How I Earn Money From EBATES Every Day

Magical Mama Blog How I Earn Money From EBATES Every Day

How I Earn Money From EBATES Every Day

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Ahhh the lovely age of online shopping!  Raise your hand if it’s saved your life on more than one occasion!  (Every single person raises their hand)

When I was pregnant and on maternity leave, I was one of the laziest people on the planet.  It went from running out for a few things a couple times a week to hitting the grocery store twice a month and relying on Amazon Prime to get me anything I needed within 2 days delivered to my door.

THEN I found out about EBATES…shopping on Amazon and other popular stores online that I already do… then getting cash back…literal cash back in the form of a check or PayPal!

No fees, forms, catches, or signing up for e-mail subscriptions…just cash!

Now, I am one to try to get everything from Amazon for the ease of timing and shipping…but when I began to see the percent of cash back (Up to 10% cash back or more!!) I could get by going direct to these companies online…I was sold!
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

How does it work?

Simply sign into EBATES,

Go through to the category you’d like to shop for,

You can refine the stores you’re looking for or specific products you’d like to locate,

Click on the store name to see coupons and promotions

Click Shop Now and EBATES will assign you a shopping trip number and will redirect to the online store

Buy what you want

The cash back will be added to your EBATES account the next day!

Is it only online?

NO!  You can check the categories under “In Store Cash Back”

Find “Hot Deals” along the top menu for deals on free shipping, gift cards, BOGO and more!

Do you ever purchase and not end up getting cash back?

That is possible.

Each company sets restrictions on what will qualify to get cash back.

For example, when you go “Shop Now” for Amazon, it will tell you the qualifying departments that can get you cash back.

The best way to avoid not getting your cash back is to click on the store, go through the coupons to be directed to exactly what will get you that cash back plus other savings from the coupons, THEN click on Shop Now.

Is it just for unknown stores I would never shop at?

Below are just a FEW of the thousands of online stores that give you cash back through EBATES!

(Because I am a mommy blogger, these are all specifically from “Babies, Kids & Toys”… and this isn’t even half of the selections from this category!  You can get cash back from basically ANY store online!)

Note: Cash Back percentages based on February 2018

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back


Amazon

Yes, you heard it!  You can get CASH BACK from your go to online shopping spot!  I am literally on Amazon every day…yes, every day… no judgement here!  Up to 3% cash back for the qualifying purchases made on your shopping trip.

Aden & Anais

Those gorgeous baby blankets, burp cloths, swaddlers, bibs, and more can earn you 3% cash back!

Babies R Us

Snag 1% cash back while you shop for your baby essentials!

Buy Buy Baby

2% cash back on all of the luxurious baby accessories at Buy Buy Baby.  This could save you big on some registry gifts for the expectant mom on your list!

Burlington

Get coats for the entire family and grab 2.5% cash back!

Carter’s

This is my go to shop for my baby’s wardrobe.  Now, I can get some cash back on those precious little outfits that my baby will outgrow overnight…and I can use that 2.5% cash back to buy her more clothes she’ll grow out of.

Crayola

Need to stock up on arts & crafts supplies?  School supplies?  Take a whopping 5% cash back from Crayola!

Discount School Supply

2% cash back on all of the Elmers glue you need to make enough slime for the whole class!  Cash back for the insanely specific list of things you were given for the next school year?  YES!

Etsy

YES!  You can get 1% cash back for all of those one of a kind pieces you find on Etsy!

Fisher Price

2.5% cash back on all those toys and those huge play sets!

Graco

One of the baby meccas!  Strollers, car seats, high chairs, play yards, swings?  All of your baby needs could earn you 2% cash back.

HalloweenCostumes.com

A whopping 6% cash back for the Halloween costumes that will probably be worn once!

The Honest Company

4% Cash back on diapers, wipes, baby washes & more at the Honest Company!

JC Penny

3% cash back and they always have great coupons.  They have Carters and other baby brands that are usually on clearance PLUS cash back!

Keds

Keds for the whole family plus 4% cash back!

Kids Foot Locker

3% Cash back on all of those shoes that they are constantly outgrowing!

Kohls

Kohls always has a ton of coupons plus 3% cash back.

Lego

2.5% cash back on those evil foot-breaking toys that invade the hearts of children!

Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug are taking over the toy market.  Their gorgeous and simple educational toys and wooden puzzles are a pleasure to have in your home…especially when it earns you 4% cash back!

Nuk

2% back on all of the bottles, pacifiers and teethers you can get your hands on!

Oriental Trading Company

This is my go to for party supplies.  Grab the little goodies for the while class for the next holiday celebration.  It some times takes a few weeks to arrive, but shipping has only gotten faster over the years.  Grab 2% cash back on top of the already amazingly priced goodies.

Osh Kosh B’Gosh

2.5% cash back for all the little overalls you can get that sweet baby!

Skip Hop

Skip Hop has some precious baby gear…half of my Amazon baby registry was stocked with Skip Hop diaper bags, bath tub accessories, and toys…2% cash back on all of it!

Things Remembered

6.5% cash back!!  If you’re wanting to get something personalized for your spouse or a grandparent, get a good quality product and a whopping amount of cash back!

Vista Print

3% cash back for those baby announcements, Christmas cards, and personalized photo gifts?  Yes, please!

Walgreens

Up to 7% cash back plus a ton of coupons!  Get all of your health essentials for your family plus a TON of cash back.

Walmart

Up to 10% cash back…yes, you read that right 10%…AND it’s almost every single department!  I am not a fan of going to Walmart…but for this kind of cash back…Hello Walmart online!

Zulily

5% cash back! When I was pregnant, I was on Zulily every single day for Maternity wear and cute, one of a kind baby outfits.  If I had been getting 5% cash back, I would have been on there 3 times a day!


Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Refer & Earn

Oh yes!  You don’t have to spend a cent to earn!

When you sign up for EBATES, you’ll get your own code to refer friends.

If you refer someone with your links, they sign up, and spend at least $25…

you get $15 cash back and they get $10 cash back!

Free money for everyone!!

Be sure to get your friends signed up and shopping quick!  You usually have about a 3 month window for your referral period!

If you sign up through my link below, you’ll get your $10 cash as soon as you spend your first $25 on a qualifying purchase. Score!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Once you get your $10, send your referral link to friends and get them cash back while you collect some as well!

Get this app on your phone, put it on your internet browser on your computer, bookmark it…Start visiting sites through EBATES.

Look through every category!  Everything you need could be earning you money with no work involved!

Save up money for vacations, get gas money for the kids, start a savings account, start a college fund.  It may only be a few dollars at a time, but with the amount of online shopping that is possible, it can ADD UP!

Get yourself over to EBATES and sign up for free and start earning today!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Magical Mama Blog How I Earn Money From EBATES Every Day

Magical mamablog how this mom earns money on ebates every day

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24 Diaper Changing Hacks All Parents Need To Know

magical mama blog 24 diaper changing hacks all parents need to know tricks tips life saving life changing diaper changes


This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


24 Diaper Changing Hacks All Parents Need to Know

By the time your child reaches a year old, you’ll be an expert.  You will have changed approximately 2,500 to 3,000 diapers (according to experts and many experienced mamas out there).

There will be horror movie scenes that you will live through.  You will get poop on you.  You will get peed on.  There’s really no escaping any of it… but if I can give a few helpful tips to keep in the back of your mind along the journey, that can’t hurt!

Magical Mama Blog - 24 Diaper Changing Hacks All Parents Need to Know

  • Have the next size up on lay away

Your baby can literally change sizes over night.  Even if your baby is a few pounds away from stepping up to the next size, have at least a small package around…you’re going to need them eventually anyway.

You will reach a time when you will have constant blow outs…either up the back or out the legs.

Unfortunately, if you’re experiencing blowouts up the back, you can go up a size, and it will come out of their legs…the only option you have at this point is to try switching brands for a different shape or waiting it out and having lots of extra outfits ready.

(This applies mostly to Preemie, Newborn, Size 1 and Size 2… once you get into size 3, you’re usually good for about a 10 pound window of their life)

  • Size up at night

If you’re getting up every morning and…

  • your little one’s pajamas or bed are wet
  • the diaper’s wet indicator has reached some kind of magical color you haven’t seen before
  • your baby’s diaper is huge and weighs a ton

…it is time to size UP at night.

If your little one is sleeping for longer periods of time (or even through the night…woohoo!), they’ll be missing out on several diaper changes.  They’ll need more storage to get the moisture off of their skin so they don’t get diaper rash.

Magical Mama Blog - 24 Diaper Changing hacks All Parents Need to Know

  • Know the secret of the envelope sleeves!

Most onesies come with magical double folded fabric on each shoulder that can be opened up and rolled down.

If your baby has a blow out up their entire back, you don’t want to try to maneuver all of that mess over baby’s head.

Fold the top piece of fabric back, the bottom piece of fabric forward, pull their arms out, and pull down.

Cheers to all the Dads I just saved from the first blowout mess!

  • Use the onesie to your advantage

If you have a particularly handsy baby, unsnap the buttons at the bottom and roll the onesie up and encase their arms into a little onesie straight jacket.  Voila!

  • Newborns won’t cry when they’re wet

Newborns have been hanging out in liquid for a few months.  A wet diaper doesn’t bother them too much.  Newborns are known to have about 10 wet diapers per day.

Checking them every hour or two is a good habit to get into as it can keep their sensitive little bums from diaper rash.

  • Babies need naked time

Nothing is better for preventing and treating diaper rash than a little naked time.  All of that moisture constantly trapped in there with friction is just asking for a rash!

Check out my blog on 7 causes of diaper rash and 11 cures!

  • Diaper under diaper

Especially in the first few months, little ones will feel a cool breeze and things can spew out of both ends with serious projectile force.

Your safest bet is to:

  • Open up a new diaper & place it under baby’s current diaper
  • Carefully open up the diaper that is on them
  • Clean up and prepare to use it as a shield just in case
  • Remove the dirty diaper
  • Place baby’s bum safely on the new clean diaper waiting beneath

This will save you countless changes of clothing and changing pad covers.

  • Ruffles out

Those extra little ruffles of fabric that surround baby’s legs?  They tend to naturally fold in because that is how they are packaged to be compact.

PULL THEM OUT!  They are meant to be on the outside so that the elastic can be as close to the baby’s legs as possible to prevent blow outs!

  • Extra wipes for boys

Boys tend to put on water work shows during changes.  Instead of investing money in a useless “pee pee tee pee”, throw a wipe over his business and you’re safe.

Some people put clean diapers on top…and that’ll just waste a ton of diapers in no time. Unhook his dirty diaper, throw a wipe on top, give him a few seconds, then continue on changing.

  • Keep bags in your bag

Diaper bag necessity: a handful of sandwich bags.  It’s always when you’re at your baby-less friend’s fancy house when your baby decides to make the nastiest mess in their britches.  You’ll want to be able to seal that up as to not frighten those around you with stench.

It’s also handy if your little one has a blow out when you’re on the go.  You can get them into their fresh change of clothes and contain the mess until you can get home and soak those clothes.

  • Have a car stash

Make a stash with a few of baby’s current size diapers and a few of the next size up, an outfit in the next size up, wipes, and cream. I suggest having things up a size so you don’t go to use your kit in an emergency and have everything be unusable.

I suggest getting a sealed box if possible (a plastic tub with locking lid).  Cars over heat and freeze and you don’t want your wipes and cream to dry out on you!

  • Have a mobile stash

Props to you if you’re willing to take baby to the changing station in their room 10 times per day…but for most of us, it’s just not realistic.. especially for those with multi-level homes!

Have a basket or bin in a few different rooms with at least diapers and wipes. It will save your sanity and your energy.

  • No need to waste a diaper

You’ll find out that you have some kind of hidden Superman strength after a few hundred diapers have been changed.  You’ll rip off an entire tab and render a diaper “useless”…fear not!  It doesn’t have to be this way!

Place a second diaper underneath baby.  Wrap it around the ripped diaper and secure.  When it comes time for the next change, simply clean baby and remove the inner diaper and you have a clean diaper with tabs still intact already in place!

