How To Host A Successful Playdate #DisneyKids

I received free products in order to host the #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate.
The opinions expressed here are my own.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-playdate-blocks-image23559451As the mom of two kidlets under the age of 8, playdates are a big part of my life.

Playdates are great opportunities for children to interact with other children in small settings. Aside from being fun, playdates help a child the chance to develop their social skills, build their self-esteem and broaden their views on how people are different and alike.

I also find that playdates are a great opportunity for parents, especially working moms like myself who aren’t as visible at local activities or school events, to build relationships with other parents of similar aged children. It’s always helpful and reassuring to have friends who can share and commiserate in both the challenges and joys of raising children.

There are no hard and fast rules to hosting a playdate. All you have to do is remember that a kid playdate is not a star-studded gala. You don’t have to go all out to impress, all that work and detail would just be lost on the kiddie crowd anyway.  All you really have to do is make sure your playdate is packed with lots of fun!

Here are my tips and trips to hosting a successful playdate:

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The Harried Mom’s “Perfect” #SundaySauce

One of the moms from my book club recently had twins.  Between recovering from giving birth, taking care of two newborns, tending to her older daughter and oh yeah, don’t forget her husband and the house, I know it’s been an exhausting and overwhelming few weeks…and it’s just starting!

To help our mommy pal out our book club organized a meal train.  I had never heard of a meal train before, but I love its purpose.

A meal train is organized meal giving.  For example if someone is ill, elderly or has a new baby (or two!), caring friends, family, co-workers, neighbors or pretty much anyone who wants to show their excitement or compassion prepares and brings a meal to the family in need on an assigned day.   These are “drop off” ready meals – ones that the family can either pop in the oven to reheat or just stick in a fork in and start eating.

Taking into consideration my friend’s family dietary restrictions/preferences, I settled on making a spinach lasagna since I know it can freeze well if they decide they don’t want to eat it that day.  It’s also easy to prepare so I could double up on ingredients and stash a lasagna in my own freezer for a tasty homemade meal to reheat in less than an hour on a crazy weeknight.

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I think the secret to making a great pasta meal — whether its spaghetti, lasagna or ravioli — is that is has to have a great sauce.  Being Italian I’ll admit that I’m pretty good at making #SundaySauce.  It’s so good that it’s been known to be called “perfect” by my close friends and family.

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Holiday Gift Picks for Kids – Introducing “Show and Tell With Deb & Lisa” Video Series

I’m so excited to share today’s post with you!

Over the past year I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to check out great toys, books, electronics, gifts, clothes, events and activities at various blogging events which I’ve shared with you here at The Harried Mom. At these events I would always run into my friend Lisa Pisano from Mom A La Mode.

I love hanging out with Lisa. Why?  Because we’re two like-minded blogging moms who love to talk about products and our experiences. We figured if we liked talking about these things together, you might too and we’ve created a new series that we hope you’ll find both informative and entertaining.

So I’m proud to introduce you to “Show and Tell With Deb & Lisa” our new monthly vlog series that gives you the scoop on the latest in toys, trends and fun from two bloggers with an all access-pass to what’s hot and happening!

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For our inaugural episode we’re getting into the holiday spirit with a holiday gift guide for kids. Our picks are focused on items for both boys and girls and ranging in age from pre-K thru elementary school.

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What Marriage Is….

THM-WeddingOSBlog6-10-13Today The Hubs and I are celebrating a milestone. It’s our 10th wedding anniversary.

YAY for us!!

Before I got married I used to romanticized about it.

My marriage was going to be just like a fairy tale. Our love would be effortless and our lives would always be filled with romance, chirping birds and never any unhappy endings.

But here’s the reality….

Marriage is not a fairy tale. Marriage is hard word. Having a good marriage is even harder work.

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How to Get the Most Out of a Parent-Teacher Conference

It’s that time of year again, time for parent-teacher conferences. Over the next few days at my son’s elementary school parents and teachers will sit across from each other in tiny, uncomfortable chairs to discuss their child’s progress.

THM-Parent-Teacher-Conference-TipsTo many of my mommy friends the parent-teacher conference is one of the most dreaded meetings to have at school– the other being called to the Principals office!.

I don’t dread these meetings, but I usually don’t find them very informative.  Teachers are slammed, seeing families back-to-back in 15 minute intervals. It’s more like a speed dating session than having a meaningful conversation about my son’s progress.

However, I do think that parent-teacher conferences are important because it’s one of only a handful of times throughout the year that I get some actual “face time” with my son’s teacher. It’s a chance for me to show his teacher that I’m an involved parent and who genuinely cares and wants to know what is going on in the classroom.

