8 Dollar Store Hacks that will Keep your Kids Busy

As adults we quickly grow tired of doing the same things over and over again so wouldn’t it make sense for kids to be the exact same way?

Sometimes we get caught on autopilot and expect that if we get our kids the same activities that they will always have the same reaction but this isn’t the case.

Life is about experiences so that means we have to continuously mix things up!

However, experiences don’t have to be costly. I’ve found 8 activities that can be put together with items from the Dollar Store that will keep both you and your kids busy.

Dollar Store Hacks to Keep Kids Happy

The goal of these hacks isn’t just to keep your kids busy but to also keep them entertained. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of plopping them down in front of a TV to keep them busy.

You want to provide some type of stimulation so they don’t turn into mindless zombies of the future.

1. Hoola Hoop Hideout

Children love hideouts and with these Hoola Hoop Hideouts, your kid’s will enjoy hours of fun outdoors. From start to finish your kids will be excited to create and design their own personal Hoola Hoop Hideout. All you need is a hula hoop, safety pins, twine or rope, tulle and/or ribbon, sheets, scissors, cushions, and blankets.

2. Giant Dry Erase Mat

Looking for something to keep the kiddos busy on those rainy days? Well, look no further this dollar store hack will absolutely come in handy! All you need is clear vinyl shower curtain liner, which you can find at a local dollar store for only $1, and washable non-toxic dry erase markers.

3. DIY Color Mixing Station

Wonderful, wet, and messy is a perfect way to keep any kid busy for hours. By mixing food coloring with cornstarch and water is one of those perfect kids’ activities that keep them busy while teaching them a thing or two.

4. Hula Hoop Croquet

This is such a genius way to keep the kids busy even into the Fall. Hula Hoop Croquet is a cross between kickball and croquet! You’ll enjoy watching your kids have fun all day long. This game is easy to create and everything can be picked up from the dollar store.

5. Backyard Tic Tac Toe

Looking for a fun twist to the traditional tic tac toe? Frisbie Tic Tac Toe is an exciting game that will engage the kids for hours. Simply make a grid using a shower curtain from a dollar store and some cheap tape. Then set 6 frisbees out, so the kids can stand behind a line and see who has the best aim!

6. Make Giant Bubbles

Want a super party activity that will WOW your guests? This activity is giant bubble station! It’s the perfect way to entertain all your guest, not just the kiddos. All you need is a hula hoop, children’s hard plastic swimming pool, a little dish soap, and some water.

7. Window Art With Glue & Food Coloring

Window Art With Glue & Food Coloring is a great way to get your kids to express themselves in a fun new way. Kids of all ages will have fun enjoy creating their own mater pieces for all to see. All you need is condiment bottles from Walmart (99 cents each), dollar store picture frame, glue, and food coloring.

8. Pool Noodle Obstacle Course

Creating an obstacle course out of pool noodles is a great way to entertain your kid outdoors. Get creative with your kids and have them kick or throw a ball through the noodles. Or try having them crawl under or jump over the noodles. With so many activities a Pool Noodle Obstacle Course is great for kids of many ages.

Fun Dollar Store Games for Kids

See? Fun doesn’t have to break the bank, it just requires a bit more imagination than most adults are used to using but that’s okay because over time your imagination will get back into the flow of things.

If you’ve found some other activities that you can do with inexpensive items I would love to hear about them.

11 DIY Sugar Scrubs for Beautiful and Happy Skin

There never seems to be enough time to pamper yourself. You’re running all around making sure the world doesn’t fall apart but sometimes you just want to take a break and get yourself a sugar scrub treatment. If you aren’t sure what sugar scrubs are then you are certainly missing out!

A sugar scrub is a compound that contains sugar to help give you beautiful skin. But wait sugar?

Yes, sugar!

Why does sugar work? Because sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the environment into the skin. So when you apply products with sugar or sugar derivatives, they’ll actually help hydrate your skin and keep moisture within.

Who would’ve guessed?

One of the best things about sugar scrubs is that you can make your own and you can make them in a variety of scents!

And you aren’t regulated to some basic scents like grape or strawberry. No, no, no!

You can get really creative with your sugar scrub scents and I’ve compiled a list of 11 of my favorite ones.

11 DIY Sugar Scrubs You Can Make Today

You’ll actually be surprised at how easy it is to make sugar scrubs.

They’re actually ideal for Christmas and birthday presents so if you’re going to spend the time to make a container of one, you might as well make a couple extra for those times you need to give your girlfriend something to enjoy.