  • Don’t waste money on a warmer

Diaper warmers…while it sounds so nice to not have anything to shock baby’s sweet bum, it’s unrealistic.

If you’re on the go, there will be no warmer, and baby will have to go through it just like everyone else has.

You can easily hold a wipe in your hand for 10 or 15 seconds and get the chill out of it.

Magical Mama Blog - 24 Diaper Changing Hacks All Parents Need to Know

  • Get set up before you start

This may sound like common sense, but go ahead and double check your stash before you get started.  When you’re nesting, I’m sure there were hundreds of diapers and wipes at the ready…but move down the line a year later, you won’t be so on top of it 100% of the time.

Make sure you have enough supplies and that it is within easy reach…at one of these diaper changes, baby will roll over, crawl away, stand up, and eventually run away…you’ll want to have at least one hand to keep them there.

  • Check your changing area

Babies are curious by nature.  Check that wires, heavy objects, boxes, bins, displays, etc. are all far out of arm’s reach.

Those arms grow quickly and they’ll be able to squirm into trouble before you know it.

  • Prepare to wrestle

Once your baby is rolling over, they’re going to be in explore mode.  The stationary diaper changes are mostly of the past.  There is no great way to stop them.  Just prepare for it.

  • Let your toddler help

Your baby will start doing a lot of monkey-see monkey-do.  My child adores getting her hands all up in the diaper changing business trying to figure out what I’m doing down there.

If baby is wanting to see and do…give them a wipe (after you’re done actually wiping) and let them get some practice in…go ahead and see if this helps the potty training stage!

  • Get a changing station buddy

Get a toy or two that are specifically for diaper changes.  Something preferably plastic that can be wiped and sanitized if it gets messy…which it likely will.

We give our little one an old remote with no batteries in it.  She is fascinated with the remotes in the living room and she is not allowed to play with those.

This becomes a treat and then she is distracted for a few moments while we get the changing done.

  • Get the sticky off without wasting wipes

When you are in the hospital after baby is born, the nurses may advise you to add some warm water to the wipes to help scrape the mess from that sweet little bum.  Though it works, I am hardly ever changing the baby and able to run over to the sink and wait for warm water.

Have some baby oil on hand.  You can even put it in a spray bottle mixed with a bit of water.  The stickiest of meconium doesn’t stand a chance against it!

  • Make a dirty football

Master rolling a dirty diaper from the front to the back with one hand.  Re-secure the tabs on your newly formed dirty-diaper-football.

This prevents baby from getting hands and feet in the mess as well as it accidentally slipping onto the carpet or falling out of the diaper genie.  Save yourself.

  • Let toddlers be on the go

If it’s just a wet diaper, try your skills at a standing diaper change.

Some days, you’ll go the extra distance to avoid a screaming, wrestling diaper change.

  • Get a Baby Bum Brush

This gem!  I don’t know how people went so long without inventing this beauty!  You can check it out on my blog about 15 Amazon Products all First Time Parents Need

Diaper cream needs to be spread liberally to work properly and when you’re doing it by hand, it ends up more on your hands than on your baby’s bum.

The bum brush applies even and thick, wipes clean, and keeps your hands as clean as possible!

If you’re not about the bum brush, grab a wipe and wrap it around your finger.  Then apply from there to save your hands.

Even if you have a diaper shower or register for diapers, you’ll wind up with Newborn, Size 1 and maybe a few Size 2.  My child has already used more of Size 3 than the rest combined.

Amazon sends me bulk amounts of diapers to my door. That’s right…to my door!  Diapers are never on my grocery list and there are never any late night runs to the store!

I can change the size, amount, and delivery date as needed.  It is magical!

 

If all else fails, talk to them, sing to them, make funny faces, point out what each body part is called as you put their head and arms and feet though different articles on clothing.  They can sense fear, anxiety and anger.  The more relaxed they are, the easier it will be!

magical mama blog 24 diaper changing hacks all parents need to know tricks tips life saving life changing diaper changes

Happy diapering and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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How To Keep Baby Healthy in Winter

magical mama blog how to keep baby healthy in winter all winter christmas cold flu season sickness baby toddler kids family products tips tricks hacks

How To Keep Baby Healthy in Winter


This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


magical mama blog how to keep your baby healthy in winter sickness illness flu cold season christmas new year hat jacket cloves blanket car seat medication

It is cold and flu season…and RSV…and Croup… and a ton of other awful sickness that can attack your little defenseless baby.  As a mom, I want to do everything I can to protect my little one from the terrible viruses, bacteria, and diseases that are looming out in the winter.

  • Wash Hands

Make sure your family and any guests are washing their hands before handling baby and on a religious basis.  Adults and kids can be carriers of germs that their own bodies can fight off but can be quite dangerous to your itty bitty one.

  • Cool Mist Humidifier

When you have the heater on to keep your home nice and toasty, it dries out the air in your house causing your little one’s sensitive airways to get angry.  A cool mist humidifier will moisturize the air to keep baby’s nose and throat nice as comfortable and prevent the build up of mucus.

  • Disinfect Toys

Toys can be a breeding ground for growing bacteria.  To keep baby well, or help baby get better if they’re already ill, clean and disinfect toys more than normal in the winter time.  Check out my toy disinfectant and wash here.

  • Dressing Warm

When you’re heading out for a walk or outside for any reason, be sure baby is nice and toasty.  Tiny babies can lose heat through their heads very quickly.  Be sure to have a hat on, some nice thick socks, check for gaps between socks & pants.

As a general  rule, put baby in one more layer than you have on.

Check hands and feet often and add mittens and extra socks as needed.

If you fear baby is over dressed, check their upper back and back of their neck.  If it is sweaty, take a layer off.

  • Sleeping Warm

DO NOT put blankets in a crib with baby if it is chilly.  Turn on the heater, put them in fleece pajamas, add extra socks, or throw them in a fleece sleeper.

  • Staying Warm in the Car

DO NOT put baby in their car seat with large jackets on.  If you live in an area that gets to freezing, Put baby in their car seat inside, cover them with blankets, get the car heated up, then take baby out to the car.

If you are getting into the car from being out in the cold, turn on the car, jump in the backseat with baby, let the car heat up, remove their outerwear, get them into their car seat and snuggle them up safely with blankets.

  • Moisturize Skin

Sensitive baby skin can have a hard time in the winter as it can lose moisture quickly and adding in crisp cold air outside and dry hot air from heaters.

Using a sensitive baby lotion, petroleum jelly, or coconut oil can help baby’s skin soak up some moisture.  An oatmeal bath wash can also soothe chafed and broken skin.

  • Extra Fluids

Let your baby drink away.  Extra fluids help to thin mucus as well as keep baby hydrated.  Breast milk is the best fluid for baby.  If you have an extra frozen, use it!

Formula on the menu? Have extra ready!  Is baby old enough for juice or water? Have the sippy cup full at all times!  Don’t focus on how many ounces they “have to have” and let your baby drink as they need.

Products to help you get through the Winter

  • Cool Steam Humidifier

We have this model and it has worked wonders for our little baby this winter.  Her Croup came and went in a flash thanks to this baby.  When she couldn’t sleep, we turned the star light on and that calmed her down.

The thing that sets this humidifier apart from all others is the fact that is has “invisible steam” so you can’t feel any actual water or see any steam coming out while it moisturizes the air.  With all other humidifiers, after being used every night, the table they were on was practically destroyed and the carpet around them was soaked.

This is also the most quiet humidifier I have ever come across!

(With all humidifiers, be sure to read care and cleaning instructions.  You want it to have the longest running life possible and you also want to be sure it is producing sanitary steam.)

 

  • Little Remedies Saline Drops

This stuff works wonders!  Your baby can wake up with nostril full of crusty boogers and as soon as you throw one or two drops in, the snot is flowing out!

 

  • Nose Frida

This magical device has saved us a lot of sleep.  When baby is clogged with snot and having trouble breathing, there’s not much you can do…if you hold up a tissue and tell them to blow, you’re out of luck.

This nasty, yet brilliant, invention lets you clear out their airways!

  • Baby safe Vapor Rub

ONLY USE AFTER 3 MONTHS OF AGE!!!

I put a small dab on the bottom of each foot, give a little massage, then cover with socks for the night.  My baby’s coughs virtually disappear with this trick.

  • Good Ear Thermometer

After baby came home, we tried to do the regular thermometer in the armpit and the pacifier thermometer.  Both were decent options…other than the fact that they both took FOREVER to render results and were very inaccurate.

While the forehead thermometer promises better results, it’s highly inaccurate as well.

This little baby is what they use at the pediatrician.  It will give you an accurate read in about 1-2 seconds.  Can be used on people of any age.

Amazing investment.

  • Fleece Sleep Sack

A wearable blanket that baby can’t strangle themselves in.  My baby rocked these all of last winter when she was an itty bitty preemie sized pea pod and they were a life saver.  Kept her toasty and safe.

If baby is wearing toasty jammies and just needs a little boost of heat, they also have a sleeveless option.


  • Fleece Zip Up Jammies

My baby rocks these babies every night!  (I would too if it weren’t for the fact that getting up 30 times to pee gets incredibly inconvenient.)


And there you have it!  Keep your baby safe, toasty, and healthy all this winter season!

magical mama blog how to keep baby healthy in winter health pediatrician medication cold christmas toddler kids family

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15 New Year Resolutions for Moms

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15 New Year’s Resolutions for Moms

  • Spend time with your husband

Once the kids move out, it’s just the two of you.  If you don’t put the work into keeping your bond strong while the kids are around, you’ll have an awfully big hole in your marriage once you’re alone.

Get out for date nights.  Have date nights in with the kids.  Tell your kids about how you met, your funny dating stories, how the proposal happened, about your wedding, etc.

Get dressed up every once in a while and treat yourselves to a fancy dinner and drinks.  Parenting is no walk in the park and you’ll get into a deeper and deeper hole the longer you wait to remember you are a couple, not just offspring raising robots.

  • Adopt “me time” into your schedule

Write down a designated time each week on the family calendar.  Just two or three hours.  Make Dad or a relative promise to keep the kids amused during that time.

Lock your self in the bathroom for a little self-spa day.  Bring in a laptop and charger. Bring in a lap top, charger, and your favorite chick flick.  Dye your hair, exfoliate and moisturize your while body, enjoy a bubble bath, shave your legs, pluck your eyebrows, give yourself a salon-status blow out…and most importantly…go to the bathroom by yourself.  No knocks, no fingers under the door… can you picture it?

Go to Target by yourself, throw in your headphones and listen to your favorite music while you browse.

Go to the mall and try on clothes.

Go get a mani-pedi or massage.

Go see a movie by yourself.

Have a wine night with your other mom friends.

Getting rid of your stresses and clearing your head will make you renewed.  I know after a mom afternoon, my patience is at a full refill, I have more energy, I am more positive, and much more relaxed.  It’s really a win for everyone.

  • Say “I Love You” multiple times each day

I don’t think you can say it too much.  Make sure your kids know how loved they are.  Give hugs and snuggles, words of affirmation and endless “I love you”s.

Make it the last thing you say to your kids and your husband each night.

Say it before you part ways.  (To get dark for a moment, if anything were to happen to anyone you love, wouldn’t you want the last thing you said to them to be “I love you!”)

  • Put down your electronics

Turn your devices off for a few hours…not to silent, not plugged in… just off.  Put them in another room, a drawer, a box, somewhere that no one will be constantly tempted.

Talk to each other, look at each other, hear each other, pay attention.  If you can’t imagine it, pretend it’s the 1950’s and none of these things existed.  What did people do back then?  Figure it out!

Challenge one another to do this for an amount of time every day.  Or pick an evening and turn it into an old school family gathering.

You don’t want your kids to grow up and only have memories with their phones, tablets, computers, and gaming systems.

  • Make experiences and memories

Get out of the house and stop buying junk.

It doesn’t have to cost you several paychecks to have a family outing.  Go to a local park or beach and have a picnic and play with frisbees, hoola hoops, a soccer ball, etc.

Head out for an evening walk as a family, get to know your neighbors as you walk by, enjoy the fresh air and exercise.

Go to your town’s holiday festivities.  Check the paper or your city’s website to see what is happening.  Check out the farmers market or a local concert in the park.

