This post is sponsored by Bubblebum. All opinions are my own.
Find out how it’s easier to carpool and to travel with a child’s booster seat by using Bubblebum inflatable booster seat!
When my daughter started Kindergarten, Bubblebum was the very first tip that I learned about from the other moms. See, my friend had a two-door car, but she wanted to be able to carpool with other families.
She discovered a small, inflatable booster seat that could fit easily between other car seats and boosters in the back seat! Honestly, we all decided to purchase one for our kids to make carpooling easier that year. But, I found even more useful ways to use the Bubblebum beyond carpool…
What is a Bubblebum Booster Seat?
Well, the technical answer is that it’s the original, inflatable car booster seat for kids aged 4-11 years, weighing 40-100 lbs that can fit 3 across the backseat. But, the mom answer? It’s exactly what we all need to have in the back of our cars to make carpooling and traveling with our big kids a breeze!
See, I learned quickly that it was going to be hard to safely take other kids home with me after school. The thing is, it’s almost impossible to fit two boosters in the backseat of my car since they have bulky armrests and my younger kids are still in car seats.
There’s just not enough room for two big boosters and a car seat in the back.
To let the kids travel without booster seats.
*insert scared face*
In fact, new research carried out by BubbleBum has revealed that the majority of parents have driven a child in their vehicle without the correct car seat. And, I have to admit. I’ve done it before too!
Even though that can be an easy “solution,”you and I both know that isn’t safe…
Why Buy a BubbleBum Booster Seat?
Well, BubbleBum includes belt-positioning clips instead of having arm rests, so it’s possible to fit three boosters across the back seat of a car, minivan, or SUV!
Thank you, BubbleBum!
And, it makes sense because BubbleBum was created by an Irish mom-of-two, Grainne Kelly, as a solution to her own struggles while lugging heavy booster seats during her travels with her kids. Now, BubbleBum is leading the way in ensuring that EVERY child has a safe and comfortable booster seat on EVERY car ride.
What Make BubbleBum Booster’s Easier than a Traditional Booster?
Well, my favorite part is that it’s easy to store and takes seconds to inflate.
In fact, my daughter can deflate, roll up, and place BubbleBum in its handy sack all on her own. We have put her Bubblebum in her backpack so she has her booster with her when she goes to a friends house after school, but now all the moms that I know have bought our own Bubblebum boosters to store in our cars.
That way, we can always safely another kid home with us in a pinch!
Does Bubblebum Make it Easier to Travel?
The short answer is YES.
Summer vacations are right around the corner. BubbleBum will keep kids safe no matter where your travels take you. It’s ideal for road trips, fly-ins with car rental, Uber/Lyft and Taxi rides.
Personally, this is my favorite reason to have a Bubblebum on hand. We like to fly with Bubblebum because we can easily store it in our carry on luggage. That way, if we can safely drive the kids around in our rental car without having to lug bulky boosters around the airport.
But, it also makes it easy for my kids to jump in the car with their grandparents when we go to visit without my family having to buy and store their own car seats for my kids!
But, is Bubblebum a Replacement for a Traditional Booster?
We still use booster seats in our cars for everyday driving, but just like a traditional booster, BubbleBum offers the perfect “boost” to keep kiddos from slouching to bend their legs over the edge of the car seat. Slumping introduces slack into the belt path and can lead to submarining (where the seat belt slides above the pelvis and into the abdominal area). This is extremely dangerous, as it can cause abdominal injury in the event of an accident.
Which is why we don’t want to just drive our kids without a booster to make it “easier” when we carpool or travel.
Here are some more fun facts about Bubblebum:
The IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) chose BubbleBum as the “Best Bet” in their booster seat evaluation report for the past 6 years. Parents can trust BubbleBum to keep their most precious cargo safe in the event of an automobile accident.
BubbleBum’s air-filled design provides extra comfort and will keep kids comfy AND safe for all long and short car trips!
Weighing in at less than one pound, BubbleBum can inflate and deflate in seconds, making it simple to throw in a backpack or large purse.
BubbleBum is super cute too and comes in the following designs: Black, Pink, Luck of the Irish, British-inspired Union Jack, and American Stars & Stripes.
I personally bought a black Bubblebum so that I could use it for all of my kids, but I know that my daughter would have loved to have the pink one!
