Category Archives: Infancy

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Your toddler is growing up, so now is the perfect time to introduce him or her to a few chores around the house. Here are some ideas for letting them help you, plus tips to keep your sanity.

Chores to do With Toddlers and How to Keep Your Sanity

Useful Tips for Letting Little Ones Help Around the House:

At this age, little ones want to do whatever you are doing. The goal is to let your little one help without losing your sanity and at the same time, actually get something done. It gets a little easier as they get older, but for an 18-month-old, keep it simple. It’s more about distraction than efficiency.

Learning tower is really useful step stool when your toddler wants to help around the kitchen. You can also DIY one with this Ana White tutorial. This makes it so much easier to get chores done without the safety concern of your child falling from a chair or stool.

Grocery store helper:

Inevitably, children end up running errands with you. Besides your goal of actually getting groceries, the second is keeping your child in the cart so you’re not chasing him or her around. A couple of quick tricks to keep them in the cart… give them “the list” and a highlighter and have them mark everything off as you put it in the cart. Stop in the produce aisle first and pick up some grapes or another favorite snack. Eating a couple as you move along can be a distraction to keep them busy. You can also use the “I’ll let you pick something out at the end if you stay in the cart” as a last resort.

Duster:

Buy your child his own little duster so he can dust at the same time you do and feel like he’s being helpful. While he’s “dusting”, you can actually get the dusting done! Another tip: you’ll find lots of kid-sized cleaning items at the dollar store.

Folding laundry:

Anyone who has folded laundry with an 18-month-old knows you end up folding the laundry multiple times. As they get a little bit older, let them help match socks or sort clothes (all of the shirts together, undies, etc), which is also a learning activity!

Vacuuming/mopping:

Most little ones love to help with vacuuming and mopping the floors. Try taking turns. You vacuum the room first and then tell your child it’s their turn. That way it actually gets done and they still feel like they’re helping. Same for mopping. Mops that have sprayers are huge hits with toddlers.

What great ideas have you found work for keeping your little one occupied around the house? Share your tips with other parents!  

….and is your toddler coming up on two? Here are some fun ways to celebrate a second birthday party for your active little person!

Pregnancy Eating Habits to Embrace & Avoid + Whole Foods Giveaway

Pregnancy Eating Habits to Embrace & Avoid + Whole Foods Giveaway

If this is your first time pregnant, you’re probably just starting to figure out your new eating habits and learning what your body does and doesn’t agree with. Most women’s diets change a lot during pregnancy. And, that’s nothing unexpected. Your hormones are changing, your belly is growing, and there’s a little one developing inside of you who has some nutritional needs as well.

Since everything that you eat, your growing baby eats too, you want to embrace a mostly healthy diet that’s packed with nutrients. Every woman’s needs are different, so the most important thing to do is listen to your own body.

Here are some common pregnancy eating habits to embrace and avoid. And, read till the end of this post to enter a fun contest!

Include These Superfoods in Your Diet

You want to make sure that your baby gets all of the vitamins and antioxidants he or she needs to properly develop.  

Here are some of the most highly recommended foods to eat during pregnancy:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Salmon
  • Oranges or other fruits that are high in Vitamin C
  • Lean beef and leafy greens for iron
  • Greek yogurt or milk for calcium

Check out our post on the Best Foods for New Moms and Newborns for more detailed information about the above list.

Avoid Dangerous Foods

Doctors usually tell you to avoid eating certain foods while you’re pregnant and there’s good reason for that. Here are some big ones to avoid.

Limit Seafood

Wild salmon is the best choice of seafood to eat while you’re pregnant. It’s high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. However, you should limit your seafood intake in general. The bottom line is that anything that comes from the ocean contains some amount of mercury. The FDA advises pregnant women to avoid the following types of seafood altogether since they contain the highest mercury levels: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement instead.

Avoid Unpasteurized Milk, Cheese, or Anything Else

While there are some benefits to drinking unpasteurized milk, you’ll definitely want to avoid it while pregnant. In rare cases, unpasteurized dairy products or juices can lead to bacterial infections.

Stay Away From Raw or Undercooked Meats

You probably already know the risk in consuming undercooked meats, so we won’t go into detail about that here. The potential risks are even greater to an unborn baby with a weak immune system.

Limit Caffeine

The American Pregnancy Association recommends sticking to less than 200mg of caffeine per day, which converts to 12 ounces. Caffeine increases both your blood pressure and heart rate, which is not ideal during pregnancy. A lot of docs will recommend that you switch from coffee to tea since it has less caffeine. If you absolutely can’t live without your coffee, limit consumption to just one cup per day.

Pregnancy Eating Habits to Embrace & Avoid + Whole Foods Giveaway

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Hydration is even more important during pregnancy, so drink up. You can try supplementing water with sparkling water, low-sugar juice, or caffeine-free tea if that will encourage you to drink more. But, make sure you drink plenty of plain old water too.

Indulge Cravings

Cravings happen during pregnancy due to increased hormones. All women have different cravings and that’s totally normal. Some women even have healthy cravings i.e. salad. If that’s the case for you, you’ll absolutely want to indulge that one. Your body might be trying to tell you that you’re deficient in some key nutrients.

But let’s be honest, most cravings are not healthy at all. As long as your diet is otherwise healthful, it’s ok to indulge your cravings. If you’re craving a donut, just go get one already (or better yet, send your significant other). If you avoid that craving, you’ll probably end up eating lots of other things in an attempt to satisfy it. It’s better to just eat what you really want and be done with it.

Now, Here’s a Contest!

Every pregnant woman has her own weird eating habits and cravings. What are yours? Fill out the Rafflecopter below and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy 4th Birthday! Guide to Planning a Party for Energetic 4-Year Olds

Approaching their fourth birthday, your toddler has more energy than ever. Plan a party that will keep your energetic kiddo and all of their little friends entertained. Here’s what you need to consider.

  1. Theme

The first step to planning any party is choosing a fun theme. Your little one will probably want to have some input on this. Come up with a few feasible ideas for them to choose from involving their favorite animal, TV show, book, sport, or activity.

Happy 4th Birthday! Guide to Planning a Party for Energetic 4-Year Olds

Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

  1. Food and Drinks

Since most four-year-olds aren’t big eaters, you don’t need to worry too much about the food. Toddlers will likely be more interested in activities (see number three) and running around. Keep food simple. Mini hot dogs, pizza bites, or meat and cheese sandwiches will please picky eaters and adults. Pre-cut fruit and veggies are an easy and healthy snack. Customize these to your theme if desired.

Happy 4th Birthday! Guide to Planning a Party for Energetic 4-Year Olds

Food ideas for a princess theme party

Have plenty of water and juice available for energized kids to re-hydrate. Adults will appreciate coffee if the party is in the morning or early afternoon.

Kids will expect a dessert at a party. This doesn’t have to be cake. Cookies, brownies, or a make-your-own ice cream sundae station are good alternatives (Baby Centre).

  1. Entertainment

Entertainment is crucial for little toddlers with endless energy. You want to have a variety of activities for kids with different interests and energy levels. You could hire entertainment, such as a clown or magician. You could also rent a bounce house or host your party at a local park where there is built-in entertainment on the playground. But, there are plenty of less expensive DIY alternatives. Here are some ideas:

  • Arts and crafts station – This is an easy activity for kids who need a break between running around. Cover a table with newspaper or a disposable tablecloth. Keep it simple with paper and crayons, or get creative with a craft that’s a little more advanced and relates to the theme of the party.

Happy 4th Birthday! Guide to Planning a Party for Energetic 4-Year Olds

A DIY candy necklace station is a craft (and tasty treat) that both kids and adults can partake in. By using candy instead of beads, there’s no choking hazard.

  • Stop and go dance game – Dancing is an easy and fun way for kids to get their extra energy out. Play upbeat music and tell kids to “freeze” when the music stops.
  • Bubbles, balloons, squirt guns – Providing items that kids can use to entertain themselves is a no-brainer. Kids love bubbles, stuffed animals, and clothes to play dress-up. Outdoor parties lend themselves to water-based activities. Provide water balloons, squirt guns, or a kiddie pool.
  1. Party Favors

Little ones love party favors to take home! Don’t worry, there’s no need to spend a ton. Check out the dollar section at Target or set up a make-your-own candy goody bag station. Coloring books relating to the party theme are another simple option.

Happy 4th Birthday! Guide to Planning a Party for Energetic 4-Year Olds

An “adopt a puppy” party favor is so cute for a puppy-themed party.

Lastly, remember to take plenty of photos or schedule a Bella Life photo shoot before your party!

Party Like a 3-Year Old! 10 Must-Have Games for Your 3-Year Old’s Birthday Party

It’s time to party like a 3-year old for your little one’s upcoming birthday. You’ll want to keep your energetic kiddo and their friends fully entertained with some fun games. Toddlers don’t have the longest attention span, so games with simple rules are ideal. Read on for our top picks.

