3 Ways To Raise Happy Kids

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

Before starting college, I had some ideas about what I’d like to study, but it wasn’t until a couple years in that I found what I wanted to commit to: marriage and family studies.  I knew that what I was learning could be applied to both my current and my future relationships, especially my future family.  Growing up, I would say that I was generally a happy kid.  I got along with my parents, I had good friends, did well in school, was involved in extracurricular activities and active in church.  But if you had asked me then how I became that way–happy–I don’t know that I would have been able to nail it down.  However, through my coursework, and now through practical application (aka parenting), I’ve seen three ways parents can raise happy kids: building connections, setting limits and encouraging independence.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

So often, I hear parents joke around that they wish their kids came with a manual.  I’ve even said the same thing myself, especially when going through a challenging period of time.  And while each child is different, I know that a combination of connecting, limits and autonomy will help my kids develop into happy, healthy kids.

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

Building Connections
Shortly after becoming pregnant with each of my kids, I felt a connection to them.  My husband on the other hand, didn’t feel connected to them until they were born.  But regardless of when you first feel connected to your kids, it’s important to recognize that each child has an innate need to feel connected, which causes them to feel loved.  For example, my daughter has never been much of a snuggler.  Even now, she’ll sit next to me or my husband when we are watching a show or reading a book, but she’s never wanted to really connect that way for longer than a few minutes.  But, one on one time and words of encouragement and affirmation go a long way for her.  She literally lights up. 

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

On the other hand, my son is a big cuddle bug.  He was more that way even as a baby and now loves to snuggle and hug and sit on our laps.  Additionally, if you can get him talking or telling a story, he loves to feel listened to.  When each child feels connected in the way that means the most to them, they feel loved.  If you’re not sure how your child feels love, I highly recommend the book The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman.

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

Setting Limits
A strong parent-child connection is important because it builds the foundation for lovingly correcting our kids (aka discipline).  When we set limits, or rules, for our children we are teaching them self-control and establishing socially acceptable behavior.  Right now, my daughter is struggling to remember that her first instinct when things don’t go her way should not be to hit.  We are working with her to help her understand that there are other ways she can express her frustration, but that being physical is not acceptable.  We are teaching her that she needs to think before she acts and to think about how others will feel if she hits them (the golden rule).  As parents, it’s our role to be an example, follow through and maintain a strong connection with each of our kids.  They will (hopefully) recognize that the rules are there because we love them and want them to be happy.

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

Encouraging Independence
Kids seem to have a built-in program for using some variation of the phrase “I want to do it by myself!”.  As they grow and learn more about their abilities, they want to test the limits we’ve put in place.  While this can be extremely frustrating as a parent, it’s helpful to recognize that their desire for autonomy (independence) is actually very useful as it will prepare them for future real-world responsibilities, as well as teaching about choice and accountability.  Obviously, we have to allow some degree of independence otherwise our children wouldn’t learn how to do anything for themselves.  My kids are still fairly young, but I try my best to allow them the ability to choose wherever possible and within reason.  For example, I will tell them what the weather will be like for the day and then allow them to choose their clothes.  I ask them what kind of fruit or vegetable they’d like with their lunch (giving them options).  Doing this helps my kids feel like I trust them to make their own decisions and gives them confidence in themselves.  In addition, I have to make sure that when there is an unwanted consequence to a choice they made, that they take responsibility for it and learn from it.

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

Parenting is hard work.  I was just telling my husband the other night, “It’s so hard to feel like I always have to be on top of everything all the time!  There is so much to remember and so many things I need to teach them and it can be so exhausting.”  But the moments of joy–when your child puts into practice a concept you’ve been working on or they do they right thing even when they think no one is watching or they start on their chores without being asked or a hug for no reason–really do make this whole parenting thing so rewarding. 