I do have to warn you though, that all of these scrubs smell delicious but don’t get any wild ideas about eating them. Of course, you’re going to need some containers to store your sugar scrubs and I like to use these hexagon glass jars because they are different and look stylish.

Make yourself some fat bombs if you have the urge to go crazy on the sweets.

Anyways, you ready? Let’s begin.

1. DIY Blueberry Lemon Body Scrub

DIY Blueberry Lemon Body Scrub

Not only is this face scrub beautiful to look at its also amazing for your skin!

This scrub includes coconut oil which will add great moisture to your skin while cleansing and providing anti-aging benefits to your skin.

The blueberries in this scrub will provide your skin with antioxidants which will fight free radicals and cancer cells. The add lemon extract which is especially great if you have any scar tissue, as lemons are a natural bleacher and can lighten and even out your skin tone.

Get the instructions here!

2. DIY Chocolate Mint Sugar Scrub

DIY Chocolate Mint Sugar Scrub

I was immediately drawn to this scrub because I LOVE CHOCOLATE!

This scrub includes cocoa powder which helps tighten skin, fight aging, and can prevent breakouts. Another awesome ingredient in this scrub is almond oil which helps moisturizer and lightens the skin, while the Vitamin E helps with anti-aging and healing. Lastly, the peppermint in this scrub will help calm and soothe your skin.

Get the instructions here!

3.Coconut Coffee Scrub

Coconut Coffee Scrub

If you already have coconut oil and coffee then that’s good, because you already have the main ingredients for this wonderful scrub.So all you have to do is go to your kitchen, get some coffee, and start on that scrub!

Coffee has awesome antioxidants in it to help to prevent aging, as well as skin firming properties which help to give you a more youthful look. Along with all the amazing benefits, we know coconut oil provides this scrub will leave your skin looking and feeling amazing.

Get the instructions here!

4. Whipped Grapefruit Mint Sugar Scrub

Whipped Grapefruit Mint Sugar Scrub

The first time I saw this scrub, I thought it looked good enough to eat!

With coconut oil being the main ingredient this scrub also includes mint, and grapefruit juice and extract, which helps to keep skin clear and fight aging. Sounds like an awesome recipe for having young and clear skin.

Get the instructionshere!

5. Green Tea Sugar Scrub

Green Tea Sugar Scrub

I love green tea so when I saw that this scrub had green tea in it, I knew it was going to have some awesome benefits for my skin.

Just like the four previous scrubs, this scrub has coconut oil in it as well. But the key ingredient green tea which helps to fight against aging, inflammation, bacteria, and cancer cells. It really is an awesome scrub to take care of your skin’s health.

Get the instructionshere!

6. Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

Pamper yourself and smooth out those rough spots with this Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub!

This scrub is so easy to make you can make your own in less than 10 minutes with a few simple natural ingredients from your pantry. All you need is brown sugar, oil (almond, olive or coconut), vitamin E oil and real vanilla extract.

Get the instructions here!

7. Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

I am totally one of those people who love pumpkin spice everything so when I found this scrub I knew I’d love it!

This all-natural DIY vanilla pumpkin spice sugar scrub is made with granulated sugar, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract.

Get the instructions here!

8. Piña Colada Sugar Scrub

Piña Colada Sugar Scrub

Sugar Scrubs are amazing for your skin any time of the year!

This Pina Colada Sugar Scrub is perfect if you’re looking for a little added moisture. The main ingredient is coconut oil which will add great moisture while cleansing and providing anti-aging benefits to your skin.

Get the instructions here!

9. Mandarin Scrub

Mandarin Sugar Scrub

This scrub is perfect for bringing your skin back to life.

Mandarins are rich in antioxidants. The peels are also rich in vitamin C and E, which are essential for healthy looking skin.

Get the instructions here!

10. Gingerbread Sugar Scrub

Gingerbread Sugar Scrub

This is seriously the best sugar scrub I’ve ever used and there’s no need for any crazy essential oils, everything you need is right in your pantry!

This Gingerbread Sugar Scrub blends spices and moisture rich coconut oil with sweet exfoliating brown and pure cane sugars.

Get the instructions here!

11. Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrub

Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrub

This Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrub not only makes my skin super-soft, the smell is also intoxicating! This refreshing scrub is inexpensive and easy to whip up in minutes.

The refreshing cucumber scrub will awaken your skin, while the sugar gently buffs off old skin cells to reveal a healthy new layer of skin. Cucumber is also full of antioxidants, it reduces inflammation and it’s ultra-hydrating.The cherry on top is the moisturizing coconut oil that will absorb into your skin leaving it silky smooth.

Get the instructions here!

