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Archive for the ‘Mommy Rambles’

Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Child

June 21, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children, Healthy Living, Mommy Rambles No Comments →

If you’re considering sending your child to summer camp, you’ll find that there is no shortage of camps to choose from. A lack of options is rarely an issue for parents. But choosing a camp that’s right for your child isn’t always easy.

There are lots of things to think about when deciding on a summer camp for your son or daughter. You want to find a place where they will have fun, learn new things and develop social skills. You want them to be safe and in the care of qualified counselors. Budget may also be a concern. Here are some things to think about when looking at your summer camp options.

Traditional or Specialized?

When most of us think of summer camp, we think of programs that offer a variety of activities, many of which take place outdoors. These traditional camps are readily available, but there are also other types of camps to choose from. There are sports camps that can help athletic types improve their game. Academic camps can help keep gifted children’s minds active during the summer or help those who are lagging behind in school catch up. There are also camps that focus on other interests such as drama or horseback riding, as well as camps designed for children with special needs.

Specialized camps are great if they address specific goals you have for your child or cater to their needs. But if you want to expose him or her to a variety of new experiences, a more general summer camp might be a better option. Traditional camps also tend to bring together a more diverse group of campers, allowing for more opportunities to learn from one another and develop social skills.

Does the Camp Have a Good Reputation?

Summer camps are not regulated by the government, so choosing a reputable camp requires some research. Camps accredited by the American Camp Association must meet a long list of stringent requirements regarding health, safety, facilities, staffing and more, so finding an accredited camp is a good starting point. But lack of accreditation isn’t necessarily a red flag, particularly for newer or smaller camps that may not yet have the resources to meet the requirements.

Whether or not a camp is accredited, it’s a good idea to seek out the opinions of those who have experience with the program. This includes parents, campers, counselors and staff. If you don’t know anyone who has first-hand experience with the camp, try asking the staff for references or checking online. And it’s always a good idea to visit the camp in person before making your final decision. There’s just no substitute for meeting with counselors and seeing the facilities and programs for yourself.

Day or Overnight Camp?

Daytime only programs are an increasingly popular summer camp option. They are usually less expensive than overnight camps, and parents don’t have to worry about getting a call to come pick up their homesick child in the middle of the night. But overnight camps still offer certain advantages, such as fostering independence and allowing campers to develop stronger bonds with counselors and fellow campers.

The most important factors in deciding between day or overnight camp are what you and your child are most comfortable with. Generally speaking, younger children tend to do better at day camps. Teens and tweens are often eager to go to overnight camps, and in most cases they do well there.

What Does Your Child Want?

When considering summer camps, it’s important not to forget to ask your child what he or she wants. Many a miserable camp experience could have been avoided by following this simple rule! While your opinions and requirements as a parent are important, it’s also important to make sure your child is ready and willing to participate in the program.

For instance, some parents send their children to sports camps in hopes that they will develop an interest in a particular sport. But if your child doesn’t already have some level of interest, it could backfire. Working out some sort of compromise will make for a much better summer camp experience for everyone involved.

To Camp or not to Camp?

In your quest to find the best summer camp for your child, you may find that none of the options are quite right. Maybe the camps within your budget aren’t a good fit for your child, or perhaps he’s just not ready for camp yet. In cases like these, it may be better to wait until next year than to take a chance on sending him off to the wrong camp.

Summer camp can be one of the most positive and memorable experiences in a young person’s life. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to choose the right camp for your child.

 Grab Some Free Summer Fun Ideas Here


Ways to Save Money on Kid’s Clothing

April 16, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Mommy Rambles No Comments →

Kids grow fast, often faster than they can wear out their clothes. And their clothing can cost as much as an adult’s! What’s a frugal mom to do? Here are a few of my tried and true tips for saving money on kid’s clothing.

Buy Used

You knew I was going to suggest this first, didn’t you? Seriously, how many times have you bought something new for your kids at retail price only to find they’ve outgrown it by the time they get around to wearing it, or worse, it tears apart in the wash after a couple of wears? If you don’t want to take time to hunt at yard sales, try consignment shops. In my area, these are still a bit pricey, so I take advantage of discount days and frequent shopper cards to save a little. My favorite thrift store, in a nicer part of town, has half price days around major holidays. Several times a year I go and stock up. You can’t beat the prices, and if an item still looks good after being worn and washed, it’s likely to last.

