MonthJuly 2017

Summer Flowers 2017

I usually share my gardening adventures each summer. Here’s a peek at this year’s flowers.

Since we went on vacation at the beginning of summer, I held off on planting until mid-June. It was hard to wait, but important. Because I waited, I didn’t get any pansies this year. I mostly found petunias when it was time to shop. They are always a nice pop of color, though.

Things are a little behind where they’d normally be, but they will be beautiful by the end of summer. I’ll enjoy them along the way.

I started my flowerbed almost ten years ago with some plants shared from friends and family. Now there isn’t much room for anything new. It’s fun to see how it’s matured. Now onto the maintenance (aka weeding)…

My Takeaway: Sometimes waiting is the best approach. You can give things the attention they deserve.

10 Adult Products for Parents of Young Children

We all know there is a ton of gear for young children that makes life easier, from travel systems to sippy cups. Here is my list of adult items that also make life easier with young ones.

1. Soft-Close Toilet Seat
Once your child starts potty training, they are going to start moving the lid. We found out pretty quickly that the slamming/dropping of the lid not only annoyed us, but also scared us thinking of those little body parts getting squished.

2. Extra Long Bathtub Mat
We started with a standard size bathmat, but I watched our busy baby slip in the front and back of the tub where it didn’t reach. This was a simple solution that let our little ones dance around and thoroughly enjoy tub time.

3. Across-the-Body Purse
I joke that as a mom I’m part pack mule. There is so much to carry when you have little ones. I found that a purse with a strap that can go across your body will stay put while you’re hauling an infant and all their gear.

4. Touch Lamps
I love touch lamps. I had one growing up, and it always seemed to work like magic. As an exhausted parent, I still love them. Your baby wakes you up in the middle of the night, and you need a little light to investigate the problem, just reach out and touch it, no brain power required.

5. Large Capacity Washer and Dryer
Children can be disgusting. Need I say more? A large capacity helps you wash fewer loads and spend less time doing laundry.

6. Washable Rug
Once your baby starts rolling over, the changing table becomes a dangerous place. We used a washable rug on the floor as our safer changing location.

7. Closet Organizer
I think a simple closet organizer is a great way to both see what all you have for your child in a glance and to start giving them the independence to choose clothes. Not only does this help bring the clothes to their level, but they can see what is there without pulling everything out into a pile on the floor.

8. Artwork Frames/Bulletin Board
Managing a child’s artwork quickly becomes a huge task. One of my favorite ways to display it is in their rooms with a frame or bulletin board. I love these frames for quickly switching pictures.

9. Fan/Humidifier
I am a big believer in white noise for helping little ones to sleep better. While you could use a white noise machine, you likely have a fan or humidifier on hand, and they work too. We use both, based on the season.

10. Rubber Trunk Mat or Rubber Car Floormats
As I said in number 5, children can be disgusting. If you’re out and about when it happens, it’s nice to have a safe place to put that mess until you get home.

My takeway: Anything that makes life as a parent easier is worth it!

(Some of these links are Amazon affliate links.)

Five Ways I’m Encouraging Creativity in My Kids

As I’ve watched my kids develop, I’ve seen some amazing ideas flow out of their little heads. They have literally blown my mind with their creativity. It’s already in their minds. I just want to keep it going. Here are five things I’m doing to nurture it.

1. Let them pick their own clothes – I read an article years ago about encouraging young children to be creative. One of the tips that has stuck with me is to let your child pick their own clothes. This not only gives them a job and teaches them independence, it lets them explore what they like. Do I get so really “great” outfits at my house? Oh yay! We sneak photos and hide laughter. It’s an easy way to develop their sense of self.

2. Encourage them to makeup their own games – We have had a lot of fun over the years making up our own games, and it is such a great creativity exercise. We love to take existing game pieces and make up our own way of using them. We’ve made our own character cards and powers. We’ve made our own game boards for existing pieces. We’ve just changed the rules to existing games.

3. Keep craft materials available to them – Awhile ago, I realized that when my kids were having a great time being creative, my dining room table was covered in supplies. This drives me nuts after a bit. So, I purchased a three drawer table, and filled it with supplies: paper, markers, crayons, glue scissors, googly eyes, tape, pipe cleaners and more. It lives in the dining room where they like to work and is easy to access. They don’t have to bug me for supplies when they get an idea. And when they are done, there is a home for stuff.

4. Turn off the devices and let them to be bored – I’ve done this a few times recently, and I can’t even tell you how creative they become when they don’t know what to do. My kids have built cardboard dollhouses and hand cut all the accessories. They have built critters on top of a remote controlled car so it can chase you. They’ve “ice skated” around the kitchen floor on paper plates. I didn’t help think up any of this. I just point to the supplies they request.

5. Let them see me being creative – This is the statement every parent hates to hear: model the behavior. But it really works (and it’s good for you too). They can see what you enjoy and spin it into their own thing.

I used to save all my crafting for when my kids were asleep because I didn’t want them in my supplies. I didn’t want them wasting them. I really had to change my thought process on this one. Being creative is not wasteful. They’re just exploring the medium. I share some of my stuff, but not all. Some they have to ask to use or be supervised.

My takeaway: Nurture the creativity! It’s good for us all.

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