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    Ulubulu Blog — Family

    Valentines Gift baskets for Kids

    Valentines Day is just a couple weeks away. Not only do I love Valentines day because of all the sweet treats, but I also love it because it’s the only time of year that I can put anything pink in the living room without a word of protest from my husband! I’ve always found it to be a fun holiday and while I prefer to pass on the $50 roses that on any normal day would be $10, I do think it’s a cute holiday to celebrate with my family.

    My husband and I aren’t fans of the Valentines day crowds so we like to opt out of the fancy dinner and instead put the kids to bed a little early, light some candles, order some food in, and watch a movie together. Parent life, am I right?

    Growing up, my parents always made Valentines day about us kids just as much as it was about them. Every year my siblings and I would come downstairs to little Valentines gift baskets full of goodies along with a special breakfast. I always loved this tradition and wanted to carry it over into my kid’s lives as well. I typically make heart shaped pancakes and  fill a basket full of a toy, a book, and a couple small treats. If you’re interested in putting together a basket for your kids as well and need some ideas, here is what I’m putting in my kids Valentines baskets this year. I've linked everything so all you have to do is click the link to shop the items yourself!

    1. Small Toy/Stuffed Animal.

    My son is getting a small lego set that he’s had his eye on for a while and my daughter is getting a stuffed animal that she keeps gravitating to at Target. I know neither of them is expecting a random gift in February so I’m really excited to see their faces when they see them.

    2. Books.

    For my son I bought the book “A Crankenstein Valentine”, which was one of the better ones I could find for a school aged boy. For my 16 month old daughter I got “Huggy Kissy” because she loves all of the books by this author, plus there is a dog on the cover and she is currently obsessed with “dagas”.

    3. Treats

    My son is five so he is getting a few of his favorite candies. Target currently has a great selection of valentines themed candy, so I got him some special Valentines colored gummy bears and Skittles. My daughter is still too young for candy so she is getting a pouch of her favorite Happy Baby food.

    4. Play dough.

    My kids are obsessed with play dough so this was an easy one. One container will last them each hours upon hours of entertainment. I bought them the “sweet colors” pack because the colors coordinate well with Valentines day.

    5. Something they need.

    For my son I got a fun new night light for his room because the last one went mysteriously missing. The new one projects a batman symbol up onto the ceiling and will hopefully be our magical solution to keeping him out of our bed at night (one can dream-right?). For my daughter I got a pack of Ulubulu pacifiers that are cute and match the Valentines theme perfectly.

    Hope these ideas help you with putting together your own special little basket! Wishing you all a very happy day full of love this Valentines day.

    3 Tips to Help you Keep Your New Years Resolutions

    Anybody else find that New Years resolutions are about 2000 times harder to follow through with when you become a parent?

    This year I’m going to eat healthier.

    This year I’m going to save more.

    This year I’m going to read more books.

    You create all these amazing goals for yourself and get all hyped… only to get so swept away in parenting and managing a household that your new years resolution is over before it even began.

    Trust me, I’ve been there.

    The last couple years however I feel like I’ve finally figured out some key things to do in order to actually follow through with the goals that I make for myself.

    1. Start the year organized.

    You know that stretch of time between Christmas and New Years where you forget what day it is and who you are? As fun as it is to sit back and Netflix binge with the family, instead use some of that time to get organized and gear up for the new year! Since that time has already passed this year, instead set aside the next weekend to get yourself together. The holidays leave us with more stuff than we started with, so now is a great time to de-clutter and get rid of everything you don’t use. The more organized your life is, the easier it will be to focus on your goals and resolutions. For me personally this year, I decided to de-clutter my pantry and laundry room. I got rid of a ton of random items that got pushed to the back of the shelves throughout the year and bought big baskets +  shelf organizers while Target had organizational items on sale. I can’t even express how much calmer I am knowing that everything has a place—and more importantly that I know where that place is! Knowing that everything is put away and organized means that I can focus my energy on my family and doing what I need to do to achieve my goals.

    2. Write down your goals.

    Whether you want to write them in your journal, in your planner, put them on a cork board, or even create a fun vision board, there have actually been studies done showing that this will raise the chances of your goals being achieved. I never used to do this however a few years ago my husband and I made a tradition of writing out our goals on New Years eve and ever since we’ve both had an easier time keeping sight of those goals as the year progresses. Not only does it keep you more accountable, but it’s fun looking back and reading your goals at the end of each year.

