Planning Ahead for Vacations with Children 

Going on a vacation can be a relaxing and fulfilling experience if everything is properly planned and accounted for. Adversely, without the right preparation and resources, you could find yourself having a lot less fun than you might have expected. This is especially true when you’re bringing along the little ones. As we all know, children can be unpredictable at times (more often than not in fact), so planning ahead is the best way to get the most out of your trip without getting lost between tantrums and “I want this and that” urges. With that said, here are three tips you can use to plan a family vacation in advance:

1. Packing the Necessities

If you’re bringing the kids along, whether it be on a hike or a trip to the amusement park, it’s always best to have certain packing list necessities at hand, such as a first aid kit, handy snacks, a few changes of clothes, and accessories like hair brushes, sunglasses, and sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to give each of your kids a cell phone with geo-location features enabled, so you can easily communicate with and locate them in any setting; this is especially helpful for older kids who like to see some of the sights on their own.

2. Scheduling the Fun and Following Through

Most vacations only last between a few days to a month at the most, so you really should be scheduling the sightseeing in advance if you plan to get the most of your time. Children make it hard to stick to any kind of schedule, especially in new and exciting places, so make sure you educate the kids about the thing they’ll be doing for fun when they arrive at the destination. For example, you could hype up the greatness of the local water park you’re going to see. Adhering to a simple schedule and giving the kids events to look forward to will ensure that you don’t have as many unnecessary distractions.

3. Finding a Church in the Area

If you expect your trip to last longer than a few days, or if you’ll be on vacation on days when church is normally observed in your family, don’t be afraid to check out some of the local churches in the town you’re visiting. Staying true to your family values and religious traditions and connecting with local churchgoers while on vacation is a good way to strengthen the family bond and increase the memorability and meaningfulness of the trip overall. Some people shy away from visiting cathedrals and similar orthodox structures due to the negative misconceptions about Catholicism, but in turn they’re losing the opportunity to discover an interesting piece of the place’s cultural history.

One of the best ways to keep children engaged and also help them become more cultured young adults is to emphasize the importance of learning throughout the vacation. There has to be a balance between having carefree fun and actually gaining some insight from the visit.

How to Sleep Train your baby WITHOUT Crying it Out

First.  I am anti-Cry-It-Out.  I feel (and studies show) that letting your baby “cry it out” creates trust issues and leads your baby to believe that mommy isn’t coming to get me.  In my opinion, if my baby is crying he needs something.  Sometimes that something is attention, love, and just to be picked up- and that is fine.  He will only be little for so long and he needs love :-)

Caleb Cutie

I have a sleep training method that I used on Colton and Caleb and it works!  Caleb was waking up 3-4, sometimes 5 times at night.  I was tired and he wasn’t getting solid sleep like he needs so I decided it was time to sleep train him.

Step 1: Do your normal bed time routine, and make sure little one tops off with extra milk.

Step 2: Put him to bed as normal, where ever he normally sleeps, stick with that- no need to make too many changes at once.

Step 3:  When baby wakes up- tend to him.  Do what normally soothes him, but DO NOT FEED him. For Caleb, I gave him a pacifier and rocked him.  First standing, then in the rocking chair, then standing again.  The first night was rough.  He wanted to eat, but the reason he was waking during the night was because he was used to nursing so I needed to start spreading out the night time feedings.  He did go back to sleep- and mommy was there to comfort him.  Your presence is important so baby knows he isn’t alone.

So sweet sleepingStep 4:  Baby wakes up again… Feed him this time.  You also do not want to starve your baby.  If he is used to eating 3-5 times a night you can’t go from 5 times to 0, take baby steps and cut out 1-2 feedings at a time.

Step 5: Use your judgement!  I kept track of when Caleb woke up.  If he went to bed at 9 and woke up at 12 to eat, I would stick with cutting out that first feeding.  If he didn’t wake up until 4, I would feed him.  After he got down to 1-2 times waking at night consistently, I worked on using step 3 to cut the last feeding.

