Tuesday Tips #1 Professional Photos
For all of you who are planning on getting professional photos or doing a fall mini session this fall, steal my easy mom hack and take a few photos of your kiddos with your own phone while you are at the photo session.
📸 - your kiddos are already dressed up and looking nice and your photographer has probably picked a good location with a decent background and lighting, so what do you have to lose?
📸 - you will get a few photos right away
📸 - you will have a photo or two that aren’t a gigantic file size
📸 - your kiddos may be more relaxed and comfortable with you
📸 - you can also get a few candid shots that could turn out to be really fun
We did a summer session with my in-laws and extended family this summer and while we did get lots and lots of lovely photos from the photographer, the one I took with my phone was my favorite. I may be biased, or proud of myself for taking a good photo, but this photo is now my phone background and makes me smile every time I open up my phone.
This may not always work out in your favor but trust me you’ll be happy if it does work out and like I said before, you don’t really have anything to lose.
Tuesday Tips #2 Hybrid Shopping
I’ll be honest with you, I love grocery pickup and grocery delivery, BUT there always seems to be a few things that I’d like to pick out myself. Do you ever feel that way?
This is one of my favorite time saving tips for maximize your next grocery run. I primarily do this at Target, but it really works well at any grocery store that provides pickup services.
Maybe I’m old school, maybe I’m picky, either way this dilemma has stopped me from taking full advantage of the benefits of grocery pickup.
So my solution is hybrid shopping (I made up that term, but it seems to fit, right?).
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: I go into the app and order all of the things that I KNOW I need (TP, laundry detergent, pasta, sauce, diapers, soap, bread, bagels, cereal etc.).
Step 2: I make a quick list of all of the other items I need or want to check out (veggies for dinner, salad, fruit for kiddos etc.).
Step 3: When I get the notification that my order is ready, I head to the store and park in the pick-up spot.
Step 4: After picking up my ordered items, I move my car and park in a regular spot, go inside and get the last few items on my list.
Here’s why I love this hybrid version of shopping:
🛒 I save a TON of time by ordering the same things that I always get and I know I that I need.
🛒 I save my sanity by knowing I can still pick out my produce or make last minute decisions based on what l see in the store.
🛒 I save money (this is my husband’s favorite 🙃) by not walking through the entire store for a full shopping trip and buying random things that I see.
🛒 I find it easier to use coupons and shop deals when I’m using the app and not wandering through the store.
🛒 This method also helps with items that I need eventually, but maybe not right away. I just put them in the cart on my app and they are there when I’m ready to check out.
You can adjust this method to what works best for your family and shopping style. Hope this saves you some time and sanity!
Tuesday Tips #3 – Moving Obstacle Course
One of my favorite ways to make your daily walk more interesting is to turn it into a moving obstacle course.
I love this because:
🍁 It adds some excitement to a daily activity
🍁 Is the perfect activity if your kiddo needs to get a little “extra” energy out
🍁 Is a great way for your kiddo to practice some different gross motor skills
🍁 Is really easy to modify to almost any age and ability level
🍁You can make it as long or as short as you need
Here are some quick ideas for what you can do. Take these ideas and make them your own based on what your kiddo likes and what kind of features you have in your area. Also, make sure to teach them to be respectful to neighbors and not trample any plants etc.
- Climb up on walls and balance while walking
- Walk backwards
- Spin in a circle at each corner
- Run and stop at a certain house, tree, or other landmark or play red light green light
- Jump over cracks
- Hop from rock to rock
- For smaller kiddos riding in the stroller, you can narrate what the older sibling is doing or modify to make it more of a visual activity - “let’s look for yellow flowers, red cars etc."
Tuesday Tips #4 - Unexpexted Travel Tips
We all know traveling can be stressful and you probably have the major things dialed in by now, so here’s my round up of a few extra tips that might just make that next trip a tad easier.
✔️ Try out items ahead of time - this is important for kids of all ages (and adults too). Try on the rain jacket to make sure it still fits, practice with the travel carseat, take the travel stroller around the block to make sure the wheels aren’t in need of some love, you get the idea.
✔️ Keeps snacks on hand for tricky times - If you are a mom of a baby or toddler you already know to keep plenty of snacks handy and ready. But now that my kiddos are bigger sometimes I forget that there are times when we are traveling and a snack is helpful for everyone (mom, dad & grandparents too).
✔️Allow time for exploration - sometimes we get so focused on all of the sights and the schedules and the ticket times, that we forget that we all (adults included) need time to just explore a place without the rush.
✔️ Plan enough down time - we all need downtime whether that is quiet time in the room, some time reading a book, or just time to be in the hotel room and not have to be rushing to the next activity. Plan this in and it will make the rest of the trip more enjoyable.
✔️ Smile – it means the same thing in any language, requires no translation, and often makes stressful situations easier.
✔️ Always keep emergency Oreos on hand – similar to the item about snacks above, but on overdrive. You never know when an Oreo is going to make things easier. Trust me on this one. I’ve traveled with “emergency Oreos” since long before I had kids and they’ve never let me down.
Tuesday Tips #5 - Start a Small Tradition
As we are getting close to the end of the year we start to think about traditions a bit more.
Bigger or seasonal family traditions provide a special role in our family, but can sometimes seem daunting to me. But an idea to do something fun (and maybe even make one night of the week easier at home) is to start a simple weekly family tradition.
Quick story → A couple of years ago we started our simple family tradition by accident. Friday nights felt tough since everyone was tired and needed a break from the week, I was out of good dinner ideas, and we were all getting frustrated trying to think of something special to do.
So Breakfast for Dinner and Family Movie Night became our Friday night tradition. Now this was nothing really that special, but we did it once and then did it the next week and everyone was happy so we did it again the week after that, and a simple and satisfying tradition was born.
It was a win-win for everyone.
😊 I didn't have to think of anything to cook for dinner. Sometimes we go all out and make pancakes and eggs and sometimes it's just cereal and smoothies or yogurt.
😊 Watching a movie as a family feels like a nice way to relax and snuggle and experience something together.
😊 Because we are watching together we can watch some films that are geared toward a little older audience since we can pause and explain to our kiddos. Lately we've been on an 80's/90's kick and just watched Back to the Future and Titanic with our kiddos, so it's been fun for the adults at home too.
Remember this is a fun opportunity to do what works for you and your family in this moment.
Ideas for simple and sweet weekly family traditions:
✔️ Breakfast for dinner
✔️ Family movie night
✔️ Game night
✔️ Worry Book Wednesday (I'll share more about this idea in a future issue of Tuesday Tips)
✔️ Weekend brunch
✔️ After school Wednesday Walk
✔️ Saturday Scavenger Hunt Walk
A few tips before I let you go:
✔️ Make it flexible - traditions that are too rigid are hard to keep up. So make sure to give yourself a little flexibility.
✔️ Make it work for YOUR family and remember that what is great for some is not great for others. So you do you, Mama.
✔️ You certainly don't have to come up with a cute name or use fancy alliteration, but it does help your kiddos to remember and in my opinion makes it feel a little more special.
Tuesday Tips #6 - Easy Grandparent Gift Idea - Turn photos of your kids into notepads
This is a great way to give a fun photo gift that is actually useful and not just another frame that they need to find shelf space for.
Why I love it:
✔️ Useful - Almost everyone uses note pads or sticky notes or notebooks and this is a fun way to look at loved ones while you write your grocery list or daily to-do list.
✔️ So easy! You can order these from most all of the main online photo sites. You can even create them while you are making your holiday cards.
✔️ Inexpensive - for a meaning and useful gift this is very inexpensive. Obviously, prices will vary based on size and what you get, but last year I got sticky note pads for $3-4 and larger notepads and notebooks for $10-12. And keep an eye out because those photo sites often have coupons or free shipping.
✔️ It's repeatable - I mean, maybe you can't do this EVERY year, but cute photos of your kiddos are always going to be something your loved ones want to see, right? And they will change as your kiddos grow.
Bonus Tip: If your kiddos are big enough to write on their own, it can be fun to make them their own pad for their "own" notes. It can be a fun project to let them pick out the photos and designs OR you can make it as a fun surprise. Last year, I had each of my kiddos make one for each other.
Bonus Tip #2: You can also do this with your artwork or drawings. Just snap a photo of their art and upload it like a photo. It's a fun way to keep some art around that may otherwise find its way to the recycle bin.