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

As anyone who has been around kids can tell you, every kid comes with their own unique personality.  I love finding fun shirts for my kids to wear and graphic tees are some of their favorites.  When I saw these shirts from Cents of Style, I knew I had to grab a couple of them.  For my daughter, I chose the “Boys are EW”, although the “I believe in Pink” would have been perfect for her too.  My son is one of those funny, sweet, charming little boys and I got him a “Word to your Mother” shirt.  (I’m sure my husband will teach him all the words to Vanilla Ice’s song one day.)  My kids love their new shirts and I’m sure they’ll be wearing them for the rest of the summer.

Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.

Do your kids love wearing graphic tees?  If so, this weekend is the perfect time to snag some for Cents of Style’s Fashion Friday deal.  All their kids graphic tees are 50% off their lowest marked price, with clearance styles starting at less than $5!  Sizes range from 6 months all the way up to Youth XL (14/16) so there is something fun for all ages.  So go to Cents of Style, check out their kids shirts and then use the code KIDSTORY at checkout to take advantage of this deal, plus you’ll get free shipping!  This deal runs from 6/16-6/18

Have you seen these principles help you raise happy kids?

7 Tips for Hiking with Kids

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

This last week we went hiking as part of our Memorial Day activities.  We live close to the mountains and there are a lot of canyons and hiking trails to choose from, so we are always finding fun new places to explore.  My kids especially love hiking and it is one of mine and my husband’s favorite activities as well so we do a lot of it.  With this being the case, I’ve learned a few tips along the way that have helped make hiking a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

This post is sponsored by Nuby.  All opinions are 100% my own.  This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

It’s Not A Race
As we were walking along the trail with our kids this last week, they inevitably got side-tracked by different things: climbing on rocks, a flower, a stick.  My initial reaction was along the lines of: “C’mon, let’s go!” but then I realized that the point of the hike wasn’t about making it to our destination as much as it was about spending time together doing something we enjoy.  So if you go into your hike expecting that it will take longer, you can cut down on frustration at the so-called interruptions that are going to happen.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Bring Backpacks
This one has been a lifesaver for us when we go hiking.  I bought each of my kids a small backpack that we pack whenever we go on a hike.  Included in their packs is water and a couple of snacks to eat along the way.  They love having their own backpacks and I think it also helps them feel big and gives them a little bit more autonomy.  Even if your child says they will just carry their water or snacks in their hands or pockets, have them bring the pack because almost without fail they will want you to carry it for them or it will be put down and forgotten.  Here are a few good backpack options I found: HERE, HERE and HERE.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Create Teaching Moments
At one point in our hike, we stopped for a little snack break and the thought occurred to me to talk to my kids about littering.  I asked my daughter what we should do if we are out somewhere and there isn’t a garbage can for us to put the wrappers or plastic bottles in.  She replied that we should put it back in our backpacks and then throw it away later.  Then we talked about why that was important (keep trails clean, showing respect, etc).  It was a really simple lesson and one of those things that makes a bigger impact when we are actually out in nature rather than trying to explain it at some other time.  A few other teaching moments you could incorporate into your hike could be talking about plants and animals in the area, how rivers/streams are made, bring a nature journal and collecting leaves/flowers.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Research the Hike
Anytime we go on a hike, I make sure to find some basic information about it: Does it have bathrooms at the trailhead or along the way?  How long is the hike?  Difficulty level?  Directions or landmarks for finding the trail?  Best time of year for hiking?  Stroller or wagon friendly?  The list goes on and what you want to know will obviously depend on your own family.  I recently found a really helpful website called AllTrails.com, where you can search by state and it will come up with a list of hikes and a helpful description of what you’ll find.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Sunscreen, Wipes, Hand Sanitizer
Even if you put sunscreen on before you start the hike, odds are that you’ll need it again at some point before you get back to your car.  There are plenty of travel size containers of sunscreen that there really isn’t an excuse not to bring some.  Also, nature is dirty and kids seem to gravitate towards dirt so having something to wipe their hands off with is a good idea.  Just grab a travel size package of baby wipes and throw them in your bag.  And lastly, grab a small bottle of hand sanitizer to disinfect everyone’s hands with before eating or after playing in the water (if your hiking to a waterfall or by a stream).