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Keeping Kids Healthy – Tips To Prevent Getting & Spreading Cold, Flu and Enterovirus This Season

Did you know that the average school-age child contracts four or more colds per year, with each cold potentially lasting from 5 to 14 days?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sick-kid-resting-vector-illustration-boy-bed-image38728161In our household – if one person gets sick the chances are pretty likely that it will eventually make the rounds hitting all of us. It’s like a domino effect – one kidlet gets sick, gets better and then the other one gets it, gets better and it moves on to us parents. Once one of us gets sick it’s literally weeks before the “sickies” are out of our home. That means lots of missed school, activities, work and fun for the whole lot of us.

With the respiratory virus Enterovirus D68 wreaking havoc and the start of cold and flu season just around the corner it is important now more than ever to reinforce good hygiene and germ prevention to our kids.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the impact of Enterovirus D68 is having across the country. Babies and young children up to about 13 are at the greatest risk of contracting the illness, and it is especially dangerous for those who have a history of asthma.

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My Dad…..

Two weeks ago my dad passed away.

He had been ill for quite some time and had been in and out of hospitals and nursing homes.  The last few months of his life Dad wasn’t really living, he was just existing.   He wasn’t ready to go just yet.  When it was time he did it the way he wanted, at home, the place he loved most.  I have solace knowing that he is no longer in pain and is in peace.

I had been saying my goodbyes to Dad over the past several months.  I thought it was important for him to know how much I loved him and how his grandkids adored him.  Sometimes I would sit and talk with him while other times I would show him pictures or video of the kidlets.   However, some of our most profound moments were when we just sat quietly with each other.

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Kid Lit: Animal Adventures

It doesn’t matter what type – dog, cat, fish, hermit crab (a recent addition to our home) , giraffe, elephant or dinosaur – my kidlets love to read stories about animals.  This month’s Kit Lit review features two stories about animals that take place in very different settings — one living in the urban jungle of the city and the other out in the country on a farm.

THM-KidLit-LittleElliot-BigCity-BookJacketLittle Elliot, Big City By Mike Curato (Macmillan)

Little Elliot is an adorable little polka-dotted elephant living in the wilds of New York City circa 1940.  Amid the hustle and bustle of life in the big city with big crowds and even bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a happy and quiet, but solitary life.

In spite of the daily challenges he faces for being little, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy—like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter, a new friend.

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In the Cross Hairs – SoCozy Children’s Haircare Product Review

Thank you to SoCozy for sending us these children’s haircare products for review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own, based on personal experiences with the product. #SoCozyBTS

It’s no secret that I can’t do hair. I’ve had the same bob-style haircut for over a decade because it is simple to do and I can’t mess it up. When it comes to my daughter’s “do” – it really is a hair-raising experience.

It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of pTHM-SoCozy-Daughters-Hairractice, but I have gotten better with my daughter’s hair. At least I can tame her locks enough that she doesn’t look like she’s got a rat’s nest on top of her head!

I’m also working on stepping up my very limited styling game, especially now that school has started again. All the rage in my daughter’s preschool class is to have braids like Anna and Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” and she constantly begs me to do her hair that way. I always try my best, but my braids usually turn out lopsided with lots of wisps of hair that just don’t seem to make it into the braid while I’m plaiting.

But I’m not giving up!

I’ve quickly learned that a key element to styling my daughter’s hair – and for that matter my son’s – is that it all starts in the bath, with their haircare products.

We just started using SoCozy products and I have to say, I’m impressed. SoCozy is a salon level quality of hair care products that don’t contain any “nasties,”– you know harmful chemicals, toxins and parabens. Their products are made using extracts and natural ingredients such as hops, rosemary, arnica flower and aloe. They’re also gluten, wheat and nut free – which is super important to many families with sensitive skin or food allergies.Continue reading ⇒

Go Grocery Shopping & Earn Points To Get FREE Stuff For Your School With #Labels4Edu {#cbias}

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #Labels4Edu

Did you know that just by doing your weekly grocery shopping, you can be helping out your local schools?  Though I’ve seen them for years, but I never paid much attention to those education labels on the packages of products I bought. That was until my own kidlets started school and I learned about Labels for Education and realized that I was literally throwing away valuable points that could benefit my local school and community!

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Labels for Education is a great program where you can help your school earn FREE educational merchandise such as computers, software, sports equipment, musical instruments, library books and many other supplies. You can find out if your school participates by going here.  America’s schools and organizations have earned more than $114 million in merchandise over the Labels for Education program’s 40 year history. Who knew?!

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