies. We usually use paints, east of India ribbon, tissue paper, scissors, etc. They make excellent ornaments for the mantelpiece or gifts for family and friends.

Puppet

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Handmade puppet show

One of my children suggested creating handmade puppets and putting on a puppet show one rainy day. It ended up being such a laugh for the whole family that it has now become a recurring activity (even on sunny days). It doesn’t take a lot of effort or materials to make the puppets. We used a couple of gloves that were passed it and painted them with funny faces. You could also use cut up old material and secure it around your wrist using an elastic band or scrunchie. The real creativity comes in creating and acting out the personality of your puppet. A lot of improvisation is involved, but that’s what makes it so entertaining.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share some of your family’s favorite rainy day activities.

Celebration Ideas for the Birth of Your Baby

If you’ve just had a baby, you’ll no doubt want to celebrate with your family and friends. Your family and friends should be more than happy to oblige too; the birth of a baby is a very exciting time! There are a number of things you could choose to do. Here are a few of my favorites:

A Home Get Together
Having a small get together at home is perfect if you want to spend quality time with your loved ones. Invite your nearest and dearest friends and family, and put on a small buffet if you like. Everyone will get the chance to meet your baby at this point too, if they haven’t already. Be prepared to have a bit of a messy home afterwards, but it’s nothing you won’t be able to handle providing you don’t toast this celebration with too much fizz. If you’re feeling crafty, you could always make some of the decorations yourself for a personalised touch! If the weather is nice, you could even have the celebration in the garden, complete with a gazebo and barbecue.

A Night Out With Friends
You won’t be able to bring your baby along to this, that goes without saying. This is more of a celebration of you. You can spend time with your best friends relaxing, having a drink, some food, and maybe even a dance if the moment takes you. This is the perfect excuse to take a break from being a new parent for one night, and celebrate this massive achievement.

Teeny Baby

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A Christening
Although a christening is seen primarily as a religious celebration, some people use it as an excuse to get everybody together. If you have faith at all, this might be a good choice for you and your loved ones. You don’t need to visit the church every Sunday to be eligible, so don’t worry. This is one of the most expensive celebrations of them all though, as you’ll need to pay for decorations, food, venues, outfits, and more. You may also want to mark this special occasion with something from www.christeningsilver.com.

Throw a Big Party
Alternatively, you could miss the christening part out altogether and throw a big party instead! Book a suitable venue, and you won’t need to worry about your house getting messed up with a party at home. You could put some food on yourself, or hire a caterer to do a buffet for your guests. As you’ll more than likely be inviting other kids, this is a party that’s unlikely to continue into the early hours. Make sure you specify on the invites what the guests should expect, what they should wear, and whether you are accepting gifts. Don’t leave out any important information, or you could end up missing a few guests!

These are simply suggestions; feel free to celebrate the arrival of the new member in any way you see fit. If you have any suggestions of your own, leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting!

 

Warm up on a Cold Winter Day with a Fort and @PopSecret Pocorn! #PopSecretForts

I don’t know about where you are… but in Ohio it is FREEZING right now.  Not just cold, the I would rather stay inside and not do anything because we can die out there it’s so cold, cold.  Since our options of what to do are very limited and we are starting to go stir crazy because we have spent way too many days inside, and a lot of days off school we have been pretty creative with fun things we can do INSIDE.

One of the things Colton and I love to do on a cold winter day is to cuddle up and watch a movie.  Of course no movie would ever be complete without Pop Secret Pop Corn.  And if it’s cold outside… you have to have hot chocolate too.  Thanks to Pop Secret for the idea to add to our Cold Day movie fun… how about a movie in a fort!!

Pop Secret

Colton was ALL OVER this… what kid wouldn’t love making a fort in the living room and watching a movie with his mom?  Oh and of course it is always our favorite movie… Frozen :-)

I would love to hear about your memories of building forts with your kiddos… or maybe building a fort when you were a kid.  Share your Photos with #PopSecretForts across all social media (Facebook, twitter, and instagram!) And if you want to create new memories (AND SAVE $1 OFF POP SECRET) Check out the Pop Secret Facebook Page for a $1 off coupon :-)


Disclosure:  Thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring today’s discussion

How To Create The Perfect Garden For You And Your Children

gardenimage source

If you and your children are lucky enough to have a garden, you’ll know what a treat it can be. However, gardens need a little shaping and looking after. Without it, they fail into disrepair. It can make for a dangerous and unappealing place for your children. We’re here to help you make the most of your outside space. Even the smallest area provides a huge boost in your children’s enjoyment and learning.