Sugar Helps Your Skin

Who would’ve thought that sugar could be so awesome for your skin? It feels nice when it’s exfoliating and it also smells great.

I love that you can mix and match sugar scrubs as you see fit so what is to stop you from having a whole inventory of sugar scrub scents waiting?

No need to go and buy one expensive flavor when you can have 5 to alternate between each and every day!

Pre-Baby Meal Prep: 7 Low-Carb Freezer Meals to Make

As a new mom, you’ll need to eat. The problem with that though is that labor takes a lot out of you.

Nobody wants to have a baby and then come home to cook a meal!

Sure you could order out but that is usually food that isn’t going to be the best for you.

As a proponent of the Ketogenic Diet, I wanted to make sure that I could prepare some meals that just needed to be reheated while also providing me with the nutrients that I needed for me and my baby.

This means that before the baby is born you have to spend some time planning out a couple of meals, getting them together, and then freezing them.

This works out well because you’ll quickly discover that you don’t have much time for anything so having the ability to simply pop a meal into the oven or microwave will be a huge time saver.

7 Freezer Meals to Make Before Giving Birth

Now, all of these meals aren’t for everybody. If you want to chow down on some In-n-Out and drink your chocolate milkshake then I’m not going to tell you not to.

Even though I love keto, I did make sure to include some meals with carbs just because I wanted to ensure that I had batches of food.

1. Bacon Covered Meatloaf

Meatloaf?

Yep, meatloaf.

What’s great about meatloaf is that you can cook a decent size portion and simply cut it up into slices. When you’re ready for a meal you simply take one slice and heat it up.

You don’t need to go crazy and recook the whole thing over and over again.

Wrapping it in bacon just gives you more protein which is always needed by your body.

2. Shepherd’s Pie w/ Cauliflower Mash

This is one of my husband’s favorite meals because he loves regular shepherd’s pie. Instead of using mashed potatoes we use cauliflower mash which tastes delicious.

One of the great things about shepherd’s pie is that you can mix and max some of the ingredients.

If you don’t want carrots then don’t add carrots. Instead, fill it up peas.

You can easily portion out the whole meal and reheat individual portions whenever you’re ready.

3. Cream Cheese Stuff Meatballs

Who doesn’t love meatballs?

Mix in some cream cheese and you have the perfect low-carb meal or snack.

If you really want to get fancy with your meatballs you can create a curry coconut dipping sauce to complement them and you might as well be on an island enjoying your tropical dish.

4. Crock Pot Bacon and Cheese Chicken

Is the crock pot the greatest invention ever?

It’s certainly up for debate!

Just toss in some food and walk away.

This back and cheese chicken recipe is great for the times where you just won’t have enough time to bust your butt in the kitchen.

Make it, portion it out into containers, and then freeze.

Ready whenever you want.

5. Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast might be my most favorite meal because it means I get to eat right when I wake up which is probably my least favorite activity.

However, if I’m going to wake up I might as well enjoy it.

These tasty breakfast burritos hit the spot and are a great treat for whenever you need something quick and easy.

You can even liven them up with some hot salsa if that is your thing.

6. Buffalo Bleu Cheese Burgers

Is there anyone that doesn’t like burgers? Ignoring the vegans out there, burgers are something that I feel I could eat at least once a week.

Throw in some buffalo sauce AND bleu cheese? Well, now you have yourself a freezer delicacy that is ready when you are.

If you’re trying to stick with the low-carb theme but definitely want your burgers on some buns then check out fat head bread.

Stupid name. Awesome taste.

7. Bulletproof Coffee Pods

Bulletproof coffee is a staple of any low-carb diet and is a great way for coffee drinkers to get the coffee flavor along with helping you meat your macros.

However, always preparing the coffee every single morning can be a huge pain.

That’s why I was so happy to find these coffee pods that you can simply freeze and then reheat when needed.

Who knew that coffee could come in such cute little forms?

Plenty More

There are plenty more freezer recipes that you can find around the web on Pinterest. I just included my 7 favorite ones that I enjoyed making and eating while being pregnant.

It was great knowing that I could still stick with my low-carb lifestyle while being pregnant and not having as much time as before due to the new baby.

How to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply in 48 Hours

If you’re a breastfeeding mama then you probably know this struggle.

You need to store some milk for your baby because you don’t want a little human sucking on your nipple forever but you aren’t producing enough milk to store.

What can you do?

Well, there is a lot you can do actually to help get the milk-making machine back up to production levels.

In this post, I’m going to share with you how I was able to increase my body’s milk production in just 48 hours.

Breastfeeding

How I sometimes feel breastfeeding.

My Struggle

When I found out I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and I did as much research as I possibly could.

