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Tips For Making It To School On Time And Having A Smoother Day

29 Sep


My oldest started first grade this year and my youngest Pre-K. One of the biggest challenges to every school year, is making it out of the apartment on time, without tears. But we also have a busier schedule with a late evening soccer practice, a late religion class, an afternoon of dance class, and homework. Even though we are a month into school, returning from long weekends become challenging too.  We’ve recently implemented these strategies at home to help the day go smoothly:

  • Create a check list/ schedule for the day.  I created a morning checklist and an afternoon checklist.  Included is the schedule for the day so they know what is coming next.  If they complete everything on their checklist, they get to watch a tv show or have a treat before they head to bed.
  • Plan ahead.  What days will you have play dates?  Set a specified time for homework.  We have 15 minutes of reading that we do every night.  Lay out Clothes for the night before.  Talk about what they would like for lunch the next day so you are prepped and ready to go in the morning.  All of these activities and responsibilities can be included on the check list.  Having them there has helped so my daughter doesn’t have to ask what to do next.
  • Limit TV, Computer/IPad time, especially in the mornings.  It’s always more stressful in the AM to get out in time when the girls have a TV show on.  They never want to leave.  After we get shoes on, I have my girls look at a book or work on words/ letter sounds we created on the back of our door while they wait.  We use the Leap Frog Magnetic Fridge Phonics Set and Sylvan Spelling Flash Cards.  You can also make your own cards adding the words of the week for Friday Spelling Quizzes.


  • The Bored Jar Trying to coordinate play dates is challenging with all the after-school commitments.  Often, my girls come home and entertain each other.  I’ve received lots of tugs on my arm followed with the famous words “I’m Bored”.   To create a The Bored Jar, use any jar, bowl, or vase.  Fill it with strips that contain various activities or chores.  I used the wonderful printable suggestions from imom. Activities include do a chore for mom  ( I created a separate list of chores for them to choose from), play a board game with someone, help make dinner, call a grandparent, and more.  We modified and added a few of our own: build a tent, dress-up and act out a scene, ask mom to set up uKloo, make a book, do a chore for Dad and try on clothes for the upcoming season to see what still fits and what needs to get donated.  The Bored Jar is a fun way to keep kids busy and not constantly asking what’s next, especially when the weather gets colder and you are stuck inside.
Printouts from imom.

Printout from

  • Stick To Your Bed Time.  I have a hard time with this because of the evening activities. We started eating dinner before her activities so when she comes home we can have a snack, take a bath and hit the bed.  When my girls are tired in the morning, it’s never easy to get out the door.



What do you find helpful to get your children out the door on time?


Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own unless stated.







MAM Oral Care Rabbit, Start Pacifiers and Anti-Colic Bottles Win 2014 National Parenting Publications Awards.

7 Jun



We are a MAM family (read more here)!  Both of my girls used MAM pacifiers and bottles.  Whenever I’m looking for shower gifts for new moms, I always include MAM products.  It’s no surprise to learn that the adorable Oral Care Rabbit, the Start Pacifiers, and the Anti-colic Bottles won 2014 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA).

Each year, NAPPA’s independent panel of expert judges and parents stringently test and evaluate hundreds of submissions and choose only the best of the best. Products are judged on innovation, safety, quality, educational value and the degree to which they assist busy parents and families. This year, 50 products were selected to receive the coveted Gold Award, while 129 others were designated as Silver or Honors winners.  The Oral Care Rabbit and Start Pacifiers are Gold winners in the Gadgets ‘n’ Gear category and MAM’s Anti-Colic Bottle has been named a Silver winner in the same category.  Below is more information on the products.

MAM Oral Care Rabbit:



Designed to maintain baby’s oral hygiene before teeth arrive, the MAM Oral Care Rabbit gently removes plaque and bacteria from baby’s mouth. Mom’s fingers tuck into the rabbit’s super soft “ears” like a glove, allowing her to gently massage and clean baby’s gums. Regular use of the MAM Oral Care Rabbit also helps prepare baby for a regular tooth brushing routine at an early age. Suggested retail price: $5.99

MAM Start Pacifiers:

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MAM Start Pacifiers with their extra small and lightweight design are a perfect choice for newborn babies up to age two months. Developed in cooperation with the International Children Medical Research Society, MAM Start Pacifiers are recommended most by dentists and Orthodontists. The pacifiers feature MAM’s Ultra Soft Silicone Nipple which stays comfortably in baby’s mouth due to its anti-slip texture and the symmetrical nipple is ideal too for baby’s jaw development. The textured surface and multiple small openings on the pacifier shield Allow air to circulate and for baby’s skin to breathe. In addition to MAM’s patented anti-slip Silk Teat™ Silicone nipple, MAM Start Pacifiers also are available in a Natural Latex nipple option. Like all MAM products, MAM Start pacifiers are BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and CPSIA-Compliant. Recommended retail $7.49 for a pack of two.

MAM Anti-Colic Bottles:

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Ideal for newborns, the innovative MAM Anti-Colic Bottle helps reduce the stress associated with newborn feedings. Patented ventilation holes in the bottle’s base regulate the pressure balance of baby’s milk, allowing it to flow evenly without bubbles or air pockets for reduced gas and colic symptoms.