    3. Communicate your goals with those around you.

    I’ve always believed strongly that it truly takes a village. Not only does this apply to raising a child but it also applies to being successful. The more support and love that you can fill your life with, the more likely you are to follow through. I’ve found that by expressing my goals to my husband, family, and friends, not only am I keeping myself accountable but I also create a support system full of people who build me up and make it easier to achieve my goals. Make a pact with your loved ones to discuss the progress of your goals regularly and to see if there's anything you can do to help one another be successful in your resolutions!

    5 Tips to Make Cold Season a Little Less Terrible.

     

    Back to school season has begun which of course means that your older children are bringing a whole bunch of school germs home and passing them off to your younger children.To make matters worse, temperatures are beginning to drop which not only means that Starbucks is finally selling pumpkin spice lattes again… but it also means cold season is officially upon us.

    In our household we try to approach everything from a homeopathic route before we get doctors involved (assuming its nothing major). Nine times out of ten we are effective and since researching more natural cold remedies, we have actually been able to significantly reduce both how often we get sick and the duration of colds in our house. With a wild five year old boy getting into everything and bringing his germs home to my one year old daughter, it’s important that I stay up on cold prevention and solutions both for my family’s sake and for my own (because we all know moms don't get "days off" for being sick).

    So that being said, my top 5 natural cold remedies are:

    1. Humidifier.

    I’ve found that if I put a humidifier in every bedroom as soon as the first signs of a cold show themselves I can usually cut the duration of the cold in half. Prior to doing this we would all catch a cold and it would linger for weeks, keeping us all up at night miserable and congested. The humidifier keeps everyone sleeping more comfortably and seems to really help the cold come to an end sooner. If it’s a particularly rough cold, buy the Vicks Vapor Pads to insert into your humidifier and thank me later!

    2. Essential oil steam.

    Whether you believe in the power of oils or not, this tried and true method has helped everyone I know find some immediate cold relief. You don’t need the expensive fancy oils to try this, all you need are some cheap store bought oils (amazon, whole foods, and sprouts all have them). My favorites for a cold are Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Peppermint. Put several drops of each on the walls of the shower as well as on a towel. Put the towel somewhere in the shower (I like to hang it from my shower caddy). Close the bathroom doors and windows and let the room fill with the oil scented steam. You can either be in or out of the shower for this but it is most effective when standing in the actual shower (for young children however do this without the child in the shower due to the high heat of the water. Sitting in the steam filled bathroom for 10-15 minutes will be enough). Within a matter of minutes you will be breathing easier. Just make sure to never apply non-diluted oil directly to skin and to always look up safe oil practices before using. 

    3. Replace baby’s pacifiers.

    I actually made a blog post earlier this year about the importance of changing out pacifiers often to reduce sickness. This is even more important when baby has a cold. All pacifiers need to be disposed of and replaced to prevent the cold from returning or lingering. Check out the blog post here for more information on the importance of replacing pacifiers!

    4. Nasal Aspirator.

    You know those green bulb things that you get in the hospital when your baby is born for pulling congestion out of their nose? If you’ve ever tried using one, you’ve probably been about as ineffective with it as I have. The better solution? Nasal Aspirators like this one. Yeah, yeah, I know. The idea of literally sucking snot out of your baby’s nose sounds disgusting. However I assure you that this completely sanitary invention will help clear out baby’s nose while ensuring none of the snot actually touches you. I’m a total germaphobe and even I have no problem using this. The most effective way to do it is to squirt some baby saline up baby's nose, suck those boogies out, and have some tissues nearby just in case you need a little extra backup. Baby might look less than happy at first but will be breathing SO much better as soon as you’re finished! This is especially helpful to do pre-feeding if baby is too congested to eat.

    5. Vapor Rub.

    This is so effective that my son literally begs for it when he’s sick. Vicks makes a kid/baby specific version that can be found just about anywhere and offers so much relief that even I use it every time I’m sick. My favorite “mom hack” is putting it on your little one’s feet and covering with socks. This is always so effective at calming down a bad cough in the middle of the night. The only catch is that you will want to talk to your doctor before doing this on any child under the age of 2!

     

    ***Of course when dealing with colds be sure to seek professional medical attention whenever necessary. Educate yourself on any serious signs to watch for and always always always play it safe, especially when dealing with children under 2. Not sure how serious it is? Just give your doctor a call, that's what they're there for!

