Thanks to An Apple Per Day‘s Kaitlin Gardner for this guest post on pool safety. So timely given the summer heat and pool season…
Have the pool inspected. Have a professional check out the pool equipment, to make sure it’s all in proper working order. Verify there are no exposed wires in the electrical wiring and outlets. Make sure the decking doesn’t have chipped tiles that could stub a young toe. Does the pump system have a safety vacuum release system? This makes the pump system shut down if there is a blockage on the drain. Here are some resources I found that gave more details:
Install a fence. Make sure it is at least 4 feet high, with a gate and locking mechanism.
Secure pool chemicals. For example, a shed behind it with a lock on it can be used to store pool chemicals. Make sure chemicals aren’t accessible by the children.
Establish pool rules. Discuss safety rules for kids such as only swimming when an adult is supervising, “no running,” and continue to reinforce and even post the rules where kids will see them.
A set of rules for Mom and Dad. The most important rule – no unsupervised swimming – means that kids aren’t allowed to swim unless their parents are with them. But that doesn’t mean a parent is in the backyard, texting friends while the kids are swimming. When an adult is supervising, that should be the only focus. It doesn’t take long for a child to gulp some water, get into a panic, and find themselves in trouble. Take CPR lessons, in case of an emergency.
Swimming lessons for the kids. Research shows that children greatly reduce their chances of drowning, if they have had formal swimming lessons, which can start around age 4.
Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.
Despite the fact that I’m in the “camp labeling belongings zone,” with 3 boys, I am constantly finding friends’ clothes here and watching my kids rummage through everyone’s drawers for “that t-shirt” that seems to have vanished. Keeping track of belongings is hardly a summer-only challenge; it’s definitely year-round. I remember growing up and watching my mom iron on labels, and as great as that was, I got a C- in ironing (joke, but probably one of my least favorite things to do).
I found these stick-on labels through Label Daddy, and they are a great invention! You stick them on the clothing label, and they’re easy to apply; easy to read; easily customizable. Label Daddy just made things really EASY! I also reviewed some specialty labels for shoes; trash cans (ours constantly blow down the street!); sports equipment; and more. They’re really great, and pay for themselves if you recover just one item or so. And, since they’re so easy and without safety hazards (bye, bye iron!), kids can get involved in the labeling process as well … why not share the tasks?
And…to make it even sweeter, they’re offering MomTini readers a 20% discount off orders! Just enter “MomTini” in the promo code box during the checkout process.
Check them out at LabelDaddy.com
Disclaimer: I received products to facilitate my review, but opinions expressed are all my own.
Whether your kids are in day camp, sleep-away camp, or your family is enjoying some fun at home, here are some ideas and MomTastic summer headlines you may find useful…
Hope you have a GREAT summer!
Love infographics…especially really well-done ones like THIS that are so timely for Mother’s Day. Happify recently published in such an easy to follow and pretty format (ok, fine, I love pink!), survey findings, “What You Should Know about Moms & Happiness.” I totally agree that “motherhood is a defining event” and think their storytelling in this infographic is truly #MomTastic.
Here’s the full story…enjoy!
This is such a great, colorful & yummy Mother’s Day Gift Idea, and came with some fun survey data I wanted to share. Edible Arrangments surveyed moms to help decode their “secret language” about what they really want for Mother’s Day. Here are some highlights:
So, for what “not to buy,” according to the survey:
The top three gifts NOT to get mom, in order, are: drugstore candy, generic bath products or the “same old flower arrangement.” Fifty percent of moms said the number one way to improve Mother’s Day this year is to “surprise me with an unexpected gift.”
I think they’re trying to say that thoughtfulness wins every time…I agree! My son asked me what I wanted, and without hesitation, I told him the homemade cards I’ve received have been my all-time treasures…I’ll be reading from the archives, and hopefully enjoying some new ones while enjoying some yummy fruit thanks to Edible Arrangements this year!
We’ve sent Edible Arrangements to friends for happy (& sad) times, and they’re always a crowd pleaser – it’s like sending a treat and a centerpiece all in one…I’m a fan!
Disclosure: A Mother’s Day Edible Arrangement was provided as compensation for this post. The ideas expressed, however, are all mine!
Happy Mother’s Day! Even though this is a “repeat,” I wanted to share this silly “got milk” photo with my own mom, as I share some ideas and Momspiration for you!
Here’s a roundup of some ideas we’ve shared to help make this holiday #MomTastic!
However you celebrate, I wish you a wonderful, relaxing, MomTastic Mother’s Day with your family!
Thanks to Linda Bailey for this article on how and why you should enroll your kids in local sports. With 3 boys, we’re huge sports fans and the benefits would dominate this entire site – Linda addresses many of the key bonuses below….
Future Development: Enrolling Your Child in Local Sports
Sports can be a great way for children to learn a lot about themselves. So much can be derived from enrolling your child in an activity to promote knowledge and understanding in various situations. While it may be just a game to them, the child may not realize just how much of an impact the activity will have on them physically and mentally. How can sports assist in the future development of your child?
1. Teamwork - Your child will learn the value in teamwork and how it can be translated to virtually any situation in life. Each person has a unique talent that can benefit the greater whole. Discovering what that talent is and understanding how it impacts the team can be greatly rewarding.
2. Physical Fitness - Sporting activities of any kind can help encourage physical fitness. If you’re worried about your child turning in to one of those people that plant themselves on the couch in front of video games all day, then a physical activity could be what he or she needs to stay fit and healthy.
3. Social Interaction - Being part of a team sport throws your child into having social interaction whether he or she wants to or not. Although you should never force your child to play a sport, the social integration and development could be a bonus for future interactions.
4. Self-Discovery - Many children have dreams of becoming a star player on a professional team. Some will emulate their heroes while playing in order to feel like a champion. Without enrolling your child in a local sport, those dreams may never become more than what they are. Give them the chance to discover what they can do and whether or not they want to continue for themselves.
5. Encouragement - By paying for the equipment and the enrollment of any given sport, you are showing your child encouragement to succeed. Participate in as much of this activity as you can, and a bond will form between yourself and your child. You never know what your child can be capable of without encouraging their decisions to discover who they are.
Aside from the fact of the activity being fun for your child, enrolling him or her in local sports can have a ripple effect throughout the child’s life. It will provide memories and knowledge that could travel with them forever.
This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from http://www.housekeeping.org/. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more.
Thanks to Kendal Perez from Hassle Free Savings for these great tips on how to “green up” your spring cleaning routine. She’s got some great food for green thought here on how to spring clean while protecting Mother Earth’s precious resources.
5 Ways to Green Up Your Spring Cleaning
We all want to be better patrons to our planet, and on the heels of Earth Day, it is a great reminder to be more conscious in our day-to-day activities. Since it falls in the midst of spring cleaning, the event represents a great time to green up our storage, organization and decorating practices. If you’d like to reduce your impact on the environment as you spruce your space for the season, try any of these ecofriendly strategies.
Open up your pantry door and you’ll likely find a ton of plastic containers. While convenient for storing dry goods, the process of making plastic is extremely harmful to the environment. Consider switching to glass and reusing jam and pasta jars to store rice, nuts, popcorn and the like. Not only is this a cost-effective solution, it’s also an aesthetic one; your pantry will never look prettier!
Did you hear? Tin cans are the new mason jars when it comes to home decor trends. Instead of tossing that empty can of whole tomatoes or green beans into the recycling bin, repurpose it into a vase with a little spray paint. Check out this article from Apartment Therapy for recommendations on low-VOC and eco-friendly paint that will help keep things green.
If only spring cleaning was truly limited to a single season! The process of keeping things neat and tidy is surprisingly wasteful. Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year, which requires 60 million gallons of water and over 50,000 trees to produce. Reduce your paper towel usage by substituting rags and microfiber towels when cleaning up. Simply toss these rags in the laundry and reuse!
4. Pest Control
Nothing stops you in your tracks faster than rodent droppings in cupboards or spiders in window corners. Instead of loading up on harsh chemicals and pesticides, spray baseboards and window sills with a water-peppermint oil mix to deter spiders and rodents naturally. Check out this video from AOL DailyFinance for more information on this combination, and drop harmful chemicals for good.
