5 Ideas for Mom While the Kids Are Gone this Summer

There are few things in life that I love more than summer. What is truly better than sunshine, open swimming pools, and warm {ok, hot} weather? It’s a chance to revitalize and soak in all the vitamin D that nature provides and also a time to get in some “mom time”. So, when the kids […]

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Do Kids Ever Need Sleeping Pills?

In generations past, parents often gave small children “a little something” to put them to sleep—from a few drops of opium to a nip of brandy. These days, parents are more likely to ask for a prescription.

However, when it comes to giving medicine to young children, the best rule of thumb is less is better. This is especially true for sleep medications. These can be too strong or backfire and accidentally make kids hyper! In fact, none of the common adult sleep medicines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children. 

However, one supplement that’s been shown to occasionally help children with serious sleep problems is melatonin. As you’ll remember, our brains make melatonin every evening as the lights dim, but this hormone is also available as an over-the-counter supplement. 

A standard toddler dose is 1 mg, given an hour before bedtime. Higher doses (3-10 mg) have been shown to help kids with medically related sleep difficulties such as blindness, autism or ADHD. 

Like any medication, melatonin can have side effects. These may include daytime grogginess, headache and very vivid dreams.

Even though the medicine is readily available, always consult your doctor before using it. And only use a very reputable brand of melatonin. The FDA doesn’t regulate the supplements, so their purity is not assured. Also, avoid melatonin that was harvested from the brains of animals.

Read more: happiestbaby.com

The Breastfeeding Condition I Wish I Knew About

Breastfeeding is one of the most debated topics in motherhood. Your baby is more important that your sanity. Your sanity is more important than your baby. I love breastfeeding, it’s a beautiful natural way to connect with my baby. I hate breastfeeding, it doesn’t feel natural.

There is no right way to feel about breastfeeding. We all have our own opinions and experiences. My experience with breastfeeding the twins wasn’t a good one. I was recovering from a C-section, pumping every 2-3 hours and feeding a baby in between (24/7),and loosing 1-2 pounds a day.

One of the twins had a milk sensitivity, so in order for me to continue to feed him breast milk, I had to cut dairy from my diet. That wasn’t an option for me at the time because I was hardly eating as it was and was losing weight drastically.

After three months of trying to make it work, I finally said enough is enough. I felt immense guilt. I felt like I was failing my babies because my body couldn’t keep up anymore.

My experience with breastfeeding my singleton wasn’t much better. I had serious gallbladder issues (after both pregnancies), but this time it was much worse. I was nauseous almost every day, losing weight drastically, no appetite, with burning pain in my stomach. I wasn’t well.

On top of it all, about two months postpartum, I started experiencing a rush of bad emotions every time I pumped. I’d sit in the corner of my room at my ” pumping station” and almost cry every time I had to pump. It was uncontrollable anxiety, panic, and depression. It lasted for the first three minutes of my pumping session, but felt like it lasted an eternity.

I started feeling like I was going crazy. I started having anxiety between pumping sessions because I knew what was going to happen in a few short hours. I did it for as long as I could. By three months postpartum, I found out why I was having all these terrible emotions while pumping — I had D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex). Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex is a condition affecting lactating women that’s characterized by an abrupt dysphoria, or negative emotions, that occur just before milk release and continuing not more than a few minutes.

I made it to five months, and then I decided enough was enough. D-MER is a real thing. I wasn’t going crazy. On top of all the other issues I was facing, I just couldn’t do it anymore. My hope is that this reaches someone who suffers from D-MER or who has suffered from it in the past. It’s such a random thing that I didn’t even know existed before it happen to me.

We all have our reasons why we choose to or not to breastfeed. My hope is that we can all support each other in our decisions.

The post The Breastfeeding Condition I Wish I Knew About appeared first on Scary Mommy.

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The Sleep / Sex Connection for New Parents

Happy Valentine’s Day, parents. Turned on, yet?

We’re here to help you out, because we just Googled “sex tips for parents,” and the top suggestion out there is to have appointment sex. Can you think of anything less sexy than that?

