Tuesdays with Jacob

Spring Break Faves: Kiddo Edition

March 15, 2018

All right friends, it's crunch time for spring break! I shared all my momma faves earlier this week, but we can't forget about the kiddos! I swear I always end up packing twice as much stuff for my kid as I do for myself. Going to the beach with kids pretty much requires you to bring your entire house am I right? I mean, you might as well just move in. We just picked up a beach buggy to cart all our stuff down to the water, and you can see some of our favorite gear and toys below. When figuring out what my kid is going to wear I always look for maximum sun protection in clothing. And whatever you do, wherever you go, for heavens sake don't forget the snacks. You can see some of our pool specific favorites here too! 


Spring Break Faves: Momma Edition

March 13, 2018

It's been a while since I've shared a round up of our favorite things, and since I've got spring break on the brain (3 days and counting!!) I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm swooning over. Most of these have made their way into my online shopping cart this past week and as you can tell, I'm loving rose gold for spring. We're headed to the beach again this year, but we're super excited to explore a new island we've never been to here in our home state. Check back on Thursday, as I'm rounding up my faves for little man too! Who's headed somewhere exciting for spring break?? Do you prefer low-key relaxation or high-energy adventure?? 

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE // SIX  

Fostering Independence in Preschoolers

February 13, 2018

Oh the 3's. It's such a trying age isn't it? We're trying so hard to navigate these uncharted waters with grace and patience, but goodness is it hard. Jacob has such a big personality  for someone so small. He wants to do everything and nothing himself all at once. Things he really still needs support with (like washing out his Baby Dove shampoo) he wants desperately to do alone, and things he should be capable of doing independently (like putting on his shoes) he wants us to do for him. The struggle is real. There's a lot of whining, fussing, and tears these days as he figures out exactly who he is and what he's capable of. But there is also quite a bit of clapping, cheers, and smiles when he (and we!) realize just how much he can accomplish! 

We want nothing more than to send him off to Pre-k next year independent and capable of functioning appropriately in a 4 year old classroom. It's so tough to not automatically do everything for them. It gets done so much faster that way and we can still view them as our "babies" who need us. But slowly we're realizing that all he learns when we do something for him, is that we do it better. So despite those "Mom! I need you!'s" 50 times an hour, we're slowing down and making sure he learns to do it without us, the way he'll have to at school. 

We try to foster his Independence in a few ways, the first being to offer choices. Offering choices (usually two) lets Jacob feel like he's in charge without us losing control. He gets to feel like he's the one calling the shots, without it being a free for all. Instead of letting him choose what he'd like to do (play ipad or watch tv all day) we present him with two choices: would you like to go for a walk outside or play a board game inside? Would you like to go to the park or the zoo? This is also a great tactic for getting him to do what we need him to do. We'll ask him "Do you want to sit in the front or back of the cart?" instead of letting him cry that he doesn't want to ride in the cart at all. If I offer him a nap alongside what I want him to do, we will always pick what I want him to do. "Do you want to help me pick up the mess you made or take a nap?" Do you want to read quietly with me for a little bit or take a nap?" 

The second way we work on independence is to teach a new skill and from that point on have him complete the task. If he requires some extra guidance and reminders, that's fine. But ultimately the job is up to him. Here are just a few of the things he's responsible for every day: 

1. Brushing his teeth
2. Putting on his shoes (he still struggles with clothes)
3. Carrying his lunch box and water bottle
4. Putting away any toys he takes out 
5. Cleaning up any messes including sweeping and vacuuming 
6. Putting dirty clothes in the hamper
7. Going potty 
8. Washing his own body and hair 
9. Picking out his bedtime story

Getting dressed and washing are the two that he still struggles with a bit.  He isn't picky about clothes so at this point I still pick them out - since he'll have to wear a uniform next year this seems to be a good way to avoid clothing battles when the time comes. He's getting better at his pants and underwear since he's been potty trained for nearly two years, but getting his arms in and out of his shirt and his head through the right hole is a hot mess, so we still help with that. 

We also still go back behind him when he's bathing to double check. I'll usually wet down his hair and body and then let him squirt out the shampoo and lather it all over himself and his hair before I rinse it all out. I've long been a fan of Dove products and their new baby line is no exception. The Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash is mild so I don't have to worry if it gets in his eyes, and it leaves his hair so soft and smelling amazing. 

Before bed we let him smooth on their Rich Moisture lotion as well to keep his skin soft and moisturized. (So important in the winter!) He's gotten pretty good at that himself, and likes to use it on us too! 

You can sign up with Baby Dove for coupons, articles and tips! How do you help your little ones explore their independence? 

How to Start a Mom Blog

February 8, 2018

This post is sponsored, as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Are you a new Mom who always has the best advice? Do people tell you that you are super creative with your party planning for your kids? How about your friends- do you connect with a lot of them across the country? Has anyone ever told you that you should start a blog?