Buy Ahead

If you’re organized, you may want to buy next year’s clothing at the end of this season, when everything is on clearance – and keep the off season clothing in marked containers in storage. Keep the buy ahead principle in mind when you’re out and about and see great deals.

eBay and Craigslist

I find that there are great deals to be had on clothing purchased used online. In fact, clothing purchased in “lots” on eBay are often cheaper than even thrift stores. A  major advantage of this approach is the time you save not driving around to stores. I have my daughters hunt for clothing they like on eBay, add it to my “watch” list, and later when I have time I buy it (or not). This is fun for them!

Cruising Craigslist for clothing is also a great idea, as sellers typically aren’t in business but are just clearing out clutter, and prices are low.

Simple Hacks

Try to think outside the box when it comes to kid’s clothing. Items that you think are outgrown may not be. For example, last winter’s jeans can become this summer’s cute cutoffs, and leggings or pants can turn into capris. A dress that fits an 18 month old will likely be a cute top when she’s 3. Once a toddler is potty trained, her old clothing may fit again once she’s not in a bulky diaper.

My 9 year old sometimes “shops” in her 6 year old’s discards – her old cardigans reappear as “shrugs”, and her big brother’s too short neckties give her a cute preppy look. A skirt too short? Put opaque leggings underneath and you’ve got a trendy look. Don’t be too quick to throw outgrown clothing out.

Host a Swap

Hosting a clothing swap is fun, easy and a great way to get rid of unneeded stuff as well as obtain great new-to-you clothing. Set a date, email your friends an invite, and “shop” each other’s stuff for free!

Carrie is a homeschooling mom of 7 who has learned a thing or two about raising kids frugally. Find more tips for natural family living at

Build up your ‘momfidence’

August 04, 2010 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles, Parenting No Comments →

Five ways to boost your parenting confidence before the baby arrives

(ARA) – Becoming a new parent can be a scary process. There is so much to learn and no easy way to practice until your new bundle of joy arrives. Luckily, there are easy ways that you can prepare yourself – and your home – to give you peace of mind and be able to enjoy the time with your new baby.

Become well read
Whether you choose lighthearted, comical selections, such as Jenny McCarthy’s “Belly Laughs,” or more informative choices, such as “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” there is a wealth of books to get you educated, ready and even entertained. So, kick up your (swollen) feet and start reading.

Seek out similar situations
Whether you are having your first child, or wondering what life will be like having your second, third or more, seek out other parents who share a similar lifestyle. Talking with others to get their opinions on how to cope with siblings, working and other common life situations will help give you insight and better prepare you for life’s new addition.

Create a “home safe home”
All parents want to keep their kids safe from any potential dangers, so updating your home with a variety of home safety products – for both your new arrival and yourself – is a good idea. While the standard items such as socket plugs and baby gates are must-haves, many parents don’t think of bath safety. And, according to the Home Safety Council, falls are the leading cause (66 percent) of all nonfatal home injuries – with the bathroom being a main culprit due to water and slick surfaces.

Getting into and out of the tub and shower can be difficult for little ones. And, as your “baby bump” continues to grow, the shift in your center of gravity can make you more susceptible to slips and falls. Permanent grab bars, such as SecureMount Grab Bars from Home Care by Moen, are an ideal solution, offering an easy, secure install in a variety of styles and finishes to beautifully coordinate with the rest of the bathroom. Or, for an even easier (and more temporary) installation, try Home Care’s Premium SecureLock Tub Grip, which easily locks tightly to most tubs for an extra hand getting in and out. And, once you are in safely, consider adding a tub and shower seat to ensure that your bath time is accident free.

Stock up on essentials
Believe it or not, you’ll probably go through more than 70 diapers and 200 wipes per week. And, once your bundle of joy arrives, you’ll want to focus your attention on her (or sleep) – not on shopping – so stock up now. In addition to diapering essentials, be sure to supply your medicine cabinet with infant acetaminophen, gas drops, diaper rash cream and a thermometer. And, it’s not a bad idea to fill your freezer full of pre-made dinners so you don’t have to worry about cooking in those first few hectic weeks when you’re still recuperating.

Take a class
Ask your doctor about classes or support groups in your area. Most hospitals offer a variety of classes to help you with everything from childbirth and infant care to even more specific topics, like introducing the baby to siblings or pets. These classes will not only provide you with a wealth of information – but can be a great way to meet others going through the same life experiences.

