Simply Family

Life with a toddler- Beating toy boredom

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Beating toy boredom with a toddler

My simple swap method

Bonus** it cuts down on clutter too!

I know that I am not the only mom who has accumulated an over abundance of toys overflowing out of bins and shoved into corners.  Where did all of this stuff come from anyway??

However, despite the massive amounts of toys, my toddler seemed to be bored with almost every single one.  I was fed up with seeing all of the clutter, and I was not about to go buy more toys just to keep my child occupied.

That’s when I started to rotate my daughter’s toys.

I keep one basket full of small toys and one larger toy out.  The bin has things like shaker toys, plush toys, puzzles, and cars.  The larger toy is usually a ride on or walk behind toy.  EVERYTHING else gets put away in a closet or moved to our basement.

Then, when our toddler seems to be bored with her toys, we swap the toys.  I move her current bin of toys to the basement and bring a new bin of toys up.  It’s like Christmas morning everytime that we do it!  Her eyes get wide when she discovers that there are new toys out.

This method also helps us to get more creative with play.  It has taught us that we don’t always need toys out to have fun.  We sing, dance, play peakaboo, and get outside whenever we can.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for your little ones!

9 tips to help you survive the newborn stage
Simply Family

Mom Hacks- Tips for surviving the newborn stage

9 tips to help you survive the newborn stage

Mom hacks-  Tips for surviving the newborn stage

You will survive the newborn stage, I promise.  These hacks might just make adjusting to a new baby a little bit easier on you and your family.

*Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.

1. Breastfeeding on a budget- cut straps off an old ‘spaghetti strap’ style tank.  This will turn it into a ‘tube top’.  Then layer your shirt over it.  This will allow you to pull your shirt up and the ‘tube top’ down to keep things covered up when you lift your shirt to nurse.

2. Baby wearing- I started wearing my baby in a wrap carrier at just a few weeks old.  After about a month I switched to a more structured carrier that will work for us all the way up to 45 lbs.  She is 11 months old and I still wear her around in this carrier.  Baby wearing has made life with a baby so much easier.  For me, benefits include: having two free hands while still being close to my baby, keeping a fussy baby calm and comforted, and being able to navigate large crowds without pushing a bulky stroller around.

3. Room sharing with a bassinet- This hack makes life much easier with a newborn in the early weeks….along with following the AAP guidelines for safe sleep.  My sweet little newborn only fit in her bassinet for about 2.5 months, but that was just long enough for her to start to learn to sleep longer stretches.  Before that, I was up every 3 hours nursing and changing her.  Having her right next to my bed (along with a stash of diapers, wipes, and water proof pads) allowed me to change and nurse her without even stepping a foot out of bed.

There are lots of great options out there.  My biggest worry was that our cats would climb in the bassinet and cuddle up too close to the baby’s face.  That is why I went with this bassinet.  The cats could (and would) literally sit on the cover and not get to the baby.

4. Use a delicates laundry bag for socks- I hung a command hook above the nursery laundry hamper.  I then hung an unzipped delicates/linen bag from the hook.  This made popping small items (suck as socks, hats, and mits) into it when I was tossing the larger items in the laundry.  Simply zip shut when you are ready and toss it in with your load of laundry.  No more missing socks that get lost in the dryer!

Below is the one that I use.  It has loops already there to hang from a hook.

TENRAI Delicates Laundry Bags

5. Use a clean diaper under dirty diaper to help keep baby’s butt from touching yucky surface-  This hack is especially important if you do not have a changing pad under baby.  Simply open the clean diaper and slide the back under the baby.  Then open the dirty diaper, clean the baby up, remove the old diaper, and apply the clean one.  If the diaper is soiled with poop, I sometime place a wipe down on the diaper to keep from accidentally dipping the clean bottom back into the poop until I am ready to pull out the dirty diaper.

