Category Archives: Daily Dose

The waiting game

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How often do you find yourself in a doctors office waiting room or a crowded restraint waiting for your food to arrive when you start seeing the warning signs of restless kids? At the moment, that is where I send this post from. I’m waiting in a waiting room for the person I’m with to complete an ultrasound – and I’m surrounded by little kids being watched by a hospital attendant who looks like she’s moments away from pulling her hair out. I’ve been asked to move my coffee several times as they migrate from one area of the waiting room to another. As a single mom, this has been me many times and I can easily recognize now the signs of stress in my children and the adults around us when this type of behavior occurs. It starts with the inability to sit still, their voices get louder/whinier, the banging of silverware on the table ensues ….

To avoid these type of situations which can be disturbing to the people around you and embarrassing for you in general – try making what I like to call a “waiting game” kit. Items for this kit would be small so they can fit in your purse or diaper bag, but are also things you know can keep your children engaged for at least 30 minutes. Bring three different options and have one be sensory motor engaging. Some examples of things I often carry around with me are:

Crayons and small coloring books. You can even fold up coloring book pages or just blank paper. This is a classic activity that is engaging. I’ve gotten in the habit of just packing blank paper because that way if they don’t want to color, we can make a treasure map instead or whatever else our imagination conjures up. Another item that would be good is a small “role-play” toy like small dolls or actions figures. This allows kids to use their imagination and work out some impatience in free-play. Finally, something I’ve never gone wrong with is a deck of cards (unto, old maid, go fish, etc.). These are usually small enough to carry in a purse and engage you with your kids in order to pass the time.

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1. Alba Botanica Exfoliating Scrub    This is marketed as a facial exfoliation product, however I actually use it for my feet.  I have sensitive skin, and it was causing my face to break out.  I am phasing it out of my shower because it leaves large chunks of gooey-sand that dry and stick to the tub.  I never seem to notice them when I’m showering, but whenever my daughters take a bath or I’m cleaning the bathtub, I really notice how much this product builds up in the tubs basin and on the ledges.

2. Aveno’s Simply Radiant   This product is amazing.  It smells wonderful, leaves my face glowing, soft, and best of all feeling healthy.  I usually apply this after my facial cleanse (#3).  My face has never felt better!

3. Nuetrogena’s Stress Releif Acne Scrub   I have very sensitive skin and it’s been hard to find a cleanser that actually gets the job done.  When things get really stressful my face tends to break out, and this scrub has been remarkable.  It has stopped the breakouts and cleared up any spots of acne that have already appeared.  I follow it up with a skin toner (#2).

4. Up&Up’s Soy Shave gel   This product is found exclusively at Target.  You’ll hear me talk about the Up&Up brand a lot because I’m a big fan of it.  They are low cost good quality products.  This particular product leaves my skin smooth with a nice natural scent to follow.

5. Yardly’s Mango Shower Gel   I give this a thumbs down because while it does smell great, I am phasing it out of my shower.  It doesn’t really leave a fresh feeling or fragrance behind, but rather lathers and disappears completely leaving the experience completely unmemorable.  I’m still scouting for that perfect body wash that leaves my skin feeling soft and smelling good!

6. Garnier Fructis’s Sleek and Shine Shampoo and Conditioner   I have used this product for years.  It smells wonderful, leaves my hair feeling healthy and strong, and best of all it doesn’t give you that waxy buildup that other products do but does give you all the shine!

7. Massagers   This are a good add to any shower, especially after a long day.  Warm water and something to work out the kinks in your lower back and shoulders is just what the doctor ordered!  Can usually find these in your bath isle at your local retail chains.

8. Exfoliating Glove   These are wonderful to use for your feet, elbows, knees, and any other place you get dry skin.  I usually apply some body wash and work it into a lather using this glove.  Goodbye dead skin, hello good feelings!

9. Munckin tub cup    This handy tub-cup is made of a very flexible rubber.  This is super helpful for when you need to rinse out the shampoo from your kids hair (press the cup to their forehead and it bends to ensure water will not get into their eyes).  I store mine upside down from my shower caddy to ensure it dries and does not collect mildew and standing water.

10. Crayola color-changing loufas   This is a very fun way to get your kids excited about lathering away their dirty day.  These loufas change color when they heat up (from pink to white).  It’s fun to put a little magic into bath-time.

Shower essentials

Put your brain power to the test

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Lately I’ve been feeding my kids a lot of fish because of the omega-fats that are said to be a super-food for your brain.  I started thinking, I’m so focused on their brain function – but what about my own?  As an adult our brain tends to do more slowing down than it does speeding up.  I read some interesting studies on how to keep your brain sharp!  Some suggested writing a sentence in cursive every morning, other suggested doing a cross-word or Sudoku with your morning coffee.  While I do enjoy Sudoku, a friend of mine showed me this website – and then I found some others on my own – that really put my brain to the test, pushing it to “wake up” more.

This particular brain test is about multi-tasking.  You can find it @ http://open-site.org/blog/the-multitask-test/.  It allows you to see how well your brain multi-tasks on a basic level, and then compare your score to gender averages as well as where your average age score lies.

Some other interesting ones are:

  • This one is recommended by Forbes – and after completing a quick goal orientation and profile you can begin “training your brain”.

http://www.lumosity.com/landing_pages/188

  • This is a website that’s name says it all!  Get that brain in shape!

http://www.fitbrains.com/brain-games/

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning is here!

