Are you looking for fun outdoor toys to keep your kids entertained? Here are my favorite outdoor toys. Bonus, they haven’t outgrown them yet.
As a new mom, the most important thing you can do is to find a group of like-minded moms whom you trust. You will trust these moms with your new mom questions, your deepest, darkest mom confessions, and eventually, the care of your child.
I moved to Hoboken, New Jersey when I was eight months pregnant, about to embark on life as a stay-at-home mom, knowing no one. I describe this place, a tiny one-mile city, minutes outside of Manhattan, as magical, although I didn’t know it yet. Urban and completely kid-friendly, the streets runneth over with strollers and babywearing mamas. At the time, I had no idea how much support a new mom needed, but it was here in Hoboken, that I found my circle of moms, the women who got me through daily life as a first-time mom.
When we finally came up for a breath from mommyhood and realized how much more we could accomplish without children in tow, it was only natural that we decided to create our babysitting co-op together. At first, it allowed us to get that overdue haircut or make a doctor’s appointment, but soon we progressed to date nights with our husbands. This co-op proved so successful that I did not hire my first official babysitter until my son was close to two-years-old. And, with a sitter costing 12 to 15 dollars for one child, that added up to quite the savings.
What You Need to Create a Babysitting Co-op:
As a child, life centers around fun. As an adult, sometimes you need to make a conscious effort to find fun: girls night, date night, “me time.” Some days, you take what you can get. Today is one of those days, so here I am writing about the kitschy items in my kitchen, the little things that make me chuckle on a daily basis.
1. Lunch Disguise Sandwich Bags: Sure, I know it’s not the most environmentally friendly option, but don’t you wish your mom packed your lunches in these bags back in the day?
C’mon, I know you’ve thought about getting rid of cable at least once. Do you really need all those channels? What could you do with more than $1600 this year? Even if you bought ten series on iTunes, you still come out ahead. What do you have to lose? Cut the cord! Cut the cord!
For more on watching your favorite shows without cable, click here to read my previous blog post.
If you decide to go ahead with ditching cable, you will need:
A Netflix account or Amazon Prime account. My kids were already Netflix-junkies. If you don’t already have a Prime account, click here for a free one-month subscription. You not only get free two-day shipping from Amazon but also access to over 40,000 movies and TV shows.
One or more streaming devices (there are others out there that I will not discuss):
Apple TV: this is what I use. Many apps are included such as CNN, PBS, PBS Kids, and Lifetime. FYI: I find the remote control too small and hard to navigate so the remote app on my phone eliminates this problem. Although
Cord-cutter: that’s who I am. Two months and proud. My kids haven’t complained yet.
You may think that my sizable cable bill motivated this decision, however, the real reason was that I simply could not justify paying one more month for my home phone. With the exception of telemarketers who dialed me incessantly (despite my placement on the no-call list), my home phone sat silently accumulating dust until I finally unplugged it. FIOS informed me that if I chose to keep internet and cable TV but dropped my home line, my bill would actually increase. (I had the Triple Play package).
Frustrated, I shopped around online and discovered CableVision’s Cord-Cutter package. For $50 per month including taxes, I could receive high-speed internet, a router, and digital antenna. My FIOS bill cost me close to $200 per month. Do the math. At the end of the year, I would have an extra $1600 in my pocket.
Sure, cable makes channel-surfing convenient, but I can honestly say I do not miss it. I still manage to watch all my favorite shows: Downton Abbey (may it RIP), Vinyl, The Affair, Girls, Shark Tank, Real Housewives, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
Few activities exhaust me as much as shopping with my kids. When my youngest learned to walk, such excursions reached an all time level of craziness that hasn’t really subsided since. The expression “kids in a candy store,” certainly applies; when stores display toys in their aisles, my frustration level hits an all-time high. You know the drill, a fifteen-minute trip turns into an hour plus, ending with me blindly grabbing things from shelves, carrying my children out of the store kicking and screaming. OK, most of the screaming probably comes from me.
“Never again” I remind myself at the end of each and every trip. “Never again.”
I never have cash on me. Truth. After the tooth fairy made her first appearance, my son referred to his stash, which he had already misplaced, as “the green stuff.” Obviously, he rarely sees me using dollar bills as I pay for virtually everything online, with a card or with my phone. At the end of a lovely date night with my husband, nothing screams