How To Prep Your Kids for Their Newest Sibling

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I am no expert. But by baby number 5, I’ve learned a lot and seen the things that I could do differently when it comes to how I prepare my kids for their next sibling coming. I’ve seen each of them react differently and I’ve learned something new each time.

With my oldest, Mason, it was tough. He turned 5 years old when his baby sister was about 4 months old, so the gap is there with them. He didn’t say much when she was first born. He was definitely stand-offish. I found him to himself and quiet a lot in the first couple of weeks. Broke my heart and even though we’d ask, I knew he didn’t exactly know how to describe the new feelings and change he was going through.

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As months went by, that turned from that to him being an extremely over protective brother. Not in a mean way towards others, but he would always hover her, he’d be sad and broken hearted whenever she would be in pain (like from her shots). One time she was crying for I don’t even remember what reason but he held his heart, had his hand literally on his chest across his heart and started to cry too. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, it was really very precious!

It was very different with him and my daughter because my oldest will always be the only one who ever had me and my husband completely to himself, for five whole years, at that! I think I’ve learned that the age gap was probably the biggest factor in the way my son reacted at first. Though he knew a baby, his sister was coming, the amount of time he had us to himself, then having his sister, was a bit of a culture shock for him!

After having our 3rd child, 4 years after my daughter, my oldest was stoked to have a brother so there wasn’t really any issue there. My daughter was super stoked to have a brand new baby in the house so the transition for them was pretty smooth.

When my 4th came, my 3rd was only 18 months old! Super small gap compared to my first two children. It was very different and hard for me at first. My 18 month old was so confused and kept asking everyday, no miss, for a few weeks, “who’s that?” Made me laugh and made me sad. I was sad at how confused he still was as some time went by. He was so confused and curious. And yes, he continued to ask even after we’d say “your baby brother” over and over lol!

I knew with this baby coming and my youngest (4th) now being a little over 2 years old, what I should be doing to prep, considering all that I had experienced with my previous kids.

  • Talk about baby….A LOT
  • Repeat baby’s name…A LOT (if you have baby’s name already)
  • Show them your belly AND talk about baby….A LOT
  • Read books about baby’s in mommy’s belly and siblings to come
  • Share with them your baby’s growth (a visual, like maybe your baby app)
  • Show them all the baby things and how baby will be here soon
  • Make it a point to spend a little extra time with each child before baby comes

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1846432758/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1846432758&linkId=2d23314ee837e82c12cc1fbae61a2ad4

For my older kids, my oldest, 13, son Mason and only daughter second oldest, Meyah, 8, it’s a little different for prepping them. Of course, it’s easier with them since it’s not their first rodeo, they know how this goes and pretty much what to expect already. But the way I find myself prepping them is just talking to them and trying to spend some one on one time with them.

Even if it’s me and my oldest talking stories after the rest of the kids have gone to bed, since his bedtime is later than theirs. Even if it’s just a simple conversation about his interests or watching a video with him. A little one on one goes a long way.

DON’T FORGET TO SAVE AND PIN TO YOUR PINTEREST 😉

For my daughter, it’s easy to do the simplest things with her because we’re girls, duh! Lol! She loves when we play with each other’s hair, when we talk about her day, when we have one on one time before bed and we pray together. We love to do our nails (our own at home). All these little things I’ve been trying to make it a point to make sure I make time for especially with baby coming so soon!

What are ways you have found yourself prepping your child or like me, children, for a new sibling coming soon? Is there something that I should be trying out that helps a lot? I’d love to hear from you via email or in the comments below! Let’s chat!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1846432758/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1846432758&linkId=2d23314ee837e82c12cc1fbae61a2ad4

Til next time 🙂

Monica <3

What to pack in your hospital bag (for mommy)

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With this not being my first rodeo and all (fifth time to be exact), I’d say I know what worked for me, what I truly needed and what I really didn’t need and never ended up using. So this time around, packing my bag is a little easier, still as exciting as the other times, though.

DON’T FORGET TO SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER 😉
  • Comfy clothes (loose, nurse friendly shirts, loose dress, sweats, loose pants)

I always enjoyed my sweats right after birth paired with a very simple, very airy and loose shirt that is nurse friendly. I bring about three outfits in case the usual two night stay turns into a three.

