Category: Everyday Life

9 Gift Giving Ideas for the Man in Your Life Guide to finding that hard to find gift

 

This post contains affiliate links in which I will earn a small commission on items purchased at no additional cost to you.  See my disclosure for more information.

Do you find it difficult to find gifts for the man in your life?

It seems like it should be so simple, but it’s a big challenge for me to find gifts for my husband on occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, Christmas and other special occasions. He doesn’t really want anything and when he does he just goes out and gets it himself, so annoying.

If you find yourself at a loss when trying to find a gift, these 9 gift giving tips may help guide you to the perfect gift for the man in your life.  Save time, money and potential headache by checking out these tips below.

 

9 Gift Giving Tips for the Man in Your Life

1. Thoughtful gifts. Pay attention to subtle (or not so subtle) hints. My husband has mentioned on several occasions different landmarks in the United States he wants to visit. I got him a couple of books on landmarks across the US that he appreciated.  Think of other occasions where he may have mentioned something of interest and see what kind of things you can find that are related to it. You can find tons of ideas using search engines like Google.

2. Gifts for hobbies or a passion. If the man in your life has a hobby or a passion think of items or accessories that help facilitate that hobby or passion.  For example, does he enjoy camping, working out, or is he a gamer? Get him something he can use when doing these hobbies.  Does he collect anything? Maybe get him something to add to his collection.

3. Practical gifts. Give him something he will actually use on a regular basis. My husband actually appreciates gifts that are essential items, like socks, underwear, t-shirts and toiletries. I know, not very interesting, but that’s what he asks for on occasion.  Or think of practical things he can use at work, home or when traveling to name a few.  Also, maybe there is something that he uses often that needs an upgrade or is becoming worn out and needs to be replaced. That’s a perfect gift idea in my opinion.

4. A book. There is literally a book out there for every interest. He doesn’t have to be an avid reader. There are how to books, hobby books, books on facts and travel, etc. This is a great gift idea if there is a particular subject he is interested in or if there is something he wants to learn more about.

5. A membership or subscription to a product service. Like I mentioned previously, Google is your friend. For example, you can use Google to find different companies that offer subscription boxes for all types of interests, like outdoor lovers, foodies, travelers, beer or wine enthusiasts. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

6. Lessons. Is there is a skill or craft he has been wanting to learn like music, photography, golf, cooking or art? Considering paying for some lessons.

7. Tickets. Get him tickets a sports game, perhaps season tickets. Maybe a Nascar or Comic-Con event. Does he have a favorite band or music artist? Get him concert tickets. Or how about tickets to a Broadway show, comedy show, festival, or wine tasting experience?

8. Keepsakes and personalized gifts. One of my favorite websites is personalizationmall.com. You can personalize all types of gifts in a variety of categories for any occasion.   Or, create a keepsake made by the kids. I love gifts that have my kid’s handprints, it reminds me of how little they once were. It’s actually pretty easy to create clay handprints, you can find kits on Amazon, even I can do it. There are also tons of other DIY kids craft ideas on Pinterest you can find to create personalized gifts.

9. Gift cards. When all else fails give a gift card to one of his favorite retailers or restaurants, that way he can just choose what he wants. Although this type of gift can be considered a bit generic or impersonal it’s better than buying him something he doesn’t want or isn’t going to use.

If you were clueless or just needed a bit of guidance, hopefully these 9 tips give you some ideas you can work with when thinking about the next gift for the man in your life.

Is there something I left out, or do you have a gift giving tip to share? I’d love to hear it, share in the comments below.

7 Busy Moms Share Their Biggest Struggle Plus Tips on a Challenge They’ve Conquered

Whether you are a mom who works in the home or out of the home or a stay at home mom, we all face different day to day struggles and challenges.  I think we can all relate to each other in some way.  I asked 7 moms what their biggest challenge is as a working or stay at home mom.  They also shared one challenge they have conquered.

