Hello again! After a long stint away from the blog, I’m back… again. Spring is a very busy season for my family, so many birthdays and milestone occasions. It takes a hot minute to get back into the swing of things once it has been derailed.
Also, in this absence, I kicked my business into full gear. As a SAHM, I take care of my, now 1 year old, daughter, 2 dogs, and try to do what I can to make Hubby’s work week a little easier. He commutes 3 hours a day so I try to get lunches made, dinners prepped, and house tidy with as little of his assistance as possible. This may not be the dynamic in your house, and that is ok. This is what works for us. We’re partners in the same game with the same end goal, keep the tiny humans we make alive and turn them in to functioning, reasonable members of society while maintaining our own sanity! 😉
You can find things I’ve made or have available on my etsy shop page, Ribbons and Curls Boutique. I also have an Instagram and Facebook page you can find by clicking @TheRibbonsandCurls. I make custom items like signs, t-shirts, mugs, tumblers, wine glasses, tote bags, onesies… you name it. If my machine can crank it out, I can make it for you.
Just a sample of something I’ve made before we get into the mom hacks!
So now on to the hacks I’ve discovered! As a first time mom, you’re really just feeling things out. For the first 6 months to 1 year, you follow doctors advice religiously. Ask your friends and family with kids all kinds of questions (and sometimes receive unsolicited advice), and you google just about EVERYTHING! That is ok! You’re learning, and as long as they are happy and healthy, you’re doing a good job. It is completely acceptable to kick up your feet and enjoy that glass (or bottle) of wine once they are in bed.
Here are some things I’ve picked up in the year I’ve been keeping my tiny minion alive.
- Keep a toy on the changing table! At some point, those little hands are going to try to “help” you, whether that is their intention or not. I tried to do the thing where you wrap their arms up in their onesie before changing, by my kid is a little hulk ninja, and that never worked for us. A toy will distract them just long enough to wipe and secure!
- Dollar Tree containers will save your mind! Once my daughter was able to crunch on her own treats, we kept her section of the pantry stocked. She enjoyed Baby Mum Mum crunchy sticks (we called them surf boards because of their shape) and any Gerber treat you could imagine! If you don’t get them on sale or in bulk, it can be pricey. Best alternative, CHERRIOS! Now, they can’t have honey nut until after 1 year, but the plain ones are just as yummy to them. You can use any cereal you prefer. As an alternative to constantly getting up and down for cherrios or giving her her own bag due to the fact they would then become the dog’s cherrios, I picked up some containers from the Dollar Tree store. I personally got these. I keep one in the family room and one in her upstairs play room. Plus she loves to shake it because it makes noise, two things in one! Never had it open up and spill on us. You can get any style you like. The baskets and bins are also amazing pantry organizers, but that’s a different hack post all together.
- Freeze your berries! I’m pretty sure this is all kids, but ours LOVES fruit! She cannot get enough of it. Blueberries and raspberries are her favorites. Right now is the peak of fruit season. Our grocery had buy one pack of strawberries and get two free! Of course I stocked up, but then was at a loss of how to keep them from going bad before we use them all. Then I remembered a cooking show I watched were they put berries and fruits on a cookie sheet and flash froze them before bagging. That’s just what I did. I cleaned the berries and laid them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and stashed them in the freezer. I gave it a day and then bagged them up in freezer bags, no need to vacuum seal as you will probably use them quickly. What makes this a mom hack is pairing it with a strainer teether like the one below. Let the berry thaw just a touch so you can get it in there, or pre-cut your berries before freezing. Then you not only have a nice cool snack for kiddo on a hot day, but you also have teething relief for sore gums! You can also portion out into snack size bags and toss a frozen bag into the diaper bag before the park or lunch time. It won’t get smushed in there because they are hard and will soften by the time you need them.
- Hair Ties! Now this may just pertain to my mamas with little girls, but these could be handy for anyone really. Dollar Tree also carries the small elastic hair ties. I pick up a box of 700 for a dollar! You can use this style for a number of things. I mainly use them for her hair but they can be used to tie loose shirts back during craft time too. Regular hair ties are handy as a way to keep kids out of cabinets you haven’t child proofed yet. Put it in figure 8 around each knob and they can only get it open just a little. Buys you some time until you do something more permanent if you chose to.
- Snack Tray! It’s after nap time, you’ve got to run to the store for groceries. You are dreading an afternoon trip because it means you’ll likely have a melt down on your hands. Here is your sanity saver, the Snack N Shop! Ever since my daughter could sit in a cart herself, I’ve always engaged with her while shopping. I’m pretty sure I sound like a crazy person talking to myself up and down the isles. I ask her questions, talk about what were going to do during errands, make for dinner, whatever really. Sometimes, that’s not enough. She will get peckish and want a snack, but I don’t want to leave a trail of snacks thru the store by giving her a baggie or having to hold it, push the cart, make sure she doesn’t drop anything, and decide what I need in the store. A friend posted a picture of her daughter using this snack tray while shopping! I decided to give it a shot and it has completely changed my shopping experience with a child!! You can get it on Amazon here. Ranges from $15 to $17 depending on the color you want. Has a lid so you can close it up if there is still food inside. I always hate myself when I’ve forgotten it on the counter after cleaning it, it makes such a difference in how we run errands! Every single shopping trip someone is asking where I got it.
- Dave and Ava! I know there is a great debate about screen time. I am of the camp “everything in moderation”. Lets face it, when we were kids, we had TV time. However, we didn’t have cell phones so we still did the playing outside gig. While I don’t advocate handing your toddler a tablet and using that all day every day, sometimes, you need help to keep their attention while you do dishes, switch the laundry, or scrub the bathrooms. Let’s face it, a show is the quickest, easiest way to buy yourself 30 minutes.
A friend of mine recommended Dave and Ava. This show is on YouTube for free (with ads) or you can download the app on your phone or tablet for a fee and use it without ads or in app purchases for as long as you want. I let her watch mostly at home so we have YouTube on our smart TV. There is minimal interruption, maybe 3 ads per 100 minutes. The best thing is, its all nursery rhymes! It’s a brother and sister and they are Old McDonald’s kids. They play with farm animals all while the nursery rhyme is playing. The animation is much slower than say Mickey Mouse Club house or any other kid’s show so their eyes can follow the pictures and it’s still brightly colored. It teaches counting and letters as well in some of the songs. She doesn’t watch it everyday, maybe twice a week really. And it’s generally if I have to do something and she is in a super clingy mood. We joke it’s like baby crack. She hears the opening song start and automatically looks for the kids! Screen time is gonna happen unless you have strict rules, might as well be something wholesome and educational.
These are what I have for now, as I discover more I’ll be sure to share. If these work for you, YAY! Thats great! If not, just remember every kid is different, just have to find what works for you and your family. If you have some hacks you’d like to share, please comment below! We all need help in this parenting thing.