It worked!  Now Caleb is mostly sleeping through the night.  He will wake up, say once a night every week, mostly to look for his pacifier lol.  He is so cute, in the mornings, he wakes up, turns his mobile on, finds his pacifier and goes back to bed.  <3Boys Matching PJs

Your Ultimate Guide To Creating A Perfect Newborn Nursery

When you’re expecting a new baby, the wait for his arrival can be quite an anxious time. The instinct to nest can lead you to the desire to create the nursery well ahead of time. And you want it to be perfect. Even if you don’t yet know the gender of your child, you want his room to suit his personality and stimulate his imagination. Here’s your ultimate guide to creating that perfect nursery for your little bundle:


Newborns aren’t able to see much in the same way as we do, but they can feel different textures. Aim for a variety of toys that stimulate his senses. Lights that change, lots of different materials, and patterns can all intrigue and fascinate a little one. No toys should be in his bed at this age, but any mobiles and dangly toys he can pat will be perfect. There is also a good range of wrist buddies with safe velcro straps for him to enjoy when he’s awake.

Newborn Nursery
Jeltovski provided the pic


Your newborn will probably be sleeping in a Moses basket in your room with you for six weeks or so. They are convenient because you can carry the baby around the house without having to disturb his sleep. That way he is always with you wherever you are. In the nursery, make sure you have some space for the Moses basket alongside his cot bed. A cot bed should be adjustable so it can be lowered as he starts to sit and stand. Eventually, it will convert into his first bed.

Baby in Crib
Fviggiani provided the pic

Changing Station

A changing table or cabinet in the nursery is very handy for those non-urgent nappy changes. However, make sure you have a second mat for those occasions when it can’t wait, and you’re not in the nursery! Leaks happen, and they can be quite messy. Your newborn will need only cotton wool and warm water for clean-ups at first. Soon you’ll be ready to use baby wipes. You’ll also need a stash of nappy sacks and spare nappies. Powder doesn’t suit everyone, but there will undoubtedly be a time when some nappy rash cream will come in handy.

Changing Table
Phaewilk provided the pic


Many Moms choose neutral colors like whites, yellows or creams for the nursery walls. You can then add wall decals and pictures suitable for a small child. Cute animals and bears are popular. You can buy rugs bearing cute characters for him to lay on as well. Lighting should be as dim as possible. You might want to install a dimmer switch. You may also want black out curtains for daytime naps.

Electrical Items

It can be tempting to install lots of high-tech equipment in the nursery. You’ll want to know what the temperature is and have some soothing lullabies. Most nanny-cams or baby monitors have all this in one. That way you can watch baby sleeping while you get on with some chores. Some systems even monitor baby’s movements.

A fresh coat of paint and a new carpet are often the first things to go into a nursery. However, there is no rush to get it perfect, even after the baby is born. Take your time to enjoy creating your dream nursery.

A Haven for the Young Ones: Give the Kids a Cracking Bedroom in Your New Home

Kids Play Room

They say that an empty canvass is the scariest thing for an artist. Well, it’s almost the same dilemma with new homes. As parents, we usually have more interest in designing our kids’ room than our own. I myself love the idea of picking out soft colors and furnishing for my little ones.

Science has also proven that he environment helps kids grow, which is why it is important to give them a bedroom that helps their imagination fly. Here are some tips you can do that will make your kids love you and your new home even more.

Be Creative

Transforming your angel’s room into something magical does not require a lot of money, but a lot of creativity.

  • Pick a Theme

A child’s surroundings play a vital role in inspiring his or her dreams and inspirations. The first thing you should do is think of a setting that you want your child to grow up in. whether it be a pirate themed room, a space explorer room, or cowboy setting; your choice will affect how your child’s creativity will be sharpened. Pick a theme that best suits your child’s personality and then do your research on the possible design approach to achieve the theme you want.

  • Mini Art Galleries

Create a mini art gallery specifically designed for your child’s artistic taste. Post the photos of their previous artworks, their portraits and other memorable items. Choose a bright colored frame or any ornamental frame to help the items pop out from the wall. You can also recycle cardboard boxes by cutting them to letters, coating them with paint and adding them to the mini art gallery. Set a corner of the room to display their works of art.

Discover the wonders of websites with interior ideas

Interior ideas are shared today by designers on their blogs, if you do have a specific theme, you can easily search for your preferred design and pick the ideas that can be applied to your kids’ room.