I am a mom of three children, ages 8, 6 and 17 months.  For me it’s hard to pick just one challenge I have as a working mom.  I suppose my biggest challenge is keeping the house in order.  With the dishes, the laundry, the toys and clutter, it’s overwhelming.  There isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with it all with everything else I have on my plate.  I have been making an effort to work on my time management to conquer this challenge.

One challenge I have conquered is making it a priority to find ways to spend quality time with each of my children.  You may find some of the tips in my post 9 Ways to Maximize Individual Time with Each of Your Children helpful.

Ok, so back to the moms I mentioned earlier, these 7 busy moms were kind enough to tell us a little bit about themselves and share their daily challenges and wins.

Clarissa

I am a 29 year old stay at home mom of two.  My oldest is 4 and my baby is 11 months – both girls.  I also have two step daughters 8 & 7 which live with me this year while we are in Hawaii.  My husband is a US Army Soldier for the last 6 years.  Hawaii is our second duty station, previously we were stationed on Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX.  I am an entrepreneur.  I’m a health & fitness coach with a leading company and strive to untie women, moms, military spouses, and all those in between who 1. Are looking for a life style change and 2. Need the motivational push to succeed.

My biggest challenge as a #momprenuer (as i like to call myself) is time management. I strive to make sure my kids can participate in activities outside of school as well as being involved in the church, I often find myself running out of time.  If I could wave a magic wand and get my to-do list knocked out EVERYDAY it would truly be a heaven sent.  Life with 4 young children is chaotic and each day is never the same.  I’m needing to find a way to get my work done as a nonnegotiable while fitting in all my other mom/wife responsibilities.

One thing I have conquered that’s made my life much easier is meal planning & prepping!  Being a health & fitness coach it’s important I’m on top of my nutrition.  So planning my meals ahead of time, creating a shopping list, and then prepping 3-4 days out at a time has made things SO much easier for me!

Where can you find Clarissa?

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/fitbiscatti

Instagram: www.instagram.com/fitbiscatti

Snapchat: biscatti

Brenda

My name is Brenda. I am a Christian mom from California with three children ages 21, 19, and 11.  I am also a substitute teacher.  I help moms eat healthy while saving time and money.  I love sharing frugal and healthy tips and tricks to help busy moms have more time to spend with their families. A fun fact: I’m fluent in American Sign Language and interpret at my church.

My biggest challenge as a working mom is trying to find time to get everything done.  When I work all day subbing, when I get home, I still have to cook, clean, and sometimes bake.  I also run a blog, so I want to find time to work on that every day too.  Of course, my kids always need something also – papers signed, help with homework, etc.

The one challenge I’ve conquered is meal planning.  I spend a little bit of time a few days a week going through the store circulars to see which stores have the best deals, writing out my meal plan and grocery list for the week using my grocery list checklist to make the process quicker and easier, and then looking through my coupons to combine them with the sales. Each week I seem to get faster with this process and it saves me money and time because I don’t have to run to the grocery store during the week to pick up anything because I already have it all.

Where can you find Brenda?

Website:  https://brendalovessharing.com/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/brendasharing/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/brendalovessharing/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendalovessharing/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/brendasharing

Ashley

My name is Ashley, and I am a Stay-at-Home Mom of two boys, ages 5 and 2.  My blog is called Look for Little Helpers.  It is a place where I share resources and ideas related to teaching kids to be kind, compassionate, and grateful, to know and love all kinds of people, to be globally and culturally aware, and to feel the joy born of making a difference in the lives of others.  I am a lover of running, supporting fellow moms, and keeping it real.  Because let’s face it, we are all busy and parenting is hard, but there is no need go through it alone!

My biggest challenge as a Stay-at-Home Mom (aside from the sleepless nights) is undoubtedly trying to find a balance between taking care of others and nurturing myself.  When my first son was born, I left my job as a Speech/Language Pathologist to stay at home with my children. They are my greatest accomplishment, and I could not love anything more.  However, some of my identity went missing when I quit my job.  I’ve spent a lot of time soul-searching and asking myself, “What is my ‘thing’? What makes me, me?”  I needed to find a way to feed my adult, professional brain, as opposed to solely fulfilling my role as a mom inside the home.  I’m not ready to go back to work, but I needed something.  Then I discovered blogging.  I can make improvements in my kids’ lives, improve my parenting skills, and collaborate with others.  And, by writing and designing my website, I also have something that is professional and completely my own.  I think I have found how to connect the two sides of myself in a meaningful way, and that feels good.

One challenge I have conquered was establishing a good morning routine.  It sets us up for a better day (not perfect, but better).  Here is a glimpse of ours:

1.       Get up before the kids. I am NOT a morning person, so this was a huge hurdle for me.  But, I have learned that being able to sit in silence for even just a brief time with my blog and a cup of coffee is very centering.  When the kids wake up and chaos ensues, I am much more ready to take it all on, rather than scrambling straight from bed.  I also get so much more done!

2.      Make breakfast.

3.      Mindfulness activity with the kids. Before we rush off to school and responsibilities, we do one short mindfulness activity together.  We don’t spend a significant amount of time (anywhere between 1-10 minutes), but becoming fully present and calm is amazingly helpful before we set off on our hectic day.  I have a list of simple, short mindfulness activities for kids on my blog if you would like some ideas: http://lookforlittlehelpers.com/mindfulnessforkids/.

4.      Preschool drop-off.

5.      Workout. At least one of my kids is almost always with me, so I usually exercise with them.  I’ve learned to let go of the idea of a perfect workout because it doesn’t exist.  Someone spills a snack, crawls over me, cries, or needs a diaper change in the middle.  That’s just how it is.  What is important is that I do it anyway.  I run with the jogging stroller or put out some snacks and activities for the kids in our living room and turn on a workout video.  I find that even a choppy, interrupted workout makes me feel better.  As Raneir Pollar from my favorite Popsugar workout says, “If you learn to enjoy moments like this that are tough, imagine how fun the good times in life are going to be”.

Where can you find Ashley?

Website:  www.lookforlittlehelpers.com

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lookforlittlehelpers/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lookforlittlehelpers/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lookforlittlehelpers/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/look4littlehelp

Lauren

Lauren is a working teacher-mama with two children, ages 5 and 8. Over the past decade she has experienced working from home, out of the home and being a SAHM during the summers.  She shares simple health and happiness tips for busy moms at https://simply-well-balanced.com.  As an experienced mom, yoga instructor and former medical researcher she is excited to share quick and simple ideas to help moms reduce stress and increase joy.

My biggest challenge as a working mom is making sure that I give my family my full attention once I walk through the door at the end of the day.  Since I work as a teacher I am constantly thinking about how the day went and what I am planning for tomorrow.  However, I want my own children to grow up feeling like I was always attentive to them. Distracted parenting is commonplace today and my goal is to avoid my children feeling like my job was more important to me than they are – since that is not the case.

As a new mom I tried to do it all and I put extremely high, non-realistic expectations on myself.  It took a few years for me to realize I was no longer the happy, healthy person I used to be or wanted to be as a mother and wife. It took a struggle through anxiety, poor health and exhaustion for me to realize that I needed to make changes. That is when I started to simplify as much as possible. I focused on the four pillars of my life; Family, Fitness, Finance and Food.  Through simplifying I was able to create balance and regain my health and happiness.  I now share those tips with other busy moms on my site.

A challenge conquered?  Finances are one area that I was able to make an enormous change.  With a new family medical bills, daycare expenses and household maintenance costs were burying us. We got to the point where we were stressing about money and $50,000 in debt.  After failing at multiple strategies to get our finances in order I discovered what really works.  We are now in a position where we never worry or stress about money, have paid off our debt and can build wealth.  I have put the tips, tricks and strategies that we used to change our mindset and reverse our financial situation in my free “Busy Moms Guide to Avoid Financial Stress”

Where can you find Lauren?

