Science can be fun learning at any age with these 10 toys that teach kids about the human body.
I’m not sure how it happened, but my four-year-old has fallen in love with the human body. He is fascinated by it. Even his pediatrician was taken aback when he could name all the anatomy of the human ear. He also knows the systems (e.g. circulatory, muscular, vascular, neurological, etc) of the body. So much was learned simply through play. Kids learn so much that way and they don’t even realize they are soaking it all in like a sponge.
So today, I’m going to share with you some of our favorite 10 toys that teach kids about the human body. I will try to include the age appropriateness with each of the toys. However, many of the toys can be used with younger children as long as they are supervised.
Magnetic Human Body
I love Melissa and Doug toys because they aren’t plastic. Even though the M&D products are a little on the pricey side, I still swear by them. This cute wooden Melissa and Doug set has twenty-four pieces that help children envision the human body and how it works from the inside. I found this was perfect for ages three to five. It is simple enough for some toddlers and all preschoolers to understand.
Squishy Human Body
The Squishy Human body has 21 pieces. This was an absolute favorite for my four-year-old. It does say it is designed for ages eight and up, but my four-year-old loved it. The bones come apart and it comes with a booklet explaining the parts and their function in the body. Even the skull comes apart to reveal a realistic brain. All the organs are squishy giving it a real feel and look.
Magic School Bus: Human Body Lab
Based on the Scholastic and Netflix series, this educational kit comes with experiment cards, a skeleton, posters, and stickers. This great for kiddos five and up. Fun fact: this was actually developed by Harvard graduates, scientists and educators to make it a full, exciting experience. This was a little lower on our favorite list, but still a great learning tool.
Kakiblin Organ Apron
This cute apron has felt organs on the front that is used to model the human body. The organs are completely removable by velcro so your little one can practice putting the organs in the correct place. Even my two-year-old loves to attach the organs with his older brother.
Learning Resources Floor Skeleton
Learning Resources has an awesome floor puzzle that helps kids identify bones and learn how they connect together. It is made of fifteen foam pieces that you assemble on the floor that stands nearly four feet. On one side is the image of the bone and on the back, it gives the name of each bone. It’s great for ages three and up.
Disgusting Science Kit
This toy isn’t so much about anatomy, but rather about what our bodies do. This disgusting science kit is full of fun hands-on experiments. Children discover and make fake blood and slimy snot, as well as the stinky intestines and their role in the human body. They also can grow safe bacteria and mold and how it can be used to fight infection. This is for older children around the age of eight and requires adult supervision.
The Journey Match It – All About Me
This word puzzle allows your child to both build their vocabulary and also learn to identify body parts and organs. There are 30 sets of puzzle pieces and this is great for children four and up. Even my four year old loves doing this in his beginning reading stages.
Genetics and DNA Science Kit
This genetics and DNA kit is for older children around eight, but it is a great way to introduce the science around our genetic code and molecular structure. In this kit they’ll construct models of the double helix DNA structure. Also they’ll learn about the pioneering scientists in genetics. Your child will feel like a scientist as they conduct experiments with this fun, educational kit.
Ben Franklin Doctor Lab Biology Kit
This takes playing doctor to a whole other level! This kit by Ben Franklin Toys, very much resembles a doctor’s kit. However, it delves deeper into the role of a physician. Children will conduct 12 experiments and tests. It includes 30 tools such as a stethoscope, bandage, shot, activity cards, anatomy model, brain game, eye chart, and more! When children aren’t conducting tests, they can use it for dramatic play like any other doctor’s kit.
Learning Resources Brain Model
This Learning Resources Brain Model is definitely better suited for older children. In this human anatomy model, children will build the brain using pieces of the cerebellum, frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes. I will say the model is on the smaller side once completed. It’s smaller than four inches, but I do think it gives a very thorough look at the intricacies of the brain.
I hope you and your family enjoy these toys as much as we did.
I feel how tired you are, mama. That’s why I’m sharing the best toys to get out toddler energyso they can get out wiggles and you can get rest.
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Toddlers seem to have never-ending energy. If you’re a mama like me with multiple toddlers it can feel like a zoo in your own home! Let’s be real though – there is no such thing as truly taming toddler energy. It’s more about finding safe ways to get it out! As a mother of boys, let me tell you, these are some of the best finds that keep my very active boys busy!
I have always found that some of the best toys at this age are the ones that encourage them to run, jump, crawl and otherwise stay active. It’s not always easy to keep the attention of toddlers which is why I love keeping them busy with things that keep them active and interested.
The Best Toys to Get Out Toddler Energy
Click on any of the pictures to purchase from Amazon
JumJoe Kids Trampoline
Both my kids absolutely adore this. Don’t be surprised if your little ones fight over it. We love this one because it has a bar that little kids can hold on to which reduces the risk of falling. Even a 20-month old will love this. Its such a great way to get out their wiggles during the day.
Little Tikes First Slide
An aunt gave us this as a gift when my oldest was about a year old and let me tell you, it has become a favorite in our house. We personally keep this indoors in our playroom, but you could use it outside. We love keeping inside for rainy days or summer days when we want to stay cool indoors and still get out bursting energy. My oldest is almost five and it is still a favorite of his. Definitely worth the $30!
Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball
We really grew to love this indoor/outdoor basketball hoop. What is great about this toy isn’t just that it gets the wiggles out, it also helps them work on eye and hand coordination. This has also become a favorite when we have playdates. It comes with 5 balls so multiple kids can play at one time. Also, it comes in pink for your girls. You can find it on Amazon for $29.99
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table
I love water tables. They are wonderful for hot summer days. But best of all, they keep little hands busy. I swear this keeps my little guys busy for so long! I grab my coffee, sit on the porch and let them splash and play. It gets them outdoors and it’s also a safe, fun, sensory experience. There are lots of great water tables out there, but we like this one.
Who had a big wheel growing up, raise your hand! I loved ours when I was a kid. We had a smurf one. That should tell you what era I’m from! Today, my kids love this one. It’s been a lot of fun to watch them ride this around the neighborhood. Big wheels are fun because there is no risk of falling they are low to the ground. There are lots of big wheels that are centered around a cartoon-like Minions and Disney princesses, but I’m including this classic Radio Flyer one.
Little Tikes T-Ball Set
We love this t-ball set and play with it outside in the backyard. This is great for eye-hand coordination. It also makes your little one run to fetch the ball when they hit it. Thank goodness for toys like this one that wears their little legs out before naptime.
ToyVelt Kids Golf Club Set
This toy is a lot of fun, especially if daddy golfs as well. You can do this indoor or outdoor, but I’ll tell you being on grass makes it harder for them to hit and control the ball. We prefer to do it on the carpet inside. It retails for about $25 on Amazon.
5pc Kids Ball Pit Tents and Tunnels
This is one of our favorite toys! Honestly, we love doing this as an indoor activity. This is a great way to get out toddler energy on rainy days. We set this up and let them play away. It’s funny how much they squeal crawl – and all that crawling tires them out! One thing that is really nice about this is that crawling babies, toddlers and preschoolers can use it. I love toys that grow with my kids for a few years and this is one of them. Just remember you’ll need to buy the balls separately.
Little Tikes Easy Score Soccer Set
This is fun for both girls and boys alike. If you are considering putting your little one in soccer, this can be a great tool to gauge their interest. I definitely recommend using this outside. Let your little one run to their heart’s content and work on eye-foot coordination at the same time. Available on Amazon for about $32.
Little Lab Creations 67″ 4-in-1 Inflatable Splash Pad
Once the weather is warm enough we love going outside to run around, but here in Texas, weathers can be wildly hot. So we love to bring out the splash pad to stay cool in the warmer months. It’s so fun to watch the kids run and jump in the water. Dare I say that nap time almost always follows this fun activity!
Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars
Once you have a toddler you realize they love to climb! So how about giving them a place to channel it instead of on coffee tables and furniture. The nice thing about this is that it grows with them for a while. It’s safe for almost eight years of age.
Nova Kids Seesaw
I loved teeter-totters as a child. I would have loved to have one at home. This might be better suited for older toddlers closer to the preschool age, but I still included it because I know three-year-olds who love it. Also, seesaws work best when you have kids around the same weight. Under $50 on Amazon.
As a mama of a toddler and preschooler, I know how tired you are, mama. Keeping kids entertained is a full-time job and they move from one toy to the next. I know that you are constantly battling the clutter of toys which is why I like toys that keep them active. It seems to keep their interest a little more, especially if you applaud for their performance. It keeps them physically healthy and makes sure they are good and tired before bedtime. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later, especially when people ask about birthday gifts for your kiddo.
I’ve asked some of the most productive ladies I know how they run their household smoothly. Here are 9 habits of a productive stay-at-home-mom.
Momming ain’t easy which is why we need every trick in the book. Today, I’m sharing 9 habits of a productive stay-at-home mom to help you get more done with the time you have.
Wake Up Early
I value my sleep. I do. In fact, I actually have to take a sedative at night that leaves me groggy in the morning. But I’ve discovered something since being a stay-at-home mom. Getting up before the kids makes a big difference in my attitude for the day.
If I’m woken up by them, it often leads me to be being in a rotten mood. I’m still trying to wake up and struggling to make that first cup of coffee when toddler requests are being made in rapid succession. No one wants to wake up to a needy toddler or to the sound of a crying baby. Think of it as being gentle with yourself.
I always found that if I was able to have some peace and quiet first thing in the morning, my whole day is better. Wouldn’t it be nice to drink your coffee while it is hot? Whether you spend that time in prayer or a morning shower, having those few minutes to yourself while you wake up helps you ease into your day. If you feel like you’re always waking up on the wrong side of the bed, you might want to try simply getting up before your babies.
Write It Down
When you are a stay-at-home mom it is very easy for the weekdays to blend together. Organized mamas will tell you the importance of writing things down. When I first became a stay-at-home mom I thought I wouldn’t be that busy and would be able to keep everything organized in my head. But just a few months into this full-time job I realized I couldn’t keep things straight. I constantly double-booked myself, couldn’t remember things I needed from the store and forgot about appointments altogether. Trying to manage the schedules of an entire family can lead to a lot of stress, especially if you are disappointing others by your disorganization.
For me, I use a Happy Planner. You can read all about how this decorative planner helped me in the post, “How Happy Planner Changed My Life.” Maybe you don’t care for a planner. Some moms opt for a command center. While others are list makers. Even a wall calendar can help manage tasks, but write down the things you need to remember. I promise it will save you lots of headaches in the long run. And fewer headaches means less stress for you! You are also more likely to complete your goals when you write them down.
They Create Routines
You may have found that keeping up with housework is a lot more challenging than you thought. Kids and their needs often put a halt on the things that need to get done. But you can make things run more smoothly by creating routines that both you and your kids know. For example, one of the first things I do in the morning is to start a load of laundry in the washer. Doing at least one load a day ensures that I won’t get overwhelmed by the laundry. I also, do certain types of laundry for each day of the week. For example, Saturday is bed linen day. All the beds get stripped, washed and changed. Doing that ensures that the bed linen will never go more than seven days without being cleaned.
You can implore this method for each of your chores. For instance, I wash dishes every evening before bed so I don’t wake up to a dirty kitchen. I take out the trash every morning while my coffee is brewing and clean the microwave every Friday. My cleaning is on a regular schedule and it isn’t just good for me. It also helps the kids know what to expect at any given time. You can save time and brainpower by relying on routines.
They Teach Their Kids to Help
Good bosses delegate tasks and that is exactly what you are. As a stay-at-home mom, the responsibility of running a household falls squarely on your shoulders. That’s why it is so important to ask for help. Younger children love to help and this is the best time to start training them to pick up after themselves. Even my four-year-old scrubs the toilet and puts his clothes in the drawers when I’ve folded them. He knows to throw his food in the trash and put his clothes in the hamper. I even get my twenty-month-old to helps switch clothes out of the washer and dryer. You’d be surprised what your kids will do if you create the habit of making them help. You can make it fun, by using a reward chart or chore chart so they feel accomplished.
Some days, I get creative and make chores into a game or competition. Like I try to see who can pick up all the clothes the fastest. The first child who wins gets a cookie with lunch (yeah, I’m not above bribery). I can tell you, picking up after a whole family isn’t fun. Delegate.
Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to be late to events. I’m rarely, if ever, late to an event even with two kids to get ready. My secret? I prepare the day before. As part of my evening routine, I prepare the diaper bag for the next day. Check the weather. I get clothes ready for the next day, particularly if we have an important event. I’ll gather the things I’m going to need and put them by the door. In the case of large events, I may even pack the car in advance. I make it as easy and as stress-free as possible. There is nothing more anxiety-inducing than rushing to leave the house or forgetting the thing you were supposed to bring. Do yourself a favor, prepare.
They Take Care of Themselves
Moms get crumbs. It’s okay to put your kids before yourself. Sometimes it’s necessary and it’s part of being a good parent. However, we also shouldn’t forget about ourselves. Productive moms know that you must take care of yourself so you can take care of others. If you are burning the candle at both ends, over time there will be nothing left to burn. Little will get done if you are dragging all day.
At some point, you need to remember to take some time out for yourself, even if it is just for a few minutes a day. Whether it is taking a hot, long soak in the tub or getting some alone time, make sure you find some way to recharge. If you are really struggling to make a habit of taking care of yourself, I highly recommend my 30 Day Wellness Challenge. Remember, even moms need a work-life balance.
Stay Off Devices
Phones, tablets, computers, and TVs are time burglars. It is so easy to get caught up in a Facebook newsfeed or a sucked into one of your favorite shows. Before you know it, time is lost. Valuable time. Time that could be spent with your babies. Time that could be spent getting chores done. We almost always spend more time on our devices than we originally intended.
Take it from me, friend. A digital detox is amazing for what it can do for your mental health and productivity. Put the phone down. Put the devices down and be present. Be mindful. Your kids notice if you are always on a device and not with them. Take a look at my two posts Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook and 30 Day Social Media Detox. Every now and then I take a break from social media and it’s always refreshing and time-saving.
Schedule Tasks for The Right Time of Day
This may sound too simple, but I think its an underestimated point. It is mentally and physically exhausting to do things that require concentration while both my kids are full of energy in the morning. Over the years, I’ve become better about carefully scheduling when to do certain tasks.
For example, my youngest son loves to unfold the laundry I just folded. So, I don’t do it while he is awake. I do it during his naptime. Also, during naptime, I do things that require my full attention like balancing the checkbook, paying bills or making phone calls. During the summer, I do my outdoor chores, while the kids can play in the cool hours of the day. It’s a win for both of us. I do my errands in the morning while the kids’ attitude is still fresh and peppy. Picking the right chore at the right time will take some of the frustration out of your day.
They Automate What They Can
When I think back to my grandmother’s days, I feel like a total wimp. My grandmother was incredibly productive with six children. These days, we have it much easier, which is why we should try to take advantage of the conveniences that are available to us.
I save so much time now that my grocery store offers online ordering and curbside delivery. Even places like Target and Sam’s Club are offering it. I’ve learned to go to the website of stores to see if they show items that are in stock before I make a wasted trip. I set up lots of our bills on recurring automatic payments. I set up monthly prescriptions on automatic refills. I save money and time by using Amazon’s subscribe and save. I automate as much of my life as I possibly can. Take advantage of modern-day conveniences.
There are lots of ways to get things done and parent at the same time. It isn’t always easy which is why you need to be clever about how you go about your day. I’d love to hear from you and the things you do to stay productive.
Struggling mamas are everywhere and they are doing their best. That mom in the trench needs your help, not your criticism and judgement. Let’s create a movement of kindness where women receive support instead of condemnation.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a series of different memes floating around Facebook newsfeeds that have disturbed me greatly. In each of these memes, parents are called “assholes” for various parenting decisions. One meme shamed parents who spank. Another shamed parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids. Another chided parents for not rear facing their child in a car seat until a certain age. Yet another, humiliated parents who choose to tell their kids Santa exists. Every single one of these referred to the parents as “assholes.” Let’s be clear. Just because someone disagrees with your parenting decisions doesn’t make them an “asshole.”
A few days ago I saw a shaming meme that criticized parents who let their kids cry it out. It made them out to be callous, child-abandoning parents for not comforting their child every single time they cry. I don’t know a single parent who does this as a full-time method. You employ it in different situations. And let me be even more frank. Walking away from your child when you are frustrated and exhausted is an important skill. Babies get shaken when parents don’t learn to do that. I will never shame a parent whose safe alternative is to walk away for a while. Some parents have zero help. Some parents have different limits. Be merciful.
Since I’ve been seeing these, I’ve been paying close attention. There is an interesting similarity in all the types of posts I saw like this. Every single one was posted by a woman. Women criticizing women. Women tearing down other women. Women judging other women. It’s rampant. Over the last few months, I’ve slowly left Facebook groups that were once helpful because of the constant arguing and shaming that goes on. Stay-at-home moms criticizing working moms and working moms shaming stay-at-home moms. Vaccines. Special needs. Homeschooling. Allergies. Car seats. Breastfeeding. Discipline. Name the topic and there will be a line of women attacking, vilifying, and humiliating another woman. Please…let’s stop this.
I Was A Perfect Mom Until I Became One
I can recall before I became a mom. I was so arrogant. “My kids would never….!” Fill in the blank. Then I became a mom and my kids did all the things I swore my kids would never do. They had melt downs, talked back, disobeyed, you name it! As I eased into motherhood, I realized parenting isn’t black and white. There are so many variables and moving parts. Once I had my second son, I learned what worked for my first, didn’t work for my second! As a parent, you are constantly having to calibrate your technique and your decisions. We shouldn’t begrudge someone their learning curve. Each of us is doing what we think is best for our children at the time with the knowledge and experience we have at that moment.
Over the last few years I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps more to the point, I’ve learned my choices don’t fit everyone’s life. When did we become so arrogant as to assume there is only one right way to parent? I deeply regret some of the things I’ve said to other moms in the past. Parenthood continues to humble me and parenthood has stretched my compassion of others.
Over the last year, I’ve re-evaluated my conduct when it comes to other moms. My conclusion: I have been a sanctimonious jerk! I took a good hard look at myself and I was disgusted. I had made a habit of shaming what I thought was poor parenting in others. Because, you know…I’m so perfect! It’s been a hard, humbling lesson, but I totally feel like God was correcting me in this area over the last year. I still fail, but I’m making progress.
Life’s Greatest Teacher
I’m going to be completely honest with you, friend. I want you to know, I have a tendency to think too highly of my opinions too. A few years ago, I had some harsh words for my husband’s cousin on a parenting topic. Since then, I have deeply regretted my words. At the time, I felt this parenting method was non-negotiable! I still feel strongly about it. But it is not my place to impose that on someone else. Ultimately everyone is entitled to raise their kids how they want – that includes allowing them to be human and making mistakes with their kids. And I’ve learned that mistakes are often life’s greatest teachers. Far better than any other method of persuasion. Sometimes, people need to learn things on their own…the hard way. Let them.
Remember that old saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar?” It’s true. People don’t take kindly to judgement or you telling them how to live their life. In fact, most people respond to conflict with a fight or flight defense mechanism. They either get defensive, they shut down, or they run away. Most won’t hear what you are trying to say anyway. Social media has made it very easy to argue with people. It has unleashed a whole new level of venom because you don’ have to look anyone in the eye to tell them what an asshole they are.
Most arguments on social media are completely non-constructive because they lack human-connecting qualities like empathy and compassion. Ask yourself what your goal is. If your goal is to truly persuade someone to your opinion it’s unlikely that will happen by calling them an “asshole” or “ignorant.” People are more likely to take the advice of people they respect.
I am extremely opinionated, but as I’ve grown older I’m realizing how cocky it is to “correct” strangers and acquaintances for everything I feel they are doing “wrong” in their life. Part of being mature is realizing not everything requires your opinion. Restraint (self-control) and humility are beautiful qualities to possess. They inspire others, rather than beating them into submission.
Some People Are Just Surviving
Motherhood has taught me lots of things. But one thing I’ve learned is that lots of moms out there are just barely surviving. Some moms are in a pit of depression and are literally taking one minute at a time. There are new moms who don’t have mamas of their own to guide them through this journey and impart wisdom to them. There are single mamas out there who are stretched thinner than pantyhose. Some women have a husband that doesn’t lift a finger to help. Let me say it again, they don’t need your criticism. The don’t need your sanctimony and condemnation. They need your support.
After the birth of my second son, I was in a very dark place. Like, I was contemplating suicide. My postpartum depression was growing worse everyday. During that time I had a falling out with a good friend. Even after knowing I was suicidal, this “friend” chose to shame and berate me for every perceived wrong I had ever done to her. Her condemnation sent me spiraling out of control. Quite frankly, it pushed me over the edge and almost made me despair. (Don’t worry, we’ve since apologized to each other) We never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Our harsh criticism, our judgement or condemnation may be the very thing that destroys someone. Let’s extend mercy and grace instead. Give people permission to be human.
If You Must Say It, Say It With Love
A few weeks back, a new mom posted in a local Facebook group for moms with what should have been an innocent question: “When do I stop rear facing my child in the car?” The post had more than 200 responses. Women of all ages and experience chimed in with varied answers.
Now I also believe children should stay rear-facing as long as possible. But the nastiness I saw was just appauling. Several older, experienced moms, suggested turning them around once their legs were too long and scrunched up (by about age three). That was the trigger that made women viciously attack!
There was lots of name-calling. One wrote, “Lies! It doesn’t matter how long their legs are. Your advice could get someone’s kid killed!” Other women piled on, “better broken legs that a dead child! Your advice is ignorant and outdated.” Another woman wrote, “it’s people you like you that are killing children with their ignorance. Stop spreading misinformation.” Now, really. Was that necessary? The same thing could have been said nicely. “I thought that too. You may not have seen, but doctors and safety experts are now recommending to keep your kids rear-facing as long as possible, even if their legs appear to be too long. Here is an article that changed my mind.”
If you feel you must speak up about something, fine. But we don’t need to be nasty to someone because they haven’t learned something yet or because they have arrived at a different conclusion. The rudeness is getting hard to stomach.
Life is tough enough for all of us. The world has enough cynics and critics. Be someone’s light in a dark world. I guarantee you that encouragement is far more productive than sanctimony. You can persuade others without badgering them. If you have to choose between being “right” and being kind, choose kindness. You’ll never regret being kind. Golden rule, y’all. It still applies today. That mom in the trench needs your help, not your criticism.
Before you go, be sure to find me on Facebook and share this post with a mama who needs this. Also, are you a mom who is feeling burnt out? Try the 30 Day Wellness Challenge.
Life on the struggle bus is rough, but there are some things that can make life easier. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.
Hey there, mama! I feel how busy you are. There is so much to do and not enough hours in the day. We’re always looking for ways to save us time and energy. Am I right? So today, I’m sharing 20 things, small hints and tips that have helped me in the past. Maybe some of these aren’t new to you. If so, congratulations on figuring this stuff out before me! But if you’re a struggling mama like me maybe these things will help you get through the day. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.
20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms
1. Disposable Placemats
I was first introduced to these things at Chick-fil-A. Then I discovered Amazon sold these in packs. These were amazing for me as a busy mom, which suddenly create any surface in a clean eating space when I was on-the-go. (Yes, even at restaurants. I don’t trust the rags they use to wipe down tables). I’ve always stashed these in the car and diaper bag.
2. Online Grocery Ordering
I’m a Texas gal and we have the best supermarket ever, H-E-B. That said, their online grocery ordering system has literally changed my life. First, I find myself buying less because I can see how much I’m spending when I add stuff to the cart, but I found it also stopped a lot of impulsive buys. Lots of grocery stores are following suit and getting into the online ordering game. Even Target, Wal-mart, and Sams Club now offer curbside or online pick-up-in-store ordering. If you haven’t checked out Shipt, they offer a delivery service from stores in your area.
Let me introduce you to your new best friend – Norwex. Norwex is a brand of green cleaning products. It’s the best cleaning product you’ll ever use. Best of all, all you need is water. NO CHEMICALS! The special silver infused microfiber is designed to pick up bacteria once and for all. You’ll never go back to Clorox wipes again! All the products are enviro friendly because they are reusable and sustainable. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the last two years because I’m no longer using toxic commercial cleaning chemicals around my family.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Just check out some of the amazing demonstration videos on YouTube.
You can purchase Norwex through independent sales consultants, directly through their website or even through Amazon. This was a game changer, y’all! Here are some of my favorite Norwex products.
4. iRobot Roomba
I admit. I was skeptical when my husband first suggested getting one of these. Certainly, I thought it would do a terrible job and have no real suction power. Boy was I wrong. My hubby surprised me with one for Christmas a couple of years ago and let me tell you – it’s impressive!
As it vacuums your house, it learns the layout of your house and will become even more efficient the more you use it. It has a downloadable app where you can schedule cleaning. I love to set it when I leave the house with the kids. I come back and the house is vacuumed!It has a soft rubber all the way around so it won’t damage the bottom of furniture. In addition, it automatically adjusts it’s height so it can go from carpet to hard flooring without any problems! It even detects stairs and steps. Also, it moves around objects that it bumps into. It’s self-charging meaning it heads back to the docking station when the battery is low. For the mama who doesn’t have time to clean, this is worth every penny!
5. Command Hooks on The High Chair
All you have to do is apply a large command hook on the back of the high chair and hook your bibs so you always have them at hand when you’re serving your little one.
6. Potty Pads
Potty training is so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again with baby #2. I lie. Potty training is a nightmare and I’d rather have my head sewn into the carpet than do that again. That said, I found something that really helped. One of the hardest things to do is to get your toddler to stay seated on the potty. They don’t want to sit still and you’ll resort to anything, including bribery to get them to stay seated. That said, accidents happen.
I can’t count how many accidents we had early on. From standing up too early to simply not telling me when he needed to go, we had lots of pee accidents on our floors. Trust me, after you’ve mopped the floor for the fifth time in one day, these things will look awesome to you. It saves your furniture from urine and from you mopping all day long. Puppy training pads. Just put them under your toddler to catch accidents without all the awful clean up.
7. The Instant Pot
Maybe you’ve heard of the Instant Pot and don’t know what it is. Well, let me introduce this amazing whatchamacallit to you. It’s basically an electric pressure cooker and pressure cookers allow you to cook food very quickly and efficiently. It’s like if a microwave and a slow cooker had a baby. You get the amazing tenderness of a slow cooker, but 2 to 10 times faster than a conventional oven. Unlike a microwave it doesn’t dry out food or make it hard. What is really nice is it’s programable so you’re cooking things properly. Most of them also function as a slow cooker or just keep things warm as well.
I did this when I had my first baby and I’ve been doing it ever since. Freezer meals! There are lots of casseroles and dump dinners you can freeze and dump into the oven or crockpot on a busy night where you don’t have time for a lot of kitchen prep. Instead of eating out, you can still offer your family a home cooked meal. A lot of times when I make things like chicken pot pie, lasagna or enchiladas, I make two batches. One for that night and one to freeze. I can’t tell you how many nights they come in handy.
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10. Restaurant Busy Bag
Please tell me I’m not the only mamas whose kids suddenly decide to get fussy, moody, and full of energy any time we decide to have a nice dinner out at a restaurant. With my oldest son we struggled to enjoy dinners out. Then I decided to create a restaurant busy bag. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of busy bags. its just a bag you have full of small toys or activities that keep your kid busy by themselves. So I made one just for eating out and it was a life saver. You can see how I made ours here.
11. Pacifier Clips
My oldest was so addicted to his pacifier. These things are so gross. They fall between seats, on the floor, etc. They get so dirty and you are constantly washing them off. Did I mention they get lost? Like all the time. But I found something that really helped. Pacifier clips. These little things helped us so much and minimized all the washing and hunting for pacifiers.
12. Door Latch Cover
There are times when you might need to check on your little one face to face instead of using a monitor. I don’t know why, but my boys would immediately startle themselves awake no matter how quiet I was turning the door knob. Before the door was open they’d be standing at attention at the end of the crib. So much for the rest of nap time! That’s where these door latch covers are a godsend. Hook it to both door knobs and it holds the latch back so the door makes no sound when it’s opened!
13. Car Seat Lap Table
Okay, I found this when my son was about 2 ½ and it was a game changer for us on our road trips. This handy dandy disk straps around the car seat to turn it into a portable table. This was great for keeping his little hands busy. He could play, color, and eat in the car all without ever leaving his seat. If you spend a lot of time on the road, I can’t recommend it enough.
14. The Potette
One of the most nerve wracking things when you first potty train your little one is being on the road for a long period of time without a potty. Suddenly trips across town or road trips seem impossible. That is where the lovely Potette comes in handy. This awesome potty chair is completely portable. This is great for storing in your car for potty emergencies. Best of all, it comes with disposable liners. So you can throw their “business” in a trashcan when they are done. It’s a lifesaver on long road trips.
15. Rubber Band Baby Proofing
I too have spend lots of money on baby proofing products, but I’ve also learned that having some spare hair ties or rubber bands around is super useful. Slip rubber bands around cabinet knobs and other things so your baby can’t open it. My favorite use? For toilet paper. It makes is harder for them to unravel the roll.
16. Mattress Pad & Sheet Layering
I don’t know what mama came up with this one, but I could kiss her. I can’t even remember where I saw this, but early in my mom journey I came across this nifty little bedding trick. You layer your baby’s crib mattress with a crib sheet, then a waterproof mattress protector then another fitted crib sheet. If you have a terrible poop-splosion or vomiting in the middle of the night, you can whip these off in the dark and have clean sheet ready in a flash without having to turn on lights and wake your child up further.
17. Pacifier Medicine Dispenser
My little one hated taking medicine, but then who could blame him. Most baby and toddler medication comes with this syringe and you awkwardly squirt it into their mouth. It was always a fight until I found this. This is just an ordinary pacifier except it has a vial to dispense medication through it so it isn’t a traumatizing syringe. For mamas who are at their wits end, this might help. It did for us.
18. Mess Free Baby Art
I did this with both my kids when they were around a year old. Put a piece of paper in a large gallon zip lock bag. Squirt some tempera paint and close up the bag. Tape it to the high chair and let your little one smear it and mix it within the bag. I used to love doing this activity when I was busy making dinner. It kept my little one occupied and bought me a few minutes and I didn’t have to worry about a mess to clean up.
19. The Yeti
I’m an avid coffee drinker. Since I’ve been a mom, the Yeti has been awesome. First, as a mom, you rarely get to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee while it is still hot. But now you can keep it warm even if it takes you a while to drink it. The Yeti is the best hot thermos I’ve found. But here is the clincher! I’ve also used it to keep water warm for formula feeding and I’ve even kept chicken nuggets warm for my kiddo while we were out of the house. The Yeti is great!
20. Keep Your Fridge Clean with Bins
I’m gonna share a secret. I’ve finally figured out how to keep my fridge clean. I use bins. How many times have you opened up the fridge to discover something has dripped all over the fridge? It’s over all the shelves and somehow manages to find its way all the way under the veggie and fruit bins. Suddenly, everything has to come out and you are washing every crevice with hot soapy water.
I found these bins. Not only do they keep all my food grouped and organized but if anything spills it catches it in the little bin instead of escaping all over the fridge. Here is a sneak peek into my own fridge. It cuts down on how often I need to remove, soak and scrub the shelves and drawers.
That’s it. 20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms. I’d love to hear about the things that have helped you. Have you learned any tricks? Don’t forget to PIN this post or share with a mama who needs it!
Has going out to dinner become a nightmare? Here is how to make a restaurant busy bag to tame your toddler while they wait for food.
I remember when our oldest son was around one. Something changed. Going out to dinner started to get difficult. He knew being at a table meant yummy food was coming. By the time he was 18 months he was really getting cranky at restaurants. So, I came up with something that ended up being a life saver! A restaurant busy bag!
Its a bag filled with the necessary things like bibs, utensils, placemats, etc. Plus it had things to keep my little boys busy while we wait for food. I even kept a couple of snacks in there so in case they were inconsolable, I had something to keep their hunger at bay. Hey, mamas gotta do what mamas gotta do!
All you need is carry style bag that has some compartments. A hanging cosmetic bag actually works really well for this purpose. See my examples below.
Items to Add
Here is a list of some of the things I put in our busy bag. You certainly don’t have to copy me. These are just ideas for you.
Little People / Toy Figures
Mess Free Color Kits
Clorox Wipes / Wet Ones
I always keep some disposable placemats and bibs in the busy bag. I never understood why some restaurants bought hot plates to the kids. Also if you are like me and you don’t trust the rags they wipe down tables with…then this is for you! I also kept some kids utensils since my little ones struggled with adult sized ones. In addition, I kept some Clorox wipes or Wet Ones to wipe their hands or surfaces. I even kept a couple of stain remover wipes because accidents happen!
The rest is for them to keep their little hands busy. Really as long as it fits, you can bring it with you in the bag.
I always kept this in our car so it was ready to go. It was so nice when my boys no longer whined and fussed at restaurants. Now they have a distraction. Over time, kids will learn how to sit still and patiently wait at a restaurant. But until then, I hope this idea helps you like it helped us.
Is your little one hating bath time? Mine did too at first. Here are a few tips for how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Both my boys learned to enjoy bath time, but they didn’t initially love it. Maybe it’s because they were both preterm babies. I think we tend to underestimate how scary it can be for our little ones to find themselves submerged in water, cold, with somebody scrubbing them.
Bathing my youngest had added challenges because as a newborn my clubfoot baby was often either in foot taping or a plaster cast. He hated being bathed, but the small little tricks I’m about to show you helped him enjoy bath time.
I’ve found there are three main reasons babies may dislike bath time.
They’re too cold
The water is too hot
They are insecure
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to share what helped us and maybe it will show you how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Tools of the Trade
Swaddling / Receiving blanket
A soft wash cloth
Your favorite gentle bath soap
Warm Things Up
The first thing I recommend doing is by closing all the doors in and around your bathroom. Set up a small space heater on the floor or adjacent counter top. Allow the room to warm up from 10-15 minutes while you prepare other things. Babies equate warmth with security, so the goal is to keep them as warm as possible.
Lay Out Clothes
Consider where you’ll be taking your baby directly after his or her bath. For me, I bathed them in my master bathroom, so I would immediately take them to a changing table on my dresser. I recommend laying out clothes in advance. Get their little outfit out and ready so you can lessen the time they will be naked or cold.
Additionally, lay a hooded towel directly near the baby bathtub for a quick transfer.
Prepare the Bath
Two to four inches of water is all you need. Babies have extra sensitive skin. Dyes and fragrances can sometimes irritate baby’s skin and may contribute to eczema. If this is the case, try opting for a natural fragrance-free, dye free soap. We loved Aveeno.
Pro-tip: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow. It should feel warm, but not hot.
If water is too hot you can add cool water. Just make sure to swirl it around to eliminate any hot spots.
Undress your baby. Once naked, swaddle in a receiving blanket. Put your baby in the water with the swaddle. The swaddling blanket will not only keep baby warm, but will also make him or her feel more secure.
Always start by washing their face first while the water and cloth is still clean. I liked to think of it as a massage with a towel. I dip it in the warm water and slowly wipe their little eyes and nose like a gentle massage. Save shampooing the hair for last. (I’ve got a great way of doing it) Don’t forget to wash the neck well as milk tends to collect in the skin folds.
Continue washing your baby downward from head to toes. Remove one limb from the swaddle at a time so the rest of the body stays warm while you wash. Frequently pour warm water over baby with a cup to keep him or her from getting cold. Take care to clean well in the folds of skin.
Take your baby out of the tub and quickly transfer to a dry hooded towel. Swaddle your baby tightly to keep him or her warm. Put your baby in a football hold with one arm using your non-dominant arm. Support their head with your hand. Using a football hold will make your baby feel more secure when water is going over his or her head. Shampoo your baby’s head over the tub. Use a washcloth or soft brush to gently exfoliate baby’s head to reduce chances of cradle cap. Pour clean warm water over baby’s head while continuing to cradle. When done, cover baby’s head with the hood of the towel and gently massage hair dry.
Dry your baby well while still in the warm environment. Once dry, consider applying baby oil or rehydrating their skin to help reduce eczema or flaky skin. Make sure they are nice and toasty for a while after their bath, by putting them in warmer clothes (like long sleeves). Babies enjoy bath time a lot more if they are kept warm and secure throughout the process. This bath time only took me about 15 minutes on average.
I hope I’ve shared a few things that will make momming a little more enjoyable. Thanks for reading. Before you go, don’t forget to PIN this post for later or share it with a new mama. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog before you go.
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Your child doesn’t have to be unprepared for life. Equip them for adulthood. Here are 100 Life Skills to Teach Your Child.
Many people are surprised when I tell them I went to live on my own in Europe at the age of seventeen. I don’t think there was anything particularly special about me. I just think my parents prepared me well for adulthood. At that age, I was well equipped to book a plane ticket and navigate a foreign airport. I made my way across another continent using bus and train schedules in multiple foreign languages – completely on my own. I’m not bragging – at least not about me. If any credit is due, it goes to my parents. Not only did they homeschool me, but they managed to teach me how to not need them.
My parents have never bought me a car. I’ve never borrowed money from them. I paid for college, my wedding and house without their help. If you’ve done a good job as a parent, your children won’t need a lot from you as adults.
Good parenting is working yourself out of a job
This isn’t a lecture for parents. It’s a reminder. It’s so much easier sometimes to just do things ourselves to get it done faster, but we do our “babies” a disservice. They lose out on life lessons. Today, I’m sharing 100 life skills to teach your children.
As I wrote the list, I tried to think of all the things my parents taught me. I am one of three children, but I am the only girl. Our gender did not matter when it came to teaching life skills. My brothers were taught homemaking skills like cooking, ironing clothes, and how to properly clean. As a girl, I was taught how to change a tire, start a campfire, and basic survival skills. We all learned the same life skills.
The simplest way to to teach these skills is summed up in one word: inclusion. My mom loved to repaint rooms every so often. It was the cheapest way for her to redecorate. But one thing I remember is her including us. Instead of sitting us in front of a television to get us out of her way, she handed us a paint brush. She taught us how to open and store the paint and how to stir it. How to mask the trim and paint around corners. She taught us how to properly load the brush and rollers with paint. She’d show us how paint without streaks or splattering. I was able to fix up my first apartment thanks to the skills she showed me. “Everyone has four walls to work with. It’s what you do with them,” she used to say.
As a parent myself, I know tempting it is to brush the kids out of your way so you can get things done. But the best way to teach your children is by simply including them in your everyday activities. Paying for a check at a restaurant? Make them calculate a tip. Washing your car? Give them a sponge and put them to work. At the doctors office? Make your teen fill out their own forms.
The list I provide, is for all age groups. Obviously there are things on the list that should be taught at an older age because of the dangers associated with them – like using a knife or learning to safely make a campfire. However, don’t underestimate introducing things at an early age. Introducing simply starts by talking and teaching your child why we do something a certain way.
Introducing also includes knowing they won’t likely master something until an older age. For example, when my son turned three, I started to include him on cleaning. I let him dry plastic dishes I’ve washed. I make him take his folded clothes upstairs to his room and make him scrub the toilet (I apply the chemicals and he swirls it around). Now four, he has chores every week. I know these things won’t be done perfectly. In fact, they may even create more work for me right now, but this instruction is about creating a habit in your child. It’s also about giving them responsibility, purpose, and sense of accomplishment. Young children especially love to help – so let them!
As a kid, when we went camping, my dad would first give us small unimportant tasks like bringing him the tent poles or gathering wood or kindling. As we grew older, so did our responsibility until finally we were capable of doing it entirely by ourselves.
Start your son off with a blessing. Here is my list for beautiful biblical baby boy names and their meanings.
The joy of naming a baby is unlike any other. It’s a special season as you and your partner search for the perfect name for your new baby.
There is a beauty in blessing your child with a biblical name. The search for the perfect name is a very personal one, but I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re interested in some biblical baby boy names for your little man. Here are some tips before we get started.
Tips for Naming
Consider if any family members should be honored
For names that are loved by one spouse and not by the other, consider using it as a middle name instead.
Consider if the name will be shortened (example: Jeremiah = Jerry or Jeremy) and whether you want or like that
You may want to consider omitting the names of exes
Say names in full, out loud to hear how it sounds.
Choosing a name can be fun, but it can also lead to disagreements, especially if you are passionate about a name. Maybe there is a name you picked out years ago, but your partner doesn’t like it. That can be a tough pill to swallow. Therefore, I suggest praying before each naming brainstorm. Give your partner permission to veto names they truly dislike.
Lastly, picking a name is a very special event in having a child. Your child’s name will follow him all of his life and may even be passed down. I hope that you enjoy the process of naming your little. Finally, here is the best advice, I can give. Lots of people, family included, will have an opinion about the name you choose. But their opinion doesn’t matter. That’s between you and the child’s father. Don’t let anyone’s comments bother you or rob you of joy.
Biblical Baby Boy Names
Here is my favorite list of biblical baby boy names with the meanings in parenthesis.
Aaron (high mountain, exalted)
Abraham (father of many)
Adam(man, to make)
Barnabas(son of the prophet)
Bartholomew(son of Talmai)
Benjamin(son of the right hand)
Daniel(God is my judge)
Eleazar (my God has helped)
Elijah(My God is Yahweh)
Elisha(My God is my salvation)
Emmanuel(God is with us)
Ethan(solid, enduring, firm)
Ezekiel(God will strengthen)
Gabriel(God is my strong man)
Jadon (he will judge)
Jehoshaphat(Yahweh has judged)
Jehu (Yahweh is he)
Jeremiah(Yahweh will exalt)
Joel(Yahweh is God)
John(Yahweh is gracious)
Jonathan(Yahweh has given)
Joseph (He will add)
Joshua(Yahweh is salvation)
Lazarus(my god has helped)
Levi (joined, attached)
Luke (light giving)
Matthew(gift of Yahweh)
Mark(the Roman God of Mars, warrior)
Micah(who is like Yahweh)
Michael(who is like Yahweh)
Mordecai(servant of Marduk)
Nathanael(he has given)
Noah (rest, repose)
Paul (Small, humble)
Philip(friend of horses)
Raphael (to heal)
Rueben(behold, a son)
Reuel(friend of god)
Samuel(god has heard)
Saul(asked for, prayed for)
Silas (forest, wood)
Simon(he has heard)
Timothy(to honor God)
Titus(title of honor)
Tobias(Yahweh is good)
Uriah(Yahweh is my light)
Uzziah(my power is Yahweh)
Before you go
Don’t forget to PIN this list for later. Before you go, be sure to grab my Baby Registry Checklist. It comes with a FREE printable to get your registry started. Also, in the comments below, I’d love to hear what names you love and why.
If you’re a mama staring at the tornado that is your house and wondering how to get housework done with an infant, this post is for you.
When I first became a mom, I wondered, “how in the world do you get things done with an infant?” Girl, let me tell you – I’ve been there!
Friend, let me tell you… I was totally that struggling mom. I struggled to get even the smallest things done. The first six months was a blur. My dishes were piled up. Counters were dirty. Floors were filthy. Errands were neglected. Laundry was spilling over every hamper. I can tell you, you’ll find what works for you – every mother does. But if you’re a new mom and need some solid advice, I’m here to share what helped me.
These days, I have two kids and I’m proud to say I’m amazingly productive for having an infant and toddler who are constantly vomiting chaos wherever they go.
How to Get Housework Done With an Infant
Include Your Baby
One of the main reasons babies fuss while you’re trying to get things done is because they want your attention. You are your baby’s whole world. The sun rises and sets with you. He or she loves you more than anyone in the whole world, and therefore, they want your love and attention. Let’s be real – when we have a to-do list longer than the Great Wall of China, we don’t care about that! We just want a few minutes to get some things done! Ass you already know, babies don’t want to be ignored. They are living, loving creatures that want engagement and attention. So bring your baby with you.
Your baby also loves to explore! As long as your baby is safe, give them nearby household objects to explore. Sometimes these are better than actual toys! When I do the dishes, I give my little one measuring cups, measuring spoons, a clean sponge, or a pot to bang on. Talk or sing to your little one. These are great teaching moments. Engage your little one by explaining what you are doing.
If you are folding clothes, give them a colorful towel or one of their own clothes. Let them explore it. Play peek a boo when you grab a new piece of clothing. Tell him or her what color it is. Is it rough or soft? Cleaning a bathroom? Give them some bath squeeze toys or some toilet paper to tear up – just make sure they don’t eat it! The point is, that babies love inclusion and they have lots of fun when you engage them.
So, I’m gonna share a deep secret. When I first had my son, my mom witnessed firsthand my total and complete frustration. She pulled me aside and gave me the best advice. Gone were the days when I could wash dishes in 20 mins and clean a bathroom in a half hour. Those days will return one day, but for now, things had changed.
My mom said, “you’re still trying to clean as if you don’t have kids. Things have changed. Once you let go of that expectation, you’ll be happier.” I don’t know why it finally clicked, but a light bulb went off. In all my stubbornness, I had refused to let go of pre-child expectations. I was clinging to old standards. My inflexibility was making me miserable. I had to learn to adjust and embrace my new life. This may not be an actual tip, but I can tell you – you’ll save yourself a lot of anger and disappointment if you learn to adjust to your new normal. Dishes take me nearly an hour and bathroom takes about 2. That’s my new normal.
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Use a Carrier
Sometimes, our sweet little ones just want to be in our arms and they don’t take no for an answer. When that happens, a baby carrier becomes your best friend! Most carriers adjust for baby wearing on your back or in front of you. Depending on the activity, one or the other may be better. Remember never to bend at the waist with your carrier. Babies can fall out even when they seem snug in a carrier.
Invest in a good carrier. I was frugal and bought an inexpensive carrier. When you have a newborn, all carriers seem comfortable. But as your baby gains weight, the quality of your carrier becomes really obvious. Learn from my mistake – buy a good quality carrier that is ergonomic and evenly distributes weight. Your back will thank you. I recommend the following:
Move Them Frequently
Babies get bored quickly. Naw, I never knew that! Haha. If you’re a mom, you’ve figured this out already. Babies and toddlers have a super short attention span. Working against it by insisting that your baby sit with the same basket of toys for an hour will be frustrating to you and baby. Instead, take a cue and change their scenery. If you’re working up high, put them in a high chair with some toys. Putting them at eye level helps to extend the time you can work with. Folding clothes? Sit on the floor with them. Fold one load in the washroom and do the second load in your bedroom. Sometimes babies just want a change of scenery.
Touch Them Often
Babies desire to be in your arms all the time. If it were up to them, you’d never put them down. Get what you can done. When they start to fuss, pick them up and reassure them, continue with your tasks one handed if you can, then after a few minutes, try putting them down again, this time in another place. Often, they just want reassurance. I’ve found you normally get more time by doing that. We forget about things like that when we are scrambling to get chores done.
I’ve also found if you frequently touch babies like stroking their face, brushing their hair, grabbing their hands and singing while you work – it helps them feel assured. I’ve found sitting babies in between your legs works wonders. They feel like they are on your lap and they can touch you when they want to. Babies just long to be physically close to you. Sometimes you just need to be creative about it while you’re working.
Break Up Tasks
One of the most helpful things I learned to do was to break up tasks. First, I use a planner. My Happy Planner really saved me when I first became a mom. Keeping a cleaning schedule really helped me. You can read about my planner journey in the post How Happy Planner Changed My Life. But I learned to prioritize my day with 3 things that needed to get done. Then, I would break it up into smaller tasks and work them around taking care of my baby.
For example, I’d start a load of laundry then feed and play with my baby. I’d make my bed. Then take my baby to change the laundry (yes, you do a lot of things with one hand). Then I’d fill up the sink with hot soap water so dishes could sit while I read a book to my little one. Work smart and work small! Learn to take advantage of small clumps of minutes. Over the day, things will get done.
Some people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I always had a hard time with that because it was the only time I could get things done. It’s perfectly okay if you use nap time that way.
Hang in there, mama. This season won’t last forever. I hope I’ve provided some insight with how to get housework done with an infant. In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you are struggling with as a new mama. Trust me when I say, as your child grows things will get easier.