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10 Reasons Moms Can’t Get Alone Time

You wouldn’t expect to work constantly and not get any vacation time or time off and yet motherhood can seem just that way on a daily basis. There are many reasons mothers don’t get much needed alone time. Sometimes it’s the circumstances and sometimes we get in our own way. Here are ten reasons why personal time escapes many mothers.

  1. Mothers have to do everything – Some moms believe that nothing, absolutely nothing, will get done without them. They need to oversee every detail of family life and make sure things are running smoothly. As long as they have that outlook and it works for everyone concerned, chances are nothing is going to change.
  2. Perfectionism – The perfect mother doesn’t need alone time, or so she thinks. Trying to live up to the unattainable image of the supermom is a sure way to crash and burn.
  3. Demanding kids – Sometimes little ones can be extremely demanding; Mom cannot even go to the bathroom alone. Children like this want to know where Mommy is every minute and she’d better not get out of their eyesight. The idea of alone time for such a mom is just a pipe dream.
  4. Fathers that don’t support alone time – If you have a husband that doesn’t support your alone time, it might be much harder to get. Some fathers are kind enough to take the kids while Mom goes off and does something she wants to do or maybe even stays home and takes a bubble bath. But for the mother who doesn’t have that kind of support at home, finding the time to be by herself can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
  5. Too busy – Some mothers are workaholics and doing too much all the time to take a break. Every minute is planned and used to the max. This mom gets tons of things accomplished, except perhaps some much needed self care.
  6. Over scheduled – Similar to the busy mom this mom is always on the go, but she has some down time. The only problem is that her down time is spent with other people. She’s waiting for the kids to do this or that, she’s at dance rehearsals or foot ball practice. With a little help she could actually manage to get some alone time in there somewhere.
  7. Guilt feelings – There are mothers who just feel so guilt ridden about taking private time for themselves, they can’t bring themselves to do it. It feels as if they are stealing time away from the family.
  8. Worried about the kids – These moms are worried that something terrible will happen to the kids if they are away, even for a little while. Over protective mothers have a need to hover over their children constantly and really can’t function without them. Chances are many of the hovering moms, in reality, don’t even want time to themselves.
  9. Not thinking creatively – All it takes at times is a bit of creative thinking to get a piece of alone time. Most moms could probably figure out how to make it happen if they would take the time to get resourceful with their thinking. You’d be surprised what a little imagination can dream up!
  10. Single parents – Mothers who don’t have a backup parent or other family support around them can find it especially difficult to find time for themselves. Trading babysitting favors with other single moms and making time in the early morning or late evenings when the kids are in bed may be options for these moms. Again, creativity is the key.

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10 iPhone apps to help you manage your household expenses

In the world of mobile devices, few are as popular or as versatile as

Apple’s powerful iPhone. Busy professionals have quickly learned just

how useful an iPhone can be when it comes to streamlining business

operations and tracking data, but it may come as a bit of a surprise to

learn how much the iPhone in your pocket can do in terms of managing

your personal life as well. These 10 apps are effective and valuable

budget-management tools and can assist you in the often complicated

business of tracking and keeping up with household expenses.
  1. Manilla

    – Chosen as a Top 100 Web Business by PC Magazine and ABCNews.com’s App

    of the Week, the free Bills & Account Manager app from Manilla

    helps you monitor your bills, statements and notices so that you can

    keep up with exactly how much money you’re spending in each area. As an

    added bonus, you can also set up text or email message alerts to let you

    know when a bill is due to help you avoid further damage to your

    finances with late fees and penalties.
  2. Expenses and Income – CashTrails Lite

