Posts by christy:

My Top 10 Beach Tips for Kids

My Top 10 Beach Tips for Kids

Today, I want to share my top beach tips for kids.  Summertime for our family means lots of beach time – kid play time, water time, sandcastle time (and most of the time) bliss.

My husband and I LOVE to take our kids to the beach to play, and we feel so lucky to live fairly close.  It doesn’t matter how many times we go…playing in the sand, chasing waves and collecting shells never gets old.

Beach Tip #1

Sunscreen them up before you get there.

Once you get to the beach, you will be juggling towels, toys, bags, umbrellas, coolers, and excited kids.  It will take you a little while to lug all of your stuff to the sand…and this is with your kiddos  jumping up and down excited.  Believe me, it is much easier to take the time to do the sunscreen before you arrive.

Beach Tip #2

Bring a laundry basket or a wagon for all of your beach gear.

This will be your rolling (or handheld) locker.  Whatever toys and towels fits in our laundry basket, we can bring.  I like laundry baskets because they typically have the grates where sand can easily shake and fall out.   But, I’d like to upgrade to the wagon since I can pull it!

Beach Tip #3

Follow-up to tip #2 – my rule is…we can bring what we can carry in one trip from the car to the sand.

It is hard enough to make one trip, while corralling kids.  Don’t make it harder on yourself by going back and forth to the car!  And as my kids have gotten older, they each have a “job” when helping with gear.  For example, I have them carry their own little kid beach chairs to the sand.

Beach Tip #4

Shade is key.

If you plan to be at the beach more than an hour or two, bring an umbrella, a pop-up tent (even if you have to borrow it!)…whatever will provide a little reprieve from the sun.  It makes it much more enjoyable for you and the kids on longer beach days.

Beach Tip #5

Scout out the potty situation beforehand…this is especially important if you have smaller children.

Some beaches have typical beach bathrooms with doors that close, some have port-a-potties, some do not have bathrooms readily available. Better to know before you go!  You can look this up online.  I also always stash some hand sanitizer in my beach bag.

Beach Tip #6

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Make sure to pack LOTS of water.  I pack refillable water bottles for everyone so that I can fill up at the beach water foundations.  It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re playing, so I usually make the kids take some sips every so often.

Beach Tip #7

Bring two towels per kid.

Sounds silly, right?  Well, in the past I’ve brought one towel per kid.  And at the first snack opportunity (mid beach play), they sit their cute muddy/sandy/icky tushes down on their towels to eat.  Then at the end of the day when they’re tired and ready to go, they want a clean towel.  If you have the room, I find that having two towels per kid has worked better for us.

Beach Tip #8

Pack some baby powder!

Yep, if you didn’t know this little secret, now you do.  Baby powder repels sand.  A super easy way to clean sandy little hands, feet and legs.  Oh, and I always stick in baby wipes, too.

Beach Tip #9

Bring some small baggies to give to your kids for their beach “treasures.”

Both of my kids collect shells.  And I am always being asked to hold them or put them in my nonexistent pockets (hello kiddos, mama is in a bathing suit!).  A few Ziplock sandwich baggies takes care of this!

Beach Tip #10

Playing in the sand is most fun with…yep…TOYS!

Here’s my tip.  Pack them in full sized trash bags.  Easy to carry to the sand.  Easy to dump out.  Super easy (and less messy!) to grab all of your sand toys at the end of the day and throw them in the garbage bags.  Less sand rolling around in your trunk!

What are your beach tips?  If you have a great one, please share below in the comments below!

How to Make FROZEN Glitter Silly Putty!

Frozen Glitter Silly Putty_4

This summer, my kids and I are having so much fun with crafts, science experiments and little projects.

After seeing a super fun pin on Pinterest from pagingfunmums.com on how to make silly putty, we decided to make this blog’s “Frozen” inspired glitter silly putty.

Silly Putty Ingredients:

Frozen Silly Putty_5

– A bottle of clear (or even white) Elmer’s glue

– 1/2 teaspoon of Borax (In case you’ve never bought this…like me…I found it in the home cleaning aisle by the laundry detergents.)