With a bit of preparation, you’ll soon be breathing easier and feel much more prepared when your bundle of joy arrives. For more information on shower safety products from Home Care by Moen, visit

Toddler Behavior – Dealing With the Terrible Twos

January 12, 2010 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Mommy Rambles, Parenting No Comments →

For most parents, toddler behavior is a major issue at some point. The “Terrible Twos” can often be just the beginning. In this article I’d like to explain to you what I believe is the root cause of most behavior problems and how you can avoid such problems in your household.

Between about 18 month and 24 months, most children start to speak many words, but they understand much more than they can speak. They know what they want, but they can’t express themselves with words very well. When parents don’t respond as per the toddler’s unspoken wishes, the result can be a temper tantrum. It’s a totally normal result, we all go through it, but it is something that you can learn to deal with to dramatically reduce these problems in your home.

The most important aspect of dealing with the terrible twos is communication. Specifically, make sure that you are listening to your child. If you don’t understand what he or she wants, simply pick up your child and say “show me”. About half the time a tantrum is the result of your child wanting something and not getting it. You might just not understand what your child wants and never thought to ask. Saying “show me” is an easy way to ask. The other half of the time you ill have to deny your child something.

Perhaps little Sammy wants to play with your fine China. Naturally, you wont’ let him. But instead of saying “no”, I want to really encourage you to simply apply some distraction techniques. When kids are 2 years old, they do not have strong attention spans. So if your child wants something and you are about to say “no”, stop yourself. Think about this instead: Is your toddler old enough to actually understand the logic behind your answer? Of course not! So use distraction instead of logic. Logic and 2-year-olds do not mix. Stop wasting your time.

In summary, most toddler behavior issues can be solved by two things. First, better listening by the parent. If you listen instead of talk, you’ll get more information and be better equipped to solve your toddler’s problem. Second, understand that logic is not your friend when it comes to the terrible twos. Logic isn’t going to really be useful to you until your child is about 4 years old, in my experience. Instead of saying “no” to your children and attempting to explain why, just ignore the request completely and apply a much more appealing distraction.

Here is one distraction that I like to use: If my daughter is trying to get her hands on something that I’d rather she left alone, I will often be successful by picking her up and applying several distractions to overwhelm her and cause her to forget what she was doing. First, I’ll speak to her in a playful voice. Then, I’ll tickle her. Third, I’ll pick her up and carry her over to a window and mention something about the outside such as “Hey, do you see that furry squirrel on that tree”? Then, I just plop her down in front of some other toys that she is allowed to play with.

When your children get to be a bit older, this simple distraction method may not work as well. Luckily there are all kinds of language tricks that you can use to influence your kids to do what you want them to do.

To learn more about the language skills that will help you learn how to deal with toddlers check out the audio course “Talking to Toddlers” at  and make sure to sign up for the free audio lesson. Learn these tools. Reduce your parenting stress.

Holiday Gifts For Men

November 27, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles, Organization 2 Comments →

It’s nearly 2010 and real men accessorize. They get manicures, dress well and enjoy wearing sophisticated scents, too. These days, being sexy and chic doesn’t conflict with being strong and masculine. This holiday, the best gift to the man in your life should reflect his personal style and sense of casual sophistication.

ARA Content

From grooming products and fragrances to accessories and clothes, here are some gift ideas that embody the class, style and sensuality of the modern man:

1. Modern, masculine scents

Your man is sexy, sophisticated, charming and intelligent, and you want his men’s fragrance to be a reflection of him. A good scent is not only the gift that keeps on giving, but it’s a gift to you too. After all, is there a better gift than a great-smelling man?

Whether your man is sporty, clean-shaven or a little rock ‘n’ roll, he needs to have a few good fragrances. These days, with so many to choose from, it’s important to select quality over quantity. Blue Seduction for Men by Antonio Banderas is fresh, clean and most of all, sexy. Opt for the holiday gift set which includes an eau de toilette spray and after-shave splash.

For something a little more daring, another great scent is Seduction in Black, also by Antonio Banderas. This scent is spicy and warm, making it the perfect scent for nighttime, when the art of seduction begins. Seduction in Black is sexy and addictive, combining the perfect mix of citrus, spice and musk. Best of all its available at local fine chain drug and mass market retailers.

“Seduction in Black embodies the man who has it all – charm, personality, intelligence and good looks, and ultimately one who knows what it takes to be a success,” says Banderas. “It is a scent for a man who is confident in his powers of seduction and who plays out his relationships with a twist of complexity and spontaneity.”

