Keeping it Simple with Kid Activities

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Keeping it Simple with Kid Activities_1

This summer I have been making sure my kids are active, busy, learning, and social.  We’ve happily done park playdates, beach time, school camps, family vacations, arts and crafts, science experiments…and on and on. Guess what?  As much as my kids are enjoying these planned activities, I realized that sometimes the simplest games are often the most popular.  Go figure!  Here are my easy activity ideas for kids.

I was just talking about this in one of my mom’s groups.  Sometimes, getting back to the “basics” can bring the most joy.  Here are some of the favorites in my home:

Blowing bubbles

Tale as old as time, right?!  What is it about a bubble that makes kids go crazy?  My kids have LOVED bubbles since they realized what they were.  Go outside and just blow bubbles with your kids…and see their faces light up!

Making mud pies

Let your kids just play in the dirt.  Muddy, sticky, icky dirt.  They will love getting goopy.  Just hose them down after!

Playing with the water hose

Speaking of…turn on the sprinkler.  Give your kids the water hose.  Watch the smiles spread.  Good old fashioned water play at it’s best.

Building sandcastles (and jumping waves!)

You can do this at the beach (or play with sand at almost any playground)…grab a bag of your sand toys, let them dump them out, and watch them build roads, mountains, bridges, cakes, castles…they will always be thinking of something new to create.

Finger painting

Out of all of the experiments and crafts I organized this summer, the kids still love just dipping their fingers in multiple colored paint and splashing across white paper.  Easy enough, right?  Go for it, kids!


I usually spring for a box of new crayons every few weeks, and my kids LOVE to color.  Give them paper, new crayons and let them go to town.

Play Doh

Play Doh, cookie cutters…and let the kids twist, roll, pull, and piece it together. Keeps my kiddos busy, and their little hands busy.

Living room dance parties

Turn up the music and rock out – impromptu style.  The sillier the better!  Kids will love seeing mama shake her booty – and they will love showing you some of their favorite moves, too!  It gets loud, it gets crazy…and it’s joyful.

Hide and seek

Oh my gosh, my kids LOVE this game.  It never gets old for them.  Too bad our dog gets excited and helps “find” the hider in our house.

Old school board games

Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Uno, Life, Trouble, Go Fish, Old Maid…you name it.  There’s a reason these are considered classic games.  Put the iPads and phones apps and games away, and sit around the table to play a board game as a family.  Our newest favorite is Uno – the kids have so much fun!  And, so do mama and daddy.

I Spy

I spy with my little eye…my kids loving this game, especially in the car.  If you have the patience for it, let the kids play when you’re driving (although sometimes the kids get so excited, they tend to talk over each other).


You don’t need any fancy smancy costumes for this!  Whatever the kids want, goes.  Fancy dresses stuck in the back of the closet, masks, mommy or daddy’s clothes, hats, tutus, and any other costume or dress up stuff you’ve collected.  Have your kids do a fashion show for you…my kids get a kick out of this!

Swinging…at the park 

What kid doesn’t love to swing?  Pack a homemade picnic lunch, pack up the kiddos, and take them to the park to run, slide and swing.

Telling silly stories

My kids love when I start off telling a silly story…and they get to contribute.  They usually laugh themselves into uncontrollable giggles (my stories always start off with….On top of spaghetti….).

Ice cream dates

These “dates” are my favorite!  My children inevitably want the stickiest, messiest ice cream ever…and I love seeing their dribbling ice cream grins.

What are your favorite simple kid activities to do?  Please comment below and share with us mamas!

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#DailyChargeChallenge: Crowdsourcing Ideas

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#DailyChargeChallenge: Doing one thing a day for self-care for month of September

Last week I wrote about ways to keep your sanity during the back-to-school madness as I tend to get a tad okay, a lot, stressed when school starts.  New classrooms, schedule, drop offs, pick ups, packed snacks and lunches, oh my. I am already tired just thinking about it.

This time of year can also be stressful for our kids as they get used to a new routine, wake-up time, classroom, and friends.  Usually my kids are an over-tired mess the first month as they get into their groove.  The last thing they need is an over-tired, frazzled mom to come home to, which is what inspired the idea behind the #DailyChargeChallenge.

When moms get busy, the first thing to go out the window is self-care.  Wouldn’t it be nice this September if we focused a very small amount of time each day to do something that recharges the battery? A recharged battery = happier mommy = happier family.

Join the #DailyChargeChallenge!

I am recruiting moms (and dads!) to participate in a #DailyChargeChallenge, which will begin September 1st and last for 30 days.

During the month of September I am challenging you to commit to doing ONE thing every day dedicated to solely to taking care of yourself.  A daily activity that in some way recharges your body, soul and/or spirit.  Your daily charge could be something that just takes a couple minutes or heck, you could plan an entire spa day. It’s up to you and what you can fit in your schedule and budget.

Now before you say you have no time or money for this, let me stop you. We ALL can find at least a few minutes somewhere in our day to devote to recharging our batteries. We can. Say it with me mamas, “WE CAN!”