Transition your storage habits from paper to digital by scanning important documents and saving them “in the cloud” using free services like Dropbox. If you must print, look for ink cartridges through sites like InkjetWilly.com, where you can find compatible and remanufactured brands that work with your printer. By using remanufactured toner, Americans can save 38,000 tons of plastic and metal from being dumped in landfills.
Author Bio: Kendal Perez is a frugal blogger who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the Marketing Manager for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites, Kendal has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as Woman’s Day, People StyleWatch, FOX, TIME Business & Money and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com or follow Kendal on Twitter.
This “MomTastic Find” is a recent client’s public service campaign to educate kids about how to “Fuel Their Dreams” by fueling their bodies with powerful, healthy food choices.
Thanks to Kid Kritics Founder Ellen Briggs for sharing these nutrition tips for families. Through extensive research, the company’s ingredients standard board of 12 health professionals has managed more than 25,000 “Kid Kritics” in blind taste tests.
Research shows that having a healthy, balanced diet improves brain capacity, maximizes cognitive capabilities, and improves academic performance in school-age children. Alternatively, the research also shows that having too much junk food and an unhealthy diet decreases academic performance by limiting the amount of information to the brain. Source here.
Teach your kids about the connection between what they eat and drink and what happens inside their bodies. Once they learn that 100 billion neurons in their brain send thousands of messages so they can run fast, they are totally motivated to eat avocadoes and sweet potatoes so they can be the best they can be. Kids will eat healthy foods that taste good.
Don’t make broccoli a 4-letter word. Find ways to include fruits and vegetables in creative and varied ways, and your kids will love to experiment and add it to their menu.
Be transparent with your kids – they’re too smart. Rather than hiding, pureeing, masking vegetables, if you prepare and present them properly, kids will embrace vegetables and create healthy, lifelong habits.
You become what you eat and drink. However, kids need a reason to eat healthy food beyond “your mom said so.” So, for example, if a kid wants to be an NFL football player (a popular choice among boys) or a veterinarian (the number one pick among girls surveyed), educate them on what specific foods can “fuel their body for success.”
Don’t “dumb it down.” Kids are critical thinkers (love to ask and understand the “why”); they love to vote (power); and they appreciate being heard. Further, kids are egocentric, focused primarily on their own desires. Once kids understand WHY nutrition fuels success, they will crave it.
Check out the Fuel Your Dreams website for more great tips & resources, including searchable recipes that will fuel each body part.
Thanks to one of my favorite BFF’s Lorie M. for sharing this hysterical video. As a mom of boys and an admitted occasional helicopter mom :), this video will crack you up…check it out…
Ashley McCann writes about being a mom – and being frugal – at PushPenny.com. Named to Ignite Social Media’s “100 Women Bloggers You Should Read,” McCann shares some ideas to start and maintain a budget, including some free and some paid solutions. Also check out other articles on the topic here at The Lounge, “Money Matters” including our free downloadable budget spreadsheet, “Monthly-Annual Budget” (in the pink box). – Amy
Somewhere in the back of our busy mom brains, we know it’s wise to have a plan for our money. However, due to all of the other plans mom is in charge of making and maintaining, it’s easy to let that particular “to do” fall to the wayside.
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be another “mom-umental” task; use the following services to help save time while you work on saving money:
1. Mint.com–Quick, easy to set up, and seamless to incorporate into every day life, Mint.com is the budgeting solution for many. Best of all, it’s free! How’s that for budget-friendly? Mint does the work of analyzing your spending habits and presenting it back to you in handy, “I spent how much on fast food?!” charts and graphs. The program easily integrates with your bank accounts so that time investment is minimal and also features a phone app that makes it easy to track spending on the go.
2. YNAB–Although there is an upfront cost ($60), You Need a Budget is one of the most popular budgeting software systems on the market. The core idea of this program is knowing what needs to happen now so that you can handle whatever happens next. YNAB helps create spending categories for normal but unexpected-in-the-moment future purchases such as home and car repairs, and also sets users up to get a month ahead on their bills in order to get out of the rut that living paycheck to paycheck creates. Download the 34-day free trial to see if it meets your expectations.