2. Grooming gifts galore
Today’s man is active in caring for his skin and body. With the men’s grooming business booming, gift options are unlimited. Many companies have expanded their lines to include products geared especially toward men’s wants and needs. Gift boxes including anti-aging skincare products, bath and body gels and shaving sets are widely available. With skin care becoming more of a concern for men, a gift basket with products promoting healthiness will be appreciated.

3. Watches – a timeless gift
Few pieces of jewelry make more of a statement about a man than his watch, something he’ll wear, look at and show off every day. A watch is a gift that perfectly combines the concepts of sophistication and practicality that epitomize the modern male. Whether he’s a businessman in need of a power watch that makes a statement in the boardroom, or a professional surfer who needs to know how many seconds until the next killer wave, virtually every man can use a good watch – or even two or three to fit his changing moods and needs. Plus, it’s a gift he’ll wear next to his skin, subtly reminding him of your touch throughout the day.

4. Chic jackets and casual scarves
Knit sweaters or jackets with a slightly relaxed but tailored shape are the perfect way to stay stylish and contemporary this holiday season. Tweed is gaining popularity, achieving a more casual look that still has a high level of sophistication. Shearling lined coats are a favorite because they have a chic and masculine look and will keep him warm on those cold winter nights.

Add a casual chunky knitted scarf and casual hat and he’ll have a look that is put-together yet relaxed. A beautifully knitted scarf or hat is a great holiday gift because it adds style to his favorite jacket, shirt or anything else in his closet. Plus it is functional because it will keep him toasty when the temperatures drop.

This holiday, you can’t go wrong with a fragrance or fashion. It is sure to be one his favorites under the tree!

The Importance of “Family Time”

January 24, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles, Parenting 1 Comment →

As a parent, you are familiar with the concept of “family time,” but have you ever sat down and thought about why it is important and the benefits it brings to both you and your children’s lives?

Many of today’s families are very busy. Most households need two incomes to survive. Some parents even hold down two or more jobs in order to make ends meet. Many parents feel out of balance when it comes to their working and family time.

These feelings can lead to stress and anxiety. As you know, stress and anxiety lead to other health problems, such as head aches, irritability, depression, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

The time your children spend with you gives them many benefits. Spending time as a family provides your children with feelings of love, support, security and safety.

The various activities you engage in during family time provide your children with opportunities to learn new behaviors and skills. For example, teach younger children the alphabet by making a game out of it. If your elementary age child is learning about pollination, go for a walk and point out the many types of flowers you find.

Spending time with your middle school and high school aged children allows you to stay connected with them and to help them ward off peer pressure. When your child feels a connection to you and the morals you have taught them, they won’t have a high need for acceptance from peers. Your teen will be able to take pride in themselves and stand up for their own convictions.

Spending time together as a family can also be beneficial to your marriage. It’s no secret that the nation’s divorce rate is quite high. Family time isn’t just about a parent spending time with their children; it’s also about spouses spending time together. When both partners are actively making time for one another, the marriage will be stronger and less likely to fold.

While the importance of family time is clear; it isn’t always easy to find the time needed to enjoy family time. There are resources to help you, such as the report “Real Life Guidance: <a target=”_blank” href=””><strong>Finding More Family Time</strong></a>.” This report goes over many ways to help you find more family time and it also provides some fun (and inexpensive) ideas for how to spend your time together

A Discount For You

November 23, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles No Comments →

If you haven’t grabbed your copy of Journey to Joy yet, I have just one question for you.

WHY Not? ;)

I bet you are like me and think long and hard about where you spend your money and I bet you also love a good discount (smile). I understand that and value you as a loyal subscriber so; I am offering you a 30% discount on this great product!

This special discounted price is only good for one week. Don’t forget that your Journey to Joy eBook purchase is protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee. (That’s what you were waiting on wasn’t it?) :)

Here’s all you need to do to get your discounted rate.

Simply visit the special discount page that I set up for you here and place your order. That’s all there is to it. As you know, the eBook normally sells for the low cost of just $19.99 and now you can grab it at the lower price of just $13.99.

Immediately after your purchase you will receive the link to download the inspiring 46 page eBook that is filled with essential action steps and worksheets and you will also receive the link to the 1hr. Balancing Your Life Audio and the transcripts of the audio.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Finding More Mom Time

November 09, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles No Comments →

Finding More Mom Time

What Mom hasn’t dreamed about having more time to herself? Moms are great at organizing their time each day to make sure that the household runs smoothly and the children’s needs are met; but they lack in the simple skill of setting time aside just for them.