  • Comfy underwear, sports bras and socks

I never used nursing bras before, specifically because I’ve just never found one that I really like. So I just normally stick to sports bras the entire time I breastfeed. I found that the close tightness of it is also very comforting during the beginning tender nipples stage of breastfeeding, especially with engorgement and in the hospital.

  • Slip-on slippers

I love the convenience of just sliding my feet in and out of those, especially during my hospital stays.

  • Post-partum stomach wrap

This one linked below is AMAZING! I used it with my last baby. I love how secure my abdominal feels in it during recovery and how comfortable it is. I am hoping to use it shortly after birth, I am bringing it in case, I’d like to see what the doc says first.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EVGLMM8/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EVGLMM8&linkId=15e75856dacd02922564d1921da7de19

  • Depends

Now this is NEW for me! Never have I ever packed or used this one lol. But I have heard some great things about using these after birth and I mean, it does make a lot of sense to use these vs possibly ruining underwear or wearing the horrible netted ones from the hospital which I personally, absolutely do not like at all! I am bringing these, along with my comfy underwear too, just in case I don’t want to go that route. We shall see.

  • Toiletries/self care things:
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash/floss
  • Deodorant
  • Body lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Perfume
  • Rubber bands for hair
  • Qtips
  • Shaver
  • Pads
  • Breast pads
  • Hair brush
  • Misc things

I like to make sure I have these extra things on me as well. I don’t like forgetting anything. Even though family comes to visit and they can possibly bring things I don’t remember, it doesn’t sit well with me to forget something and not be prepared so I like to pack early and ahead.

  • Phone charger
  • Gum
  • Some coins on hand for vending machines
  • Some cash on hand
  • My little makeup bag
  • My wallet

So funny how you can be as ahead and prepared as possible yet you can still feel you might be forgetting something. Am I? Did I forget something? Is there something I missed and should be bringing along with me?

SAVE TO YOUR PINTEREST 🙂

I’d love to hear from you, if you could let me know down in the comments or via email. What things do you pack in your hospital bag?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EVGLMM8/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EVGLMM8&linkId=15e75856dacd02922564d1921da7de19

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

What to pack in baby’s hospital bag

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The first thing in my mind with my last four babies while getting ready to pack up the diaper bag for the hospital, was always “pampers and wipes.” Funny how things can change, that was the last thing on my mind this 5th time around. I almost completely didn’t pack any at all this time. I always find that I don’t ever touch the wipes or pampers during my hospital stay. BUT I just felt to be safe than sorry. Added it as the very last thing to the bag.

I stayed up late, gushing over the tiny, baby smell filled laundry, organizing and folding. I even felt myself getting a little overwhelmed because there were so much cute pieces of clothes to choose from. I struggle with this one each time, what size to pack. So, like all the other times, I packed a couple of different sizes of clothes in case. Here’s what’s currently in my baby-ready packed, locked and loaded hospital bag.

  • Preemie clothes (one pair) with matching beanie

I used preemie for my first born, my son, and my second born, my daughter. They were both not born preemie but the preemie clothes just fit them so much better than the newborn at the time. With my last two babies being over 8lbs each, I didn’t use the preemies, but I did still pack it for this baby JUST in case.

  • 3 pairs of socks and mittens

The last few times in the hospital, I had to stay an extra night than expected due to my breastfeeding. It has never gone smoothly, so they’d always recommend me staying one more night. So I figure pack for three nights. I remember not having a different, clean pair of socks for each day because I always just packed two, the last times. Three, this time in case.

  • Two sleepers/pajamas

I don’t think I’ve ever packed this one ever before. But it does tend to get really cold in the hospital so I figured why not.

  • A few pampers/pack of wipes

Like I mentioned, in the past, I’ve never had to use these but I am still bringing them for piece of mind. My hospital is really good at providing this during baby’s stay.

  • A burp rag/cloth

This one is simply because it is a SUPER cute one LOL and it matches a set of mittens I am bringing along. I normally don’t bring burp rags either, also because the hospital provides those during our stay as well.

  • 3 receiving blankets

I would like to use only my receiving blankets this time. I realized how with my other kids, I brought my own, but barely used them. This time, I would like to not have to use the provided blankets and use my own instead.

  • 2 swaddlers

All of my babies loved to be swaddled as newborns so of COURSE I need to bring some swaddlers!

  • 4 onesies (one long sleeve) 2 NB size and 2 0-3 mo size

You never know if baby will be smaller or bigger than you are expecting so I like to bring a couple of different sizes.