To be honest, I used this hack more to protect my surfaces than to protect my baby.  There were so many times as a newborn that my little one would start to pee right as I was removing the old diaper.  If I didn’t have something under her butt my bed would have gotten soaked in pee.

6. Getting your sleepy little one to close their sweet eyes-  Have you been walking around bouncing your sweet baby for what seems like an hour.  You know they are tired, but they just won’t give in and close their sweet little eyes.  Try this!  Gently, but with some pressure, rub in downward  motion between their eyes with your thumb or pointer finger.  Go from forehead to tip of the nose.  Repeat a few times until their sweet little eyes stay closed even when you stop rubbing.

7. Stock your car-  I have a baby command station in my car.  This makes hopping in the car to go for a quick errand much easier.  No more packing up every item that you think you might need into a diaper bag and lugging it with you.  I still pack a diaper bag if we are going to be gone all day, but if we are just running to the store or off for a quick lunch, I have everything I need in my car.

My stocked area includes a changing pad clutch (that holds a few diapers and wipes).  I can use this for a backseat change or carry it with me into a store.  I also have extra diapers, a large package of wipes, a couple of cheap toys, a spare baby outfit, and an old tshirt for me.
Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station with Cushioned Changing Mat

8. Set up baby care stations in places that you spend most of your time-  For us we had a station in the livingroom, our bedroom, and of course, the nursery.  The nursery we kept fully stocked, while our other stations had just small baskets with some goodies.  These goodies included clean diapers, wipes, water proof pads, lotion/cream, and sometimes bulb suction.

Here are the water proof pads that I used when changing baby on random surfaces, such as my livingroom rug.  These pads were also a lifesaver to prevent messes on the floor during the times I let her get some fresh air on her hiney to keep rash away.

9. Invest in a nice refillable water bottle-  If you plan to nurse, you will be REALLYYYY thirsty.  The thirst always seems to hit at just the moment that your baby has finally latched (rendering you completely immobile).  Keep a large water bottle full and within arm’s reach at all times.  You will also want to be able to open it one handed, so stay away from twist off lids.  You will thank me!

Camelbak Eddy Bottle (1-Liter/33-Ounce,Charcoal)

What made life with a newborn easier for you?  Feel free to comment!

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Simply Family

What would you do with one hour uninterrupted time?

header image for blog postWhat would you do with one hour uninterrupted time?

I get an opportunity to answer this question on one evening of my choosing every week.

Like most new parents, I was struggling to maintain a balance between keeping up with chores around the hours while also spending quality time with family.  It is virtually impossible with a curious crawling baby awake to accomplish anything other than chasing her.  I found myself staying up late or waking up early to try to get stuff done.  Then I would just be tired and grumpy.  That’s when I came up with the one hour idea.

So what is this one hour I am talking about??

Well, one evening a week, after I get home from work and settled, I can tell my husband that I am redeeming my one hour.  That means for that hour, all childcare responsibilities shift to my husband.  I usually set a timer and play beat-the-clock to see how much cleaning I can get done, but I can use my one hour for whatever I want.  It can simply be for some me time, time to cook a nice meal without a toddler pulling on my leg, or time to catch up on other things.  It really amazes me just how much I can get done during my one hour.  Plus, I am usually within earshot of the family, so I can still enjoy them, just without all of the interruptions of a busy toddler.

For me, this one hour a week allows me to stay on top of things and elimates the overwhelming feeling that comes with trying to keep up.  If you are thinking about trying this, but you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you want to get done in one hours time; I suggest making a list.  Write down everything around that house that you want to get done.  Then, put a number by each one based on how important it is.  #1 being top priority, #2 being second, and so on.  Finally, systematically work down your list, making sure to take care of high priority items first.  I also really like making lists, because I then get to cross things off of them 🙂

AND, to keep things fair, my husband gets the same opportunity that I do.  If he has something that he needs some uniterrupted time, he will take use his hour.

What to you think?  Give it a try.  Feel free to comment with how you spent your one hour!