December Baby – 23 months

Little guy,

I know I say this every month, but it’s crazy how fast this year has gone. I came across a photo from last Halloween the other day, and you have grown up so much since then! You are louder, and into EVERYTHING! You and your big brother love to play together (as long as neither one of you is touching the other’s toys…”MINE!”)

Earlier this month, you started sitting on the potty (all on your own), so it was time to say goodbye to our cloth diapers. Though potty training is a lot of work, I’m not terribly sad about leaving the diaper phase behind. hahaha

You’re such a big boy now, and I’m excited for your second birthday!

Love you lots and lots!
~ Mommy

23 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Can make a tower of four bricks – Yes
  • Can name a simple picture in a book – Yep
  • Can use 50 single words – Almost

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Can make two or three word sentences – “I go!”
  • Can sing simple tunes – Not yet
  • Takes more of an interest in playing with other children – Not really

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Talks about self (likes, dislikes) – Nope
  • Asks “Why?” – Not yet

7 Money Saving Hacks When Travelling With Children

The following post was contributed by a reader of The Practically Green Mom.

If you wait until your children graduate to go on vacation, you are likely to get a little crazy before then. Travelling makes for valuable family bonding time, and everyone can use a change of scenery once in a while. Travelling with children is always going to be a little more complicated and expensive than travelling alone, but it doesn’t need to feel impossible. Just change the way you plan and make a few extra considerations.

  1. Find Free Things to Do

Children have more of a concept of fun than they do of money. No matter where you go, there’s likely to be free (or cheap) things for your kids to do. Some destinations across the world have children’s museums, playgrounds, and even waterparks that are free. If you spend a few days devoted to these free activities, your budget will go much further.

  1. Buy Groceries

When you’re eating out, dinner for two every night can get really expensive. Dinner for four or more is almost astronomically pricey. When you get to your destination, find a grocery store. Stock up on staples (things like snacks and juice boxes) that you ordinarily go through quickly. Buying shelf stable things like peanut butter, bread, and fruit is always a good plan. You can pack picnic lunches for days where your family wants to explore nature.

  1. Economize on Accomodations

Fitting  your whole family in an entire hotel room can feel like a logistical nightmare. Because of this, you might opt for a suite. Accommodations become super expensive, especially if you’re going to be gone for a while. It might be more economically efficient to opt for a short term rental. You’ll have more space, and you won’t pay nearly as much. You might even be able to stay away for longer.

  1. Buy Reusable Containers

Think of all the toiletries and small things that your children will need to carry with them. Every time you travel, you need to buy more. Instead, buy everyone their own set of refillable bottles. Whenever you want to travel, you can pack from your supply at home and use the bottles indefinitely. It’s better for the planet, and it’s better for your budget in the long run.

  1. Book Your Flights in Advance

Almost every airline requires passengers over the age of 2 to have a full priced adult ticket. If you’re going somewhere you can’t reasonably access by land transportation, buy those plane tickets months in advance. Tickets are always at their cheapest when you book them far ahead of time. As the departure date grows closer, tickets might even double in price.

  1. Take Advantage of The Time They Sleep

No matter how you’re getting to your destination, it might be wise to plan your travel time for when your kids are asleep. You’d be surprised how much time and money this can save you. If you’re flying on a plane, it may not make a difference. If you’re going by car, you’ll find that you’ll be less likely to have to pull over for bathroom stops, snacks, or things to entertain your children when they get restless. You’ll get better gas mileage and spend less on impulse purchases along the way.

  1. Coupon Everywhere

Groupon and other sites like it exist in almost every country. No matter where you’re going, you’ll probably be able to find discounts on things like food and entertainment through couponing sites or apps. Try to make your plans around what discounts are available. You might even be able to find deals where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.


 

While you might need a much larger budget and a much more flexible schedule to travel with your children, you won’t have to wait on a huge inheritance to be able to spend a week on the beach. If you’re thrifty and clever at home, you can be thrifty and clever anywhere.

 

 

About the Author:

Sienna Walker is a huge fan of travelling, both to well-known and famous places as well as to the ‘off the beaten path’ locations. Currently supporting Aubiz, Sienna might often be found online, sharing her tips and suggestions with readers. Feel free to follow her on @SiennaWalkerS.

December Baby – 22 months

Hey, little guy!

I can’t believe in 2 months, you will be TWO years old! Your new favorite word is “mine!”, and the tantrums are starting. Fun times!

