Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bonding Through Books with Bookroo

Bonding Through Books with Bookroo

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Bookroo

Life is built around relationships. From the first moment you're born, that skin to skin bonding time with your mother, to the everlasting relationship with your spouse.

As a child your parents or care givers are your first love, the first relationship you build, the beginning of a lifetime of relationships.

As a child my parents introduced me to books at a young age, and there I found my second love - my love for books, and reading. The nights spent reading with my parents turned into nights reading to my younger brother. All memorable bonding moments for our family. 

As I grew older, I remember not only reading with my dad, but discussing books. Looking deeper into the meaning. Moments I'll never forget.

So many of my favorite memories as a child revolve around books.

Now, sharing my love for books with my children is something I look forward to everyday. Not only for the opportunity to expand their knowledge and help them learn and grow, but for that special time to bond with them.

Nothing sparks a conversation like a good book, and nothing is more special than a conversation with your child.

I learn so much from Graydon, listening to his questions and watching the words sink into his brain. It builds our relationship, gives us time together, and creates unforgettable memories.

I love the opportunity that Bookroo Box gives us, by simply sending two new books to us each month.

It's such a fun thing for us to look forward to. They always send the perfect, sweetest stories, and I get to look forward to seeing his reaction to each one.

You can get $10.00 off of your first order using code: ASHPEAV

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Turning Timeouts to Positives

As some of you may know, before becoming a mom I was a special education teacher.

One of my favorite parts of being a teacher was working on behaviors. I love analyzing behaviors, creating plans to change behaviors and finding different strategies that work with different children.

Since becoming a mom, I've found that discipline is so much harder. As a mom, I hold my own children to a much higher standard. After all, I am the one raising them -they should know better. Am I right moms? A mom once told me that no one could make her more angry than her own children. I have found this to be so incredibly true.

Well, if you're a mom, you probably know.... no child is perfect. Every child needs to be taught correct behavior and it's not always easy.

I've also found that the "terrible twos" are not terrible at all. It's a time of learning. Toddlers need to learn correct behavior, be taught boundaries, and discover cause and effect.

Hat // River Raised
Romper // Rad Revolution

I have also found that it is so incredibly hard to stay positive sometimes! So I've created a list of ways to turn disciplining my toddler into positive learning experiences.

I am a big believer of "Love and Logic strategies, as well as natural and logical consequences. I highly encourage researching or taking a class on Love and Logic.

Here are 5 tips to stay positive when you don't like your toddler's behavior:

1.) Turning "Timeouts" into "Break time" - I make it clear that he is not in trouble, and that he just needs to sit and calm down. I taught him to take deep breaths and rest his body.

2.) Allowing for sensory breaks. This was huge for me as a teacher. I am now realizing how beneficial it is for my own children.  Sensory activities can include art/rice bins/ playdoh and basically any activity that stimulates the five senses, is self directed learning and self directed exploration.

3.) Social stories - These do a great job of explaining situations to children.

4.) Empathy - This one is huge. Making a child feel genuinely bad about their poor behaviors is far more effective than yelling or punishment.

5.) Unconditional Love - the most important thing is making sure your child knows that you still love him or her. Your relationship should always come first!


Friday, September 23, 2016

Those Win Win Moments

Life with a toddler and a newborn can be exhausting at times. Feeding, changing and rocking an infant is a full time job in itself, add a toddler to the mix and you're working overtime! Although it's difficult at times, it is incredibly rewarding and my heart is always full! Luckily Gerber Lil' Beanies helps!

Something I found helpful in these crazy moments are Gerber Lil' Beanies. These snacks are baked and made with navy beans. Navy beans mean that these snacks are packed with protein!

These snacks allow my toddler to easily feed himself, while getting nutrition from a healthy snack. They not only make him feel independent, but they free up my hands during snack time. WIN WIN for both me and my toddler!

Lil Beanies Win Win Moments: 

  • Easy Snacking on the go
  • Toddler approved
  • Mommy approved
  • Fun to eat
  • Perfect for Picnics indoors or out! 
  • Added protein!
  • Non GMO, no artificial flavors, colors, or perservatives 

These awesome snacks are found at Walmart in the baby aisle. For a limited time you can get a discount from ibotta here!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goodbye Bump, Hello Fourth Trimester

Whether it's your first or fifth child, nothing can prepare you for the fourth trimester. You spend nine months sharing your body, and just when you think you are getting it back, that fourth trimester hits you.