Check the Parks and Rec out in your community.  Maybe everyone can sign up for a class and learn something new.

If you’re going to spend money on something, make it an adventure instead of toys.  Take the kids to a water park instead of buying the latest toy.  They’re much more likely to remember a day with family than a toy.

  • Start family traditions

Start doing something special on each holiday, every few weeks, or once a week.

Pick an evening in December each year everyone has to keep open to go out as a family and look at Christmas lights.

Every other Saturday, have family game night.  At Christmas or borthdays, give each family member a new game.

Have a Valentines Day date night as a family.  Everyone dresses up and you go out together to a fancy restaurant.

Every Thursday, have the kids choose and make dinner.

Whatever works for your family, enforce traditions that can live on.

  • Take more pictures

It’s easier than ever to take pictures with smart phones all over.  But don’t force your kids to pose every day to capture them growing.  Take candid pictures.

Capture the kids playing together, when you pick them up in the mini van, when the family is playing a board game, the kids creating a fort.

When they look at these pictures later in life, let them remember what life was like, not the fancy, staged photos that happened in between the memories.

  • Implement family reading time

It has been shown that around 4th grade, kids have a drastic drop in reading ability and interest.  That likely correlates with parents stopping reading to their kids as soon as they can read on their own.

Buy books.  Go to a book store (while they still exist), let your kids discover authors they like and purchase whole collections.

Start a book club within your family.  Everyone can read a chapter of the same book over the week and can have a little cafe sit down talk about it.  Help them discover the lessons within reading.

Have your kids read the bed time story book to you.  Use it as a wind down before bed time.  Have one kid read a book aloud while the others (or the parents) act it out.

Make reading fun and keep them interested.

  • Slow down your hello’s and good bye’s

Instead of your kid running past you in the kitchen yelling “bye” over their shoulder, stop  what you’re doing for (literally) 10 seconds to get a bear hug, kiss on the forehead, and an “I love you”.

When your kids walk in the door after school, get up and give them a hug, ask about their day, see what their needs and wants are.  The more we slow down and take in one another, the more we’ll be on the same page and ready to handle anything.

If you’re running late, 10 seconds isn’t going to hurt. Give a hug and a proper goodbye.  Let your loved ones know that they are your first priority.

  • Eat healthier

Jump on board with meal planning at least a few nights a week.  If you already have every ingredient and it has an expiration date, you’re much more likely to make a meal than go out and spend money on food that may not be fresh.

Get the sweets out of sight and go for healthy snacks to have around.

Drink water.  Every time you go to the store, you should be grabbing a case of water if you’re grabbing a 12 pack of soda.  Make sure your kids are hydrated and not drinking unnecessary calories and syrups.

When you’re eating well, you’re feeling well.  Get your whole family off to a good start and start these habits young!

  • Work on your patience

Talk to your partner, or even your kids, about patience.  Come up with a phrase to say to one another when you start to lose it.

“Let’s take 5 minutes, then start over.”

“Breathe in for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds, exhale for 10 seconds.”

“Let’s keep talking, but let’s use monster voices.”

Patience is a hard thing to keep up when you live in a crazy house and a crazy world.  We can’t control everything and sometimes we lose control in ourselves.

It helps to have people that love you let you know that you need to take a look around and that this will pass.

I would much rather have my husband tell me to breathe when I’m getting crazy than to blow up and regret it later.

We can all use help every once in a while.

  • Write down the special little moments

There are 525,600 minutes per year…in 18 years, that’s 9,460,800 minutes.

There’s no way you’re going to remember all of those minutes with each child.

Grab yourself a few journals or set up an e-mail address.

Write down the funny thing your 3 year old said today.

Write down what your kids fought about today.

Take a tally of how many times your 10 year old asked “are we there yet?” on the cross-country road trip.

These are the things you can look back at when they’re graduating high school or getting married that will make you smile.  (I’m sure you could also help yourself with some embarrassing material to use when your teenager is giving you the run around)

  • Use the dining room table

We’re all guilty of getting cozy on the couch and watching TV while we eat a meal.

Set the table, put the electronics away, turn the TV off, and sit down as a family.

Have each person talk about their day, relax, discuss the events you have coming up, make plans for a fun adventure.

It is so important to put each family members’ little world on hold and to reunite as a family.  Use the expensive table you bought and decorate for fancy occasions.

If it’s a matter of not wanting to do dishes and clean up, throw a dollar store plastic tablecloth down and use paper plates and red solo cups.

Get into the habit of having meals as a family and stick to it!

  • Remove what you don’t need

Go through your closets, offices, garage, etc. Get the clutter out of your home.  Everything can have a place, everyone can know where everything belongs and won’t have an excuse for not putting things away.

Get rid of toys.  Kids don’t need much to amuse them…at least they didn’t in the days of yore.  So your kids’ friends have the latest toy…yours will survive without it.  It is always a trend and it will always pass.  This is not life altering… do you still have your treasured Pogs? Pokemon Cards? Pet Rock?… didn’t think so.

Go through your social media accounts and delete the negativity.  Unfollow people who start political debates, people who share news stories that bring you down, people who post constant negativity.

Live a simple and happy life this year.  (Check out my 7 Day Declutter Challenge to clean out your home and your mind)

  • Be positive

When you’re going through a rough time, and don’t we all at some point each year, grin and bear it.

Try to find the silver lining in every situation.  Look forward to something better.  Take some deep breaths, figure out how to get out of your rut, figure out what you need, get help if you need it, and move up and move out!

If you have a group of people in quick sand, the positive person will hope for a solution, and make that come to fruition.  If your kids are struggling, let them know that you understand and that there is a way out of every sticky situation.

 

Let’s all implement at least one of these resolutions into your New Year.

I hope you strive to be the best mom for your kids and the best wife for your husband.

My wish for you is that you can the driving force for your family to be the best they can be this year.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

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76 Winter Activities for your Family

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

76 Winter Activities for your Family

So, you’re dreading pounding the pavement for Christmas shopping, family is arranging holiday plans, Christmas will be here before you know it.  Don’t get burnt out!

Grab the kids and make some memories!  Bring out the joy of Christmas!

38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family was such a hit, I had to go big for winter!

I’ll be sure to come back and update with pictures as we check things off the list!

Out of the House Activities – Snow or Sun!

  • Build a snowman

Within the last few years, I’m sure you’ve heard all the kids singing, “do you want to build a snowman?” from Frozen.  Say YES! Then let them enjoy their creative side while building and decorating.  Be sure to take an old scarf, buttons, carrot, hat, or whatever you have lying around!

  • Make snow angels

Make sure they’re bundled up tight and let them flop in the snow and see who can make an angel then stand up and leave no butt-print.

Better yet, have them create a scene full of snow angel people in different positions and interacting.  Be sure to have your camera out for the laughter that will, no doubt, ensue.

  • Have a snowball fight

Get ready for some serious competition!  Dodgeball with snow will get out every ounce of energy they have in them!

If you’re not somewhere with natural snow, take a day (or weekend) to visit the closest mountains to you.  If there’s no mountains for a day’s journey from you, pull your search engine up.  A lot of cities will have festivals that include ice skating, Santa, live reindeer, a field of machine-made snow, etc.  Go visit!

  • Build a sandman at the beach

If you’re in a climate that has the opposite of cold, head to the beach and make a snowman in the sand, complete with sunglasses and a beach towel scarf.  Then have the kids lay down for some sand angels!

Complete the day with writing Merry Christmas in the sand and taking a family photo then grab a bonfire pit and enjoy your weather!

  • Have a family photo shoot

Get those coordinated outfits together and hire your professional photographer.  OR save yourself time, money, and heartache by taking some fun group shots while you’re out… or in… creating memories!

Have everyone gather at the Christmas Tree lot, or snuggle up in PJs on the couch or in front of the tree as you decorate it.  Pull out the camera while everyone is covered in flour from making cookies and treats in the kitchen.

  • Go ice skating

If your town doesn’t have an ice rink on a regular basis, head to the internet for answers!  Pop-up ice rinks are increasingly popular.  A lot of cities are springing for them to enhance their town’s holiday festivities!

Find a nearby spot to grab desserts or hot cocoa after! Don’t forget extra socks!

  • Go on a nature walk

Even if you live in the middle of a concrete jungle, chances are there’s a big park or camp site somewhere near you.

Make a day of it and visit an out-of-town restaurant, visit a Christmas festival in another city and go for a hike in the fresh air and trees.

  • Drive & walk to look at Christmas lights

Post-Thanksgiving, most people will get their lights and decor up pretty quickly.  If your block doesn’t seem too festive, look up news articles for your town and the surrounding cities from last year and scout out headlines about Christmas decorations to pin point the good stuff.

Most times, there will be some sort of designated “Candy Cane Lane” in your town.  Some even have contracts to sign when you buy a house on a certain block that you must decorate for Christmas each year from a certain date to another.

One of my family’s traditions was to have all the kids jump in a truck bed (DO NOT do this!), drive over to Candy Cane Lane in our town while blasting music, singing carols, and wearing Santa hats. We would then go admire each house and see how they had out-done themselves from the year before.

I’m on the lookout for something similar to start a tradition in my new town!

  • Go sledding/tubing

Nothing says winter like an old fashioned sled or huge inter tube hurling down a hill.  When I was a kid, driving up the mountain to go to Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, or Santa’s Village, you could always see dozens of cars parked on the side of the mountain road.

The first sign of snow!  Even if it was a 20 foot square of powder, all the kids would scream for their parents to stop the car so they could go touch it.  Even if you got on a tube and slid for 10 feet on a basically flat surface, you were the happiest kid on the planet!

If your town has a patch of snow for snowball fights, chances are there’s a hill somewhere in there where you’ll see little ones racing up and down.

  • Go skiing/snowboarding

Head to your local resort with bunny hills and grab a pass for the day for your little one to learn to ski or snowboard.  If they’re older, jump up on the ski lift and tread the hills together.

  • Visit a year-round Christmas Store

Most towns have one.  A mom and pop store that has Christmas joy year-round.  These types of stores go all out when the holiday their store is based upon rolls around.

Think of Duncan’s Toy Chest is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York or what Buddy Turns Gimballs into in Elf.  The owners and managers live for getting their stores to explode.  Take your camera for the endless photo opportunities!

Let your kids each pick out one ornament to take home for the tree.  The endless possibilities will make this difficult, but they’ll have a collection of their own ornaments you can give them as a wedding gift or “First Christmas Away from Home” gift.

  • Go out for seasonal coffee & hot cocoa

I encourage you to ask around for an actual coffee shop.  Skip the Starbucks and go to an established cafe with comfy chairs and sofas, books and board games lining the shelves, and drink a fun minty hot chocolate or gingerbread latte from a real mug!

  • Meet Santa & get pictures

Find out Santa’s schedule before you head to the mall, local hotel, or holiday festival.  Try to avoid a huge line and get a great experience.

Ask around to friends about which Santa’s helpers they have visited in years past and which helper makes the most magical moments.

  • Pick out a Christmas Tree as a family

Load up the family and head out to your local tree lot and get picky about the perfect tree.  Open up a discussion in the car on the way of what details make for a perfect tree and watch your kiddos go on the hunt.

If you’re up for a Griswold Christmas, research the cut-your-own farms near you and search through the great outdoors for the perfect evergreen.

  • Go to your city’s tree lighting

City Hall, Main Street, or the park.  Most cities will put up an impressively large tree for all to enjoy.  They will usually advertise in the paper or on the city’s website for a fancy ceremony to light the tree for the first time in the season.

Some ceremonies will be simple but beautiful while others will have the choirs from each school sing, have a hand bell choir play, the marching band play, have a reading of a Christmas book, or have a full festival with booths from local businesses.

  • Take towels & blankets to an animal shelter

Sadly, animal shelters are never empty.  A lot of shelter have outdoor housing for animals or no heating in the large warehouses.  Donating some towels and blankets that aren’t being used in your home could provide a comfortable new bed for these future pets.

  • Gift Shopping

Write out a list of who you are going to be purchasing gifts for (Try doing this as early as possible, or have a running list all year long!).  As people talk about things they need, write it down! If you can’t afford what they need, perhaps get something that coordinates with it.