An outdoor space helps children expand their creative skills and imagination. It gives them a whole new world to play out the stories in their head. It’s really important to get the kids away from the TV and into the outside world. Show them that there is something more. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves to help you unlock the best from your garden space.

Tidy up and remove the dangers
If you don’t use the garden very often, the first step is to clear it out and make it a safe place. Remove any old tools lying around. Tidy up all the debris floating about and give it all a good clean. Tidy up any splintered wooden objects. You may need to get yourself some timber to fix a shed or touch up the fence.

 

Create a playing space

 

Once you’ve tidied it all up, it’s time to create a fun space to play in. A lawn is ideal. It lets you children roam free in relative safety. They can use the grass area as a new play space. The grass can be the sea and they’re floating on a pirate ship. Or it could be the moon that they slowly explore! If your children are younger, a sand pit is a great way to help them develop their motor skills. They’ll spend hours sifting sand back and forth and learning key skills. The garden is also a great place to teach them about wildlife and caring for living things. Try planting a small row of flowers and let your children tend to them.

Bring the inside out
For a child, there is something stimulating about seeing familiar things in unfamiliar places. Bring an old sofa outside and you can all rest there at the end of the day. Cushions and beanbags can litter the decking or patio for an evening outside. There are now outdoor TVs you can buy too. Put their favourite Disney film on outside and they’ll be utterly content.

Don’t forget about you
The garden isn’t just for your children. Make sure you have a comfortable space to relax in after a hard day’s work. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a glass of wine on the deck during a warm summer. Set up a small outdoor table and chairs and stay warm with an outdoor heater. Let your body relax and prepare for the next day. Or just take a breather while the kids are at school.

These are just a few of the ideas you can do to your garden. Bring it to life by making it a child friendly, explorer’s paradise. It will help them learn and realize their creative potential. The garden will also help you unwind and give you that vital extra space in the home.

The Best Ways To Enjoy Parenthood When You Can’t Have Kids

If you’ve been told by medical professionals that you can’t have kids, it can come as a disappointing blow. However, there is no reason to feel down. Just because you can’t carry a child naturally, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of starting a family. There are lots of different options open to you these days.

Mom with baby
ECohen

IVF is always a possibility, but it might be a very expensive treatment in your home country. Indeed, that is one of the many reasons people choose to travel abroad. Just make sure you find out more about IVF in Turkey or whichever country you choose before making arrangements. Medical care in certain nations can vary in quality, and you need to make sure you will be looked after properly.

Presuming IVF isn’t a viable solution given your situation, you may wish to consider some of the alternatives. At the end of the day, there are many children in the world who would love to have you as a parent.

Adoption
Some kids have a pretty hard start in life, and that is why they end up in adoption centers around the country. If you would like to give one lucky child a helping hand, why not consider becoming their adopted parent. You can still teach them all the essentials of life, just as you would with a child of your own. While there are many standard checks and assessments you’ll have to pass, there is no reason you couldn’t become a mother in less than one year. Adoption agencies simply want to know you can care for the child.

Fostering
Becoming a foster parent is a noble choice. Your duties would involve looking after the most vulnerable young people in our society during their time of need. The hardest part of getting involved with fostering is that the children in your care might move on pretty quickly. That means it can be difficult if you get attached easily. However, you’ll get to make a real difference in the lives of young people, and you get grants to help pay for them. Most foster parents consider their duties a full-time job, and so it is well suited for those who don’t have a standard working schedule. Some of the kids that land in your care might require twenty-four hour attention.

Babysitting
While it isn’t the ideal solution, those of you who want to spend time with the younger members of our society might benefit from starting a babysitting business. You could look after all your friends children while they are at work. Not only will you get to play a mothering role, but you can also make some money in the process. The law in most countries states that you must meet certain requirements to start a business of that nature legally. So, it’s worth doing some research before you get too carried away.

As you can clearly see, being told you can’t have kids is not the end of the world. There are lots of ways you can still get all the benefits of being around children. Some people even retrain and become primary school teachers. When all’s said and done, the decision is down to you.

Kids Gone To School? Top 10 Things For Moms To Do Next

Although a lot of Moms are really busy all the time, some of us start scratching our heads for things to do once all the kids have started school. While it is lovely to suddenly gain a few hours independence from being a mommy, sometimes we can feel pretty lonely and redundant. Filling that time could be quite a challenge if you have several children. It has probably been many years since you had any time to yourself at all. Let’s face it, we all love being a mommy too much to want to do anything else now anyway!

While there are plenty of things to do out there while the kids are in school, knowing what they are and getting involved with them can be difficult to figure out. We give you the top ten things to do with your time now you can officially be you again, instead of just Mommy!