    – The free Lite version of CashTrails lets you track both what’s coming

    in and what’s going out, as well as log your daily expenses to help

    determine exactly how much money is spent on incidental purchases. Group

    filtering to separate your regular expenses from those of a

    professional nature or special vacation spending allows you to

    compartmentalize your budget and organize your entries in a way that

    makes most sense to you.
  3. Spending

    – The simple name of this $2.99 app is an indication of exactly what

    you can expect from it; an app that is no frills, no fuss and directly

    to the point. Spending helps you keep up with how much money you spend,

    track your expenses and manage your accounts quickly and easily. There

    are no extraneous features and no superfluous commands or complications,

    leaving this app beautifully easy to use and free of frustration.
  4. iSpending

    – With this free app you can set up separate categories to

    compartmentalize and track your expenses in a more detailed fashion,

    while still keeping an eye on the big financial picture. Daily, weekly,

    monthly and annual summaries are displayed on the home page, allowing

    you to access budget and expense information at a glance.
  5. Pageonce – Money & Bills

    – Part of managing your household budget and tracking expenses is

    making sure that you stay current with all of your bills. That’s where

    this free app comes in handy, allowing you to keep up with and even pay

    all of your bills with just a few taps of the screen. Called the

    “Cadillac of money management apps” by CNN Money and chosen as an iTunes

    Staff Favorite, Pageonce is a valuable expense tracking tool.
  6. iXpenseIt Lite

    Tracking daily and monthly expenses is fast and simple with the free

    Lite version of the paid iXpenseIt app, which is more than powerful

    enough to easily keep up with household budgeting. CNN Money Magazine

    calls iXpenseIt Lite one of the “Best iPhone Apps” and LAPTOP Magazine

    rates it among the 50 Most Useful iPhone Apps.
  7. Expensify

    – While this free app is designed for business travelers, you can still

    keep up with your daily household expenses by using Expensify. You can

    even generate full PDF copies of your household expense reports for

    later review!
  8. Checkbook HD Free

    – Once upon a time, household expense tracking and management was

    accomplished by keeping an up-to-date and accurate checkbook register.

    As paper checks become less and less common, this free app simulates the

    experience to help you keep up with your bills the old fashioned way.
  9. Bills Monitor Free

    – With this free app, you can review upcoming expenses through the

    calendar view or specific categories, keeping up with what’s going out

    at any given time. If you’d like to keep your household expenses and

    budgeting information hidden from prying eyes, there’s also a

    password-protect function.
  10. Smart Budget

    – Free, straightforward and easy to use, Smart Budget allows 30 trial

    transactions before requiring an upgrade to the full version, giving you

    plenty of time to decide whether or not this expense management and

    household budgeting tool is for you. Should you choose to upgrade, it

    can be quickly and easily handled with in-app purchasing.
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6 New Year’s Resolutions Kids can make!

Bellyitch Rewind
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It’s New Year’s Resolutions season.  Adults everywhere are reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next, finding places where they can improve their lives.  Parents often make big plans to change habits and behaviors with this fresh start, and these plans often include their children.  Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions you could work with your child to make.