C’mon millennial parents, we’re not ones to settle…

One of the most interesting differences between millennials and other generations is our strong commitment to self-care. Taking time to meditate, do yoga, walk outdoors, unplug…these are just a few of the daily rituals that help us balance work, life and motherhood. And, it’s through self-care that we’ll find our way to a better sex life, too.

“It’s a relatively new idea in our culture that we would be paying attention to how we feel and using that as a kind of intelligence,” explained self-care mentor Gracy Obuchowicz, in a recent NPR article. “It’s something that’s really waking up in our culture and our generation.”

When you’re a parent, how good you feel is so tightly connected to how you’re sleeping. And the same goes for how much sex you’re having.

Studies dating back have to the 1950’s (by famed sexpert Dr. Alfred Kinsey) have shown through shown a strong link between improved sleep and stronger sexual desire. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that when added a full hour of sleep to their night that had a 14% better chance of having sex with a partner the next day!

Going for it in bed is a sure way to make your one-and-only feel loved and desired. That’s a great thing, in and of itself. As it turns out, having an active sex life is also an awesome way to practice self-care.

Regular sex helps keep your heart healthy, your weight in check, your immune system strong, your skin glowing and your mood brighter. Sex releases brain chemicals associated with positive feelings—dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin (adorably known as the “cuddle hormone”). Once you get back on the saddle, a virtuous cycle kicks in: Better sleep leads to more sex, and more sex helps you sleep more soundly…and you start feeling better in so many ways…about so many things.

But seriously, moms don’t want expensive jewelry or boxes of candy for Valentine’s day, we just want to sleep and have more time—and energy—to be our intimate, sexy selves.

Did you know that Happiest Baby’s new SNOO smart bassinet adds sleep for babies and parents?  Learn more about SNOO today!

Read more: happiestbaby.com

I’m The Mom Who Forgot Her Baby In The Car

Ah, summer — the season of cooking out and camping out, swimming and biking, lounging and playing…

…and sometimes, leaving your babies in hot cars.

I have four children, and I am by all accounts a responsible mother. I may make the occasional mediocre parenting choice, such as feeding my kids chicken nuggets and counting the ketchup as a veggie, or letting them play a few too many minutes of Minecraft. But aside from minor infractions such as those, nobody — including myself, not even on my most self-doubting of days — would call me a terrible or negligent mom.

Up until a couple of summers ago, I would have scoffed (vehemently, with some serious side-eye thrown in) at the suggestion that I would ever, could ever, do something as stupid and careless as forgetting that my child was in the car. I mean, if you’re that oblivious, you shouldn’t even be allowed to have kids, amiright? Psssh.

That June was particularly sweltering, with a thick humidity that settled heavily on the Midwest like a prickly, out-of-season sweater. My mom had just moved from out of state to be closer to our family. It was so nice to have her around; she had only been in town for a few days, and it still felt like one of the wonderful, too-short visits we had always enjoyed — only this time, she was here to stay. I was stoked.

To celebrate her first weekend as a local, we had a barbecue. My husband manned the grill as all four of the kids romped through the freshly cut grass. As the first tendrils of charcoal smoke rippled through the air, I had a craving. We needed some sweet corn to go with this feast.

“Mom and I are going to run to the store,” I announced. “We’ll be quick.”

“Please, take the baby,”my husband suggested. “I’m not sure I can keep a good eye on all of them while I’m trying to cook.”

I loaded my mellow, easygoing 1-year-old into his (rear-facing, properly secured) car seat and we headed out. The grocery store wasn’t far, and Mom and I joked and laughed the whole time, our jubilant mood buoyed by the music on the radio and the prospect of the delicious meal we’d soon be enjoying. We pulled up in the parking lot, still laughing together. I checked the time on my phone. Mom rummaged through her purse for some lip balm. I pressed the “lock” button on the key fob.

We headed straight for the produce section right at the front entrance to grab some corn, but apparently everyone else in town had shared the same idea, because the selection was disappointingly picked-over; only a few scraggly looking ears remained.

“This is Iowa,” I griped to my mom. “We’re known for our sweet corn. How can they not have it in stock? Let’s go to another store.”

So we walked out. I unlocked the car. We got in. I started driving. Radio on, air conditioner blasting, next destination firmly in mind.

