For Mommy: I have horribly dry skin, especially on my face! I’ve tried all different types of moisturizers but as soon as I put on any type of foundation…it starts flaking! So annoying. I even use tinted moisturizer and it still makes my face flake (even after using a completely different moisturizer beforehand). And recently while I was pregnant, I was pretty limited in what products I was willing to use since I try to use more “natural” products since I’m paranoid. So I was super excited when I tried Jojoba Oil for the first time and it worked for my dry skin while also being pretty safe (as far as I can tell). It keeps my face moisturized and does not clog my pores. Miracle! I’ve been reading you can also add some to your conditioner to soften your hair as well but I haven’t tried that yet. So to moisturize my face, I just put a few drops on my fingers and rub it into my face. Easy peasy!
For Baby: So just like Emma, Max is developing horrible baby acne and cradle cap (or cradle crap as we like to call it har har). Last time we didn’t do much for Emma since I read it wasn’t harmful, just annoying for the parents because their babies do not look very cute when they are going through this stage! This time, since I happened to have jojoba oil on hand and since I read it works wonders for cradle cap I decided to give it a try on Max! I’ve only applied it once so far but most of the yellow gunk came right off after a few minutes! We’ll see how it goes in the next few weeks. So to apply to baby, just place a drop on your finger and rub into affected area. You can leave it on for up to 2 hours to really get absorbed. If it’s on the scalp, run a soft comb through the hair to brush out the flakes. If on the face or other body parts, you can just use a small towel to wipe off.
I have been daydreaming about the day that I can take the kiddos camping. The funny thing is I am not even that big of a camper or a roughin’ it type girl…but for some reason I just can’t wait to introduce the kids to the outdoors, sleeping in tents, hiking, and eating campfire food. The husband and I used to go on an annual camping trip with our friends…but we stopped after everybody started having kids…but I know once the kids are a little older we are going to start them back up again but this time with kids! I love that our kids have all of these other kids to play with and create special camping memories with too!
Anyways, I thought I would share some of the useful things I have bookmarked about camping with kids which I am sure is a whole other ballgame and probably more work than I am imagining. 😛
First off the tent. I just recently found out you can buy tents with dividers! This is great if you have more than 1 kid and they need privacy for naps or at bedtime. I was scouring Amazon and found this one that seems decently priced and highly rated:
I will also probably invest in an air mattress or some type of padding to sleep on for the kids. People also recommend sleeping in the tent in your backyard first to get your kids familiar with sleeping somewhere than their own bed.
Places to camp:
I’ve been hearing a lot about KOA campsites. They are catered towards families and are located all around the US. They have campsites but also cabins and space for RVs. They usually have a playground, laundry and bathroom facilities, a little store, and even wifi! It might be a good way to ease your kids into camping. Also, check out these unique camping options that some of the KOA sites offer…like yurts, teepees, airstreams, and treehouses!
Most likely we will probably try our first camping experience someplace nearby, but ideally I would love to visit some of the national parks in the future!
This is probably the part I am most nervous about since kids can be picky eaters and I just know it will be hard to get the kids to eat a balanced meal while camping. But then again, camping is probably going to be just a 1-2 night adventure so it’s ok to have a pass on eating healthy for a few days right? 😛 Anyways, here are some campfire recipes I have bookmarked that I can’t wait to try!
Update #2: A reader commented that Tuft & Needle are discontinuing this mattress. That really sucks to hear since we loved this mattress and it was perfect for this Ikea bunk bed. I was asked for alternatives and I found another 5 in mattress that is also highly rated. I do not own this personally but the reviews are good. Check it out on Amazon here.
Update #1: We’ve since had the mattress for over 6 months now and LOVE it. I highly recommend this mattress for the Ikea Kura. It’s the perfect size and is super comfy despite it’s low height. It’s a great quality mattress for a great price. You can pick yours up at Amazon.
We recently bought an Ikea Kura Bunk Bed for Emma to transition out of our bed (we have been cosleeping with her pretty much since birth). The reason I like this bunk bed is because it’s low to the ground and appears to be safer for younger kids. The bottom bed is actually a floor bed which I’ve always wanted to try ever since I read about it from Montessori blogs. And it will be great for when our other kid grows up and they can share a room.
