Setting up a Summertime Routine for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Are you the parent or caregiver of a young child wondering how to keep the next few months of summer sane? Due to an outside career or other obligations, are you finding it difficult keeping your toddler or preschooler on a routine at home to avoid any possible behavior issues? Well, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it may seem heading into the freedom of summer with your little one. There are many easy ways to avoid behavior issues in your toddler or preschooler by setting up a summertime routine now that will work for everyone. Here are some ideas to help you get started with this.

Use existing routines to set up a workable summer routine. If your child is already attending pre

Simplicity – Slow down and enjoy a peaceful pace of life!

Do you feel like your life is going by so fast? And yet it seems we are continually trying to speed things up by rushing through daily routines and tasks.

As a parent you know the years seem to pass by like the blink of an eye and you are left to wonder where did time go? Like many, you are looking to slow the pace of life so you can truly enjoy the people and things that matter most to you. But how can you go about doing that? Here are some simple ideas for simple, joy-filled living.

Enjoy the peaceful mornings. Determine to set your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier than normal and bring your coffee, tea (or soda). Enjoy the quiet of early morning by siting or walking outside. Take this time to think about your day and enjoy the beauty of nature as you listen to the wind, birds, insects, and the sounds of morning. Concentrate on your breathing and do some breathing exercises to help you feel energized and ready to tackle the day. Reserve that special time for yourself each morning and start the day off right.

Speed up dinner with Slow Cooking! In this fast paced world it seems everyone touts the benefits of fast food but a new revolution has begin called the slow food movement. It is of course a more healthy way to eat but the real benefit is that you can get back to basics and cook the foods your mother and grandmother may have made and make meal times special in your house again. Create a meal plan each week and though you may spend more time cooking and a bit more money on quality ingredients, you and your family will relish the experience and time together. Save even more time by using a meal planning service like that offered by our friends at Dine Without Whine.

Enjoy Hospitality – have friends over for dinner. Don’t worry about competing with Martha. This doesn’t need to be elaborate at all. Make one or two special dishes on a buffet table and have guests help themselves and make their own drinks. Sit outside and talk with adults while

Camping – Great Family Fun!

When we were young, camping was our only vacation. And as kids, we loved it. It was the “ultimate adventure”. My folks loved it because it was cheap and a great way to get away from it all. All in all, the experience bonded us together as a family and we made some great friends along the way too.

Here are some great tips for your next camping trip with young children.

Preparation – Make sure you purchase or borrow a tent that will sleep your entire family comfortably – and don’t trust the numbers on the tent boxes. If the box says “sleeps 4” that means that for bodies will fit – and that’s about it. Go for a slightly larger tent than you think you’ll need so you can fit suitcases and other things inside as well as your sleeping bodies.

Once you purchase the tent, take a practice run of putting it up in your backyard. You’ll be glad you did! It’s much easier to work through any issues with tent poles, making sure it’s facing the right way, etc., at a time when you don’t have to rush to get it up.

Campsite Selection. If this is your first time camping you might want to ease in by choosing a camping spot with some amenities and in particular, shower and bathroom facilities close by. Research campsites online and you’ll also find some great information on the area, sightseeing, hiking etc.

Make sure, too, that when you find the right campground that you also select a good spot to pitch your tent – on high ground in case of inclement weather. The last thing you need is to be waterlogged with little ones! And make sure your campsite is free of rocks, debris, etc too.

A checklist. Make a checklist that you can keep for many years and future camping trips. Among the items on your checklist, some of the more important items you will need are:

* Cooking gear such as a frying pan, a few pots, a bucket, barbecue grill or stove, bags with a Ziploc, and cooking utensils. In addition, food containers and canned goods are best. It is also recommended that you prepare meals at home and package them in containers for the trip. Also bring water, a can opener, hot water kettle and coffee pot, and a cooler with a block of ice.

* Packing the appropriate clothing is also essential. Depending upon the location, wearing light layers is a good idea as well as packing some sweaters and jackets for the evening hours. Extra socks, hats, and gloves may also be warranted. If you intend to engage in some hiking, proper hiking boots are necessary.

* Sleeping bags, first aid kit, flashlights, cell phone, garbage bags, toiletries, sunscreen, ointments, a map of the area, insect repellent, games for the kids, and rainwear.

For a complete checklist on what to bring on a camping trip, there are many camping websites that offer a myriad of suggestions.

The Campfire. Most campsites will have a spot set on the site for your firepit but if not, make sure you select an area away from your own and others’ tents. And make sure you douse the fire well after you’ve enjoyed your campfire fun!

Finally, enjoy the entire camping experience. Sleeping under the stars, enjoying the beauty of nature, and relishing the time spent with family will not only bring a family closer together, but the memories of this experience will last forever.

Little Ways to Save – Everyday

If you are looking for some extra ways to save money, look no further. We have some tips you can easily put into action! Most of them you probably know already but sometimes we need just a little reminder!

Avoid the temptation to jump on and purchase the latest great novel, dvd, magazine or self help book you’ve heard about. Instead of buying, grab your library card and head to your local library and borrow those same items for free! Use your library’s internet search site to confirm they have the books or items you’re looking for and put them on hold (some libraries even have drive up windows to pick up the items once the librarian has pulled them). If your particular library doesn’t have what you need, often they can query other libraries and bring them in from the outside.

Check out your local public transportation. Your kids will love it and you’ll save time, gas and parking fees! Kids love the train especially and it’s a great way for you to relax while you’re heading to the city or other special place.

Try consolidating your services in order to get better pricing. For example, if you purchase your internet, home phone, and cable television from the same company, you’ll often get a better rate than if you chose to do business with three separate companies. So many companies are offering this option now – do some research and save some money.

I love shopping like most moms but instead of buying new items from a retail store, consider looking through eBay listings for something similar or get out of your comfort zone and head to the local consignment or resale shop. In our area Goodwill opened up several new stores and they’re fabulous. We’ll often find brand new clothing with tags still on at garage sale prices.

Car payments are a huge part of many family budgets. If you currently own a car that you make a monthly payment on, spend some time figuring out if it might be possible to sell that car and purchase a used car that you own outright. Think about how much money you would save if you didn’t have a large car payment to make each month.

And then there are the simple things – turn off the lights when you’re not in the room, take shorter showers, do larger loads of laundry, hang out at least one load of laundry instead of using the dryer, consolidate shopping into one trip by making lists, cook once but serve twice by doubling your portions and freezing the extra, etc. The list goes on and on!