  • Big Wall Decals and Vinyl Tiles

This is a constant design applied by designers. I saw the interior design transformation of my friend’s home. On one side of the room was the scenic view of the property, and on another side a big wall decal with pastel colored trees and bamboo grass were posted. It created a magnificent contrast with the windows making the room seem magical. My friend also gave the room a luxurious look with vinyl tile and the two things combined gave the whole house a very unique look.

Make them a part of the decorating process

Kids love to take part in anything you do. They are curious about the world and it would mean the world to them if you let them paint a corner, or pick the wall decal you plan on putting. There are a number of small tasks that can be delegated to your toddler. For a more magical feel, let them join in the adventure of decorating so they can fully appreciate their new  room. Let them hang the frames you picked, let them pick which photos to put.

Your angels will love whatever it is you give them, but they will feel loved more if you personalize a space that is fit for their own character and style. Your family is sure to enjoy a space made with love and care by each family member, because there’s no better way than doing things together.

Help Your Kids Learn to Love Their Bedrooms

Kids Room
Image Found at

If you’re a parent, you’ll be able to attest to the fact that there’s nothing more difficult than trying to convince your kids to go to sleep. No matter what you try to do, it seems like the time they should be flagging is the time they suddenly come to life. All of a sudden, they want to play games, sing songs, and perform dances with you. This, as you already know, is a total nightmare. Your kids being in bed is just about the only time you can get stuff done.

You simply haven’t got the time to wait around for them to wear themselves out. Don’t worry. There are things you can do to make sure they go to sleep on time. Not only that; they could even look forward to going to bed. Does that seem like a foreign concept to you? It doesn’t need to be. All you have to do is invest a little bit of time and money into their bedrooms, and they won’t be able to wait for bedtime to roll around. Don’t believe me? Try some of these ideas on for size.

The Water Bed

There’s something strangely alluring about waterbeds, even amongst adults. For reasons I’m not quite sure of, they just seem so inviting. And it’s the exact same for kids, too. They’ll be filled with excitement at the prospect of going to sleep on their very own water mattress. It’s worth keeping in mind that you’ll need to keep on top of its maintenance, though. You can buy waterbed accessories at

Just remember to make sure that they don’t jump up and down on it quite too much!

The Themed Bed

There’s nothing kids love than an array of colours, shapes and characters that they recognize. Think about it. They’re surrounded by vivid imagery and their own bold imaginations all day. Of course, bedtime seems like a bore by comparison. How can you translate that feeling of fun into the rooms? That’s the main thing you need to consider.

One of the quickest ways to achieve that is by incorporating a themed bed. Think about the things that your child loves. If they’re anything like my little one, they’ll have one favourite show above all others. That’s the holy grail of their obsession. Use it to your advantage. Do they love Disney Pixar’s Cars, for instance? Then turn his or her bed into Lightning McQueen. Pick one up from


I know, we always dread when it comes time to redecorate, but putting together your kids room can actually be a lot of fun. Getting in touch with your inner child will free your mind of your boring adult worries for a few days, at least. It’s crucial that you keep on top of decorating in kids rooms, as their tastes change rapidly as they get older. That could go some way to explaining why they aren’t so interested in their old bedrooms anymore! Check out my kids bedroom design tips.

A Mom’s Guide To Making Vacation Packing Easier

It might be winter, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan a vacation. Whether you are toying with the idea of jetting off for some winter sun or hitting the ski slopes, one thing might be putting you off, and that’s packing. Packing for yourself is stressful enough, let alone when you have little ones to pack for as well.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love traveling with my family, but when it comes to packing, I often struggle. It’s not a case of just popping a few bits and bobs in a suitcase, oh no, when you have kids there is so much more to it than that. Luckily, while packing for family trips can be stressful, you can make the process easier for yourself.

trunkiImage source

Start by writing a list

For each family member who you are packing for, start off by writing a list of all the items that you need to pack. This should include everything from underwear and shoes to hair brushes and toiletries. Take your time making the list to ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Once you’ve got a list for each child, you can then use it to locate every item that you need to pack. Don’t leave it until a couple of days before the trip to start your packing because the chances are that you’ll have some washing to do.

Focus on clothing first

Once you have the list of items that need packing, the first step is focusing on the clothing side of things. Get all the items together so that you can check what needs washing, and get organized. Aim to get all clothes washed, dry, and packed, at least five days before you are due to travel, to prevent anything from being forgotten.