    What's in my Diaper Bag

     

    Throughout my almost five years as a mom, I have had my fair share of diaper bagging mishaps. It took me years to stop forgetting diapers (although this may or may not have just happened a few weeks ago), I’ve wasted all kinds of money on products that I didn’t end up liking, I’ve overpacked, I’ve under packed, you name it-I’ve done it. That being said, I finally have a diaper bag full of contents that seems to thoroughly work for me and my little fam. Through research + trial and error, my bag these days is officially full of products that I truly stand behind and in hopes of maybe making it a little easier on my fellow mamas out there, I’m sharing my diaper bag and all of the good stuff in it.

    The bag: For my diaper bag itself, I use a Fawn. After trying multiple other bags that I was unhappy with, I finally decided to splurge on the Fawn during one of their rare sales and it has seriously been worth every penny. It can be worn as a backpack or as a shoulder bag, which is an especially convenient if you do a lot of baby wearing. It’s got all sorts of pockets both inside and outside and is one of the most durable bags I’ve owned.

    1. Diaper Changing supplies.

    We have been using the new Pampers Pure line of diapers/wipes and have been really happy with them. My daughter’s blow outs and diaper sensitivity have majorly decreased since we switched over, plus it doesn't hurt that the diapers have cute llamas on them. I typically keep 2-3 diapers in my bag + 1 set of wipes in the car and 1 set  for my bag... I have been in countless situations that have taught me that there is no such thing as too many wipes. Additionally, we use the Gathre changing mat, which I am a huge fan of. It’s a soft leather mat that comes in a variety of adorable colors/design options. It’s easy to clean and easy to fold up into my bag for convenient changes on the go.

    2. Feeding supplies.

    While I do have an official “nursing cover”, I’ve actually opted for a muslin blanket as the weather warms up. Not only does the muslin breathe easier, but I also like that I can use it as a light blanket to cover my baby in case we end up in a colder establishment. I also like to keep a silicone bib in my bag. I’ve found that the silicone is easiest because I can simply wipe it down with a wet wipe and put it back in my bag, rather than carrying around a dirty cloth bib for the rest of the outing.

    3. Hygiene supplies.

    As the mom of a very pale baby, I like to always keep a travel size bottle of baby sun screen in my bag. We like to use the babyganics mineral based sunscreen because it doesn’t contain a lot of the less desirable chemicals that many sunscreens do. I also like to keep the travel size Honest hand sanitizer in my bag. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also comes in the form of a spray rather than the typical goopy hand sanitizer liquid, which I think is easier when dealing with little hands. Lastly, I never leave the house during allergy or cold season without my Boogie Buster. My kids seem to be particularly snotty nosed (although I think every mom says that) so having a way to help them breathe easier on the go is always helpful.

    4. Snacks.

    As a nursing mom, I am hungry all the time and get hangry very easily. I like to keep granola bars in my bag at all times for those inevitable situations where I’m rushing somewhere with no food in my belly. I also make sure to have a small snack bag for my growing son who seems to be hungry every second of every day.

    5. Toy.

    As my infant daughter grows older, she requires a bit more in the entertainment department. I like to keep a small baby book in my bag for her to play with and will swap it out with a different one from home every other week so that she doesn’t get bored with the same toy.

    6. Baby Carrier.

    I never ever leave my house without either my ring sling or baby wrap. I’ve found that I can make an outing last twice the amount of time if I’m wearing my baby rather than putting her in a stroller or shopping cart.

    7. Back ups.

    I always always always keep a backup change of clothes and a backup pacifier/clip in my bag. My daughter is the blowout queen, so there is about a 50% chance that she will need a change of clothes on every outing. Tossing a onesie in my bag takes up such a minimal amount of space and it’s always nice to know that it’s there in case my lovely little blow out queen strikes again. I also like to make sure I have a spare paci/pacifier clip because there is nothing worse than when the one you brought mysteriously goes missing and there is no backup. My daughter’s pacifier is often the only thing that will calm her while we are in the middle of a store and without it  we would most certainly end up leaving the story in a screaming frenzy.