The bottle’s savvy design makes it a pleasure to use; wide openings at both ends allow for effortless filling and cleaning, and an innovative self-sterilizing feature lets busy parents sterilize an empty bottle in the microwave with a few simple steps. Available in a 5 ounce or 9 ounce size; recommended for newborns and up. Suggested retail price: $6.99 each and $13.49 for two.


Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics came from a press release.

I’m SMILING IT FORWARD™, You Can Too! #SPON #SmilingItForward

14 Oct

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I’m SMILING IT FORWARD™ because I can always count on TYLENOL® when my girls get sick. No matter how many parenting books I read when I was pregnant, they didn’t prepare me for the first time my daughter got sick. The first few times her temperature spiked above 100 degrees, I ran straight to the doctor. They assured me everything was OK, it was just a virus, and to give her a little TYLENOL®. Five years and another daughter later, I’ve learned that I don’t have to run to the doctor every time but if I need to I’ve realized that I am very fortunate to have good health care.


A month into the new school year and the change of seasons, I know my girls will be getting sick soon.  Starting with a sniffle, a cough, or constantly grabbing at their ear, the next thing I know, I kiss their forehead and they are burning up. My sweet energetic little girls become cranky, lethargic and no longer want to do the things they love. A couple of days later, after TYLENOL®, lots of comforting with hugs, kisses and love from their favorite stuffed animals, the spark comes back and I can see my girls coming back to life. They are ready for dance parties, play dates, scooter rides in the park and they are back to the daily routine. Nothing makes me happier then when they “feel better” and fill the room with laughter with a big SMILE on their face.


The makers of TYLENOL® were so inspired by the “feel better” smiles shared organically by moms across the country online that they’ve teamed up with How I Met Your Mother star and mom of two, Alyson Hannigan, to launch the SMILING IT FORWARD™ campaign. Together, they hope to set the power of giving in motion, inviting everyone to share smiles of good health to help children in need.

I’m excited to be part of this wonderful campaign.  You can SMILE IT FORWARD™ too!  Between September 17, 2013 and January 31, 2014, McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®, is inviting anyone 18 and older to share a photo that makes them smile on Each photo approved & shared will trigger a $1.00 donation from TYLENOL® to Children’s Health Fund, with a minimum donation of $75,000 and a maximum donation of $100,000. Review Terms and Conditions for complete program details. For information about Children’s Health Fund, visit



Disclaimer: I have received information (in italics) and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks.

MAM Wins 2013 National Parenting Publications Awards

8 Jul

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My first daughter never used a pacifier but my second can’t leave home without her “paci” and “Bunny”.  We are working on saying goodbye to her beloved MAM pacifier but she isn’t quite ready to part with it.  She uses it when she takes a nap or to help her fall asleep at night.  MAM products have been a big part of our life, whether we were using a bottle or a pacifier. Both of my girls loved the shape of the nipple and my youngest would only take a MAM pacifier.  In addition to having a great shape and a soft nipple, they come in a variety of adorable designs.   Recently, the MAM Perfect Pacifier, the Mini Air Pacifier and the MAM Trainer won the 2013 National Parenting Publications Awards which puts them on an elite list of “must-have” products for parents.

About MAM

Our mission is to combine the best in technological innovation, medically sound function and contemporary design to help give babies the best start in life.  Founded in Vienna, Austria in 1976, MAM is a leader in providing families with innovative baby care products essential for a child’s early years.  A trusted brand for over 25 years, MAM is sold in over 30 countries and five continents.  For more information about MAM products, please visit  Follow MAM on Facebook at USA and on Twitter @MAMBABY.

MAM Perfect     


The MAM Perfect Pacifier was recognized as it provides a perfect start, especially for newborns.  Its innovative design incorporates an extra thin, super-soft and flexible nipple specially engineered to reduce the risk of misaligned teeth.  The unique Dento-Flex™ nipple neck is 60% thinner and 3 times softer than those of comparable pacifiers*; the thinner, softer nipple provides less pressure on baby’s jaw and teeth to help reduce the risk of jaw deformations and malocclusions.  Extra small and lightweight, MAM Perfect is available for babies age 0-6 months and age 6 + months.  Suggested retail price: $5.99 each.

 MAM Mini Air    


A mini version of the award winning MAM Air pacifier, the MAM Mini Air features a lightweight shield curved for maximum comfort, Ultra Soft Silicone Nipple to stay securely and comfortably in baby’s mouth due to the anti-slip texture and symmetrical nipple ideal for baby’s jaw development.  Wide openings in the shield provide extra air flow allowing for baby’s skin to breathe and the Mini Air comes in a reusable storage case that can be placed in the microwave to sterilize pacifiers.  Suggested retail price: $5.99

MAM Trainer   


The MAM Trainer cup was recognized for features including the cup’s small handles ideal for babies learning to become more independent.  A soft spout helps ease baby’s transition from sucking to drinking.  Available in an 8 ounce size and recommended for babies age 4+ months.  Suggested retail price:  $6.99.


