Gift registries for children are helpful time savers.

A Gift Registry Time Saver

As many of you know from one of my previous posts (Birthday Gift Ideas), I am a big fan of gift experiences vs physical gifts. What is more important to me as the gift giver, however, is to get something the person will enjoy.

After RSVPing to a child’s birthday party, I was going to text the parent for a few gift ideas. When I looked at the invite a bit closer, I saw the parent actually included that the birthday girl was registered at Target. “Absolute genius!”, I thought to myself. I could order the gift online at Target, use our Target Credit Card  and receive free shipping (no minimum). I don’t even have to go to the store…that’s even better.

Not everyone may agree with listing a gift registry for a child, but I truly appreciated it. You are saving me time and allowing me to get something your daughter will enjoy. Thank you 🙂

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It’s usually better to be early rather than late.

A Clock

There are so many expressions around this: the early bird catches the worm; first-come, first- served, etc.

I will share some personal examples with you of why it’s usually better to be early vs late:

Kids do remember: Last week, my younger daughter had her spring concert in the morning. My husband was traveling on business and could not be there. I wanted to make sure I was there as early as possible to get a good seat. One of my friends who came later was amazed that I was able to get the first row. “I hopped in the car to drive to school shortly after my daughter got on the bus.”, I told her. My daughter’s smile was all worth it because she should see me and knew I would capture the video for my husband to see.

Sitting at the airport is less stressful: I will never forget the time when my husband and I were leaving for our honeymoon to Greece. We lived in the city at the time and left the house at 2:00pm for 5:30pm flight. It seemed like we had enough time, but it was raining, taxi shift turnover (which means no one wants to drive to the airport) and it was a Friday. Long story short, it took us a while to get a cab and we had lots of traffic. The cab driver kept on saying “I don’t think you are going to make it.” over and over again. My stress level was high. We did make it, but I think it was because the plane was delayed. After this experience, I now always make sure I leave even more time to get to the airport. I would rather just be there early, sit around and relax.

First impressions do make a difference: It is always better to be early for an interview. This is a no brainer. Make sure you know how to get there and leave enough buffer time. No excuses are acceptable showing up late for an interview.

I can’t say I am perfect with being on time, but I try to teach my kids it is better to be early rather than late (or call to say you will be running late): be respectful of other people’s time, be less stressed and make a good first impression.

10 Tips to Keep Parents Sane over the Holidays

Stay Sane

1. It’s ok to say no : Everyone knows the holidays can be hectic. My husband always says “Less is more”. You don’t have to justify why you can’t make it. You just can’t – end of story.

Wait a minute… I just had a funny Marcia Brady flashback – Click here to go to the utube video clip (and yes, Doug Simpson is Friedrich from the original Sound of Music movie)

2. Order online : This is a no brainer and I have posted about this before. Amazon Prime is the way to the go. Many items will be at your door step within two days and you will never even have had to leave your home.

3. It’s not about the gifts : Don’t make this holiday so commercial. It’s not what it is all about… Keep Christ in Christmas. Go to your “new toy” closet (you know you have one) and give gifts to those who are less fortunate – Toys for Tots, church drives, etc.

4. Send out “Happy New Year” cards : So many people stress out about getting their cards out before Christmas because they don’t have the perfect picture where everyone is smiling. I personally really enjoy getting cards with the kids and family on them, but you don’t have to send them out before Christmas. In order to remain sane, you may need to send out Happy New Year cards or don’t send any out at all – who says you have to?

5. Have the kids make gifts: Make Rainbow Loom bracelets, pictures, ornaments, etc. It will keep the kids busy and out of your hair while you are trying to get things done at home. Who doesn’t like to get a handmade gift from a child?

6. Give gift experiences : How many gifts can Santa really bring? I have posted about this before for birthday gifts. Gift cards are an excellent choice for massages, restaurants, movies, ice cream, carousel rides, Chuckie Cheese, nail salons, etc. They are a useful and practical gift the person on the receiving side will enjoy and will not take up a lot of space in the house.

7. Break down your “things to do” list : We all have huge lists of things to do, but breaking the list down into small bites makes a list of twenty items seem doable. I take a piece of paper and write down three things I have to get done and it helps me focus. Once I have completed those items, then I tackle the next three items on my list. Try it. I really think it helps you feel you are in control and getting things done.

8. Ask for help : Car pool, get a babysitter, have your significant other/grandparents watch the kids while you run around to get everything done.

9. Be satisfied and enjoy the present moment : Enjoy the smell of your holiday wreath and/or Christmas tree, cookies baking in the oven, watching Christmas shows on TV, holiday lights, the sparkle in your childrens’ eyes because they love the holidays as much as you do. That is what it is all about. Enjoy the moment!

10. Laugh and have fun : Laughter is a great stress reliever. Enjoy the holidays! If it’s not “perfect”, there is always next year!

Lands’ End – Buy quality clothing online with free shipping over $50

Lands' End

I love Lands’ End. Their website is so user friendly and they always have a deal. Right now they have a friends and family offer – 30% off and free shipping over $50.

