Month: June 2014

Awesome summer hairstyles for little girls


Stacy-Ann Gooden

posted in Tips & Tricks

Now that summer is officially here, I’m having fun trying out different styles on my daughter’s hair. I’m no professional, but I’ve managed to pull together some pretty awesome dos that have been getting a lot of positive feedback. Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating styles for your kiddos.

1. Keep it short. I try to style in five minutes or less. If it takes any longer, my daughter will lose her mind.
2. Look for inspiration. The Disney movies we’ve been watching lately have inspired us to recreate a few looks like this one from Maleficent.
IMG 8361 433x650 Awesome summer hairstyles for little girls
3. Keep it simple and age appropriate. Some of the styles I see are pretty cool, but may be out of my daughter’s age range. If your child is a bit older, maybe you can go over the top. But let’s face it; small kids are always getting into something. All that hard work of styling may be a total mess by the end of the day anyway.
4. Accessorize. You’d be surprise at how a simple clip can jazz up any hairdo. Bows and hand bands are my daughter’s favorite go to accessories.
5. Have fun! We love experimenting with different looks. Sometimes my daughter would see a look she likes and comes up with her own ideas. She’s at the point of putting in her own requests.

In addition to creating fun summer looks, I’m now realizing how much of a lesson this has also become for my daughter. Like any other arts and crafts project we do, she’s been able to explore and be creative. Check out some of the different summer looks we’ve come up with, along with a few throwbacks.

How do you like to style your kiddos hair?

Photos: Stacy-Ann Gooden

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) can be seen delivering the weather on the news weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitterPinterest, and Instagram.

2 easy ways to get kids to take medicine


Stacy-Ann Gooden

posted in Tips & Tricks

As a child, my mother would get me to take medicine by crushing pills and mixing it with a little juice. There was something about swallowing tablets that freaked me out. The bitter flavor of diluted crushed medicine wasn’t much better, but it went down more smoothly. Now that I’m a parent, I understand what my mom went through. Convincing my daughter to take her medicine has been one of my most difficult challenges. This is a topic that has been discussed here on BabyCenter. But, I’ve figured out two more easy ways to get kids to take their medicine.

It’s one thing when you have a sick child. But, having two kids feeling under the weather is a whole other story. My 10-month-old has been battling another ear infection, while my preschooler has been fighting off a horrible cough and cold. I usually try to avoid drugs all together. However, I have no choice! We’re going on two weeks here.

The pediatrician prescribed something mild for each child. My daughter has refused to take the medication. “I don’t like it,” she whined.

“It’ll make you feel better,” I assured her.
“But I don’t like it,” she persisted.

You’d think I was forcing her to drink liquor! My frustration got the best of me, and I responded.
“Mommy’s gonna be really upset if you don’t take this,” I replied.
At that moment, guilt washed over me. I would never want her to feel pressured into taking anything. Before I could apologize for what I said, she replied, “ok.”

The other day, my husband ran into the same problem. She wouldn’t take her medicine. Rather than continue trying to convince her, he prepared our son’s medication. Her little brother took the medication like a champ, and then was praised by his Dad for doing a great job. Upon hearing how well her baby brother did, Princess insisted on taking hers as well.

The possibility of upsetting me, and wanting to be praised like her baby brother was all it took. Who knew that getting a child to take medicine could be this easy?

How do you get your kids to take medicine?

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) can be seen delivering the weather on the news weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitterPinterest, and Instagram.



18 ways to simplify this summer


Sarah Welch

posted in Tips & Tricks

Summer is finally here. Wahoo!

Unfortunately for me, the chaos level has ramped UP, not down. I honestly did not think that was possible, but between day camps, end-of-year events, a wave of summer birthdays, a new job, and getting learning plans in place for both boys next year, my hair is officially on. fire.

I’m eeking by on a few hours of sleep each night and hoping and praying once we get past the end of June, I’ll be able to find a little more balance so I can enjoy the summer.

And yet, I have come to loathe that little word: balance. Balance schmalance.

It implies that if I could just push myself harder, I could “achieve” this mythical nirvana where personal and professional lives peacefully coexist and I have room to breathe. Whenever I hear it, it triggers the feeling that I should be doing a better job of juggling it all.

But in moments of lucidity I can see that is a big, fat logic trap. There’s just no such thing. Life is too busy for our days to be balanced. It’s an organic, ever-evolving changing thing that develops every minute, hour and day. Trying to make it balanced is asking too much.

But simplifying…well that’s another story. The very word does seem to create a peace within.

That’s why this summer, I am on a mission stop telling myself to find “balance” and instead to just “simplify.”

As a way of kicking off this “new outlook,” I came up with 18 ways to do just that:

What could you simplify this summer?

Help your child stick-to-it with these 4 strategies


Sarah Welch

posted in Tips & Tricks

When you try something new, such as riding a bike, Common Core math problems (say wha??), or how to craft a dinosaur dioramas, the really crucial, and incredibly difficult, part comes just after the initial burst of enthusiasm wears off.