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Flip-Flops/Water Shoes/Extra Socks
I don’t know about you, but after a long hike, all I want to do is take my shoes and socks off and let my feet breathe.  A lot of times, we will go out and get some food or stop by a store after our hike and it’s nice to have the extra pair of shoes to change into.  Depending on the hike, we will bring water shoes so we can wade around in the water and cool off, plus they protect our feet from sharp rocks and give us traction.  Along with this, consider bringing an extra pair of socks.  The shoes I use when we go hiking double as water shoes, but I hate wearing them without socks, so I like to bring an extra pair that I can change into before we start back.  Same goes for your kids.  Throw the flip flops or water shoes or socks into their backpack and let them carry it.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
And last, but not least, bring lots and lots of WATER.  This is one of those things that you absolutely do not want to skimp on.  Who cares if you have to stop along the trail 10 times so your child can relieve themselves?  It’s much better than the alternative.  Whether you’re hiking when it’s cloudy and cooler or hot and sunny, you need to keep yourself and your family hydrated and cool.  Little kids can overheat pretty easily so stopping and reminding everyone to get a good drink is essential.  Throw some ice cubes into everyone’s bottle or cup or even freeze the whole water bottle for a refreshing and cool drink for your entire (or at least most) of your hike.

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!

We brought our kids’ Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens with us on our hike and they were perfect.  The plastic is made of durable tritan from Eastman and the push top could be pushed down and covered by a plastic latch so it stayed clean.  The 12-oz size was perfect for our kids and how much they normally drink.  You can find these cups in store at Target and Babies R’ Us.  (Shop the water canteens online HERE.

(For my local Utah friends, the hike in these pictures is Battle Creek Falls in Pleasant Grove.)

What tips and tricks have you found helpful when you go hiking with your family?

And now, I’ve got a fun giveaway that you can enter to win four (4) of these Nuby Thirsty Kids Reflex water canteens for your kids!  See below to find out how to enter!

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8 Colorful Hands On Activities for Kids

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

If your kids are anything like mine, they are very hands-on.  They love to do whatever I’m doing, whether it’s gardening, baking, crafting, building, etc.  This is why I try to come up with activities that they can do most, or all of it, by themselves.  It’s exciting for them to create something and it builds autonomy which is an important skill as they get older and need to figure out problems for themselves.  Over the last couple of years since my kids were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it, I’ve done a handful of really fun and colorful activities.  These are tried and true and my kids ask to do them over and over again.

Elephant Toothpaste
We did this activity last summer and my kids went crazy over it!  The reaction is pretty amazing and we’ll definitely be doing it again soon.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Color Explosions
This activity is super simple and you probably already have the ingredients on hand!  You can do this one over and over again for really inexpensive.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Glow in the Dark Bath Paint
This is a great activity to do with your kids once your sure they won’t try and eat everything they can get their hands on.  A black light and glow in the dark paint make this activity great for those days when you’re stuck inside.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Dancing Rice
Using basic ingredients, you can do a little science experiment with your kids and show them how air bubbles carry the rice up to the top of a glass, making them look like they’re dancing.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Gak
Gak is one of those really fun things to play with no matter your age!  We did this one as a family activity one night and everyone got in on it.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Bouncy Ball
This activity was one of the first posts I did on my blog and I still get people coming back to it.  It makes for a fun afternoon activity at home or preschool activity.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Water Beads
If you’ve never heard of water beads, you are missing out!  We pull these out once every few months or so and the kids will play with them forever.  They are really inexpensive and you get hours of fun!

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

3 Ways to Paint with a Toddler or Preschooler
One of my most popular kid activities post!  If you have toddlers or preschoolers, this one is for you.  I’ve included 3 different ways you can let your preschooler or toddler paint (adult supervision still required of course).

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

And there you have it!  I hope you have fun trying these activities out with your kids!

St. Patrick’s Day Books for Kids (Ages: 3-10)

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.