3. Quicken–It’s been an industry leader for quite a while now, so Quicken is clearly doing something right. This software ($39.99) automatically syncs with your bank account, categorizes your spending and creates a budget based on past habits. The new “Snap and Store” feature allows you to quickly photograph your receipts for easy paperless access to them later.
4. Excel–With a little bit of spreadsheet-based knowledge and some dedication, you can create your own record of spending and saving with a program like Excel. Spreadsheet templates are available online to help get you started. Only the calculations will be automatic, so it requires a time investment and some involvement on your part, but that can be a good thing for fiscal accountability.
5. Financial Peace University– It’s slightly more time intensive than the other options, but if you are truly clueless about the whys or hows of creating and committing to a budget, this Dave Ramsey course might be just what the accountant ordered! This home or church based study program helps people rid themselves of debt, learn to spend and save wisely, and goes over how to set up a cash-based budget.
Now all you need to do is to pick the program that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and savings goals and begin the set-up process! Like most things, deciding to get started is the bulk of the work. Once you have a system in place, you’ll be spending and saving responsibly in no time. And don’t forget to financially forecast for that vacation you’ve earned!
Ashley McCann writes about being a mom – and being frugal – at PushPenny.com. Named to Ignite Social Media’s “100 Women Bloggers You Should Read,” her candid humor and frank advice puts a fresh spin on motherhood in the new millennium.
With winter lingering, it’s hard to think of summer jobs, but kids can earn money year-round with a little bit of effort and planning. Our boys grabbed snow shovels with the first snowflake, and learned a lot about teamwork, division of labor, and money management between siblings of different ages and abilities. Great life lessons.
Who doesn’t love a lemonade stand? It shows creativity, resourcefulness, and is a great way for kids to understand the value of work. This article gives kids a huge toolbox of ideas and resources to find ways to earn money. I remember my first jobs as a babysitter, as a cashier (loved that!), as a waitress. I learned so much about people and carry those lessons with me. (Please don’t ask about the time I forgot a customer’s order under the heat at Hot Shoppes and tried to deliver eggs that looked like they were from the Dinasour age…didn’t go well!).
Enjoy this guest post from Steven Cooper, founder of How to Make Money as a Kid, a great website loaded with free tips and resources to help kids create ways to earn cash. He shares some great tips and free downloads here at the Lounge – enjoy! – Amy
Make a plan now.
Why start now? Though summer is still a ways away, you can be ready and prepared to make money as soon as school gets out. You won’t have to waste potential time you could be earning money trying to figure how and what you’re going to do. You will get a jumpstart on other kids and get more clients. Let’s say you decided you wanted to mow lawns. If you figured out the logistics of your business and started pre-selling your services now, you could get all the potential business before any other kids or professionals do.
What is your why?
It is essential to have a goal for how much you want to earn. You’ll also want to know what you want to buy or do with all the money you earn. If you have an exciting goal then when the work gets tough you will push through and succeed.
Choose your idea.
If you cant think of an idea of how to make money this summer, you check out my list of 200 plus ideas for how to make money as a kid. Choose one and get feedback on the idea you choose from your parents. Editor’s Note: The site lets you sort ideas by age as well.
Get a mentor.
Find someone who can help you set up your business and give you an insiders view. With a mentor helping, you can try new ideas and feel confident you will succeed. Going back to the lawn-mowing example. A good mentor would be a professional landscaper. He would know the ins and outs of the business like how much to charge and how to do a good job. Learning from their advice could save you a lot of time and money by learning from their experience.
Develop a strategy.
Talk with your mentor and develop a strategy that will work for you. See what resources you will need and how you can get them. Decide how much to charge and think your business through as if you were your own customer. This will make sure that you have thought of everything that needs to be done.
Pre-sell your idea.
By pre-selling your idea, you can have clients already lined up before any other kids have even started to think about how they are going to make money this summer. If you find your idea is not selling, then talk to your mentor. If it’s still not working, consider trying something else. The good thing is that by starting now you haven’t wasted any time. You can start a new idea that works before summer hits.
Get everything you need to do your business in place. You might even want to start earning money after school and on the weekends. Get my kids’ business starting guide for free to help you through this process. Editor’s Note: Site asks for an email address first, but what a great resource he’s offering for free!