Aside from those moments, you are so cute! You climb EVERYTHING, and you love to explore. We went to see Curious George (still your favorite) at a local daycare, and you preferred checking out all the cool toys in the classrooms to doing any of the scheduled activites. lol We also went on a family beach trip, and you had a blast playing in the ocean!

I love you so much!

– Mommy

22 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Can kick a ball forward – He can, but he’s much better at throwing.
  • Follows two-step requests (get your doll and bring it here) – Yes
  • Imitates others’ behavior – Definitely

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Can do simple puzzles – Yes
  • Can draw a straight line – Not really
  • Can identify several body parts – We’re working on it

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Can put on clothing – Not yet
  • Might be ready for a big bed – No way! He’s staying in the crib where he can’t destroy things! lol
  • Understands opposites (tall and short) – Nope

7 Home Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

So, you want to stay home with your kids, but your family finances just don’t seem to allow for a one-income household? You might want to reconsider whether or not you can afford to stay home. By the time you eliminate things like child-care costs and other expenses that come with having a job, you might find that your budget shortfall isn’t as bad as you thought. The good news is that you can often make up the difference by starting a home business. Here are some home businesses that can offer you the flexibility to work around your kid’s schedule, and still make enough to help off-set your family expenses.

eBay Selling

All you need is a camera, a good computer, and enough free time. Scouring classifieds and garage sales for free or very low-cost items, then turning around and selling them for a profit is a great way to make some extra cash. You may have some items in your possession already that you could part with, helping to de-clutter your house in the process.

Blogging

Mommy-blogging has turned into a lucrative business for many stay-at-home moms. Most parents will have stories that others might find value in; it all comes down to how you tell it. If you’re good with the written word and can engage people emotionally about real-life parenting issues, you may be able to turn your kid’s antics into a steady stream of income.

Child-care

If you’re already at home making lunches and planning activities for your own little ones, why not add a kid or two to the mix? You may have a friend or neighbor who needs reliable child care. Parents seeking flexible and affordable child-care may not be able to make use of day-care centers that have high-costs and require you to pay for full-days, even if you only need a few hours a few times a week. Offering to watch a child in your home is a fantastic way to help someone out while earning some extra cash.

Gift Basket Delivery

People will pay a premium if they need the perfect gift delivered today, usually because they forgot to get a gift. Keep several pre-made and on hand, and offer to do custom gift-baskets for special events. The materials are cheap if you shop around, and you can easily charge $75 to $100 for items that cost less than $15 or $20. Enlist the help of a cheap and reliable courier service from a sharing community site like Zoom2U, and you may not even have to leave the house to do it.

Freelance Writing

While this can be difficult work to break into, once you’ve established a strong reputation, you can really rake in the cash without investing too much time per week. Writing web-content or ghost-writing self-help books is a great way to earn some extra cash. The hours are flexible, and you only have to commit to what you’re able to handle, so when life throws you curveballs, you can back off until you’ve got the time to devote to it again.

Tutoring

If you excel in math or writing, you can often make good money working as a tutor for kids struggling with certain subjects. Parents will pay good money for tutors, so if you’re only looking for a few hundred dollars a month, you can easily make it with just a few hour-long tutoring sessions each week. It does involve a bit more commitment, as most parents want a firm schedule, say, every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00. If you can commit to the hours, this is a great way to earn extra money.

Pet Care

If you’re an animal lover, working as a dog-walker or neighborhood pet-sitter can also help fill in the gaps in your household income. Most pet-sitting jobs involve 2-3 trips to the pet’s house each day, and if they’re local, can be done in 20 minutes or less. As with many of the other home-based jobs, you can take on as little or as much work as you need, so it can be scheduled around vacations or your family activities.

Any one of these ideas can help you find the time to stay home with your kids without sacrificing the income that you need. Many of them also allow you to break into an industry on a small-scale, and grow your business once your kids head to school full-time, increasing your earning power. Think about whether or not you could start one of these businesses before you decide that you can’t afford to stay home with your kids.

 

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.

December Baby – 21 months

Little Man –

This is such a fun age! Every day you are learning new things. You’re not as verbal as your older brother was at this age, but you understand a lot, and you follow directions really well. You love to sweep and open the dishwasher (usually in the middle of a cycle). You will now show me something and say “See?” and when you want to go outside, you’ll bring me your shoes (or my shoes) and say “I go go!”