  1. Keep my belongings organized – The first thing that parents need to recognize about this resolution is that it very likely means something very different to your child.  Children typically have unique ways of keeping things organized.  This frequently stirs friction between child and parent because mom and dad might believe “organized” means that everything is folded, put away neatly and out of sight, while their child might consider things organized if he can find his underwear in the morning.  This is a great opportunity for parents to connect with their child.  Sitting down and discussing the differences between your view of organization and theirs can actually help a child if it is done though positive conversation.  Giving him freedom in this area can go a long way in helping him discover what his organization style is.  If there are rules in common areas, parents should be clear about those, but should also allow their child to control how he organizes his own space. This will help him learn to keep it all together.
  2. Drink water with every meal. Most people do not drink enough water; this is true for adults and children.  Telling a child she cannot have soft drinks or juices anymore will cause aggravation in the child and will only work to make her sneak them elsewhere.  By setting the rule that everyone drinks water with each meal, this healthy liquid is introduced without the ban on other drinks altogether.
  3. Practice the sport, art or activity of their choice for 30 min every day.  Everyone has hobbies or skills they want to improve.  Children often beg parents for lessons to learn to play piano or be in basketball, but after the first few weeks of lessons, the excitement fades when they learn they have to practice.  Parents can help their children set the goal to practice by finding their own new skill to work on. This way parents and children can work in unison to improve themselves in at least one way.
  4. I will talk to one new person every week at school.  This is a great resolution for the child that has a hard time making friends and connections.  It can seem like a leap of faith for a timid child to make new friends, which is why it is so important to start with just one conversation.  Maybe only one in every five conversations end in some kind of friendship, but then in a little over a months’ time your child will have a new friend and be confident enough to make more.
  5. I will try one new food a week.   Children tend to eat the same foods every week.  This is due in part to the fact that these foods are easy to make and because parents are tired of fighting with their children to eat new and more healthy foods.   This approach addresses the problem in steps.  It does not require the child eat entire meals that he hates, just one new food a week.  Make the new food three or four times during the week so that he gets a chance to try just one bite a few times.  Parents should try to make the experience fun and set a good example by eating the food alongside him.
  6. I will help one person every day without being asked.  Generosity is a character trait most people believe is absent in children these days.  Parents can inspire the development of this habit by encouraging their children to find one person to help or to do one helpful activity each day without being asked to do it.  Keep a chart of these activities and praise the big-heartedness that it brings. Try to avoid “rewarding” these activities with material positions because part of generosity is not expecting anything in return.  Instead give rewards with kind words and gratitude.

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Winter Maternity Fashion Tips: 25 Blogs to check out today!

Bellyitch Rewind
Being pregnant is an exciting time.  Visions of nurseries dance in

your head and it’s likely that you find yourself consumed with shopping

for onesies, stuffed animals and the perfect blanket to wrap around your

bundle of joy. You also have probably noticed that, in addition to all

of the things your baby needs, you need a new wardrobe to fit your

expanding belly as well. These days, designers have the most stylish

looks in maternity wear.  You can buy things for work that allow you to

look professional and still be comfortable or for the weekend when you

are kicking back and enjoying life.  And for that fabulous party you

have coming up, there are plenty of party dresses too.  Combine those

with comfy sleepwear and workout wear and you have yourself a whole new

wardrobe, and what’s more fun than buying brand new clothes?  You want

to look fantastic while you are pregnant right?  Check out these 25

fabulous fashion blogs that will send you in the right direction.
 
Work Wear
Sometimes it can be tough to get yourself out of bed, especially as

your body grows and changes with the baby, but keep in mind that when

you look good you feel good.  Look for clothing items that will grow

with you.  These five blog entries will show you what’s in style for

maternity work wear.
Weekend Wear
Step out in style as you enjoy life before baby.  You’ll need a great

pair of jeans and some comfy sweaters.  Tights and leggings are also a

way to stretch your existing wardrobe. Throw on some maternity leggings,

a long sweater and some boots and you are ready to go anywhere and

still be in style. Take a look at these five blog posts regarding fun

and functional weekend wear.
Party Wear
You may be pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have

places to go and people to see.  What if you have a wedding to attend or

a business dinner on the calendar?  These blog posts will give fashion

ideas for dresses you can wear to all different types of events, from a

party to the opera.  Think haute couture is out of your reach when

you’re pregnant?  Think again!
Sleepwear
Sleeping can be difficult while you are pregnant.  You can’t seem to

get comfortable and your favorite position to sleep in doesn’t really

work right now.  With all of those sleeping hurdles you don’t want to

have sleepwear that is uncomfortable too.  Check out these five blog

posts with comfy sleepwear options.
Workout Wear
Doctors recommend that pregnant women continue to work out if they

previously followed a workout regimen. Fortunately, many athletic pants

and tops are stretchy and will allow you a little time before you need

to change anything.  But once you get past the middle of your second

trimester you may not want tight clothes on your tummy.  These five blog

posts have included some maternity workout clothes so that you can stay

healthy for the baby and for you.
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Top 10 Boy & Girl old-fashioned names becoming more popular.