– Glitter (My kids couldn’t decide on just one glitter color, so we sprung for the glitter pack.)

– Blue food coloring

– Water

(Note – Because I have two kiddos, I doubled the ingredient list).

I was able to nab all ingredients at Walmart – but you can find these items at almost any Target, craft store, grocery store, etc.

How to Make Silly Putty:

1.  First, find a bowl that you don’t mind having blue food coloring mixed in.

2.  Pour the glue into the bowl.

3. Fill the empty glue bottle with water – add to the glue in the bowl – and mix well.

4. Add a few drops of the blue food coloring.  (By few, I mean few. A little goes a long way.)

5. Add your pretty glitter sparkles and stir.  Set the bowl aside.

6. In a separate bowl, combine a 1/2 cup hot water and a 1/2 teaspoon of Borax.  Stir well until dissolved.

7. Pour the Borax/water solution into your glue/water/food color/glitter bowl.

8.  Mix, stir, mix, stir.  (This may take a few minutes.)

9.  MAGIC!  Look at your super cool, sparkly silly putty!

10. I found it was best to place in a freezer Ziplock bag and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

11.  Once you can see it’s solidified, let your kiddo play, have fun and create whatever they want with this silly, gooey, glittery putty.

Silly Putty Activities:

And, who knew this would evolve into a full afternoon of creative play?!

We had trains going swimming, a fairy house with a brand new luxury swimming pool, a bull dozer pushing blue glitter loads…and on and on and on.

The kids were playing together.  Nicely.  Happily.  With sticky blue hands and grins.  Totally worth it.

Frozen Glitter Silly Putty_2

Homemade Silly Putty Tips:

– Your hands, your kid’s hands, and the surface you are working on will inevitably get colored with blue food dye.  My kids looked like little surfs.  Have no fear…it eventually washes out.  But make sure to pick a bowl, surface, and kid clothes that are okay to have splattered with blue.  We did it inside on the kitchen table.  Next time, we’ll try it out on the patio.

– Our putty had some leftover liquidy parts (try not to get grossed out by this).  Just drain them out and let your putty solidify for that recommend 15 minutes in the Ziplock bag.

Happy putty making!!

Thank you again to pagingfunmums.com for this fun idea!

College Nannies & Tutors

Orange County Nanny Service

[sponsor] 

In today’s world of being a mama, every mommy I know has a need at some point for childcare…whether it’s for a few hours every once in a while, or 6-10 consecutive hours a day during the work week.

Let me introduce you to College Nannies & Tutors of Tustin, Lake Forest and Surrounding Communities, a customized Orange County nanny service, helping you find trusted nannies, babysitters or tutors.

I had the opportunity to talk with Jeremy, the owner of College Nannies & Tutors (CNT), one of Tiny Oranges’ new sponsors, and we chatted all about the fabulous services they provide to families.  As a dad of two, Jeremy’s team motto is, “If they’re not good role models for his kids, they’re not good for your kids.”

Jeremy and his team are very picky about who they hire, as each applicant goes through a thorough screening process. All of the nannies that College Nannies employs are background checked, CPR/First Aid Certified and are employed by the company.  The nannies are covered under their insurance, are paid by the company, you don’t have to do anything!

As you can see by their Yelp reviews, families who have used this service have been very happy with the great nannies and tutors this company provides.

Orange County Nanny Service

When is the last time you had to find a babysitter or nanny?  Think about everything that goes into that process.  Choosing someone who you connect with, trust, and can count on.  Someone who is CPR/First Aid Certified.  Someone who will respect the boundaries and rules you set for your children.  Someone who is available during the time you need them.  And, most importantly, someone who connects with your kids.

I find that this process can be tedious and stressful.  How about you?

College Nannies can do all of this for you.  No, it is not too good to be true!

They offer their families a complete set of placement options and on-call child care services specifically tailored to your needs and the needs of your kids.