Then, even over the music, I heard my mother gasp. Hearing that sharp intake of air was like a lightning bolt, jolting me into the same horrifying realization that she’d clearly just had: We had forgotten the baby in the car. Both of us.

It took me a long time to drum up the courage to write those horrible words down. Even now, years later, my chest tightens with panic when I relive the scenario in my head. It’s hard to admit to anyone that I made such a potentially devastating parenting mistake, especially when it comes to the safety of my children — but I did. And so did my mom. And it was frighteningly easy.

We were preoccupied with our conversation, in a situation we weren’t normally in. I wasn’t accustomed to having only one of the kids with me. Typically, it was either all or none. My baby was quiet as a mouse the entire time, not a babble or a coo from the back seat to remind us he was there. And so we left him in the car, in the summertime heat, with the windows up. It was at least 90 degrees outside.

Miracles do happen, and on that day, the miracle was that there was no good corn at the supermarket. We were literally there for two minutes or less, just enough time to spend a few seconds checking out the nearly empty bin of corn and leave. But what if we had decided to get some ice cream? Or watermelon, or napkins, or barbecue sauce, or chips? What if we had waited in an especially long checkout line, stuck behind some extreme penny-saver with a binder full of coupons? What if, what if, what if?

A car can reach a staggering 125 degrees within minutes, even with a cracked window, and a child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. There are nearly 40 child deaths per year in the United States from being trapped in hot cars, and my baby would have been a part of that heartbreaking statistic. It makes me sick to think that he easily could have died — and that I would have been responsible. Me. His mother. The person who loves him more than anyone else.

I am sharing this with the world, not as a confession that I’m a horrible parent, but as a statement that I’m actually a good mom (you know, besides the ketchup-as-veggie thing) and this still happened. It’s a warning that it can happen to anyone, believe me.

Anyone. Even me. Even you. Even if you feel that it’s absolutely impossible, that you wouldn’t in a million years do such a thing — because trust me, I felt the same way…before I actually did it. If the whole potentially tragic scenario taught me one valuable lesson, it was this: Never, ever say “I would never.” Because you don’t have to be negligent, or incompetent, or drunk, or stoned, or stupid.

Just being human is enough.

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Where to Buy Preemie Clothes for Baby: What You Need to Know

Wondering where to buy preemie clothes? If you’ve delivered before your due date or have had to schedule an early birth due to medical complications, you will need extra small clothes to fit your preemie.

Premature babies are defined as any baby born before 37 weeks gestation. There is a wide range in size and weight of premature babies. Your premature baby could weigh as little as two pounds or as much as five or six pounds! Your baby’s size really depends on many factors including genetics and gestational age. This is why you may find dressing your preemie to be a bit challenging. Don’t worry, in this full guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about preemie clothes including what sizes to look for and where you can buy them.

Clothes for Preemies

Before you go shopping online or in-person, there are some basic things you should know about preemie baby clothes:

Opt for clothes with lots of openings. It may be tough to pull clothes over your tiny baby’s head, especially if they are connected to any medical equipment. Instead, opt for items that have buttons, snaps or ties.
Buy hats! Your baby may not be able to wear clothes right away due to medical interventions, but they will probably be able to wear a hat. Since preemies have a hard time regulating their own body temperature, a hat over the head can really help them keep warm.
 Go for clothes you can layer. As with all babies, it can be difficult for them to regulate their temperature. Layered items are a great option because you can easily remove and add clothes as needed.
If your baby is in the NICU, ask the staff about what clothes your baby can wear. Some hospitals prefer to have babies wear just a diaper and maybe a hat. If you know what to expect you can plan accordingly.

Preemie Clothes Size

You have already probably experienced this when shopping for clothes for yourself, but it’s important to keep in mind that different brands use different sizing charts. This means that a preemie size for one brand may be ideal for babies up to 7 pounds, while others are designed for babies up to 5 pounds. There are also some specialty brands that offer “micro-preemie” sizing for babies that weigh 3  pounds or less. Depending on how much your baby weighs, one brand may fit better than another.

Don’t rule out purchasing newborn size clothing either. In some cases, such as with Gerber, the infant size may be the perfect choice for your preemie. Gerber’s size chart indicates that their newborn size is designed for babies from 5-8 pounds. If your baby weighs 5 or more pounds, this may be a perfect size.