The biggest issue with breastfeeding is that you don’t know if it’s going to work out until the baby pops out!

I was fortunate enough that my son didn’t have much of a problem latching but the problem was that I wasn’t producing enough milk to keep him happy so I began to supplement with formula.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with this but I wanted to see if there were ways that I could naturally increase my breast milk supply so I researched like I was writing a college paper.

It’s amazing the stuff women do to try and increase their breast milk supply! There seems to be 1,001 solutions to this problem and I wasn’t going to try them all, so I tried the ones that poppped up most frequently.

This post shares my experience with these solutions.

How to Increase Breast Milk Supply in 48 Hours

First things first, you might not have this problem. Your breasts might be working like a fountain drink machine at McDonald’s but that doesn’t mean this can’t happen to you eventually.

It’s always good to be prepared so these are things that every breastfeeding mama should be doing.

Drink Water

A good general rule in life that one should follow is to drink more water.

The recommended amount of water you should be drinking to ensure your body is functioning properly is between 0.5 ounces to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight.

Generally, you’ll see the guideline that you should drink 8 8oz glasses of water a day but even that amount might not be enough for you depending on how much you weigh.

Because breast milk is 88% water and it’s getting sucked out of you, the water will need to be replenished at some point.

If your body is dehydrated then there is no chance of it producing milk so step 1 of producing more breast milk is ensuring that you drink enough water.

The easiest method is to get you a cool cup that you can carry around with you so you never forget to drink water.

Water thermos keep water cold

Because I like my water always cold I like to use the Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Vacuum Thermos with Medal Strainer by HvDrink. It’s a little bit on the pricier side of water bottles but it can keep ice for over 24 hours which works out well for me.

Everybody likes drinking out of a straw.

Add Let There Be Milk to Your Daily Routine

I’m not one for witchcraft or hippy remedies but Let There Be Milk does exactly what it says it will do and that is to help you produce more breastmilk.

Increase breast milk supply with let there be milk

What is it?

It’s a liquid made from Fenugreek (no clue what that is) and Goats Rue (no clue what that is). Both of these are all natural so you aren’t tricking your body into producing more milk by using chemicals.

You simply add a couple of drops into your favorite drink every day and you are good to go.

Warning: This stuff often goes out of stock on Amazon so if you see in stock now I suggest you pick up some. If for whatever reason you miss your chance of grabbing it then you can also try Motherlove More Milk.

Seriously, I need to look up what Goat’s Rue is.

Oh, before I forget, this stuff taste terrible. Seriously, it might be the worst tasting thing I’ve ever had so what I usually do is drop it in a little bit of water (usually seltzer) so it’s easier to take down.

Mother’s Milk Tea

Increase breast milk supply with motherlove

We’re going to stick with the hippie vibe here and talk about Mother’s Milk Tea.

I’ll be honest in that I’m not a fan of the name simply because it’s just not a good name.

It’s basically a tea infused with fennel and coriander that helps stimulate milk production. I’m not a big fan of teas so I make sure to add some liquid Stevia drops to it to sweeten it up and then it goes down pretty easy.

It’s a great drink to have in the morning if you don’t feel like diving into breakfast.

Replenish Your Electrolytes

I used to think that electrolytes were some silly marketing term but they are really important for your body’s health.

When you’re running low on electrolytes you can start to feel light-headed, nauseous, and queazy.

You don’t want to feel that way!

One of the downfalls of drinking so much water is that it can lead you to pee out a lot of electrolytes so it’s very important that you replenish as quickly as possible.

Some people recommend Smart Water or Gatorade but the amount of sugar in those drinks always turns me off, especially since I’m doing the keto lifestyle. Instead, I rely on Mio Electrolytes.

Rehydrating with Mio

Just a quick squeeze into my water and I now have a fruity and refreshing drink without adding any sugar.

You also want to look into foods with sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Don’t be afraid to use hot sauce in your meals!

Causes for Decreased Milk Production

To combat decreased milk production it’s also important to understand the causes for it.

  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Birth Control
  • Periods
  • Alcohol
  • Dehydration

Everybody has their own method of combatting these things but they are important to keep in mind when you are trying to increase your levels of breast milk production.

Take Care of Your Body

With a new baby, it can be pretty hectic and you might not realize the strain that you are putting on your body.

You can’t just magically expect your body to consistently produce milk when you aren’t treating it right.

The same principles apply when trying to lose weight. If you don’t help your body then it won’t help you.

However, as you see it can be pretty easy to get things back on track and turn your body into a breast milk making machine.