You can let College Nannies handle all the details of finding a qualified nanny or babysitter for your family…and they employ them directly, so you can enjoy hassle free child care with no worries.  They actually prefer to call nannies and babysitters “role models,” because they believe in matching you with the best possible role model for your children.

When I first heard this, I was curious as to how this company would find the best child care provider for my kids.  How would they understand what I want and who I want?

How it Works

The first step is to call and schedule a family meeting with College Nannies & Tutors.  Someone will visit your home, meet you and your children, and talk in detail about what your needs are.  This really helps everyone to feel more comfortable from the start.

Jeremy said that College Nannies & Tutors is really, really particular about finding the BEST fit for your family.  They offer permanent nannies ranging from 15-40 hours a week.  If you need a nanny for your newborn or toddler this is a great fit.  Or, if you have 5-14 year old their “after school” nannies are perfect for your family.  Of course, don’t forget date night, sick days or holidays – their “on call” services will give you peace of mind.

What you can expect from a College Nannies childcare provider: 

– Pick your needs:  services offered include on-call nannies, part-time nannies, full-time nannies, summer nannies, after school nannies, and parent’s night out babysitters.

–  All nannies are Background Checked, CPR & First Aid Certified and go through a thorough screening process.

– Nannies also receive ongoing education, including access to on-line training courses, videos, print resources, resource directories, the most up-to-date tools available, and the ongoing professional guidance of the College Nannies and Tutors team.

– Nannies and role models will watch children from 4 weeks old, up to the teen years.

The Cost 

My next question was price.  And, here’s what I learned.   The nanny is legally employed and paid hourly through College Nannies & Tutors. The hourly rate is all inclusive – meaning they handle all state and federal taxes, unemployment, FICA, Medicare, Workers Compensation, general and professional liability insurance, and non-owned car insurance.

(Holy moley, that’s a lot!  And, so important!  I find this to be a huge peace of mind, because then I don’t have to worry about these details.)

The hourly rate also includes payroll services and ongoing professional guidance. They bill on a bi-weekly basis; you will also have 24/7 secure access to your family’s detailed timesheets through their online family resource center.

And since every family’s needs are different, you will need to contact College Nannies & Tutors directly for information about your specific needs and to receive a more detailed quote and rate range.

Tutoring

And yes, they have tutoring!  Jeremy explained that all tutoring is one-on-one, typically starting at 5th grade, and then through high school; think English, math, ACT and SAT prep, study skills, homework help, and reading and writing.  You can have the tutor come to your house, or choose to meet at a local library or study-friendly environment.  All tutors have at least one year of experience.

What you can expect from a College Tutor:

– Tutors are current college students, college graduates and teachers who are at the top of their classes and chosen professions.

– Tutors will design a customized learning plan that aligns with each student’s school curriculum; they also have access to a variety of other educational resources.

– Most students meet with their College Tutor 1-3 times per week for a 60 minute session; however, many homework help students may choose to meet for 90 minutes per session.

– They bill at a flat hourly rate for all tutoring services. Rates will vary depending on your student’s unique needs, so please contact them directly for more specific information.

The Reviews

I love reading reviews – there’s something to be said about reading from other parents about their personal experiences that really make a difference to me.  Check out College Nannies & Tutors on Yelp.

Contact Them!

Please contact them at 949-253-5874 OR 949-933-2965 to learn more.

How Much is Too Much Screen Time for Kids?

Kid Screen Time - How Much Is Too Much_2

Okay mamas, I’m ready to talk about something a little touchy in the parenting world.  Something that affects all of us…and all of our kids.  Screen time for our children.

We are in the generation of everything electronic – TVs, cell phones, iPads, handheld gaming devices, laptops, tablets, thousands of apps and games, and everything in between.    All at out fingertips.  Which means at our children’s fingertips.  So here’s my question today: how much is too much screen time for kids?

Let’s open up a dialogue, because I am genuinely curious to hear what other mamas have to say on this subject.  I’ll start.  Here’s my two cents…please feel free to agree, disagree or comment below.

Our experience with our first child…

First, let me begin by saying that I have a four-year-old and six-year-old.  So that’s where my experience lies and my opinions formed.