Also, remember that the baby will probably grow pretty quickly. Hopefully, your baby will only be in preemie baby clothes for a few weeks. This means you’ll want clothes that have a little bit of room to grow.

Clothing, Baby, ParentingImage Source: www.pixabay.com
Where to Buy Preemie Clothes

There is an ever-growing selection of preemie clothes now available. Many baby and children’s wear brands now include a line of preemie clothes. There are also brands and shops devoted to clothes for preemie babies. The best place to buy preemie clothes for you will ultimately depend on the size of your preemie, your preferences, and your budget.

Many parents look for cheap preemie clothes. After all, having a baby is not cheap. Considering the short time your baby will use these clothes, it’s understandable that you don’t want to pay a fortune for them. If this describes you, keep your eyes open for clearance items and sales. At the end of any season, many retail stores put items that haven’t sold on sale. When it comes to preemie clothes you’ll probably find the standard items available during any season; it’s the designs that change. If you’re open to a range of designs, give the clearance rack a shot.

Where to Find Organic Preemie Clothes

Newborn skin is sensitive, especially in the case of preemies. Many clothing brands now offer baby clothes made from organic cotton so that you don’t have to worry about baby’s skin being exposed to harsh chemicals. Some brands you can try include:

Burt’s Bees (their preemie size is designed for babies up to 6 lbs)
Carter’s (organic cotton is only available in newborn size, for babies between 6-9 lbs)
Under the Nile (100% Egyptian cotton, available in preemie size)

You may also have luck finding organic cotton clothing at retail stores.

Shopping for Preemie Baby Clothes

Whether you prefer shopping online or you want to see and touch the clothes in the store before purchasing, there are plenty of options available. When shopping keep in mind that many brands categorize preemie boy clothes and preemie girl clothes separately. However, there are also many gender-neutral options available. If you don’t know the sex of your baby yet, you can always try purchasing a few boy and girl outfits. Leave the tags on and return what you don’t need.

Ready to shop? Here are some tips and tricks for each of these popular stores and platforms:

Target

You can buy online or at your local Target store. There, you’ll find a range of preemie options from different brands including Cloud Island, Carter’s and Burts Bees. If you shop online, shipping is free (and just 2 days) when you spend over 35$ or use your REDcard.

Kohls

Kohls also offers online or in-store shopping. For preemies, Kohl’s carries Carter’s brand exclusively, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping to compare a few different brands regarding size, price, and materials. The store offers free shipping when you spend over $75 in online shopping, or you can opt for free in-store pickup.

Walmart

Shop from the comfort of your home or head out to your local store to find preemie baby clothes. Also featuring free 2-day shipping for orders over $35, Walmart makes online shopping attractive. Walmart offers some brands to choose from including sizing for preemies and newborns.

Amazon

You’ll find a wide range of brands and sizes available through Amazon. The only drawback is you won’t be able to see the clothing first hand. However, you’ll find many more brands available, and even NICU approved outfits that fit well around cords and tubes should the baby be hooked up to medical equipment.

Are you confident to start shopping yet? Shopping for your new baby is lots of fun, especially now that you know exactly where to buy preemie clothes and what to consider when purchasing them. Happy shopping!

Feature Image Source: www.pixabay.com

Sources:

www.mayoclinic.org

www.gerberchildrenswear.com

www.babycentre.co.uk

www.amazon.com

www.walmart.com

www.kohls.com

www.target.com

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SNOO Helps Evacuated Families Feel More at Home

Fall of 2017 has been a terrible one for natural disasters in America, with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastating areas of the south and southwest and fires raging through Northern California.

Of the thousands of families who had to flee their homes, a few Happiest Baby customers wrote to us to share how SNOO helped them through the experience—some even brought their bed along when they evacuated! In their own words:

We live in Napa in an area where most homes have burned down. We are very fortunate ours is still ok. We had to evacuate at 1am Sunday and only had minutes to get out of our house. We were only able to grab our babies and dogs.