Take the kids out to help you discover worth-while gifts for loved ones.  Have them pick out wrapping paper, a gift for their teacher, or a secret gift for their sibling.

  • Go to a Christmas play or concert

If you don’t know someone who is in a performance, head to the newspaper or school calendar.  All choirs and bands have holiday concerts and most community theaters have a holiday-themed show closing out the year.

  • Go on a Christmas decor scavenger hunt

When you head to your local Candy Cane Lane or light festival, make a list of common Christmas symbols and make check lists , bingo cards, or picture boards.

The competitive side will come out as the kids try to spy each Santa, reindeer, snowman, candy cane, teddy bear, candle, icicle lights, etc. among the decorations.

  • Visit a garage sale for fun gift exchange

If you have the need for a unique gift, take a weekend morning to scout the garage sales for something you can flip into a unique gift.

This is also a great way for kids to pay for something they want to give as a gift to a friend, sibling, or loved one.  They get to pick something out themselves and pay for it (since it will probably be within thier budget).

Their imagination will run wild as they try to find something they think someone else will enjoy.

  • Go to a pottery & paint store

Find your local Color Me Mine type of store and grab a plate, bowl, and mug to paint.  You can make personalized cookie plate, milk mug, and treat bowl for Santa and his reindeer.

It will be easily recognized as it’s taken out of the boxes each year and will be a wonderful decoration full of memories.

Stay at Home – Crafts

  • Make paper snowflakes & hang them

Put on your creativity hats and get to folding and snipping fun patterns.  Pick a big window and display them with fishing line, ribbon, or tape them to the window itself.

  • Make a holiday wreath

Make it out of pine cones from your nature walk, ribbon from a shopping spree, candy canes from the dollar store, or trace hand prints on green paper and make a 2D wreath.

Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann, floral and craft stores will have empty wire or styrofoam wreath bases that you can create wreaths with over and over.

If you’re partial to a big, fancy store-bought or mom-made wreath on the front door, let the kids create wreaths for the doors of their room.

  • Make holiday cards to send out

Sure you can get fancy photos taken, printed, and send those out.  You can also have your kids write letters and draw pictures to send out to loved ones.  I’m sure Grandma would appreciate a hand written letter from her grand kids.

  • Make a box to send to deployed service members

Send some comforts of home to a deployed service member or platoon.  Let your kids help pack a box to be sent overseas.

https://www.supportourtroops.org/care-packages

http://www.adoptaussoldier.org/index.php/site/comments/holiday_2017_mailing_deadlines/

  • Make gingerbread houses

Kits will be in stores before you know it.  Get out cheap plastic tablecloths from the dollar store or party supply store and cover everything.  Table, counter, chairs, floor.  Icing will be everywhere.  Grab some small bags of fun candy at the store and let your kiddos go wild with creating a scene or let them work together to build a town.

Go grab a thick cardboard presentation board and build on top of it to keep your creations on display for the season.

  • Make your own wrapping paper

Get a big roll of brown paper at the craft store.  Roll it out on the table and have the kiddos draw holiday pictures, write song lyrics, stamp or paint.  Let it dry, then re-roll and use as regular wrapping paper.

You can also get some plain wrapping paper and write on it once gifts are wrapped instead of using gift tags.

  • Write letters to Santa

Have the kids sit down and write letters to Old Saint Nick.  You can go with a gift list or prompt them with “I want, I need, I will wear, I will read” and get ideas for clothes, books, and what they think they need instead of a big list of wants.

Letters to Santa don’t have to be gift wishes.  They can ask Santa questions, send something to Mrs. Claus, or write a thank you letter after they receive their gifts.

  • Make stockings

Go out and grab some fun fabric, a pattern for stockings (or make your own) and get to cutting!  You don’t need sewing skills to make stockings!  You can use fabric glue, hot glue, or can grab some yarn and a yarn needle and lace them shut.

No one will have stockings like yours and they can be a keepsake for your kids.

  • Make paper chain garland

Get some good old fashioned construction paper, cut it into strips and let the kids link them together and staple or glue as they go.

Make long strands to hang up around the house, or make a strand and rip off a ring each day as you count down to Christmas.

  • Make Borax snowflakes

magical mama blog borax snowflakes how to winter activities arts and crafts

Check out my tutorial here!

  • Make scented Playdough

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup salt, 2 tsp cream of tartar in a pot.  Add 1 cup water, 1-2 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp peppermint extract and turn to medium-low heat and stir.  As it starts to solidify, add red or green food coloring until desired color.  Remove and knead.

Enjoy! Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months!

  • Make your own snow

If you live in an area with no snow or your little one isn’t a fan of the cold, throw 3 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of hair conditioner, mix, and let the play begin.  Put on a cookie sheet or large bin to control the fun.

  • Make a thank you gift for your teachers

Have your kids write a note, glue together some candy, or pick out a pair of slippers and socks.  Thank your teachers for molding your crazy child into a star pupil.

  • Make your own gift tags

Get out some card stock and let the kids go wild with cutting, stamps, stickers, markers, crayons, glitter, whatever you’d like.  Grab a hole punch and some string and attach them to your gifts!

  • Make a dining room table centerpiece

Let your kiddos go down the holiday aisle and pick out some coordinating pieces.  Head home and let them arrange the items in a fish bowl or hurricane vase.

Pick out a new table runner, some candles, and some fun ornaments and let the kids go to town decorating down the middle of the table.  Who knows?  Maybe this will make them want to come to the dinner table to admire their masterpiece.

  • Write letters to yourself for next year

Before you finish packing up the Christmas decor, have everyone sit down and write a letter to themselves for next year.  Perhaps include the presents they got, what they did that year, what they want themselves to remember for next year, their new years resolutions.

Then pack it away with your ornaments and such.  Each year, as you get out your items to decorate, let the kids laugh at themselves from the year before.  Make a scrapbook of them.  Your Christmas time capsule letters.

  • Decorate your table cloth or tree skirt

Instead of opting for an ornate tree skirt or table cloth, let your family put their stamp on it.  Get out the paint and make a spiral of growing hand prints on your tree skirt or have the kids write their names and a memory on the table cloth.

  • Make Lifesaver ornaments

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminium foil and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Let the kids lay out their lifesavers into fun designs, throw a metal hook on them and throw in the oven until melted.  Then remove to let them harden.  Pull off of the foil an hang them up.

This can be done with jolly ranchers, life savers, or peppermints.  Just throw down metal cookie cutters and they’ll take that shape.

  • Decorate ugly Christmas sweaters

Grab some cheap cotton pull over sweaters at the store.  Go to the miniature tree decor section and grab some miniature bells, bows, ornaments, garland, etc.  Get the puffy paint out of the craft drawer and let them go wild with making their creations.

Stay at Home – Activities

  • Board game night

Crack out the board games from the hall closet and let the friendly competition begin.  Enjoy some cider or hot cocoa while the cards, game pieces, and dice roll!

  • Everyone pick out things to donate

Start a tradition.  Have everyone make room for new things by picking out clothes, toys, etc. for donation.  Inspire their giving hearts while making sure you don’t end up with a house fit for hoarders.

  • Watch Christmas movies

Snuggle up on the couch, turn off the lights and enjoy a Christmas classic by the glow if the tree.

Check out the Ultimate Family Christmas Movie List!

  • Dance party to Christmas music

Break out the CDs, records, Pandora stations, ipods, and computers.  Let the hits roll and dance like nobody’s watching.  Be sure to sneak some videos to embarrass them in a few years.

  • Host a fancy holiday party

Your kid is going to be growing out of that fancy dress or suit in months.  If the only place they’re planning on wearing it is a Christmas concert or church, throw a “fancy” party where everyone dresses up, drinks out of fancy glasses, and eats tiny little snacks.

  • Paint on a canvas

Grab some small canvases and let the kids make some holiday creations that can be hung on the wall each year.

  • Build a blanket fort & watch a Christmas Movie

Take apart the couch, bring in the dining room chairs, all the extra sheets, blankets, and pillows and build a luxurious fort to have a movie marathon in.

  • Read Christmas Books as a family

Pull out all of the Christmas books you have.  Place them in a basket by the fireplace, display them on a bookshelf, or wrap them up and let the kids unwrap a book each night.

Read them in the living room while the kids act out the stories or have everyone snuggle in one bed each night and read them as a goodnight story.

  • Trim the tree

Even if you’re a stickler (like me) and want your ornaments spaced out just so and in the proportionally correct place, let it go.

Let the kids carefully pick out their favorites and climb up and down the step stool to hang them. Put them up on Dad’s shoulders to put the star on.  Enjoy the chaos.

  • Hang your home made wreath

Put your 3M hook or nail on your front door and let your little one hang their masterpiece.

  • Let the kids set up the Christmas Village & its citizens

If you have a Christmas Village collection, let the kids (carefully) design the city for this year.

My favorite thing as a kid was planning the lay out.  Each year got more intricate with the roll of cotton snow, boxes underneath to add levels, and we picked out new pieces at the year round Christmas store each year.

  • Make a fire & roast marshmallows

If you don’t have a fireplace, rent a bon fire pit at the beach or camp ground, or gather around a grill!

Bust out the marshmallows and s’mores and enjoy the sweet treats.

  • Host a cookie or ornament exchange party

Ask over some friends or family and instead of bringing gifts, have each person bring their best cookies or bring ornaments and have a big exchange.

Ornament exchange: You can throw names in a hat and pick names to exchange one on one or play it white elephant style. Put all ornament in the center of the room. Assign each person a number.  When it’s your turn you can either grab a new ornament from the pile or steal one from someone else.  If your ornament is stolen, either steal another, or grab a new one.

Cookie Exchange:  Have everyone bring at least 2 cookies per guest.  You can set them out and have people vote for “most unique”, “most festive”, “best display”, etc. and award prizes (Cookie jars or jugs of egg nog).  Or you can just bring cookies on a tray and exchange 2 cookies per person until your tray is filled with a plethora of cookies and head back home.

  • Camp out in the living room

Grab all the pillows, blankets, or sleeping bags you have.  Turn out the lights, turn on the Christmas Tree, watch a Christmas Movie and fall asleep to the glow of the tree as a family.

Yes, your back may be sore in the morning.  But the memories will last longer than the aches.

  • Write down New Years Resolutions

Have everyone sit down and write down their resolutions for the new year.  Hang them on the fridge to remind yourselves what goals you have set for yourself.

If they stay up on the fridge all year and all of your goals are met, commemorate your success by rolling up your resolutions and putting them into a clear ornament or rolling it into a decorative scroll so you can be reminded of it each year as you decorate the tree.

  • Host an ugly Christmas sweater party

Now that you have made your very own ugly sweaters, throw a party to see what other friends and family can create.  If you’re not a crafty family, head to a thrift store.  they usually put out some lovely items in the winter that were considered fashionable 30 years ago and make for great party wear today.

  • Hang Christmas lights

Let the kids gently untangle them before the adults get up on a ladder.  Ask the kids draw out their ideas of what patterns to hang them in.  Or have the kids measure how long the lights are and figure out where the outlets are and have them do some math to figure out how many strands they need.

  • Solve a big Christmas Puzzle

Instead of spending $30 on a new board game (Why are they ALL 30+ dollars?!?), walk over a few feet and grab a huge $10 puzzle with a Christmas theme.

Pull out the card table and let the family work on it bits at a time when they get bored or get 2 puzzles and have a contest to see who can finish theirs first.

  • Let the kids decorate their rooms

If the kids are into Christmas and continue to try to be a part of decorating, get them some of the non-breakable decor and let them decorate their bedrooms.

Grab one of the mini trees at the tree lot and let them decorate it on top of their dresser.  Let them hang a wreath they made.  Hang a single strand of Christmas lights in their room.

  • Secret Santa

Instead of everyone buying a gift for everyone, put names in a hat and draw.  Now each person is responsible for one gift.

My family had all of the cousins do this for our annual family gathering. (Our mothers cheated and rigged it, but we loved it)

In this fashion, your wallet is not crying after the holidays.  Everyone gets one gift “plus there’s the added fun of who gets who…whom”

Santa gifts don’t hurt your wallet and your creativity as badly if your son got a gift for dad, you got a gift for your daughter, etc.  Simplify!

  • White Elephant gift exchange

Place all wrapped gifts in the center.  Draw a number.  Number 1 gets to go first and opens a gift for all to see.  Number 2 (and so on) will then steal the gift number 1 has, or open a new gift.

If the gift you have is stolen, you may steal another or open a new gift.  Each gift may only be stolen 3 times.  If number 1 ends up with the same gift they started with, they may trade with anyone at the end.

  • Open a small gift on Christmas Eve

Make a Christmas Eve gift for everyone.  New pajamas to be shown off on Christmas morning, new fluffy socks, a new Christmas book or movie, game or activity, key for Santa (for homes without chimneys), cookie mix to make Santa’s cookies, a bag of popcorn for the movie, or a gift from your Elf on the Shelf.

Make Nummies

  • Bake and decorate Christmas Cookies

Make your favorite recipe and grab some festive cookie cutters at the store.  Grab a few tubs of white icing and come food dye for a decorating party.  The baking aisle usually also has gel icing, candy eyes, bows, glitter and sprinkles.  Let the flour fly and make some fun memories.

  • Bake Ornaments

magical mama blog christmas tree cinnamon applesauce ornaments

Yes, you heard that right, BAKE ornaments!  Check out my Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments here.

  • Make popcorn garland

Search through the popcorn section for popcorn with NO butter… it may take a while!  You don’t want it to make your tree oily and moldy!  It is best to start with stale popcorn for stringing, so pop and let sit for 24 hours before diving in!

Have an old fashioned Christmas tree with home made ornaments.

I have 4 trees in my house every year.  I always have one in my kitchen adorned with food themed decor…cinnamon applesauce ornaments, candy canes, popcorn garland, etc.

  • Crock Pot Hot Cocoa

Get out that crock pot and make enough hot cocoa to feed a crowd!

6 cups milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups milk chocolate chips.

Set up a ladle, cups, whipped cream, candy canes, marshmallows, etc. and you’ve got a hot cocoa bar!

  • Mini apple pies

Get out that muffin tin from the back of that cabinet.  Pick up some refrigerated cinnamon rolls at the store and a can of apple pie filling.

Press the cinnamon rolls into the greased muffin tin forming a cup, spoon apple pie filling into those cups (you may want to chop up the apple chunks into smaller bites).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Drizzle icing and enjoy!

  • Crock Pot Apple Cider

Grab a jug of apple juice when you’re at the grocery store.  Dump it into your biggest pot on the stove or into the crock pot.  Add cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. For a fancy or creative cider, throw in oranges, vanilla extract, cranberries, lemon juice, honey, or caramel sauce.

  • Make a batch of cookies and take to a shelter

While you’re waiting for yet another batch to bake, jump online and find out what shelters are in your area.  Figure out which ones take food donations of this kind (perishable & home made) and take your kids to deliver!

  • Cookies for Santa

Take some time on Christmas Eve to make a special batch just for Santa to enjoy.

If you’d like to go for nontraditional, have your kids look around for some snack that Santa might enjoy after ALL of the cookies and milk he’s getting.

My mom and I would put out a Pepsi and an apple.  That way he would get some caffeine to push through the rest of the night and an apple for a healthy bite or two.

  • Snacks for the reindeer

Santa gets treats at almost every home, but aren’t the reindeer doing the most work?  They deserve a treat!

Ask your kiddos what they think Santa’s reindeer would eat.  A lot of kids will probably volunteer that they need some candy…so they can have a piece.

You might have a curious oyster on your hands who would like to know what they really eat. Let them do some research! (Leafy greens, mushrooms, occasionally bird eggs and they enjoy apples and carrots as a treat even though they would not find those in their natural habitat)

  • Chicken Noodle Soup

Toss some chicken broth, celery, carrots and spices in the crock pot in the morning.  Add some chicken & noodles when you get home and… voila!  Within an hour, dinner is served!

  • Christmas shaped pizzas

Grab some refrigerated pizza dough (or make it from scratch if you want to be the picture-perfect Pinterest mom), knead, roll, cut into the shape of a tree, stocking, candy cane, Santa hat, gingerbread man, etc. and let the kiddos decorate.

Bake and enjoy!

  • Peppermint Bark

This is simple as pie!  Grab some white melting chocolate and some candy canes or peppermints.  Crush the peppermints to pieces in a food processor or double bag and take a rolling pin or hammer to them.

Met your chocolate in the microwave or over water on the stove top, stir in your peppermint dust & bits, spread onto wax paper on a cookie sheet and throw in the fridge to harden.  Tale it out, break it apart and enjoy!

I make this every year and take it with me everywhere!

Traditionally, it is white chocolate and peppermint pieces, but you can get milk chocolate, dark chocolate, colored white chocolate, and kind of candy you want.  The possibilities are endless!

Pro Tip:  Even if these little dusty pieces do not get wet, they will become very hard and sticky in time.  Be sure to wash your appliances as quickly as possible!

  • Christmas shaped pancakes

Pour your pancake batter into some fun shapes on the griddle.  A triangle for a tree, a hook for a candy cane, a gingerbread man, a Santa hat… you may find it easier to pour a piece of a shape and let it begin to take form before adding on an additional limb or decoration.

Let the kids decorate with fruit or frosting.

If you have metal cookie cutters, you can grease them, place them on the griddle and pour the batter directly into them.

For easier fun, add some green coloring for Grinch pancakes or add red colorin to half of your batter and swirl for some festive cakes.

  • Decorate green waffles

Toss some green food coloring into your waffle batter.  Cut into triangles to let the kids cover with syrup, frosting, sweets, whipped cream, fruit.

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Diaper Rash: 7 Causes & 11 Cures

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This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”

Diaper Rash: 7 Causes & 11 Cures

Nothing hurts your heart more as a parent than your baby being in pain.  It’s even worse if you can’t help the pain stop.

No matter what you do to prevent it, every single baby will get diaper rash at some point or another.

Some may get lucky and have mild rashes that go away quickly, but most parents will encounter the dreaded severe diaper rash that leaves your baby screaming and squirming on the changing table.

Diaper rash can show up on the bottom, the genitalia, and even the abdomen.

I have included direct links to any product I talk about so you can have it at your door in a matter of days or you can run to the store and easily recognize it!

What causes diaper rash?

  • Baby not being kept clean and dry

Baby having a diaper full of pee and pootie constantly putting pressure on their skin causes skin to get raw and turn into a rash.

We all know it is impossible to put your life on hold for a few years to watch your baby’s diaper and change it the moment it turns from yellow to blue.  It’s impossible and diaper rash of some sort is inevitable.

  • Diarrhea caused by illness or antibiotics

Having some watered down pootie pressed up against their skin will definitely cause rashes.  It is full of waste bacteria and is usually very acidic.

  • Friction

Moist diapers rubbing on the most sensitive skin on baby’s body will make the skin red and irritated,

  • Sensitivity to certain brands of diapers, wipes or creams

Not all brands are for all babies.  Not all diapers are created equal.  This may not always be agreeable with your budget, but if you go through every treatment for diaper rash and do everything you can to prevent and they STILL came at you with a vengeance, consider changing brands.

  • Introductions of new foods or acidic foods

Baby’s bowel movements will get weird once you start the solid food journey.  Color, texture, and smell will be at each end of the spectrum. Baby’s tummy will have a hard time with some foods which can cause bowel movements to drastically change and that will take baby’s skin by surprise.  If baby is eating a lot of fruits, bowel movements can become very acidic and can give the skin a slight burning feeling.

  • Bacterial and yeast infections

Your baby may have an internal infection that could be affecting their digestive system and therefore causing some nasty bacteria or yeast to come crawling out.  Diaper rashes can also become infected.  Both usually require a visit to the pediatrician who will prescribe antibiotic ointments or antifungal medication that is taken orally.

  • Eczema

If your baby has a pre-existing skin condition such as eczema, it can pop up where the sun don’t shine and cause severe itching and discomfort.  In most cases, they will be prescribed an antibiotic ointment.

Treating Diaper Rash

  • Clean with washcloth or a nasal aspirator

When changing baby, instead of using your regular baby wipes, try a washcloth dampened with warm water or a nasal aspirator filled with warm water…(or one of the peri bottles you stole from the hospital!).

Avoid baby wipes that are scented or contain alcohol as they may further irritate baby’s skin.  If it continues to reoccur, you may want to think of switching to a “natural” version of your brand’s wipes or a different brand all together.

  • Hair dryer

While drying baby’s bum after wiping, instead of air drying, or patting with a dry cloth, try putting your hair dryer on the low, warm setting and keep dryer at least a foot away and get baby’s booty completely dry.

  • Diaper Rash Cream

A classic!  For your basic, run of the mill, bright pink bum, using a cream which contains zinc oxide can help shield baby’s skin from the moisture and friction.

If the rash has broken skin, don’t apply cream to those areas as it can slow the healing process.

  • AVOID Baby Powder & Corn Starch

Both of these have been pushed to help keep baby’s skin dry but they can actually cause the opposite to occur.  The powder can sit in skin creases and hold moisture which will help bacteria spread more quickly.  This can cause the rash to graduate to an infection.

  • Petrolium Jelly

An good old fashioned tub of Vaseline.  This will keep baby’s cheeks slick so they don’t stick and will make a barrier between skin and bacteria.

  • Naked Time

Nothing make’s baby’s sweet skin happier than some fresh air.  Yes, baby will pee and even poop wherever they are, but their skin will be getting a much needed break!

Throw down a towel if they’re not on the move yet.  I would put a changing pad liner down under the towel to prevent full soak through.  If they’re slightly on the move, throw down a blanket.

If you don’t want to do laundry, take them outside and get some sunshine and some fresh air on those sweet cheeks.

  • Warm Sitz Bath

Not much feels better than a nice warm bath.  Throw a few tablespoons of baking soda into baby’s bath water for a refreshing sitz soak.  Baking soda eliminates toxins and neutralizes skin acidity which will calm the rash and make baby’s bum relaxed.

  • Milk Bath

The wonder of breast milk at it again! Fill baby’s tub with some warm water and add just enough breast milk to make the water cloudy.  Let them soak for about 10 minutes, drain all of the milk/water, then give baby a regular bath.  The antibodies in the milk prevent germs and soothe injured skin.

  • Oatmeal Bath

Aveeno has oatmeal bath mix specifically for baby skin.  It can help treat, not only diaper rash, but eczema and chicken pox!  This hypoallergenic powder moisturizes and naturally cleanses without harsh soap.  Oatmeal bath is also great for full body rashes like those that come along with hand, foot and mouth disease.

  • Coconut Oil

Much like Petroleum Jelly, coconut oil keeps the cheeks from chaffing.  Coconut oil has anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties that can help prevent the rash from progressing to an infection by killing the bacteria sitting near baby’s skin.

  • Pepto Bismol

The chalky pink drink?  You heard right!  Shake your Pepto, pour a generous amount on a cotton ball and dab onto the affected area.  Let it dry completely then diaper normally.  It will dry up all the moisture sitting in baby’s sensitive skin and will act as a wall preventing more from getting in.

If your baby’s rash does not begin to improve after 4 days, consult your pediatrician.

Good luck and happy diapering!

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15 Amazon Products All First Time Parents Need

This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”

magical mama blog 15 amazon products all first time parents need

15 Amazon Products All First Time Parents Need

 

  • Subscribe & Save Diapers!!!!

Oh my goodness!  This has changed my life! We had a diaper shower and filled an entire closet up with diapers…that barely lasted a few months!

I did research on the average of how many diapers you would need of each size until your child is potty trained and registered for those ball park numbers and we didn’t get anywhere near what we needed.

This program has saved my sanity!  I haven’t had to go to the store for diapers or even have them on my grocery list.  An entire month’s supply comes straight to my door automatically!

I can go in at any point and move around my delivery dates or change the sizes or number of boxes we need!

On top of your peace of mind in not having to think about diapers, subscribing saves you money!  And as first time parents, you’re going to want to save as much money as you can while you adjust to financing an additional human being in your home!