While most items you can clean yourself, you may have some bits and bobs that require hand or dry cleaning. To make getting these garments cleaned a little easier, hire a dry cleaning pickup and delivery service. By hiring a company to deal with your dry cleaning needs for you, you won’t have to stress about it. You simply have to be in for collection and drop off, and that’s it.

Lay out everything that needs to be packed

Once all clothing is clean and dry, the next step is to lay out everything that needs to be packed. By laying everything out, you can see exactly, what needs to go in each suitcase, and can work out a way to make it all fit.

For many of us, the number one worry when traveling via plane is that our cases will be over the weight limit. To reduce your stress, weigh each case before you go, to ensure that none of them are over the limit. (You’ll feel much less stressed out if you know that your cases won’t incur you extra charges.)

Packing for a family trip may be stressful, but don’t let it stop you from being excited. Follow the tips above to make packing easier, and you can ensure that your packing, as well as your trip, goes to plan.

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Biscotti and Kate Mack

Family (and Friends) Tree

Here’s a no-fuss way to display all the holiday cards that arrive in your mailbox each day. And don’t worry: Washi tape pulls right off the wall without damaging the paint. What to do Use a pencil and yardstick to mark the three points of a large triangle (ours measures 5 x 3¼ feet). Apply ¾-inch-wide washi tape, as desired, to create the tree outline, and add a trunk that’s centered at the bottom. Use removable mounting squares to hang the cards and a sparkly pom-pom on top.

Card Tree

Fingerprint Heart

This family-created artwork makes a colorful memento of all the guests at your holiday dinner. Lightly pencil a simple shape onto a large piece of watercolor or other sturdy white paper (we made a heart, but a leaf, star, or tree is nice, too). Lightly trace a guideline or two below your drawing, then write guests’ names along it with a marker. When family members arrive, ask them to choose a stamp-pad color and make scattered fingerprints inside the shape, as well as one just above their name. After the big day is over, frame your new artwork.

Finger Print Heart

Great Ideas for a Holiday Centerpiece

It is December and Christmas is here! I know a lot of people have their holiday decorations up already. I’m so excited for the holidays and have a few craft ideas to try out. I’ve got a few ideas for you, though, if you are looking for the perfect holiday centrepiece for your table.

Use Christmas Candy

A cute but simple idea for a centrepiece is to use candy. A clear vase filled with candy canes would look so cute. Or how about little red and white mints? Using candy is the ultimate no-fuss arrangement and there are so many options. How about using marshmallows too? You could tie a ribbon around the vase and voila!

Christmas Tree Baubles

If you have some spare baubles from the Christmas tree decorating, they can look cute turned into a centrepiece. In a large vase or a hurricane candle holder, place baubles of different shapes and sizes for a varied look. I think the best effect is using baubles of a similar colour but slightly different. If there are some that are plain, and some that are striped perhaps, it can add a lovely textured look. Some great candle holders can be bought online at Koch.

Opt for Using a Tray

Using a tray as the main part of your centrepiece can look so striking. It makes the centrepiece easily portable, but also adds different layers and textures. I think the best look using trays, is choosing a tray that is a different shape to your table. For example, if your dining room table is square or rectangular, a square or rectangular tray will look boxy. A circular tray would be a much better option. Likewise, if you have a circular table, a square tray would look the best. If you have a mirrored tray in at home, this one would look perfect to use as the base. No need to splash out to buy one of those, though!

Christmas Center Piece
image credit

Go for Classic Colours

For a beautiful setting go for traditional holiday colours. Red and green can look beautiful. I think going for a few different sized vases can look cute. If they were filled with something red like cranberries, you could get some holly or other green foliage from outside, to wrap around the vases. When going for more than one vase, I think it is always best to go for an odd number, rather than even. It just looks so much nicer!

Use a Table Runner

I think most people will have a table cloth as part of their table setting on Christmas day. Not everyone will have a table runner, though. Table runners can look stunning though. Choose a contrasting colour to the table cloth, but one that compliments the centrepiece, and your table will be set.

I hope these tips are useful to you and you’ll find one of the ideas for a centrepiece that will work for you and your home. I hope you and  your family have a very happy holiday season!