As a quick recap, here’s why Bubblebum is the perfect carpool and travel hack for busy moms:
Bubblebum is small and easy to inflate and deflate.
It stores easily in its sack.
It keeps kids in a safe body position for riding in the car.
It easily fits three across the backseat.
I feel like we should put this on every back to school list for moms!
I could not be happier that my friend discovered this awesome, inflatable booster seat. We’ve recommended this to a bunch of friends who love it too.
The best part?
It keeps our life simple while keeping our kid’s safe. Finally, a mom hack that actually works!
Thank you to Bubblebum for sponsoring this conversation. I already brag about your product to every mom that I know, so it is wonderful to get to work directly with you! Follow along with Bubblebum on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Need a fun activity for baby? You’ve come to the right place!
Inside this post, I’ll share exactly how to make a fun activity for baby with a sticky surface and foam letters. Your baby will love it!
Ready for some easy fun? Let’s go!
Full disclosure: I know it’s hard to see what’s going on in this picture.
I can almost hear you thinking,
“But what is this baby doing in the picture!?”
“How old is that baby??”
“And, where can I buy those magic sticky letters?!”
Well, hold on, friend…
Don’t go clicking over to Amazon just yet, because those letters?
They were a $1 find at my local K-mart. No Amazon purchase required (unless you want to).
And, the stickiness??
Well, it’s just something that you need to pick up at your local grocery store…
Before you start making a list of supplies you’ll need for this activity, let’s chat about why we do fun baby activities around here in the first place and how old my little guy is in the picture. Plus, why you should do fun baby activities in your house too.
What Are the Benefits of Doing a Fun Activity for Baby?
The teacher in me wants to tell you that there are SO many benefits to doing this fun activity for baby like:
Hand-eye-coordination as the baby moves their hand to grab a letter.
Strengthening fine motor muscles as they grasp the letters.
Sensorial experiences as they feel the sticky wall.
And, retaining attention as they focus on grabbing multiple letters off the wall.
That said, the mom in me wants to tell you that life is busy and it’s far too easy to turn on the TV, grab something blinky and/or noisy to “entertain” the baby, and completely lose our minds from the repeating blinks and sounds by dinner time.
So, to be honest, the real answer is that these activities help to maintain my sanity at home with my kids, but within each activity are tons of amazing learning opportunities for kids.
In my opinion, it’s never too early do activities with babies!
That said, you don’t have to go crazy. I spent most of my early days snuggling, nursing, and sleeping alongside my babies. So, don’t feel the pressure to do all the things. I like to do activities with my babies once they are sitting up because they are actively looking to play with objects around them.
Note: In this picture, my son is around 14 months. But, this activity could be adapted for younger babies by lowering the sticky wall so a sitting baby could reach.
But, what does all of this have to do with YOU?
While these activities aren’t hard to do or to set up, they do require us to think a little differently about how we “play” with our babies. Say goodbye to searching for “top baby toys” or looking for another crazy alligator push toy (although my son does love his); instead, you can go to the grocery store and the dollar aisle to entertain your baby.
Are you willing to trust me on this??
It’ll be easy. Promise.
Okay, let’s talk about supplies…
This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. They’ll take you to the exact products that I recommend so you’re life is a little easier. And, no, there’s no extra cost to you for clicking on these links.
Supplies For This Fun Activity for Baby
You’ll only need 3 things for this activity:
Contact Paper (I buy mine at our local Rite Aid. But, yes my dear friend, you can buy it on Amazon too – you’re welcome)
Small foam puzzle (Again, I picked up a small foam puzzle in the dollar section at my local K-mart. If I were to buy one on Amazon, I’d buy this mini puzzle version.)
How to Make This Fun Activity for Baby
Here’s how to put up this sticky grab game for baby:
Put up a sticky wall byusing CLEAR contact paper. Remember how I said that you can find the sticky wall in the kitchen section of groceries store? You can find contact paper at the grocery store, but I grab mine at Rite Aid. You can also buy it here too.
Peel back the paper on the back of the contact paper roll and tape a section to a wall or window nice and low for toddlers or slightly higher for preschoolers. Just make sure that the sticky side faces out.
Use lots of tape here, don’t be stingy!
Then, grab anything lightweight like the foam puzzle. Lightweight is the key term. If objects are too heavy, they will pull down the contact paper from the wall.
Then, stick and *grab* the pieces off. You can also see it in action on Instagram.