Yesterday the police escorted us back home and gave us 3 minutes to only get any critical items. The only item we absolutely HAD to have was our Snoo! Our 2-month-old has used it from day 1 and it’s a savior. We also have a 19-month-old who was an awful sleeper. Snoo has given us a much happier and peaceful life with our new baby! We now have a tiny bit of normalcy with our Snoo in our hotel room with 2 little ones. –Allison, Napa, CA
*
We abruptly evacuated before Hurricane Irma hit as conditions seemed to be worsening. The Snoo’s sleek design enabled us to easily remove the legs and pack the bassinet in the trunk of our car. Without the Snoo, I would’ve been anxious that our son wouldn’t have slept, and worse, that he would’ve kept our generous hosts up all night. Because our son was sleeping so well for naps and through most of the night (except for feedings) in the Snoo, we didn’t want to take a chance that the trip caused him to regress.

Caring for a newborn in the midst of a natural disaster is troubling and traumatic. Fortunately, our son slept well in the Snoo, which kept him calm and manageable throughout the trip, but for very few fussy moments. We’re forever grateful for Snoo, not only for its help during Hurricane Irma, but for the tremendous impact it’s had every step of the way during these first months as new parents. – Alexandra, Boca Raton, FL
*

We were under voluntary evacuation and our family decided that it’d be the best to evacuate given that we have a 4 months old. Before we evacuated, our daughter was using the SNOO when Harvey made landfall.  She slept through the storm without a peep. The SNOO helped to keep her asleep while my husband and I prepared the house for evacuation and for possible flood.” – Maria, Missouri City, TX 

We are so happy that SNOO helped these families during stressful times and to get updates that Allison, Maria, Alexandra and their families are happy to be back safe in their own homes!

Read more: happiestbaby.com

What is the Safest and Best SPF for Babies?

Who am I? Sunscreen (suntan lotion) is on hipster boy face before tanning during summer holiday on beach. Caucasian child (kid) is smiling in sunny day (not far from Trieste, Italy). Copy space.

Summer is here! As parents, we need to restock our own sunscreen as well as our baby’s sunscreen. With all of the sunscreen choices out there, you may be wondering what makes the best sunscreen and what is the safest SPF for babies?

For babies under 6 months old, it is recommended to avoid direct and prolonged sun exposure. For these young babies under 6 months old, sunscreen application is not recommended. Rather, it is recommended to seek shade, to use sun protective clothing, to use an umbrella, and to practice sun avoidance all together.

Once your babies are 6 months old or older, you can slather them with sunscreen. You want the best and safest sunscreen for your baby so consider these few tips in helping you find the right sunscreen for your baby.

Tip #1: The safest and best SPF for babies

Stick with SPF 30+. If you need a specific number to look for in deciding what SPF for baby to use, choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 to 50. SPF 30 offers the necessary protection against the harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. SPF 30 means 97% coverage so that is why higher SPFs beyond SPF 30 are not so necessary. Using a higher SPF only offers a small amount of added protection.
It is thought that the marketing of higher SPFs for babies past SPF 30 offers a false sense of security to consumers. One application of a sunscreen with SPF 80 is not better than application of a sunscreen with SPF 30 with consistent reapplication.
Look for Broad spectrum! Broad spectrum means both UVA and UVB coverage while SPF means UVB coverage. Instead of focusing on a higher SPF for baby, focus on re-slathering on the sunscreen every 1 ½ to 2 hours and after water exposure. Re-slathering the sunscreen is key!
Your sunscreen label should say “Broad spectrum, SPF 30+”.

Tip #2: Choose a non-chemical, mineral-based sunscreen

baby sunscreenBaby Pibu’s Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ has the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Daily Care Seal of Approval.

The best sunscreen for babies and kids are chemical-free sunscreens. A chemical-free sunscreen is one in which the active ingredients are not chemicals but minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical blockers of both UVA and UVB rays. Since they are not chemicals, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are non-irritating to baby’s skin and gentler on the eyes. Keep using these best sunscreens for babies from baby to toddler years because of this low irritation. Watch out for nanoparticle-sized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide because of the concern of absorption through the skin to the rest of the body. Rather, micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are best. The micronized versions will leave a whitish residue on the skin after application. Seeing white is what you want!

