Packing Perfection: Preparing to Travel with Babies or Toddlers

Contributed Article

Travel with babies and toddlers can be a challenge, but it can also be a grand adventure! Pack perfectly and follow a few easy strategies and your trip with kids can be an entirely enjoyable situation! Yes, for real 😉

Tips for Travel with Babies or Toddlers
Pre-packing checklist

Before you begin packing, make an on-paper checklist of the things you’ll need while vacationing with your kids. Once you are 100 percent sure every necessary item is on the list, start the packing! Don’t wait until the last minute to do this, advises travel gurus at BabyCenter magazine.

Plan on at least two outfits per day per kid and check weather forecasts before you go. If you’re traveling to a colder climate, remember to take along a cozy sweater or winter coat for each child, too. Extra socks can be a real lifesaver, too! Although you could always hand wash socks in your hotel room, it’s so much easier to put on a new pair.

Familiar things in a new setting

Little ones tend to prefer familiar things, so be sure to take small TSA-approved travel bottles of your kid’s favorite shampoo, lotion, and other kiddie toiletries. Place bottles inside a sturdy zip bag to prevent accidental leaks and spills. If your child needs medicine, stash labeled prescription bottles in your handbag or carry-on tote. You certainly don’t want to wait in case your luggage is delayed for any reason.

Many kids are accustomed to their favorite snuggly blanket or familiar stuffed teddy bear. Take them along! Your child is sure to sleep better while in a strange hotel room if they have their favorites along. Most nice lodging options offer kiddie beds and travel cribs. Call ahead to reserve a portable baby bed at the Marriott Boston or wherever you will be staying.

Life’s little essentials

Another must-have is snacks! Don’t count on finding healthful treats at an airport. Instead, tuck granola bars, oat cereals, and juice boxes into your purse or carry-on bag. Remember to pack extra snacks for yourself, as well. Herding little ones through airports and train stations is hard work, and you’ll want to keep your energy levels high.

Toddlers and bigger kids may enjoy carrying their own toys and treats in a backpack purchased for your travel adventure. Go ahead and enclose a package of baby wipes in their pack, and you’ll always have a quick and easy way to clean sticky hands and faces, say traveling moms at Parenting magazine.

Plan to unpack as soon as you check into your hotel room. Make the space as kid-friendly and childproof as you can. Set up a play zone with your toddler’s favorite toys and a few new ones purchased especially for the trip. If you are traveling with an infant, set up a diaper changing station. Call housekeeping for extra washcloths and towels. Trust us when we tell you that you will definitely need them!

Travel offers a wonderful opportunity for family bonding and plentiful memories. Plan ahead, make lists and check them off, and have a fine time traveling with babies and toddlers!

Contributed Article

Family-friendly floors for your home

Family-friendly floors written in partnership with Luxury Flooring.

When it comes to making the right kind of choices for your family, you may not think that the type of floor you have is all that important, but it is! Your floor takes a lot of hits, especially where kids are involved, but can you have a stylish floor with little ones running around? Of course! You don’t have to compromise style for practicality. In our home we have a mix of solid wood flooring, carpet, laminate, and tile! We’ve left everything the way it was when we bought it, but we’d like to get the carpet replaced with wood eventually.

family-friendly floors

To help you make the best choice for your family and your home we’ve whittled down 3 favorite family-friendly floors…

Laminate Flooring
Laminate is still one of the most popular flooring choices, not just for family homes, but any home in general. The great thing about laminate flooring is it is designed to replicate a real wood floor, but at a much cheaper price. It also comes without the pressure having to maintain and protect from any scuffs or blemishes. When it comes to family life, nothing is guaranteed to stay spotless for long (right?!),which is why it’s important for something to be easy to clean and maintain. Trust us, it
doesn’t come much easier than laminate.

If you do get any spills or messes, they can be easily wiped away and it will look like nothing ever happened! For day to day cleaning, all that is required is a simple sweep with a broom. For a deeper clean you can always use a warm, damp mop or cloth. Of course the amount of times you clean your floor using this method is dependent on how messy your floor gets! Another great thing about laminate flooring is that it’s made in layers with a protective top layer, so it’s much more resistant to
scratches and scuffs than real wood.

Solid Wood Flooring
If you don’t mind spending a little more on your floor then you should definitely look into solid wood flooring. This is more than just a floor, it’s a lifelong investment in your home that will probably outlive the house itself! Often described as the ‘ultimate family-friendly’ floor, solid wood is one of the most durable materials available on the market and will definitely stand the test of not only time, but of your little ones too! The most highly recommended types of timber used in solid wood flooring are usually oak or walnut, both of which are really strong materials and easy to clean and maintain, too.

When it comes to real wood there are often more things to consider than just the type of wood you want. What kind of finish do you want the wood to have? There are two main choices—lacquered and oiled—but each have their own pros and cons when it
comes to family life. Lacquered finish floors require very little maintenance, but they do scratch easier than oiled floors and the scratches are more visible, too. The oiled finish on a floor gives protection to both the inside and outside of the wood because the oil actually penetrates it and provides long-term protection as well as a protective layer on the surface. As a result, scratches are less visible on oiled floors, but this does not mean they are indestructible either. The downside of oiled floors is that they do require a little maintenance of reapplying the oil finish once a year. So if you’re looking for a floor that can be installed and left to do its job then this may not be the finish for you!

family-friendly floors

Vinyl Flooring
Probably the most inexpensive type of flooring on this list, vinyl is a great value for the money. Because of the way that it is manufactured (or should we say baked?) by using either felt or foam vinyl, it provides a soft surface, which is ideal for homes with smaller children! As mentioned previously, vinyl is one of the cheapest flooring options available but when properly installed it can last for over 20 years! Definitely cost effective! Of course this also means that you and your family need to
take care of the floor, too, but that shouldn’t be too difficult—once it has been installed, vinyl requires little maintenance and can be cleaned relatively easily, too.

Those are our top 3 family-friendly floors—what do you have in your home or what do you want to get?

Family-friendly floors written in partnership with Luxury Flooring.

Minecraft in a Chicago Movie Theater: this weekend!

Does your child love Minecraft? Starting this weekend on Saturday morning, instead of just playing at home, they can enjoy the game while meeting new friends as part of a local team representing Chicago, thanks to Super League Gaming and their Minecraft City Champs tournament, run in partnership with Nickelodeon. It’s like little league for Minecraft players! Fun, positive, and a special opportunity to get out and play with other kids their age. Past players clearly have had a GREAT time!

One skilled player will win

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Tips from Fit Moms on Finding Time to Exercise

Tips from Fit Moms on Finding Time to Exercise, Contributed by Kate S.

Everyone has trouble sticking to their exercise routines, but it can be almost impossible for a mom. Between looking after kids, taking them to school, going to the doctors, and any other commitments, there’s almost no time left for a mom to get her sweat on. Here are some top tips from fit moms to help you find time to exercise.

1. The Early Bird Gets the Workout You need to work out as early as possible, before the day has

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Jacob’s 1st Birthday: Viking Party

My baby is ONE?! But I just had him! I tell ya, that cliche “time flies” doesn’t change by the 3rd kid. In fact, time flies even faster. What a blur. In true Norwegian fashion, we went with a themed Viking party for the little man. It was a lot of fun to put together!

How cute is this cake?! Jacob’s little smash cake is sitting on top and looks just like a Viking helmet. I know, I know, REAL Vikings didn’t actually have horns on their helmets, but… it’s cute that way.

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Weird Weather and Insects: How your Kids Can Enjoy Some Safe Summer Fun

Contributed Article

Kids love the summer! In that time, moms and dads arrange for kids to enjoy activities, be monitored, and stay healthy. Aside from the sun’s rays, protective parents research the weather, insects, and other summertime hazards. Be prepared for weird weather, insects, and the worst summer can throw at you so the kids stay safe all season.

Water Hazards

Drowning occurs suddenly and without much accompanying sound. Parents help prevent catastrophe by staying off smartphones when chaperoning kids; being aware of their own CPR skills (as well as the knowledge of those

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Babysitting Tricks: How to Keep the Kids Busy and Happy

Contributed Article

So you have been tasked with taking care of your friend’s children, but you are dreading that you won’t have enough fun and games to keep them busy while you’re there. What you need are a few creative ideas that will keep those kids happy! After all, the last thing that you want kids to say is that they are bored. Luckily, we have compiled a few tips below for how you can entertain any children you are babysitting.

Outdoor adventures

If it’s the right time of year, playing outside is a

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