Without their own “Me” time, Mom’s face burnout and stress. This can ultimately affect your spouse and children as well, so it’s important to find that Mom time for yourself and keep your sanity as well as your family’s. There are many ideas you can use to incorporate Mom time into your life and here are some of them:

Mothers’ Day Out – There are many childcare centers that provide a Mothers’ Day Out program. These programs don’t require that your child be registered for daily care, so you can use it only as the need arises. This is a perfect solution for mom time, because this allows you an hour or two a week to shop, hang out with friends or just pampering yourself.

Play Dates – Take a look at who your child’s friends are. Will their moms be willing to join you in a play date group? The moms in these groups can trade off and watch the other children while those moms get a short break. When it’s your turn, you return the favor and watch their children while they take some time for their own short break.

Tea Time – Taking even a short break during the day can be enough to recharge your batteries. See if you can keep your children entertained with a movie or some kind of game they can play amongst themselves. While they’re busy, you can sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or a drink of your choice. Take those couple of minutes to just sit back and enjoy a peaceful moment to yourself.

Date with Dad – It’s important for the kids to spend some quality time with dad. Why not suggest he take them out for a few hours, while you stay home and relax. The kids can go on an adventure with dad and you can stay home and appreciate the quiet atmosphere that you don’t normally experience.

Mothers’ Helper – Ever thought of having another person to help you out a couple of hours a week? If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your children with a sitter; consider having a sitter come in while you’re there. Some young teenagers that are fresh out of babysitting courses can use some experience before they go off on their own. This would be the perfect way to relieve you of some of your motherly duties and enable you to be just a “supervisor” of sorts while the sitter learns the trade.

These are only a few examples of what you can do get some time for yourself. Check with other moms and see what they do for their own Mom time. As a mom, you’ve done a great job with your family, but don’t neglect yourself in the process. Mom time is not only something you need, but deserve as well.

For more help, visit Real Life Guidance for a happier and more fulfilled you.

Are you Martha or Maxine?

November 09, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles 1 Comment →

Weekend Funny -

Are you Martha or Maxine?

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to prevent ice cream drips.

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete’s sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway!

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Buy Hungry Jack mashed potato mix. Keeps in the pantry for up to a year.

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia

When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Go to the bakery! Hell, they’ll even decorate it for you!

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant ‘fix-me-up.’

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
If you over-salt a dish while you are cooking, that’s too bad. Please recite with me the real woman’s motto: ‘I made it, you will eat it and I don’t care how bad it tastes!’

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Celery? Never heard of it!

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.
Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
The Mrs. Smith frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust, so I don’t.

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink! All your pains go away!

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dish washing gloves.. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Go ask that very cute neighbor if he can open it for you.

Martha.jpg picture by Aurelia
Don’t throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Maxine.jpg picture by Aurelia
Leftover wine??????????? HELLO!!!!!!!

Super Mom = Myth

October 28, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Mommy Rambles, Stress Management No Comments →

Super Mom = Myth. Be a GREAT Mom Instead

We all want to be the best moms we possibly can and with all the responsibilities that go with being a mom and life in general, it can be a LOT to take on. But we watch other moms and they seem to have it so together…so we push ourselves harder.

In our efforts to be that Super Mom, sometimes we sacrifice when it comes to caring for ourselves. We develop poor eating and sleeping habits, we may not exercise as much as we should and we just get plain old get stressed out.

But you know what?

All those bad habits are passed onto our children. Thus, defeating our attempts at being that ideal Super Mom.

Forget the Super Mom Trap ad grab Aurelia Williams’ “Real Life Guidance to Getting out of the Super Mom Trap”. Aurelia is a Certified Life Coach, the mother of 3 children herself and specializes in helping moms just like us.

In this concise and actionable 29-page guide, she shows you:

- How various media portrays the Super Mom, making you feel guilt for our perfectly natural imperfections.
- Easily saying no and without the guilt.
- Stories of real moms who are breaking free from the Super Mom Trap and how you can too.
- Learning to delegate (no, YOU don’t have to do it ALL) and getting more done.

If you’ve had enough of trying to be everything to everyone, but still want to ensure your family and personal happiness, grab a copy of the guide now. You can download it instantly, plus you’ll get a bonus 25-minute “Stress Less” audio recording making it even easier to unload all that is bogging you down.

Learn more and instantly access your guide at: