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Research studies have shown that youth today are experiencing higher rates of depression. Oftentimes, this can include low self-esteem and loss of motivation. Negative and distorted thought patterns may contribute to or worsen these symptoms. Parents should always seek professional help if they believe their child or teen is depressed. However, teaching healthy and appropriate coping skills in childhood can help prevent these symptoms later on and allow children to learn to manage them effectively. Positive affirmations for kids help teach coping through changing negative thoughts into positive ones. This in turn can help influence feelings of self-worth, increase motivation, and lead to greater satisfaction in life. I’ve created positive affirmation cards that can be used for kids, teens, and even adults to encourage healthy coping and create a positive mindset.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you click on a link and buy something. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy. Thanks for your support!)

What are Affirmations?

Affirmations are small phrases or sentences we tell ourselves to help motivate, empower, or change negative or distorted thoughts. It is the foundation upon which Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was based. That is, the notion that changing our thoughts can lead to changes in our behaviors.

Researchers have found a correlation between the impact of our thoughts on our emotions and behaviors. Therefore, affirmations can be a tool in which we combat those negative thoughts we may be predisposed to biologically, or those from our environment.

Why Affirmations are Powerful

As previously mentioned, affirmations have the power to change how we feel and how we act. When practiced often and effectively, this can have a tremendous impact on our lives. Furthermore, this effect can be felt and experienced without changing any of our life events or situations. Rather, we are actively working to change how we think about these events or situations.

Additionally, the minds of our children are growing and absorbing everything around them. By introducing kids to positive affirmations and encouraging them to use these, we can help promote positive thought patterns that may persist into adulthood.

Related:

It is no secret that positive thinking can change our world. Those who are grateful and confident, for example, are more likely to have healthy relationships with others, cope more effectively with symptoms of depression or anxiety, and better manage stress.

By giving your children such tools, you are preparing them for success in life: mentally, emotionally, and socially.

Affirmation Cards

Kids are visual creatures so positive affirmation cards provide excitement and encouragement for them to actually use them. These cards not only provide examples of affirmations to use, but also serve as a visual reminder to practice them regularly.

Click here for your free printable affirmation cards

If you want to get the most use out of these cards, I would recommend laminating them. You could also add a small binder ring after laminating to keep them all together.

How to Use Affirmations Effectively

There are several ways in which kids or teens can use affirmations effectively. There really is no right or wrong here, as long as it works for your child. Many people may recite positive affirmations to themselves out loud or in their head. They may choose a certain time of day to practice this or do it sporadically throughout the day.

Others may write their affirmations down, such as in a journal, or use their positive affirmation cards. To do so, kids may add them to their coping skills box, or print them out and stick them on a mirror or place where they will be reminded to use them frequently.

Choosing a quiet time and place to practice self-affirmations is also a great way to encourage children to practice mindfulness.

I hope you enjoyed these free printable positive affirmations for kids. What affirmations do you use? Please sharing by leaving a comment below!

The post 45 Incredible Positive Affirmations for Kids appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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What better time to think about goals for yourself and your future than the start of the new year? For so long, I have been helping clients create vision boards as a therapeutic tool but always put off creating my own. Finally, I decided to make the time and practice what I preach. Since then, I have been getting so many questions about my own DIY vision board so I decided to make this post and hopefully inspire others to make their own! Read on to see how I created my killer vision board and how you can too.

Why Vision Boards Work

There are numerous reasons why vision boards can be an effective and motivational tool to help you achieve your goals. For one, it is a visual reminder of what you are working towards. My vision board hangs in my bedroom where I can easily see it every day. When I do, I ask myself a very powerful question: “What am I doing today that will help me reach my goals?”

Additionally, setting and achieving goals is a self-esteem building skill. When our confidence is higher, we are more likely to take bigger risks, and therefore reap bigger rewards in life.

Vision boards are also motivation to keep moving forward when times are hard. Life is full of ups and downs and we may not always achieve everything we set out to, and that’s okay. We learn from our mistakes, pull ourselves back up, and keep moving forward. Reach for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Identifying Your Goals

The first and maybe most obvious step to creating your DIY vision board is identifying the goals you want to achieve.

When choosing your goals, I recommend thinking about different aspects of your life and goals or even sub-goals you have for each. It would not be wise just to focus on one area when life itself is so complex.

Some ideas to help you narrow your focus include:

  • Finance
  • Health
  • Travel
  • Fitness
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Education
  • Professional
  • Personal Development
  • Spiritual
  • Miscellaneous

If you look at my vision board, you can see that I have finance, professional, family, personal development, and travel included.

Turn Goals into Reality

Once you’ve decided on the goals for your vision board, the fun begins. The best thing about your vision board is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Whether that’s digital or on an actual board is completely up to you. Make it your own! Make it inspiring, and most of all, make sure it’s visible.

Pinterest is full of beautiful and inspiring photographs. This is where I found my pictures and quotes, minus one of my children that I took myself. Then I simply printed out the ones I loved, taped them to construction paper, and aligned them the way I wanted onto a bigger collage.

If you choose to create yours the same way, you can always laminate it. However, I chose not to so that I may have the option of adding new goals on later.

Related:

Each picture or word represents a goal that I created for myself to achieve in 2018. For instance, my travel goals include going to Paris and Scotland. Each of these is represented by it’s own photograph.

A personal goal includes spending more time with my children. I chose to represent this with a picture of them and a quote.

The Verdict

I’ll have to wait to post a full update at the end of the year. However, I can say that since I created this DIY vision board, I have been more motivated than ever. Furthermore, I realized that previously, not identifying my goals led to getting sidetracked often. Since I now have them narrowed down and literally staring me in the face every day, I am more intentional on what I’m setting out to do.

Overall, this simple project took me a few minutes to make and is doing wonders for me so far. I’m excited to see what the rest of 2018 will bring. Who knows, maybe I will have to add more goals later on as I start knocking these out!

Have you created your own vision board or been inspired to? Leave a comment below!

The post How to Make a Killer DIY Vision Board appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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Motherhood: It’s exhausting, it’s rewarding, it’s messy, it’s fun. It’s embracing all of that and so much more. However, knowing how to navigate motherhood when your spouse is deployed? It brings up a whole new set of challenges that can push you to the limit. The last time my husband was TDY, or on a temporary deployment, we were living in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was dark, roads were icy, and temperatures were in the negatives. At the time he left for warm and sunny Las Vegas, I was working full-time 45 minutes away, with a 4-month-old who was breastfeeding and an hyperactive energetic 3-year-old.

I could have very easily lost my mind.

However, I reminded myself that although this was new territory going it alone with two littles rather than one, deployments were not unfamiliar. I had done it before and I would get through it again, and I’m here to tell you that we made it to the other side once again.

Still, I remember being a young, open-minded, but naive spouse who was green to deployments and babies and all of the challenges they bring. So, for those who may be new to this or to my fellow seasoned mamas who just need a little pick-me-up, I’ve compiled my best tips on how to navigate motherhood when your spouse is deployed.

(This post is sponsored by 1 Natural Way. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy.)

1. Find your tribe

After two overseas moves and six different bases, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to find your tribe. Find them as soon as you can after you move to a new base. These people will become your family. They will be the ones coming over during the holidays when you aren’t able to go home, can help you find your way around your new home, and understand the military jargon and life that sometimes civilian spouses just don’t get.

Find these people, and when your spouse is deployed, use them. Do the same for them when it’s their time. During this last deployment, one of my good friends offered to take my daughter on a play date in their home every Sunday afternoon for a few hours. It was the only chance I had to relax, re-energize, and catch up on sleep (if my son allowed).

Side note: A Tinder-like app for meeting new mom friends. Is that a thing? Because it should be a thing.

2. Stay busy

One of the worst habits I see in spouses going through a deployment is the lack of doing much of anything. When their spouse leaves, it’s as if they shut down. They may stay in bed or in the house, glued to their phone, waiting for that call or Skype session. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with staying in contact with your spouse throughout a deployment. However, your world should not stop because they are gone. It’s not healthy, and it only seems to make the time pass by slower.

For those like myself in the throes of infancy and the toddler-stages of motherhood, this is not even an option. We are always busy whether we want to be at that moment or not. Add on working full-time and blogging part-time to motherhood, and this last deployment, albiet a short one, seemed to fly by.

3. Try new things

Speaking of the importance of staying busy, deployments are the perfect time to try new things. Get out there and do the thing you’ve been wanting to but didn’t have the chance. Or grab a friend and your kids and check out that restaurant your spouse didn’t think sounded so great. Staying busy and trying new things are coping skills that can help get you through the deployment as well as work on self-improvement and give you something new and exciting to bring into your relationship while your spouse is gone.

