PRO TIP: buy your kid the little fancy clear crystal plastic cups at Dollar Tree to use as rinse cups in the bathroom. Tooth brushing battles will just disappear. (A buck for a package of 5 of these gems...best $ ever spent). 😃 #momwin #dollartreefinds
Since school started I've lost traction with my household helpers. We made a lot of progress this summer with learning new skills like laundry, cleaning the floor, cooking simple meals. I'm pretty sure the labor was harder on me than them. I like my house a certain way, but for most of the summer things looked like this:
But it was worth it, because: life skills. However now that we're back in session and busy with homework and school year activities I've fallen back on the 'it's easier to do it myself' attitude. Especially after the girls are in school all day I'd rather them spend these afternoons enjoying the sunshine in the backyard instead of doing chores. But at the same time....life skills.
How do you keep a balance at your place? The girls do excel at some chores without being asked: taking their dirty laundry to the dirty pile (except for socks....how is it that everyone in my home feels that the place is more beautiful with dirty socks lying all around??), separating recycling from trash, picking up their toys, the big girl babysits the little girl whenever I ask. They're also really good at pitching in when I ask but you know I'd rather not have to ask.
This chart is a good guide for chore suggestions; however, the after school time is so precious. I'm wondering if I need to be thinking weekend chore warriors instead of focusing on daily tasks. I'd love any suggestions. Please use the comments field below. My girls will def thank you for it. ;-) #raisethemup #lifeskills #raisinghelpers
Remember the good ol' days when Halloween costumes were simple, homemade, and didn't have to be Pinterest-worthy? (Like Eden's Underdog ensemble shown here). Sigh. Me too. We were talking all about simple, FREE, environmentally-friendly costume options today on Western Mass News. If your kid hasn't insisted they need a heavily-marketed store option yet, you can check out our ideas in this clip. #halloweencountdown #diycostumes
Academy Hill School located at 1190 Liberty Street in Springfield invites local families with preschool age children to join them for a Harvest Farm Themed Open House on Friday, October 20 at 9 a.m.
Parents with children ages two-and-a-half through five-and-a-half and who are interested in the innovative curriculum at Academy Hill can take a peek at the school and meet with the PreK and Kindergarten teachers. Director of Admission, Kathleen M. Burke will also be available to discuss the admission process for early childhood students.
"Choosing a first school for your child can be overwhelming. We're hoping to ease that burden for parents who are looking for the right fit for their bright and curious preschooler," Burke said.
Academy Hill School's PreK and Kindergarten teachers, Kelly Matthew and Chandra Linnell, will engage your youngsters
with a read along story and fall themed craft, followed by snack and unstructured play on the playground (weather permitting, otherwise the children can play at indoor stations).
"This is a great opportunity for local families to see if Academy Hill might be right for them," said Burke. "The kids can get a good feel for the experience and parents can get all of their questions answered."
Academy Hill is offering this Open House for families who are looking for early childhood education for the 2018 school year; however, they also have a few openings available now.
RSVP is requested by Tuesday, October 17 via the Academy Hill Facebook page, by email at email@example.com or by calling 413-788-0300 X 131. Space is limited.
Academy Hill is a private PreK-8 school which offers small classes, accelerated curriculum, presentation skills and world languages for all students. The faculty and staff take pride in challenging bright and curious minds.
Leave it to Northampton to provide my girls with the perfect first time march experience. I'm so glad I decided to take my girls to the Join the Voices event today. It was a beautiful, peaceful demonstration of folks made up of all walks of life.
There were women, men, children and dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages. We were all there for our own reasons -- we were holding signs about the president, women's rights, climate change, healthcare, LGBTQ support, and government spending. There was lots encouragement, laughing, hugs, and spontaneous singing.
I'm so proud of my Western Mass community for coming together in this loving display of voice and unity. There was no anger, no overwhelming chanting, certainly no violence. The street was lined with folks waving and clapping and holding their own signs. It was a group of maybe 1,000 Americans exerting their right to peaceably assemble. We walked from Sheldon Park down Route 9 to Pulaski Park where the march ended with hundreds of voices lifted up in "This Land is Your Land."