  • 2 NB size pants

I know from my last children that I hardly had bottoms on them while in the hospital. Normally, they were in a simple short sleeve onesie and swaddled. So really, these pants are just for taking pictures LOL and the day we leave to go home with baby.

  • My breastfeeding cover

The boobs are free and normally constantly out during the hospital stay for me LOL! But this is great to have in case I want some privacy when someone is coming in. I normally don’t run into any problems while I am feeding, I normally have whoever wait outside until baby is done anyway, but still, good to have on hand!

  • Extra beanies

Sometimes the hospital one is good, sometimes not. I like to bring my own and bring a couple that’s a little bigger, a little smaller and different colors, too, just in case.

Okay so a recap of the things;

  • Breastfeeding cover
  • 2 NB size pants
  • 4 onesies (2 different sizes 2 NB and 2 0-3mos)
  • 2 swaddlers
  • 3 receiving blankets
  • burp rag/cloth
  • a few pampers/pack wipes
  • 2 sleepers/pajamas
  • 3 pairs of socks and mittens
  • preemie clothes (one pair) with matching beanie
  • extra beanies

Seems like a lot but boy, do I have so much room still in my baby bag. Trying not to give into temptation and pack more cute outfits just for no reason LOL! But these are all that’s in my baby’s bag right now. I hope this was helpful.

The muslin swaddlers have to be my absolute favorite swaddlers. I love how light and thin they are. It makes for great sleep while still keeping baby cool, especially in this Hawaii heat, perfect for just that! I will link them below!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GJA3HVS/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01GJA3HVS&linkId=3b9158375286e405b01462d65c4d011e

Am I missing anything? Please let me know if there’s something I should definitely be bringing along with me. What do YOU pack in your baby’s hospital bag? I’d love to hear in the comments below or via email!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Mommying Challenge Update

GOSH what can I say? It was an interesting ride with this challenge. When I first started, Day 1, it was on the same day as my son’s 13th birthday. I don’t know if that’s what made it not easier but made me more accountable? Maybe? The fact that I try to be extra aware and present on my kids birthdays especially.

Day 1/Don’t raise your voice:

I succeeded this challenge!!! Everyday, my kids were told what my challenge was for the day. I know some of you might think that it could backfire to tell my kids because they could be extra and use it against me, if anything LOL but I wanted someone other than myself to help hold me accountable. I’m glad I chose to tell them because they’d remind me “mom, your goal” and I’d be like “I know” lol!

This day, I did not raise my voice. It was a beach day for us over at my faves, Ko’olina beach. We spent a few relaxing, beautiful hours there. Then we celebrated with a very small dinner, cake and ice cream at home later that evening! Was feeling extremely accomplished and proud of myself. It felt good!

Day 2/Don’t complain for the day:

I failed this challenge! Ahhhhhh! It’s a shame to admit out loud! Day 2 and FAIL! My husband said I should’ve been more specific with my challenges, what I told him I complained about I guess he felt didn’t count. But it does! First thing in the morning on this day, we were all getting packed and things ready for our weekend at a beach house in Makaha, Oahu. We live in Nanakuli, Oahu, Makaha is about 15 minutes or so away.

In the midst of packing, mind you LAST MINUTE packing UGH, I was also trying to tidy up. It was when I said, “When you guys see things, you guys can pick it up without being told, I’m tired of bending down (because of my big belly of course LOL) and JUST LIKE THAT, I failed.

It doesn’t end there, though, we got over to the beach house and we were cooking for a birthday dinner for my son. I complained about the heat, how hot it was, the flies that irked me, there were so many, complained about a few more things that I can’t specifically remember but those were the ones I can. Point is, I failed this one this day. It made me realize how EASY it is to complain. How often we tend to do it and how sometimes, we really don’t even realize that we’re doing it. Until it’s maybe too late, like me!

Day 3/Spend 15 minutes of complete alone time:

I succeeded this challenge! This day was day 2 at our beach house. I made it a point in my mind to set aside some alone time, even if we were there on mini-vacay, I knew I still needed it!

After I laid my son down to nap, I read my verse of the day;

Hebrews 12:14

“Try to live peacefully with everyone, and try to live holy lives, because if you don’t, you will not see the Lord.”

Man did that hit me hard. Such a short verse that means so much. Hard to do sometimes, but the consequence, I would say, is even harder. I spent my alone time on this verse, dwelling on it, said a prayer, then scrolled through some IG before I took a short little nap!