For our family, the introduction (and controversy) of electronics came early in my kids’ lives.  On one hand, I was bombarded by educational and medical studies, blogs and conversations with other parents about how bad screen time was for kids.  I read them, I internalized them and I talked about them with my hubby.  I had a very clear picture of what I wanted for my kids.  Minimal, if any, screen time.

On the other hand…life happened.

Slowly but surely, we started letting our first child watch TV.  Hey, what’s one Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Little Einsteins??  We were pretty strict about having the TV off, except for these 20 minute shows that were kid friendly.

Our experience with our second child…

Then, our second kiddo came along.  And we let him watch TV a lot sooner than my daughter.  Kind of more by default.

And guess what?  Our lives got more complicated.  I was running out of creative ideas to entertain my then active, curious, loud two-and-a-half-year old while I nursed the baby.  Here kid, watch a Yo Gabba Gabba.

I found myself becoming more lax in the screen time department.  My threshold bumped up to a couple of 20 minute shows per day.

Onto the school years… 

Fast forward to present day.  I have a four-year-old and a six-year-old who now know the pass codes to my phone and iPad, know how to work the DVR, and know how to work the Playstation 3 for DVDs.  Oh, and both kids know how to login and navigate Netflix. (I’m kind of cringing even as I write this.)

My first grader is hungry for learning games and apps – beginner Spanish, language arts, learning about the States, and anything to do with reading and art…she could literally spend hours if I let her.

My son is honing in on his fine motor skills (which makes the iPad easier), and loves playing Starfall.com on the iPad – phonics, numbers and beginner reading.  And yes, I’ve seen a noticeable (good!) difference now that he’s been playing those games.

Some resources I found…

I started researching more about kids and screen time, and have included some of the websites and articles I found helpful:

American Academy of Pediatrics
Excerpt:  “Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”

Kids’ Screen Time May Affect Their Well-Being
This is a really interesting read, re-published by The Huffington Post (By: Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer;
Published: 03/17/2014 on LiveScience)

Kids Still Getting Too Much Screen Time, Experts Say (CBS News)
(By: Amy Norton, HEALTHDAY) – CBS News just shared a story on this very topic on July 9th.

Research Says Screen Time Can Be Good For Your Kids
Finally, I landed on an article that addressed some of the benefits of screen time.  (By: Jordan Shapiro, Contributor, FORBES)

Our dilemma…

My husband and I have been talking about how much is TOO much screen time.  Beyond the studies, beyond what the pediatrician recommends, beyond what other kids are doing.  Because at then end of the day, we’re just parents.  What are we comfortable with?

I asked my hubby this question last night – ideally, how much time are you comfortable with the kids in front of the screen…any screen.  His initial answer?  One hour per week, per kid.  I immediately started laughing.  He did too.

Sorry hubs, this is not very realistic.

I’d like to think we’re somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.  No, our kids are not in front of a screen all.the.time.  They are at school, they are at camps, playdates, activities, running, reading, playing, crafting, swimming…you name it.

But yes, our kids are allowed to watch TV, use the iPad for learning games, and watch kid movies on Netflix.

Some parents I talk to are ALL for the iPads, games/apps, TV, movies, laptops, etc. – the kids are learning by leaps and bounds, working on their fine motor skills, and it’s “the way of the world now.”

Some parents I talk to are really against putting their kiddos in front of electronics as a “babysitter.”  Their argument is that they should be engaged with the people around them, running, playing, creating, and learning hands-on.

I’m torn.  I see both sides.  And, I play both sides.  I’m more lax with the screen time, my husband tends to be more strict with their screen time usage.

Share your thoughts…

So here’s my question to you.  What are your boundaries?  What are your house rules?  How much is TOO much, in your opinion?  Please share below…and let’s talk about it in a fun, easygoing way…because at the end of the day, we all want what’s best for our kids!