Best Pregnancy Books to Read While You Are Pregnant

When you’re pregnant you spend a lot of time of just sitting around. Or more likely laying around.

Why?

Because you don’t want to do anything else.

This is a great time to read a book and if you’re going to read a book, you might as well read a book on pregnancy. You can never learn enough about that thing growing inside of your belly and why it’s making you fart more than you have in your entire life.

This list contains books that I’ve read, my friends have read, and ones that I’ve found through reviews. By no means should you go and read all 15 books unless you’re really a lover of books.

Instead, find the one that sounds the most appealing to you and go to town.

12 of the Best Pregnancy Books You Should Read

While you’ll find more than 12 books in this post, some of them are on here because they are overrated and you shouldn’t waste your time while others are a bit lukewarm but you never know, you might like them more.

They are arranged in chronological order from when the time you will need them.

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Many people count on this book because it is such a reliable source for guiding women through the months of pregnancy.

Check out this Amazon review:

The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is an excellent, no-scare resource for pregnancy. I had heard “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” was fear and paranoia inducing “guide” to pregnancy. I wanted to educate myself on pregnancy with evidence-based information compiled by healthcare professionals who are mothers. This book provides exactly that. The book provides a wealth of information in a format that is easy to navigate and easy to read. You can ready sections all the way through, quickly look up your current symptoms, or look up whatever specific question pops into your mind at that moment, all with ease.

This is what I like about it, it’s based on scientific evidence. This is the type of person I am so this book really resonated with me.

The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy

This might be the most controversial book you see here because of its tone. Some people love it and some people hate it.

I enjoyed it because it injects humor into this crazy thing called pregnancy. You might appreciate the humor.

Just to offer some perspective here are two different Amazon reviews.

The positive…

I am so very happy I did. The book is written in such a friendly, conversational tone that feels like I am speaking with my new best friend – which is actually several dozen new best friends, since the author culls advice and experience from several recently-pregnant women. I immediately felt much more at ease about everything that was going on with my pregnancy and assured me that those women who stated they felt “great!” during their pregnancy were all dirty, dirty liars. These nine months simply aren’t as full of glowing and positive vibes as many would want you to believe (for some reason).

The negative…

This book will bum you out and make you fear pregnancy. The author describes birth using words like “pig prepared for slaughter” and that negative tone runs through the whole book–that your husband thinks you’re gross and fat, etc. She also shames anyone for exercising while pregnant, which is really out of touch with everything else I’ve read, and what my doctor has advised. Yeah, it’s funny, covers the sucky parts, but I’d be careful following her advice. I feel like that’s doing a disservice to tell pregnant women to just relax and enjoy the next 9 months without exercise.

If you’re looking for some humor-based pregnancy stuff this book might be for you but if you want positive reinforcement along with a lot of science then you might want to stay away from this one.

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong–and What You Really Need to Know

I’m all about books that go against the grain so this one instantly drew my attention by saying how conventional wisdom is completely wrong.

What this book does is review pregnancy health studies and evaluates the quality of their methodology. Why? Because the author wants to provide you with objective information that you can use to help you make informed decisions about pregnancy risks.

An example of this is showing how very light drinking is fine during pregnancy even though heavy drinking is extremely dangerous. The idea is that you should be able to make your own decisions based on the evidence that you come across and I can respect that.

This Amazon review sums up my feelings:

It’s a pity this book got caught up in a kerfluffle about alcohol, when that is about 1% of the books actual content (I’ve put *exactly* what the author says about it at the bottom of the review for all those negative reviewers who couldn’t be bothered reading the actual book!).

This book was hands down the most useful pregnancy book I read, not because it tells you what to do, but because it calmly presents the data on every major decision you’ll need to make during pregnancy, and then encourages you to form your *own* opinions based on it, instead of treating you like an idiot who can’t be trusted to understand anything other than black-and-white ‘rules’.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Who doesn’t love Ina May?

She’s like the knowledgeable grandmother who has been through it all before and offers you reassuring advice to let you know that it is going to be alright.

The premise behind this book is that Ina May helps you understand that your body is awesome and it was made for this even though sometimes it might feel like the complete opposite.

However, because she is a big proponent of natural childbirth you might find that her criticisms against the medical establishment to be a bit unfair which is actually a fair point.

What makes this book really interesting to me are the birth stories of individual women because it showcases the different sensations that women feel when giving birth.

This Amazon review offers a slightly different perspective on things:

This book completely changed the way I looked at childbirth and the bodies natural ability to withstand the challenge. It was very informative and helpful about various aspects of giving birth in the United States medical system. I am thankfully giving birth in Germany where the approach is midwife centered, but this book will definitely come in handy when I give birth in the states in the future. It has given me a great sense of confidence about going through a natural childbirth and has empowered me to be in control of my own birth experience. Not only were the stories empowering but the information was very well written and informative. I would recommend this book to any first time mom, second time mom, etc.