For more than 20 years, the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) has been the go-to resource for the best products for families. NAPPA’s team of independent, expert judges, along with family and child testers, select the most innovative and enduring products to be NAPPA Gold, Silver and Honors winners in two annual competitions—Children’s Products and Parenting Resources. For more information, visit

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  All information in italics came from a press release I received.

Lost Phone

6 Jun
Image from Apple

Image from Apple

The past week and a half has been a busy one. I finally sat down to do all the posts I have to do and realized I haven’t posted anything since before Memorial Day. Last week I lost my cell phone for a while so that only added to the craziness that was going on. Fortunately, a Nanny had found it in my building, but didn’t want to leave it with anyone. My daughter had played with it and set it on a table. I was able to use Find My Phone to know that it hadn’t left the building. It took a lot of asking around but I eventually got it back 2 days later. I felt completely naked without it but it was also nice because I wasn’t checking my e-mails, texts, tweets, and Facebook all the time. I enjoyed time with my girls at the park and wasn’t distracted.

The few days without my phone made me realize how dependent I have become on it for many reasons, listed below:

Communicating with the World: I can remember the days I never had a phone to begin with. Play dates were scheduled in advance and you had to be on time to the scheduled meeting place because there was no way to get in touch if anything came up. Before you left, you needed to make sure you had enough quarters, dimes, or nickels to call home, just in case. These days I have no home phone, I can’t even tell you where the nearest pay phone is and I only know a handful of numbers. Luckily there were no emergencies. I also rely on text messages and e-mails to schedule last-minute play dates or to get in touch with my husband to make dinner plans.

Time Management: It’s been years since I’ve worn a watch. I haven’t needed to since I carry my phone. I set alarms and can check the time easily. Without my phone I was late to everything and didn’t want to go far from home because I was afraid of missing their scheduled classes.

Pictures: I have no idea what I would have done if my phone was gone for good. I hadn’t backed up my phone in a while and I take pictures of my girls primarily with my phone since it is on me all the time. I was unable to finish my reviews and posts because all the photos I had taken for them were on there. Time to commit to backing up my photos to the Cloud or saving them to my computer.

Lessons learned: Make sure to get your phone back from your child when they are playing with it and make sure you consistently backing up your information.

Friday Fun: St. Patrick’s Day

15 Mar

Minus the lack of space, apartment living is great.  There are so many kids in our building, it makes it easy to throw on slippers and head up to the elevator to go to a friend’s house.  No messing with coats, gloves, or strollers.  My oldest has met many nice girls in our building.  They are older by 2, even 4 years but they treat her like she is their age and have no problem coming over to play.  Recently, a mom and I started alternating apartments for PJ parties.  The girls gather on a Friday night in their pajamas to have dinner, watch a movie, eat popcorn, make art projects and play games.  Tonight is my night to host so we are going with a St. Patrick’s Day them since it is on Sunday.

The list of activities, all found on Pinterest, include:

Necklaces to wear on St. Patrick’s Day:  We are adapting the instructions by using dyed pasta because we do not have the wood beads.

Image from eighteen25

Image from eighteen25

“Lucky” Handprint Clovers to give to their parents:

Image from

Image from

For dinner the girls are going to have our favorite Nuovo Pasta in the shape of shamrocks.  On the side they will have “lucky” four leaf clover cucumber slices.


Instead of popcorn for the movie, the girls are going to snack on lucky charms and milk similar this adorable St. Patrick’s Day breakfast idea I found on Pinterest:

Have a Fun Friday and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!

Save on Pantene Products

20 Feb

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Not long ago I learned about the Pantene Expert Collection and love it (see post). is featuring multiple coupons for various Pantene products, including one for $2 off TWO Pantene Expert Collection products, as well as a coupon for our new Repair & Protect collection.   Click here for coupons and give Pantene a try.   These coupons will expire at the end of March.

Breaking Rules

31 Jan

When my husband has meetings after work and doesn’t get home until after bed time, the girls and I usually break the rules and the three of us snuggle in my bed and fall asleep together. They love it because every time they think he will be surprised to find them there. Last night, my husband was out so it was time to “break the bedtime rules” again. Both girls fell asleep relatively quickly because it was a long day and my youngest got hurt. Back in September she ended up in the ER with 6 stitches in her forehead, yesterday she was fighting to get in the stroller and banged her head. She ended up with a giant goose egg and a little nick which bled a little and got my oldest worked up at the sight of the blood.

As we were laying in bed, I started thinking about how lucky I was to have my two beautiful girls. As a stay-at-home mom, I often get frustrated and lose patience quickly over constant nagging, fighting, and leaving a trail of toys all over the place. It’s easy to get upset and yell but it’s nights like last night that you remember tragedies like Sandy Hook and think about how precious life is. Falling asleep next to my girls made me forget all the little things I easily get upset about. I cherish moments like last night because they won’t happen forever!

My beautiful girls who love to break the rule on occasion!

My beautiful girls who love to break the rule on occasion!