This one goes for the kids as well. We are their biggest role-models in the early years and they look to us to learn healthy ways to cope. Additionally, staying busy and having fun exploring new places and activities promotes positive growth and brain development. And if I can find things to do in -30 degree weather then there are no excuses!

4. Accept the help

For whatever reason, asking for help seems to be difficult for many people. However, there is nothing wrong with this and especially not during a deployment. There are so many resources available out there for military spouses and their families created solely for these times. For instance, many of the bases we have been stationed at offered the Give Parents a Break program through the Child Development Center (CDC). For one night each month, children could be dropped off to play for a few hours, allowing parents a night “off” to relax, enjoy a date night, get things done, or provide some respite for spouses going it alone. This would be a perfect example of an opportunity to accept that help where it is available.

For breastfeeding mommies like me, there are also programs available to make it all easier. For example, 1 Natural Way, the premiere resource for obtaining the highest quality breast pumps from Medela and Spectra to TRICARE members, makes it so simple and stress-free for military spouses who want to breastfeed. It takes less than three minutes to fill out their online application and on average one week from that time to receive your free breast-pump in the mail. Let me tell you, when I was working full-time and breastfeeding my son, I could not live without my pump. 1 Natural Way takes all of the hassle of ordering and receiving your breast-pump while offering breastfeeding education and service to breastfeeding mamas.

5. Involve the kids

Deployments are hard on us as spouses and mothers, but it can be even more so for kids. They don’t always understand or may not yet possess adequate ways of coping without their parent. That is why it is so important to involve them throughout the deployment. There are many ways to do this.

Some opt to use a Daddy Doll or add a special recording into a stuffed animal for younger kids. Older children may like candy to count down the time that has passed and see how many days are left. Creating care packages can be fun at any age, especially for those longer deployments.

6. Be prepared

If you’re a military spouse then you should always be prepared that a deployment may happen. Sometimes you get advanced notice, sometimes it’s not enough. Use whatever time you have before your spouse deploys to have everything in place to support you and your littles. Make phone lists for emergencies, schedule babysitters, get that power of attorney taken care of. Do whatever you need to do to make your life easier and less stressful during the deployment. Do these things while you have your spouse there to help.

7. Practice Self-Care

Have you heard the saying: You can’t pour from an empty cup? It’s true for any mother at any time but especially during deployments, where stress and fatigue levels may run high.

Repeat after me: You cannot help others until you’ve taken care of yourself.

This includes your babies!

So whether it’s having a glass of wine and gossiping about the latest drama on the base’s spouse Facebook group, taking a hot bubble bath, starting a new hobby, or even making an awesome coping skills box, the practice of self-care should be a priority.

There you have it. My best tips for military spouses, new and seasoned, doing their best to navigate motherhood. Did I miss anything? Help out your fellow spouses and give them your best tips in the comments below!

The post How to Navigate Motherhood When Your Spouse is Deployed appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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This post is long overdue, but it’s still hard to believe that my baby boy is one! It always seems like that first year just flies by. His birthday came right after our move from Fairbanks, Alaska down to the Emerald Coast in Florida. We had just closed on our first home and his daddy returned after finishing up work duties in Alaska. It was a chaotic time to say the least. Because of that, I didn’t want a huge party and our budget wouldn’t allow for it. So a cute and simple dinosaur birthday party was the perfect fit for Rory, our Ror-a-saur. Read on for some pretty awesome dinosaur birthday party ideas!

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you click on a link and buy something. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy.)

Dinosaur Decorations

If you’ve seen my post for my daughter’s Unicorn Birthday Party, then you know Amazon is my go-to place for all things birthday party decorations. It’s fast, easy, and there are so many cute options to choose from. For this rocking dinosaur birthday party, I spent around $50 total for all of the party supplies used and setting up and tearing down just took a few minutes.

Here are the details on party supplies we used for Rory’s dinosaur birthday party:

A few light green, dark green, and white balloons from Publix scattered around the table and house and that is as far as the decorating went.

Dinosaur Cake

This cake was as delicious as it was cute. I wanted to continue with the simple look and the cake itself, with Rory’s name and age outlined in dinosaur bones, did just that. The cake was topped with a toy T-Rex that also became one of his most beloved toys. The party hat was easily made out of construction paper, because, hey, dinos obviously know how to party too.

