Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TODDLER TUESDAY! How to Have Fun at the Beach Without Spending a Dime!

Everyone knows about the usual things to do at the beach (like swimming and making sandcastles) but what we often forget (as we sit down and get out our book) is that toddlers often need a lot more direction!  But don’t worry, with a little creativity we can embrace the sea shore without spending any money and keep our little ones entertained for hours!

Make shadows  This is one of my favorite things to do.  Teach children about how their movements make shadows on the sand.  It may not keep their attention for too long but it’s a great way to have fun on the go.

Writing in the Sand  Writing in the sand can keep kids entertained for long periods of time while also teaching them new things!  The choices of what to write (or draw) are endless but Sienna and I love to write letters, numbers, and happy faces.  As your toddler gets older you can help them draw boats, kites, food, and many other objects!

Bring bath toys from home  Don’t forget your kids favorite bath toys!  Bring these toys to the beach, encourage your kids to dip the toys in the water, make a parade, or bury them.
Races  Draw a line in the sand indicating a start and finish line and race your little one (don’t forget to let them win sometimes!!)
Boot camp  If your toddler is old enough, teach them how to run on the beach, do jumping jacks, and push ups.  Crabby crawls (walking on your hands and feet) are great fun too! 
Hopscotch  Draw some blocks in the sand and jump away.  Even if your toddler isn’t old enough to really understand the game, they will have fun hoping on the squares!

Playing in the sand  Although this is messy….building sandcastles can be great fun for children. Fill a bucket with water and bury it in the sand so that they can make a pretend “swimming pool” or have your little one bury your feet.  
Picnic  Eating somewhere new can be fun!  Grab a blanket, juice boxes, and a sandwich for the perfect picnic on the beach!
***TICKLES AND TIMEOUTS TIP!!  Go to the beach in the morning or evening to avoid the crowds and also keep your toddler cool.  In addition, the mornings and early evenings offer great opportunities to see new things like fisherman, trackers, and new sea shells.  Don’t forget your camera!  This is the perfect opportunity to capture some great pictures!

Monday, May 30, 2011


We had a great vacation with the family at the beach and now we're back to business and have lots of information to share with you this week!  Stay tuned!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Simple Sunday! Bonding With Your Child

For some parents, bonding with their child is easy...for others it's more difficult.  For those of you who don't always know how to approach or relate to children-don't worry-it doesn't mean your a bad mom!  Using patience and practicing some skills can get you very far in parenting and help you build a positive and fun-loving relationship!

Have your child teach you something they are passionate about.  Kids love to teach adults their ideas or skills (and guess what....there's certain things they really do know more than us!) Pay CLOSE attention to your child's interests and let them "teach" you what THEY enjoy.  Here's some ideas... 

1.  MUSIC Tell them you really need to update your ipod playlist and ask them for some songs since they "know what's good these days"!  Even if you don't enjoy their taste, make the best of it and listen to it occasionally around them!

2.  TECHNOLOGY Ask your child if he or she can help you find information on a certain topic on the internet (because you "know they are so good at navigation on the internet"!)

3.  FASHION I know, this is a hard one to muster, but let your child take you to the mall to pick out cool earrings (or if you are a daring a new dress for an event!).  Try to be willing to listen to their ideas and ask them fora choice of which they like better rather than having them pick out a whole outfit and letting them down if you don't like any of it.  *This is why I suggested jewelry!

Allow your child to be the teacher or expert!  Whether this conversation takes 2 minutes (or a month), make sure you follow up with a statement about how impressed you are with all they know about this subject and how smart they are!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Focus Fridays! Local Spotlight...Jersey Shore!

If you're like me, you love the fact that summer is right around the corner and you can't wait to hit your favorite Jersey shore beach spots to make some great memories with your family! Well, here are some great places and resources to help you make those memories even better!

1.  Make memories at the beach Check out this great video shot in Wildwood (and you don't need to spend a dime!)  http://vimeo.com/10395548

2.  Storybook Land  https://storybookland.com/ 
Storybook Land is a great place to visit and it's only 10 miles west of Atlantic City.  Believe it or not I used to go there as a kid (on our way to the shore) and remember thinking it was AWESOME!  I will warn you that the cost is $21.95 plus tax for each child or adult (No charge for children under 12 months of age but the parking is free and you are allowed to bring food in and eat at the pavillions!

3.  Need a babysitter? What could be better than having a date night at the shore?  Check out http://www.sittersity.com/ or post on your facebook page that you are interested in a babysitter at the shore. There are many teens looking for work at the shore this summer and they may be related to someone you know!

4.  Want more Jersey shore family information?  Here are some great sites and articles for you to check out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TODDLER TUESDAY! Facts About Potty Training

Sienna getting used to the potty....

Reading a potty book...

Are you embarking on the potty training phase or in the midst of it? Me too!  Well, if you are like me you would like to do this at the right time (and be done with diapers!) but you are slightly overwhelmed.  Maybe you aren't sure if your child is ready or when is the right time to bite the bullet and "get er done"!  Maybe you are hearing hearing different kinds of advice from your mother in law, friends, and the 50 million online resources and books that are out there!  Perhaps knowing the facts will help guide us in the right direction!  Here are some facts that I've found and also ideas from some of the most respected doctors/experts on the subject.

1.  Potty training is not easy for a child.  First of all, they need lots of practice and determination to develop the fine motor skills neccessary to master the skill.  In addition, a child need to be at the right stage of development when they can recognize what their body needs and be able to to learn what they need to do and how quickly.  Although some children seem to catch onto using the potty overnight, most kids take an average of 7 months to be completely trained.

2.  The average age for a child to be completely done with diapers in the United States is 39 months for boys and 35 months for girls (that's almost 3 years if you are counting on your fingers!!) Remember, that's the AVERAGE! So, if you're freaking out-stop!

3.  Bed wetting is common, even in older children. 10% of kids are still wetting the bed at night by age 7.  Nighttime dryness is achieved only when a child's physiology supports this--you can't rush it.

4.  Children need to show emotional/developmental signs of readiness before being successful with potty training.  This includes being able to pull their pants up and down and showing some interest in using the potty (or interest in wearing "big kid pants").  Also, if their diaper is often dry after a nap then their starting to show developmental signs of readiness.

5.  Power struggles with your toddler will make potty training impossible! Punishments and consequences will make potty training a negative experience.  Set yourself up for success by having enough support and preparing for accidents.

6.  Potty training takes an average of eight months but will vary from child to child. One child can take one month; another might take up to a year or more.

7.  Children respond to positive motivation during this process.  Using motivational tools such as clapping/cheers, stickers or special underwear can be a great motivation for toddlers. Also, special books can make the process fun.

8.  Make the potty accessible and easy. Many experts will say children should be naked during the first 3 days or week of potty training and all experts agree that pulling pants/underwear on or off can be a difficult challenge for a toddler in the beginning.  Plan to stay home for the first few days. If your bathroom is close to where you and your toddler spend most of your time, think about buying a portable potty.  The portable potty can also be helpful when traveling.

9.  Potty Training does not have to be difficult.  Just like teaching a child to walk, getting rid of the bottle, or getting children to eat their dinner...potty training can be easy with a little patience and some preparation!

Well, I've spent over 10 hours gathering information about this topic! I hope it helps you in your mission!  From what I have gathered, potty training is not as complex or difficult as we make it out to be!  In fact, I don't think that buying a "how to" book for potty training is necessary!  Authors and doctors all seem to agree that it is a natural process that parents have done for years and years and something that we will look back and laugh about when our child is older. 

Chances are, your child will not look like this at 35..

Teaching our teens to drive...well, that will be another story!  So for now...relax and enjoy the ride!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Simple Sunday! Oneida Silverware Product Review

Looking for silverware for your toddler that is beautiful, kind to the environment, and practical?  Oneida Silverware recently sent me their toddlerware set to review and I have to admit...I love it!  I love products that provide balance in my home.  As a mother of one toddler and a baby on the way, I look for items that allow life to be easy.  I also take into consideration the mark I am leaving on the environment by avoiding using too many disposable products.  This set of toddler utensils allows my daughter (and my next daughter!) to have great set of durable, beautiful utensils to use while at the dinner table.  I love that we can practice using our "princess mannrers" (saying please, thank you, and may I be excused) while using nice silverware at the table.  In addition, using this silverware still allows me to feel good about being kind to the environment.  This silverware is really beautiful and inexpensive ($24.99 for a 6 peice set).  Check it out here!

Focus Friday! Transition From One Child to Two...oh no!

Sorry this post is a little late but better late than never! Life is getting a little crazy with a toddler and one on the way.  I seem to be slowing down quite a bit as I am now 30 weeks preggos!!  I am so ready for this baby to come but there's lots to think about! Going from one child to two children is quite an undertaking but I'm looking forward to it! 
Sienna is now 27 months (2 and 1/4!) We're trying to figure out when to tackle potty training and moving to the "big girl bed".  Of course, I have procrastinated both of these tasks but now seems to be the time we need to bite the bullet and "get er done"!  So, this weekend we are going to be painting Sienna's new room and start cleaning out the closet to get things organized.  My hubby bought some new furniture for her room and luckily he is really talented at refurnishing (so it saves us some money!)
Here's a sneak peek at the "BEFORE"

I will be sure to post some "AFTER" pics as well! 

So, the next step is getting Sienna into her big girl bed, then I might tackle potty training after we get back
from vacation (I figure there's no use to go there before our trip to the beach!) I have been starting to really be affectionate and clingy towards Sienna knowing that I won't have the time for her once this new baby comes.  I feel bad that she won't be my "baby" anymore!  I know she will be fine but of course I am probably more upset than she will be!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simple Sunday! Happy Mother's Day!