  1. Pin the Tail on the Donkey (or Another Animal)

Pin the tail on the donkey is a classic and can be reworked to fit your party’s theme or child’s favorite animal. You could do pin the tiara on the princess or pin the nose on the clown. Hang up a large poster or DIY drawing of the character on a wall, then outline the target. Make objects with tape on the back for kids to stick on the poster. Blindfold kids one at a time and let them each have a go at pinning the object closest to the target.

Party Like a 3-Year Old! 10 Must-Have Games for Your 3-Year Old's Birthday Party

Pin the tail on the bunny

  1. Ring Toss

Buy a pre-made ring toss set or DIY your own according to a theme. The rules of the game are self-explanatory. Give kids a certain number of rings and have them take turns. Maybe give a prize to the child who gets the most rings in place. You could opt for a bean bag toss instead.

Party Like a 3-Year Old! 10 Must-Have Games for Your 3-Year Old's Birthday Party

This “Triceratoss” was made using a foam board and party hats.

  1. Cupcake Walk

This is the same idea as a cake walk, but with cupcakes or other prizes. If using cupcakes, wait till the end of the party to play this game, so that kids can eat some healthier food first. Print out small pictures relating to the theme of the party i.e. different Disney characters. Tape them to floor in a circle. Play music while kids walk around the circle. Then, stop the music and call out a character. The kid standing on that character gets a cupcake. Keep going until everyone has a cupcake.

  1. Musical Chairs

This is similar to the cupcake walk. Set up a circle of chairs with one less than the number of kids who are playing. When the music stops, kids have to find a chair. Continue removing one chair each turn.

  1. Craft Time

Choose any easy craft that just requires painting something that’s already made. Or, print off some free coloring sheets and provide plenty of crayons for simple clean up.

  1. Gumball Guess Game

Fill a jar with gumballs or any other candy and have kids guess how many are in the jar. Parents may have to write their child’s name and guess on the paper. Wait till near the end of the party to go through the guesses and announce or count out how many gumballs are in the jar. Whoever had the closest guess wins a prize.

Party Like a 3-Year Old! 10 Must-Have Games for Your 3-Year Old's Birthday Party

Gumball Guess Game

  1. Hopscotch

This is great for an outdoor party. Use chalk to draw a Hopscotch and leave out chalk for kids to play with during the party.

  1. Water Balloon Toss

Here’s another great outdoor game for the summer. Fill up tons of water balloons ahead of time. Draw a line in chalk, with colorful tape, or use pool noodles on grass. Pair kids up with eachother or an adult. Have everyone take a few steps back from the line then toss a balloon to their partner. Continue taking steps back, then throwing until all of the balloons are popped.

  1. Treasure Hunt

Before the party starts, hide items around the backyard or just one room of your home. Make sure there are enough so that every kid can find one even if some aren’t found. Choose small items related to your theme that can be traded in for prizes after being found. These could be small stuffed animals, rubber ducks, or anything else you can think of.

  1. Cupcake or Cookie Decorating

Set up a cupcake decorating station. Cover the table with a disposable tablecloth for easy cleanup. Have a few colors of frosting and bowls filled with candy and sprinkles to decorate.

Party Like a 3-Year Old! 10 Must-Have Games for Your 3-Year Old's Birthday Party

This set-up is so cute for an artist themed party.

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How to Savor the Funny Things Kids Say

Kids say the darndest things! We’re sure you want to remember them all so you can have another laugh with friends. Here are some ways to capture and savor those moments.

Pinterest Board

Create a Pinterest Board to have all of those funny moments in one place. You can use a free tool like Canva to create cool images with quotes (see example below). Or, you could simply upload photos of your kiddo and put the story in the caption. Similarly, you could create an album on Facebook.

How to Savor the Funny Things Kids Say

Journal or Calendar

When the “I need to write this down” moment occurs, record the moment in a cute keepsake journal. Purchase a ready-to-go one (below) or easily DIY your own. Choose a blank journal where you choose how to organize the memories. Or, find one that has a calendar layout.

How to Savor the Funny Things Kids Say

Words to Remember

Use an App

Since we almost always have our phones on us, this is a way to capture every funny thing that your little one says when you’re not at home. You can always transfer these moments to a different medium from this list when you get home.

Here are some good apps:

Video Diary

We’re always taking photos, but often forget the value of video recordings. Take a quick video when your kiddo says something especially funny. You may have to ask them to repeat what they said to capture the moment. Store the video clips in a Facebook album or add them to a video diary app.

Using an online storage method (Pinterest board, app) allows you to easily share these moments to social media. However, there’s value to having a physical memento that you can pass around when relatives come visit your home as well. Choose the option (or two) that’s right for you.