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When I was a little girl, I dreamt of the day that I would become a stepmom/second wife. I longed for all the ups and downs that I would learn to embrace in my role as a stepmom.

Just kidding.

I don’t think anyone plans to become a stepmom/second wife. It is not for the faint of heart. However, despite its challenges, I love being a stepmom to my bonus daughter.

Step parents navigate their roles without a compass. We try to make the best decisions we can with the limited resources we have. There are a few key things that can generally help new stepparents have a more smoothing course of raising their stepchildren.


It doesn’t matter if a birth parent is being selfish, a narcissist, or manipulative; kids are going to be loyal to their birth parents. They will. It’s important to not put pressure or increase tension between you and your stepchildren by trying to have them side with you. The best thing you can do is love your stepchildren unconditionally. Don’t allow them to be in the middle of a tug-a-war rope. Be better.

They Want to Feel Loved

All children want to feel loved. I can’t imagine that anyone could argue that. Stepchildren aren’t any different. However, affection will come in its own time. It cannot be rushed.

I will never forget the first hug I got from my bonus daughter. I followed by her lead instead of trying to force a relationship early on. Now, we have a beautiful and solid relationship that we both have built on, together.

Two Different Homes. Two Different Lives

Children of divorced parents go from living in one home with joint rules to living in two homes with usually two different set of rules. It’s hard for children of divorced parents to transition between homes and meet every expectation Give them some slack.

Don’t Force It

Like affection, don’ force a relationship with your stepchildren. This is all new territory. It’s important to follow their lead. Always offer to include them in activities but don’t force them to participate.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Don’t expect perfection. Blended families will forever be on an emotional roller coaster. Feel blessed by the good times and embrace the rough times. Most importantly, DO NOT compare your blended family to another. This is your perfectly imperfect blended family life.

 What is the Right Thing to Do?

How many times have you asked yourself, “Should I do as the birth parent wants or focus on what my stepchildren need?”. The thing is no child deserves to feel unloved for any reason. The right answer is to do right by what your stepchildren need in your care. Of course, keep in mind the feelings of the other birth parent when you can but remember that your stepchildren come first.

Family Traditions

Stepchildren may have grown up with holiday family traditions before their parents divorced. You, as a stepmom, may have traditions that you would like to implement in your blended family now that a new chapter has begun in your lives. Holidays are already stressful without trying to balance a blended family. Try to figure out a way to combine aspects of past traditions with new ones. Incorporating traditions is a great way to make stepchildren feel loved and accepted. Have your stepchildren be involved in the process of creating your perfectly imperfect blended family traditions.

Not a Messenger

Children should not be messengers either directly or indirectly from one home to another. As hard as it may be in a current situation, one must refrain from making comments or speaking ill of the other birth parent in front of the kids. Remember, the loyalty lies with the parents. However, it goes both ways. Should your stepchildren confront you about something their parent said about you, do not take any action on it. They will not understand what is going on or how they are being used. Do not blame or feel negatively against your stepchildren for the actions and words of the other birth parent. Instead, address the situation with your spouse so that he may address it with the other birth parent.

There may not be a user manual on how to raise stepchildren but these tips will help navigate you on your step parent journey.

Check out How To Save Your Sanity As A Stepmom for more tips on how to thrive as a stepmom!

How do you balance your blended family?

The post THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAISING STEPCHILDREN appeared first on Our Little Blended Family.

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Our Little Blended Family by Our Little Blended Family - 11M ago

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more details.

Our family loves to play board games. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and to teach good sportsmanship. We are constantly looking for fun new games that our whole family will enjoy. Here are 10 of our favorite board games that we play together as a family:

Clue Junior Game

I loved the game Clue as a kid. Now, there is Clue Junior which is an easier version for young children to play. Our two-year-old is still too young for this game but she loves moving around her game piece anyway.

The Game of Life Junior Game 

My girls love this game. The original version was a bit hard for our girls to understand but this junior-version is perfect! There are action cards and attractions to collect stars from. Collect 10 stars to win! It’s a lot of fun and the action cards will have the whole family laughing.

Monopoly Junior Game 

My husband and I love to play a classic game of Monopoly but our girls can’t focus for 3+ hours. This junior version is perfect for young children. The properties are fun places like an ice cream parlor. It also has single bank notes to make it easier for young children to keep track of how much they have.

Scrabble Junior Game

This junior version is perfect for young children. It is a grow-with-me version so it has levels for advancement. It starts with letter matching and can advance to full word forming. It’s a two-sided game with the advance level on the opposite side.

Egged On Game

This game is hilarious! There is a carton of eggs that are filled with water. Not every egg is filled though. Each player takes turns spinning the spinner and follows what the picture says to do. Sometimes it’s choose an egg, pass, choose two eggs, or even egg another. If an egg is chosen, you “crack” the rubber egg over your head.  It’s a game of egg roulette. Our girls absolutely love this one! There are different variations on how it can be played.