$1 Movies for Kids this Summer

OC cheap summer movies for kids

Who doesn’t love to go to the movies?  Wellllll…sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming with a preschooler and first grader in tow.  That’s why I LOVE the these OC cheap summer movies for kids! We are talking $1 movies for kids this summer in Orange County, yes, only $1, offered at many theaters locations I have compiled for you below.

These fun, kid-friendly movies are shown in the mornings. Typically filled with other parents and excited, squirmy kids. And it’s okay that your kids laugh extra loud, talk during the movie,  spill their snack, and get up and down.  And up and down.  And up and down.  Oh, and cruise the aisles.  While watching the movie.

OC Cheap Summer Movies for Kids


Regal Entertainment Group

Summer Movie Express Program

Tuesdays and Wednesdays / Start time:  10 a.m.
(All tickets must be purchased at the box office)
Cost – $1

Regal’s 2014 Movie Schedule Includes:

Tuesday July 1 & Wednesday July 2
 – Arthur Christmas AND 
Despicable Me 2

Tuesday July 8 & Wednesday July 9 – 
The Lego Movie AND 
Free Birds

Tuesday July 15 & Wednesday July 16 – The Adventures of Tintin AND 
Rise of the Guardians

Tuesday July 22 & Wednesday July 23 – Kung Fu Panda 2
 AND Madagascar 3

Tuesday July 29 & Wednesday July 30 – The Croods AND 
Epic

Tuesday August 5 & Wednesday August 6
 – Turbo AND 
Walking with Dinosaurs

Tuesday August 12 & Wednesday August 13- 
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
 AND Rio 2

Click to enter your zip code and find the closest participating theater to you. And feel good knowing that a portion of the proceeds goes to the Will Rogers Institute.

Picture Show at Westfield Mainplace

Westfield MainPlace
2800 N. Main Street
Santa Ana, Orange County, 92705
Discount shows on Tuesdays – $1 

Krikorian Premiere Theatre

2014 Krikorian Kids Series 
(Buena Park and San Clemente locations)

Buena Park Metroplex 18

8290 La Palma Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

(714) 826-7469 (SHOW)

***Movies are FREE at this location!!  Sponsored by Buena Park Downtown.

641-B Camino de Los Mares
San Clemente, CA 92673
(949) 661-7469 (SHOW)
$1 movies at this location

Every Tuesday from June 17th through August 19th
Two showings per day will be available at 10:00 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Seating is first come, first served!

Tuesday, July 1 – The Croods

Tuesday, July 8 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Tuesday, July 15 – The Smurfs 2

Tuesday, July 22 – Epic

Tuesday, July 29 – Despicable Me 2

Tuesday, August 5 – The Lego Movie

Tuesday, August 12 – Turbo

Tuesday, August 19 – Percy Jackson – Sea of Monsters

Cinemark – Century 20 Huntington Beach & XD

Summer Movie Clubhouse 

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.
$1 movies (when purchased at the box office)
$5 for 10 movies (when purchased in advanced at the box office)

Century 20 Huntington Beach & XD
7777 Edinger Avenue
Huntington Beach, Orange County, 92647

Tuesday July 1 & Thursday July 3
 – Turbo

Tuesday July 8 & Thursday July 10 – 
Despicable Me 2

Tuesday July 15 & Thursday July 17 – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Tuesday July 22 & Thursday July 24 – Walking with Dinosaurs

Tuesday July 29 & Thursday July 31 – The Lego Movie

Tuesday August 5 & Thursday August 7 – Rio 2

Tuesday August 12 & Thursday August 14 – 
Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Tuesday August 19th & Thursday August 21 – The Chipmunks – The Squeakquel

Tuesday August 26 & Thursday August 28 – Zookeeper

**Disclaimer and note – I encourage you to always call ahead or check theater websites for updates!

Another great resource I found is Plan a Day Out – this site shares about local discounted movies, movies in the park, movies at your local library…plus lots of other great summer activities and event ideas.  Check it out!

I love these $1 movies for kids.  It’s cheap, it’s air conditioned, and it’s fun for summer!  Share your favorite thing to do with your kiddos below.  And, where do you like to take your kids to the movies?

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