That’s when you have to do the hard work of climbing up the learning curve. Boy is it ever tempting to just give up. But we can’t. One of our central jobs as parents is to help our children adopt a stick-to-it mindset from an early age.

Ah, it’s amazing the philosophical insights one has while pulling out hair out over second grade homework in the home stretch of the school year.

1. Understand your child may assume he lacks the ability.
It’s natural for your child to think “I stink and this,” or “I just can’t do x,y,z”. But the real issue is she hasn’t had enough practice. It’s useful to have some phrases like, “Everybody stinks at this when they first try it. But if you practice, magic happens.”

I’ve found that when my 7YO encounters a new learning roadblock and dissolves in frustration it’s really effective to gently remind him of something he now does effortless now but that was once a struggle for him. I typically ask, “Can you remember when you used to think this easy peasy thing was so hard it made you cry? What did you do so that it’s super easy now?” The answer is always: PRACTICE!

2. Anticipate that your child will want to go from zero to hero in one step.
Change is a process, not a snap-your-fingers and it’s done kind of thing. It comes in fits and starts – by taking baby steps. It’s normal to feel frustrated because of what’s not working — but remind your child that it is actually a sign that she is making progress! Every time she thinks she’s failing remind her that she’s learning what’s not working, which, if you reflect on it & learn from it, will bring her one step closer to what will work.

3. Find community mentors
Sometimes the best teachers for your children are…other children. Does your local library have a reading buddies or homework buddies program? Ours does and on some afternoons I have to admit it’s much more productive to pile everyone in the car, head to the library and let peers mentor my son.

4. Break It Down
This last one is so obvious, but it’s hard to remember when the whining is at full volume. A great way to do this is to play the 7-up game. Basically you break down a big task your child is trying to master into smaller bite-sized pieces. Then, once you do that, get him to practice the first step 7 times. When he does the task 7 times well, he “wins” 5 extra minutes of playtime before bed. After he’s done that, have him move on to the next concept in the ladder. The small rewards for successfully completing small steps are totally and completely trans formative.

Now if someone could just teach me how to make a dinosaur diorama!

What works for you when your child is feeling frustrated and wanting to give up?

DIY: 3 Easy tips to making unforgettable Father’s Day cards


Stacy-Ann Gooden

posted in Tips & Tricks

Store bought cards are an easy solution to just about every holiday or special event, including Father’s Day. But, why not make your own? You never know, Dad just may appreciate it more than just the run-of-the-mill stationary card. Plus, it’s a great way to get the kids involved to add their own personal touches.

The three easy tips to making an unforgettable Father’s Day card are simple. All you need are:

1. Creativity. If you’re not much of a crafter, you can check out Pinterest for ideas.
2. Supplies. Craft stores have tons of items to choose from. You can also purchase supplies online.
3. A little time. 15 minutes is all it takes, once you gather everything you need.

My daughter and I took a trip to the dollar store and purchased a few items to make a Father’s Day card. We spent five bucks in total. I know your probably thinking that we could have just bought a card for equal or lesser value. However, I’ve always believed that when you give someone something you’ve made yourself, you give that person a part of yourself. And that, my dear, is priceless. Check out how she did. Maybe your kids will find it helpful.

Here are a few more Father’s Day card ideas. Be sure to click on each photo for complete tutorials.


Would you rather buy or make your own Father’s Day card?

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) can be seen delivering the weather on the news weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitterPinterest, and Instagram.


How to get rid of stubborn cradle cap


Denise Cortes

posted in Tips & Tricks

When I had my fourth child, he was born with a full head of thick, dark hair. It overwhelmed his tiny little face. How can a baby have so much hair? I often wondered. A couple of months passed when I started to notice his hair smelled weird–specifically, his scalp. Kind of funky, like I hadn’t washed it for several days. Upon further inspection, I discovered a yellow crust on his scalp, very similar to scales–and it smelled bad. I had a mild freak out. Instead of running to the pediatrician, I looked through my natural remedy book and breathed a sigh of relief. Turns out, it was cradle cap.

What is cradle cap?

According to BabyCenter, it’s infantile seborrheic dermatitis. Basically, it’s dandruff for babies.  Some experts believe that the hormones a baby receives from his mother at the end of pregnancy can overstimulate the baby’s oil-producing glands, resulting in cradle cap. Irritation from a yeast that grows in the sebum (the substance produced by the glands) is also thought to be a culprit. Once I figured out exactly what it was (my other three children never had it), I made it my mission for my little one to have a healthy, crust-free scalp.

After he was fed and was content to lay in my arms, I would go to town. The cradle cap is sometimes very stubborn to remove, so I literally had to scrape it off.

How to treat cradle cap

  1. Gently massage baby’s scalp using a soft-bristle brush to loosen the scales.
  2. Rub a generous amount of oil on baby’s scalp and let it sink in for a few minutes. Any kind of light oil will do–almond, grapeseed, olive. My favorite was coconut oil.
  3. Using a fine-tooth comb, gently comb out flakes that will be loosened up by the oil.

It took me several days to remove the yellow, scaly patches on his scalp because of all his hair–it was oddly satisfying. But once it was complete, I was overjoyed to see my son’s healthy, soft, non-stinky scalp, free from any cradle cap.

Did your baby have cradle cap? How did you treat it?

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Image source: Flickr/Sterling Ely

Feeling overwhelmed? Try a new mantra


Sarah Welch

posted in Tips & Tricks

Last summer I admitted to being stuck in a bit of a funk.

An unexpected shift in our child care situation combined with my own ambiguity about “fixing” it with anything other than me, left me feeling totally overwhelmed by chaos and exhausted from trying to run my small business totally by myself.

And until I came clean about it on my blog, I felt powerless and stuck – white knuckling it through each day.

Writing about my struggle was cathartic and transformative.

Thoughtful and helpful comments from readers definitely made me feel better, and – -just as important, taking a step back and dispassionately looking at the swirl of words on the page also made me realize I had a real focus issue.

I did have the power to regain control. And it was all in my mind.

My Overwhelm Mantra

Do you know what a mantra is? Basically it’s a sound, syllable, word, or phrase that one repeats – traditionally in a quest for transformation. As I reflected on my situation, it hit me like a blinding flash that I was unconsciously repeating an energy-depleting, soul-sucking mantra.

You see, I was SO focused on my mile-long to-do list that I literally would walk around with the words, “ohmyGOD I have SO MUCH to get done today!” looping around and around my sleep-deprived brain from the time my eyes opened in the morning until the moment my head hit the pillow.

Just like a mantra.

And clearly, it was transformative. My reality was that I was completely and totally overwhelmed. And unhappy. And stuck.

A Mantra Experiment

Once I realized the power of my subconscious loop, I became determined to swap out my soul-sucking phrase for a positive one.

Over the past year, I’ve run a slew of new mantra experiments. After twelve months of tweaks, I now have a list of 5 questions that I use to jump-start my days. Each week I cycle through a new phrase. I spend the first five to ten minutes after waking up just repeating the phrase of the week. If I feel my mind wandering in a negative direction during the day, I turn to them again. At night, I take the last five minutes before bed and reflect on them one last time. Here are my five:

1. What can I happily contribute at home and at work today?
2. What am I grateful for (at home/at work/in my personal life)? How can I convey my gratitude for those things today?
3. Thank you God for this day (or moment). How can I honor you with it?
4. Who am I going to choose to be today (or right now)?
5. What actions today will truly make our home/buttoned up/my life better?

Holy cow what a difference this new mantra has made.

Especially the second phrase. Rather than focusing on a litany of to-do’s and requirements, my brain started to focus on all of the abundance in my life. As the year progressed, I gradually became unstuck. And even though I got it intellectually, I still am kind of awestruck by the power of a simple thought.

Are you at the mercy of a sub-conscious mantra? Have you ever experimented with this kind of thing? If so, I’d love to hear what worked for you!

10 easy tips for planning an awesome toddler birthday party


Stacy-Ann Gooden

posted in Tips & Tricks

I’ve been through a few birthday parties to know that it could get pretty stressful and expensive. Sometimes all you need to do to celebrate is have a few of your close friends and family over with a cake. That’s a great way to skip all the drama. But, even that could get out of hand. I’ve come up with ten easy tips for planning an awesome toddler birthday party.

1. Avoid having the party at your home. For my daughter first birthday we figured having it in our backyard would be easier and cheaper too. Boy, was I wrong! Between food and setting up a tent, it cost us a pretty penny – not to mention all the clean up we needed to do afterwards. Having the bash at a party location the second time around saved us the headache and money.

2. Keep it short. No more than two hours is all you need for tots. They’ll end up wearing themselves out. Any longer may mean dealing with more meltdowns.

3. Make sure activities are age appropriate. We’ve been to a few parties that were a bit too advanced for my daughter’s age group. The kids began to loose focus, while others had tantrums.

4. Stick with simple finger foods. I almost made the mistake of ordering gourmet dishes and salads, which would have taken up too much time. We decided on pizza, water, juice, and cake.

5. You can create less work for yourself by taking advantage of the generic theme included in the price package of the party. If you end up choosing your own, you can still save by hitting up the dollar store or scouring the internet for deals.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. It takes the burden off of you.

7. Don’t be afraid to experiment with crafts. I’m not crafty, but managed to make easy goody bags for my daughter’s party.

8. Have hand sanitizers and/or wipes on hand for a quick clean up.

9. Stay organized. I stayed on top of everything with Pinterest. Find the things you like, and pin them to your board.

10. Get an early start. I’m a huge procrastinator! For Princess’s first birthday my husband and I threw things together at the last minute. We planned things out weeks ahead for the second birthday party.

Following these simple steps made a huge difference, and took the stress out of party planning. I was able to enjoy the day with our daughter and took lots of photos. Check out some of them below.

What are some of your party planning tips?

Stacy-Ann Gooden (aka Weather Anchor Mama) can be seen delivering the weather on the news weeknights in New York City. But her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. You can also follow her on twitterPinterest, and Instagram.