What are your kids doing this Summer? For many of us Summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine and if you're lucky the ocean.
As much as kids love Summer holidays, keeping them busy can be a challenging! If you've not got the luxury of a Summer camp then it's up to you as parent to find things to keep them busy.
Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen and research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of children.
Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering with mental health problems and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has shown decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.
One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental health problems and it's on the rise. Prescription medications of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health officials are examining different options for cost effective services for mental health sufferers and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. Let's go back to a time when children got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building forts rather than spending hours in front of the tv.
Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic of 15 Summer activities to get your kids outside enjoying nature.
This is what it looks like:
From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there's plenty for the youngsters to do. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids outside and into nature.
Thank you Joe for guest posting.
An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to buy. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure. Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.
We are trying to raise our boys to explore, create, and use their imaginations so their screen time is very limited. I love these ideas to get kids outside. We also want our kids to have a good work ethic and a great way to instill this is to let them help with outside chores and projects.
The boys helped clean the overgrown mint out the flower beds to make room for perennials. They have also been working hard in the community garden this summer.
Watch this cute video of the boys showing off their catch, which we did cook for dinner.
The boys love to go fishing and have already been twice this summer. Luckily we live close to the lakes and their Dad likes taking them. Fishing is fun, but just being outside at the lake is fun too. They could spend hours looking at rocks, shells, and exploring trails.
What are your favorite ways to get your kids outside?
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So I'm still very new to video editing. Last night I stayed up way too late learning how to do some basic editing on youtube. It took longer than it should have, but I learned some things and finished a cute baby video to add to my recent sponsored Huggies Family Dollar post. (video has been added to the end of the post)
I was so excited to share it with you that I wrote a post just to show you. If you have already seen it on instagram, you get to enjoy the cuteness all over again :)
This post was sponsored by NUK as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own.
Since I work from home, I am blessed that I can spend each day with my infant son and I am doubly blessed that I have been able to breast feed him. But there are those times when we need to bottle feed...appointments, date nights, that time I was really sick. Actually, he is getting really used to being bottle fed this weekend because I had to have an injection yesterday and I have to wait 48 hours to nurse him. I actually cried at the thought of not being able to nurse him for 48 hours, but it has been fine. Plus my husband has been helping with feedings which has been good bonding for both of them and has given me a break.
We have been using our new NUK Simply Natural Bottles and the transition to bottle feeding has been pretty smooth. The bottle design is closer to a natural breast shape than other bottles we have used in the past giving it a close-to-mom feel which is so important in fostering the feeding bonding which helps shape baby's well-being. I am not completely transitioning to bottle feeding, just when I need to, so I am glad to have bottles that promote a natural transition between breast and bottle.
I love this picture! He's so relaxed. Just chillin and enjoying his bottle. He really does seem to like his new Simply Natural bottles with a nipple design that is modeled after the shape of a real breast. It also moves flexibly to ensure a continuous latch and is made with extra soft silicone so that it feels more realistic.
NUK Simply Natural Bottles have up to nine nipple holes, just like mom’s breast providing a more natural feeding experience. Plus, there are three different flow rates, so the bottle grows with my baby. We found the nipples with six holes are best suited for our five month old and as he grows, he will transition to the nipples with nine holes.
Even the nipple shape is a more natural shape.
My five year old loved helping feed the baby with our new bottles.
He was so excited when the baby grabbed the bottle and fed himself.
We really like our new NUK Simply Natural bottles. I love that they are easy to clean and have a simple air vent instead of lots of tubes and extra pieces to wash. My husband wished that they wear curved so he did not have to recline the baby when feeding him. When I nurse the baby, he is lying next to me so this didn't bother me. I hold the baby in a reclining position when bottle feeding just like I would when nursing. I love the natural feel of these bottles and think they are a great choice for transitioning from breast to bottle feeding or for occasional bottle feeding.
For more information visit NUK Simply Natural.
This post was sponsored by Align as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. #AlignJr, #IC, #ad
With the start of the new year, we think about helping our families get healthy. One often overlooked aspect of this is digestive health. Busy mornings, hectic schedules, diet and changes in routine can disrupt a child's natural balance. Like most families, our schedule is busy too, with church and school activities. We sometimes have to grab a quick fast food meal or eat sandwiches on the go which doesn't help with maintaining digestive health. Things are about to get even more hectic with Spring sports starting. Two of the boys are signed up for t-ball already and if we do soccer and wrestling again this year we will be busy almost every night. I prepare most of our meals which we eat together as a family so sports season really messes up our routine. Thankfully, there are probiotics like new Align Jr. which is formulated specifically for children ages six and up to help them achieve digestive harmony*.
Recently, my kids tried the new Align Jr. probiotic supplement chewables from the makers of Align. We have been using probiotics for a long time, but it hasn't always been easy to find products made specifically for kids. My children still have trouble swallowing pills so it is hard to get them to take some medicines or supplements. Plus I want the products they use to be formulated for their younger and smaller systems. I love that Align Jr. probiotics for children have no artificial sweeteners and no artificial colors. Align Jr. probiotic supplements are easy to chew and ours came in a cherry smoothie flavor. I tried them too and they do taste pretty good. My seven year old even said, "they taste kind of like cotton candy".
Save $5 on Align and Align Jr. here.
My kids eat a large variety of foods since they eat everything we eat, but they also indulge in snacks and sweets which are not always healthy. One way to help keep a balance of good bacteria is to use probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that are essential for healthy digestion. Align, the #1 Doctor and Gastroenterologist-recommended probiotic brand‡ is made specifically for kids age 6-12 years old, making it easier to provide probiotics for your kids.
For more information visit Align Jr..
ǂ Among gastroenterologists and doctors who recommended a brand of probiotic in an AlphaImpactRx 2016 Survey.
Align partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Align believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Align’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
Last year the boys had a Dr. Seuss dress up day at school to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. Since it is time to celebrate again I thought I would share their costumes.
Our oldest decided to dig this homemade GACK costume out of the costume dress-up box.
He wore this years ago when he was in preschool and was still able to fit into it.
We made a new Green Eggs and Ham costume for our second son. Mostly my husband who is quite artistic made this costume. He painted cardboard to look like a skillet, then we made a form for the green ham. I think we made it out of newspaper covered with green tissue paper. The eggs are made of white paper with green tissue paper yolks. The eggs and ham were taped to the board with packing tape and stayed on really well. They survived a whole school day and I think we still have this costume somewhere.
The yarn holding the costume up was taped to the back of the board and broke during the school day so he didn't wear it the whole day, but I think he made it through the hallway parade. He loved this costume and it was a fun project.
The boys had such fun being a part of the Dr. Seuss birthday celebration. Get ready to celebrate with your favorite Dr. Seuss stories on March 2nd!
I don't know what it is about instagram, but I love it. I have only been (really) using it for a few months and know lots of people are not on instagram so I thought I would share some of my favorite pics. I post lots of pictures of the kids and our lives outside of Home Ec @ Home, so Mom you should love this!
Pretty excited about this, I just figured out how to add a caption that shows up when you hover the mouse over each picture. So hover to see what I have to say:) If you want to follow me on instagram, you can here.
Let me know if you are on instagram. I would love to see your posts!
My kids will eat anything. It amazes me sometimes. You should see them at a Chinese buffet, plates piled high with crayfish, mussels, crab legs, prawns, and sometimes even frog legs. They will just about try anything. It is probably because we have always given them the same foods we eat and we eat a large variety of foods.
You would think mealtime is always a breeze with kids who eat anything, but it's not. Crunchy tacos meant food crumbling beneath their little hands, meat and toppings falling all over the place and of course meltdowns and the inevitable waterworks. Being a lover of crunchy tacos and easy dinners I figured out a way to enjoy tacos without the all the drama.
By stuffing and baking the tacos before serving, everything stays neat and tidy inside the taco shells. The cheese melts and helps hold the meat/onion/tomato mixture in the shells.
You end up with a pan of ready-to-go kid friendly crunchy tacos. These would also be great for a buffet with a topping bar. This has become one of our favorite busy night meals. So easy and kid friendly!
I have used stand and stuff and regular taco shells for these baked tacos and the stand and stuff are the easiest to use. Serve with your favorite toppings. Pictured lettuce, sour cream, kumato tomatoes (so yummy!), and homemade guacamole. I should note that I don't like heavily taco seasoned meat so I serve mine flavored simply with onion, cumin, salt and pepper. If you like taco seasoning in your meat, feel free to add.
Easy Baked Beef Tacos
1 box (10) self-standing taco shells
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
½ tsp. ground cumin
Fresh ground salt & pepper
1 tomato, diced
Shredded colby/jack cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. If you like, grease a 9 X 13 baking pan with cooking spray to prevent any runaway ingredients from sticking to the pan. You can also skip this step. Taco shells will not stick to the pan.
3. Place taco shells in baking pan.
4. Brown beef and onion in skillet. Add cumin, salt, and pepper.
5. Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes.
6. Fill taco shells generously with meat mixture.
7. Top with shredded cheese then bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and tacos are hot.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings like guacamole, salsa, lettuce, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream.
Makes 10 large tacos
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As a mother of a newborn for the fourth time, I am not as worried about germs and dirt as I was the first time around, however, I am concerned about chemicals in the products that we use. Limiting the use of chemicals can be a real challenge when purchasing baby products. You may find yourself searching the aisles of your local stores or online looking for products you feel are safe for your loved ones. Luckily, WaterWipes are here and they are now available in many stores and online at Walmart.com.
I have used WaterWipes a lot and I can truthfully say they are my favorite baby wipes. WaterWipes are chemical free because they contain only two ingredients, 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. No chemicals will touch your baby's delicate skin when using WaterWipes giving you a safe, natural option.
I feel completely safe using WaterWipes on my newborn and they clean really well leaving behind a fresh clean scent without any strong perfume. Before using WaterWipes, I wondered if they would actually do a good job of cleaning up soiled bottoms without any soap in them. After using them, I have to say they do.
While WaterWipes are usually more expensive than your typical baby wipes, I find I need fewer of them for most diaper changes. They are really strong and durable, but feel almost cloth-like while maintaining a comforting softness. If you have trouble with diaper rashes, try switching to soft chemical free WaterWipes. Plus, the WaterWipes package is convenient to use with a resealable opening in the center and it will fit easily into a purse or diaper bag.
WaterWipes come in handy for quick clean-ups on the go too. My five year old is always messy and needs to wipe his hands and face when soap and water are not available. He can easily clean himself in the car or at the park with WaterWipes. The wipes feel cloth-like and fresh and clean without any chemicals so I feel good about my son using them.
Enter to win one of five (5) $100 Walmart gift cards through December 9, 2016!
I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).
WaterWipes are now conveniently available online at Walmart.com and in many of our favorite stores!
Use the WaterWipes Store Locater to find a store near you.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I also received products for review. All opinions are honest and are my own.
We are so blessed to have a beautiful, healthy six week old son. In fact, he is our fourth son. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Being that this is our fourth time around, some things are easier, but others are harder. Breastfeeding is easier and feels more natural than it did with my first child. Leaving the house is easier. I am just used to having lots of kids with me where ever I go and have learned a few things over the years to make outings as peaceful and productive as possible. (There are sibling fights and meltdowns on occasion, but for the most part, things run pretty smoothly on our outings.) I remember when I had my second child. I was so apprehensive about leaving the house alone with both children. But by the time I had my third son, it was no big deal.
I think the hardest thing about being a mother of four including a newborn is that I feel exhausted and stretched thin. I want and need to spend time with each child and try to on a regular basis, but it is exhausting. Thankfully, my husband is super involved and does a lot with our children. From boardgames to football in the backyard, he plays with them almost everyday and helps the older boys with their homework.
Then there are meals to prepare and tons of laundry. (Our lazyboy is currently home to a big pile of clean laundry.) I am not complaining, I think parenting is the most rewarding job in the world. But it is a sacrifice of time, energy and money so when a newborn comes along, I say take all the help you can get.
Check out my middle of the night selfies when I was up with my little man.
5 Tips for Surviving the First Weeks of Motherhood
1. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Stock up on things you know you will need such as diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, paper plates (make life easier), paper towels, toilet paper, feminine pads, breast pads (if nursing), etc. The last thing you want to do is run out of any necessities when you are home with a newborn.
2. Prepare or purchase some easy meals that can be frozen and heated later or are shelf stable easy mixes or kits. You probably won't have much time to deal with cooking after baby comes and that frozen lasagna will look real good when all you have to do is heat it up. Here are some simple recipes that can be prepared ahead and frozen.
Baked Penne Casserole
Frito Chili Pie (Cook then freeze Chili to warm up later)
Easy Enchiladas (Freeze, then thaw and bake later)
3. Take it all in stride. Your house will not be perfect or anything close to perfect for a long time. And that's ok, you have more important things to do right now. You will be late sometimes and that's ok too. There will be blow out diapers, you will be peed on or spit up on all right before you leave the house. Sometimes you will feel like you have everything under control and somehow you will still be late. In my experience, people are kind and give you a break when you have a newborn. They understand and know that you are doing your best.
4. Be prepared when leaving the house. Take a moment and check the diaper bag a few times a week. Make sure to have extra diapers, wipes, extra baby clothes that are appropriate for the weather conditions, nursing cover (if using), baby blanket, changing pad, bottles and formula or pumped milk (if using), pacifier, burp cloth, bag for wet soiled clothes or cloth diapers, snacks and activities/small toys for older children, and a few things for yourself. Taking care of and nursing an infant takes a lot of energy so Mom needs a few things too. Make sure to have water or another healthy hydrating beverage like Mother Nurture Enhanced Water. I find that when I am nursing, I am always thirsty and have to take drinks with me wherever I go. Take some of your favorite snacks too. Stash a few granola bars, an apple, banana, Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles, etc. in your bag. You will get hungry too and will be glad to have something healthy and convenient with you.
5. Accept help. This can be hard to do, but realize that you can't do it all, plus you need to rest and bond with your baby as much as possible. Let your parents and in-laws camp out for a week or two. Their help is invaluable, especially if you have older children. Let them make dinner, do laundry, and take the kids to school. You need sleep and they are happy to help and spend time with their grandchildren. If your friends, church, or co-workers offer to give you a meal train, take it. You will find relief in knowing that a home-cooked meal is being delivered a few times a week for the duration of the meal train. We are receiving a meal train from church for a couple of months and it is a God send. It is such a relief knowing that I don't have to plan and prepare meals throughout the week. Some nights I am so busy with the baby that if it weren't for the meal train, we would be eating cereal or peanut butter sandwiches.
Here I am enjoying Mother Nurture Enhanced Water when up nursing in the middle of the night. Remember, you want to stay hydrated. I tried the tropical splash flavor which was deliciously refreshing. It is slightly sweet, but not too sweet with a delicate citrus flavor. I enjoyed Mother Nurture Enhanced Water and would love to try the other flavors. It also comes in pink grapefruit and mixed berry. Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters provide essential nutrients including Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamin B12 and Choline that both moms and babies need.
It might be because I am nursing, but I find that I am always hungry and have to snack throughout the day. Nursing mothers do need an additional 500 calories and healthy snacks are a good way to make sure I am meeting this need. I love these delicious Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles. I always crave chocolate and can feel better about eating these since they contain DHA, folic acid, calcium and protein. They come in two delicious flavors, milk chocolate and dark chocolate raspberry.
Please share your tips for surviving the first weeks of motherhood. We are all in this together!
I feel like I have been holding out on you, but it has not been on purpose. The fact is having a new baby in the house is exhausting, even and especially the 4th time around.
We are overjoyed to announce the birth of our son! He was born on September 30th weighing in at 7 pounds 7 ounces. I made it a policy not to use my children's names on my blog years ago to protect them so I have to leave that piece of information out.
Big brothers love their new baby brother and are so excited each time they get to hold him.
Snuggling up with Daddy.
First car ride (home from the hospital)
We have had two weeks with additional help from each set of grandparents and are on our own now. The help was wonderful and we loved spending time with family. It was awesome to share this joyous occasion with them. Babies are such a blessing and they grow up way too fast. I'm going to enjoy some baby snuggles this afternoon (in between napping) if I can keep my eyes open. :)
Linking up at Friendship Friday
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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