Day 4/Spend time doing something Meyah likes WITH her:

I succeeded this challenge! This day, I remember the feeling. The challenge started to stress me out on this day, it started to feel like a burden. I found myself kind of stressing to get it done. I started over thinking and wondering “what can I do with Meyah, what does she like to do, what if we can’t do it here at the beach house?” Just overall, completely being extra in my head.

That’s when I knew I had to recheck and reanalyze what I was doing this for and the purpose behind it. It was to challenge myself as a mom but definitely not to do things out of obligation. So I made it simple instead of complicating things. I shot some hoops with my baby girl. Sometimes, I forget that it’s not just about where we are or what we’re doing, but most importantly, WHO we’re doing it with that matters.

In this case, she LOVES basketball. She played for our local park league and she loves the game. AND, she got to do it with her mommy. She was so happy. Played the game HORSE and PIG with her because this mama is ready to pop, cannot play an actual game and does not even know the game anyway LOL!

Day 5/Spend time doing something Mason loves WITH him:

I succeeded this challenge! The plan was to go fishing with him. I wanted him to even maybe teach me how to do the whole thing. Since I am completely clueless, but the water was just not set up this past weekend for a calm, friendly/pregnant-friendly fish. It was definitely too rough for me.

We enjoyed shave ice together. We all LOVE to grab some shave ice especially after a hot day at the beach. This was the day we packed up and left the beach house to go back home. We were in the mood for some shave ice and we got some. Though I didn’t spend time with him doing the fishing thing he loves, like I planned, we did something else together that we love, we love eating some shave ice! LOL!

Day 6/Spend 5-10 minutes on self-care:

I succeeded this challenge! It wasn’t much, but it was definitely relaxing, overdue after the long weekend we had and I enjoyed it! With my shower, I shaved LOL, shaved the legs and underarms. And I also enjoyed exfoliating my body with some of my orange peel exfoliating scrub. My current fave! It doesn’t take much self-care for me to feel great and this was short, sweet, quick and just what I needed!

Day 7/Wake up before the kids:

I failed this challenge! I failed this one hard. Here’s the thing, I had an intense debate with my oldest, my son Mason, about the fact that I in fact DID technically wake up before them. I was up at 630a and I was all happy because I was like YES! I did it! I succeeded my last day’s challenge. Felt so good.

However, LOL, after I read my verse of the day, I laid back down and fell back asleep, so my son said I can’t count it! LOL!!! And I couldn’t agree more! I know exactly what I meant when I made the challenge. Waking before them meaning being productive, doing some chores maybe and STAYING up until they got up and that didn’t happen. Pray for me on this one guys?? Will ya? Lol. Probably the hardest thing of them all is for me to get up before my kids DAILY. It is a definite and absolute goal of mine to master this!

So…..all in all, I am mutual about the way I feel. I don’t feel 100% great but I don’t feel horrible and down on myself either for not getting them all and succeeding at each one. I did fail 2 out of 7. However, I am still going to set goals for myself as a mom.

Maybe I’ll try this challenge again, soon. Maybe you can try it just to challenge yourself. It was a great experience. I learned a lot and analyzed more than I thought I would. I did things intentionally and it felt good and refreshing when the goal was met.

Let me know if you want to try this challenge yourself or if you already did. How did it go for you? Email me or comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Mommying Challenge

Have you ever thought to yourself? Why are these kids (or this kid) so CRAZY!!!!!? LOL jk! But seriously, ever wonder if you could challenge yourself to do the MOST challenging tasks as a mom? I’m talking about the ones we normally over-see, don’t think of til later or don’t think of at all! This would look different for every mom, of course.

For some reason, I had the urge to challenge myself. More than the daily life of having four kids, a teenager, an only daughter and TWO toddlers???? LOL YES! For some odd reason, I’m also asking you folks to follow along with me. Over the next week, I will be giving myself ONE daily task to do. I will give little updates via my IG handle and sneak peeks BTS on that day of but won’t give it completely away if I accomplished each daily task or not until my blog post about it next week.

SAVE NOW FOR LATER 😉

So here are my tasks that I’ve come up with that I’ll be starting first thing come none other than my son’s birthday, Thursday, July 11, 2019!