I love you so much!

~ Mommy

21 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Can walk up steps- Yes
  • Enjoys helping around the house – Yes, especially sweeping
  • Can set simple goals (e.g. deciding to put a toy in a certain place) – Yep

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Can throw a ball overhand – Been there, done that!
  • Can kick a ball forward – Yes
  • Can make building brick towers/stack blocks – Yep

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Names simple pictures in a book (ie: dog, cat) – Not yet
  • Can make short sentences (ie: “Me go”) – Only “I go go”, so far.
  • Can walk down stairs – He’s getting the hang of it.

Essential Oils for Back to School

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

If your kids aren’t back in school yet, they probably will be soon. (My oldest starts kindergarten next week!)

With the change in routine, you may be looking for something to help ease your child’s anxiety, support their immune system, or help them get a good night’s sleep. So, I’ve come up with a short list of my favorite kid safe oils and blends that your kids (or you!) may need as the new school year begins!

Anxiety Relief

 
If your child has the back to school jitters, Roman Chamomile or Calming the Child may help ease their fears. Add a few drops to an essential oil bracelet to get the benefits while on the go.

Focus and Concentration

 
Does your child struggle with sitting still and paying attention in class? Try A+ Attention blend. It contains Bergamot and Vetiver oils which calm and balance the mind. This is another good option to use in essential oil jewelry.

Immune Support

 
To fight off all those new germs they’ll be in contact with, stock up on Frankenscense or Immune Boom. And, if they do get sick, diffuse Germ Destroyer to help them recover more quickly.

Restful Sleep

 
For a good night’s sleep, you can use the oils mentioned in the Anxiety Relief section above, as well as Lavender or Nighty Night in a diffuser at bedtime.

As always, please use your essential oils safely, especially around children! You can read more information in these posts:

Here’s to a happy and healthy school year!

Disclaimer: The information contained on The Practically Green Mom represents the choices I have made to take charge of my own health and that of my family. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

{This post is not sponsored by any essential oil company or Amazon. It does contain affiliate links to Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links support The Practically Green Mom Blog. Please see my disclosure policy for my information.}

Playground Safety Tips

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

Most parents would love to see their kids get more exercise, but regularly playing outside may do more good than parents know. Not only does playing outside get kids some much-needed exercise and provide a strong counterpoint to all the time they spend in front of screens today, but playing outside also provides kids with stimulation beyond their physical development. Playing outside with other kids can give children stronger cognitive abilities and helps them develop good social skills. Add this to the physical activity that helps keep kids in shape and avoid obesity, and the neighborhood playground becomes even more important.

Even though playgrounds are great places for kids to work on their physical and mental development, they’re also potentially dangerous places if children and parents are not careful. Parents need to be aware of the possible dangers at playgrounds and teach their kids to exhibit safe behavior while playing. A quick visual inspection around the playground before play begins can be the difference between a fun day in the fresh air and an injury. What follows is a list of basic playground safety tips parents and kids should keep in mind every time they use the playground. Keep these guidelines in mind, and parents and kids can look forward to a healthy and happy time on the playground.

December Baby – 20 months

Happy 20 months, little man!

This month’s highlights:

  • You’ve added 7 words/phrases consistently to your vocabulary! (“here it is”, “Wow!”, “What?”, “Yes”, “Cheese”, “Ow”, “Car”)
  • We went to the Children’s Museum, and you spend the majority of the time in the little grocery store, putting things in a basket and taking them back out. It was so cute! 🙂
  • You love to copy your big brother, and follow him everywhere. (He’s not a huge fan of that…)
  • Your new favorite toy is a remote control car that plays the most annoying music, so sometimes I have to hide it from you. Which is probably why you started saying “car”…hahaha

I love you!

~ Mommy 

20 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Feeds doll – I’ve never seen him do this, but he doesn’t actually have a doll.
  • Takes off own clothes – He can take of his shoes, and attempts to take his shirt off, but hasn’t done it successfully yet.
  • Dumps an object in imitation, such as throwing garbage away – Yep

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Learns words at a rate of ten or more a day – He’s started saying a lot more lately, and understands very well, so yes.
  • Can walk up stairs (but probably not down) – Yep, and he’s getting the hang of walking down them, too.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • May start exploring genitals – He’s a boy…enough said!  lol
  • Draws a straight line – Not really
  • Names several body parts – Just eyes and ears, so far.
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