The rule of thumb for maternity leave should be:
[I'll return to work once my body returns to normal]

I mean is it really fair to ask a mom to leave her baby before her bump goes away? It's the only thing shouting "I'm not pregnant... I just grew this thing in my belly for nine months". I forget how long they say you will look seven month pregnant, but it's a lot longer than I'd like and  I'd prefer not getting asked when my due date is.

Grandma's Baby Place

So here are some things to expect during the fourth trimester....

1.) There is a good chance you will still have a bump. Luckily there are products that can help minimize it if you so choose.

Belly Bandit 
Bravado Designs
Belly Bandit 

2.) You will probably be leaking. So stock up on nursing pads & feminine pads. After both of my pregnancies I ran out of feminine pads at home - and going out was the last thing I felt like doing.

3.) You thought dressing a bump was hard? Try dressing a postpartum, nursing body. You'll be in-between sizes and trying to find things you can easily nurse your newborn in - which is near impossible!

4.)You really don't get your body back. It still belongs to the baby for as long as you nurse him/her.

5.) Recovery is painful. You can't workout for weeks after and you could be bleeding for weeks!

6.) You'll be starving and thirsty, but probably won't want to cook or move from that rocking chair. Even if you do want to move, your little one might not let you.

7.) The first few weeks might seem like a breeze with how much your little one is sleeping, but don't let that fool you. Around week 4 you might have a baby who wants to be held 24/7!

8.) You'll probably wonder how on earth you can love someone you just met so much.

9.) You'll also probably wonder how you feel like you've known this child forever when it's only been a couple of weeks.

10.) You might even think about having another baby in the future.... and literally two seconds later decide to never have another kid again.

Whatever you are feeling during that fourth trimester, remember you aren't alone. There is always someone to talk to. At the beginning of each of my pregnancies I joined private Facebook groups (found through the WTE app) of women who were all due around the same time. These ladies are literally my rock during hard times. I can ask them anything and tell them anything and they totally understand. Find a place or a person to talk to, it helps!

Remember that what your body just did is incredible! Don't stress about weight loss, body image or anything like that. Give yourself time and just love on that little miracle!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Binxy Baby

Disclaimer: I received products featured in this post in exchange for reviewing and featuring. All opinions are my own. 

Shopping with Binxy Baby

Shopping with a toddler and a baby can be a little challenging at times. Especially if your baby doesn't like to be worn, or if you're having trouble wearing baby. Binxy baby can make shopping trips much easier!

Even if you normally wear your baby, this is a great item to have if your baby isn't wanting to be worn or if it's too hot for baby wearing.

The Binxy gives your baby a comfortable and safe spot in the shopping cart, without taking up space. You're groceries just go right underneath!

The Binxy is great quality and incredibly durable. It not only safely holds your baby, but it can also secure your car seat onto the shopping cart. The top of the cart isn't a safe spot for a car seat, and the bottom of the cart gives you no room for groceries. The binary allows you to put the car seat in a safe spot and save room in the car. 

This is the perfect item for moms with more than one child, moms recovering from a c-section or moms with twins.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Best Car Seat for Safety & Travel

Disclaimer: I am not a car seat specialist. I encourage you to read all of your car and car seat manuals, and contact a local specialist for questions. I received products featured in this post for free, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

With my oldest boy, we spent a lot of the first two years of his life traveling. He lived in about five different states, visited numerous cities, many road trip hours logged, many plane rides and stayed in a lot of hotels. He has been to more baseball games than most people will see in their entire life and had a consistent bedtime of 11:00 PM. We've slept on an air mattress as an entire family, and lived out of two suit cases for months at a time.

I don't want to brag, but we are pretty much expert travelers by now. Life in the minor leagues will teach you that. It will also teach you how to be a minimalist.

This is why we chose Diono as our car seat for the boys.

Diono is the perfect car seat for families who travel, and live the minimalist life style. Here are ten reasons why I chose this car seat.

1.) Diono is the only car seat you will ever need. It grows with your child from birth to booster.

2.) It allows children to stay rear facing from 5-45 LBS.

3.) It adjusts to fit every child comfortably: "12-position adjustable headrest, 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions "

4.) The cover is removable and machine washable (trust me this is a must)

5.) The car seat is very heavy, you might ask why this is a positive. The steel frame and aluminum reinforced frame gives me the ultimate peace of mind.

6.) Allows forward facing in the five point harness from 20-80 LBS, and then as a booster up to 120 lbs.

7.) 10 year lifespan

8.) One of my favorite features (the low sitting profile) because have you tried getting a toddler in a car seat rear facing? We have a different brand in my moms car, and I can't tell you the amount of times he has hit his head getting in and out of that thing.