The purpose of this challenge?? Well, I just wanted to simply challenge myself as a mom to do MORE! More than I am already doing and with more intent I guess. I wanted to pin-point my struggles and break them up to see if I can hold myself accountable for that designated day and make it happen for myself, my kids, as a mom and maybe show other moms that they can do it too. I thought it would be both fun and challenging. So here are the tasks I’ve come up with….

  • Don’t complain for the day!

YES! Hard! This one is hard! I know! But it is specifically why I chose it. It is most definitely a challenge for me as I KNOW is also for other mommies too. Wanted to see if I make myself accountable by starting off my day with this in my mind and as the goal, if it can be accomplished! Put your mind to it, put your mind to it!!!!! We shall see!

  • Don’t raise my voice for the day!

Another hard one! But I am determined to give this a try as well and see how this goes! We shall see, we shall see, we shall see with this one LOL!!!!

  • Spend 15 minutes of complete alone time!

I didn’t always see the benefit and value in having time for JUST ME! It took me a while, a pretty long while to realize my sanity and the clarity of my mind is important for my kids. But first and foremost important for myself. I always pushed that aside for “another time” or “who really needs that anyway” and the answer is WE ALL DO. All us mommies need the alone time. Even if it’s just a completely alone and unbothered pee or poop! LOL!

  • Wake up BEFORE the kids!

This one is DEFINITELY a challenge for me. During this pregnancy, I have random tired spells when I feel I could sleep forever or like “I need a nap now” randomly! It hasn’t been helping, either, that my two boys have been sleeping horribly lately. We are slowly on the mend with that one though, thankfully and prayerfully! But, regardless, if I have a well rested night’s rest, sometimes, getting up before the kids is STILL hard for me. So I wanted and NEEDED to challenge myself with this one!

  • Spend time doing something Mason loves WITH HIM!

I find myself not getting involved as much as I would like to with the things my kids are interested in doing. Even if it’s an app, a game, an activity. I want to partake in something he loves today and do it WITH him!

  • Spend time doing something Meyah loves WITH HER!

As you can see, these are challenges for me. This is something that I hope one day is the norm and isn’t a “challenge” anymore where I always find myself doing the things they love. I want to support them and encourage them! I don’t want to push them away or make their interests feel like they’re not cool or fun enough for me to give a try!

  • Spend at LEAST 5-10 minutes on self-care!

Another example of me tending to put myself on the back burner. I am getting used to and “practicing” if you will, putting myself back up there on that “take care of” list too! This is a struggle for me so including this one was a no brainer!

DON’T FORGET TO PIN NOW FOR LATER 😉

After making this list, I thought to myself how to keep myself accountable and how I could assure you all I’m being honest. Well, for the most part, you’d just have to trust my verdicts lol but I could also have my kids and husband vouch for me.

Also, I wanted to think of a way I could celebrate or reward myself if each daily task was met. And to me, the first thing that popped into my head was a pedi LOL! I could treat myself to a pedi as a reward for completing all the tasks in my mommying challenge.

So here we go, starting tomorrow, I will be taking you guys along with me via IG on the BTS. Be sure to check back next week for my blog post on the results and maybe you could join the challenge too 😉

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Summer Must-Haves (for Kids)

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This summer here on Oahu, Hawaii, is a hot one! But every summer is like that here. Even when it’s not “summer” it’s summer lol. But, specifically in the months from around April to sometimes even October, it is thee hottest!

When the kids are out of school and we have all the summer plans, bbqs, family trips around the island, beach days, lots of them, camp outs, family gatherings, you name it, there are necessities. Especially for mommy me who has 4 kiddos. A 12 year old, an 8 yr old and two toddlers, 3 & 2.

When we are going to the beach, it feels like just trying to get out of the house and get everyone and everything into the car will never happen. It is a task and it is a struggle to say the least! Well, actually, that’s how it feels almost everywhere we go! Lol!

SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER 😉

I did, however, compile a list of things that I use extra often and specifically most during the summer time. These are our must-haves and these are things we definitely cannot leave home without for a successful summer day out!