Dinosaur Party Games

This was one of the first times either of my kids had the luxury of family coming to a birthday party. (Thanks, military lifestyle). This meant lots of little cousins running around and I knew I wanted it to be a fun and memorable party. For this, we added a few fun dinosaur party games.

Dinosaur Egg Hunt

The first game was a dinosaur egg hunt. With a few kid-sized galvanized buckets, I sent everyone outside searching for their dinosaur eggs, which were hidden around the deck and yard. Once all of the eggs had been collected, they were sent over to the excavation site, aka our sand and water table.

Here, I had added a few fun digging tools for excavating and hidden some cool dinosaur bones around the sand.

Tip: Party guests can keep these skeletons, dinosaur eggs, and the buckets as fun party favors.

While they were busy digging for dinosaur bones, we added the dinosaur eggs they had collected into the water part of the sand and water table. After a while, the eggs will hatch into different dinosaurs!

It takes at least a few hours for the eggs to hatch, so plan accordingly. If you’re going to use these eggs and the party may not last that long, it may be better to have party guests take their eggs home and hatch them on their own.

Afterwards, we let each guest pick out their own dinosaur temporary tattoo as they had earned a badge of honor after their successful hunt and dig. We had enough of these left over that each little party guest could take a few home with them as well.

Dinosaur Bingo

Sadly, I did not have enough time before his birthday to create the dinosaur bingo game. However, in honor of my baby turning one and a successful and fun dinosaur birthday party, I am sharing this with all of you in the hopes that your own littles will love to play.

Each downloadable dinosaur bingo game includes 25 bingo images to call out, 6 ready made game cards, and 1 empty bingo card for those who would rather cut out and create their own boards, or if there are more than 6 who will be playing.

To download your free copy of Dinosaur Bingo, click here!

I had so much fun planning this party and am already looking forward to the next one. For me, creating these memories is one of the best things about being a parent. After the party, we spent some time at the beach. Because every little dinosaur needs some space to stomp.

What did you think about Rory’s 1st Dinosaur Birthday Party? Any ideas we may have forgotten? Leave a comment letting us know below!

The post Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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My daughter has always been a terrible sleeper. Of course, we expected this when she was a newborn. However, as she got older, that time we were promised where she would sleep through the night never came. We waited…and waited. While she did begin sleeping longer stretches eventually, other issues began to surface. First it became a struggle to get her in bed, then to help her fall asleep. Even once she did finally go down, she would be up throughout the night, and then awake for the day before the crack of dawn. We tried everything from different parenting sleep training methods to security items, co-sleeping, you name it. Nothing worked. Finally, our savior arrived in the unlikeliest of forms: Edwin the Duck, a bright yellow smart toy who has saved the day (or night).

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you click on a link and buy something. The product, Edwin the Duck, was provided at no charge in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy.)

Why He Rocks

Besides the obvious of getting my daughter to fall asleep and stay asleep, Edwin comes packed with some pretty cool features. When I first heard about Edwin the Duck, I was most excited about the features that are geared towards parents.

While he is a smart toy for kids, I’ve come to view him more as a parent’s helper. Edwin the Duck can float and connects to a Bluetooth speaker while in the water (or out), which makes bath time fun and entertaining. There is also a feature to gauge the water temperature, but we did not use this as we felt it was not needed.

My daughter loves the songs but as a preschooler, she flew through the games and learning apps pretty quickly. My one-year-old has been quite entertained by them and this content seems better suited for younger toddlers. Pi Labs, the company responsible for creating Edwin, has stated that there would be more content available through the free apps in the future.

Sleepy Time Superhero

While Edwin the Duck is awesome in these respects alone, he became worth his weight in gold when he helped my daughter start sleeping through the night. There are a few iOS apps available for free download with Edwin, including the Parents app.

Here you’ll find a Sleepy Time section. You can choose from a small variety of music or soft sounds to help your child relax and fall asleep. Parents are able to control the sound, volume, and length of time it plays. This includes an infinite option to play throughout the night, in case your child wakes up. Edwin also includes a night light feature with different levels of brightness to help kids feel safe and secure.

For my daughter, it was the combination of all of these things that helped her overcome her difficulty sleeping. The night light, soft lullaby music, and security from viewing Edwin as an interactive friend, rather than just a toy, worked in combination to allow her to relax and sleep peacefully throughout the night.

