Tips for a Great Summer with the Kids

Thanks to the JBF Corporate Blog for this great post!

Photo-Apr-24-4-45-34-PM.pngSummer fun. A phrase we all love to hear, but often causes parents excess stress. Yet, this stress does not come from work, it comes from making plans every day for their children. Keeping them busy and enjoying the summer sun is something we should all learn to enjoy.

Tips for a great summer

1. Look for locals. There are plenty of young, fun teenagers in neighborhoods throughout the US who want part-time or full-time summer babysitting opportunities. Reach out to them and set up a weekly schedule, even if it is just two or three days a week for some free time for yourself.

2. Plan a weekly activity. Each week map out a plan. Whether that be dropping the kids off at Grandma’s for a day or taking them to the local park, having something to look forward to will make it a lot easier for all of you.

3. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Often times, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc. complain about how little time they get to spend with their younger relatives. Explain to them your busy schedule for the week and see if they are willing to take the kids for a while once or twice a week. It doesn’t have to be every week, just a monthly visit that will sure to bring smiles to your kids!

4. Read. Read. Read. This does not get emphasized enough, but setting aside time to read, especially in young children and teens, does a lot of good. Make sure they are completing one decently sized book every two weeks. This will keep them busy, smart, and ahead of the game!

5. Assign Chores. A task that makes life easier for you, what a joy! Each week create a chore to do list and assign each child a few duties or errands a couple days of the week. Again, this does not have to be every day, but make sure your kid knows they still need to be doing SOME work during the summer. This will also provide them with a good work ethic for later on in life.

Summer is supposed to be fun for all! So sit back and relax. Do your work, but also help your kids out by using a few of these tips and tricks. You sure will be happy you did!

Eat Those Veggies

Thanks to the JBF Corporate Blog for this little diddy – as it’s not always an easy spoonful to swallow!

Why are toddlers so hesitant towards eating vegetables?

Focus on Taste Buds

From a young age, many parents are not actively concerned with feeding their children vegetables. This causes young children to lack the taste buds needed to enjoy these particular foods.

Instead, they resort to foods that contain high fat, sugar, and salt. Therefore, if children are being fed mainly foods that contain these ingredients, they will become accustomed to only these.

It is important to help shape toddler’s taste buds.

Naturally flavored foods, like vegetables, have not been a popular choice for young children who are used to the sweet and salty flavored of processed baby foods. In order to shift away from this, parents must be willing to incorporate natural foods during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

By doing this, toddlers will increasingly become more open to the idea of filling their plates with delicious and beneficial vegetables.

It is a fact that if taste buds are shaped at an early age, one is more likely to enjoy the flavors they have grown up with. It may not be an easy task to accomplish, but start small. Create a food chart to track what your child is eating and where vegetables can fit in throughout the day. Little by little you will begin to see the difference in their diet and in their positive attitude.


To get started, follow these few tips:

• Slowly wean your children away from excess sugar, fat, and salt.
• Temporarily add sugar, salt or fat to veggies so they taste more like foods they have previously liked.
• Shift your kid’s diet towards more natural foods.
• Allow them to have a yummy children’s treat every once in a while.

Healthy food means happy children. It’s a win-win situation for everyone! Try it out!

Helping Your Kids Fall – and Stay – Asleep

Another great post from the JBF Corporate Blog – enjoy!

Once your kids learn to fall asleep on their own it becomes a lot easier for the parents. These bedtime tips will come in handy and you’ll be able to pick and choose what works best for your family/child and what doesn’t.

Have Down-Time

Add at least an hour of down time at night before your child goes to sleep. By doing this you won’t be stressed out and ruches. It’s always better when kids have time for 1-2 books before bed. Stick to just 2 calm and relaxing books to help your child sleep.

Cuddle Time

No matter the age kids will always want to have cuddle time with their mom. It’s the one place they feel the safest. Cherish these moments because there will come a time when they feel they are too old for this. Having mom or dad lie down with their child as they fall to sleep can be very helpful. Once kids they fall into a deep sleep, they normally in it for the long run.