  • Sunscreen

Surprise, surprise lol! Yes lots and lots of sunscreen! We are out in the sun extra whether we’re at the park, outside water play in the backyard or of course, at the beach. We need tons and need to carry it on us at all times!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MQXX9US/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01MQXX9US&linkId=8b8500ca058741570202ce011d0260ed

  • Keenz Stroller

Though a bit spendy, this is probably our most used baby product, our keenz stroller. It is amazing for the swap meet, for the mall, for parties, for water days in the backyard, bbqs and most definitely, beach days! Our keenz can comfortably sit our two toddlers while we also have room to pack our house and then some. It is great to have and having it with us on these days is definitely a necessity! Makes logging everything so much easier!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075779N1C/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B075779N1C&linkId=ea1801d69d042e5db2ba528787c49922

  • Bucket hats

These are amazing to have. Especially when my two toddlers are in the yard playing or at the beach playing in the sand. Having their bucket hats are great for protecting their little heads. Even with the protection of sunscreen, these are a great addition!

  • Sippy cups

Though we often will bring with us a cooler of drinks, I still like to bring my toddler’s sippy cup. It’s great to have on hand because it’s leak proof and just really, his comfort thing he likes to have. I can leave the house with it filled with milk and then fill with water later on to hydrate him while we’re out. Don’t like leaving home without it!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077VNX7HX/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B077VNX7HX&linkId=6f0b76b89ffd575f27e3860bc8586e03

  • Plastic bag for wet clothes/towels

Though we are trying to use less plastic, I do often keep a plastic or gallon ziploc bag with us to store wet clothes in them. Keeps the rest of the clothes or car from getting wet. Try not to forget this must-have!

  • Beach toys/pool toys/floaties/vest

Can’t forget the entertainment! Beach toys can occupy my kids for a while, even when we’re at the beach. It’s great to have. Though my kids aren’t fond of wearing their floaties, I like to have them on us anyway and have them put it on, still. It is a piece of mind that’s great to have while we’re in and near the water.

DON’T FORGET TO PIN FOR LATER 😉

This is definitely not ALL the many of things that we will bring with us when we are going out for a day at the beach, but these items are probably the most important. These are the TOP items, I would say, and that are especially for the kids.

What items do you absolutely have to bring along with you when you’re heading to the beach, pool, or lake? I would love to know if there’s anything that I should be adding in here via email or in the comments below.

Til next time 🙂

Monica <3

Our Summer Bucket List

This summer, mama MIGHT just be losing her mind if we don’t get some goals in line here!! Lol! But really. I try to have a little bit of some type of routine (even though I’m MUCH more laid back during the summer). I still try to stick to something because it keeps me sane. A complete 360 from schedule and structure to ripping and no schedule AT ALL is just too much for me. I am definitely more team schedule! But summertime calls for some things that we can’t normally do during school time so I wanted to also make it fun.

Chores and some reading, even if it’s not much, is still enforced in our home during summer. Though my kids like to throw at me the “but it’s summer!” EXACTLY, I tell them, more time to get more things around here done. But I do let them know they will be rewarded with some fun or free time to the things they like once they’re done! Hey that’s more than fair if you ask me! Not every single day, but as often as possible, I’ll have reading and learning time after chores and breakfast in the mornings. When those are all done, it’s some tv or tablet, computer or phone time. Just as long as they are done with their things. We stick to our same chore chart and duties they have during school time.

SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER!

On top of things I like to let a little lose with during the summer like a little later on the bedtimes & sleeping in the living room a little more, of course there are other things that I like to do with them before school gets back in.

I’ve seen a bunch of different summer to-do lists. I’ve also had a few ideas of my own about what I want to do with my family before school starts again and came up with this list. These are our priorities and what we would really like to get done during summer. I have a free printable/downloadable for you. I have for you a blank list, like the one you see below, where you can use as your very own personalized summer bucket list for you and your family this summer! Just click the link below to get it!

Just wanted to have this available to you, my readers, as a show of my appreciation to all of you! Thank you and I hope you all love this summer bucket list download as much as I do!!!

http://maliepva.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Copy-of-Summer-Bucketlist-1.pdf

Banana Bread Recipe

=This post contains affiliate links=

Making this today. Got some baking and cooking to do so of course I needed to share. This recipe is almost ALWAYS a part of my meals that I prep. This is a family favorite, for sure. So easy to make, freeze, store and reheat for later.

Ingredients:

3 bananas

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup butter (melted)

1 shake cinnamon (optional/to taste)

walnuts (optional/to taste)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray muffin pan (I prefer cooking my banana bread as muffins, they’re quicker and easier)
  • Add all dry ingredients to a medium size bowl. Flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Whisk then set aside.
  • Combine rest of ingredients in large size bowl. Bananas, sugars, egg, vanilla, cinnamon & melted butter. Fold in flour mixture just until combined. Fold in walnuts.
  • Scoop about 1/4 cup of the mixture into each muffin compartment.
  • Bake for about 15-20 mins, varies.