RELATED: How He’s Holding Up

We have now owned Edwin through one international move, two family vacations, one new baby, and a new pet. It is safe to say he has been put through the toddler-ringer and survived. He has been thrown, chewed, slobbered, and colored on, and banged repeatedly against the wall. Poor Edwin. However, throughout all of that, he remains intact and looks as new as the day he came into our home. Overall, Edwin would make a great addition to any family with littles or for those expecting. He has withstood the test of time and toddlers and may be used from one child to the next, as we have done. For the kids, he is not just a toy, but a friend who stays by their side throughout the night.

Where to Buy

Edwin the Duck is available to buy here. If you’re interested in adding him to a Target gift or baby shower registry, you can also find him by clicking here.

Do you have an Edwin the Duck or know someone who does? What was your experience? Leave a comment below!

The post Edwin the Duck: The Smart Toy that Helped My Daughter Sleep Through the Night appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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Confession time:

I am a complete Fixer Upper addict.

And since we were blessed enough to (finally!) buy our first home a few months ago, I have been trying to reign in my inner Joanna Gaines spirit animal because I just want to shiplap all of the things! We’ve made a lot of progress in updating our kitchen from what can only be described as salmon pink to a more modern farmhouse kitchen. However, I knew it was missing a few details that would really add some character. Cue running across this adorable farmhouse pantry makeover from Little Glass Jar and I knew focusing on the pantry door would have the drama and unique look that would really set our kitchen apart. Our DIY farmhouse pantry door turned out amazing and only took a weekend and a few supplies to put together.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you click on a link and buy something. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy. Thanks for your support!)

Initially, we really wanted to use reclaimed wood for a more rustic look for this project. However, there seems to be a lack of it in the area and we were tired of running around searching for the right pieces. In the end, using new yellow pine turned out to be the cheaper option and allowed us to really make it our own while still keeping the farmhouse character we wanted.

Supplies: Tutorial:

First, we measured the pantry door that we were replacing and removed the door, hinges and all, from the door frame. We then cut our plywood using the circular saw to the dimensions of the door.

After all of the cuts were made, we sanded the surfaces down but left some knots and blemishes. This was to really give it that weathered, reclaimed look.

Using the table saw, we then measured and cut the 4×1 planks. To continue giving the door farmhouse character, try and use the most roughed up side of the planks.

Next, we used the table saw to rip one plank lengthwise to evenly fit the plywood backing. We used this plank on the innermost part to be partially hidden by the hinges. Afterwards, we applied wood glue to the sides and back of the planks and placed them on the plywood.

Pro tip: Write “top” on one end of the planks so you don’t forget!

We then used the wood clamps to tightly squeeze everything together. You can make a brace out of spare wood if you need to hold the ends down.

While the glue was still wet, we drove nails into the boards and about every foot along the board to firmly bond the planks and plywood.

After that, we took a break and allowed the glue to dry overnight.

Next, we measured the halfway mark of our neatly assembled door and used the circular saw to cut that heavy sucker in half like a magician’s apprentice.

Then, we took one more inch off of the top of the bottom door (we wrote “top” earlier), to make room for the ledge.

Using the table saw, we cut a plank to the width of the door, then cut the front two corners off to eliminate the pointy edge.

Pro tip: You may have to rip this plank as well to get the desired width you’d like.

We then applied wood glue and nailed the ledge to the top of the bottom door.

After that, the fun part! We stained each door with our chosen stain, Minwax in Classic Gray.

Related:

Next, we measured 4 to 8 inches from the top and bottom of each door to place the new hinges. This will depend on how tall your door is or how to best evenly distribute the weight. Then we installed the handle itself on the bottom door.

When we ripped the doorframe off, we realized we were going to need to beef up the hinge side of the frame. If the stud is more than an inch and a half from the frame, you can slide a plank in there and run a few 3 inch wood screws through all of it.

After that, we measured the inside edge of the door frame. When we transferred the measurement, we made sure our inside markings would need to be cut at a 45 degree angle. Then we stained the boards.

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A vital but often overlooked tool in helping children learn to effectively manage their emotions is teaching healthy coping skills. Parents can help their children learn these skills through role-modeling, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and verbal praise. It is never too early to start. This DIY coping skills box is a fun and simple way to help children learn and implement coping skills into their routine. This can help reduce temper tantrums, lessen anxiety and sadness, and boost self-esteem. It can also pave the way for self-care techniques they can take with them into adulthood.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you click on a link and buy something. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy. Thanks for your support!)

