Memorial weekend is the unofficial start to summer which means more time outdoors! Whether your summer plans include a trip to the zoo, an amusement park, a vacation to Disney World or exploring your own city, one thing is for sure – if you have a little one you need an umbrella stroller.
Umbrella strollers are lightweight and compact so they fit in any vehicle. Our Kolcraft Tour Sport Reclining Umbrella stroller is perfect for summer trips.
Some features we love:
- Parent cup holder
- Storage bag that holds all your gear
- Reclining padded seat back
- Sun-shade canopy that adjusts to block the sun
Kolcraft is giving one lucky reader this stroller for their summer adventures! All you have to do to enter is:
- Fan us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (if you do both, you get two entries!)
- Leave a comment on our blog that you follow us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us where you want to use this stroller this summer.
The winner will be chosen on Tuesday June 1st by Random.org
It’s seems like you were just bringing your baby home from the hospital and now she is graduating Preschool or Kindergarten! While she may not be moving out for college, Preschool and Kindergarten graduation is a milestone and a time to celebrate all that your little one has accomplished and all that is before her. Some simple ideas to celebrate:
- Ice Cream Social. Invite over a few of your child’s friends to celebrate by making sundaes. Create an ice-cream bar by buying a few flavors of ice-cream or sorbet, fruit (bananas and fresh strawberries are usually a hit), chopped nuts, whipped cream and other toppings. Let the kids create their own sundaes. They will have lots of giggles making their creations and fun eating their yummy concoctions.
- Park Play. Celebrate at your child’s favorite park by inviting some friends, preparing a few snacks and letting them play on the swings, slides, etc. It is a simple and free way to let them get together and just have fun. Buy a graduation button for your child at your local party store so he can feel like the “distinguished guest” at his party.
- Coloring Party. Head to your local Dollar Store and pick up some crayons and coloring books. Invite your child’s friends over to a coloring party. Cover the table they will color on with a disposable tablecloth so you don’t have to worry about your furniture being marked up and let the kids color away! End the party with graduation cupcakes.
We love Lil Sugar site for other graduation party themes and activities.
Is your child graduating from Preschool or Kindergarten? What ways are you celebrating?
- Use coupons effectively. Write out your grocery list before you look at coupons so you don’t end up buying something just because you have a coupon. We love Thrifty and Chic Mom site and Coupon Mom for great coupons of the week.
- Drink water. Soda and specialty drinks can really add up. Make an effort to drink tap water during the day. The savings really add up when you compare the cost to what you would spend on soda and specialty drinks. Plus there is the added benefit of how good it is for your health!
- Make your own snacks. Yes, the packaging of individual snacks is fun and convenient, but it can drain your bank account. Try making your own snacks or buying snacks in bulk and dividing them up in snack-size baggies. To save money and the environment, divide snacks into reusable snack containers.
- Double your recipes when you cook. When you shop, purchase twice the ingredients for one or two recipes. You will pay less per pound (especially with meat) when you purchase a larger amount for doubling your recipe. Freeze the extra servings for when you are too busy to cook a full meal. Not only will this save you money at the grocery store, it will save you money since you won’t have to order out when you are too busy to cook.
- Check out your local consignment shops. Clean out your closet and bring the clothes you aren’t wearing to a local consignment shop. Not only can you make money off reselling your clothes, you can also save money by shopping for you and your children at a consignment shop. You might be surprised at what you will find – even designer items!
What money saving tips do you have?
We have had quite an array of moms on our Mom Monday this month. This past month we met first-time moms, single moms, moms of large families and today we meet a mom whose “mommy heart” has extended way past the borders of the USA all the way to China! Meet Mollie – an adoptive mom who reminds us what true motherhood is all about.
What inspired you to look into adoption?
I had a deep desire in my heart always to be a mom & that desire was in my heart for a very long time… I always knew I wanted to experience raising a child to be a kind, loving, responsible adult. Being one of 6, I did not always get exactly what I needed in terms of nurturing, yet I was loved like no other. I just knew I could give the nurturing necessary to a little one and I was determined to have that in my life. I married later at 42, my options soon became very clear for me… adoption was the way we were going to form our family.
My heart went to the girls of China when I heard that they were not the first choice for some families. I knew they “should be” first choice and I felt a tug in my heart to become a mother of one of those girls that had been abandoned in China.