Take the letters down and then put them back up to repeat.
You’ll see the magic right away after you play this game.
Inside this post, I’ll share exactly how to turn an egg carton into an engaging activity for your 1 to 2-year-old baby. Yes, really.
Ready for some easy fun? Let’s go!
Full disclosure: I realize that this doesn’t look like a super fun game.
I mean, an egg carton and q-tips? I can almost hear you thinking: Um, Katie… this belongs in my recycling bin not next to my baby.
I know, friend.
I’m not here to make a fool out of you by making you dig through your recyclables for no reason. There is a VERY good reason why you should go dumpster diving today…
Before I send you off to go jump into your trash can, let’s chat about why this is fun for baby…
Why Do a Fun Baby Activity at Home?
That’s a bit of a loaded question. For me, I didn’t really know what to “do” with my first baby.
I loved her.
I stared at her.
And, I pumped a lot of milk for her (TMI).
But, the real magic happened when I sent her to childcare.
That’s how I learned how and why to do fun baby activities with my little girl.
Her fabulous teachers taught me about the RIE philosophy.
What is RIE philosophy?
Here’s a quick synopsis of the philosophy:
The basis of Magda’s Gerber’s RIE philosophy is respect for, and trust in the baby to be an initiator, an explorer, and a self learner. Magda encouraged parents and caregivers to provide: An environment for the child that is physically safe, cognitively challenging and emotionally nurturing. Source
What blew my mind about this philosophy is that they regard our babies as little people who deserve to be spoken to and included in every step of the day.
As a quick example, we learned to say things to my daughter like, “Lillian, is it okay if Daddy holds you now?” as opposed to just handing her off to my husband. If she shook her head no or leaned towards me, I wouldn’t pass her off to my husband.
It allowed her to have independence and a say in what was happening even before she could speak!
But, what does this have to do with a fun baby activity?
Because I learned that my baby was always learning.
No, my daughter couldn’t speak, ask questions, or throw big tantrums yet (don’t worry, she made up for it). But, she was always learning even with little tasks that seemed mundane or uninteresting to me.
Like an egg carton and q-tips.
All it takes to engage our little learners is to experiment with what interests them. And, this is activity appeals to most 12-18 month olds!
At least, thats what my fellow moms have told me over on Instagram…
Supplies For This Fun Baby Activity
Q-tips (just a few)
Now, all you need to do is prep that takes 2 minutes or less…
How to Make Q-Tip Push Game
Turn your egg carton over
Poke holes in the bottom with scissors and make each hole bigger by pushing a pencil through
Make sure a q-tip can fit through each hole.
Just show baby how you can push a q-tip through a hole and your baby will catch on quickly. This activity is pure magic.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pampers Pure at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.
Inside: Pampers Pure and Pampers Pure Aqua Wipes are now available at Walmart and Walmart.com!
When Being a Mom Makes You Both Nervous and Hopeful
When my son was born he had swallowed some amniotic fluid during birth and, apparently, babies can choke on the mucus and cause harm. After hearing those words from the nurse, it put a boulder-like knot in my stomach.
It felt like a heavy reminder that I was now responsible for a brand new human.
A brand new human with unpredictable needs.
Like needing to suck the amniotic fluid out of his throat…
Who knew that was a thing??
Maybe your story isn’t like mine.
But, I imagine that you’ve been through something like this with your babies too. A time when you felt nervous about taking care of your new baby. I imagine that in the midst of those emotions, you also felt a sense of hope.
A hope that you could and would do everything in your power to help your baby thrive…
Well, when I brought my son home, he spent the entire night awake and screaming. Literally, we slept maybe 45 minutes. His little belly was inflamed, red, and it was clear that he was in pain. While doctors found nothing “wrong” with my son at the Doctors, I had to be so careful about what products I used on my son’s new skin.
He was sensitive to EVERYTHING and if things didn’t feel quite right for him, it meant that no one slept at all.
Hop over to Walmart.com to grab Pampers Pure Diapersand Pampers Pure Aqua Wipes. I mean, they even qualify for free shipping once you spend $35. (that’s one box of diapers and one 6-count box of wipes!).
Hello, savings and cuteness. (see pic below for the cute corgi’s on the diaper print!)
The market is always evolving, and many times, it is to your baby’s benefit!
3. I may not be doing it “right” but I’m doing what’s best for me and my baby
Bottle feed or breastfeed? Baby-led weaning or purees first? Co-sleeping or crib?
There are so many options, it’s a bit overwhelming.
While it might feel like there’s a “right” choice, there really isn’t. There’s only the best choice for you and your baby.
And, guess what?
Those choices may change and evolve as your baby grows. Co-sleeping may work for a while and then it doesn’t. Or, maybe you breastfeed for a while and then move to the bottle.
Don’t be afraid to “break the rules” and do what feels like the best choice even if it’s not what you thought you would do.
The first year is demanding and often times darn right grueling. It doesn’t feel like it now, but it’s also fleeting. When you look back, you’ll want to be able to say – you know what, I made the best decision that I could for us.
And, that’s the secret…
This first year with your baby?
It’s no longer about pregnancy or postpartum or just you or just your baby. Nope.
Instead, it’s all about learning to live life for the first time as “us.”
And, that shouldn’t make you feel nervous at all. That should fill you with tremendous hope, don’t you think?
Inside this post: an easy boredom buster that turns a cookie sheet into a coloring page. Plus, how to clean the paint and sharpie off easily.
The running joke over on Instagram is that I’m always taking something out the kitchen, ignoring it’s intended use, and turning it into a toddler toy. Seriously, you can see for yourself.
Today is no different.
But before you run and start drawing all over your kitchen supplies with sharpies, I want you to see exactly how to turn your cookie sheet into a fun painting project. Because there are a few essential steps that you’ve got to know before you start!
First and foremost, you’ve got to know that sharpie comes off of cookie sheets.
Why do you need to know that?
Because sharpie pens are how you’ll draw images on your baking sheet for your child to paint. It’s kind of essential to this project!
How to Remove Sharpie From a Cookie Sheet
I did a small test in the corner of my baking sheet by drawing a little line. Then, I grabbed the secret sharpie removing ingredient –> RUBBING ALCOHOL and tried to wipe it away.
The sharpie came off easily.
But, I recommend using a tissue or paper towel instead of a sponge to soak with rubbing alcohol and scrub. The tissues works wayyy better than the sponge.
I’ll get to how to clean up the tempera paint in just a minute.
But first, here’s what you’ll need to make this boredom buster…
Affiliate links to Amazon below
Materials for This Fun Boredom Buster
Cookie Sheet (Flip it over and use the bottom of the sheet)
Inside this post, I’ll share exactly how to set up an easy, mess-free sensory bin for toddlersand kids that your kids will actually want to play with.
Ready? Let’s go.
Full disclosure: I know that nature soup is not a novel idea.
In fact, you might be thinking: But, Katie? Don’t you just dump a bunch of flowers in some water and call it good?
Oh, no friend.
It’s not just about dumping “‘stuff” into a bin with water. Although, that kinda works in a pinch. Today, I’m sharing with you my trick for keeping a mess-free idea like this nature sensory bin going for hours even days.
Want to learn my trick?
It all starts with you grabbing your muffin tin…
This is about the time when my husband would say: That’s not a muffin tin. It’s a cupcake tin.
*insert eye roll*
Hopefully, by now you know what I’m talking about and you’ve grabbed the right muffin shaped gadget for this activity…
Here’s what else you’ll need.
Supplies For This Mess-Free Sensory Bin
Large plastic bin or container
Muffin Tin (not cupcake tin)
Food coloring (optional)
Bits of nature like flowers, herbs, leaves, etc.
THIS is when this post gets good.
Remember how we talked about how nature soup isn’t actually a new idea, but that it can still provide hours of fun for kids?
How to Make This Nature Soup Activity Last for Hours
Okay, we need to have a chat.
I think one of the things that we do as parents (me included) is to set our kids up with something like a project, activity or whatever by prepping everything for them.
We do all the things!
Collect the supplies.
Arrange it nicely for them.
Give them directions.
And, then our kids gobble up the craft or activity in 2.5 seconds.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve done this! I have too!
It’s just that this is what I’ve been talking about.
This is the missing piece that keeps kids from diving deeper into play.
Let me explain…
Imagine that you’re about to paint the Mona Lisa.
She’s sitting in front of you with that wry smile and her eyes are magically following you everywhere (super creepy really). And, as you look at your art supplies, you notice that someone has already mixed up all the paints for you. They’ve even started to outline her shape on the canvas. And, you only have big, thick brushes available even though you really love working with fine-tipped tools.
You keep thinking…
Those are not the colors that I need!
I need a deeper blue and this pink is too bright for her skin. And, that shape? It’s not how you would have outlined her.
But, now you’re stuck.
You make do with the supplies that you’ve been given, but if you’re being honest? You’re just not that excited about painting the Mona Lisa.
This, my friend, is what can happen to our kids.
In an effort to set things up and to make things easier on them (*ahem* and easier on ourselves), we inadvertently take away our children’s ownership of their projects and activities.
So, how do you give kids ownership of their activities?
Byincluding them in as much of the process as possible.
In the case of nature soup?
Take them on a nature walk to gather the flowers, the herbs and let them sort everything into muffin tin.
Let them watch as you fill the muffin tin with water and help find a place in the freezer together to freeze their nature collection over night.
The next day, let kids dye the water whatever color they’d like.
Take out the frozen nature collection together and let them see if they can get the ice to pop out.
Then, let them dump the ice into the water bin. Give them a spoon or scoop and step back while they play.
Because the project happened over a long span of time and because the kids were a part of every step along the way, this isn’t just nature soup….
This soup is whatever the kids imagine it to be.
And, that – my dear friend – is the trick to making any activity last more than 2.5 seconds.
Include them in the WHOLE process.
Give them tools without taking over.
And, then watch them dream up a better soup than you ever imagined possible.
Just DON’T tell them what shade of pink to use for Mona Lisa’s skin tone. That’s just totally crossing a line.
I felt bad for my friend who was stuck without a diaper.
But, if I’m being honest, this happens to me too.
Which brings me to printing off that piece of paper…
See, I’m knee deep in a book called, “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” by David Allen and I’ve realized that I was never taught a good system for organizing “all the things” in my life.
The Trick to Help You When You Keep Forgetting Things
So, “things” get lost in the cracks like remembering my diaper bag, remembering to pay that bill, or remembering to grab my coffee out of the microwave.
We have SO many things to remember, friend.
Which is why my husband and I have worked really hard on building a system in our house.
It started with our command center, but we’re also making an effort to write things down. Not in a random way, like on a post-it or a piece of paper (*ahem* my favorite ways to write things down), but in a quick way that takes that “thing” off of our mental to-do list and puts it into action.
Like David Allen says,
Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.”
Did you catch that?
Our stress does NOT come from having too much to do (although let’s face it, I know you’re busy like me…), but we add to our stress because we have lots of little-incomplete to-do lists in our heads of things that we never finish.
Like restocking the diapers in the diaper bag.
I get it.
I’m right there with you!
But, we’ve got to do something about it.
So, I made this easy printable that my husband and I that we store in our car and in our diaper bag. Using this printable is one small step that you can do right now to start taking things off your mental to-do list and to start taking action.
Write it down.
Get it done.
I promise it’s going to feel awesome.
How to Always Stay Ahead of the Game and Stocked Up
First and foremost, you’ve got to have things on hand like diapers. One way to keep your 2018 on track is to make sure you’re always stocked up on essentials.
Right now, you can get an instant $10 off when you buy 2 Pampers diapers or wipes at Sam’s Club, making it easy to keep your babies comfortable and dry. Oh, I love a good deal!
Hurray, this deal ends on January 28th!
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to learn how to use the checklist…
How to use the Diaper Bag/Car Restocking Checklist:
Print off our restocking printable checklist for the car and diaper bag.
Cut them up.
Add a few to your diaper bag and a few to your car supply box (I recommend having a box stashed with all of the “extras” that we need to have on hand for our kids – see the picture)
When you are low on supplies, check off what you need and take it to your command center or where you know you’ll see it.
Take supplies out the NEXT time that you walk out to the car or you go to the diaper bag.
That is KEY.
We often try to get things done all at once.
Keep your note handy where you’ll see it and restock your car the next time you walk out there. It’s so much more efficient to do it that way!
That’s it! You’ll have things under control this year because…
You’ll have supplies on hand (like extra Pampers diapers, wipes, etc.) And, you’ll be writing things down so you can get them done easily.
Sounds, fabulous right? It is possible.
Just print off the checklist.
And, start using it regularly.
Because I don’t want you stuck at the wrong time in the wrong place without any diapers, friend.
That stinks. Literally.
Remember, the deal on Pamper’s diapers and wipes ends on January 28th!