    TRAVELING WITH LITTLE ONES: 5 Tips for making traveling with children easier

     

    What once was as simple as throwing some of your favorite go-to items in a bag and heading out the door for a little weekend away has now become so intimidating that you avoid it all together. The thought of making sure to pack the bottles, and entertainment, and stroller, and favorite blankies, and diapers has you so overwhelmed that you’re not feeling like your upcoming vacation is really a vacation at all.

    I get it, I’ve been there.

    I remember my first trip with our son was a total disaster. I forgot multiple items at home that I had to buy replacements of at the nearest Target. Then, upon packing up the hotel room to go home, we forgot his favorite blankie (also known as Kiki), which held special emotional value to all of us. Luckily the hotel was able to find it and shipped it back to us, but after the chaos of that trip I was so dreadful of traveling with him that I wanted to just avoid it for a while. And don’t even get me started on our first family camping trip to Zion… which ended two days early because we forgot his entire duffle bag of clothing. Definitely one of my most major mom fails. We’ve had forgetful moments, we’ve had stressful moments (in which I have sworn off traveling), but thanks to a husband who has to travel often for work and enjoys bringing the family along with him, I think I have slowly but surely somewhat mastered the art of traveling with a little one(s).  Hopefully some of my tips will help you feel slightly less intimidated of your next family adventure.

    1. Entertainment is key.  Whether you are road tripping or flying, it’s a lot to ask of any little one to sit in one place for hours on end. Being the mom of an exceptionally energetic  and active dude, I know all about the struggle. We have found bringing multiple sources of entertainment to be essential. We always pack the tablet-and before doing so we load it up with new apps and shows, which extends the amount of time that our son finds entertainment in it. Additionally, one of our best found tricks is loading up on new toys and books. I am not at all trying to say that the key to successfully traveling with kids is to spoil them with half the toy aisle, but a few little things from the dollar section are a great way to keep them busy. We will usually grab a book, a coloring/activity book, and some sort of other small item and add them to the mix of pre-existing toys that we pack up into our son’s backpack. These small new additions are just enough to keep things new and fun for him. Plus, since we keep everything put away in his travel backpack, he goes so long without playing with them that he gets extra entertainment out of everything.
    2. Snacks. A hungry baby is a grumpy baby… and this goes for the older kids too. The more snacks that you have easily accessible and ready to hand out, the less likely you are to hear crying/complaints. When we are road tripping I pack a small cooler and put it directly behind my seat. I include my son’s favorite go-to snacks, some drinks, and typically I’ll add in a lollipop or two in case spirits need a little bit of extra lifting. If we are traveling by plane, pre-packing snacks can obviously be a bit trickier, so I just make sure to grab some things at one of the little airport kiosks before we load the plane. Tip: Bring along an empty snack container w/ toddler friendly lid to poor your purchased snacks into once you’ve cleared security, that way the snacks are more contained and less likely to get dumped all over the floor of the plane.
    3. Check list. There have been so many times that I have thought to myself “I don’t need a to-do list, we aren’t going to be gone that long”. And then I forget 3 random items. I like to keep a check list in the notes section of my phone, that way it’s always with me whenever I think of something to add. Often, I find myself rolling over in the middle of the night before we leave and adding quick items to it here and there. Before locking up our house, the last thing I do is run down my list and double check that everything has been grabbed.
    4. You can never have too many extra outfits when it comes to kids. Between potty training accidents, a messy mishap with the mac n cheese at lunch, or little trips on the sidewalk cracks, clothes get messy fast and the worst situation to be in when traveling is a situation where your child runs out of clothes. There have been numerous times in which I have put a couple pairs of pants back in the drawer because I thought I was packing too many. Several days into the trip and multiple wardrobe mishaps later, I regretted not trusting my gut. Typically what works for me is that for every 1 day of travel, I pack 2 outfits… Then I add in an additional pair of bottoms and one additional top at the end. Yeah, sometimes I end up with an abundance of clothes, but most of the time I only end up with a couple unused items and am left feeling so thankful for my decision to “over-pack”. Same goes for packing extra bottles/pacifiers/favorite toys or teethers. Since those items tend to be items that your child is pickier about and may not be as easily purchased on the go, be sure to pack more than what you think you might need.
    5. Be ready to go with the flow. Traveling with kids will never go as planned. Someone will probably throw a fit at the worst time, something will probably get forgotten, and you probably will not hit the road when you’d hoped to. The sooner you can accept all of that, the sooner you’ll be able to actually enjoy the trip that you put so much effort into planning.