What has been your biggest surprise about your journey to being an adoptive mom?
The amount of scrutiny one goes through, the amount of private information needed and the amount of paper one must provide for the process!
What has your biggest challenge?
Trusting myself. Feeling my instincts and believing that they are right when making choices for those “guiding moments” for my daughter…. Picking the battles so to speak. It is constant decision making, thinking on my feet and having conviction to the choices as to guiding.
Thankfully I have a faith that helps me have a solid sense of grace when working with my daughter…
Children read our energy and they can tell whether our limits are real or whether we will be willing to be broken… so it is more than just the words it is the real deal… I feel I have to have all my wits about me and really know that I am the mom and I am doing what’s best for her always.
It is all about consistent limits and getting on my knees looking her in the eyes so she can see my love even thought I am having to set limits.
That conviction and energy is something-to keep up one needs to take true care of oneself, mentally, spiritually, physically.
Have your families and friends been supportive of your decision?
I am so fortunate to have so many friends and family members that were so thrilled to see our daughter come to us. It was no different than any other birth of a child. A bit more exciting from the point of view — we had a point by point blog going as we traveled to China and got Maggie…. We posted our picture journeys and have record of all our friends/family delights for our new little girl!
Do you feel that people treat you differently for adopting or do they see that being a mom goes beyond physical birth?
There are those that do think it is different. They may have not had the experience of not being able to have children of their own… or they just don’t get it. For the most part I feel like everyone else, same joys, trials etc. Mom to mom it is the same…
Does your daughter know she is adopted? How did you explain it to her?
Yes, I explained it to her through books that are age appropriate. We have been reading I Love You Like Crazy Cakes since she arrived in the US. It is a book about a mom that adopted from China. She knows she was born in China. I am not quite sure she knows what “birth mom” really is yet, but we will give her the information as she can understand.
The idea is to always talk about it, as it is like an everyday topic. So that she knows and is not surprised by anyone outside our family talking about adoption.
How do you incorporate her Chinese culture into your family?
We have her in an immersion Chinese school she goes to every Sat morning. We have a playgroup that we are involved in, they are all adoptive families with children from China. We belong to FCC Families with Children from China, they have programs we can go to. Also, we are fortunate to have some Chinese friends, they really help us know the culture and help Maggie know it
Any advice for families looking towards adoption?
If you have an ounce of interest in adoption… go for it! It was the most outstanding experience I have ever had in my entire life!!! Like none other!
Now for a quick glance into Mollie’s life.
What is one thing always in your fridge? La Croix (Seltzer Water) – I love the bubbles…I have gotten my husband and Maggie hooked on it too. Sshe calls it “Bubbly Water.”
What is your one guilty pleasure? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundaes
If you had a free day to yourself, how would you spend it? Shop for wardrobes for my friends and then play on the beach with Maggie and my husband!
If someone was going to write a book on your life, what would they title it? Persistent Grace
Thank you Mollie for sharing your journey to adoption with us.
If you have a question or comment for Mollie, please feel to leave it in the comment section!
Want a fun activity for your kids while teaching them how to be good neighbors? We love this easy 3-ingredient recipe for peanut butter cookies that we are baking in our Kolcraft kitchen and bringing to neighbors. You can do this at home with your kids and teach them not only valuable lessons in the kitchen, but also the importance of checking in on elderly neighbors, family or even nursing home residents. Many communities have special outreach programs where you can visit residents in nursing homes or even “adopt a grandparent” in a nursing home. It’s a great way to teach your children valuable life lessons!
Join us in bringing kids into the kitchen and giving homemade goodness to someone who needs it most.
Easy 1, 2, 3 Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup Peanut Butter
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine & mix ingredients
- Roll into 1″ balls
- Dip fork in sugar
- Lightly press fork on peanut butter ball and make a cross pattern
- Bake for 6 – 8 minutes
Let cool and after tasting spread the joy & bring some to your neighbors, family, nursing home! (If the person you are visiting is diabetic, here is an alternative recipe.)
What ways do you teach your children to care for the elderly? Please share your ideas with us!
Kolcraft’s Sealy Select Springform Eco-Plush crib mattress has won a 2010 Nappa Gold Award! We are very excited about this award because we know our crib mattresses are award-winning and we are honored that they are counted among the best products for your baby.
