• Mom sitting with two children
    Raising Kids

    5 Communication Techniques to Connect with Your Child

    My two-year-old has a new phrase: “Mommy, where are you?” She often says this while I am standing right in front of her. I think, sometimes, it’s innocent enough. She just needs me for something and is trying to get my attention. But it has me thinking about how often I am physically present, but not actually there.  If you, like me, want to have more meaningful interactions with your kids, here are some simple communication strategies you can try out. Make eye contact Moms are great multitaskers. While your child is chattering away, you might be looking at the dishes, the baby, or your phone. Try turning away and looking…

  • New mom holding baby
    For Mom

    8 Truths Every New Mom Needs to Hear

    I have four kids, and I honestly think the hardest transition was going from zero kids to one. If you are a brand-new mom, stumbling through those first hazy months, here are some messages for you from the other side. You don’t have to know how to do everything. I went through a phase after my first baby is born when I was just running through the list of all the things she was going to need to learn to do or that she was going to experience in her life, and I felt like I needed to be prepared for every single one right then! In reality, you learn…

  • Woman on her cell phone
    For Mom

    How to Cure Phone Addiction: One Mom’s Quest

    I have a confession to make: I have a slight addiction to my phone. I am home on maternity leave and have been realizing how much time my phone steals away from my kids each day. Granted, I have four children under the age of seven, and I’m sure you can’t blame me for wanting to escape down a digital rabbit hole from time to time. But I think I may be escaping a little too frequently. Effects of phone addiction I’ve started reflecting on how my preoccupation with my phone is affecting my life. I’ve found that it can make me irritable (particularly if I’m interrupted), and also likely to…

  • Mom holding new baby
    For Mom

    It’s Fine to Feed Your Baby Formula

    I’m writing this post for my past self. Almost seven years ago, I had just given birth to my first baby, and I was a hot mess. I am a planner, a problem-solver. I had spent nine months devouring parenting books and websites, buying cloth diapers, and studying natural childbirth. I was going to crush this parenting thing. And of course, I was going to breastfeed my baby instead of feeding her formula. Why wouldn’t I? Breastfeeding was free, all-natural, and best for my baby. And then my child was born. I was completely exhausted from hours and hours of labor and childbirth (which, by the way, ended up involving…

  • Toddler pulling a wagon
    Raising Kids

    How to Get Your Toddler to Listen: 25 Tactics to Try

    How to get your toddler to listen. Is this a riddle? Or a joke? Toddlers are notoriously terrible listeners. Well, maybe that’s not quite right. They listen to what you’re saying, but they just don’t cooperate easily! Trying to get my two-year-old to do what I am asking of her can feel like engaging in serious negotiation with a terrorist. However, three toddlers in, I have found some techniques that seem to work. Sometimes, I have to try tactic after tactic, and one will finally stick. Keep this list handy the next time you need your toddler to do something important… like, put on his shoes or finish his peanut butter…

  • Money Matters

    How to Use Ebates to Easily Earn Hundreds of Dollars

    When my mom first told me how to use Ebates, I was skeptical. Surely there was some kind of catch. How was she earning money, completely for free, just by doing her regular online shopping? But when she sent me an Ebates invitation link that came along with a free gift card, I figured I could trust her enough to give it a try. Sure enough, I received a $10 gift card to Kohl’s plus cash back after making my first Ebates qualifying purchase. I was hooked. Now, less than four years later, I have earned about $500 cash through Ebates. Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Ebates (keep reading…

  • Kids playing on an outdoor toy
    Raising Kids

    10 Outdoor Toys for Kids: Create the Ultimate Backyard Fun Zone

    As a mom of four kids, having a fenced-in backyard fun zone full of outdoor toys for kids is a lifesaver. I need a space outside the house for my kids to stay occupied and play together, without having to keep track of everyone at a park. To be honest, it’s a bonus if they will play independently, allowing me to keep an eye on them while accomplishing other things. Over the years, we have gathered a collection of fun outdoor toys for kids that entertain ages toddler through grade school. Here is a list of outdoor toys for kids that have provided hours of backyard fun for my family.…

  • Women clinking wine glasses together.
    For Mom

    How to Make New Friends as a Mom

    We just had Kid #3’s second birthday party. She had a blast, and as the third kid of four, it was fun to be able to spoil her—especially since she became a big sister about three months ago, and her life was turned upside down. At two years old, she doesn’t have many “real friends.” What she mostly has are kids of families my husband and I are friends with, who we hope she’ll grow close to over the years. As a result, the party was full of people I love being around—people who were friendly to each other, asked about my life, didn’t hesitate to jump up and help…

  • Items sick people use
    Raising Kids

    Fight the Crud: 5 Habits for Healthy Kids

    It’s like slow motion. A kid’s nose wrinkles. She sniffs. Her mouth opens. A sneeze is coming. And you know what might happen if that sneeze leads to a bad cold—weeks of nursing one kid after another and yourself back to health. Days missed from school. Days missed from work. Heaps of tissues and a huge dose of misery. You throw your whole body in front of any other kids around you like a human shield to avoid the wrath of the sneeze. This is one of the downsides of having a large family. If one person gets sick, it might be a months-long ordeal as the germs have a field day,…

  • Woman carrying baby in wrap
    Raising Kids

    Four Essential Tools to Survive Baby Number 4

    Baby number 4 was born nearly three months ago. She joined a rowdy crew of kids under seven years old. Our third child was not even two when she was born, and as many a stranger has pointed out, we have our hands full. Babies born later in a large family have to go along for the ride—that is, to all kinds of dropoffs, pickups, and events that their older siblings are involved in. They are also at the mercy of a mom who is keeping track of an almost impossible amount of other tasks and needs. Thankfully, several tools have come in handy to make our experience a bit more…

  • Overwhelmed mom holding a coffee cup to calm down.
    For Mom

    11 Calming Tactics for Mom when Feeling Overwhelmed

    This morning, I was feeling overwhelmed. I noticed as I opened the door that it was about 15 degrees cooler outside than I thought it would be when I’d dressed my kids. I unexpectedly had to unload our double stroller from the middle of the van, which my husband had chucked there to load groceries into the trunk last night. And when I got home, I had to contend with an uncooperative poopy toddler and a baby who was screaming for food. As parents, we all have moments of feeling overwhelmed like this from time to time, right? With four kids, I feel like they happen often. Sometimes, the chaos…