I’m sure you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure or really just undecided if starting a blog is right for you! I’ve been there too! And to tell you the truth, it’s not as scary as you may think! For one thing, you probably know a few of the basics because as Moms, we tend to gravitate towards other Moms, reading a lot of Mom blogs, going onto Facebook groups or hanging out on PInterest while your little ones sleep. Basically, everyone online is sharing how great of a community the blogging world is and so now you’re getting a bit more curious about it and how it all works.

Yes of course, we all want to make money and contribute to our family. To be able to be there for our kids, make a bit of income to help pay some bills and really love what you’re doing is basically a dream job come true right? Well, I’m telling you it's not really a dream but can be your reality with a few quick tips that I’ve learned over the years!

Let’s start at the beginning for how to start your very first MOM blog!

Find a Niche- Now most people would say that this isn’t a big deal but I personally found over the years that it does play a role into connecting with other people. To figure out what your niche might be, think of these questions. What are you passionate about? What keeps you up at night or look at your hobbies to figure out what you can write for a long time. Look at previous experience to help you decide. Is there a need for my niche? One way to think about this is checking Facebook- go to a few of the groups you belong to and use their search function. See if there are any questions lurking around.

Choose A Platform- I personally use Blogger as a platform because it’s free but others have used Worpress to help. There are several articles on why you want to choose a good platform so make sure you do some research before picking one.

Think Of A Name - This is a super exciting part! A name for your blog! Think of something fun, that describes why someone would want to go to your website and see what it’s all about! Think of your niche again to have it help you! I picked my name back when I start because Jacob was born on a Tuesday and that's when we would share our updates each week.

Begin Writing - When you’re ready to begin your post, think of something that can lure readers in. Always use SEO keywords to help. What’s SEO you ask? Search Engine Optimization. It’s how Google ranks your blog in their search system. Keywords are really important to get your blog to grow and gain new followers every day! I wasn’t sure where to even begin when I started and struggled for a few months. A friend of mine shared that she reached out to a company that specialized in helping brands and bloggers get their fullest potential. A company that I found is called Jacksonville SEO Company. This website was founded by Matt Anton who is an SEO expertise at getting brands the ranking they need to reach the top. Him and his team offer free quotes to new bloggers looking to get started, advice on how to revamp their website and offer amazing customer service to all who reach out to them.

Reach Out To Groups - Once your blog is set up, you need to start marketing it to others. Use Facebook Groups, Instagram Pods and tell all your friends and family. The more people know about your blog ( and word of mouth is so big! ) the more you’ll get noticed, brands will notice ( and start pitching ! ) and hopefully you can get a little income started!

Be Patient- All of this to say, if you do want to start your Mom blog and be successful, make sure you are patient with all of it. It does take time to start making a steady income and that’s ok! It’s all about the learning process so have fun with it and enjoy your new community of friends and fellow Moms!

What is some advice you have for starting a blog?

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

February 1, 2018

Once upon a time, Jacob turned 3 and we started talking about moving him out of his crib. Or rather, we started talking about taking the front panel off his crib to make it into a toddler bed. Then we shelved the idea for 7 months. He was happy in there, we reasoned. Loved the security of four panels around him and never tried to climb out or play in there. Plus, it might make things a lot harder at night. What if he didn't like having one side of his bed open to the room and had trouble falling asleep or was scared? Maybe, once he realized he could get out of bed, he wouldn't sleep through the night anymore. He might get up 37 times to come back out. (He's cheeky enough to try that, we could totally see it happening.) So we left his crib how it was and didn't give it another thought. 

Then, he passed 3.5 and something started happening. Slowly, then all at once it seemed other kids his age (and younger) were transitioning to toddler and big kid beds and it was all over my social media feeds. I figured it was as good a time as any to take the leap, at least I'd have other moms to commiserate with. So one Sunday, while Dan was at work, I got out the tool bag and took the front off the crib. And you know what..... bedtime has been totally fine ever since. Here's how it all went down.... 

The day I took the crib apart we made a trip to the store and picked up a toddler bed rail, new toddler bedding picked out by Jacob, and we picked up 10 prizes and some stickers. We kept the prizes small, but all things Jacob was super interested in to keep him motivated. I got to work on the computer and made an incentive chart (I got this idea from a friend and it worked like a charm!). Then, I let Jacob help me get everything ready. He handed me the tools as I took the front panel off the crib. He helped me make up the bed with his new bedding. He watched me wrap all the prizes, and he sat diligently and listened as I explained the chart. For each night that he went to sleep and stayed in bed without crying or getting out of bed at night he would get to put a sticker on his chart in the morning and open a prize. 