If you fall in love with Ina May’s style then you will probably also like her Guide to Breastfeeding.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This one obviously depends on whether or not you decide to breastfeed but if you do then it is hard to go wrong with this wonderful guide to breastfeeding.

While this book does provide tons of helpful information about getting around various breastfeeding difficulties it could do a better job of being more inclusive.

Here is an Amazon review:

I am a pediatrician and cannot recommend this book enough. It got my baby and I through the roughest part of establishing breast feeding. My baby is now 5 months old and still has never had formula (some of that is her though and not liking it, can’t say I never ever tried). It took a good month to get over sore breasts and nipples, and a few weeks into it I almost gave up. I had so much advice to put her on a schedule, only let her feed every 2 and a half to three hours, etc, and she wanted to feed every hour for the first couple months of life. I thought I was going crazy. But this book advises differently, to not even watch the clock and just let your baby decide when to feed. That helped a lot, took a lot of pressure off me. And that advice makes a lot of sense, because more frequent feeds mean more let downs and higher levels of hormones. Not only that, this book answers so many questions about pumping and storing milk and things that I would have never thought to ask. I was always pro-breast feeding, but now I am passionate about it. Breast feeding my infant has become one of the best experiences of my whole life. Now I can help other moms who are struggling with establishing breast feeding and answer all their questions. I have recommended this book to many new moms as well. Thank you so much for this book!

The Happiest Baby on the Block

The premise of this book is helping you to find your baby’s calming reflex so that you can do a better job of soothing them and helping your child sleep.

Instead of theory, this book works around medical evidence in showing you how you can support your baby by providing the proper environment that helps them stay calm which in turn produces a happy baby.

If you have a baby that loves to cry and be fussy then this might be the book that you are looking for.

Check out this review on Amazon:

The premise is that human babies are born 3 months BEFORE they are really developed because of the size of their heads. Therefore, the fist 100 days of their life is virtually a “fourth trimester” in which the baby needs constant vigilance and caring.

He offers “cuddle cure”… 5 steps done in sequence to calm a baby and simulate life in the womb: Swaddling (firmly), Side/Stomach, Ssshhhing, Swaying, Sucking. They are combined and should match the VIGOR of any crying to immediately pacify the baby.

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

Have you ever noticed that kids from other countries seem to be better behaved than their American counterparts?

Well, this American mother did when she lived in France and she decided to write a book on it.

Pamela Druckerman is able to blend her own personal story with studies and research. What is one of the differences that she found between American parents and French parents?

French parents are comfortable with setting limits for their kids and teaching them patience.

Seems simple enough.

I thought that this was a fair Amazon review:

As is the case with many books comparing American parenting styles with that of other countries, some potential readers have felt opinionated – even defensive – before even buying the book.While I certainly haven’t concluded that French parenting is “right” and American parenting is “wrong”, this intriguing book deserves a fair chance – one obtained by reading it – but some initial “reviews” were written by people who simply refused to read a book comparing American and French parenting techniques.

On Becoming Baby Wise

If you are the type that doesn’t like schedules then you will quickly find out that your baby is going to have some troubles. Figuring out the right slepe schedule for your child can be the difference between sanity and completely losing it.

If you are looking to put your baby on a schedule then this is the book for you.

The book is about feeding and sleeping schedules and how to implement a routine. It offers helpful example schedules so you aren’t randomly guessing.

As I mentioned if you don’t want to be sleep deprived then this might be the book for you and this Amazon reviewer agrees:

Love this book, have used it to help get all my kids on a good sleeping schedule. It’s especially helpful when you’re sleep deprived and not able to function well as a human because it basically gives you the schedule to use and you just have to fill in the times.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Usually I detest any type of whisperer but Tracy Hogg knows a thing or two about babies.

What really makes this book pleasant is that it goes down the middle between being a strick and flexible parent with regards to the approaches that you take.

It covers a variety of the standard parenting topics with a heavy focus on trying to understand what your baby is attempting to communicate.

This Amazon reviewer wish they had the book sooner:

This book should be given to ALL pregnant ladies! I have twin girls who were born 7 weeks early. I had gotten into the habit of nursing them to sleep and CONSTANTLY holding them, which worked until they started gaining weight. I knew I wanted to sleep train them, but our doctor said “No, they don’t weigh enough” (at 11lbs). I didn’t intend on ferberizing them. Then 2 other twin moms suggested this book. I followed it, and in 3 days I went from being a human pacifier with a bad back to a lady who has time to write a review, AND shave my legs! I like that I can sleep train without crying it out. My girls are 5 months, but I wish I had this from day 1! Buy this for all of your friends. This book, a bottle of wine, and a gift card for coffee.