It warmed my heart so see that traditional names are coming back into style and are becoming more popular among parents. Babysitting.net chronicled the top 10 girl and boy names making a comeback.
Girls’ Names
  1. Anna – “Anna” is one of the girls’ names that never seems to go completely out of style. Originating from the Greek or Latin version of the Hebrew name “Hannah,” Anna means “grace” and came in at number thirty-eight on the list of most popular girls’ names in 2011.
  2. Charlotte – The French feminine diminutive of “Charles,” Charlotte’s meaning, “free man,” has masculine connotations. Still, Charlotte was the twenty-seventh most popular name in 2011 and is the name of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s daughter.
  3. Ella – At number twelve on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011 is “Ella,” which is of Germanic origination and means “all, completely; fairy maiden.” Mark Wahlberg, Ben Stiller, Eric Clapton and John Travolta all have daughters with this old-fashioned moniker.
  4. Eva – The Latin form of the Hebrew name “Eve,” meaning “life,” Eva is eighty-third on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011. Derivations Ava and Eve are also very popular.
  5. Grace – A virtue name meaning exactly what it says, “Grace” is number sixteen on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011 with notable choices by celebrity parents Lance Armstrong and Christy Turlington.
  6. Julia – Derived from Latin and meaning “youthful,” Julia was the fifty-seventh most popular name for baby girls in 2011.
  7. Lucy – The English feminine variation of “Lucius,” Lucy was the seventy-second most popular name for girls born in 2011. While it may be most memorably connected to a certain flame-haired comedienne, “Lucy” was also chosen by country crooner Zac Brown for his daughter.
  8. Rose – Latin for “rose, a flower,” Rose is an old-fashioned name that has enjoyed something of a revival. At number two-hundred and ninety-one in 2011, “Rose” was the final selection of Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck, Jon Stewart and Ewan McGregor. The presence of the boys’ name “Jack” also calls into question the influence of the re-release a certain epic film about a doomed romance on new parents.
  9. Stella – From the Latin for “star,” Stella is the seventy-third most popular name on the 2011 list. Chosen by both Paul McCartney and, more recently, Matt Damon, Tori Spelling and Dave Matthews, Stella’s popularity is still rising.
  10. Violet – Latin for the color and the flower, Violet comes in at number one-hundred and one for 2011 and was also chosen by Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck for their eldest daughter.

Boys’ Names
  1. Andrew – Meaning “strong and manly,” the name “Andrew” is of Greek derivation and enjoys a perennial popularity. At number sixteen on the list of most popular names for baby boys in 2011, one Harvard study claims that it is the most popular name for boys born to highly educated parents.
  2. Benjamin – From Hebrew meaning “son of the right hand,” Benjamin was the nineteenth most popular name for baby boys in 2011. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her quarterback husband Tom Brady chose “Benjamin” for their son, as did John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
  3. Charles – French from German, “Charles” means “free man” and was the sixty-second most popular name for boys in 2011. Celebrities Jodie Foster and Russell Crowe both named their sons Charles, with the shortened “Charlie” also quite popular.
  4. Harry – A diminutive of Henry meaning “estate ruler,” Harry is becoming more popular than ever due to the choices of Princess Diana, David Letterman and Billy Bob Thornton as a name for their sons, along with the immense popularity of the Harry Potter series.
  5. Henry – Enjoying it’s highest spot on the list of popular boys’ names since 1956, “Henry,” also meaning “estate ruler” came in at number fifty-seven in 2011. Julia Roberts, Minnie Driver, Heidi Klum and Colin Farrell all have sons named Henry.
  6. Jack – A diminutive of “John” meaning “God is gracious,” Jack was the forty-fifth most popular name for boys born in 2011. Matt Lauer, Luke Perry and Meg Ryan are just a few of the celebrities who chose this name for their sons.
  7. Leo – From Latin for “lion,” Leo came in at number one-hundred and sixty-seven in 2011 for popular boy’s names, and was chosen by NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as a name for his son.
  8. Jacob – From Hebrew meaning “He grasps the heel. Supplanter,” “Jacob” was the most popular name for little boys born in 2011. Bob Dylan named his son Jakob, with Stephenie Meyer dubbing her leading werewolf “Jacob” in her phenomenally popular Twilight books.
  9. Eli – Moving from number two-hundred and thirty-five in 2000 to number sixty-five in 2010, Eli is a Hebrew name meaning “uplifted.”
  10. William – The third most popular name for boys in 2011, William is of English from German derivation and means “resolute protection.” With the marriage of Britain’s Prince William, the name has become even more high-profile.

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The Yoga Pant: 10 Reasons They’re Great for Pregnant women

There is no article of clothing a pregnant woman loves more than her Yoga or Pilates pants. It quickly becomes a staple and often worn item in a woman’s wardrobe from the moment her tiny bump starts to outgrow her regular pants and jeans.  Some women find themselves even going through several pairs of pants by the time they ultimately deliver their babies. There are so many reasons women love their Yoga pants. Here are ten of them:

10. It is usually made of a comfortable, stretchable and forgiving material.
9.  It can easily be worn under a growing belly.
8. Some merchants sell it in the maternity styles and it can fit over the belly and it still fit comfortably.


7. It can fit easily under a casual top and worn with ballet flats or boots…

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Hilary Duff does maternity casual

6. It can fit over a nicer dressier top and worn with heels or maryjanes or accessorized with a nice blazer or scarf.

Elizabeth Berkley dressed up her yoga pants while out lunching

5. It has multifunctional uses and is versatile.

4. If you stick with black, navy or dark gray, it doesn’t make our expanding hips look that  big.

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3. You can totally just go to bed in it at the end of the day if you have no energy left to take them off at the end of the day. They could double as PJs!

2. You can usually find a pair at all price points and affordable level.

These Bella pants are just $17!

But if you are serious about your yoga wear, you can splurge and get these bootcut organic Gaiam pants for $68!

1. And you can use them to actually do Yoga! This set sells for about 50 bucks!

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Holidays: Top 10 hostess gifts

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With the holidays upon us, party season is in full swing, and you likely have found yourself scrounging around before a get together for an appropriate gift to give the hostess. While buying a gift for a good friend who is hosting a party is easy enough, things get a little trickier if you’re just a casual friend or acquaintance of the hostess and don’t know her individual tastes well.  If you’re debating over what to bring a hostess, consider one of these top 10 hostess gifts to take to your next party:
  1. Wine – Bring a bottle or two, depending on the occasion and the size of the event.  If you are joining another couple for dinner, then one bottle should be enough.  Try to find a wine the compliments the meal if you know what you’ll be eating ahead of time.  If you are going to a big party, it might be better to bring two different bottles, one red and one white.
  2. A jar of gourmet pumpkin butter – Gourmet, seasonal foods, like pumpkin butter, can be a great and unique gift to give to someone hosting a party. Specialty food items create a talking point if nothing else, and you may introduce your hostess to her new favorite seasonal find!
  3. Set of four glasses – There are always new styles of glassware coming out, and people don’t often buy new glasses if they already have some at home.  Buying the hostess a set of four stemless martini glasses is a fun gift that she could use right away.  Even if she doesn’t like martinis she can use them for serving desserts or as decorations.
  4. Wine charms – You can typically find wine charms in a wide range of prices, so you can determine how much you want to spend on the hostess and buy accordingly.  Wine charms are quaint, and often can serve as fun conversation starters.  If you are crafty you could make your own wine charms and place them in a gift box or jewel case for gift giving.
  5. Ceramic coasters – Coasters are useful, especially for parties, and it seems like you can never have too many.  Finding some that reflect the hostess’ taste is somewhat important, so consider the types of things she likes.  Does she love light houses?  Do they drink wine?  Buy good quality stone or ceramic coasters for the hostess.
  6. Selections of gourmet salts – Flavored sea salts are an ideal gift for the foodie hostess.  These salts are interesting and would be fun for the hostess to play around with while she’s cooking.
  7. Nice hand lotion – Good quality hand lotion is something that most people would enjoy, and if you know a particular fragrance that she likes then a nice lotion can be the ideal gift.  Otherwise, try to stay with a scent that is fruity or very mild so as not to adversely affect the hostess.
  8. Tin of organic tea leaves – Tea is another gift that tends to range in price as well, and tins of loose leaf tea are generally more expensive than a box of tea bags.  Give a flavor of tea that you like and explain that you’d like to share your love of this tea with her.
  9. Flavored olive oil  Extra Virgin olive oil can get very expensive, so you will have to base your choice on your budget.  People who enjoy making their own salad dressings or dipping bread in oil will enjoy a high quality flavored olive oil.  Giving a loaf of French bread with it will allow the hostess to try it sooner rather than later.
  10. Guest soaps – Many handmade guest soaps are available in pretty packaging and would be suitable as a hostess gift.  Giving a gift like this would be a nice gesture if you were spending the night with the hostess, but would also work for a dinner party.

