Wednesday, March 23, 2011

10 Random Tips and Tricks Every Mom (and Dad) Should Know

I've compiled the most random list ever of tips and tricks which will make your life as a parent or soon to be parent or someone who just knows parents who need help, easier. Some of these have been shared with me and others I've learned the hard way. So, sit back, relax and take in this top 10 list. You'll want to share with everyone you know... or at least those who you like.

In no particular order, here goes:

1.) You don't even have to have a child to benefit from this gem. It's called SUDS - a specialty product, and I truly believe with this product, one old toothbrush and a little elbow grease (as my mom likes to say :) I could clean up the world. This all-purpose cleaner is a miracle! It gets stains out of clothes and rugs amazingly, and it's water-based with no ammonia, harsh chemicals or fumes. It's a little pricey so I use it only for laundry or carpet emergencies, but the list of options this stuff will clean goes on and on and includes bathrooms, grills, woodwork and glass to name only a few.  I buy it locally in Knoxville, Tennessee, at The White Balloon at the Gallery Shopping Center, 7240 Kingston Pike. I've also seen it at Smart Toys and Books in Knoxville.  There's a number on the actual product if you'd like to go old-school and order by phone with your VISA or Mastercard; it's 1-800-551-7837(SUDS). Plus,  I found it available online here, but I've never shopped from this site. Whatever or however, just make sure you stock up on SUDS. You won't be disappointed.

2.) As your child gets older, he or she is going to get bigger. And bigger and bigger and bigger. And it'll happen fast! While 10 to 15 to 20+ pounds doesn't feel so heavy, it is. It's especially a back killer when you're constantly leaning over, picking up, carrying around, putting down and repeating about 17 trillion times each day. Learn to squeeze your butt checks together when picking up your child. I know it seems silly, but I promise you it'll save your lower back. Seriously. I'm still not sure why or how it works, but it's true. And I know this from experience. I credit Dr. Cole from Hosenfeld Chiropractic with this tip. It's gold I tell you!

3.) Okay, if you have an infant who is hmmm, let's say less than chilled out and relaxed like your husband, and more high-strung, type A personality like yourself (or vice versa) you may want to give running the vacuum cleaner for a while a try to see if it calms your child. I know. I thought the same thing when I first heard it, but when you're truly hanging onto the edge of your last strand of sanity you'll try anything. If it works run like the wind to open iTunes and spend $9.99 so you too can have one solid hour's worth of vacuuming called, Colic Sweep Vacuum Cleaner White Noise. It sounds ridiculous, but it works. Plus, you won't wear out your own vacuum, and you can take it with you when you travel. Win-win! Mad props to whoever possessed the sheer genius to record and market this. I'm jealous.

4.) Looking for summer shoes for your kid? Look no further. Check out KEEN Kids Newport H2. They're $50 and worth every cent. I can't imagine you not loving these for spring and summer. Your child can wear them with or without socks, they're waterproof, comfy and super durable. Did I mention they're rated a perfect five stars after 105 customer reviews? These are a must have; they're really the only summer shoes your child needs.

5.) If you're using formula, plan to eventually use formula or know anyone who is using formula go directly to Babies R Us and pick up the Munchkin BPA Free Formula Mixer or just order it here. It's portable, works well and is very inexpensive at just over $5. Go ahead and pick up two so you can leave one in your diaper bag.

6.) If you're baby's still wearing diapers (like mine, sigh) go for the Diaper Champ instead of the Diaper Genie. With the Diaper Champ you can use your regular garbage bags instead of having to buy special refills, plus it's about $5 less.

7.) Just say NO to the wipes warmer! Picture this. You've used those warm wipes on your sweet baby's bottom for the first few weeks of her life. It's time to get out of the house to get some fresh air and of course show off your beautiful child. Unfortunately, that warmer isn't portable. So you get brave enough to take your baby out in public where you want her to prove herself to be the perfect baby you know she is. When she needs a diaper change you pull out a freezing cold wipe. You touch this frigid wipe to your pride and joy, and I guarantee she will show herself, and not so much in a positive way. Although I was warned I still had to learn this one the hard way, my friends. I hope you won't have to.

8.) There's only one chair you'll ever need for your child. It grows with him and allows him to be right at the table with the rest of the family from the very beginning. It's the Stokke. It's the bomb. And you need one.

9.) Looking for an app for your toddler? Check out First Words. They're fabulous, and your child will love them and learn letter recognition and beginner words. It's very cool and worthy.

10.) If you're looking for inspiration or hope or a smile, I urge you to spend a little time with StoryPeople.  These guys are brilliant and sweet and funny and passionate, and they just flat get it right. It won't be time wasted. Here's one of my many favorites: "this is a dress-up box for the future & it's filled with stuff like courage & love & play because they're the only things that are any use at all when you get right down to it."


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