I was chatting with another mom friend and we both agreed how fantastic the bathing suits are. There are so many choices for women who have great figures as well as for those who have fuller figures and need a little more coverage. (I realize it is pretty cold right now and you may not be thinking about buying a bathing suit, but they are fabulous!) I am also a big fan of the pima cotton night gowns, fleece half zips/jackets, winter boots and coats, etc.

Shopping on Lands’ End makes sense for busy parents: reasonable prices, quality casual clothing, free shipping and easy returns at Sears (Sears owns Lands’ End brand) = saving you time so you can spend more time with your family – happy shopping at Lands’ End.


Enjoy Local Theater with Friends and the Kids

BroadHollow Theatre

The BroadHollow Theatre in Elmont is the best hidden secret in town. Broadway caliber shows in my own backyard + adult/children shows + reasonably priced shows ($25 and $10 respectively) = high quality entertainment for me and my kids while saving time and money.

This past weekend, I actually went to the BroadHollow Theatre twice:

Fiddler on the Roof with my two good friends – I had flashbacks to high school when I tried out for the play so I knew most of the songs. It was such a high quality show, the cast received a standing ovation.

Wizard of Oz with my daughters – these children shows are an adaptation of the full story and consolidated into a little over an hour. They are perfect for children’s attention spans. For $10 a ticket, you can’t beat it. It is a great way to expose your children to theater, you’re not breaking the bank and it is close to home.

Local theater is the way to go and if you live in Nassau County, you should definitely check out the BroadHollow Theatre in Elmont. I am sure if you look around in your own town, you will find something similar. Enjoy the show!

Birthday Gift Ideas

Birthday Cake

It is my daughter’s birthday this week and I wanted to share my tips around
receiving/purchasing birthday gifts for kids..

Giving gifts

I always like to ask people to give me 2-3 ideas of what the birthday child
might like. It saves time. I can either go to the store knowing exactly what I
want to buy or hopefully purchase the gift online (Amazon Prime). I am not
spending time I don’t have searching for the perfect gift they might already
have. Nothing worse than seeing a child open a gift and saying with a sad face “I have that already.”

Receiving gifts

I always try to keep a running list of what my kids might enjoy for
their birthdays. If someone asks me what they might like, I can share some
ideas with them. I feel this makes the gift purchaser’s life easier and it will
be a gift the girls will enjoy.

I am a big fan of “experiences” vs physical gifts. Kids have so much
these days. How about a gift certificate for ten rides on a carousel, Chuckie Cheese, ice cream at Baskin Robbins/Carvel, movie tickets, bowling, etc.? My parents’ birthday gifts for the girls have included lessons for ice skating, swimming and tennis. I know these “experience” gifts may not be as fun to open at times as a “physical” gift, but they don’t clutter the house and are
fun too!

Online Shopping with Amazon Prime is a Lifesaver (and Saves You Gas Too)!

AmazonPrime

I am sure I am not the only who finds Amazon Prime to be a lifesaver…Another mom told me about the service where for $79/year, one can get free shipping on many items and it will be on your door stop in 2 days. $79 seemed like a lot… Would I really get my money’s worth? Well let me tell you, it is money well spent. I don’t mind shopping in stores if I can find what I want, but we all know that does not always happen.

Let me share a live example with you.. .my 7 yr old daughter comes home from the 1st day of school and tells me the best thing about 2nd grade is having a locker – she needs to decorate it. I have a puzzled look on my face – decorate it? I remember having a magnetic mirror in my locker in junior high – ( lockers in 2nd grade – really?) So I check in with my girlfriend who has an older daughter to get the scoop on the locker decor. Not wanting to disappoint my daughter, I jump into the car to Toys R Us, Target, Staples and The Container Store for the perfect locker decor. All the good stuff was sold out 😦

Aha moment… Why don’t I just sit at home on my comfortable couch not wasting gas and see if I can find this elusive locker decor? With the ease of a few finger strokes on Amazon and a credit card, the locker decor was on its way and on my door stop within 2 days… and might I say, my daughter has the coolest chandelier for her locker.

My daughter is very happy and so am I – mom gets a “gold star” on her homework today.

Try It, You’ll Like It

Try It, You'll Like It

When I was a child, I used to have a t- shirt which said on it “ Try it, you’ll like it.” and boy is it true. I have to say, I am quite lucky that both of my girls are good eaters. I heard somewhere that kids have to try something 17 times before they may enjoy eating something which is new to them. That seems like a lot, but the point being you have to try something more than once to like it.

Here are a few tips based upon my “eating with kids” experiences :

  • You have to try it before you say you don’t like it. – How will you know? I have heard some people use an incentive system, try 10 new things and get a prize. Whatever it takes.
  • No cooking separate meals for everyone in the family – this is just too much work and supports picky eaters. I remember my first pediatrician in the city saying.. – “Your child won’t starve, they will eat when they are hungry.” I have always told my kids “This is what we are all eating and if you don’t like it, I guess you won’t eat. ” ( I know it easy for me to say because I have good eaters.)
  • Instill good eating habits in your kids when they are young – fruit, vegetables and don’t force them to finish everything on their plate if they are full. It is all about balance and moderation.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea .