Five Time-Out Tips for Toddlers

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You guys. Amelia is a totally different kid than her brother, Lucas. Amelia is like a hurricane. She is into everything and wants to do everything. It’s like she has forgotten that she is a toddler. She wants to be a big kid. I love her spunk and independence, but sometimes it’s also a battle to get her to follow directions or rules. Let’s just say that we have become very experienced with “time-outs”. Today, I wanted to share with you a few time-out tips that have worked really well with us!

Choose a time-out spot. One of the most important things to consider when putting your child in time-out is the place. Pick one spot in your house and consistently use the same spot. It should be a place that you can easily keep an eye on your child and that is free of all distraction and noise. We use a personalized time-out with love stool from Personal Creations that is typically placed in the foyer hall. What I like about using a stool is that it’s movable just in case the time-out spot has to change in a pinch. Once you have the spot, show your child and explain the type of behavior that will result in a time-out. Also, explain what good behavior looks like.




Time Out with Love Stool from Personal Creations

Timing. You know what they say…timing is everything and that rings true for time-outs too. Time-outs that are either too short or too long are not effective. Pediatricians recommend one minute per year of your child’s age. Amelia is 2 years old so her time-out time is 2 minutes. We set a timer in the kitchen and she knows that when the timer goes off – time-out is over. And…when time out is over…time out is over. It’s a clean slate for the child.

Be Swift and Consistent. If your child is misbehaving, give her a warning and remind her what good behavior looks like. If the bad behavior continues after the warning, immediately take her to time-out. It’s important that you don’t wait until after she finishes dinner or you get back home, etc. It has to be right away and it has to be consistent to be effective. If you’re out and your child needs a time-out, improvise by coming up with a new time-out spot that is safe (of course!) and away from as many distractions as possible.

Keep Your Cool. It’s important that when your child is given a time-out that you get down to their eye level and use a firm, calm voice without yelling or losing your cool. Look, I get it. Your child is misbehaving and it’s their tenth trip to time-out and you’re frustrated…been there! However, it’s important to show your child that you are in control – this will model good behavior for your kids too!

Praise Your Child. Just like when you let your child know when they are misbehaving, praise your child when they are being good! Make sure to be specific! EX. “Amelia, you are being so nice to your brother! I love to see you both play so nicely and share your toys.”

Five Tips for Night Time Baby Feeding

*This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Playtex Baby. However, all opinions are 100% my own.


With Amelia at the hospital right after she was born

Whether you bottle feed or breast feed, nighttime feedings can be tough so today I thought I’d share a few things that worked for our family when Lucas and Amelia were at that stage.

Mom Tip General #6

1. Try cluster feeding your baby. This is giving your baby extra feeds several times before bed so that baby has a full tummy and is able to sleep a longer stretch.

2. Dream-feed your baby. This is waking your baby up before you go to bed. We actually did this with Lucas who was bottle-fed. Mike would go to bed before me and I would stay up and feed Lucas  around 12am and then go to bed. Mike would then get up around 4-5am when Lucas would wake up and feed him. We would often flip the order too. This way, we both got pretty decent sleep and weren’t dead the next day. Even if you breastfeed, dream-feeding can be helpful because babies typically go to bed early so this can allow you to get at least a few hours of uninterrupted sleep before you need to nurse again.

3. Keep nighttime feedings focused on feeding only. Keep lights dimmed or turned off. Speak quietly and avoid playing with baby (I know this is very difficult). You want your baby to know that this is still sleep time. I can remember cherishing these moments of peace  – the whole house quiet and asleep and my warm, cuddly baby in my arms.

4. Co-sleeping can help because your baby is right there next to you in a co-sleeper so you won’t necessarily need to get out of bed and baby may stay half-asleep throughout the entire feeding. However, please make sure to research this option as there are safety precautions that should be taken.

5. If your baby needs to have a diaper change, do it before you feed him. That way your baby has time to get sleepy again while feeding. Click HERE for safety guidelines to consider via Dr. Sears.

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What We Learned On Our 19 Day Family Vacation – Travel Tips

*This is part of a sponsored campaign. All opinions are my own.

We just got back from a very long trip – 19 days  to be exact. We went to Miami, Key West and California. We drove to Miami, which is a 12 hour drive from Atlanta, including stops. We flew to California from Miami, which is a 5 1/2 hour flight. All with two kids. One of those kids being almost 1 year old. We are crazy, for sure!

Checking in to our flight to California

Checking in to our flight to California

Surprisingly though, traveling with kids wasn’t that bad. I mean – don’t get me wrong – we definitely had some bumps along the way. For instance, on our way back from California we were waiting to board our flight when Amelia had a nuclear meltdown for several minutes. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE was staring at us. You know they had to thinking “OMG, I hope that baby is not sitting next to me on the plane!” For a brief moment, I wanted to cry, but then I just started laughing because seriously…what could I do? I couldn’t reason with a 1 year old. I tried my best to console her until she quieted down, but besides that – there wasn’t anything I could do.