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It’s time to do that dreadful yearly task of spring cleaning – but don’t fret, the best way to avoid the cleaning woe’s is preparation.

First, make a list!  List each room, and under each room list the things you need to do in that room.

Ex:

Family Room

          -Clean carpet

          -Sort toy bins

          -Clean upholstery

Next make a list of cleaning supplies you will need – it’s the perfect time to stock up on cleaning supplies (check newspapers for coupons – manufactures know it’s that time of the year).

Finally, kill two birds with one stone – clean & organize as you go.  Start with your cleaning supplies that you are toting from room to room.  A plastic shower caddy (can find at your local dollar store) is a great way to store all your supplies, sponges, brushes, and dusters in one convenient place.

Keep in mind one key thing – spring is symbolic of new beginnings.  When you are making your list – vow to part ways with that chair that has a broken leg or that pillow the dog chewed a hole in.  Start fresh, this is the real time to make your new years resolutions and new beginnings.

 

Fun with Bubbles

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My kids (like many) love blowing bubbles.  A DIY bubble activity is not only a great way to entertain your kids, but it’s also very cost friendly to you.  Here is what you’ll need to get started:

 

Dish-soup

Water

Jello-O mix

Food coloring

Waterbottle

Wire Clothes Hanger

Pipe cleaner

 

You make the bubble solution while you’re kids make their wands out of stuff you already laying around the house!

Cut the bottom of the water bottle out to make an easy to use bubble blower.  Just dip the cut edge in the solution, and blow through the mouth piece.  This is best for young children. You  can even decorate the bottle with paper or felt to really personalize their bubble blowing experience.  Bend the clothes hanger into all sorts of fun shapes that are great for big bubbles!  Bend a pip cleaner into the shape of a plastic bubble blower and go for it!  My daughters and I formed circles with our pipe cleaners and attached them in a long chain.  Then J held one end and E held the other, and they ran – watching bubbles wisp out from their pipe-cleaner chain.  Add food coloring for fun color bubbles – but careful as this step can make things more messy, and cause stains.

 

As far as the solution:

Take a quarter cup dish-detergent, a quarter cup jello mix, and 2 1/4 cups warm water.  Stir briefly and let sit.

 

This is such a fun activity, and gets the kids up and moving – great exercise just before the winter months hit.

 

 

 

 

Importance of Play

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Kids love playing, and this is good for many reasons.  When they are playing they are learning, their mind is problem solving and socially accelerating.  The benefit to us?  It tires them out making bed-time that much easier 🙂  If you find a good park near you that your kids love going to, it can also be used as a reward for good behavior.  My daughter “J” is a kindergartner this year, and when she brings her folder home at the end of the day and she’s done her work, or when she receives prizes at school for being a good girl – I take her to the park.  While we are at the park, I work on things like colors we see (eye spy something blue!), or songs about spelling rhyming words (cat, bat, hat, sat).  When it’s raining, plan something fun inside to stimulate their minds.  Yesterday we took a trip to the dollar store and bought a travel mug that you can untwist and put a piece of paper you’ve decorated inside – and Voila! your very own decorated travel mug.  She made herself a water bottle for school and drew a picture of herself playing in the sun with butterflies.  We added glittery stickers for extra flair!  Another thing I’ve been doing is keeping the small individual plastic containers from her Pringles I pack in her lunch.  We play counting games with money using them, you can put paint in them, or sprinkles if you are decorating cookies …. and the best thing is they are washable.  (See my re-use it section for more ideas).

Hot Smartphone Apps

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For parents on the go, smart phone apps can be a life saver.  Here are a few I use on a weekly basis:

  1. Grocery IQ – This app lets you make your shopping list, clip coupons (you can print them or add them to your store card), search for grocery stores near you, email grocery lists in case you need your partner to go instead, and is super user friendly
  2. Gas Buddy – Searches gas prices from stations around you, and let’s you see who is pumping the lowest price and how far that station is from your current position.
  3. Drop Box – Let’s you back up files or carry them with you right on your phone.  If I have a really cute picture of the girls I took on the camera and want to take it with me to show the friends at a dinner party, this makes it simple.
  4. Cozie Family Organizer (not associated to this blog) – I love this program because you can keep track of everything, it’s so easy to use,  and you can connect it to your home computer, phone, tablet, personal email, etc … and it will inform you of upcoming events and to do lists.
  5. Good Guide – It’s like a mini consumer reports for your phone, inform yourself before you buy!
  6. Mint.Com – Your budget right at your fingertips.  Also sends you alerts when you’ve overspent or your account is low.
  7. Netflix – Watch movies streaming on your phone (careful with bandwidth).  In a doctors office with a long wait – pop on Dora and your kids are set.
  8. ShopSavvy – Price check!  Compare prices from the internet as well as other stores with this App.  A free app that saves you money!
  9. SleepMachine – let’s you customize sleep sounds.  I like crickets in the rain with waves.  For those nights when you are really having trouble sleeping.
  10. iHeartRadio – A wonderful radio app for jams while you walk, shop, or whenever you just need to get away into some good music.

There are lots of other apps out there that are helpful: calorie trackers for people on a fitness track, navigation assistance, alarm clocks …. and something that has completely taken over my phone …. kids games.  They are so wonderful for long car rides, fussy grocery store visits, or when your waiting for your food at a sit down restaurant.