Tip #3: Be cautious with the inactive ingredients

Inactive ingredients give the sunscreen product the “feel” of the product. Even though natural seems better, be cautious of sunscreens with “natural” ingredients. Some natural ingredients can actually be photoallergic or phototoxic. Examples of plant based ingredients leading to a photoallergic or phototoxic reaction are lime, lemon oil, orange oils, parsnip, parsley, and celery. Remember these as you’re browsing through the ingredients on the label because the best sunscreen for babies and kids will stay away from using these ingredients.
Look for these natural ingredients in your sunscreen: shea butter, coconut oil, carrot extract, and jojoba seed oil.

The post What is the Safest and Best SPF for Babies? appeared first on Baby Pibu.

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Airplane Passengers Overhear Teacher Talking About Her Low-Income School, Awesomeness Ensues

Teacher shared experiences of working in a low-income school

A teacher was handed more than $500 in cash from fellow passengers on a flight after she shared her experiences of working in a low-income school. Chicago schoolteacher Kimberly Bermudez was shocked when the passengers around her handed over hundreds of dollars, but she’s committed to making sure the money goes directly to her students.

Bermudez was on a Southwest Airlines flight to Florida when the man sitting next to her struck up a conversation. “He asked me what I did for a living, and anyone who knows me knows that I am a talker. I began telling him how much I love my job. Teaching is my passion,” she wrote in a Facebook post that has now gone viral. “When he asked me the greatest challenge that I face I was honest with him. I told him that working at a low-income school can be heartbreaking. We talked about the world and how no child should ever do without. In 2018 kids should never be hungry or in need of anything,” Bermudez added.

Bermudez is a first-grade teacher at Carlos Fuentes Elementary, a school in a low-income area. Some students are homeless, the Washington Post reported. After hearing about her experiences, her seat-mate wanted to help. “He asked for my work contact information and told me that his company likes to donate items, time, etc. for schools such as mine. I was not intending for him to say that,” she wrote. But before the flight landed Bermudez would be given several cash donations to help her and the other teachers at the school buy crucial supplies for the students.

Bermudez explained how the fantastic act of kindness happened, “The man behind me tapped my shoulder. I turned around, and he apologized for listening in to my conversation, and he handed me a wad of cash. He told me to ‘do something amazing’ and sat back down,” she explained. Flights are known for making people cranky and rude, so naturally, the school teacher was blown away by the stranger’s kindness. But then several other strangers jumped on the giving train and handed over cash for school supplies, too. “The plane landed, and the man on the aisle across from me told me that he listened as well. He said that he didn’t have much, but he gave me $20,” she wrote. “As if my heart couldn’t be any happier the man in front turns around as well. He also handed me money and said that he only had $10.”

At this point, Bermudez did what most of us would do – shed a few happy tears. “I started crying on the plane. I told all four men that I would do something amazing for the kids,” she wrote. Together, the men donated more than $500. “I was not telling my story to solicit money and never intended to walk out of that flight with anything other than my carry on,” Bermudez said. “I do however hope that posting this continues the chain reaction of people helping those in need, and especially the children in need.”

Since her story went viral, Bermudez took to Facebook again to share information on how others can donate funds or supplies to her students. “When the world seems crazy there are always good people,” she wrote. “I am thankful for the good people in this world. No child should ever go without anything.”

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Mini Mexican Meatloaf

These tiny Mexican Meatloaf portions are packed with flavor and the perfect size for kids – mix up your regular meatloaf with this fresh new recipe! 

Mexican Meatloaf

A lot of people seem to have an aversion to meatloaf.  For some reason they didn’t like it growing up, so they have bad memories.  Or maybe they just don’t like the way ‘meatloaf’ sounds- or mostly just the ‘loaf’ part of it.   The sad thing about that, is that meatloaf can be so delicious and full of a lot of good nutrition!  We do eat with our eyes first, and meatloaf is really hard to make look good.  We decided to make this meatloaf recipe in small portions by baking them in a muffin tin.  Their small size makes them much more appealing! Also we love that the portion size is great for small kids, but also big kids and adults can eat two (or three) depending on how hungry they are and how much food they need!