  1. Get a job – Lots of mommies go and find a little part time job locally when all the kids have gone up to school. There are some communities that have plenty, and some that have very few, so this one may not work for you. Working a couple of hours in a store or fast food restaurant each day will also bring a little bit of extra cash into the home to put away for one your college bills in the future.
  2. Become self employed – Some mommies find the skills they have acquired by being a parent can come in rather handy to earn a few bucks here and there. Some turn to writing, maximizing all those story-telling hours they have put in. Others bake cakes and muffins to sell. Some have become quite good at art and crafts and can sell their designs through a website.

Chocolate Candy

Photography from Flickr

  1. Volunteer at the pet sanctuary – If having kids has meant you have had to go without a pet for a while, volunteering to work with animals can be a great way to get some furry cuddles in! While much of the work may involved mucking out cages, any animals suitable for rehoming need to be socialized and played with to determine what kind of home they could go to.
  2. Fundraise for your Little League team – Kids’ clubs and sports teams are all desperate for funding all year round. If you are good at writing letters, you could appeal to local businesses to sponsor your local team. If it’s the one your own children play for then all the better. Check out www.the-fund-raiser.com for more ideas on how to gain extra support and donations. It’s not all about asking for money either. It is just as much about encouraging good will and excitement for the team to raise those extra donations to.
  3. Learn a musical instrument – Most of us had opportunities to play a musical instrument when we were in school. Perhaps you even enjoyed one or two of them! Picking up where you left off all those years ago is not necessarily the easiest thing to do in the world but it can be quite rewarding. If you are short of inspiration on which instrument to choose, have a chat with the kids. They may be interested in learning more about a particular instrument. Learning together can be cheaper for lessons and keep you both motivated.
  4. Take a class – While daytime education for adults is usually populated by retired people, a growing number of moms are taking them up too. With everything from foreign languages to pottery on offer, you can find something you are interested in, as well as learn new skills you may be able to add to your resume. Who knows – maybe you will be good enough to earn a living from it eventually.
  5. Teach a class – Lots of mommies feel they have plenty to say on at least one topic of interest to others, and it’s not always about parenting. If you feel you come up with a well-rounded curriculum to teach others something you’re passionate about, why not give it a go! Alternatively, have a chat with your school and see if you can come in to chat with the children from time to time, or hold an extra-curricular class once a week.
  6. Coach the local team – One way to stay close to your kids even when they are at school is to become a coach. It could be for the Little League, or you might coach other activities like singing or painting. While this may be on a voluntary basis, it can be hugely rewarding to you, and highly beneficial to the school too. You may even be drafted in to run the clubs. While this may be largely administrative, it can be very helpful to ensure all the children have sufficient access to a broad range of clubs and activities.
  7. Get into running – Often mommies can’t wait to have some time to try and get their pre-baby figure back. Of course, by the time the last of the kids has finally gone off to school, we probably don’t care as much! That said, it is important to be as fit as possible whatever age our kids. This helps stave off serious age-related diseases and helps give us the energy to be able to keep up with the children. It is also good to lead by example and show the kids that keeping physically active is a good lifestyle choice. Running may not be your bag, but Yoga or Zumba classes are held in most communities.
  8. Take up photography – The Internet is bursting with websites begging for photographs. We post photos on FaceBook and Pinterest all the time, so ensuring we can take the best pictures possible could be a good idea. Take a class or find a how-to website to teach you all about the art of taking a good picture. The good news is you can take plenty of great shots just using your mobile or cell phone.

Top 7 Weekend Family Activities

Family WalkImage source

At the end of a tiring week, I frequently struggle to come up with fun and fresh ideas for weekend activities that will be enjoyed by the whole family. We all love going to the cinema and going for dinner but these are expensive options, and I don’t always find these activities satisfies my desire for quality family time. Thankfully, the internet is awash with other parents in my position who are more than willing to share their ideas and advice. I thought it would be a good addition to this blog to whip up a list of my family’s favorite weekend activities, in the hope that you and your flock will also find them enjoyable.