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Give Thanks: 15 Volunteer activities your child can do

While Thanksgiving is a season for giving, for children it ends up being a season for receiving only as many lose sight of the fact that the Holidays is also a time for appreciating what you have and about the priceless gifts of family and togetherness that have no price tag.  
Thanksgiving can also be a wonderful opportunity to  nurture a spirit of giving to others as well.
A recent Nanny Classifieds post explains the benefits of volunteering, and notes how lending “a hand to someone in need can heighten your child’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth while also providing an opportunity to possibly discover new career options on which to build aspirations.”
In it, there are 15 examples of volunteer activities that children can engage in this Holiday season and beyond to help them appreciate all they have and receive in their lives. 
  1. Collect children’s books from family and friends and donate them to a local hospital or library
  2. Sign up for a charity walk to benefit an organization or disease awareness
  3. Donate food to a food pantry by having your child pick out an item each time you shop for groceries
  4. Volunteer to serve meals to the homeless at a local shelter or food pantry
  5. Compile activity boxes, complete with puzzles, coloring books and games, to donate to a children’s center or children’s hospital
  6. Donate a few hours to picking up litter at local parks or roadways
  7. Visit a nursing home and offer to share your talents through musical entertainment or story time
  8. Deliver meals to the homebound (many food pantries offer these services)
  9. Take the kids along as you volunteer to drive an elderly neighbor to the doctor or grocery store
  10. Volunteer to feed, walk and care for abandoned animals at the local animal shelter
  11. Gather several classmates and friends to raise awareness and money to help refugee kids in schools around the world
  12. Recruit the entire family to tutor, mentor or read with younger children
  13. Work with the local Red Cross agency to give blood or organize a community blood drive
  14. Make cards, blankets and stuffed animals for sick children and donate to a local organization who provides care items to hospitals and children’s centers
  15. There are unlimited options for volunteering, both locally and nationally, that you can take advantage of to show children how acts of kindness can significantly impact someone else’s life. Find even more opportunities and learn how to brainstorm and plan family volunteer trips with the PBS Family Guide to Volunteering.
It is recommended to designate a specific day each week for volunteer activities.
“Having children volunteer helps them to get out of themselves,” New Hampshire clinical psychologist Carl Hindy says. “It teaches them social interest, empathy and awareness of others.”

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10 alternatives to use when you run out of diapers in public