Cootie Game

My toddler loves the Cootie game and tries to build a different bug each time we play. It’s easy to play and perfect as a first board game. The object of the game is to be the first to build a bug.

Googly Eyes Game — Family Drawing Game with Crazy, Vision-Altering Glasses

This is a vision-altering game. The goggles make it hard for the wearer to see and draw. Each team must try to guess what was drawn before time runs out. There is no need to be an artist to play. This game is hilarious!

Apples to Apples Junior – The Game of Crazy Combinations!

We love this junior version of Apples to Apples because the cards are easy for our oldest to understand. It’s a fun game of comparison.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

My youngest is crazy about this game. It’s easy to play but there is a potential choking hazard with the small pieces. I recommend that this game be played with an adult.

UNO Roboto

It’s so much fun! Each player records their name and a house rule is also created. The robot will randomly call out a player’s name for a challenge with another player or asks them to do something like trade cards with another player. A player could be down to just a couple of cards and the next hand they could have a quarter stack of cards.

What board game does your family love to play together?

The post OUR TOP 10 FAMILY BOARD GAMES appeared first on Our Little Blended Family.

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Our Little Blended Family by Our Little Blended Family - 11M ago

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more details.

Here are some gift ideas for that upcoming birthday or Christmas that I’m sure the two-year-old in your life will love just as much as mine does.

***Updated 12/18/17***

ZURU- Hamsters in a house

We received Zuru’s Hamsters in a house- Ham’s Burger diner for review. My thoughts  on this review are 100% my own.

What are Hamsters in a house?

Hamsters in a house are these cute little hamsters (11 new hamsters to collect!) that buzz, scoot, scurry, and zoom around play sets. Multiple play sets and tracks can be connected together for hours of fun.

My toddler could barely contain her excitement as we took our Hamsters in a house out of the box. The play set only took a few minutes to put together. The tracks are so easy to connect together that my toddler actually connected a few of them herself.

The recommended age for independent play for this toy is ages 4+. I’m sure many parents can agree that toddlers with older siblings tend to want to play with “big kid” toys. I absolutely love that my girls can play with Hamsters in a house together, with adult supervision on the toddler of course.

 Hamsters in a house play sets and the adorable hamsters are great for sibling-play, creativity, and to collect. Hamsters in a house are “pets” that every parent can approve of

My girls can’t wait to collect all the hamsters and play sets!

Play Tent Princess Castle by Pockos – Features Glow in the Dark Stars 

My oldest actually received this Play Tent Princess Castle from her Christmas list last year but my toddler has taken it over. It’s the perfect tent for pretend play, reading nook, and just to enjoy some quiet time. We have this little tent up all the time but it can easily fold for storage.

Grow-With-Me Pony

We got the Grow-With-Me Pony for our youngest for her first Christmas. She absolutely loves it! We didn’t have the seat guard on very long but we loved the security it provided that she stayed on the pony. The seat guard comes off when your child is ready and as your child grows, the base can also be flipped to be a little higher up. Press the button on the ears and the pony will talk and sing. We have had it for two years so far and it is getting plenty of use! I love that it comes in Lavender now.

The Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag, Classic

What kid doesn’t love blocks? The Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag, Classic  is a great set for toddlers. We have two sets of these Mega Bloks sets. I think my toddler’s favorite part is to knock over the towers that she makes.  These chunky blocks are so easy to clean too.

Step2 Lifestyle Fresh Accents Kitchen

Toddlers love play kitchens. My girls both enjoy creating their culinary masterpieces with the Step2 Lifestyle Fresh Accents Kitchen. They love how realistic their kitchen looks too. I love Step2 products and this little kitchen has held up very well to daily play.

KidKraft Tasty Treats Play Food Set

What would a play kitchen be without a play food set? We bought this KidKraft Tasty Treats Play Food Set for our girls when we bought the play kitchen. I must warn you, it is a lot of play pieces but our girls absolutely love the set! I use the pieces to help my toddler learn to distinguish between different types of food. The pieces are easy to clean too.

 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe First Swing

My toddler loves her Little Tikes Cozy Coupe First Swing! She pretends that she is driving as she swings. I love the high back to the swing and the safety belt inside. The swing has held up great with over a year of daily play.

First 100 Board Book Box Set (3 books) 

My toddler loves books. First 100 Board Book Box Set (3 books) are perfect to introduce toddlers to animals, objects, and more. My toddler is finally at the point that she can recognize all the pictures so she is now working on recognizing/reading the words associated with the pictures. These books have held up well with little hands.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set – 100 Blocks in 4 Colors and 9 Shapes

We love Melissa & Doug products. This Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set – 100 Blocks in 4 Colors and 9 Shapes lets kids be creative. This set has different colors and shapes that allows for a child’s imagination to take off. My toddler loves building towers with her building blocks set.

Playskool Mrs. Potato Head
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