For the most part though, everything went pretty smoothly and we had a great time! The key was preparation! Below are a few things that we learned along the way. Hope they help your family travel easier this spring and summer!

Amelia on the plane with daddy

Amelia on the plane with daddy

Mom Tip General - 4

  • When flying with a baby, I recommend booking her a seat even if she is young enough to be a lap child (2 and under). We didn’t do this so that we could save money and ended up regretting it. Amelia was very squirmy on the flight and it would have definitely been a better flight if she’d had her own seat (sitting on a carseat, of course).  If you can’t book your baby a seat, then make sure that you are sitting next to someone you know as a buffer from other people who your baby will inevitably want to grab at LOL.
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! Whether you are flying or traveling by car, be prepared with lots of snacks! I don’t know what it is about food, but it can buy you a few minutes of sanity almost every time.
  • Pack small toys that you can pull out throughout your flight or road trip. It’s a good idea to have a few new things that will be exciting and hold their attention for longer periods (look in clearance or dollar bins).
  • For older kids, pack a portable DVD player, movies, iPad, iPod or other electronic gaming device, books, coloring and sticker books, etc.
  • If traveling by plane, make sure to get to the airport early so that you can get checked-in, check your bags, go through security and get to your gate with plenty of time. This will lower your stress level and start your trip off on the right foot! You don’t want to be running in an airport with kids in tow.
  • If traveling by car, get on the road as early as possible. We like to leave at 4 or 5 am so that it’s still dark and the kids will sleep for the first few hours.
  • Be flexible, stay positive, and know that kids will be kids. There will likely be bumps (read: meltdowns) along the way, but it’s ok! Breathe!
Lucas opening his Disneyland goody bag on travel day

Lucas opening his Disneyland goody bag on travel day




For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!


What are your family travel tips and tricks?


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Mom Tip #3: Family Scheduling Tips


Lucas’ chore chart

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One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is juggling everything. By everything I mean the usual suspects. For us, that is sports (baseball and karate), being a team mom, hubby is the t-ball coach, school drop offs and pick ups, being a business owner, breakfast, packing lunches, cooking dinner, and so on. You know the drill. Organization is the key to keeping it all together…as much as possible, at least.

Britax Frontier 85 SICT 4

Lucas on his way to a baseball game

Today, I want to share some of our go-to family organization tips. Hope that they help your family too!

Mom Tip General-3

1. Plan your week ahead of time. Both Mike and I sit down every Sunday and talk about the upcoming week. We figure out who will be doing drop-offs and pick-ups, appointments, sports schedules, work schedules, etc. This helps our week run smoother because we work as a team and ensures that our week runs smoother. We then take our schedule and post it on the refrigerator. Yes, we also have it in our phones, but it helps when we can reference it throughout the day and the entire family can look at it too.

2. Get help. Whether it’s sharing carpool duties with another parent at your child’s school or enlisting your teen to help mow the grass or your preschooler to help load the dishwasher. At our house, Lucas has his own chore chart that we update with responsibilities weekly. The point is – don’t try to do it alone!

3. Make a menu. Plan breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ahead of time. Write it down and place it where it will be visible and top of mind (like on the refrigerator). This makes breakfasts easy and quick to prepare because I don’t have to scan my brain for ideas. Lunches are

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easy to pack because again – it’s already thought out for me. It’s especially helpful for dinners because I know when to pull out the chicken to thaw or what can be prepped ahead of time to ensure that dinner is on the table. I can also plan easier dinners for sports nights or nights when I may have to work later than usual.

4. Do as much as you can the night before. Pack lunches, lay out clothes, prep breakfast, make sure ingredients for the next night’s dinner are thawed, pack sports bags, etc.

5. Don’t be afraid to let things go. What I mean is that oftentimes, we over schedule ourselves and our children. If you feel like your schedule is out of control then it may be time to drop or pause a few activities for a while. For example, now that Spring baseball season has started, Lucas has 3-4 baseball activities per week (including practices and games). I could see that between school, baseball, and karate (which is twice per wee), Lucas was getting burned out (as were we). As a result, we decided to pause karate until the summer when baseball is over. Now, we have freed up some time to…just breathe.

6. Schedule in some down time. Our schedules are way too hectic these days! We need to have time to unwind, relax, and bond as a family. So whether it’s planning a movie night, game night or going on a walk at the park – plan some downtime.

Goofing off at the park during some much-needed downtime after school

Goofing off at the park during some much-needed downtime after school



For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!

What are your family scheduling tips?