Kolcraft’s story began with crib mattresses back in 1946 when Leo Koltun made playpen pads out of cotton batting and oilcloth covers for post World War II babies. In 1949 when he found himself with surplus padding, Leo used his ingenuity to invent the all-around crib and playpen bumper pad . Rapid growth followed as Kolcraft expanded into manufacturing other types of pads including crib mattresses making Kolcraft America’s #1 crib mattress manufacturer.
Kolcraft continues to be the #1 crib mattress manufacturer engineering and manufacturing innovative crib mattress from soybean mattresses to two-stage mattresses. The Sealy Select Springform Eco-Plush crib mattress is a dual-firmness mattress with a firm innerspring coil system, organic cotton side for infants and hypoallergenic latex foam side for toddlers.
Some other award winning features that we love:
- Oeko-Tex Certified organic cotton cover is enhanced with Crypton® Select for an eco-friendly liquid, stain and allergen barrier
- Natural fibers remain soft without the use of plastic coating
- Thick border wire surrounds the perimeter of the mattress for edge firmness
- Latex foam is tested for safety and is Oeko-Tex Certified
- Entire mattress is phthalate and flammability compliant and does not contain toxic fire retardants
If you have any questions on this or any of our crib mattresses, please leave us a comment.
More info on the Nappa Awards will be posted on June 1st at the Parenthood website.
We all have seen the recent BP oil well blowout spewing oil into the ocean, killing wildlife, throwing our ecosystem off balance and causing gas prices to soar. It may seem that there is little we can do to help, but you’d be surprised what you can do!
Are you or your children in need of a haircut? Is Fido in need of a trip to the groomers? Your hair and your dog’s hair/fur can be used to make mats that are used to soak up the oil spill! Many beauty salons, barber shops, and pet groomers are joining the cause to help clean up the spill.
The Gulf oil spill is indeed overwhelming, but we can all do our part to help clean up our oceans and care for our earth. What ways have you and your child promoted caring for our earth? Please share your ideas with us!
This past Sunday tragedy hit a Chicago neighborhood when an 8-year-old boy fell into the Chicago river while playing tag. The little boy couldn’t swim and despite efforts to rescue him, he was swept away in the strong river current. Unfortunately, tragic drownings are the second cause of death among children. It’s easy to forget simple tips for water saefty so we wanted to post a reminder.
Water Safety Tips:
- When your children are around water (pool, lake, river, even bathtub) it is important that they have adult supervision at all times. It only take an inch or two of water and a few seconds for a child to drown.
- Make sure you continually stress to your child that he/she shouldn’t play near water without an adult present and go over clear water safety rules with your child.
- Remind your child of water safety rules such as not running near water, no pushing or shoving near water, etc.
- Be sure to have your child wear a life vest when you are boating, etc.
- Teach your child to swim or at least float. While knowing how to swim isn’t a security against drowning, it can help your child know what to do if he/she falls into water.
We liked this Kid’s Health site for great water safety tips especially for kids.
What ways have you promoted water safety with your children?
Our special Mom Month Mondays continue with Ria Sharon from My Mommy Manual. Ria is the “practical mommy” voice at My Mommy Manual. We met Ria a few years ago and continue to be impressed and inspired by her. She is always on the cutting edge of social media and technology all while finding balance and harmony in her daily life as a single mom. We know you will love Ria as much as we do so sit back, relax and enjoy!
Did you ever think you would be so involved in helping others with parenting through a website, parenting courses, conferences, etc?
I’ve said many times, “I didn’t plan on being here. But the only way I could have gotten here is the way I came.”
Professionally speaking, I went from media buying at a big ad agency to becoming a graphic designer and managing a design firm to starting my own business and teaching myself about online marketing and social media. Like many women, becoming a mom caused a big shift in me, beginning a search for meaning beyond a successful career. I chose to stay home with my kids for a period of time, which brought into sharp relief how much I had previously identified with my work as validation.
I’m a big fan of Sarah Susanka’s book, Not So Big Life. I aspired to the idea that she suggests in her book, that you can break down all the “compartments” of your life to create a life that truly fits YOU and that fills you.
So in that consciously unconscious way, that’s what I created with MyMommyManual.com. It’s a space where I am who I am — no more and no less. There aren’t any walls between who I am and what I do. And no one is more surprised than me that my experiences as both a mom and a marketer have dovetailed so perfectly to create resources for parents like the Yogi Parenting course.