Keep an eye, for this batch cooks much quicker than having the entire mixture in a loaf pan. Wait until the muffins are toothpick tested and you’re all done here! Enjoy!

NOTE: I like to let my banana muffins cool to touch for at least 30 minutes before throwing them in a gallon ziploc and into the freezer for later. They are amazing for a quick snack or for breakfast. Just warm up for about a minute and it’s good to go!!!

SAVE AND PIN FOR LATER!

Below is the link to a two pack muffin tin pan! Awesome for this recipe and a very good price for two!!!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QFQD6WD/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07QFQD6WD&linkId=9f5ea93dcc013f5cd019b24ba551dd75

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as me and my family does! Let me know if you try it and how you liked it via email or in the comments below!

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

Quick and easy toddler meals and snacks

=This post contains affiliate links=

I am all about simple. I have four children, one more on the way, I am a wife and just those things are a lot in itself. Making things simple is my mission lol. Whether it’s cleaning or bedtime or meal time. I am always up for simplicity when it comes to those things.

I am currently raising 3 always hungry growing boys. My oldest is a soon-to-be teen and is of the age so most of his meals are in his hands unless it’s dinner time. For my two toddler boys, I handle that. I get excited to do it if it’s already half done/prepped/super easy to put together.

When I do my weekly grocery shopping, veggies and fruits are a necessity. Especially our fruits. We normally stick to a couple of same fruits we ALWAYS have on hand and switch out one special fruit weekly. The ones we normally always have are bananas, apples and pears. Then on top of those, I’ll switch out strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, or like this week it’s WATERMELON! Had to go all caps on that one. It is watermelon season and I am super stoked. It is my favorite fruit ever and my kids LOVE it too!

So along with every meal, I try to incorporate a fruit (most times their veggies are at dinnertime). Thank God they are not picky, so far, and they pretty much eat anything I give to them. My 3 year old is a tad bit more picky than my 2 year old but they are still very good eaters, which I am very grateful for. Though my wallet may not be LOL! JK!

Below and pictured are a couple of ideas for quick meals I have captured. Some are snacks, some are lunch, some are for breakfast.

Scrambled eggs on english muffins and banana

Super easy and the boys LOVED this one. Just warmed up the muffins in the toaster, scrambled 2 eggs and gave them a banana. Quick, easy, my kind of meal and THEIR kind of meal too. Glad it was a hit!

Banana muffins, scrambled eggs and tangerine from our tree outside

This one made me feel some type of way. First of all, we’ve lived in our home for about 4 years now and I’ve never picked a tangerine off the tree and put it on my children’s plate like pictured here. Lol I know, crazy, I don’t know why. But we were outside this day before breakfast and they wanted it. It made me feel like the dream I have always had about picking a fruit right from your yard and eating it for breakfast could’ve been realized so much sooner LOL! But it just comforted me and made me feel so happy that that was not bought. Thought it was super cool!

Banana muffins. Seriously one of the easiest things to make, freeze and warm up to eat later. Recipe to come soon!! One of my favorites and my kids too! I feel like the muffins are the main part of the meal then I just throw a couple of sides to complete it like this!

Butter/honey toast, scrambled eggs and apples

Butter and honey toast is a hit in my house. So simple and yummy. We love it. Throw some apples and scrambled eggs with it and this is easily one of my kids favorite breakfasts.

Scrambled egg and cheese wraps and cut up pears

This wrap has a simple scrambled eggs and cheese in it. That’s it. Wrap it up and cut up some pears. My boys gobbled this up!

Butter/honey toast, boiled eggs and cut up banana

Another butter and honey toast combo. Only I paired them with boiled eggs and cut up banonos. Simple! Simple! Simple!

Ham and cheese sandwich, frozen yogurt and cut up oranges

A good ol’ ham and cheese sammy, frozen yogurt and cut up oranges for a lunch idea. Only, I had to cut up a BUNCH more oranges after this batch, one of their favorite fruits.

Goldfish and applesauce

Perfect snack, in my book. I pair applesauce with goldfish, or graham crackers, my boys love it with ritz crackers too. Super easy snack that holds them til their next meal.

Tuna sandwich, applesauce and ritz crackers

A good tuna sandwich, this is probably my boys favorite sandwich. I think they even like it more than a pb&j.

Tuna sandwich, cut up grapes and cut up babybel cheese

My toddlers love string cheese and they LOVE babybel cheese. Paired this with their favorite sandwich (tuna) and grapes the other day. It made the perfect meal.

These are just a few of the simple meals that I’ve made for my toddlers over the last couple of weeks that I caught in a picture. So many different pairing options, and so many times I missed a photo opportunity after making their meals or snacks LOL!

What are some of your favorite quick and easy toddler snacks and meals? These are just a very few. I’d love to hear more ideas I could try with my boys from you in the comments below or via email.

Super cute and perfect toddler plate sets linked for you below!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZYE7F2/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=maliepvaaa-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B003ZYE7F2&linkId=ae6c9dfdb59627ae77af23d0abcf03c2

Til next time 😉

Monica <3

 

Our weekly grocery budget (& how we buy our groceries)

Plan your meals ahead

Okay, so this one is said TIME and TIME again!!!! But it’s because it’s true! In order for me to prevent the last minute “what’s for dinner” and have no idea, I need to do this, I need to make the plan weekly. Especially with our busy lives and our big family!

Every Wednesday, I plan out our meals for the week ahead. In my planner, I plan breakfast, lunch and dinners from Thursday to the next Wednesday. I plan 7 total dinners and 7 breakfasts and lunches, too.

I tend to be way more flexible with the breakfasts and lunches. Sometimes, if the day comes and I have “oatmeal” down for breakfast and I’m feeling just a bowl of cereal, I’ll switch it for the day, no biggie. But I do tend to stick to my dinner plans more strictly.

I go over each and every meal and what ingredients I need for each of them. Lots of times, I have the general ingredients for the meal. That’s why planning ahead is so important, because I can check to see if I already have the item vs spending the money for something I already had in my icebox or pantry.

Set and stick to budget

Our weekly budget for groceries have been set for quiet a while now. At least a year. We do NOT always stick to it, if I’m being completely honest. But, just recently, I’ve been adamant about sticking to our budget as I am trying to get our finances in order and whip it into shape! Hard but trying over here!!!

The weekly budget I set for us is $200. That is strictly JUST for food/groceries. I am currently tracking our spending with the help of the amazing, one and only “the budget mom” https://www.pinterest.com/thebudgetmom/ Her tips and ideas are slowly but surely leading the way for our finances. So excited and grateful to have come across her and her tips!

Like I said, it is trying and not always easy especially after being in the habit for so long of NOT staying in budget. This budget was set for us a while ago but we were SO used to spending over it all the time. BUT, we are doing much better. Still learning and making it a point to stay in that $200 every week.

Go to different stores

I am a FIRM believer in going to different stores to get the best deals. I often find myself running to 3 every week on errands day, which is on Thursdays for me. I don’t have an ad that I refer to or anything but I try to look into the apps, if they have what I need available, to give me an idea about what I can expect to pay for certain things. Then I just go from there.

Normally, I make my first stop at target. I’d love to knock out the farthest place first which would be sams for me, but they don’t open until 10a. I refuse to start there because I start my day right after school drop off at 8a. After target, I make my way to costco to put gas. Our weekly gas budget was $50 between my husband and I. I just raised it by $10, now $60 a week, recently because realistically, my car needs $40 and my husband is still at $20 a week. He only goes to and from work with his work truck which is pretty close to our home thankfully. So not much gas is used on his end. Thursdays is also fill up gas day for me. And either head into costco to grab anything I may need then end it at walmart. Normally.

However, a big majority of the time if I need something from costco, I save that for my husband who passes that after work anyway. So I can cut my 3 stores into just 2. Hey, whatever’s easier with two toddlers am I right? LOL!

If costco is not one of my need to go to places that week, I’ll do target, costco gas, sams, then end at walmart. I like to get ALL my ingredients for the meals planned for the week at the places I know are best priced. Like for example I will not buy pasta noodles at walmart because I love market pantry’s pasta prices and quality. Or I won’t get for example, chicken patties from target because I just prefer the ones they have at walmart. I jump around because I think it stretches our buck and I like to get the things we prefer.

Did I miss anything I should be trying? How do YOU budget, stick to it and buy your family’s groceries? I would love to hear from you in the comments below or via email. Prices vary from here in expensive Oahu, Hawaii vs the mainland prices so I’d love to hear any tips I could try out.

Til next time 😉

Monica <3