One of the greatest things about this DIY coping skills box is that it can be completely customized to fit each child’s individual needs and preferences. Even older adolescents and teens may enjoy creating their own unique coping skills box. All it takes is a few supplies and some imagination.

Supplies Tutorial

The tutorial for this DIY coping skills box is meant to be a guide but all rules can be thrown out the window. The main objective is to have fun, be creative, and allow the child to create something that they love. Putting effort and their own unique spin on it means it is more likely to be used! To get started, you will need a box or container of some kind. I found this cheap cardboard box at Walmart for less than $1 per box. They are currently sold out online, but may be available in store. You can also find these bundles online, which could be perfect for school counselors, therapists, or teachers. Otherwise, check in store, craft stores, or around the house.

Next, paint and decorate! It really is that simple. I prefer to paint with acrylic paint because it covers the cardboard so well, dries quickly, (which is important when working with children with short attention spans), and cleans up easily. For decorating, I love using these sticky stencils. Since they stick straight to the cardboard, you don’t have to mess with taping or the paint bleeding through the lines as can happen with regular non-stick stencils (see photo below). Other ideas for decorating can include printing out pretty pictures, quotes, or positive self-affirmations, or sticking on jewels or stickers.

Once the box has been created and dried, the next fun part comes in deciding what to include inside. Because this is a coping skills box, all items should be usable coping skills. Therefore, the contents will depend on the age of the child and which coping skills are effective for him or her. The options are endless.

Here are a few ideas to get started: You can also create some DIY coping skills projects to add to the box:

It’s important that children understand the objective of the coping skills box and are encouraged to use it when needed. Have any other ideas for what to include inside of a DIY coping skills box? Help someone else out by leaving your ideas in the comments below!

The post DIY Coping Skills Box appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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When my daughter first told me that she wanted a unicorn birthday party to celebrate her 4th birthday, images of rainbows and glitter unicorns immediately danced in my head. Even pushing thirty, I think I was more excited than she was. Then I came back to reality. We are moving to another state in a few short weeks and I had neither the time nor the funds to plan the extravaganza I had envisioned. However, I was determined to give my daughter a magical unicorn party, but with a firm budget and simple decor in mind. Not only did I stay under budget and keep my sanity, but everything turned out beautifully. Most importantly, my daughter had a blast celebrating her special day.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you clink on a link and buy something. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy. Thanks for your support!)

The Decorations

Since we live in Alaska where shipping prices can be insane and the closest Target is over six hours away, Amazon has become my go-to for pretty much everything. So I was not surprised when I browsed the online retailer and found everything I needed. One click ordering, no shipping charges, and everything arrived on-time. That made party planning easy and when all was said and done, it turned out exactly as I had pictured.

Here’s a quick list to find everything I used for my daughter’s unicorn birthday party:

We added a few pink and white balloons and pink punch and fresh flowers to complete the look.

Side note: The tassles and wall flowers were DIY projects. They were not difficult to put together but did require some time beforehand to make!

These handmade unicorn straws were one of my favorite little details from the party. Not only were they adorable but also surprisingly durable. We also used these gold sequin star wands as party favors, which were a huge hit with our preschool-aged guests.

The Cake

I fell in love with this unicorn birthday cake the moment I saw it on Pinterest a few months ago. It is becoming pretty popular and for good reason! We ordered a custom take on the unicorn idea in honey-vanilla from our favorite Fairbanks local, Cakes by Susan Duhaime. If you’re in the area, you can check out her Facebook page or place an order here.

The best part about her cakes is that they don’t only look good, but they taste amazing! Per my daughter’s request, we ordered our unicorn cake to have rainbow layers inside.

I had a blast putting together this cute and simple unicorn birthday party for my daughter. Has anyone else done a unicorn party? What special details have you added? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

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When I first booked this trip last fall, I was hesitant about bringing our kids with us to Mexico. However, I’m so glad that I did. We spent quality time together as a family and created memories that will last a lifetime. Plus, it was the perfect escape from the negative 30-degree weather we were experiencing in Fairbanks, Alaska. If you’re planning on traveling to Cabo with kids (or even without), you’re in the right place. Read on for tips on where to stay, what to do, and more!