What makes Mexican Meatloaf different from regular meatloaf?  The spices and flavors!  If you love the savory and subtle combination of cumin, chili powder and oregano, then you will love Mexican Meatloaf.  These spices gives this recipe an amazing flavor without being too spicy for kids.  We think it is important to introduce our kids to lots of different flavor combinations to help them become adventurous eaters.  This recipe is perfect for that.  We love to top these with cool and creamy Greek yogurt and fresh pico to balance the heaviness of the meat.

Muffin Tin Cooking

We love cooking all sorts of foods in a muffin tin because they make delicious, perfect-portioned, and such cute looking food.  Sweet, savory, breakfast, and dinner can call be cooked in a muffin tin.  These are some of our favorite recipes:

  • Muffin Tin Pot Pie
  • Muffin Tin Egg Sandwich
  • 18 Delicious and Healthy Muffin Tin Recipes 

How to Make Mexican Meatloaf

Basically this is one of those recipes where you literally just throw everything together.  But there are always a few tips that are good to know when you are making a recipe you haven’t tried.

  1.  Always mix meatloaf with your hands.  Why?  Because if you try to mix it with a mixer, it will turn out solid and tough.  It seems weird to think about wanting a meatloaf to be light, but you actually do!  You want it to have a little airiness and good texture.
  2. Lightly coat your hands with just a bit of oil.  This will help prevent the meat from sticking to your hands- which you definitely don’t want to happen.  Trust me on this one.
  3. Let your meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.  It will hold together better and keep more juices and moisture.


Mini Mexican Meatloaf make in a muffin tin with delicious flavors

 

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Ice Cream Theme Fine Motor Activity

fine motor ice cream activityIce cream theme fine motor activity. Your kids will love making pretend ice cream sundaes related to book “The Little Ice Cream Truck.” Literacy activity for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.

The post Ice Cream Theme Fine Motor Activity appeared first on Pre-K Pages.

Preschool Portfolio Ideas

Preschool Portfolio CoverDo you want to create a preschool portfolio for the students in your classroom? Portfolios are a great way to demonstrate student progress over time. Here are some of my best tips to help you set up and organize preschool portfolios in your classroom.

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DEAL ALERT: Everything You Need to Ace – Middle School Study Guides – Up to 43% off!!


Everything You Need to Ace – Middle School Study Guides – Up to 43% off!!
Number of stars: 4.8 out of 5.

The perfect next step for every kid who grew up on Brain Quest—the Big Fat Notebook series: a complete study guide series for 6th through 8th grade students that’s like borrowing the notes of the smartest kid in class. My youngest son, Blake, absolutely loved this series. We did every single one of them!!

This BIG FAT NOTEBOOK makes all the stuff you learn in homeschool “SINK IN” with:

  • key concepts
  • mnemonic devices
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What Clearwater Beach Has to Offer – From a Teen’s Point of View

Hi, I’m Blake, a 14 year old homeschooler. My mom is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms and Homeschool Road Trips, so I generally get to travel quite a bit. I’ve only been to Florida twice in my life. My first trip I really don’t remember much because I was only four years old. But this trip I will remember, for sure – going to Clearwater Beach. I’ll be honest, I thought I might get bored – you know, hanging out with just my mom because my brothers were at a leadership camp on the other side of Florida at Deerfield Beach.

There are so many unique and fun things to do at Clearwater Beach, I thought I would share my favorites.

The Beach!

It goes without saying that the beach is one of the most fun things to do. For nearly my entire life I’ve only been to the North Carolina beaches (except that one trip to Florida when I was four years old – that I don’t remember), so the beautiful white sand was a nice change! But  it is hot! I was outside in the sun for only about an hour and got sunburned! The water in the Gulf was a huge relief and it is so blue and pretty. But I did miss playing in the waves with my brothers. You can rent a small cabana on the beach to relax under and get some shade. The one we had was from Barefoot Beach House

Dolphin Boat Tours

When we got to the marina in Clearwater Beach, there were many boat tours to choose from. We took a tour on a boat called Little Toot. They guarantee a sighting of a dolphin or you can come back for free within the next year! We were not disappointed though, we got to see multiple dolphins, and even some babies! But they sure are hard to get pictures of!