Sometimes we just need the permission.

I am giving you the permission.

So, if anyone asks why you are sitting on the couch for a half hour and reading a magazine, well, you just tell them you HAVE to as part of the #DailyChargeChallenge.  Or, if you really need to lie down and take a power nap while your baby naps but you feel guilty because you “should” be doing something else, remember your #DailyChargeChallenge commitment and take that nap.

I am also going to suggest 30 ideas that don’t cost a penny, so you can’t give an excuse you don’t have the money. Now that we have those objections behind us,  OK, who’s IN?  Will you join me?

Let’s Brainstorm Together! 

I want us to brainstorm ideas to get you bubbling with ideas. Can you please comment below with your own ideas?  Things you can think of that recharge you?

I will then post a huge master list on September 1st when we launch the challenge, and I want you to challenge your mommy friends to join in the fun with you!

Follow my own daily self-care journey with #DailyChargeChallenge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

To inspire other moms, please visit our Facebook page and share the post about our #DailyChargeChallenge and tag your friends to challenge them to do it with you. 

Now, let’s get the ideas flowing (please add yours in the comments!!)

Free Daily Charge Ideas:

1. Take a nap.
2. Go on a walk with a girlfriend.
3. Meditate or learn to meditate.
4. Take a bath.
5. Journal.
6. Make a fall bucket list of 5 things you want to do.
7. Read a magazine.
8. Call a friend on the phone.
9. Read a book.
10. Make a life bucket list.
11. Create a mindmap.
12. Call and schedule a doctor’s appointment you have been putting off for yourself.
13. Take a walk on the beach.
14. Stretch.
15. Take a new fitness class.
16. Write down personal goals for the school year.
17. Make a vision board of your personal goals.
18. Watch a morning show.
19. Watch one of your DVR’d shows.
20. Window shop in a cute area.
21.  Write your husband a hand-written love letter.
22. Have sex (sad it took me to #22 to think of this one!)
23. Download a guided meditation program.
24. Listen to your meditation program.
25. Unplug for 30 minutes.
26. Clean out your underwear drawer.
27. Organize your make-up / cosmetics.
28. Give yourself a mani / pedi.
29. Go shopping or use a gift card that has been sitting in your wallet for too long to buy something special for you!
30. Browse in a bookstore.
31. Meet a friend for a hike or nature walk.
32. Declutter an area that has been bothering you.
33. Make a gratitude list.
34. Clean out your closet and organize your clothes.
35. Arrange for someone to take your kids for the night so you can have an overnight alone with your hubby.
36. Go to the library.
37. Take a bike ride.

Not Free Daily Charge Ideas:

1. Get a facial or massage (watch deal sites for coupons!)
2. Meet a friend for coffee.
3. Meet girlfriends for lunch.
4. See a movie alone or with a friend.
5. Take a class to learn something new (knitting, photography, etc.)
6. Get a mani or pedi.
7. Buy these amaze-balls introduced to me by my amazing esthetician, Kristin Scott. Put one Yoga Tune Up Balls on each side of your spine starting at the base of your neck while laying on your back, moving them down your spine every few minutes until you have done the entire length of your back. Almost better than a massage. Almost.
8. Book a $40 TIDY cleaning service.
9. Buy a day pass to a local day spa (usually $20 – $25) and go for the morning to use their fitness room, steam, sauna and relax in the relaxation room.
10. Get a blow out.
11. Hang out at a cafe or coffee shop with your favorite coffee.
12. Get your car washed.
13. Meet a friend for happy hour or dinner.
14. Get a babysitter for a couple hours and do one of the free activities above!
15. Refresh a room in your house with some new decor.
16. Go on a date with your husband.
17. Visit a local museum, garden or attraction you have always wanted to see.
18. Garden, craft or do something you love that’s creative..
19. Sign up for a Timree painting class.
20. Buy yourself a little bouquet of flowers or new candle as a reminder of your self-care efforts.
21. Buy a new lip gloss or lipstick.
22. Pick a new activity like paddle boarding or indoor rock climbing and go with a friend.

 Your turn! Post your ideas!

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Little Girl Drama

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I have two girls, ages 5 and 8, so I have been around lots of girls their ages since my first was born. Lots and lots of girls.

Starting in preschool and continuing into the 2nd grade, there is one unkind sentence girls tend to throw around ALL the time when they get frustrated or mad.

Most of the time, little girls use it as a ploy to get their way when playing with a friend, not to be outright unkind or mean.

But I have witnessed many tears and hurt feelings of the little girls who are the recipients of this sentence. It’s hurtful, and just like teaching kids not to hit or bite, teaching kids to be kind is equally important.

Can you guess what it is?


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Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special!

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Disclosure: My family will receive a complimentary Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special to enjoy a beach picnic this week. Thank you Sessions! Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and FB for photos.

Sessions West Coast Deli

Sessions Sandwiches Newport Beach is giving locals the chance to celebrate the last week of summer with a special basket ready to take to the beach for a family picnic.