Author Bio: Steven Cooper is the man behind howtomakemoneyasakid.com. He was an entrepreneur as a kid and now provides how-to guides, 200 plus ideas, tips for parents and a community of kids networking and making money.
This story came across my desk as a New Year’s Resolution idea, but I think it fits year-round. I recently took a practice ACT English section at home at my son’s request, and even as a journalism major who follows grammar rules year-round, school and tests are hard…It gives you a lot of respect for how hard our kids work every day.
Larry Martinek, Mathnasium‘s CEO, had some great inspirations for kids to ramp up their math skills in a fun & motivating way. Martinek offers the following ideas to get students and parents inspired:
Editor’s Note: I think these are great…and I also think “Mathnasium” qualifies as a #MomTastic business name.
Mathnasium Learning Centers, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. Students go to Mathnasium year-round to catch up, keep up, and get ahead in math. Kids who are behind in math receive all the help they need to improve, while stronger students work to realize their full potential and truly excel. All students are taught using the proprietary Mathnasium Method™, which is the result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest growing educational franchises, with a new center opening each week. There are more than 400 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad.
Review/Sponsored Post — Comment on this Post for a Chance to Win $25 GiftCards
I was recently asked to take Food Lion‘s “MVP Coupon Hub” for a test drive. It’s a great integration of coupons, savings, and a loyalty card, that takes the paper out of the process if you want to trash the coupon caddy. (You can, of course, go online and select/print coupons as well). It’s super easy, and takes minutes to set up, even if you don’t currently have a Food Lion MVP card.
Here’s how it works…They’re featuring it on their home page, or you can go directly to the MVP coupon hub here. Then, you can either “load to card” so the coupons you select are loaded directly onto your loyalty card, and you simply swipe and save at checkout. Or, you can “print at home” if you’re a traditionalist and like to bring the paper coupons into the store. They have a great selection, and you can sort by expiration date or value. When I sorted by value, I got everything from “free (buy one/get one)” to $3 and below. So the savings are great, and they’ve streamlined it, so it’s super easy to click what appeals to you at home, and have the savings pre-loaded on your card, so you’re saving money AND time. (Time is priceless as busy moms know!). It’s kind of like a coupon buffet.
Also, for anyone who uses the new MVP Coupon Hub, Food Lion is hosting a “Save to Win” sweepstakes until March 4th, where they’re selecting 8 winners a week t
Busy parents, tune in to this fun post with ideas for colorful, healthy, “one-utensil” snacks from journalist Kristin Hackler. – Amy
It’s a daily challenge trying to get kids to eat healthy, and it’s not just because they have a tendency to sneak junk food when you’re not looking. It’s because having healthy snacks readily available often takes more effort than just buying a box of ready-to-go edibles at the grocery store, and a lot of busy moms just don’t have the time for prep work.
Fortunately, there is a happy medium. With a little creativity, you can provide your ravenous brood with tasty, wholesome snacks that take very little effort on your part. In fact, the following recipes can be made with just one kitchen utensil each:
Fruit Graham Canvas (pictured at top of post)
Utensil: a butter knife
Give your kids a reason to grin with this super simple snack. All you need are:
Spread either cream cheese or nut butter on the graham crackers and let your kids decorate each with a fruit-inspired piece of art. You can even shake things up a bit by adding whole or chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes and dried fruits such as apple rings, raisins and small slices of candied ginger. Build a few before you set out the supplies to give them some ideas and let them know that the more fruit they want to pile on their graham cracker canvases, the better!
All Natural Strawberry Jello
Even though it’s easy to just grab one of those little powder packets at the store, making all-natural jello from scratch doesn’t take that much effort.
There are plenty of ways to get creative with basic, healthy ingredients. Ants on a Log is a classic kids treat that combines peanut butter, celery and raisins, and banana boats with fruit passengers can be as entertaining to make as they are to eat.
What are some of your favorite quick and easy snack ideas?
Kristin Hackler is a community contributor at eBay.com for culinary, family and home decor related topics. Kristin is an experienced journalist as well as a mother and children’s book author.