  1. Camping
    I have always loved camping, and luckily for me, so do my family. It’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and encourages your kids to spend less time in front of the box. We often pack up the car with our equipment and head towards one of our favourite campsites. In fact, we have been to one campsite so often that we are on first name terms with the owners and have made good friends with some of the other “regulars”. If you are not keen on going too far, even pitching a tent in your back garden can be fun and exciting for the whole family. If you are interested in this weekend activity, here are some of my top tips for camping with your family:
  • Get all the relevant camping equipment. This will include a family-sized tent, sleeping bags and cooking equipment.
  • Make a note of what you plan to eat for each meal, so that you can be sure you have enough food for the weekend. Unfortunately, I learnt this lesson the hard way!
  • Make pre-cooked meals and transport them in a cooler. These can simply be reheated or eaten cold, saving you time and effort.
  • Many campsites offer activities for children. But if they don’t, bring along plenty of things to keep your kids (and the adults) entertained. I tend to pack, colouring pencils, books and tennis rackets, frisbees, etc.
  • Make a list of anything that you wish you’d brought on your trip so that you don’t forget it next time.
  1. Bike ride
    Another way to enjoy the great outdoors with your family is with a bike ride. We have lots of beautiful and manageable bike routes in our area. I found out about them by conducting a simple search online. The beauty of a bike ride as you can make it as long or as short as you like so it fits in well with the rest of your busy weekend schedule. If we have time, my family and I ride our bikes to the park for a picnic. I really love how much my kids enjoy their bikes. It gives them a sense of freedom and independence.
  1. Games night
    This is one of my family’s favorite weekend activities. I have to admit, we all have a healthy competitive streak which can result in a very lively night. We even have a leaderboard stuck to the fridge! Each time we have a games night we take it turns to choose the game we will play. You may wish to make a proper night of it by inviting friends or neighbors over and proving pizza and popcorn. I think you’ll find this to be one of the most exciting, enjoyable weekend family activities.

Kids BakinImage source

  1. Cooking class
    My kids love to get their hands dirty in the kitchen so we spend many a Sunday up to our elbows in baking ingredients. It’s a great way to spend quality time together, and we always learn something new each time. Recently I got a number of cookery freebies online, so we have been going crazy in the kitchen. We made savoury muffins and flapjacks last week which were a welcome addition to all our packed lunch boxes. If you are interested in this activity, check out the many healthy and fun recipes that are perfect for cooking with your children.
  1. Get crafty
    Sometimes I bring out our art supply box, and we all work together on an artful project. This is again a fun and educational weekend to enjoy with your children. It gives them the opportunity to express themselves through their creativity. I’m always amazed and terribly proud of their masterpieces. Recently we made a bird feeder for the garden and the time before that we designed a Christmas card that I copied and sent to the extended family and our friends. Another very fun and creative way to spend the weekend is to do portraits of one another. I suggested this as a one-off activity but my kids found it so hilarious we have done it several times since.

Kids HelpingImage source

  1. Gardening
    I think I’m quite lucky in that I don’t need to persuade my kids to help me with the gardening; they truly love it. So much so that Santa left them some child-friendly gardening tools in their stockings this year. Most children will enjoy the responsibility of their own patch of the garden. They have total control over the types of plants and how to arrange them. They are also in charge of watering and maintaining their patch. There are many easy to follow plant your own kits that are suitable for both young and older children.
  1. Reading
    Another family favorite of ours is spending some time together, reading. Even though we are all absorbed in our own novels, just being in each others company feels like quality family time. It’s also a great opportunity to unwind together after a long week and make some headway with your latest read. Alternatively, we pop on a funny film or TV show.

So, those are my top 7 weekend family activities. I hope that you take some inspiration from this article.

Do you have some of your own favorite family weekend activities to share?

Tips for Teaching Water Safety at Bath Time

Colton was a little bug and we had no issues with him and water … except that he wanted to just jump in and had NO FEAR of water :-)  But I did a lot of these things, not even knowing the benefits, so that is probably why :-)
Colton in pool

Some of the first steps parents need to take to teach their children potentially lifesaving water skills can begin just a few weeks after birth. Instead of treating bath time as a chore, parents can use it as an opportunity to teach their infants and young children how to be comfortable and safe in water by following these tips:

Tips for Teaching Water Safety at Bath Time

  • Do not rely on plastic baby tubs as the only bath time option. Showering with baby can help accustom him/her to the feeling of water splashing down his/her face and help with learning to breathe in water.
  • Fill a regular bathtub with enough water so you can hold your baby in it and float baby on his/her back. Hold baby behind the shoulders and cup the head so baby can’t turn his or her mouth into the water.  This will help baby learn how it feels to have water in his/her ears and teach that it is possible to breathe in the water when doing a back float.
  • Before you pour water over your baby’s head and into his or her eyes and ears, give a cue that the water is about to come splashing down. This helps stop babies from being startled and associating water on their faces with being scared and uncertain.
  • Blowing bubbles helps babies learn they are in control of their breath and makes them comfortable with putting their face in water. Teach children to blow bubbles on cue and make it fun by blowing different types of bubbles.

For more information on USSSA, details on becoming a member of the nation’s leading swim school organization, or to find a USSSA affiliated swim school near you, visit: http://www.usswimschools.org.

Credit: Thank you Sue Mackie, Executive Director of the United States Swim School Association for providing these tips!