Clearwater Beach Marine Aquarium

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium was one of the most amazing places I visited on this trip. It was the movie set of the Dolphin Tale series and was not only an aquarium but the two stars from the movie, Winter and Hope, live there! It’s also a marine hospital. They had areas where they make food, study the animals, and even have a surgical table where you can watch what is happening. There was also a show put on by the aquarium’s only male dolphin resident, Nicholas, and he was amazing! That is him in the picture above.

The aquarium had a dolphin tour as well as a Sea Life Safari tour. We took their Sea Life Safari one and got to see the Marine Biologist do some studies in the bay. We even got to see dolphins on this boat trip too.

Photographing the Sky

Now I know this is more of a personal preference rather than something that everyone might enjoy, but the views at Clearwater were absolutely amazing. I took a class in photography a couple of years ago, but I took another one right before we went to Clearwater. This one was about our camera, so I could get the best pictures from it. And with the beach, the bay, the sky, and the cityscape it made me excited to try to get the best images. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and our view was perfect! We got to see the storms roll in and watch the sunsets. Speaking of sunsets,  they were almost unreal. And even the storms were amazing.

I had fun getting some of these. I had learned about different exposures in my photography class, but this was the first time using them. This picture below is one of the results of just playing around with the settings. I love the feel and colors in this picture!

We rarely take panoramic images but with this view, we really had to. I think they all turned out great, so I had to share all of them with you!

 

Especially this one below. None of these pictures are edited at all, just cropped. See why we took so many panoramic pictures here?

We even got to see fireworks across the bay.

Learning On the Go

Being a homeschooler that travels a lot generally means I study on the road regularly. But not with textbooks usually but with visits to interesting places like Clearwater Marine Aquarium. My mom calls it learning on the go and she says I seem to remember the information better when I’m more involved with the lesson.  I can tell you I like field trips and have way more fun on them than studying a textbook!

Dolphin Statue Scavenger Hunt

When we first got to the Hampton Inn at Clearwater Beach, we saw this dolphin painted with the Starry Night Sky (we painted that in our homeschool too – so I recognized it immediately) and wondered what the point of it was. But as we wandered around Clearwater Beach we started seeing them everywhere! We made a game out of finding the dolphin statues around town. Just like this one, not all of them were out on the street in front of the business, some were up in alleys or even inside, so I’m sure we didn’t find them all. But hunting for them was one of the many fun things we found to do while we were walking around the beach. I think we saw about 20 of them. After finding so many, we researched the dolphin statues back at the hotel. Artists decorate them for the businesses that bought them. There were a lot of interesting designs. If you stop by the visitor center they have dolphin trail guide to help you on the scavenger hunt! Here are just a few: 

Great Food

I cook all the time at home, so I can really appreciate a great meal. Especially one we didn’t have to cook! I ate at many great restaurants while in Clearwater Beach. My favorite breakfast was right across the street at The Donut Experiment. I love coffee and donuts, so we went there the first morning!

It was great getting to pick your own glaze, toppings and flavors. These two were our favorites, Raspberry Vanilla and Caramel Sea Salt. The coffee was yummy too!

My favorite lunch restaurant was Cooters (and apparently everybody else loves it too). This restaurant stayed packed the entire time we were there. We got our meal quickly but with that molasses bread and butter, we wouldn’t have minded waiting for our meal as long as they kept delivering that bread! 

But my absolute favorite place was Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber for dinner. 

Their steak soup was so good, I’m on the hunt for a similar recipe! My beef filet tenderloin tips Dinner was tender, juicy and so very delicious. This restaurant was really amazing, it felt very fancy, with the piano player and soft lighting, but mom said the price wasn’t bad at all.


My mom was so excited to learn that our waitress, Rhonda, is a homeschool mom too! They literally were high-fiving in the restaurant! My mom said to be sure to ask for Rhonda if you go there, she was very nice and took great care of us (even before she knew that we homeschool)! I highly recommend you go eat there! 

All in all, this was one of the most fun trips I’ve been on, I was pleasantly surprised that mom and I actually had a great time! I’d definitely recommend going to Clearwater Beach!

Blake Corlew is the 14 yearold son of Trish, one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms.

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