Where to Stay

We stayed at the Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa, and I cannot recommend this resort any more highly. This is especially true if you are traveling to Cabo with kids. From breathtaking oceanfront rooms and views of Land’s End, waking up here every morning was a dream. Above all, the Hacienda Encantada offers world-class service. Several staff members became friends in our short week and they even went above and beyond to help our daughter when she suffered an allergic reaction to a bug bite during our stay.

The breathtaking view entering the Hacienda Encantada Resort.

There is so much to see and do at the resort alone, it makes it hard to want to leave and explore other areas of Los Cabos. We opted for the all-inclusive package and it was well worth it for us. This option allows you to dine freely at any of the eight restaurants on-site as well as seven restaurants near the resort’s sister location on the marina. Even our three-year-old, the pickiest eater you’ve ever met, found food she liked at each restaurant we visited. The all-inclusive package also included a few free activities offered through the resort as well. Friday morning horseback riding on the beach, anyone?

A view of Land’s End from inside of the resort at night. One of the resort pools lit up at night with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.

Tip: Under the all-inclusive package, all meals are included but lobster tails and steaks may have an extra charge.

For those of you traveling to Cabo with kids, the Hacienda Encantada has you covered. There are several pools on-site complete with games and toys, including a children’s pool, a splash pad, and playgrounds. There is even a babysitting service for those times you may want a few hours child-free. In addition, the resort is situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean and Land’s End, and we were able to watch whales and dolphins play in the water every morning. There is also a great, non-swimmable but private, beach where we took our littles to collect seashells.

The splash pad and one of the playgrounds at Hacienda Encantada Resort.

Tip: Whale-watching season in Cabo San Lucas typically runs from November – April. We booked our trip for the first week of March, just before the Spring Breakers arrived and the perfect time to enjoy 80-degree weather.

Taking in the sunset before collecting seashells at the beach. What to Do

There are so many different activities offered in the Los Cabos area that the hardest part for me was trying to schedule it all in! If you are traveling to Cabo with kids that are older, there are obviously many more options available. I recommend checking out Cabo Adventures for a huge list of activities geared for older kids and adults.

However, if you are also traveling with littles, rest assured that there is plenty to for them to experience. My kids are 8-months-old and three-years-old and we did not run out of things to do. Here’s a list of some of our favorite activities when traveling to Cabo with kids!

The Buccaneer Queen Pirate Adventure

My three-year-old is all about the pirates (seriously, her third birthday party was Jake and the Neverland Pirate themed), so I knew I could not miss out on a chance to take her on a real pirate ship. The Buccaneer Queen is one of two pirate ships in the Cabo San Lucas marina and this is the more family-friendly of the two.

Even Rory had a great time with the pirates on the Buccaneer Queen.

In booking a pirate adventure, there are a few options to choose from, including a breakfast snorkeling trip or a sunset dinner cruise. Since my littles are too young for snorkeling, we chose the latter. Even though this cruise was for my daughter, I was surprised to have a great time. The crew does an excellent job of catering to both kids and adults and the sunset views around Land’s End and the famous El Arco are to die for. Dinner and drinks are included but keep in mind it is difficult to eat on a swaying ship. The food was nothing to write home about, but it wasn’t the reason we booked. At the end of the two-hour cruise, the crew puts on a great show and dance.

A view of the sunset at Land’s End and our rival pirate ship from aboard the Buccaneer Queen.

Tip: While this cruise is family friendly, there is an open bar and drinks are given out freely. This may be a problem for some families and if it is for you, there are other sunset cruises available to consider.

A pirate party after..
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Let me start off by saying that I am so excited to be able to write this post! When I was a first-time mom with my daughter, I wanted more than anything to breastfeed. I knew that it could be difficult so I read the books, researched online, and asked for advice. By the time my daughter was born, I was confident we would be able to share that bond.

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However, after a difficult labor and some bad advice from my lactation consultant, my daughter was unable to latch. She began losing weight rapidly and I felt helpless. After a few weeks of trying and many tears, I made the difficult decision to switch to formula. By four months old, I had stopped breastfeeding completely. Now almost four years old, she is as healthy and happy as can be. However, I am still a little sad that breastfeeding didn’t work out the way that I had imagined with her.

With my son, things were much different and I was much more prepared (even though I thought that couldn’t be possible). He just turned seven months old (eek!) and I’m so happy to report that the breastfeeding is still going strong. Not only that, but I am so much busier this time around. In addition to mommy and wife duties and blogging part-time, I also work full-time as a therapist. Breastfeeding is a huge time commitment and while not for everyone, if you want to make it work, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to let breastfeeding as a working mom discourage you from trying. Here are my best breastfeeding tips for the working mom.