Website:  https://simply-well-balanced.com/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/simplywellbalanced1/boards/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/simplywellbalanced/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauren.simplywellbalanced/

Sina

Hi! I’m Sina, a momma bear to one nine month old little man. I’m a stay at home mom, wife and a blogger.  I’m also a wine drinker, a coffee guzzler, and a podcast listener.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a stay at home mom is redundancy.  Doing the dishes, laundry, floors, cooking, errands, and changing ALL the diapers.  It can get repetitive.

I think one of the things that I have slowly become proficient in is organization.  I learned that when everything has a place, and there’s a place for everything- life runs so much smoother!  Especially with a little one- clean up becomes easy when you know exactly what you have and where it goes!  I’m not a minimalist, but I am intentional with the items I possess.  And yes, it IS achievable.  Just remember to do a quick tidy at night no matter how tired you are.  You will thank yourself in the morning.

Where can you find Sina?

Website:  https://livingbythemargin.com

Pinterest:  https://pinterest.com/livingbythemargin

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/livingbythemargin

Instagram: http://instagram.com/livingbythemargin

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/livingbymargin

Jennifer

After ten years in the throes of hyperemesis gravidarum, JENNIFER GRIFFIN can’t stop writing about mothering her four powerful children (ages 7-16).  Using energy work and other alternative healing modalities, Griffin specializes in leading individuals to uncover the messages of chronic health conditions and their children’s challenging behaviors.  She loves to empower people to learn DIY healing techniques, such as EMDR, TAT and TRE. Visit her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferGriffinauthor to learn more about her books: Understanding Your Child As A Spiritual Gift and Understanding Morning Sickness as a Gift.

Other places you can find Jennifer:

Website:  http://spiritualgiftinstitute.com

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/spiritualgiftxo

My biggest challenge to working and homeschooling my four children was re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for ten years.

To address this challenge, I had to figure out how to work at home while still being available to my children.  For me, the best way to do this is to schedule playdates at my house.  A bit like dating, I had to be clear about what I was looking for and find other kids who knew how to resolve conflicts on their own, providing an opportunity to increase their emotional IQ while giving me time to work.

With this play date plan, I have been able to write two books during the daylight hours while taking breaks to feed the kids and their friends, allowing me to launch my career as a writer and DIY healing specialist.

A challenge conquered?  Embracing my child’s difficult behaviors as a gift, waiting to be opened, has transformed my parenting and how I handle tantrums and other disruptive behaviors.  I spent two and a half years drowning in the constant screaming of my second daughter.  Then I began to see how she seemed to scream even louder than usual when my husband appeared particularly exhausted and overwhelmed, yet was refusing to take time for himself.  As I pushed him to rest more and express his feelings, she miraculously began to calm down.  Now at age 13, she is exceptionally easy-going and creative.

Dr Toni DDS

I am Toni.  I am a wife, mom of two boys (ages 5 and 1), dentist and blogger at drtonidds.com where I help moms achieve optimal oral health for themselves and the entire family.

My biggest challenge is balancing my time between work, family and my blog.  It always seems like there is one that is lacking and not getting enough attention.  Even with planning everything that I can in my planner it still is a balancing act with the kiddos.

I have conquered mommy guilt.  I no longer feel guilty when I do things for myself and have to leave my kids for a long period of time for work.  I have learned to remind myself WHY I am doing what I am doing and it makes the guilt go away.  Also, I make the best of the time that I am with my kids.  I give them all of my attention.  I put away the phone and other electronics and play and have a good time.  Then when I have to leave them I don’t feel so bad because I have spent some quality time with my kids.

Where can you find Toni?

Website:  http://www.drtonidds.com

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/drtonidds1

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/drtonidds

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drtonidds

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/drtonidds       

Special thanks to all of the moms who were part of this post.  Share your mom struggles and accomplishments in the comments section!

Best Pretend Play Toys Your Child Will Absolutely Love Melissa & Doug Toys for All Ages

This post contains affiliate links in which I will earn a small commission on items purchased at no additional cost to you.  See my disclosure for more information.

One of my kid’s favorite activities is pretend play and role playing.  Pretend play is not only fun, it allows your child to get creative, explore, investigate and use and develop his or her imagination.  I enjoy seeing what types of things my kids come up with when they are using their imaginations. 