From August 25th through August 29th, Sessions West Coast Deli will offer a “Last Week of Summer Sandwich Special” beach picnic basket for $35 (a retail value $75), to serve four people.

The Sessions Sandwiches beach picnic basket features fans’ favorites including:

~ Meddock Melee sandwich
~ Summer Zephyr sandwich
~ Greatfella sandwich
~ Pirate Coast sandwich
~ Cucumber salad
~ Potato salad
~ Pasta salad
~ Shaka spuds
~ Any four fountain drinks

Check out the delectable descriptions of these sammies -> here .

Sessions West Coast Deli opened on the Newport Peninsula earlier this year and features 20 hot and cold sandwiches, housemade sauces with a variety of yummy sides, salads, and soups prepared daily.

From the freshly baked daily bread to the locally grown vegetables and the top-of-the-line meats, Sessions sandwiches brings gourmet to the simplest, yet perfectly complete meal – the sandwich.

And what is better than a truly delicious sandwich?


Sessions West Coast Deli Greatfella Sandwich with Shaka Spuds

With a minimalist feel, customers can eat in for breakfast, lunch or dinner in one of the region’s coolest new hangouts, decked out with vintage surf and skate photography OR grab your take-out order and head to the beach or home.

Sessions is located at 2823 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, CA 92663 open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Photo credits exterior and interior above: Andy Rodriguez Photography
Photo credit of delicious Greatfella Sandwich: Candace Rock Photography

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WAKE UP! It’s a School Day!

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Disclosure: I am a Serta brand ambassador and I m compensated for my time and participation in the program. I have also received complimentary products for review.
All opinions are my own. 

Back-to-school sleep tips for kids

Many kids in this area are going to back to school after Labor Day, so I wanted to share some back-to-school sleep tips for kids to hopefully create brighter mornings when school starts.

From my work the past three and a half years with Serta, I have had the opportunity to experience firsthand the difference a good night’s sleep makes when sleeping on a quality, supportive mattress like the iComfort.  Serta’s Perfect Sleeper mattress is the official mattress of the National Sleep Foundation – a great resource site for all sleep topics.

Getting enough sleep is essential for a child’s health and well-being, especially during the school year so they can be alert and able to learn.

Summer inevitably brings later bedtimes for the kiddos. With lighter, later nights, fun activities and vacations, parents tend to relax a little on bedtime, especially if they can sleep in the next morning.

But when summer vacation comes to an end, it’s often a rude wake up call for kids to wake up early.

Here are some of my personal tips I have learned through my 8 years of parenting combined with expert advice on back-to-school sleep tips for kids from the National Sleep Foundation.


1. Determine The Ideal Hours of Sleep for Your Child

The National Sleep Foundation recommends children 5 – 12 get 10 to 11 hours of sleep/night. Click here for recommended sleep for children birth through 12 if anyone is interested in recommended hours of sleep for preschoolers.

In the weeks prior to school starting, mentally note what time they go to bed, what time they wake up naturally, and how it corresponds to their mood. Does 9 hours mean lots of yawns or crabby behavior the next day? If they get 10.5 or 11 do they seem well rested? From your observations, determine what you feel is their healthy number of hours of sleep.

2. Determine Your Ideal “Asleep” Time for Each Child

Once you have the number of hours needed, think about what time they have to wake up on school days and back up the ideal hours to see what time they should be asleep by each night.

For example, my 5-year-old does best on 11 hours sleep. When kindergarten starts, she will have to be awake at 7am, so I will aim to have her asleep by 8:00pm each night.

3. Set Your School Year Bedtime 

Think about how long your typical bedtime routine lasts and how long on average it takes your child to fall asleep.

For example, I read two books to my daughter in bed and then we snuggle and do prayer (usually about 10 minutes), then it usually takes her about 10 minutes to actually fall asleep on her own. Therefore, her bedtime should be ideally between 7:30 – 7:40pm to have her asleep by 8:00pm.

4. Move Up Your Bedtime Gradually Before School Starts

If you child’s summer bedtime has been later than the school year bedtime should be, gradually move up bedtime each night until they have a good handful of nights going to bed at their school year bedtime before school starts.

5. Keep Your Bedtime Regular – Even on Weekends

My kids tend to do better all around with a regular bedtime throughout the entire week. Weekends can be challenging in this respect, but try your best to try to keep your kids on a regular bedtime even on the weekends to keep their sleep routine regular.

 More Back-to-School Sleep Tips for Kids 

The National Sleep Foundation also offers these additional back-to-school sleep tips:

~ Before bedtime, start a “quiet time” to allow your child to unwind including relaxing activities such as a bath, story, or reading for older kids.

~ Limit TV, video games, and other electronics before bedtime.

~ Avoid big meals close to bedtime.

~ Avoid caffeine after 12pm or at least six hours prior to bedtime.

~ Maintain a peaceful sleeping environment – dark, comfortable bed, room temperature not too hot or cold.

~ Electronics should be removed from child’s bedroom and set in different location.

~ Be a role model of healthy sleep for yourself.

Do you have any advice on back-to-school sleep tips for kids? Please share in the comments below! 

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