We made a family day of it with my sister and three of my nephews joining the march. The sun was shining strong and the thermometer hit 52 degrees....in January. It was a perfect day. Who knows what the next four years will bring? But the one thing I'm sure of is that my America is pretty great just the way she is. #unitedwestand #dividedwefall
I hope some of you will be able to join me two weeks from today on October 25 when I present "Simplify Your Life" in Agawam on behalf of the Agawam Family & Community Program.
We'll be discussing ways to make the most of our time, money and energy. I'm excited to share my best ideas on decluttering our homes and schedules to to find more family time and focus on what really matters.
There will be two sessions:
Agawam Congregational Church
745 Main St.
*FREE childcare during the morning session. Ms . Erin is amazing and your kids will have a blast.*
Please park behind the building and use rear entrance.
Agawam Senior Center Dining Room
954 Main St.
(NO childcare offered at evening session).
Please park behind the building and use rear entrance.
A few other points:
It is FREE to attend.
You do NOT have to be an Agawam resident to join us.
FREE coffee, tea, and treats are provided at both sessions.
We always have an awesome group of parents of all ages and stages -- please know you will feel welcome!
I could also use some advice: anyone willing to share what aspects of their life could use a simple overhaul? Are you overcommitted? Could your expenses use some chopping? Is your home too cluttered?
I know what I want to talk about -- the ideas that have helped me commit to a simpler life over the past few years; however, I'd love some suggestions from you amazing peeps. What would help you? Where can you use some encouragement?
Please ask/share away using the comments section below. Hope to see you on October 25!
One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was to provide a contrast to the hyper-competitive environment surrounding parenting today. It's no longer a phase of life. Parenting has become a sport. With lots and lots of trash talk. Perhaps my biggest parenting trash talk pet peeve: car seat shaming.
As if any one of us intentionally buckles in the little ones incorrectly on purpose? Like we're not all trying to do the best we can?
Yes, car seat safety is a hot button issue. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 73% of car seats are not used or installed correctly, yet correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of injury or death by 71%. And motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). So, yes, car seat safety it a big concern. But there's no need to attack someone if their child is improperly situated in the car. Let's use that energy to help educate one another instead.
Which leads me to the point that there is absolutely no shame in getting help with installing a car seat and thankfully there are a lot of professional resources out there to help us. So when Safety1st(the first and only leading provider of innovative child safety products)invited me to team up with them as part of their Air Protect Tour to help spread the word about car seat checks I was totally jazzed.
No doubt, these contraptions can be tricky to install. And once you get it all set, then what happens when you have to last minute carpool to work and you've got to take the seat out of the car. Nooooo!!! Or the baby pukes all over the seat and you've got to remove it for cleaning. Double nooooooo!!! So you end up having to reinstall these things all the time. It's an ongoing struggle.
I was able to meet up with the Air Protect Team team at an event in my town earlier this month and boy howdy -- these folks are like car seat safety ninjas. Missed the tour? No worries. There are lots of professional resources to educate and assist with car seat safety right here in Western Mass and they are available year round.
You can make an appointment with the Safe Kids Coalition to visit their garage at 345 Page Boulevard in Springfield for a car seat check or installation. Call 413-794-2255 for an appointment. They also have car seat check events taking place around Western Mass in the coming months. Check the link for details.
This link from Mass.gov lists phone numbers to agencies (many are police and fire departments) around the state which schedule appointments for car seat safety checks -- they will install a seat for you or check to see if an existing seat is installed correctly. Check the link to see if your community offers this service.
Safety 1st has offered one lucky reader of The413Mom the chance to bring home this gem: the UltraMax Air 360 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (ARV $259.99). The UltraMax Air 360 is the only 4-in-1 car seat that features 360 Protect™ for 6 layers of proven safety, and it’s the only car seat you’ll need to buy for your baby as it adapts to keep them safe through four different stages of development. It's approved to give kids the right fit from itty bittys at 4 pounds all the way to 120 pounds. From rear facing all the way up to a belt-positioning booster. Also, it's got Air Protect technology which is proven to help keep children safer in the event of a side impact crash.
I love the safety offered by this seat; however, my favorite feature? The QuickFit™ system for easy 10 position adjustment of both harness and headrest with one hand in one step. That's right, people, one-handed height adjustments! No pulling out the harness straps and re-threading them through the slots. You just pull up on the adjustment handle and the harness straps move up or down:
It's that easy! And what if you need to clean the seat? When that inevitable backseat puke happens?
According to Safety1st: Cleaning the seat is easy thanks to the ClickClean™ pad. The pad is simple to remove and is both machine washable and dryer safe. A quick push of the button on the side of the seat and a couple snaps allow you to easily lift the pad off.
Seriously -- look at this!
Yes! No more fighting with the straps. I adore the convenience offered with this seat.
Some more of my faves:
2 removable, dishwasher-safe cup holders (Faith's favorite)
3-position recline makes it easy to get a good fit in your car
Reversible comfort pillows adapt as your child grows
Harness holders help keep the harness straps out of the way, making it easier to buckle your child into the seat
Color coded belt paths, labels and instructions make installation easier
Easy access belt path opens during installation, making it easier to see the belt and ensure that your seat is installed correctly
Sound good? Would anyone like a chance to win this beauty? Cause we're giving this one away. It's currently a Babies “R” US exclusive item until August 2017 and retails for $259.99 but all you have to do to enter to win is use the comments field below to share your best tips to keep the littles happy in their car seats and then share this post.
Winner will be chosen by random on Monday, September 5 at 10 p.m. Good Luck!
Has anyone noticed this amazing mural that popped up recently in Springfield? It can be found on the side of the Imperial Grocery at 1072 State Street.
The mural was installed as part of the new You're The Mom public awareness campaign -- an initiative that recognizes the fact that moms are the number one influence on how well kids eat. According to You're The Mom:
"In the growing fight against childhood obesity (among many other areas!), moms are on the front lines—they’re arguably the single greatest influencers on their family’s health. But with so much to juggle, many moms take the path of least resistance when dinner rolls around. Making sure their children eat healthy becomes a chore, and fast food is an easy option. An upcoming public art installation in downtown Springfield is part of a new campaign to help moms make small changes in what they feed their kids and reverse the obesity epidemic."
This mural features Natalie Parrish, 30, a life-long Springfield resident. She is mom to seven-year-old Trenton Johnson who attends Sabis International Charter School in the city. Parrish knows a thing or two about the urge to seek quick meals -- in addition to caring for her son, she not only works full-time as a personal care assistant, she is also pursuing a BA in Healthcare Administration with a full course load, and is active in her church.
"It's a struggle to prepare meals that are healthy and affordable," Parrish said.
She said she encourages her son to make small changes to be healthier, for example, to eat the apples in his fast food meal instead of the french fries. She also tries to frequent the mobile farmers market in her neighborhood and tries to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into every meal.
Parrish said she also tries to cook with more of an international flavor instead of relying on quick packaged meals and she is always encouraging her son to actually eat what she makes.
"He's picky," she said. "Of course he likes fast food -- all kids do -- but I encourage him to eat the meal I cook because there is nothing better he can do than put healthy food in his body."
Other simple and healthy swaps recommended by You're The Mom:
Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages
Boost movement and physical activity
Fuel up on fruits and vegetables
Natalie Parrish of Springfield meeting Marka27, the artist who painted her mural.
Parrish was overcome when she got her first glimpse of the mural, which was painted by Victor "Marka27" Quinonez of Brooklyn, NY. (Check out more of his work at Marka27.com -- so beautiful!)
"I struggled with image issues when I was younger so this is overwhelming," she said. "I hope this mural inspires people to be great."
A second mural will be installed this weekend -- July 9 & 10 -- at 461 Main Street in Springfield. Stop by if you have a chance -- it's fascinating to watch!
You're The Mom is being piloted in Springfield through the summer, and a national launch is planned for next year. You can find out more at yourethemom.org, or on their Facebook page. The campaign is being launched by ChildObesity180 at Tufts University Friedman School with assistance from community organizations including Partners for a Healthier Community, Square One, and Springfield Food Policy Council. The campaign includes a digital resource hub at YoureTheMom and public art installations portraying real local moms, as well as billboards, radio spots, bus advertisements, and social media.
And of course Parrish credits her own mom for helping her be the best mom she can be.
"My mom inspires me. She is my A1-Day 1. I have the tools necessary to be a good mom because of my mom. Communities are stronger when moms are stronger."
Valerie Smart is a average mom trying to raise average kids. She is passionate about unplugged parenting and providing her girls with an old-fashioned childhood full of outdoor play, unstructured time, creative pursuits, and making family time a priority. She is attempting to swim against the tide of hyper competitive parenting that has become the norm today. Comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for visiting!