Children are very observant, we don’t always notice, but they are absorbing and learning every day from everything around them and they want to be part of it.  Pretend play and role playing inspires children to make sense of their world.  It’s interesting to see my kid’s act out their perceptions of the world around them.

According to whattoexpect.com, kids start pretending between 18 to 24 months by acting out everyday actions they see people doing around them.  I noticed my toddler mimicking talking on the phone shortly after she turned 1.

There are tons of toys out there that encourage pretend play.  I became aware of Melissa and Doug toys years ago.  At first, I was under the impression that they only sold basic wooden toys and puzzles.  I quickly learned that they offer so much more than that!  Melissa and Doug has hundreds of pretend play options. 

If you are looking for pretend play toys, look no further, you are certain to find the perfect toy for your child in at least one of these six categories from Melissa and Doug.

Magnetic dress up-sets

Boys or girls can create and mix and match outfits and costumes from a variety of magnetic dress-up sets you can choose from. 

 

Role Pay

Role playing is said to help with children’s social development.  Melissa and Doug offers several role playing costumes and accessories.  They can dress up as a chef, doctor, maybe a firefighter, and more. 

Playsets and Kitchens

Your child can cook just like mom and dad with these play kitchens and accessories.  Combine these playsets with Melissa and Doug play food options for hours of fun.

Cleaning and Laundry

Start early and give your child some practice helping out around the house. The kid size dust, sweep and mop set is actually functional and perfect for your little helper.

Play Food

My personal favorite is the play food.  Choose from realistic fruits, veggies, desserts, grocery items, meal combinations, condiments and more.  My kids love to pretend they are pizza chefs or pretend they are running a restaurant.  I usually play the role of customer.

Animal and People Playsets

These playsets offer a variety of people and animals with multiple choices for homes and habitats.

Pretend play is not just for kids.  I encourage parents to get involved and play with your kids, it’s fun and a great bonding experience. 

Click here for all Melissa and Doug pretend play options.

What are some of your favorite pretend play activities and toys?  Share in the comments below.

Articles you may be interested in:

A Fun Way to Develop Your Child’s Passion for STEM

9 Ways to Maximize Individual Time with Each of Your Children

6 Simple Steps to Create an After School Routine Guest Post by Katelyn May

Katelyn May is writer for Parent Cabin and loves the beach, golden retrievers and all shades of blue. Parent Cabin is a cozy little parenting blog covering everything from pregnancy, tots, teens, and family lifestyle. You can find them on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram.

eathing a healthy snack

Developing a specific after-school routine for your child is an essential method to gearing them toward success. Designing a routine that ensures completion on everything your child must do before bedtime can be difficult, but follow these simple steps to create an ideal routine.

Step 1: Fuel your child

By the time your kid gets home they haven’t usually eaten since lunchtime at school. Fuel them up for a successful evening by nourishing their body with nutrients. Make them (or if they are old enough allow for them to make it him/herself) a healthy snack to fuel the remainder of the evening. Carrots and hummus, apple and peanut butter, frozen grapes and smoothies are just a few options.

Step 2: Start homework as soon as possible

When it comes to children the longer something is delayed, the less likely it is to get done. Prevent this issue and have your child start homework as soon as they are finished with their snack. Remind them that work is to be done first, before playtime.

 Step 3: Free time

Once all the work is finished for the evening, don’t forget to allow your child some time for fun. If the weather is nice let your child spend some time outside and enjoy the fresh air. If not, give them some time to do something of their choice. This is the perfect moment to give them a bit of hard earned screen time”, but still monitor how much time they are spending with technology.

Step 4: Set a dinner time

Having a family dinner is very important for a child’s development. Because everyone has different schedules throughout the week this is the one portion of the day that everyone can spend together and remain updated on each other’s lives. Remind your child about proper table manners and the importance of spending time together as a family.