This bunk bed is very versatile in that you can either use the top, bottom, or both as a bed. Some people use the bottom as a play area instead. After my husband put together the bed, I was tasked with finding a mattress for it. One of my mommy friends told me about this highly rated mattress from Walmart called Mattress In A Box which you can get for under $200. Luckily I found out right before I bought it that it was a little too tall for the Ikea bunk bed. It is 8 inches and since the Ikea bunk bed is so low they suggested using a mattress that is 5 inches or shorter. Luckily, I had another highly rated mattress bookmarked that I had been looking at as well by Tuft & Needle. If you’re interested, there is a short article here about the mattress industry scam and a little bit about the Tuft & Needle mattress and how they are trying to change how we shop for mattresses. You can buy the mattress on their website or Amazon (same price). They also sell queens and kings and a thicker 10 inch mattress. Their customer service supposedly is amazing and if you don’t like the bed they have a free return policy which involves them just having Salvation Army picking up the mattress so you know it doesn’t just go to waste! I love the idea behind this company. I wasn’t too worried about the quality of the mattress when I bought it though because it is rated 5 stars on Amazon with over 300 reviews!
Anyways, if you are looking into the bunk bed…there are countless “hacks” you can also do to make the bunk bed look nicer. We ended up painting ours white and I am thinking of cutting out some decals for the panels but we’ll see. For some inspiration, check out this post on Hellobee: 35 Ikea Kura Hacks
Oh, one last thing that I discovered during my research is that if you decide to do a floor bed, the mattress is prone to getting moldy on the bottom since there is no room for circulation and bodies sweat a lot. To combat this you should really put some slats underneath the mattress or flip it onto its side once a week to let it air out. I discovered Ikea sells this platform for $20 bucks so I think we will just use that.
***Note: If you are a parent interested in hot deals or saving money. Join my Facebook group where I post amazing deals and freebies!
Have you heard of using a sticker chart to help improve your child’s behavior? I had read a lot about it but didn’t realize how well it worked until we tried it ourselves! I bought ours from Target in the $1 bin but you can also print out your own and buy separate stickers.
We use ours exclusively for brushing Emma’s teeth. We have a really hard time brushing her teeth because she always gags when we put the toothbrush in her mouth! We would all dread when it was time to brush her teeth! Now it’s not so much of a battle. I just tell her “Do you want a sticker today” and ask her “What color sticker are you going to choose today?”. She ALWAYS wants a sticker. And you can just tell how torturous it is for her to brush her teeth but now she will do it just so she can get her sticker! Most of the time she asks for 2 stickers so I make her brush her teeth twice since sometimes I don’t do that great of a job the first time since I try to go as fast as I can for her. That’s how much she loves these stickers though!
As you can see from her chart we aren’t using it as it was intended. Instead of doing it for each day, I allow her to pick whatever color she wants and she has to match it with the same color square. I figure at least this way she can practice her colors and matching skills!
I also like how small these stickers are and how it’s helping her develop her fine motor skills. I was actually surprised she was able to peel and stick the stickers on their herself!
So if you are looking for a great behavior modification trick…I highly recommend the sticker chart!
We’re in the midst of trying to choose a daycare for Emma for when the 2nd kid arrives. It’s been a pretty confusing process for me. I wish there were more reviews for daycares kind of like how Yelp is for restaurants. Here are some tips I’ve discovered along the way.
1. There is no “best” kind of daycare. From the many people I’ve talked to including educators, they say you should know the personality of your own child and find the best daycare that suits their personality and a place where they can thrive.
2. There are 2 main philosophies – play-based and academic. Within that, there are more specific approaches such as Montesorri, Waldorf, etc. Some even blend the 2 philosophies.
Play-based: most preschools use this philosophy, children choose activities based on their current interests, classrooms are usually broken up into sections (home or kitchen, science area, water table, reading nook, space with blocks and other toys, or other areas). Kids are encouraged to play and to develop social skills and cooperation among their peers.