diaper substitute
diaper substitute
It’s happened to me once during an overseas flight with baby: we ran out of diapers and the airline didn’t have any spare. Yikes. We had to improvise and it worked until the flight landed. Here are 10 alternatives to a diaper that mom and dad or caregiver can resort to in the rare but common chance that they’d be without a diaper in public, compliments of Nannypro.
Listed below are ten alternatives to baby diapers in a pinch.
  1. Burp Rag. I’ve used cloth diapers as burp rags, so why not the other way around? Usually they are thick and will do the trick for a short amount of time at least. If you usually use cloth diapers and have a liner, then it should work a little better.
  2. Wipes. If you have the kind of wipes that need to be wetted prior to use or if you have any wipes that have dried out, they can be used in a pinch while you pick up some more. I would not advise using wipes that are wet, as this could cause a rash.
  3. Receiving Blanket. I wouldn’t suggest using your favorite one, just in case, but if you are out and about and have no other options then this will work. Most people have a receiving blanket in their diaper bag for infants, and it is large enough that you can fold it a few times for added layers or tie it around them.
  4. Maxi Pad. This may be a little embarrassing if others see you use one; however, it is also very effective. Maxi pads are made to be absorbent and can hold enough to give you the time needed to get some real diapers. Make sure you have it secured into a diaper bottom or onesie, so it doesn’t slip.
  5. Cheese Cloth. I would recommend folding this one as many times as you can and place it in a diaper bottom or onesie, the same as you would for a maxi pad. Since cheese cloth is made to have liquid wrung through it, you want to make sure you have as many layers as possible, and don’t rely on it lasting a long time.
  6. Dishtowel. Again, I wouldn’t use your favorite one, but at least this one will be more absorbent and may buy you some additional time.
  7. Wash Cloth. Depending on the size of your washcloths, you may want to use more than one, and either fold them or wrap them around and tie at the waist.
  8. Pillow Case. Go for cotton and not silk or satin for best results. Bunch it together and tie or pin it up like a cloth diaper.
  9. Napkin. I would suggest cloth, and not paper, but again stay away from your favorites. You can couple a few together for added protection and pin up the same as a cloth diaper.
  10. Paper Towels. Notice the plural on towels as one will not cut it. I would use about four or five and fold up to insert the same as the maxi pad listed above.

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10 ways to encourage a kid to read more

Reading is a skill that your child will master at some point. Every child learns at a different pace and in different ways, however, so be patient with the process. In the meantime, here are some tips to encourage healthy reading habits in your child.

1. Visit the library – The library is a magical place for children! Help your child register for her own library card so that she can check out books independently. This independence will allow her to choose the books she’d like to read and help her become responsible for taking care of those treasures. Encourage her to look for books she is interested in, show her where to ask for help if she can’t find something and allow her to make her own choices.

2. Read to and with your child daily – About 30 minutes of reading per day is what is recommended to encourage healthy reading habits in your child. Start at a young age by reading to your child and then gradually transition to him reading out loud to you. The reading doesn’t have to be done all at once, but can be broken up into smaller, more manageable slices of time.

3. Role model at home – Children who see the adults around them engaging in reading are more likely to follow your example.

4. Write short notes to your child – Put them in lunch boxes, backpacks or leave them on the counter for your child to read. You can write about anything; tell her that you love her, leave her a small fact to read or even write down her chores for her!

5. Ask open-ended questions about the story that you are reading – Asking your child open-ended questions will encourage him to think about what is going to happen next in the story and to put together what has already happened. Ask him how he’d have the story end or to predict what he thinks will happen next in the story. Once you read more of the story, look back on your discussion and compare his thoughts to the actual story line.

6. Use context to check vocabulary words – Throughout your life you use context to check the meaning of words you don’t know, so encourage your child to do the same. It’s an essential life skill.

7. Practice writing skills – Reading and writing go hand in hand because you learn one while you are learning the other! Have your child practice sounding out words while she is writing, encourage her to create her own story with illustrations and have her write letters to people in your family (and have others write back to her!).

8. Let them pick the books that they read – Giving your child ownership of the books he chooses will mean that he is more involved in the reading process from the beginning. Encourage him to read the classics as well, but let him pick out what he is interested in reading.

9. Make reading fun – While you are reading together have her act out stories, recreate them or illustrate them how she thinks it should be done!

10. Play reading related games – Choose games that require reading to play together. Games that involve word play (Scrabble or Boggle), games with cards that you read (Fluxx or Pictionary) or games that require you to read spaces (Life or Monopoly) all encourage children to read independently while playing.

h/t 4Nannies.com

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