Step 5: Chores

This can be built in before dinner/free time or after. If you choose to have your child complete chores make sure these are built into their after school routine. A great way to remind your child is to have a chore chart with rewards when chores are completed in a timely manner and punishment when they are not. Remember to adjust chores according to age. Young kids can help out with clearing the table and doing small things while bigger kids can take on more responsibility.

Step 6: End the night with a book

Reading before bed helps your child’s own reading progress and also phonics skills development. Check out this age by age guide to reading to your child for recommendations on what you should be reading to your child at different age points. Winding down the night with a good book is a great way to relax your child before bed and also avoid extra screen time on delicate night eyes.

Now that we have shared our tips on creating a night routine, let us know in the comments below what you are sure to include in your child’s nightly routine.

Articles you may be interested in:

51 Time Management Tips for Working Moms

9 Ways to Maximize Individual Time With Each of Your Children

 

7 Tips to Help Moms Maintain Peace of Mind When Traveling for Work

This post contains affiliate links in which I will earn a small commission on items purchased at no additional cost to you.  See my disclosure for more information.

Many of us travel for our jobs, it can be hard for not only us but on everyone else in the family.  

I am one of the many moms who has to travel for work occasionally.  Luckily they are short trips and not too often.  My hat goes off to those moms who have to be away for weeks and months, I can imagine it’s hard on everybody.

Maybe you enjoy the break or perhaps you feel mom guilt when you travel for work.  Some of us worry and some of us feel confident things will be fine while we’re gone.  Or, you might have a combination of these feelings.

However you may feel about traveling for work, it can disrupt your family’s daily routine.  It takes some adjustment for everyone.

Whether you are a mom that enjoys traveling or not so much, there is still the responsibility to make sure everything is taken care of at home while you are gone. 

The most important thing for me while I am away is making sure that my children’s needs are taken care of while keeping some sort of normalcy and routine. 

Here are 7 tips to help make the process easier for everyone when you have to travel for work.

(1) Give your significant other some credit

My husband may not do things the same way that I would do them, he has his own way of doing things, which is ok.  Most importantly the kids are safe, fed and taken care of.

(2) Keep in touch

Call regularly to speak to the kids and see how they are doing and let them know you are ok.  Use FaceTime, Skype or something similar so you can all see each other. Send pics and videos of where you are and what you are doing. Text often to keep updated.

(3) Prepare your kids

If you can, give your kids advance notice as soon as possible prior to your trip.  Prepping them can help reduce anxiety.  Let them know what to expect and that it’s going to be ok. 

A couple of things I like to do is decide ahead of time what the kids are having for lunch while I’m gone and pick out their clothes for each day I’m gone, two less things they need to worry about. 

Do your kids ever “forget” their daily responsibilities?  Use a chore chart your kids can refer to, to make sure they keep up with their daily chores.  

(4) Prepare your significant other

Make a list of important information and to dos.  I make sure my husband is aware of timelines and routines.  For example, the best time to wake the kids up to make sure they are on time to school and don’t forget to check homework when he picks them up.  To help keep things on track, download this free printable

Use a calendar for important events and reminders during the week. I use a dry erase board magnet calendar that I keep on the fridge.  This way my husband is aware of upcoming events.  

(5) Get a good support system 

There is a saying “it takes a village to raise a child’, which I believe to be true.  Choose people that you trust, friends, grandparents, babysitter, significant other that can pick up some of the slack in your absence.  Make sure the kids know who will be doing what (for example who will be taking/picking them up from school or child care).  This free printable will help keep things running smoothly while you’re away.

(6) Have all your arrangements in order

Make sure all the logistics are worked out prior to your trip.  In addition, have a contingency plan in case of an emergency.  

(7) Prepare meals ahead of time

For those of you who meal prep, pre-make some of your kid’s favorite meals they can eat while you are gone.

If meal prepping isn’t your thing, give your significant other or caretaker some simple meal options your kids like.  I also like to have a variety of snack options readily available for the kids.

Knowing that my kids are fine while I am away takes away a lot of the stress and worry I used to feel when I first started traveling.  Do you have to travel for work?  What are some methods you use to keep your peace of mind when you travel?

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