Academic: more teacher-led, more structured, and aimed at preparing kids for the kindergarten setting. Classroom time is devoted to learning letters and sounds, shapes and colors, telling time, and other skills.
Huntington Beach seems to have a plethora of Montessori options. Since I’ve heard such good things about Montessori, I’ve really been looking into those schools a bit more. Here’s a little bit more info about Montessori:
I find that Montessori is a mix of the 2 above philosophies. It seems to be a bit more academic focused than other preschools but is also very child centered. Children will learn at their own pace and the classes are more age mixed allowing for children to stay with the same teacher for longer and to develop a close relationship with them as well as leadership skills and independence mixing with both older and younger children. There is a lot of structure, quiet time, and independent work.
3. Other things to consider: size of class, student:teacher ratio, what kind of activities are offered, what is the focus on reading, assess the teachers and staff, how much play-time is offered, how are parents involved and how is everything communicated to parents, how are emotional and disciplinary issues resolved, accreditations, class schedule, safety, and referrals.
Since Emma is a very timid, shy girl who craves schedule and structure I thought it would be best if she was in a Montessori environment. It turns out of the schools we looked at, My First Montessori, had the best ratio. For Emma’s age when she would be starting (age 2), we have the choice of putting her in a classroom with a ratio of 1:6 or 1:8. I like that she can learn at her own pace so if she turns out to be bright she won’t be “held” back by her peers (we can only hope, right? hehe). When we visited the school, it did seem to be a calm environment which I know Emma would do much better at. She gets easily scared with loud noises and aggressive kids. So you can see why I was drawn to a Montessori school. Lastly, we had a friend of a friend that goes to this specific school and highly recommends it!
Some other notable schools in this area you might want to look into if you are interested in other styles of preschool/daycare:
Brightstar Learning Center – My husband’s brother sent his son here and recommends it. Good reviews and good ratio (1:8) but the price was higher than what we wanted to pay for.
Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley – We have several friends that send their kids here and it comes highly recommended. If their ratio was smaller (1:12), we would have definitely considered sending Emma here. It is play-based and very well-kept and clean.
There are also a few popular Montessori schools in HB/FV like Le Port and Fountain Valley Montessori. We visited one of the Le Port schools and was completely turned off by the teacher. She ignored us to the point where we just left because it was getting awkward not being acknowledged!
If you’d like more information about the school we will probably send Emma to, check out their website:
I’m on the hunt for Halloween costumes. Not ready to share our theme for this year yet since I’m not 100% sure we are doing it but I thought I would share my experience with finding cheap Halloween costumes.
Of course I check Craigslist first and then Ebay. If I don’t find what I am looking for there, here is a great link to 12 Halloween websites you can peruse. They even have a handy dandy chart comparing the prices with all of the stores!
We’ve had our ups and downs with bath time. Sometimes she goes through phases where she loves it and sometimes she hates it. I think she started hating it after realizing she hates getting her hair doused with water and having it get in her eyes. Man for the longest time she was dreading it and would want to get out of the bathtub as soon as I started soaping up her hair. Recently we figured out a routine that has helped and she is loving bath time again. She has always loved bath toys. One of her favorites was this windup dolphin we bought from the aquarium. I can’t find it online but it’s tiny and swims in the water. She would always try to catch it with her hands. We played with it so much that finally one day it just up and died on us. RIP windup dolphin.
Recently, I bought these highly rated bath letters and numbers made by Munchkin. Oh my goodness….she LOVES these things! She spends the whole bath time sticking them on the wall. I have been trying to get her to sort them by colors since we are working on colors right now. While she is busy sticking them on the wall, I quickly scrub her down.
(Only $6.99 and totally worth every penny!!!)
They are AWESOME! She looks forward to bath time now. When I start running the water, she tries to climb into the tub before I even have her diaper off! hehe. As for her hair, we’ve discovered it takes a team to wash it. Husband will hold her with her head back while I douse it with water. She is starting to learn that when we do it this way the water does not get in her eyes so she just whimpers a little…but no more tears!!! Yay!
BTW, if you are looking for a true tear-free shampoo…I highly recommend California Baby
This would be a great gift for a 1 year old’s birthday. Throw in a cute animal towel and you’re all set!