Get a Nightlight

If the darkness is scaring your kids to the point they can’t sleep opt for a nightlight. This way they wake up in the mid of the night and become afraid due to the darkness, the nightlight will help reassure them and help them fall back asleep.

There are several other ways that might be beneficial to helping your child fall asleep but these 3 are what helped me and my family the most.

Conquering Your Child’s Sleep Issues

Thanks to JBF Corporate’s Blog for this post – as I am sure so many of us have faced some challenge in the sleep department at one time or another!

Sweet Dreams!

Sleep.pngDoes your child have problems going to sleep and staying there? I think every parent goes through this stage but I’m here to help you find a solution. When a child doesn’t sleep, that means a mother doesn’t sleep either and this can cause several different problems… Have you ever tried to stay up all night and then taking care of a wild child? It can be very stressful but I hoping these few steps will help you avoid these issues.


If you start your child on a bed routine STICK WITH IT! Don’t just follow this schedule for a few weeks and then give up on it. Once your child is used to a specific bedtime routine then they will know when they get put into bed it’s sleeping time and not play time.

Playtime is over:

Kids tend to want to stay up because they think they are missing out on something. If you make them believe that going to bed is more fun than staying up they won’t have a problem going to sleep. Be as boring as you possibly can.


I know this sounds silly and no one should reward a child for something they are supposed to do but at some point, you just give up and will do anything to make your child sleep. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can honestly be something like you will give them 10 more minutes of TV for everything night they go to bed on time. Or give them that candy bar they beg for everything you go to check out at the store. It’s the little things that make life better.

Stick to your guns and don’t back down. You’re the parent and they are the children. When bedtime gets tough and you don’t know what to do anymore refer back to these few steps. Don’t have any more sleepless nights.

Family Traditions – The Bedtime Story

Another great post from the JBF Corporate blog this week. I can smile right along with the author, as I, too, remember so many nights with my mother reading books under the covers. In turn, I’ve created little readers myself – always longing for one more story.

The time with your child in that quiet space is precious – enjoy every last word.

StockSnap_KI0YU7B6O7-1024x683My favorite part of my night as a little girl was when my mom and I would read a story together. Although I hated the actual bed time part, I loved spending those extra few minutes with her and my favorite story. These days, the bedtime routine seems to be a thing of the past. Parents work late or kids would rather play their video game for twenty more minutes instead of reading a book. Here are a few reasons why we should bring back the bedtime story:

Encourages Reading: The bedtime story is obviously a great way to get your child reading. If he or she is young, read a book that he loves that also uses repetitive phrases that they can say with you. If he is older, take turns reading a page from a chapter book he enjoys.

Creativity: Bedtime stories also boost your child’s creativity. Reading these stories can help your child to retell them and add to their own ending.

Language Development: Reading stories every night boosts your child’s vocabulary. Exposing him to language in the stories will help him to understand and use what he is hearing.

Calming: Playing a game or looking at a bright phone screen keeps your child’s brain awake and does not help him to fall asleep. Being read to or reading will calm him. There is no bright light stimulating his brain, and he will become more relaxed making it easier to fall asleep.

Bonding: Parents and children can spend those last few minutes of the day enjoying something together. Not only can you and your child read before bedtime, you can talk, or sing nursery rhymes. No matter the age, children love to spend a few extra moments one on one with their parent.

Bring the bedtime story back to life and back into your family traditions!

8 Things You Should Be Cleaning

I’m in cleaning mode – all the JBF stuff that’s about to be purged from the house – plus all the little dust bunnies that get left behind.

But, today’s JBF Corporate blog post cleaning.jpgalso mentioned a few other things I forget to clean. Yucko!! Get thee to the remote!

(Oh, and not a Clorox fan? Use your Norwex…use your enzyme cleaner…use what you need to, just get the bugs outta there!)