You work hard every day, enjoy some pampering today!!  If your like me, it may feel a little uncomfortable or selfish but it's one day when you can be a princess...so why not enjoy it?!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Focus Friday: Letting Go

As a stay at home mom, I sometimes find myself being a control freak! I admit it!  However, being a confident mom and not being a "nag" is something that is important to me as a mom, wife, and daughter.  Also, allowing others to be who they are frees me to focus on things that important to me.

Here's what helps me to let go...

1. Setting Boundaries...If there's an issue that is really bothering me (not the dirty towel that is left on the floor every morning!)  then I sit down and discuss it with the person.  Since it's something important to me, I am careful to think about how to approach the issue and when to discuss it.  Then I state my expectations and negotiate if there's room for negotiation (be reasonable!) 

2.  Shutting up... Yes, it's that simple! When I find myself wanting to tell my husband what to feed Sienna or how I wash her in the bathtub, I remind myself to let go and trust that he is a good husband and may have an even better method.  Even though I think that I am helping by saying how I do things, it often sends a message that I know everything and that I can't trust him.  This is a message that can be derogatory toward someone that is trying to help me.  Putting faith in others and letting them be who they are is important in any relationship esspecially those closest to me.

3.  Going to church....Going to church reminds me that I can't control everything and certain things are out of my hands.  Trusting in God helps me to be in the moment and feel confident in what may happen next.

What helps you let go??

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stella and Dot Giveaway!

Stella and Dot jewlery has quickly become my favorite 'go to' places for jewlery!  Since I am pregnant, this jewlery has become my favorite thing to buy (that I will be able to wear long after the baby comes!).  In fact, I had a jewlery party and easily earned $144.00 worth of merchandise (which included this awesome charm necklace that I am wearing in the picture above!)  If you've never checked out their merchandise, I strongly recommend you check it out since I literally wanted EVERY piece of jewlery in the catalog!  www.stelladot.com/nicolewalsh

SO, I recently went to a Stella and Dot party and then decided to have my own party a few weeks later.  I gotta say, having a Stella and Dot party was a great way for me to enjoy some girl time and also earn some great jewlery as well.  This classic but fun jewlery makes me feel not just like a mom...but like a woman!  I know it sounds cliche but having something I can quickly put on with whatever I am wearing that is eye catching really makes me feel beautiful on those long days as a stay at home mom!  If you are in the Philadelphia area and are interested in hosting a party like I did, email Nicole at nicolewalshsd@gmail.com

This is such an awesome opportunity!  Nicole Walsh at Stella and Dot has offered to give us jewlery....FOR FREE (in honor of Mother's Day!) How cool is that?!  The best part is that the winner of this contest can choose their own peice among the jewlery below (the first one is my fav!)

So....how do you win?
Simply write a comment on the Tickles and Time Outs Facebook page telling us what your favorite thing is about being a mom.  In addition, you must become a fan of Stella & Dot - Nicole Walsh, Independent Stylist facebook page and Tickles and Time Outs facebook page....That's it...it's that easy! 
The winner will be chosen randomly on Mother's Day (using the good old 'drawing out of a hat' method) Good luck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Honor of Mother's Day...

Check out these great videos with powerful words for all Mother's...

To make you laugh...

To make you think...

To make you cry...

To inspire you...

And here's a picture of Sienna and I at the Royal Wedding party! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Simple Sunday! 4 Reasons to Take Time for Yourself

Mother's Day is in one week. This year, why not ask for some special time for yourself for Mother's Day? Research has proven that if you take time for yourself you will reap HUGE benefits (and so will your family!)  I don't mean sitting on the couch for 15 minutes...I mean getting outside the house and engaging in something you really enjoy. If you don't know what you would do, try something..anything!  Here are some reasons why...

1. It will improve your marriage. Many marriage counselors agree that having your own hobby or interests outside the home will improve your relationship with your spouse. Both partners in a marriage need to feel like they still have their own identity and participate in activities that inspire them.  If parents start to put kids first and give up everything they did before they had children, they will loose themselves and their marriage will suffer as well. Always make time for yourself (and help your spouse get his time as well).

2. It will make you a better mother. There is a huge misconception that if you are a good mother than you give up everything for your children and always put them first.  This is such a misconception becuase self love is important for mothers in many ways.  If you take time for yourself, you will be more patient and refreshed when caring for your children and not be resentful toward them.  In addition, you are also being a good role model by teaching them healthy habits for taking care of themselves.

3. It will improve your health. This goes along with #2. If you want to be an active participant in your children's life or be around for your grandchildren, you need to take care of yourself. You are worth it and deserve a stress reliever.  Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit is essential for keeping up the active pace of motherhood.

4. You deserve it. You work hard, everyone deserves a break! Right?