9.) Fits 3 across in most cars

10.) Folds up for easy travel - there is even a backpack strap for easy carrying.

TIP * For smaller cars and babies who have strong neck control you can get the angle adjuster for rear facing. We use this for our toddler and it helps give the driver more room, and allows him to sit a little higher.

The only negative to this car seat is how heavy it is, but with the extra pounds, comes the extra safety features. I can honestly say that this car seat has been back and forth across the country multiple
times without any issues!

Diono also carries other great travel products. We love the organizer for the back of the seat - the Stow N Go and the Travel Pal for between the car seats!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

5 Steps to Potty Training Independence || Oh Happy Play Guest Post

Hello! I am Noelle of Oh Happy Play! I am the wife to an amazing man and mama to two amazing little girls. You can find out more about me HERE. When I was asked to do a guest post for Ashley I couldn’t say yes fast enough! I just love her, as I am sure most of you do as well! I hope you enjoy this piece I have put together for you and please feel free to add any must have gadgets to the bottom of this post. I am always looking for input! Thank you!
5 Steps to Potty Training Independence

One of the most anticipated milestones our toddlers reach is potty training. We as parents dread it but we all know it’s inevitable. There are numerous ways out there and it is all about finding what works best for you. As with all things parenthood, we have to choose the methods that work best for us and go with that. Whichever method you choose one universal benefit you can give your child is to have their bathroom set up so that is 100% accessible to THEM. After all, our ultimate goal IS that they learn how to do all the steps independently. So here are my 5 steps to potty training independence for your toddler.
Step 1: This is more of a mental thing but BE CONSISTENT. Start from day one doing the exact same steps every time they use the potty. Our potty routine is as follows: Potty, Flush, Wash, Dry and be on our way (Thank you, Daniel Tiger). Even if they have an accident, bring them to the toilet and proceed with the exact same steps as if they had used the potty. Consistency is KEY.
NOW, the making the bathroom accessible part are my following 4 steps. I have a Montessori mind-set and that didn’t change when it came time for this next learning phase for my daughter. The Montessori Method stresses independence and that all things the child needs are accessible and at their level. I was determined to make this bathroom accessible to my daughter. I wanted her to be able to conquer every step of the way on her own. It was evident after the first day that I had succeeded at doing so and the sense of pride she felt in her new found independence certainly showed on every part of her face. Our experience all of a sudden became joyful because she wasn’t just being brought through the steps she was actually partaking in them. So here they are:
Step 2: The kid toilet! As with all things kid related I like to give my daughter options. This way she feels like it is HER choice and it cuts down on any power struggle that may get in the way of the actual task at hand. So for this we actually bought two options. We bought a little kids toilet by Summer Infant AND a seat attachment like this for our toilet. She learned how to use both and was able to choose which she wanted when the time came. She was too busy choosing which one she wanted that she didn’t have time to fuss about the actual going to the potty part. That was actually a huge win for us and we still use that tactic to this day!

Step 3: A step stool. We have this Kid Kraft Stool and love it. I put little felt pads on the bottom so she can push it around to the toilet or the sink and it seems to be working out great. This step stool is kind of the crux of the independence because this is what gives them the access to most all of the steps.

Step 4: Sink Attachments- The most important part of learning the whole potty process is making sure they stay sanitary in the process. Teaching them to wash their hands, as a part of the whole learning experience is so important. The goal is you want them to be able to do this step whether you are there with them or not. These two gadgets I came across accomplish just that. The sink handle extender allows them to turn on the water themselves and the faucet extender allows the water to reach to their tiny little arms/hands. Keep soap close by and they can do this ALL on their own. You can find these exact ones shown here:

Step 5: Accidents happen. To this day accidents happen. They are certainly less frequent these days but they are inevitable. For this reason I like to keep some clean underwear in the bathroom. This way my daughter doesn’t have to feel the shame of leaving the bathroom naked in search of clean underwear. They are right there for her to grab and her hamper for the dirty ones are right outside the door. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated at your toddler for having an accident. At the end of the day this is a newly learned skill and it WILL take time. So try and stay positive and encouraging. By giving them the tools to do this independently they will be more apt to go along with it.
And that’s it! I am a firm believer that teaching your children through independence is far more effective than teaching through rewards. Give them the tools to succeed and they will! You can find out more about the beginning of our potty training experience HERE and you will see that we used this method from day one. Good luck on your child’s potty training journey and I hope this helped you in any way!