Baby 411

If you’re the type that enjoys reference guides then this is the book for you. It covers all of the important topics in your baby’s first year.

With over 600+ pages of information you’ll find that you’re calling your pediatrician less and less.

Out of all of the books on the list, this might be the most highly rated as this Amazon review shows:

Have you ever left the pediatrician’s office and grumbled because you forgot to ask that one question that’s been bugging you for days? This book has got you covered.

It is packed with information that you wouldn’t have thought to ask, but find incredibly useful. It is an easy read, too. But you definitely do not need to read it sequentially. If your kid is already 6 months old, you may want to skip the newborn section at the front of the book. However, I bet most people will go back and read what they skipped after they have finished the more relevant chapters.

Pretty high praise.

Baby Bargains

Babies are expensive.

There is just no getting around this but that doesn’t mean you need to pay full price or find the most expensive item to keep a happy baby.

Baby Bargains helps you set up a general framework that allows you to approach each category of baby products in the right way.

You Can Never Get Enough Education

When it comes to babies it never hurts to read up on as many different opinions as possible. There is no one true way to deal with pregnancy so it’s great to know that there are plenty of resources out there that will help you through it all.

If there is a book that isn’t on this list that you enjoyed or if you’ve read one of the books on the list and had a different opinion, please let us know in the comments below.

Kids’ Sleep Tips: 10 Simple Tips to Get Your Kids to Sleep

I’ve done a lot of things in my life that tested my strength and willpower.

I’ve fasted for 3 days which might not seem like a big deal unless you’re used to having a donut for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, and delicious homemade pizza for dinner.

I’ve trained for a marathon and let me tell you the people on TV make it look much easier than it is.

I’ve given birth. You already know the challenge of that.

However, none of these compare to figuring out how to maintain through several weeks and months of terrible sleep.

I own 4 dogs. I owned dogs before I had any children and when you get a puppy it takes it a little bit of time to figure out when it needs to sleep and when it can act crazy around the house.

With each new dog, it got a little bit easier since it would follow the other dogs’ patterns.

Unless you’re having twins/triplets/octuplets then kids don’t like to follow the pattern of their siblings.

Kids live in a different Universe where their sleep schedule is their own and if you can’t quickly figure out quickly how to get them on a decent sleep schedule then life as you know it is over.

Sleep Is Imporant For Everybody

When you have kids all of the thinking is that you are going to do everything possible to ensure they live a healthy lifestyle. However, we usually forget that it is hard to do that if we ourselves don’t remain healthy.

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight then you know that lack of sleep can be something that prevents weight loss.

And I don’t know the scientific terminology but lack of sleep can drive you absolutely insane.

You grow multiple personalities and time simply becomes some random idea that was made up by lunatics.

So as important as it is to get your kids to sleep well, it’s equally as important to ensure you do the same.

10 Simple Tips to Get Your Kids to Sleep

Every kid is different and that should go without saying.

What works really well for one kid won’t work as well for another. Simple fact of life.

If it was that easy then this blog post would be The One Tip You Need to Get Your Kid to Sleep. It would be one sentence and you would be off to the movies with a bottle of wine in your purse.

But because kids have to be the most difficult things on this planet, you will probably need more than one tip to help get your kid to sleep.

No worries, that’s why there are 10 here.

1. Set an Individualized Bedtime

School-age children need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night which is about 5 hours less than I need.

However, there is a lot of variability in sleep patterns and needs. Just like you some kids are simply hard-wired a certain way.

My husband is an early riser. It doesn’t matter what time he goes to bed he is going to be up before 6 am.

I’m a bit different. If you installed blackout curtains in my room you would need a defibrillator to wake me up.

Kids are the same way. Some are just early risers and nothing is going to change that.

In contrast, a night owl will sleep when their body tells them it is time to sleep.

So what can you do? You just have to figure out how much sleep your child needs and then make sure you set an appropriate bedtime for them.

2. Set a Wake-Up Time

So you figured out how many hours they need to sleep so you need to figure out when they are going to get up.

It’s nice to just let your kid sleep in because that means either you can sleep in as well or you can get more stuff down around the house.

The problem with this is twofold:

  1. Letting your kid sleep in will mean they probably won’t go to bed when you need them to later which can start a vicious cycle that is hard to break out of.
  2. It teaches bad habits. You don’t want your child to grow up to be a teenager that sleeps in and is late for school every day. Good habits start early.