I cannot say enough good things about this program!

Check it out on Amazon right now!

  • Nose Frida

I’m so sorry if you’re grossed out by this, but it dances circles around bulb syringes!

There was a night my baby couldn’t sleep because she could barely breathe and was so uncomfortable.  I was trying to suck my poor baby’s snot-filled nose with a bulb syringe while she screamed.

The next morning, after basically no sleep, I decided to get over it and get this thing that every one was raving about and BOY was I happy I did!

I wish I would have registered for this! If I could have had this from day one, I could have saved myself a lot of sleep.

Don’t worry, it’s basically impossible to suck the snot into your mouth.  Everything gets trapped in the base.  Even if it doesn’t, it would have to travel through a long tube and go through the filter before getting to the mouth piece. You’re safe.

It’s easy to clean and has come in handy on so many occasions, I can’t even count and my baby is only 9 months old!

  • Baby Bum Brush

In the prehistoric days of applying rash cream with your bare hands, you always seemed to end up with more cream on your hands and under your nails than on your baby’s bum.

So now you’re slimy, baby’s rash is no better off, and you’ve wasted more than half the cream on your hands that you now have to go wash off.  I don’t know if you’ve looked lately, but diaper rash cream is expensive!

This is a game changer in the diapering game! Babies pee a lot and they’re stuck with constant moist friction on their sensitive skin. There’s no way you’re going to be physically able to change them so often that they avoid diaper rash.  It’s going to happen.  Make it easier on yourself.

This magical invention will save you money and sanity.  Simply get a dab on your brush, slather onto your baby, wipe the brush with a baby wipe, the end!  No cream on you, baby’s bum is happy, and no waste!

  • Onesie Extenders

Your baby will change sizes overnight…literally.  They will be wearing one size when you put them to bed and when you put on their onesie in the morning, suddenly they’re a stuffed sausage and you can’t snap them in.

In the instances that they haven’t been able to show off the cute outfit their aunt got for them, you aren’t ready to accept the fact that you spent money on something and they only wore it once, you don’t have something in the next size ready to go, or your baby has a monster of a torso, these little beauties are amazing!

You simply get to add about an extra 3 inches of room for their shoulders and legs to breathe.

  • Little Remedies Kit

Thank you, Little Remedies, for giving me the ability to make the screaming stop!

All the books will tell you: when your baby is crying, check that they have been fed, burped and changed…well, book, what now?

So many times, you get to play a guessing game with no answers.  Your baby could be having tummy troubles, digestion issues, or breathing trouble that no amount of food, burping, or diaper changing will fix.

The gas drops work wonders for baby tummy bubbles and they work quick! Gripe water will make hiccups, colic and gas disappear.  I have seen the Nasal Drops perform actual magic by transforming 2 nostrils that were completely crusted close to moist, clear passages!

Save yourself the sleep and make your little one comfortable!

  • Pack n play

Whatever genius took the old portable play pen and turned it into this all-in-one miracle is a genius and I hope they get lots and lots of money!

It has a changing table, bouncy seat, pocket caddy, noise maker/night light, bassinet, and pack-n-play.

We had it set to the bassinet level with the changing table on it in our room.  We had our little one near by for late night feedings.  When she woke up, we were able to change her without taking a single step because the changing table was next to where she was sleeping and the pocket caddy had diapers, wipes, and everything we needed in it.

I’m pretty sure our baby lived in that bouncy seat if she wasn’t being held.  It vibrates and kept her nice and cozy at a slight angle to avoid digestion issues.

It’s the swiss army knife of baby products.  Register for it now!

  • Rocker

Didn’t you say products on Amazon?  I sure did! Furniture delivered right to you!

I know some people think they’ll be fine with a regular chair or additional bed in the nursery to feed and hang out with baby in the middle of the night…treat yo self!

We had ours in our room the first 3 months then moved it into her room and it has become a staple in our bedtime routine.  That rocking for her, that lounging for us, and the peace for all!

  • Swing

We’re squeezing every last minute out of our swing! Our chunky monkey could be bending the metal any time now.

If she kept everyone up all night long screaming, we would put her in this and all was well in the world.  At 9 months, we can still put her in it and she’s out in a matter of minutes.

Your arms and your back will thank you for this addition!  When you can’t stand the walking, bouncing and rocking, let the swing do it for you and give yourself a break.

  • Hello Baby Monitor

I can’t give a good enough review for this monitor!  It has color picture and infrared so you can see just as clearly when the lights are out. You can make the camera go close up to make sure your baby is breathing without having to get up.  There is a microphone so you can talk to your little one and comfort them…or tell them to lay down for the fortieth time.

There’s an indicator for the temperature of the baby’s room!  This was a huge help!  If my baby’s room was below 70 or above 78, she would wake up.  Now, I check at bed time and know how much we need to change the thermostat or the vent in her room to make sure we all have a peaceful night.

The receiver is a great size and I attached it vertically with some 3M hooks to our nightstand so we can always see it when we hear her making noise in the middle of the night.  It also has great battery power and a little kickstand so you can watch your little one during nap time!

  • Boppy

Weather you’re breast feeding or bottle feeding, this pillow will pay for itself 10 times over!

It gives your arms, back, and neck a huge break when you hold them so you can relax.  It is great for little ones starting tummy time.  Mine hated being on her stomach and having her head down.  The Boppy was her tummy time buddy for months!

You can prop them up to give them a new view, relieve tummy trouble, keep them in one place, and work on some core and neck strength.

It is the perfect support for when your little one is trying to figure out how to use their muscles to sit up on their own.  It gave me peace of mind when my daughter enjoyed straightening her legs and hurling her head backwards.  That Boppy saved us from a lot of bumps, bruises, and crying.

Be sure to grab a waterproof cover for those projectile vomit or projectile…anything else incidents.  Then dive into the thousands of covers you can get!

  • Cool Steam Humidifier

Not for the sick adults!  For the happy babies! Humidifiers protect against dry air.  They are especially important in the winter months when you have on heaters which pull moisture from the air.

Babies are prone to runny noses, coughs, and cold symptoms.  Keeping the air in their room moist makes for the best breathing conditions which keeps them comfortable and reduces the risk of them getting sick.

It protects your baby’s sensitive skin from become dry and itchy and retains its natural moisture.

On top of the health benefits, it’s practically a white noise maker in itself!

  • Velcro Swaddlers

All the time you spent working on swaddling in class?  Put it to good use. But as soon as your baby is big enough, get them in a velcro swaddler!

No matter what type of blankets and hacks you’re using, your baby will figure out how to worm an arm out or snuggle in and have blankets around their face.  With velcro swaddlers, there’s no escaping AND when it’s 4 o’clock in the morning and you’re changing your 10 diaper for the evening, you don’t have to think or wrestle with your baby to get the blankets tucked in just so.

Once my little one was out of preemie sized clothes, I put her in one and never turned back to those dastardly blankets! In the middle of the night, we’d slip her out, change her, slip her right back in, feed and burp her while she was swaddled and laid her right back down.  Easy peasy!


  • Bath Thermometer

I don’t know about y’all, but I like my showers scalding hot.  When it comes time to run the baby a bath, the books say to dunk your elbow in…when I checked the temperature of what I thought felt appropriate, I could have scorched my little one.

These devices have given me so much peace of mind. The screen turns blue if it’s too cold, red if it’s too hot, and green for when it’s just right for the baby bear.

Pro Tip: Be sure to let it dry with its sensor side up so that the screen doesn’t go out.

Check out how to clean and sanitize your baby’s bath toys!

  • Play Gym

My baby lived on hers for the first 4 months of her life.  She gazed at the hanging toys, played the piano with her feet, napped, did tummy time, and learned how to roll over on this mat.

The great thing about this one is that you can de-tatch the piano once they outgrow the mat and they can continue to play the familiar tunes.

  • Delicate Laundry bags

If you do not already have these in your home, get them, get them now!

I have a small bag hanging on the side of baby’s laundry basket.  This is where I throw all of her itty bitty baby socks.  When I pull it out of the dryer, not one sock is missing… EVER!

I have a medium bag in our bathroom for her washcloths and sponges from her bath time.  Once her laundry is done, I can return the whole bag back to our bathroom without having to sort!

I have a large bag hanging on the back of the chair that her highchair sits on.  This is where I throw her bibs and wash cloths after meal time.  The velcro from the bibs doesn’t get stuck on any of her other clothes and when laundry is done, I can fold her eating laundry right in the kitchen and put it back in her kitchen cabinet with..NO sorting!

These come in handy when you are away on a trip.  You have portable laundry bags!  No wondering what is clean and what is dirty!

Bonus: If your kiddo loves Legos (or other small plastic toys that are after your feet with a vengeance), you can throw them into a bag and then into the sink with some hot water and vinegar to give them a good cleaning and disinfecting.  If you throw them in here, hundreds of little plastic pieces stay together and don’t go down your sink drain!

 

And there you have it!  15 amazing products that you can have delivered straight to your door!

Thanks for reading and happy shopping!

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38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

38 fun fall activites for your family, family night, family bonding, autumn fall family game night magical mama blog

38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

School bells are ringing, the air is still muggy from summer, and everyone is trying to figure out this new routine.  Why this is a surprise every year? We may never know.

Between the time the first school bell rings and the time sleigh bells are ringing, it is so important to make time to spend together as a family…but coming up with things to do?  That can be a doozie!  That’s why I created this fabulous list!

There’s a free printable October Calendar at the bottom of this post!

Getting out of the house activities:

  1. Go to a Corn Maze or Hayride

    Almost all city councils crave a fun seasonal festival to bring the town together.  Look on your city’s website for upcoming events.  If your city is unable to host something like this, chances are one close to you is.

    Look up “hayride near (your zip code)” and all kinds of options will pop up for you to look into.  A lot of them also have petting zoos, mazes, crafts and more!  You can make a whole day of it one weekend with your family!

  2. Apple picking at a local orchard

    “An apple orchard?  We don’t usually see those off the freeway.  There’s no way we have one near us!”  I dare you to look it up!  Most states have websites dedicated to “pick your own” farms and orchards divided up by county.  You’ll be surprised how close a local PYO is to you!

  3. Go to a Pumpkin Patch

    They’re everywhere in October!  You can always go to the parking lot of the local store, but its much more fun to go to a local farm or pop up “farm” and get some great pictures of your kids, fun family photos and make an event of it!

  4. Check out your city’s calendar of events for a fall festival

    Your city should have a website with a link to upcoming events put on by the city.  If your city isn’t on the brink of technology, check the paper!

    This is a great way to plan a fun play date or start an annual family tradition!  Some day, your kids can tell your grand kids about how they always went to the Fall Festival in their home town and can take them some day!

  5. Pick out Halloween Candy to hand out

    Instead of going to the grocery store yourself and looking at a mountain of options, get your family involved.  I know, it sounds crazy, let your kids be in charge of picking out candy?  I’ll go bankrupt!  Their teeth will rot!

    Simply give each family member a budget or a one bag rule.  Get your kids excited about going to the store and getting groceries!  Errands don’t have to be a chore!

    My favorite part of Halloween as a kid wasn’t trick or treating.  Sure, I’d go out for 30 minutes just to do it, but I’d rush home to see all of the fun costumes come to my door and hand out candy.

  6. Go out for seasonal donuts

    Everyone makes them.  Krispy Kream, Dunkin Donuts, and all the mom and pop shops around.  Take the kiddos out one morning to a local shop and enjoy breakfast together.

    You can bring donuts home any old time, but going out to a shop where they’re forced to talk to each other and try something unique makes for a great time.

  7. Go for a sunset walk

    It’s been a long day at school and work, the kids have done their after school activities, homework is done.. before dinner and electronics and a bed time routine, get outside.  Take your kids out in the fresh air and have them look up.  Enjoy a sunset as a family.

  8. Go on a nature walk

    You can go out to enjoy the outdoors or you can send your kids out on a serious hunt.  Make them a list of things to look for or make a list of things to collect along your walk.

    Play nature bingo or I Spy.  Try to get away from walking around your neighborhood.  Go to a big park in the city, or a local campground.  Get them out in the leaves and dirt!