The first night went off without a hitch. He went to sleep right away (no longer napping helps with that a lot!) and stayed asleep all night in his bed. He was beyond thrilled (as were we) to put a sticker on his chart and open a prize. He felt and shook each prize until he knew was the one that had the playdough kit we had picked out. 

The second night we ran into our first (and only) small hiccup. Jacob had fallen asleep on the couch before dinner and had a hard time falling asleep. He tossed and turned for a while then sat up and threw his blankie out of the bed. I was watching on our monitor the whole time (I always do until he falls asleep) and made the decision to go in and get it, rather than risk him getting out of bed to get it. After giving it back to him we immediately amended the rules: no crying, no getting out of bed, and no throwing things out of bed. And every night has gone swimmingly since! Last night was his 10th night, so we'll see how he does without the promise of prizes. If we need too, we may continue just the sticker chart portion. 

You can grab the one I made (in both girl and boy colors) by clicking on the picture below: 

Good luck Mommas, you got this! 

Easy Peasy Pepperoni Rollups { Game Day 2018}

January 24, 2018


Can you believe another season of football is nearly over? Me neither! If you're already thinking ahead to game day parties, I have the yummiest, easiest recipe for you! Made with crescent rolls, pepperoni, cheese, and RAGÚ® Homemade Style Pizza Sauce, it's sure to be a hit! I love that it's a less messy version of pizza, and it's great for kids too. I always serve it with some extra RAGÚ® pizza sauce on the side for dipping, and there are never any leftovers! The smaller size is perfect for little hands, but also great for grownups who are trying to eat and cheer at the same time! 

Besides game day parties (and any parties in general) this recipe also finds its way into our weekly meal plan pretty regularly. It's super fast to make which makes it perfect for busy school nights or even lazy weekend nights when you just want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie, football game, or your favorite tv show! It's so easy to make that if you showed your kids once, they could make it by themselves with just some help from you to safely operate the oven. Yes, it's THAT easy! Here's how you make it! 

Pepperoni Roll-ups

Crescent Rolls
Pepperoni Slices
RAGÚ® Homemade Style Pizza Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

1. Unroll the crescent rolls onto a cookie sheet. 
2. On each roll spread a spoonful of Ragu Homemade Style Pizza Sauce
3. Layer Two pepperoni on top of the pizza sauce
4. Cut each cheese stick into fourths, then cut each fourth in half lengthwise
5. Top the pepperoni with a cheese slice and then roll up the crescent roll 
6. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees
7. Serve hot with extra RAGÚ® Homemade Style Pizza Sauce for dipping

Who are you rooting for in the Superbowl? And more importantly, what are your go-to Superbowl snack recipes? You can find RAGÚ® Homemade Style Pizza Sauce at Walmart, along with RAGÚ® Pizza Quick Traditional Style. You can buy, collect, and score with the Walmart Winning Lineup Rewards program - find out more HERE

Christmas 2017

January 6, 2018

Whew. I'm a little bit amazed. (sad? surprised?) that the holidays have already come and gone. Every year I say we are going to cut back and simplify and every year the gifts seem to multiply before my eyes. Without fail, there is always one gift that gets forgotten or misplaced and doesn't get opened until after New Years. It's been a pair of pajamas for Jacob the last two years. I guess you can't win them all. Jacob got quite a few educational toys this year to keep his busy mind active as well as books and board games which are my favorite gifts because he never gets tired of them. 

The weeks leading up to Christmas are always a blur, since I'm always teaching right up until the end. We appreciate the extra time off it gives us together after New Years, but my, it does make fitting in traditions and fun tough. Somehow we squeezed in there cookie making and decorating, gingerbread houses, and lights. 

On Christmas eve Jacob covered the lawn in the magical reindeer food he had made at school, and left out some of the cookies he had decorated for Santa. Once he was fast asleep we put out all the gifts we had wrapped (I was diligent about wrapping as we bought so that we wouldn't have to spend Christmas Eve wrapping) and then relaxed on the couch with some hot cocoa and a Christmas movie. 

On Christmas we enjoy a lazy morning at home. Daddy was up before everyone and started the oven for the cinnamon rolls I had made from scratch the night before. When Jacob woke he discovered his tool bench from Santa, opened his stocking and then ate breakfast. Once everyone had as many cinnamon rolls and mugs of hot chocolate as they could possibly hold we opened all the gifts. We try to make a point to not rush and enjoy the moment and this year we were forced to take things extra slow. It took twice as long with Jacob scanning every present looking for the letters J-a-c-o-b to see if it was for him or not. 

Once all the presents were opened we let the mess linger for a little while we soaked in each other and one by one explored new toys and books. After lunch it was off to the grandparents for even more gifts and dinner and then we were off to the airport and headed for snow! 

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly."
- Andy Rooney

Maybe next year we'll actually get a family picture of Christmas! Hope you all had the most magical holiday friends and that you really stopped to enjoy the moment. They are only little for so long!!