Preparation is key

Although breastfeeding did not work out when I was a SAHM with my daughter, I learned a lot from my experience and applied those lessons to my son. It is important to be prepared for anything. Until your baby is born, it is impossible to tell if they will latch immediately or struggle, if you’ll experience clogged ducts or mastitis, or not. My advice is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This means stocking up on supplies.

Nipple shield

Had I known about the magic of a nipple shield with my daughter, we may have been able to successfully breastfeed. Nipple shields are amazing for helping babies latch who may have trouble latching for several reasons. They can also be used if you’re experiencing cracking, soreness, or nipple pain. Either way, a few nipple shields should be kept handy and ready to go.

Lanolin cream


This stuff works miracles for cracked or sore nipples. Breastfeeding can be very painful in the first few weeks, which can discourage you from continuing. Lanolin cream can help reduce the pain and help you make it through to the other side. (It does get better!)

Gel pads


Another must-have to reduce soreness and help with the pain that comes with engorgement or mastitis. Just pop these babies in the freezer and stick them in your bra for instant relief. Bonus: They can also be heated up in the microwave and used to help stimulate milk flow when pumping.

Build a stockpile

I was fortunate enough to have saved up 12 weeks of maternity leave and in terms of breastfeeding, I used this time wisely. This meant pumping after every feeding and throughout the night. Everything I pumped immediately went into a breastmilk freezer bag, and by the time my leave was up, I had enough breastmilk to last for a few months. This will come in handy for when you return to work and someone else will be bottle feeding your baby, increasing your supply, and for times when you may want a night out or to indulge in a drink.

Another huge advantage of creating a stockpile is that if you have some left over at the end of your time breastfeeding or created more supply than you have demand, there are so many babies out there who could benefit. Check out the National Milk Bank to find out how and where you can donate in your area.

Invest in a quality breastpump

Since you will be spending so much time hooked up like a milking cow, investing in a quality breastpump is an absolute must. Do not scrimp when it comes to your pump. The Medela Pump in Style double electric breastpump has been a godsend for me. It comes with a battery pack and wall plug and discreet tote so that you can take it with you to work and back home if you are going to stick with just one (see below). It also comes with a removable cooler bag with an ice pack that fits up to four bottles so you can easily pump and store at work without having to use the office fridge until you make it home. Recently, many insurance companies have started to cover the cost of this pump (can I get an amen?!) so check with your doctor to see if you apply.


Keep Spare Accessories at work

Unless you have a short commute and can leave work at the drop of a dime, I suggest keeping a spare pump and accessories at work in case you forget something one day. Unfortunately, for me, I have an hour commute to work and learned this lesson the hard way. After forgetting my pump accessories at home, I had to go out and buy a hand pump. Now I keep my hand pump and spare accessories at work and my electric breastpump at home and this has worked really well for me.

Use Lactation Aids

One of the mistakes I made with my daughter was failing to use any type of lactation aid to keep up my supply when we were struggling. When you’re breastfeeding, your supply may dip unexpectedly but there are great ways to get it back up in no time. Water is your first and best friend! Keep a water bottle with you at all times so that you are hydrated throughout the day.

Lactation cookies are another great option. I hadn’t tried them myself until a co-worker made a few too many batches for herself and shared the wealth. Oh man, I was hooked! Not only did I notice an increase in my supply almost immediately, but hello, they are delicious! Check out this recipe from Dessert Now Dinner Later.

Another popular lactation aid is mother’s milk tea. This organic, herbal tea has been known to boost milk supply and even decreased colic and gas in breastfed babies. Word of warning: This tea tastes like black licorice so try adding sugar or honey if you aren’t a fan.

Find your support

One of the best breastfeeding tips for the working mom that I can leave is to have support. Breastfeeding can be an amazing bonding experience for mother and child, but it can also be incredibly difficult and taxing. Surround yourself with supportive people, whether that’s your partner, family, or friends who can help you in those trying times. No matter what happens, remember that you are not alone and it is okay to ask for help.

Have any breastfeeding tips for the working mom of your own? Leave a comment below! Share or pin this post with your breastfeeding working mom friends, it’s a great resource to have!

The post Breastfeeding Tips for the Working Mom appeared first on Littles, Life, & Laughter.

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