Mom Tip #2: Diaper Changing Tips and Tricks


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Babies are messy little beings. There is the spit-up and drool and spills and diaper blowouts and so on. I mean, when Lucas was a baby – getting “sprayed on” during a diaper change was kind of a regular occurrence LOL. With Amelia, she is the squirmer. I have to find distractions for her during each and every diaper change or she will grab stuff from the changing table or worst – dive head first OFF the changing table. She is an “adventurous” baby!


Amelia on her changing table

In fact, diapering a baby is a special mom art form, right?! There are all of these little tricks that we pull out of our arsenal to get through every diaper change. So today, I want to share some of my tried and true diaper changing tips and tricks!

Diaper Changing Tips

Use the right diaper for your baby! A diaper shouldn’t chafe, rub your baby’s skin in any way, or cause diaper rashes. We used Pampers Swaddlers with Lucas and we do with Amelia too. They are so soft and comfy!

Diapering a boy? If you are diapering a baby boy, be prepared with a “pee-pee tee-pee” or a little washcloth or even wipe that you can place over his private parts to prevent spraying. Trust me on this!

Have several diapering stations around your home – that way you don’t have to go up and down the stairs to the changing table every time your baby needs to be changed. We love our  Playtex® Diaper Genie™ SmartCaddy™ which holds all diapering essentials and is easy to tote around the house as needed.

Always, always keep one hand on your baby when diapering! You should also use the buckle that comes on your changing pad, but even if buckled – still keep a hand on your baby. Babies love to squirm (like my Amelia)!

Be prepared with everything on hand. You want the diapering process to be quick so you don’t want to be searching for wipes or diaper rash ointment.

Have distractions at the ready. If your baby is anything like Amelia, then you will need to have little books or toys to distract them during the diaper change. I keep small items in a drawer in her changing table that I quickly pull out and hand her during a diaper change. This keeps her distracted, which equals less squirming!


For additional parenting tips and tricks, make sure to visit Playtex Baby Mom Trust!


What are your diaper changing tips and tricks?


Five Simple Ways to Make Time for Breakfast

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As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, mornings for most moms are busy and hectic and rushed. I know that I am always looking for that extra minute here and there to get things done in the morning. Truthfully, there are mornings where it’s tough to make time for anything – let alone breakfast. Sometimes – we are literally eating as we run out the door or even in the car on the way to school. But – one thing is for sure – we always eat breakfast. It is important for all of us – kids and parents alike!



Breakfast prep the night before - all we have to do is pour cereal and milk into bowls!

Breakfast prep the night before – all we have to do is pour cereal and milk into bowls!

Unfortunately, not everyone is eating breakfast though. A recent study – “What America (Tw)Eats” – conducted by National got milk? Milk Mustache Campaign in conjunction with digital analytics tool Crimson Hexagon has found that more than 50% of people who tweet in Spanish attribute missing or skipping breakfast in the morning due to lack of time. The “What America (Tw)Eats” study was based entirely on the candid tweets Spanish speakers pushed out over the past two years about what they eat (or don’t) for breakfast each morning.

What America Tweats_ENGLISH

The truth is that whether you are a Spanish speaker or not – moms can always use more time. So today I want to share some ways time-saving morning tips – that way you can always have time for breakfast!

Five Simple Ways to Make Time for Breakfast


1. Start the night before. Yep! If you want to have more time in the morning, it pays off big time to prepare as much as you can the night before. Pack lunches, set out clothes, have backpacks ready by the front door, and you can even set the table for breakfast. That way in the morning – all you have to worry about is getting ready and eating breakfast.

2. Make your breakfast count! Adding a glass of milk to your breakfast is a great way to add in protein (8 grams of protein per serving – that’s more than an egg!) and it’s as easy as pouring into a cup!

3. Make a simple breakfast menu and attach it to the refrigerator. This is helpful for us because I don’t have to think in the morning. I just look at the short list and pick what we’re having that morning. Or, you can decide the night before and make sure to prep the appropriate dishes and utensils (plates for eggs, bowls for cereal, etc) before going to bed.

4. Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! Simple and quick breakfast ideas below:

    • A healthful whole-grain cereal with milk and fruit provides you with whole grains, fiber, and protein.
    • Oatmeal is quick to make! Make sure to make it with milk instead of water to increase the protein.
    • Smoothies made with milk, yogurt and frozen fruit are delicious, super quick to make, and can be enjoyed in the car on your way to school drop off or work. Lucas LOVES smoothies!

5. Eat breakfast on-the-go. If you don’t have time to eat at home – you can pack a small baggie of cereal, pour the milk into a to-go cup, and grab the fruit – eat it to-go in the car. This is perfect for kids! Smoothies are also perfect on-the-go breakfasts.

Get More Tips & Win Milk Coupons!

For additional breakfast tips, make sure to visit From now until February 17th, 2014, everyday 2,000 people will win a buy one get one free milk coupon. See if today is your lucky day! Enter every day for an opportunity to win at

Mom Tip #1: Be a YES Mom!