Set a wake-up time and stick to it. Even on weekends and holidays.

3. Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Kids are no different than animals when it comes to routines. Routines are especially important for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Doing specific things before bed, like a bath and story time, signals to your child what is coming next.

It’s very similar to when you see wine and candles on the table. You know what is coming next.

For a child knowing what comes next is comforting and relaxing which can set the mood for the perfect bedtime. Before you know it your child’s body will automatically start to become sleep at the beginning of their routine.

It’s like magic.

4. Turn Off the TV at Least Two Hours Before Bedtime

This one is just as hard for adults as it is kids.

Sometimes when it’s hard for me to fall asleep I’ll spend time on my iPhone browsing Facebook or playing solitaire. That was until one day I discovered that the fancy blue light that my awesome little device emits keeps my brain awake making it even harder for me to fall asleep.

Light from electronic displays, like TV, can interfere with the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is an important piece of sleep-wake cycles. It’s no wonder why it is a popular dietary supplement to take to help people fall asleep. Sometimes I have to take it to help me fall asleep when my brain won’t shut off. I call them my happy pills.

When melatonin levels are at their highest, people become sleepy and ready for bed. An extra half hour of TV before bed can keep your child up an extra two hours.

Logic would dictate you throw your TV out the window but then you wouldn’t find out who gets to hoist the coveted Master Chef trophy each season.

5. Reduce Stress Before Bedtime

My mom always had trouble sleeping because she was always stressed.

When you’re stressed your cortisol (another pesky hormone) levels rise. When cortisol levels are high, your child’s body won’t be able to shut down and go to sleep.

This means you shouldn’t blare loud music and flash strobe lights before bed. Keeping your before bedtime activities calm with the lights dim. This can help to prevent excessive amounts of cortisol in your child’s system.

If your bedtime routine involves story time then you can incorporate a dim night light that will help your child fall asleep. In this case, you should choose a night light with a red bulb to help stimulate sleep.

I’m a big fan of the VAVA Baby Night Light because it allows you to adjust both brightness and color.

Plus it’s shaped like an egg. How cool is that?

If you want a night light with a bit more personality then check out the GLIME LED Night Light. Who wouldn’t be able to fall asleep with a fat cat looking at them?

6. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment

Have you ever tried to fall asleep in a club? It’s pretty hard, trust me I’ve tried.

To help your child fall asleep you need to create an environment that is helpful for them. This means that one stuffed animal works better than a million on their bed.

Soft sheets, room-darkening shades, and relative quiet can be the difference between your child getting good sleep versus them waking you up at 4 am because they aren’t sure when they should get up.

If you really want to help your child differentiate between day time and night time then consider getting them a sound machine. Because we talked about night lights earlier, you can actually get a pretty cool night light and sound machine combo that will actually project stars onto the ceiling.

I think I might get me one of these right now.

7. Temperature Affects Your Child’s Sleep

Yes, there is something else that plays a role in your child’s sleep and that is temperature.

Our good friend melatonin helps to regulate the drop of internal body temperature but you need to help control external temperature.

Don’t bundle your child up too tightly or set the heat too high. You want to keep it at typical room temperature or a little cooler to help promote quality sleep.

If you’re wondering what typical room temperature is, it can vary from house to house along with different seasons. Living in Nevada you just want to keep your house around 78-80 but in the Winter if you can maintain 72-74 then you are happy.

8. Address Their Sleep Fears

If your child tells you about a bedtime fear that they have you shouldn’t dismiss it.

Instead, sit down and talk to them about it. If simple reassurance doesn’t work then you can buy a toy that will guard and protect them.

Take a look at this cool motion sensor night light for your child. It’s a Dinosaur!!! How cool is that?

9. Reduce the Focus On Sleep

Nobody likes to perform under pressure and the same holds true for kids.

Instead of pressuring them to fall asleep do your best to fous more on the idea of relaxation and claming your child’s body down.

10. Keep an Eye Out for Sleep Disorders

If after all of these tips things aren’t improving then your child might have a sleep disorder. The best tip to offer here is to talk to their pediatrician.

Getting Your Child to Sleep

Getting your child to sleep is as much about routines for them as they are for you. If you can’t understand how to get yourself to fall asleep then you are going to have a hard time getting your kid to sleep.

Create the most relaxed environment possible and focus on nightly routines to help get them into the habit of falling asleep peacefully and staying like that.

If you want to learn more about helping your baby sleep then check out these thigns that I use to help me and baby sleep better.