As moms, we keep our house tidy with small chores throughout the week. If we’re lucky we get a cleaning day in on the weekend. Cleaning the counters, the bathrooms, and washing the clothes is vital to an organized and healthy household. However, there are some other objects that are in need of desperate attention.

Cleaning List

  1. Remote Controls: These are filled with bacteria, get a Clorox wipe ASAP!
  2. Steering Wheels: Your hands should be as clean as possible when you go to get the babies out.
  3. Sink Plugs: You know that silver little metal circle that goes up and down when you pull the lever? There is so much hair wrapped around that baby! Pull it out and see for yourself.
  4. Vents: Wrap a rag around a butter knife and run through each slat. Every time the heat or AC kicks on dust is being blown all over the room if the vent is dirty.
  5. Can Openers: You’ve probably never cleaned this. Imagine the food it has touched and then been thrown back in the drawer.
  6. Legos: If you don’t have these little devils around yet, lucky you! If you do through them in an undergarment bag and toss them in the washing machine!
  7. Bath Mats: This seems a little more obvious once you think about it, toss those mats in the wash! Water gets trapped in the material and mildew begins to form.
  8. Toothbrush Holders: These always look like they need some attention but it never happens. We store something that goes in our mouth in here after all so let’s just get to cleaning!

Some of these are obvious, some not so much. What’s important is making sure you are cleaning these things every once in a while. Even more important; clean with something that is baby-sensitive. Your baby puts their hands and mouth on everything.

Sharing I Love You’s With Kids

Thanks to JBF Corporate for another good blog post! It’s certainly Valentine Fever around here – our kids just love to make valentines and share the love.

In fact, we’re all pretty big fans of sharing love – with neighbors, teachers, friends, family – and even showing love and kindness to the strangers we meet who cross our paths at just the right time.

It may be a wintery day in January – but really, when is it a bad time to share some love? Here’s to you and yours!

valentines-dayValentine’s Day is the day to tell everyone how much you love them, especially your kids. While the three simple words mean a lot, there are other ways to tell your children how much they mean to you on Valentine’s Day that will truly help them feel the love. Check out these cute ways to say “I love you” to your kids:

The How-To:

  • Breakfast: Show your kids your love with a big breakfast on Valentine’s day. Make the breakfast complete with heart shaped pancakes, all of their favorite toppings, and delicious side items. Try to keep it healthy since they will be eating lots of sweet treats and candy.
  • Handwritten Valentine: Valentine cards mean so much more when they are handwritten. Tell your kids how special they are with a meaningful valentine card or letter. This could be a special tradition for every year. They will cherish it, especially when they are older. There is nothing like hearing how much mom and dad love you.
  • Sweet Treats: Make homemade candies and treats with your kids. They will love spending time in the kitchen with you and will definitely feel loved (and full of chocolate) when the baking is over. Use cute cookie cutters, colored icing, and festive sprinkles to top your treats off.

Valentine gifts are great, but these ideas and activities are meaningful and special ways to say “I love you” to your children on Valentine’s Day. Make sure in the midst of all the kid activities you are sure to tell your spouse how much you appreciate and love them!

Bundle Up!

My little ones just begged to go outside today – and frankly, I wished I could have sent them. But it’s just too cold for their little bodies. Fortunately, a little “heat wave” is on the way – we’ll break out of single digits, soon! Can I get a woot woot!!

But when it is time for them to go outside and play in the snow – make it a safe experience. Here’s a few great tips from the JBF Corporate Blog today about little ones and outside. Keep warm, JBF friends!

From JBF Corporate

little-boy-sleddingThe season of fall reminds us of so many wonderful things – pumpkin spice candles, hot cocoa, and that crisp breeze in the air. That is, until winter rolls around. Eventually, going outside becomes a dreaded chore. Don’t let the drop in temperature keep your kids from having fun outside! The cold winter months don’t automatically mean that you and your kids have to stay locked inside the house. You and your family can enjoy some outdoor time with these easy tips!

Dress in Layers

This has been proven to be the most effective way to dress in the winter. This allows you to add or remove any layers you’re wearing, depending on what you’re doing and what conditions you may be experiencing. When layering you should put on at least three layers. For the first layer, this should consist of thermal tees, leggings, or thick socks. For the second layer, you should use sweatshirts, vest, jackets, or pull-overs. Wool or fleece is most effective for the second layer. For the third layer, you should use a thick, heavy jacket that has a waterproof exterior.

Take Breaks

Whether you’re taking a break after 15, 30, or 45 minutes, make sure you’re not spending hours outside and then coming in outside. Our bodies work hard to keep warm, especially when we’re exerting physical activity. Sometimes, when kids are having fun they don’t realize it until it’s too late. Make sure to take frequent breaks to avoid getting sick.

Drink Liquids

In addition to taking breaks, keeping hydrated is just as important. Make sure to provide liquids during every break and also make sure liquids are available outside. Warm liquids and soups are recommended during cold weather. Water is also always a good choice.

Use Sunscreen

Lastly, sunburns are not isolated to warm weather. It’s important to not only protect your children from cold weather, but also from harmful sun rays. Make sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas, and use your personal discretion for SPF requirements.

Take these tips seriously, in order to stay healthy and have fun this winter. Have any suggestions for weathering the cold winter? Let us know!

Decorating on a Budget

As a girl who just completely bedazzled her Ugly Sweater for less than $5 (including the sweater!) – I’m in love with fun ideas that can be accomplished on a budget or with some careful “I Spy” throughout the year. Here’s a fun post from the JBF Corporate Blog about decorating your home on a budget. Enjoy!

With the holidays are quickly approaching I know it can get a bit overwhelming. You’re trying to Christmas shop for the kiddos while preparing delicious meals along with making sure the house is fully decorated. Whoosh! Who has the time to decorate? I want to share with you some easy décor ideas that are cheap and easy to put up.

Easy Christmas Decor

Fill up some glass vases and bowls with ornaments
Easy Christmas Decor

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Some pretty ornaments sitting on a bed of simple greens
Easy Christmas Decor

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Light up your table with vases or bowls full of delicate micro strands of light.

Use the lights either on their own or with some other holiday decor elements you have laying around.

Easy Christmas Decor
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Candy Flower Vase. Fill the bottom of a container with candy

Easy Christmas Decor

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These are just a few fun ideas to help decorate your house. You don’t have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars to make your house look amazing during the Holiday season.

Kids in the Kitchen

As I whipped up a batch of brownies today, my little one was desperate to help. I love that my kids want to get in on baking, cooking, measuring, and the all-important tasting. Keeping a box of something handy is a great way to get that aroma of the holidays to fill your home – and to engage with your child in a meaningful way. Which is why I thought it to be providential that this weekends JBF Corporate Blog had a post about making cookies with your kids. Enjoy – in more ways than one!

christmas-cookies-553457_1280-1024x682Who doesn’t love yummy holiday cookies? Especially homemade cookies! The best part about these cookies is they are so delicious and super easy to make. These are festive, yummy, and perfect for the holiday.


• 1 Box of White Cake Mix
• 1/3 Cup Oil
• 2 Eggs
• 2 Tbs Sprinkles
• 1 Cup mini M&Ms

• Preheat oven to 350º F.
• Instead of following the instruction on the cake mix box combine the dry cake mix powder, 1/3 cup oil and 2 eggs together.
• Stir with a SPOON until it’s thoroughly moist.
• Add the sprinkles to the cake batter and mix together.
• Shape dough into 1″ balls. Place them about 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
• With the bottom of a glass dipped in flour, flatten to approximately 1/4″ thick.
• Gently press a bunch of mini M&Ms on top of each cookie.
• Bake them at 350º F for 7 to 8 minutes. Do not overcook them; they will get harder as they dry.

I promise these will be your kids new favorite holiday treat. They will be asking for them even when the holiday season is over.