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Amelia turned 9 months old yesterday! It is amazing how fast time goes by, isn’t it? These past 9 months with her have been so wonderful though. We are all in love with her – her big brother included!

You want to know something funny though? In some ways, I feel like I am a new mom all over again. I mean, it’s been 6 years since Lucas was a baby! I have had to dust off our old baby books, research again, and try to remember what we did with Lucas. It’s all starting to come back to me though – thankfully! On the other hand, parenting a baby the second time around is also much more relaxed. I feel like…”I can do this!” I am not as worried about germs and milestones and so on. I used to stress about everything with Lucas!

With Baby Amelia

With Baby Amelia


With my first baby, Lucas

With my first baby, Lucas

Over the next year, I hope to put all of my parenting knowledge to good use as a member of the Playtex Baby Mom Trust. It is made up of a virtual network of parenting experts that will be documenting their lives with their precious little ones and sharing their experiences with you. As all moms know, there isn’t any one right way to parent though so we want to hear from YOU as well! I’ll be sharing more info about the Playtex Baby Mom Trust soon, but in the meantime I’d love to share my first tip below.




Mom Tip #1

The first tip that I want to share with you is one that I learned when Lucas was a baby. I read an article that talked about being a “yes mom”. It really impacted me and shaped how I parented Lucas from the time he was a baby to now. Essentially the idea is to create a more positive household by saying yes whenever possible (note I said whenever possible – sometimes you just have to say no). Here’s an example – let’s say Lucas asks if he can have ice cream after school. I could say “No, it will ruin your appetite for dinner” OR I can say “Yes, you can definitely have ice cream after dinner.” The idea is to let your kids feel empowered and create a more positive environment – for them and for the grown ups. It feels good to say yes instead of NO! all the time!

This same concept can also apply to babies and toddlers. Amelia is at that age where she gets into EVERYTHING. I mean, this is how she learns. She wants to touch and feel and put everything in her mouth. The world is her oyster. However, some things are dangerous for her or there are some things that I simply do not want her to have. Obviously, that’s where baby-proofing comes into play, but we also like to leave some spaces “un-baby-proofed”. For example, all of the kitchen cabinets have child locks except one, which is for Amelia. It is filled with real kitchen items that are ok for her to use and play with. She loves being able to open her cabinet and explore the contents. It’s a way of telling her YES.

Amelia playing in "her" kitchen cabinet.

Amelia playing in “her” kitchen cabinet.

I’d love to hear some of your parenting tips – how do you create a more positive household for your family?



Ten Ways To Lower Stress During the Holidays

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The holidays are my favorite time of the year. There’s so much to love! I love the baking, the twinkling lights, the chill in the air, the spirit of giving, Christmas music, and all of the fun events.


But…there is a downside to the holidays. There are parties to plan, events to attend, travel arrangements to be made, packing, traffic, overcrowded malls, blown holiday shopping budgets, and more. It really can be a stressful time too. There is so much to do and so much going on – it can take a toll on your energy and state-of-mind. So, here are a few tips to hopefully help you lower your stress this holiday season…

Ten Ways To Lower Stress During the Holidays

1. Prioritize. Decide what is important to you and your family this holiday season and stick to those types of activities and events.

2. Don’t overcommit yourself. Learn to say no! It really is OK to say no!

3. Plan ahead. This includes travel, events, shopping lists, etc. I find that when I plan ahead and am prepared, I am not as stressed.

4. Spend time with your loved ones. This is the reason for the season, right?

5. To reduce financial stress, plan out a holiday shopping budget and stick to it. The holidays are not about gifts – there are other ways to give than material things.

6. Enlist help. Ask your kids and husband to help with wrapping gifts, cleaning the house for company, packing for the holiday trip, etc.

7. Do something for YOU. Spend some time this holiday season doing something nice for yourself. It could be a manicure, some quiet time reading a book…whatever makes you happy.

8. Give back. I find that anytime that I volunteer and give back to our community, I always feel uplifted. This is a perfect time to involve the whole family!

9. Let go. What I mean is that the holidays are not about having the perfect menu or holiday decorations or Christmas tree so … just let go and have fun!

10. Stay healthy. During the holiday season, it’s easy to skip exercise, get less sleep, etc. It’s important to keep both ourselves and our kids healthy so that they can actually enjoy the holidays! But, if your children do get sick, try PediaCare Children’s Fever Reducer Plus Multi-Symptom Cold With Acetaminophen for kids ages 4-11. It takes care of fever, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, cough, and stuffy nose – pretty much everything!


Enter to Win and iPad Mini!

Make sure to check out the “Squeezable Moments” sweepstakes! Parents can upload a photo via PediaCare’s Facebook page of a “cute, tender or silly moment” of their child for chance to win an iPad mini.

And, check out the video below!