Did you always want to be a mom?
I was never the little girl that played house and dressed up dolls. I do recall that at seven, I traded a Barbie doll for the little gadget that crimped her hair. So I guess it’s no surprise that I’m such a tech geek now!
Being a mom was not a given. I’ve recently realized that it’s not in my nature to plan too far into the future. Five years out is really a stretch for me. I was married for five years before I got pregnant. I remember looking around and noticing that all my friends were having babies and realizing we hadn’t really given it much thought.
But again, I’m amazed at how an experience I hadn’t necessarily planned is the thing that I most needed. Suzanne (my co-creator on My Mommy Manual) and I joke that parenting is the most amazing crash course in self-development you’ll ever take. There’s nothing like having kids that will force you to look at your own issues! LOL!
It’s the tremendous love you have for your children that compels you to do “the work;” to a degree and depth you would never take on just for yourself.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from being a single parent?
Acceptance. I have to accept that there are a lot of things that are not in my control — being any kind of parent, whether you are single, married or in a long-term partnership teaches you that! But specifically being divorced from their dad means that how they are parented 50% of the time is not up to me. My situation creates an awareness that my way is definitely not the only way or necessary the right way, it’s just MY way. And yet my way of being a mom and of being me is enough for my children. In fact, I’ve come to accept that it’s perfect for them.
Do you have a favorite “mom moment” that you can share with us?
At my daughter’s last parent-teacher conference (she’s in 2nd grade), her teacher told us how good she was when working in groups. Ms. Reardon said, “She is a hard worker, very curious, very focused, but she also knows when it is better to allow other people in the group to do their own work.” At bedtime that night, I praised my eight-year old, saying, “I was very impressed by what your teacher said. If I had learned that lesson when I was eight, how different my experience of life would be.” And she replied, “Well, I could teach you.”
You have some great reviews of various products on your blog. What would you say is the “must have” baby product?
There are so many. I love this new Popatot- it’s clever portable activity center designed by active parents. I couldn’t live without my double stroller. I had the Jeep Wagoneer Tandem. That stroller has circled the globe two times! I even took 3 year old and 1 year old to Mexico by myself, which I couldn’t have done without it.
And honestly, I (heart) my minivan. I happen to have a Honda Odyssey and even now that my kids are older, it’s indispensable. I don’t care that it isn’t the coolest car on the block. I like that I can throw everything is there: kids and dogs and groceries and bikes and gear.
Any advice for first-time parents?
Two words: Let go. The secret to happy parenting (and a happy life, I think) is to let go of expectations, let go of planning, let go of the need to control, let go of “perfect.”
Now for a quick glance into Practical Mommy’s life
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go & what would you do there? I have a soft spot for Rome, the Eternal City. I love walking around and seeing people live their modern lives right next to ancient ruins. There’s something so poignant about that. It’s an exclamation point that our own personal lives are so temporary. And yet, we are part of something really big.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Sugar! I know, I know — it’s “poison that tastes good” but one of my personal mantras is “Dessert First!” Or, at least know what’s on the dessert menu so you can plan your meal around it.
What is an instant de-stressor for you? Dance. Argentine Tango is an improvisational dance so it requires true present mindedness. It’s meditation for me.
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be? Plan Z
If you have any questions or comments for Ria, please leave them in our comment section.
It can be hard to find family time especially when you have a myriad of different schedules, activities and places to be, but every so often you need to take a break from schedules and have family fun time – a family date night!
Family date nights don’t require a lot of money – just a willingness to have fun.
A couple of ideas:
- Make a pizza together. Arrange the toppings into shapes or a smiley on the pizza.
- Create a picnic made of your kid’s favorite finger foods.
- Have a dessert first night! We know it’s really off the norm, but it can be fun to shake up routine. There are lots of healthy desserts with fruit and no sugar options.
- Turn off the TV and introduce your kids to some of the games you played when you were little; kick the can, mother may I, red light green light, etc. (added benefit of exercise while you run )
- Have a dance party. Turn on your kids favorite music & dance away. You can even dress up and have your own “dancing with the stars” night.
- Build a fort. Get sheets & blankets, drape them over chairs and other furniture for a fun fort.
Family date nights can be inexpensive and fun! What ideas do you have for a family date night?