One year when I was about 9 or 10, I decided not to wear any green on St. Patrick’s Day.  The truth is, my eyes are green and I wanted to play a trick on my friends so that when they pinched me for not wearing green, I could turn around and pinch them back 10 times.  (That’s the rule, isn’t it?)  I remember other years trying to be sneaky about where I placed my item of green: underwear, socks, a hair elastic, a bracelet or earrings.  Now that I’m older, I still think it’s fun to celebrate this tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day and my kids have loved it the last couple of years as well now that they are old enough to correlate green with the holiday.  And ever since having kids, I try to find a book or two that goes along with the holiday that we’re celebrating, including the one about leprechauns and pots of gold.

This post contains affiliate links which if clicked on and a purchase is made, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, I thought it would be fun to gather a list of children’s books about the holiday.  I remember some of these books from when I was in elementary school and I know my kids will love them too.  I’ve included a direct link to the book as well as the age range that is suggested for each book.  I hope you’ll be “lucky” enough to find a book or two to help celebrate this fun holiday! *wink*

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
How To Catch A Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
Ages: 4-10
15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling
Ages: 3-5

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
Ages: 4-7

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen
Ages: 4-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
How To Trap A Leprechaun by Sue Fliess
Ages: 3-6

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Teddy Slater
Ages: 4-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott
Ages: 5 and up

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George by H. A. Rey
Ages: 3 and up

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan
Ages: 6-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover by Lucille Colandro
Ages: 3-5

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson
Ages: 3-7

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
The Little Leprechaun Who Loved Yellow by Sally Huss
Ages: 2-8

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Lucky Tucker by Leslie McGuirk
Ages: 2-5

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski
Ages: 3-7

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Discovery In The Woods: A St. Patrick’s Day Surprise (Leprechaun Adventure Series: Book 1) by Sandy Barton
Ages: 8 and up

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Leprechauns Don’t Play Basketball (The Adventures of The Bailey School Kids, #4) by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Ages: 7-10

15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
Leprechauns Never Lie by Lorna Balian
Ages: 4-7 

And if you’re looking for more St. Patrick’s Day fun, check out this round up of 60+ coloring and activity pages!  You could easily use any of these books plus the printables found above for an awesome low-stress, kid-friendly holiday celebration.
What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

Mermaid/Under the Sea Party

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

For my daughter’s 5th birthday, she wanted a mermaid party.  Originally she had asked for a mermaid beach party but when I reminded her that mermaids live in the ocean, she came up with the idea to change it to a mermaid/under the sea party. *wink*  I had her help me look through Pinterest and pinned any ideas she liked to my party ideas board.  It was fun to have her help me plan it out and be involved but it also made me a little sad because it means she is growing up.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

I started by making a list of the different aspects of the party: invitations, games, activities, food and decor.  I made the invitations on my computer and printed them out at home.  I kept it pretty simple in terms of the games: fishing for prizes and pin the tail on the whale.  Our craft/activity was to decorate little “treasure boxes” with stickers, jewels and crayons/markers.  The food was one of my favorite parts to plan (details below).  And while I had the best of intentions when it came to decorations, I was also going through my miscarriage that same week and so I had to cut down.  You can find a breakdown of each aspect of the party below.  Feel free to use any of these ideas!

Invitations

Invitation for a mermaid or under the sea birthday party

I made the invitations using my computer and some wording I adapted from an invite idea I saw on Pinterest.  It said: Come for a dive!  Our little mermaid (child’s name) is turning 5!  I found a silhouette of a mermaid tail online which I saved and inserted into the word program I used.  Then I printed it out on white cardstock and cut it down to size with the name of the child who was invited on top.

Games

Fishing for Prizes
I went to the Dollar Tree and bought a variety of things for the kids to “fish” for: stickers, necklaces, rings, paddle boards and tops.  I also found a pack of two mini plastic buckets that were the perfect size.  Both my kids have little fishing rods with plastic hooks on the end that latch so we used one of those and attached the handle of the bucket that way.  We have a half wall leading down to our stairs so I just went on the other size with the prizes while my husband helped the kids go fishing.  Because we had boys and girls at the party, I made sure to ask who was fishing and gave prizes accordingly.

Pin the Tail on the Whale
While at the Dollar Tree picking up prizes, I also grabbed a couple pieces of blue posterboard.  On one, I drew a large whale shape, including the tail, then I cut it all out.  I drew a line across the part of the tail I wanted the kids to “pin”, cut it off and used that piece as a template for all the other tails.  I wrote the names of each child on the tail beforehand to save time.  We blindfolded each child and turned them around the number of times that matched their age, pointed them in the right direction and then let them go.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Craft/Activity

I had hoped to find some inexpensive treasure chests the kids could decorate, but the closest I could find was some paper mache boxes from Hobby Lobby that cost $.50 a piece.  I had grabbed a variety of stickers and adhesive foam shapes from the Dollar Tree and cut them up and put them in containers that I spaced between the kids.  We also pulled out the markers and crayons and let them go to town.  (Make sure you (or the child) write the name on the box.)  We encouraged them to put their fishing prizes in their treasure boxes to try and keep everything together.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Decorations

Decorations were pretty minimal.  I had dreams of crepe paper and balloons and cut outs of fish and sea shells all over but it just didn’t happen.  Instead, I found these little tissue paper pom poms at (where else?) the Dollar Tree and strung a couple of those above the table where we had the food.  Aaanndd…that was it.  Haha.  I didn’t worry about it too much and I don’t think a bunch of 4-5 year olds really cared either.

Food

Ah, yes.  What is a party without food?  There are at least a million food ideas for an under the sea or mermaid party on Pinterest and they are pretty amazing!  Basically, I picked out a few that I liked and knew would be simple and stuck with those.

Cupcakes  I made vanilla cupcakes with a yummy vanilla buttercream frosting.  I colored it using the Neon food coloring which turned out to be the perfect shade of blue.  I piped it on and then placed a seashell made from melted candy wafers on top.  (I found the mold at Hobby Lobby for $2.)  I sprinkled some crushed up graham cracker on top to look like sand and placed one little “pearl” (chocolate candy) on top.  They turned out so cute!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Oyster Cookies  I used vanilla wafer cookies, the same buttercream frosting I used for the cupcakes and another chocolate pearl to make the oyster cookies.

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Mermaid Tail Rice Krispie Treats  I used the individually wrapped store bought Rice Krispie Treats for this.  I cut kabob sticks in half and poked them into the treats.  I melted more candy wafers in a tall container and then dipped the treats about 1/2 to 2/3 into it before placing it on wax paper to cool.  I made the seashells by printing out a template on my printer and placing wax paper over the top, then piping more melted candy wafers it on top of the shape.  (A word to the wise: let the melted wafers cool a bit in the piping bag before trying to trace the template.  If it is too hot, it will just run out the tip in a blob.  Ask me how I know…)

Everything you need for a fun and simple under the sea or mermaid birthday party!

Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid  Self explanatory. *wink*

Goldfish Crackers  I totally forgot to set these out and probably would have been a good balance to all the sugar, but it is what it is.

(Most of the kids took their treats home on paper plates from my favorite store for party stuff: the Dollar Tree.)

Find Toys, Games, Arts, and Crafts For Only $1 Each! Shop Today!

Afterwards, we opened presents and then parents were coming to pick up their kids!  The entire party lasted about an hour and a half with 10 kids.  My daughter loved it and kept telling everyone about her mermaid party.

Do you like doing themed parties?  What have been your favorite (to throw or attend)?

Time Saving Hairstyles for Girls

Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.

When I got pregnant with my first child, I knew it was going to be a girl.  The same thing happened with my second child, except I knew it was a boy.  Isn’t it funny how we can feel these things sometimes?  When I got the confirmation from the radiologist that she was indeed a girl, my mind started going wild imagining all the cute clothes I would put her in, fixing her hair, painting her fingernails and toenails, mommy/daughter dates…  I was pretty darn excited!

Fast forward to mid-January 2012 when I went in for a scheduled c-section.  (The little stinker turned breach at 37 weeks.)  They pulled her out and the first thing the doctor said was: “She’s beautiful!”  The second thing he said was: “Look at all that hair!”  And it was true.  She was born with a full head of beautiful, soft, dark hair.  For the first few months I just styled her hair in a sweet little baby faux-hawk.

Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.

But within about 4 months, her hair had grown long enough that I had to keep it back with headbands or small flower clips (nothing she could swallow, of course).  Let me tell you what, that girl had some awesome bedhead!

Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.
11 months

My daughter is now 4.5 years old and getting her hair fixed is just part of the routine.  But being 4.5 years old also means that she is a busy, active girl who loves to run outside, wrestle with her brother on the ground and put blankets on her head as she pretends to be a hatching baby chick.  The hair that she had as a baby has continued to grow and she now has as much hair as I do!  We even use the same hair elastics because nothing else can stand up to her thick hair and active lifestyle.

Super simple time-saving tips for fixing hairstyles that stay in so you don't have to keep redo-ing it.
Look at this cute little sassy pants!

In order to keep her hair tamed, I’ve come up with a few simple, time-saving tips for keeping your girl’s hair out of her face and ready to keep up with her.  To learn more about these great tips, go visit my first official post as a contributor on Time Saving Mom.  Head on over to TSM to read the full post and be sure to leave some comments!  (Feel free to leave comments here or there.)

And if you missed my interview on TSM about how I save time and balance life, you can read that HERE.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

**UPDATE 12/17/16**

Amanda has decided she is no longer going to be running the Time Saving Mom blog so that she can focus her efforts in other areas.  She offered to let me move my content from there to here so that nothing would be lost.  Below is the post that originally appeared on Time Saving Mom on October 24, 2016.

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This post contains affiliate links which if you click on and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

As a little girl growing up, I was always asking to fix my mom’s hair.  Of course, it looked fabulous with all the ponytails and headbands and bows.  *wink*  But I actually got fairly good at it.  My mom went to beauty school at the same time she was in high school so she learned all the necessary skills to do almost anything with hair.  This is why I never went to a salon for anything until I was a senior in high school and wanted my hair done for Prom.  This is also why my mom never when to a salon–she just had me do her hair.  I can’t count the number of times I gave my mom a perm or highlighted her hair.  When she wanted a braid, she asked me to do it.

Fast forward to the 20 week ultrasound of my first child five years ago.  It was a GIRL!  I immediately started dreaming of putting her in cute outfits and fixing her hair.  When she was born, she come out with a full head of dark hair.  I had to start pulling it back with clips when she was 5 months old because it grew so fast!  Because she has so much hair, I’ve had to fix it for a long time, otherwise she’d just end up with a mop.  Talk about bedhead!

My daughter is now 4.5 years old and she has as much hair as I do.  We even use the same elastics because her hair is so thick.  It’s crazy!  But because she is still a little girl, she is always running around outside or rolling around on the ground with her brother and her hair can get a little…wild…to say the least.  So I’ve had to be creative in the way that I keep her hair tamed.

Here are a few tips:

  • Shampoo and Conditioner:  Gone are the days of using baby shampoo to wash my daughter’s hair.  To keep the tangles to a minimum, we use both shampoo and conditioner on her hair.  The combination shampoo/conditioner doesn’t do much for her so we have a bottle of each for her, plus some spray-in conditioner for any remaining tangles.
  • Wet Brush:  I learned about these about a year ago and they have changed my life!  And by default, my daughter’s life.  I always brush my daughter’s hair out withing about 10 minutes of her getting out of the bath because it hasn’t started to dry yet.  Using the wet brush get tangles out easier and that means less tear for her and less frustration for me.  You can find them at beauty supply stores or online.
  • Fixing Hair While It’s Still Wet:  When hair is try, or even half-dry, it starts getting hard to manage.  Think about when your hands are slightly damp and you run them down a dry surface.  They stick or catch, right?  Same goes for hair.  It’s easier to manipulate when it’s wet.  My daughter has a couple of annoying awesome cowlicks and I don’t have to fight with them as much when her hair is wet.
  • Use the Right Elastics: I know many little girls who don’t have a lot of hair or their hair is super fine.  Other girls are like my daughter with thick hair.  And then of course there’s the whole spectrum in between.  For my daughter, I have two different kinds of elastics that I use: plastic and rubber.
    • The plastic are thinner and stretch out more easily so they can generally only be used once or twice at most.  I use these for smaller ponytails, but will often double them up.
    • The rubber are thicker and can be used more than once.  They also hold the hair more securely.  I use these for larger sections of hair and have never needed to double them up.

The final tip I have which makes our lives easier is that I generally fix her hair at night right after her bath.  My daughter is in preschool this year and the mornings she goes are busy.  I’m sure you can relate if you have school-age kids.  The last thing you want to worry about is doing hair.

Today I’m sharing 7 different hairstyles you can do for your little girl (or big girl) that will stay in even with and active lifestyle.  When it comes to doing little girls hair, it’s really just a combination of braids, ponytails and twists.  If you know how to braid, that is just another tool to add to your skill set.  If you don’t, you can always learn by having something teach you or watching a YouTube video.  As you get more comfortable, you can try more complicated hairstyles.  (I really like the ones from Cute Girls Hairstyles.)

Ponytails
Ponytails are the most basic way to fix hair.  But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.  By using multiple smaller ponytails, the hair will stay in better because it’s held in more than one place.  I’ve included an example of how I use multiple ponytails to create a fun look that stays in.

Braids
Braids can feel intimidating if you’ve never done them, but there are so many great YouTube videos that you can watch to learn how to do different kids of braids.  I generally stick to French braids and Inverted/Dutch braids.  In my daughter’s case, the Dutch braids stay in better overnight because they are easier to pull tight, but I love using French braids as well.  Below are a few examples of hairstyles I do on my daughter regularly.

Twists
Twists.  Topsy-turvys.  Flips.  Whatever you call these, they are awesome because they help keep the hair in place, plus they add a little visual interest.  These are perfect for most hair types because the elastic stays close to the head and they are easy to tighten up.  To do a twist, you make a ponytail but don’t tighten it up to the scalp.  Use a rat tail comb to separate the hair above the elastic/ponytail into two, creating a space.  Then flip the ponytail up and through the hole.  Pull the elastic tight by splitting the ponytail into two and pulling outward.  Below are a couple of my favorite ways to style twists.

Combinations
Most of the hairstyles I do on my daughter are a combination of at least two of the styles above.  For example, today she has a twist and a braid.  You can often make a hairstyle last a couple of days by leaving the hair partially down one day and then pulling it all up the next day.

And there you have it!  I hope you learned some new tips that will save you some time!  Thanks for stopping by and please comment with any questions you have.  I’d also love to hear if you want more posts like this one.

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

One of my kids’ favorite activities is coloring.  I swear we pull out the bin of crayons, markers and colored pencils at least once a day.  As much fun as they have with our regular coloring books, it’s good to mix it up a little and print out some holiday/seasonal coloring pages.  I’ve collected over 150 Halloween coloring and activity pages for you to choose from.

To access the coloring pages, click on the link below the picture to be taken to the original source.  Happy coloring!

Coloring Pages

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
8 Halloween Coloring Pages  |  Holiday Crafts & Creations

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
24 Halloween Coloring Pages  |  Honey & Lime 
*These are the coloring pages I used for the Preschool/Toddler Halloween Party.

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
Monsters Coloring Page  |  Dabbles & Babbles

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
Halloween Color By Number  |  Itsy Bitsy Fun

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages

Activities and Crafts

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
Halloween BINGO  |  The Crafting Chicks

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
Halloween BINGO  |  Artsy Fartsy Mama

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
Halloween Countdown Bucket List  |  The Happier Homemaker

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
35 Pumpkin Crafts  |  Hands On As We Grow

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
Halloween Charades  |  The Joys of Boys

150+ Halloween Coloring and Activity Pages
*This is the treasure hunt I used for the Preschool/Toddler Halloween Party.

I hope you found some fun coloring pages, activities or crafts for your kids!  I know I did!