  9. Collect pine cones

    Along your nature walk, collect pine cones or other natural materials.  Not only is it fun watching your kids hunt and compare, you can bake them and make a Fall centerpiece or a Winter wreath.

    To bake: preheat your oven to 250, line a baking sheet with tin foil, place cones and cinnamon sticks on baking sheet (I like to sprinkle a little ground cinnamon and nutmeg on top too!), bake for one hour, check occasionally to avoid burning.

    Baking your cones dries out all the moisture and makes sure there’s no miniature critters hiding in there!

  10. Flashlight Tag in the park

    You know all of those flashlights around your house that never get used?  Now’s your chance to find them, check the batteries, have a good time, and make sure everyone knows where their dedicated flashlight is in case of an emergency.

    Get your little ones bundled up in dark colors.  Head out to a local park after the sun sets and it gets dark.  Be sure to establish boundaries so they can all be found again easily and have fun!

  11. Grab seasonal drinks at a local coffee shop

    I’d love to challenge you to find someplace other than Starbucks.  Avoid the girls in their leggings and Ugg boots waiting in line for their Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

    Get on Yelp or ask around for a fun local place and go out for a fancy family date.  Finding a coffee shop that has fun hot chocolates and teas, serves drinks in actual mugs, and has a little ambiance makes for a great trip!

  12. Take some fall family photos

    It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Not everyone has the money to hire a busy and expensive professional, coordinate schedules and get all children dressed and happy at the same time.  It’s nearly impossible.

    Take a fancy camera with you to a pumpkin patch or coffee shop or your back yard and get some realistic and fun photos.  Kids don’t remember the fancy photo shoots when they look back at family albums, they remember the memories you make.  Capture those!

  13. Trick or Treat

    Teach your kids the fundamentals of the classic activity.  Make sure they use their manners and their courage.  Get them some exercise before they chow down!

    If they get tired, bored, cold, scared, etc. head back home.  Let them exchange the candy they got from trick or treating that they don’t like with the good stuff in your bowl that they helped pick out.  Turn on a fun movie (ABC Family and tons of other channels have family friendly Halloween movies running constantly) and have fun handing out candy.

    If your neighborhood isn’t known for it’s Trick or Treating crowd, or Halloween falls on a weeknight, a lot of cities will have Trick or Treat events where the kids can safely get candy without scary decor or crossing streets at night.

    At- Home Activities:

  14. Play football in the yard

    You don’t have to be an NFL pro.  Split up into teams while dinner is cooking and have fun challenging each other back and forth across the yard.

    If you don’t have a big yard, head to a park, invite family friends with you and have a picnic and a scrimmage.

  15. Bob for apples

    Take the apples you picked at a local orchard or some from the supermarket, fill a big basin with water and tell your kids to go for it.

    Most times, they’ll think it’s easy then struggle and giggle with each other as those mini mouths try to capture those giant granny smiths. Get pictures!

  16. Start a fire & make S’mores

    Make your first fire of the season and have the kiddos make some fun snacks for themselves.

    If you don’t have a fire place, head to the beach or a camp ground and nab a bon fire pit, or make them over a grill or stove.

  17. Carve Jack-O-Lanterns

    Get ready to get messy and carve the pumpkins you picked at the patch.

    My favorite stay-clean trick is to cover whatever surface they will be working on in a few of the dollar store plastic table cloths that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  Once you’re done, you can pull the corners in and put the entire thing in the trash.  No soggy newspapers or sticky magazine pages!

    If you don’t have an artsy eye, you can always grab some Halloween cookie cutters and hammer them into your pumpkin or trace them so you don’t end up with a blob thats supposed to be a cat or a bat.

  18. Watch Hocus Pocus

    A classic Halloween film that is rated PG.  Enjoy some autumnal treats and watch this as a family.

  19. Decorate your home

    There is no need to spend a fortune to make your house look like a haunted house or like a Martha Stewart magazine cover.  Grab some stuff at the supermarket, dollar store, or party supply store.

    Have your kids cover the plants out front with spider webs, make a leafy centerpiece you can keep on the table until Thanksgiving, put candles and plastic spiders in jars, place their pumpkins out front, hang bats from a tree, put spooky signs on their bedroom doors, hang fun hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen, put a fun wreath on the door, etc.

  20. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    This 1966 classic isn’t even rated.  It’s great for all ages and it’s only 25 minutes long!

  21. Rake & jump in a pile of leaves

    If you don’t have a big tree that graces you with mounds of leaves, chances are someone in your family or neighborhood does.  Get your kids into the giving spirit and go rake up some leaves for someone (with their permission).

    Great pictures can be taken when kids are thrilled to be throwing colorful, crunchy leaves up in the air.  It burns up energy and gets them grungy for a nice hot bath!

  22. Light some fall candles or simmer a seasonal brew

    Nothing makes you warm and cozy like walking into a warm home and having it smell like the season ought to.

    Toss some apple slices, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks and some ground nutmeg into a pot of water on the stove.  Try orange peels, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

    Don’t want to waste produce?  Have some essential oils lying around?  Toss 2 table spoons of coconut oil into a wax warmer and drip some cypress, sandalwood, and white fir to make your home smell like a forest.

    Don’t have the oils?  Get the coconut oil, some pumpkin pie spice and ground nutmeg on the warmer!

  23. Play board games

    You know there are a ton of them in that one closet.  Get them out!  Have a family rivalry, make them use their heads, talk to each other, and strategize.

    Bonus!  You can see what games are missing too many pieces to salvage and can get rid of some stuff!

  24. Make a fall wreath

    Use the pine cones and leaves from your family nature walk, some fabric from your scrap pile, or take a venture to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or JoAnn and let your kids pick out elements for your front door decor.

  25. Make Cinnamon PlayDoh

    No cook recipe!

    Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar, 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, a few shakes of cinnamon. Add about  1 and a half cups of freshly boiled water (now is the time to add in food coloring if you’d like it to be bright).  Let it cool and play!

    You can also replace the cinnamon with ground cloves, ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or anything else you can think of!  Experiment!  This is not a costly craft!

  26. DIY your Halloween Costumes

    I know what you’re thinking, I don’t sew!  I don’t have the skills!  Worry not, you’re not making a Project Runway gown.

    It’s great to see what your kids come up with and most times, it saves you money!  Halloween stores and websites overcharge for a highly duplicated costume that tons of kids will be wearing.  I know I saw a sea of Harley Quinn twins last Halloween and eons of Elsa’s a few years ago.

    Get their creative juices flowing and they’ll end up with a one of a kind costume!

  27. Leaf rubbing with crayons

    Take some of the leaves from your nature walk and place them under a sheet of paper, take the wrappers off of your autumn colored crayons and let the kids go to town creating simple art for you.  No coloring within the lines required.

    Seasonal Food and Drinks to Make:

  28. Apple cider

    Dive into Pinterest and look for a fun crock pot Apple Cider recipe.  Great for a family gathering or a fun evening of board games or movies or baking fun seasonal treats.

    Bonus! It makes your house smell incredible!

    Extra Bonus:  You can make some spiked cider or hot toddies for Mom and Dad!

  29. Baked pumpkin seeds

    Grab a few hand fulls of pumpkin seeds during the carving madness and throw it into a colander in the sink and run some water to rinse and separate the seeds.

    Preheat oven to 400.  Throw a cup of seeds in a pan with 3-4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes, drain, spread out on greased sheet, sprinkle with some melted butter and salt and pepper or cinnamon and sugar.

    Bake anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes depending on how large the seeds are and how many you have.  Keep an eye and as soon as they start to turn brown, pull them out and enjoy!

  30. Pumpkin chili

    There are tons of great recipes out there.  This is a great treat for those seeking a delicious fall recipe that isn’t chock full of sugar.

  31. Pumpkin pancakes or Pumpkin cinnamon rolls

    What better way to wake your kids up on the weekend than with something delicious wafting through their air and tickling their noses?

  32. Pumpkin bread

    Every time you’ve ever tried to make bread at home, has it come out burnt or dry or goopy?  If you’re one to leave it to the pros, every bakery will have seasonal goodies saving you time and heart ache.

    If you’re a baker at heart, Pinterest is crawling with recipes for regular pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread… my mouth is watering just listing them.

  33. Candied apples

    I have terrible teeth and the thought of these makes me want to cringe. Trying to eat these delicious treats growing up was no pleasure and all pain.  Until recently when some genius decided the show the world that you can slice the apples before dipping or coating them and make them easy to eat!

    Most grocery stores have candied apple kits near the apples in the produce section… just look down!  If you’re hardcore and wouldn’t DARE use a KIT, grab a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits, melt and dip or drizzle your slices.  You can add melted chocolate, nuts, broken up Halloween candy, or whatever you please!

    Pro Tip:  If you have little ones or want a pretty easy party snack, grab your melon baller at the back of your kitchen drawer and make little apple balls, throw a tooth pick in them, dip them and voila!  Mini candied apples!

  34. Cookies with fall shaped cookie cutters

    Look in the baking section for them to put out the cookie cutters for the season!  Leaves, pumpkins, witches, cats, ghosts, spiders, etc.

    If you don’t want to dish out the change for new, seasonal specific cookie cutters, see what you already have in the pantry.  You can turn a Santa silhouette or tulip up side down and decorate it as a ghost.  Turn a gingerbread man into a mummy or skeleton or a witch.  You can just make plain circles or squares and give your kids a blank canvas for their imaginations to run wild!

    This is a great activity for people who want to throw everything pumpkin-spiced in the trash!  You can make cookies in your favorite flavor and have a blast cutting them out and decorating with the kids.

  35. Rice Krispy Treats

    You can make these all year round and the recipe is on every box of the cereal!  But how is this a fall activity?  You can make them into fun shapes and decorate them with fun colored melting chocolate!

    These are great for parties!  You can make them bite sized or huge.  Keep them plain or make them into a fun shape and douse them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled candy for an impressive treat!

  36. Pumpkin pie

    It’s a classic and you may as well get some practice in before you have to bring it over to mom’s house for Thanksgiving.  People are usually making this once a year and it’s disappointing if it doesn’t turn out right.

    If you want to be fancy, you can grab an extra pumpkin at the patch and make pumpkin puree from scratch for pie, bread, etc.   If you want to be that fancy… you go, Glen Coco!

    Bonus:  Get your can of pumpkin pie mix before the Thanksgiving rush!

  37. Apple pie

    My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Kids love getting their hand dirty in the kitchen… so let them!

    Put the kids to work peeling the apples, you chop them, let them find and measure the other ingredients and mix the sugars and apples by hand, you put it in the oven while they put the ingredients back where they belong and start on dishes!

    If you’re not a crust person, like myself, go for an easy apple crisp.  Place the apple filling directly into a greased glass 9×9 and throw the buttery, sugary crisp on top!  Easy peasy!

  38. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

    A delightful treat you can keep in the cookie jar the whole season!
    Want to be lazy?… Yes, please!

    1 15 ounce can of cooked Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix), 1 box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake, a bag of chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are always the best!).  Preheat oven to 350, spoon out the combination on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

    BAM!  Cookies in about 15 minutes and not a single measuring cup or spoon was used!!

 

So there you have it!  38 fun family activities for this season!  If you’re going to be a Pinterest-Perfect Mom and accomplish every single one of these, I give you serious props!  I’m going to try… but doubt that a 9 month old, full time work schedule and unplanned sickness will allow it to happen!  I’ll be sure to come back and update this post with pictures as we get things checked off the list!

If you’d like to accomplish a couple of these, I have them written down and planned out for you on our printable calendar so you don’t have to remember!  No need to argue on what to do this weekend!  It’s already on the calendar!

October_Family_Activity Calendar PDF

Happy Fall and enjoy your family time!

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

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How to: Pack baby for plane travel

how to pack baby for plane travel packing airline flight airport trip vacation suitcase carry on checked bag organization

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How to: Pack Baby for plane travel

It’s time to blast off into the wild blue yonder… but you don’t know how you’re going to fit your entire nursery into your suitcase?  Worry no more!  We’re going to simplify and organize the whole process!

Cheat sheet!  Head over to FREE STUFF for your baby packing check list for both breast fed and formula fed babies!

I always have a suitcase for baby and a suitcase for Mom and Dad.  We fly Southwest so we get 2 free checked bags per person (50 lbs & under) plus our carry ons! Score!

Baby’s Suitcase

Packing baby airline flight airplane airport travel vacation road trip suitcase carry on checked bag what to pack

Time line

Know how many days and nights you are going to be gone for.  This should be your base line.  You’ll need at least that many outfits for the day and sleepers for the night.

You know your baby inside and out and know how many outfits they usually go through in a day.  Add those to your baseline and always throw in an extra outfit or 2 on top of that.

You never know how your baby is going to react to a new location, new weather, or a new time zone.  Always better to be prepared and expect the unexpected.

Efficiency

Make it easy for yourself.  Baby clothes are small and no matter how nicely you fold them and pack them in from end to end, they will get jostled and mixed around while your luggage is being moved.

Do yourself a favor and invest in some quart size ziplock bags!  We’re going to make little baby clothes burritos and pack your outfits as sets!

This is especially awesome if you have a baby girl and want to bring along headbands and bows because they stay with the outfits they go with!

baby packing clothes tutorial ziplock hefty bag organizing

Dirty laundry

So you’re half way through your vacation and you now have half of your outfits left in their bags and the used ones are now just floating around? No way, Jose!

Delicate laundry bags.  If you don’t have them already, go get them now!  Pack one of these bags when you are away from home and ta-da you have a portable laundry bin!

 

Pro Tip:  Get a set of the laundry bags.  Use the smallest ones to hang on the edge of your baby’s laundry bin to keep all of baby’s socks together.  Use a medium laundry bag to hang on the back of the baby’s high chair to keep your dirty bibs and washcloths together.  Hang a large sized bag in the bathroom for the bath time towels, washcloths and sponges.  This not only allows you to refrain from losing pieces, it makes separating baby laundry a breeze. You take it out of the dryer and know where all the bags need to go and your stuff is clean and right back where it started!

Food Supplies

Whatever you’ll need during travel time should be in your carry on.  But if you’ll need bowls, spoons, bottles, sippy cups, teethers etc., throw those in a gallon sized ziplock bag so they’ll stay all together.

If you’re running out of your vacation at the end, and have freshly washed utensils, they now have a place to go where they won’t get any other stuff wet!

Pump/Formula

If you’re able to make it through your travel time without pumping, put your pump in a checked bag.  This will save you a headache at airport security!

(TSA has really streamlined breastfeeding supplies over the years, but each airport and agent is a bit different with their training, resources, and policies.)

If your formula container is already opened, put it in a gallon sized Ziplock bag.  If, for any reason, it opens during travel, you’re not losing those precious pennies of formula dust!

Monitor

We like to keep things as much like home as possible.  It’s nice to be able to put her down for a nap or bed time and be able to go out and socialize while keeping an eye her.

Her naps and bed time get thrown off quite a bit with long travel days and being in a different time zone.

Our monitor is pretty compact, so we take it with us everywhere.  I pack mine in a little box that we got in one of our hundreds of Amazon packages.  It held a battery pack and cord for one of her toys and our little monitor fits in it just perfectly.

You don’t need a fancy box, but just something to keep the screen safe and keep the cords from getting tangled would help.

baby monitor packing clothes airplane airline airport travel vacation

We adore our Hello Baby Monitor!  It has audio, color/infared, you can do close-up to make sure your little one is breathing, it tells you the temperature of their room, and has a microphone so you can calm them down from a distance!

Medical Bag

I adore Little Remedies!  They have saved me a lot of sleep and stress.  The newborn kit comes with several products and this handy-dandy zipper bag that holds all of the supplies.

I like to throw in Tylenol, a syringe, Vapo rub, Saline Drops, Gas Drops, nail clippers, thermometer, and the Nose Frieda.  Our munchkin developed a cough and runny nose on our last trip and I had fortunately packed all of these supplies and was able to make her comfortable.

Side note: We keep bath wash, baby oil, lotions, sunscreens, bug spray, etc. in the toiletries bag in our suitcase.

baby packing medicine medical bag first aid thermometer little remedies baby airplan airline airport

 

Diapers

If you have it in the budget, get a small pack of diapers once you arrive to your destination.  This way, you’ll just have to pack them in your carry on and you can save a ton of space.

Extra bag

Anywhere I take my baby, she gets spoiled rotten.  We always wind up coming home with twice as much as we came with.

If you don’t wind up using it for new stuff coming home, no worries, it’s a flat bag. And, if anything, it’ll just keep your stuff nice and snug inside your suitcase.

It’s nice to have in case any of your bags wind up weighing over 50 pounds.  It’ll save you the fee that comes along with heavy luggage!  Just transfer heavy or bulky items into the extra bag and BOOM!  Saved yourself some cash!

baby packing suitcase formula baby clothes organization airplane travel vacation airport

Carry Ons

Each person gets 1 carry on plus a personal item.  My husband and I each take a diaper bag.  Mine is a diaper bag that I use as my regular purse and my husband’s is a diaper backpack.

When I was still nursing, I took my Boppy as my personal item and, boy, did we use it!  My husband had a small, soft cooler I bought at Target as his carry on to bring some frozen milk.

But how did we navigate boarding an airplane with 2 diaper bags, a cooler, a Boppy and a baby?

My husband was able to put on our carrier with baby, put on the back pack and I was able to have my bag, the cooler and the Boppy.  I found seats, got settled, then took baby while Dad got comfortable.  It was seamless through 4 flights in one week!

Remember, everything in your carry ons will be going through security.

Here are TSA’s guidelines on traveling with children.

Mom’s Carry On – Diaper Bag

diaper bag baby packing travel vacation tsa security airport cooler toys organization

I focus my carry on on the baby.  My stuff will be in Dad’s carry on.

Folder

If your little one is under 2, you need their ORIGINAL Birth Certificate in order to get them a boarding pass.  This is also where I keep confirmations for hotels and rental cars at easy reach.

Food

Have your formula, bottles, water, juice, or baby food in a gallon ziplock bag.  They have their own rules and have to be scanned separately from the rest of your items.  Be sure to tell a TSA agent that you have these items.  This also applies for frozen or chilled breast milk in coolers.

Here are TSA’s guidelines on milk/food for babies.

Essentials

Diapers, wipes, cream and a changing pad.  Bring more than you think you’ll need!  You never know how your plane will be delayed or if your luggage gets lost.  Bring extras!

Pacifiers for those poor little baby ears that don’t know how to handle pressure changes.  If they’re not eating at take off and landing, have that pacifier ready!

Burp Cloth.  Those poor little tummies can hold a lot of stuff and the last thing you want is for all of that to come flying out and have no way to clean them up.

Carrier.  Hands free baby wearing.  Travel is taxing. Save your arms.

Dad’s Carry On – BackPack

baby packing backpack suitcase vacation travel airport tsa security

Phones & Wallets

We have a small outside pocket and a big outside pocket.  We keep our phones in the top pocket and our wallets (with ID) in the big bottom pocket along with our boarding passes once we get them.  They are accessible at all times and don’t get lost in the baby junk.

Electronics & Chargers

If you have to bring a lap top or tablet, put it in the bag not designated for baby.  Also, bring phone chargers.  If you’re stuck in an airport with a delay, you don’t want a dead phone.

Clothes

Keep your extra outfit for baby in a ziplock bag.  Also bring an extra shirt for Mom and Dad.  If you get thrown up on mid-flight, you don’t want to be stuck in it AND you’ll have a ziplock bag to keep the mess contained!

Essentials

Diapers, wipes, and a changing pad.  Aren’t these in Mom’s bag?  YES!  Have them in both!

Baby Blanket

If you plan on nursing in-flight or in the airports, get yourself some private space and bring a blanket.  Not all airports have designated rooms.

Baby may want to spread out and play, better to have them on a blanket than the airport floor and it’s always freezing in airports and in the plane… keep your little one as comfortable as possible.

Toys

You never know how long your airport stay or wait on the runway will be.  Keep your baby as happy as possible.  Bring some favorite toys to keep them at ease.

 

carry on backpack diaper bag baby packing travel vacation tsa security essentials organization

Car Seat

If you’re planning on bringing a car set with you, DO NOT forget the base to connect it with whatever car you are going to have.

They have car seat bags available online if you’d like to check your stuff and give it a bit of protection.

If you would like the space, security and have it in the budget, you can also opt to buy baby a seat on the plane if they’re under 2 and take them in their car seat.  The magical little hooks on baby’s arm rests are meant to be used with airplane seat belts.

Stroller

Call the airline that you have bought your tickets from and discuss the options for strollers.

It is handy to have a stroller if you’re going to a big airport and you’re going to be walking for a while.  Most airlines let you check your stroller as you board the plane and have it waiting for you as soon as you land, but policies vary and can change.

Do your research and find out ahead of time.  Be sure to clean your stroller out before you head off to the airport.  It has to be emptied and collapsed to be sent through the X-ray at security.

baby packing luggage plane travel vacation suitcase carry on checked bags airport airline airplane crib luggage

And there you have it!  Congratulations, you’re all packed and ready to go!

If you want a printable check list so you don’t forget anything, you’ll find it right below!  Head to my FREE STUFF page for other printables and check lists!

Happy travels and may the odds be ever in your favor!

magical mama blog how to pack baby plane travel vacation trip airplane airport plane port air toddler organize organise

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How To: Make every trip to the grocery store a walk in the park

how to make every trip to the grocery store a walk in the park

Even with a full time job, babies, spouses, pets, meals and sleep. We still need to squeeze some fun into our lives.

Unfortunately, we also have to squeeze in trips to the grocery store.

Time to spend most of our hard earned money dodging shopping carts, weaving around the store, juggling a list…and forgetting things. Every. Single. Time.

Time to make things easier. Grocery stores shouldn’t be a chore, they should be a breeze! So here is my secret to getting in and out of the market without pulling all my hair out!

(If you’re already bored by this post, head over to FREE STUFF for the free downloadable grocery check list! Happy scrolling!)

Make a pattern.

We all have “our” grocery store. A place within decent proximity of our homes with the best prices or great customer service or good parking, etc… we all have one.

The next time you go, figure out your habits. Which side of the parking lot do you park on? Do you start in the produce section? Pharmacy? Bakery? Do you go up and down every aisle? Just the ones you need?

Make yourself a mental map of how you shop every time.

Take notes.

Once you know your pattern, take a pen and paper. Write down the aisles or sections in the order that you hit them.

Take pictures if you’re not into notes. Make note of what grocery items are in each aisle.

I typed out my list of super market sections in a Word document, saved it to my computer, and printed several copies.

Mine reads in a long column down the left Pharmacy, Baby, Cleaning Products, Dairy, Drinks, Dry Goods, Cans, Jars, Frozen, Meats, Fruits, Veggies, Herbs, etc.

Keep track.

Once you have your lists printed, keep them in the kitchen! I cannot stress this enough.

Keep your lists where the food is! Throw them on the fridge with a magnet, keep them in a drawer, hang them in the pantry (with a pen!).

Have them handy so whenever you run out of anything, you can immediately write it down and you won’t forget it on your next trip.

If you’re going to be making a recipe that you think you’ll remember, instead of pulling out your phone in the middle of the market and searching your Pinterest boards, simply pull them up and write down your ingredients in the pre-determined sections and you know you won’t forget anything.

Test it.

It will take a while to get into the habit of writing down what you need as you go, but once your mind jumps on board, you’ll always have what you need! And Voila!

I used to type out lists on my phone or jot things down on a pad of paper as we ran out of things. While this worked, I always ended up with my head buried in my list while I made figure eights and ran into about 30 people in the process.

With my new method, I can look down at my categories and know all of the things I will need to grab on the next aisle. I can keep myself engaged in the super market traffic and I never have to double back for forgotten items.

Especially for times that you have a grumpy baby, a toddler tantrum, a hungry family, or you are just ready for bed, this will save your life!

If this sounds like too much work for you, but you’d like to do it, there’s a free downloadable grocery store check list right here!

Good luck and happy shopping!

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