9 Reasons You Need to Attend Pickin’ on the Porch

Pickin’ on the Porch is a live music event that happens at MB Roland Distillery which is located in Pembroke, Kentucky. The event happens on select Saturday evenings in the summer. If you are local and haven’t been you probably should. If you happen to be somewhat near by, Clarksville, Nashville, Hopkinsville, Paducah, it would be worth the drive. 

1. It is free. You can go to this event completely for free. The parking is free. The event is free. You literally just have to show up. 

2. There is plenty of room. There is plenty of free parking available. There is plenty of room to set up to enjoy the music. You are allowed to bring your own blankets, chairs, tents, shades, etc. The only restriction is that you can not set up tents/shades in certain areas. There is plenty of room for kids to run and play. Oh, I almost forgot, you can bring your dog too, theres plenty of room for them. 

3. You can bring your own food. This is pretty sweet. I have seen families who bring in subway, McDonald’s or food from home. You can bring your own non-alcoholic drinks as long as they are in their original containers and unopened. Bottles and sippy cups or babies are allowed. 

4. The music is great. They always have artists who are pleasant to listen to and can play a variety of music. The stage on the porch is pretty neat too. There is an area up front that they keep clear for people to dance. 

5. The environment. It is right at the distillery, which is an old dairy farm. You are out in the middle of nowhere sitting on a lawn surrounded by fields listening to people play music on an old porch. Does it get much cooler than that?! It is also an environment that is family friendly. The crowd stays mellow and in our experience has never been rowdy. It is also a safe place to be. You can leave your stuff and walk around without having to worry. There are also sheriff deputies on site. 

6. They have food trucks. Food truck food is the best! Each time we have been there have been different food trucks, sometimes it’s BBQ, other times we have had burgers or street tacos. Every time it is delicious. 

7. They sell beer. They sell local beers and hard cider by the cup or by the growler. They accept cash or credit card. 

8. Fun for all ages. Everyone has fun. My 65 year old dad came with us and had a blast. Our 16 month old has a blast every time. We have met new people, had great conversations with strangers. It truly is a place you can bring your whole family to for a good time. 

9. Unlimited snow cones. Yes. UNLIMITED. As in unlimited for the entire summer as long as you remember to bring your up back. It is about $6 for a cup, about $3 if you have a military ID. That cup is good for the entire season. UNLIMITED SNOW CONES!!! You can’t beat it. 

Despite his face, I promise the snow cones taste great!

For more information on the Pickin’ on the Porch events you can visit the MB Roland website at http://mbroland.com

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5 Things to Consider Before Taking a Toddler to the Beach

The conditions may not be ideal. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the conditions. If your toddler is anything like mine on a sunny day he refuses to wear sunglasses and keeps a hat on in 30 second increments. He will either need to get used to squinting or get better at keeping things on his head. Temperature is another condition that comes to play. If it is hot, that sand can get hot quickly. Toddlers don’t always understand this right away, especially when they have recently learned to walk. The water may also be colder than comfortable. The water may also be too rough for safe swimming. Go anyway. Just be prepared. 

Sunblock. You will need to put it on. Try to get it on somewhere away from the sand. Sand + sunscreen + busy toddler = chaffing where you don’t want it. 

Food. Pack it. Your toddler will get hungry while there, even if you just fed him. Mess free foods that they don’t have to touch are great for the beach, baby food pouches, yogurt pouches just to name a couple. 

What to wear. Not just your child, you. Have you ever been around a toddler while wearing a bathing suit? You will want a suit that he can’t easily expose anything on you that you don’t want the entire beach to see. Think about a cover up that is easy to put on and take off too. 

He may actually hate it. Yup. What you can’t see in this picture is that my poor little guy is crying. He hated the sand, the water was freezing, he straight up hated it all. We had been at the beach 8 months prior and he LOVED the sand and the water. I was so excited to take him back and he hated it. 

6 Things Cloth Diapering Dads Should Say To Their Wives

6 things you should say to your other half if you really, really love her and want to keep her happy. These will probably be most effective if you cloth diaper, but will work well if you don’t too. 

It’s OK, I’ve got it. In reference to the baby just pooped. Your response should be, I’ve got it. Spraying, dunking and swishing, whatever else needs to be done to complete that change. Your response should be, it’s OK, I’ve got it. Got it? Even if you don’t really got it, just try. 

Would you like me to start laundry? Yeah. Better yet, start it, finish it and put it away too. I absolutely hate putting clothes away. Want to really make a woman happy? Do the one thing for her that she hates doing the most. Oh, and know the wash routine!

Go ahead and buy it. I know your baby doesn’t NEED another diaper, but sometimes buying that diaper is more than just buying a diaper. It makes us feel good inside. We stay up for exclusive prints to stock, we get anxious about fastest finger stockings, we spend hours adding things to our carts just to get to certain amount, we (im)patiently wait for our packages to be delivered, we take pictures of the outside of the packages, open our fluff mail together and post pictures for all to see. It’s more than just buying a diaper. Let her buy them. 

Why don’t you take 20 minutes to sit uninterrupted on Facebook chatting with your other cloth diapering friends. This might be every cloth diapering mom’s dream. 20 minutes without someone watching me pee and trying to hand me bits of toilet paper?! 20 minutes to gab with other moms! Sign me up! Husbands, boyfriends, significant others, say this, it will make her day!

OMG look at this new print!! You getting excited, genuinely excited, about a certain diaper will make her excited too. She will feel like you truly support her in this crazy cloth diapering world. 

You look beautiful. Because sometimes we just need to hear it. Sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful when you barely have time to brush your teeth in the morning. These words are always nice to hear. 

The Ugly Truth About Swim Diapers

This is the truth. A lot of parents do not realize this. Go on to Walmart, Target or Amazon and read the 1-2 star reviews of disposable swim diapers. Nearly all of the poor reviews state similar complaints. Basically pee everywhere. Complaints such as, “I put this diaper on my child and as we were walking to the pool he peed all over me.”

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Here is the truth about this complaint. Any and all swim diapers are not designed to hold in pee. Swim diapers are not absorbent. If they were absorbent they would also hold in the water your child is playing in. If they were absorbent they would also balloon up like a regular disposable diaper when wet, since that is the part of the diaper that does the absorbing. There is no absorbent material in swim diapers. The purpose of a swim diaper is just to contain solids. That is the dirty truth. People, children, babies, even adults urinate in pools ALL OF THE TIME!

Another major complaint I came across while reading reviews was that the disposable swim diapers are not available in small enough sizes. If their purpose is to contain solid messes, and if you have a baby you know that those messes aren’t always exactly solid, the diaper being too big, well you see the problem. The smallest weight listed on either package is for babies who are 16 pounds. Keep reading, I may have an easy solution for you.

So now I ask you, why as a consumer, do you continue to spend about $10 on a pack of 24 or less disposable swim diapers to throw away that are only meant to contain #2, but are also not completely effective at that either?

Here is where the cloth swim diaper comes in. They will fit better. They will contain #2 messes more effectively. They are cute. They are not expensive. You can reuse them.

Swim Diaper

You have many brands to choose from when it comes to cloth swim diapers. Many are carried at great small businesses like Kelly’s Closet and Squigglybugs. Target has started to carry some cloth options as well. I am going to highlight a few of the cloth swim diapers that we have tried and loved.

Bummis Swim Diapers

The Bummis swim diaper is called “Swimmi”. They are one of the only swim diapers on the market that is a true one size swim diaper. The diaper features rise snaps that you snap together to fit babies from around 10-35 pounds. They are made out of a laminated lycra material, so they will not fade in the water. The snaps allow for an easy change if there is a mess in the diaper. Added bonus, they have some really cute prints for both boys and girls. Oh, and they are made in Canada. The price point for this one at Kelly’s Closet is $23.95. Not a bad price when you think that could fit for multiple summers.

Smart Bottoms Swimmers

The Smart Bottoms side snapping swim diapers are my personal favorite. They are available in a variety of prints and sizes. Here is their sizing chart: Small (8-16lbs), Medium (16-30lbs), Large (30-50lbs). Sizing is generous. The elastics are gentle enough that they do not leave red marks, but snug enough to contain any messes. I prefer to snap mine up and slide it on my little guy like a pair of undies. When taking it off I use the snaps and unsnap it like a diaper. This swim diaper is lined with a moisture wicking fabric to help prevent rashes and keep solids contained. A little birdie told me they may be getting some new prints in soon! These are available at Kelly’s Closet and Squigglybugs for $15.

My swim baby

My Swim Baby swim diapers are great if you have a smaller baby. These run very small. You will need to size up at least one size. Last summer, my little guy was around 10 pounds and wore a medium. They have snaps on one side. The best part is that each swim diaper has a matching rash guard and sun hat. These are on sale for really cheap at Squigglybugs right now but patterns and sizing is limited. They are also available at Kelly’s Closet. This is the diaper that will solve your problem of the disposable ones being too large.

None of the diapers listed above are absorbent, just as the disposable ones are not absorbent. A little mommy hack, get a few cloth diaper boosters. Lay one in the swim diaper when you are on the way to and from the pool or beach. This should help absorb most or all of the pee if your little one happens to go.

Surviving 40+ Hours in the Car with a Toddler

Before we were even pregnant we swore that we would not let having children change our lives, meaning we wouldn’t stop doing things we love, we would just do them with our kids. We kinda love road trips. I guess that is why we thought it would be OK to be in the car with our almost 16 month old for well over 40 hours across the span of 2 weeks. And ya know what? It WAS OK! No major crying fits. No tantrums. We did it!

Just a little background, we were not in the car for a solid 40+ hours. We took an 8 hour each way round trip to visit family and friends. Were back home for one night, then drove 11.5 hours to visit friends, another hour to do sight seeing with friends, 4 more hours to stay with family, another 4 hours to see more family, and finally 9 hours home. Total time spent in the car 45.5 hours. This doesn’t count the time spent in the car while at each destination.

Here are our tips for traveling road trip style with a small toddler:

  • Travel while they sleep. Whether it is at night or during nap time you can cover some serious ground while your little one is asleep. Make sure you bring what you need to help yourself stay alert.
  • Stop as often as needed. Stop to switch drivers. Stop to eat. Stop to change diapers. Stop to get out and play. You will need to stop more often with kids, but it’s also good for you to stop too. We planned stops where we knew they had a place to play, sometimes this was a friend’s house, or a cloth diaper warehouse. Make it fun.
  • Pack food. We are big snackers in the car. We packed up a reusable shopping bag filled with random snacks for ourselves. I also packed up a few of these awesome bento boxes called a Yumbox with snacks for the toddler. They are perfect for traveling. When we stopped for fast food it also meant that he could still eat healthier. IMG_20160626_100319929
  • Be flexible. Something will not go as planned. You will be later than expected for a stop. The baby will poop right after you get back on the road. Just like with anything else, when you have a toddler, you have to be flexible.
  • Have a bag of car toys. This saved our trip. I kept a little tote filled with his favorite books, little trucks, teethers, stuff he hadn’t seen in a while and kept it in the passenger seat. When he was awake we would hand him something from the bag. When he was done with it we would usually hear “uh oh”, and then hand him the next thing from the bag. It never got old. IMG_20160621_201532116
  • Have an amazing kid. Some of being able to survive this long in the car is that our kid is pretty laid back. I like to think that we’ve helped make him that way.IMG_20160621_202142889_HDR

Making Colored Rice For Sensory Play

Colored rice is a great sensory activity, here’s why I think so:
1. It is SUPER easy to make.
2. Inexpensive
3. Appropriate for a wide range of ages.
4. It covers a lot of senses, touch, sight, put it in containers to shake and hear.
5. You can reuse it for art projects too.
6. Short list of ingredients.
7. It’s fun!

Here is what you will need:

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  • Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Pan and parchment or wax paper for drying
  • Baggies for mixing
  • White Vinegar (1 tbs per cup of rice)
  • Food Coloring
  • Rice

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with about 20 drops of food coloring into a baggy.DSC_0016.JPG
  2. Add 1 cup of rice.DSC_0017.JPG
  3. Mix it around so that all of the rice gets color on it.
  4. Spread it out on the pan.DSC_0018
  5. Stick it in the sun to dry. Every 5-10 minutes spread it around and break up any clumps. (You can also just dry it in your house, but it will take longer. I am sure a low temp. oven would work too, just didn’t try that myself.)

I mixed one color at a time simply because I don’t own a ton of pans, and I wasn’t in a hurry. Little man enjoyed helping mix the bags.

Having a variety of colors to explore with makes it even more fun! We mixed red (which came out more bright pink), yellow, green, blue and purple.

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Helpful tips:

  1. Be sure the rice has dried completely before storing it.
  2. Storing the rice in containers with lids ensures moisture won’t get in, and they are also fun to shake around.
  3. Get a large container with a lid for playing in that can double as storage. (The ones I picked up I got at the grocery store, it was reasonable for a two pack)
  4. You can mix more rice of each color, just adjust the amount of vinegar, amount of dye and size of your baggy.

 

The best part about it was watching little man’s delight at feeling the rice and mixing the colors. I am big into just letting him explore and figure things out on his own so, I just let him go at it whatever way he wanted. He preferred using his hands to put each color in individually, then mixing them. He also preferred playing with the empty containers. Playing outside made cleaning up even easier.

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When we shook it all together at the end, the result was pretty cool looking. All the rice is stored away in the same container we used to play in for the next time. We did not spend time to sort the colors back. HA.HA.

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Tips For Working Parents

Disclaimer: This post is not to bash or down play the hard work that stay at home parents put in.

Being a working parent can suck. It can. When you are at home you have the constant feeling that you need to be the best parent and forget about work. When you are at work you have the constant feeling that you have to be the best at your profession while constantly thinking about your child. It is a struggle. It is a balancing act. It is possible to do both and do well at both.

Both my husband and I work full time. We both have significant drives to work. His commute is about 20 minutes, mine is about 45+ minutes. We also have different days off, meaning he has off while I work, and he works every weekend. Here are some things that we have found help us stay sane at work and at home on a regular basis…wait, are we even sane on a regular basis? These tips would probably be helpful for anyone.

  1. Help each other out. This one is huge! Helping one another is truly the key. With both of us working one of us usually makes dinner while the other one plays with the kid. One of us packs up his bag for the next day, while the other one packs up his lunch. Neither of us complain. We never really tell each other no. If one of us needs help, or asks for something to be done, the other one just does it. It helps us to both be happier at home.
  2. Have a plan. For everything. Plan for the expected and the unexpected. Plan what everyone will wear the night before. If you have school aged kids, have them wear their school clothes to bed so getting dressed in the morning is argument free and thoughtless. Plan what you will eat for the day, for the week. Have a plan for what will happen if the kid is sick. Who will stay home? In our house, my husband is first in line for sick duty since he doesn’t have to write sub plans when he misses a day of work.
  3. Learn to let it go. Be okay when said plans do not work out. When things go wrong at work, let them go before you get home. When things go wrong in the morning at home, learn to let it go before you get to work. It’s not your kid’s fault you had a crappy day at work, just like it’s not your boss’s fault that your kid slept horribly the night before. There will be nights when you get NOTHING done at home. There will be dishes in the sink, or laundry piled high, but I assure you, it will be okay. Let it go, let it go!
  4. Find childcare you can trust. Find someone or somewhere you can take your child that you feel comfortable. As parents, we all worry a little bit when our children aren’t with us. That worry gets multiplied a thousand or more times over when we do not 100% trust who they are with. Visit childcare places when there are children present. Ask questions. Pop in. Be open with them about your expectations.
  5. Put down your devices. How much time do you waste on your device at home? This is an issue for us. Set aside a couple of hours each night that are device free. You would be shocked at how much more productive you can become.
  6. Early bedtime. Send those kids to bed early. Kids need more sleep than adults anyway. Bedtime in our house is around 7. Once he is down we get ready for the next day, taking care of any house work that needs to be done or personal things. This is also our time to be together. Sometimes, we just hop into bed, stalk Facebook, play some games, talk and go to sleep.
  7. Quit comparing yourself to others. Social media is the worst for this. We see an unrealistic picture of what other’s lives are like. Does it really matter what is going on in their house? Do what works for you and your family. Just because their child will have homemade cutesy Valentines to bring to school does not make her a better mom than you. Because he caught his son’s first steps on camera does not make him a better father than you.
  8. Continue to love what you do. You chose your job before you had kids. You loved your job. Remember why you love it, and continue to love it. Now, you are also a parent. Parenting is also a job. The most important job you will ever have. Love it. Love it when it’s fun. Love it when it’s tough. Be the type of person you would want your kids to be. They are watching.