Taking time for mom (you!)

In the hustle and bustle of every day life, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget to to set aside time just for you. As mothers, we often feel it is our responsibility to juggle everyone’s schedule’s, keep everyone happy and healthy and generally keep life running smoothly for our partner and little ones. And as school is about to come to a start (or has already started for some) things are more hectic than ever right now. But whether you have a child in fourth grade, or you’re a new mom to an infant, it’s very important to do little things here and there to keep your own happiest and health a top priority.
What’s the big deal?
You might be thinking to yourself, “time just for me? yeah right – like anyone has time for that.” But here’s the thing, making sure you put yourself first every once in a while will not only ensure your own sanity, but keep you and your family healthier. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, both parents work in 60.2% of families. That’s means a lot of you are working mothers. Furthermore, a recent survey of nearly 600 working parents found that:
  • 81% of parents worry they will burn out
  • 88% said they suffer from at least one stress-related health problem since becoming a working parent
  • 59% have problems with anxiety
  • 43% struggle with depression
Talk about a health crisis in the making. What’s more? Stay-at-home moms might struggle more than working moms, according to a new Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 U.S. women between the ages of 18 and 64 (before retirement age) interviewed in 2012. The study found that 28 percent of stay-at-home moms reported depression a lot of the day when asked how they were feeling the day before, but only 17 percent of employed moms did.
It’s no secret that depression and anxiety will not only take a toll on you, but the well-being of your entire family. So what’s a mama to do? For starters, don’t keep your feelings a secret. Tell your partner, mom, best friend how you’re feeling. It can be therapeutic to simply vent a little, plus, they’re likely to remind you that even super mom needs to have some “me time”.
Fun and relaxing activities just for you (and friends – if you choose!)
When you’re reminded to take that “me time”, think about what truly makes you relaxed and happy. Perhaps you love a classic spa day – getting a pedicure or a massage is very relaxing for many women. If you’re looking for a fairly inexpensive way to feel like a million bucks, consider getting a blowout at your local hair salon. Call around and get prices from various places as you’ll find they can be priced anywhere from $20-$100+. But no matter your price point, having a professional blow dry and style your hair is a great way to add a little bounce in your locks and pep in your step.
On the other hand, maybe you’re the kind of mom who feels rejuvenated after spending some time with friends. Get the girls together and visit a local vineyard, go see a movie, try the new sushi restaurant or go to a cooking class. Sometimes it’s hard to jump back into the social scene when you’re so used to being mom 24/7, but putting yourself out there can be surprising refreshing. Plus, there’s nothing like spending time with friends to have a few really good laughs and make some wonderful memories.
You time (with baby)
Of course, for many mothers, having time alone or with friends is not realistic every day, or even every week. That’s why it’s a good idea to find things activities that make your happiness a top priority, but also includes having your little one nearby. Experts recommend enforcing quite time in your home every day. Children may struggle with it at first, but once they’ve grown accustomed to it, this time will be a perfect opportunity for you to read a good book, or enjoy another hobby of your own. Getting out of the house is also a good way to keep your spirits up. Plan a play date at the park or go for a hike with your baby. Whatever you decided to do with day, keep a list or a journal to keep track of all that you’ve done. A sense of accomplish is key to feeling energized, fulfilled and happy!
Have an idea we missed? Please, share it below! We’d love to hear from you! Happy Labor Day Weekend and lots of love from the New Little Wonders family!
Taking time for mom (you!)

Mind your (little) manners

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to get together with lots of good old friends and their families. One of the highlights of visiting with my girlfriends was seeing how much their little ones have grown!

Yet, my friend Caitlin’s daughter especially impressed me. When Caitlin first arrived, her daughter walked up to the group of adults and politely introduced herself to us all. She shook everyone’s hands and even complimented the hostess’ home. It was hard to believe this elegant young lady was just seven years old. I mean, this curly-haired tot was just about to enter first grade, yet she was more well-spoken and personable than many of the adults I come in contact with daily.

So, I asked Caitlin – what are some of your tips and tricks for teaching a child how to to be polite and excel in social situations? Below I’ve outlined some of the ideas she offered!img_09991

Start at an early age
My friend explained that she began teaching tid-bits of politeness from the very beginning. Instead of using a “baby voice” to interact with her little one, she spoke to her in a more mature (while still, of course, very friendly) manner. Likewise, she suggested always using words like “please” and “thank you” while giving and taking objects from the baby. This helps to ingrain polite words into their vocabulary very early. HappyGivingToddler-ShawnGearhart

Reward with praise
It’s also a good idea to reward good manners with praise. Tell your little one how impressed you are with him or her for saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” to an acquaintance and for introducing themselves by name. This is something that seems simple to adults, but can be intimidating for children. For this reason, start praising small the steps as soon as he or she can talk and stay patient. Always remember, that a little positive reinforcement goes a long way!


Be consistent
Another tip Caitlin offered to me was to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Discuss beforehand what you both expect from your child in terms of manners and what you both hope to teach him or her. For example, maybe your husband grew up in the South where it is common to use “Yes Sir” and “No Ma’am” throughout life to any and all elders. Whereas, maybe you think this practice is old fashioned. Just be sure to come to a common understanding so then your little one understands what is expected of him or her.

Be a good example
Finally, try to mind your best manners in front of your little one. It’s easy to slip from time to time (especially on a bad day!) but just do your best! Surely you’re already a fantastic example for your baby and will continue to be the perfect model of politeness as he or she grows up!

What other tips do you have? Leave them in a comment below!

Lots of love,
Brittany & the New Little Wonders family


Mind your (little) manners

Swimming your way through summer

One of my favorite summer activities as a child was swimming at the pool. There are pictures of me as a baby playing with my dad at my grandparent’s house and just about every birthday party since I was two was a pool party. What seems interesting to me now as an adult is that I don’t remember learning how to swim and I don’t remember my parents seeming worried about me splish-splashing as a tiny tot. What tricks did my parents have up their sleeves that helped me feel confident in the water at such an early age? To me it seems like I was swimming before my 1st birthday – but when is it really the right time to start teaching your little one how to swim?


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children are not developmentally ready to swim until they are four years old. However, many expert swim instructors agree that this is referring to a child’s ability to do formal swim strokes – butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke – and introducing your baby to the water at a much younger age is a good idea to ensure his or her lifelong swimming confidence.


“We have observed that the optimal age to start babies is between six months and 12 months old. At this stage the majority of infants are ripe in the water. They are comfortable, the water feels natural. These very young babies still seem to have a memory of the fluid environment in the womb,” states BabySwimming.com.


“However, a window of opportunity for smooth learning still exits up to approximately 18 months old (especially for water adjustment and initial submersions). At approximately 19 months to 24 months toddlers can begin to enter the “challenging twos” phase. It is easier to teach water adjustment and breath control this stage begins.”

So you may want to start encouraging your little one to move around in the water in the bath at home for the first 6-12 months, and then consider checking out some local swim lessons targeted toward youngsters when you feel the time is right. There are lots of great classes at organizations like the YMCA. Just remember, a lot of short practices often yield the best results. So our advice? Start when ready, but early, and stick to 30 minute lessons a couple times a week.


What other advice do you have? Any great lessons from your experiences? We’d love to hear! In the meantime, enjoy the warm summer days and stay in touch friends! xo, Brittany and the New Little Wonders team.

Swimming your way through summer

Little July 4th activities for little ones

Happy (almost) Independence Day! This is one of my family’s favorite holidays! Between the neighborhood cookouts and spectacular fireworks shows, who couldn’t love July 4th?

However, the holiday can be a bit tricky to celebrate when you have a little one in tow.After all, how can you explain what the importance of this occasion to a tiny tot? And then how do you manage to keep her happy and hydrated as you face the summer heat and crowds at the local parade? Well, fear not! New Little Wonders is here to help with all kinds of fun activities and little tips to ensure you beat some of these dilemmas and have the best Fourth of July ever with your little loved one!

1. Teach the meaning of the 4th
No matter the age of your little one, it doesn’t hurt to start explaining the true meaning of Independence Day at an early age! Consider telling the story of the Revolution like you would tell a bedtime story – it’s a tale of heroism, adventure and courage! Explain the symbolism of the stars and stripes tell your tot what makes America so special. You may be surprised to find that she understands more than you think and will remember some of these details for years to come!


2. Sing a patriotic tune
Babies and toddlers alike love to sing! Teach her some classic patriotic songs like Yankee Doodle or You’re a Grand Old Flag. Come up with a silly dance together and get the whole family involved! And don’t forget the camera! When a little one is singing that’s the best opportunity to get candid shots of real smiles!


3. Get creative
Let her creativity shine by doing a red, white and blue craft project! It can be as simple as getting some patriotic finger paint or making a macaroni American flag. We love browsing Pinterest for all kinds of craft ideas. There you’re sure to find something that will suit your baby’s age and your tolerance for messiness!


4. Make some red, white and blue treats
This is our favorite part! Every year our family makes sugar cookies and lets the kids decorate them with frosting and patriotic sprinkles. They have an absolute ball. You can also make a July 4th fruit salad with diced strawberries, mini marshmallows and blueberries. Yum!


5. Prep for the crowds
Finally, when the time comes to head out for fireworks show or July 4th parade, be prepared! Be sure to bring lots of water to keep your little one hydrated and plenty of food. It may also be a good idea to bring an activity to keep her occupied while waiting like a coloring book or bubbles.

Fourth of July 2011 baby and patriotic girl

Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!

New Little Wonders

Little July 4th activities for little ones

3 unique ways to beat the teething blues

So your little one is teething, huh?

That means you’re likely dealing with a drooling, biting, crying baby that’s irritable and is refusing to eat (or let you sleep). Teething is no fun for anyone but is, of course, an unavoidable part of having a little one. The good news? We have some tips and tricks that can help soothe your baby’s discomfort – and your headache!8a70a0d19a8f15cef1f3f3da6c671e5a

Keep it cold (and fruity)
Chilly things are particularly soothing to a teething baby. That’s why we recommend slicing up a cucumber and placing it in the freezer for 30 minutes before letting baby chew on the slices. Be sure to cut the pieces large enough so that they don’t pose a choking hazard and so that baby can grip the slices. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables – celery, carrots, bananas and mango. This is a great way to not only relieve the pain, but give your little one some extra vitamins


Massage it away
As simple as it sounds, giving your baby a little face massage can do wonders to rub away the pain. Try making circular motions on and around the outside of the mouth and along the cheekbones and jaw line. Sometimes he or she may resist it, but other times it can really help. You can also try rubbing the gums directly and see if that’s a hit!


Zebra it to soothe it
Finally, we have to say that 10 out of 10 babies agree that our Zeta Zebra teething toy is the best way to soothe sore gums. Okay, we haven’t done a certified scientific study to get that statistic, but from the number of happy reviews and feedback we get – we think it’s a pretty good estimation. Not only is our lovable Zeta super cute, but she’s made of food-grade silicone that’s super soft – not to mention non-toxic, BPA-free, PVC-free, latex-free, Phthalate-free, Cadmium-free, Nitrosamine-free and lead-free. Plus, she is dishwasher and freezer safe so you can put to use the “keep it cold” tip above and before you know it the teething blues will just be a distant memory!

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.46.08 PM

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 12.46.26 PM

Best of luck and lots of love,

xo New Little Wonders

3 unique ways to beat the teething blues

Summer baby birthday ideas

Okay maybe I’m bias as a summer baby myself – but summer birthdays are the best. It’s your chance to celebrate outside and take advantage of the warm weather during the party! That’s why I love planning birthday parties for little ones this time of year. The possibilities are truly endless. So if your tot is having a birthday in the coming weeks, consider some of these ideas and tips when throwing their special bash.

The pool party

Of course, a classic. However, if your little one is too young to swim on his own, you’ll probably need to make a few modifications on this party theme. Instead of going to the local swim club, why not get a few kiddie pools and have a backyard celebration? Be sure to only fill the pool with a few inches of water and keep a close eye on all tiny partygoers. Pull out the sprinkler, get some soft splash balls and watch the little ones have an absolute blast in their watery wonderland. It’s the perfect way to get the pool party atmosphere while keeping it safe for your babe.


 The camping party

Whether you’re celebrating a 1st birthday or a 4th birthday, any little one will love a camping themed shindig. For younger ones, build a blanket tent on the screened in porch or in the yard. Set up games like “fishing” for treats or pinning the tail on the woodlands teddy bear. Older children may love a party at a local campground. Single camp spaces rent per a day for fairly cheap and can be an excellent spot to host a picnic birthday lunch. Hike around the park and see how many animals or flowers you can help the kids spot!


The scavenger hunt party

Little ones are naturally curious, so put that to use in this fun outdoor birthday party idea! The cool thing about a scavenger hunt is that you can make it work for any age and with any theme. Babies will have a blast searching for stuffed animals, little toys or snacks strategically hidden around your home. On the other hand, toddlers and up might love a scavenger hunt at the zoo where they discover the next animal with a clue placed at each exhibit. Consider working with the facility to make it extra special. For example, ask if the clues can be hidden inside personalized balloons scattered around the park!


The firefighter party

This one is a big hit among the little ones I know! Ask your local fire department if they’re available for a visit! Kids love having the chance to climb up into an actual fire truck and meet a firefighter. Some stations may allow you to have cake and ice cream there, or you can head back to the house for an outdoor pizza party after your visit! It’s a great way to show your little birthday guy a good time and teach him about all that firefighters do for the community!


The outdoor movie party

Last but not least, an outdoor movie would be an excellent way to entertain your baby for her birthday and ensure a fun time for all! Large, inflatable movie screens are fairly inexpensive to rent and you can put out picnic blankets and pillows on the grass for a cozy outdoor experience. Pop some popcorn and put on one of her favorites – like Frozen – for a birthday party she’ll never forget!


Do you have a baby birthday party idea we missed? Leave it in a comment below! We’d love to hear your ideas! xo, New Little Wonders

Summer baby birthday ideas

Singing your way to beautiful baby photos

Hi friends! It’s hard to believe it’s already May, isn’t it? It’s such a relief to finally have the cold days behind us, and summer vacations just around the corner!

This past weekend my little family and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the day hiking, canoeing and enjoying pretty wildflowers at our local state park. We finished the afternoon in the best way possible – by munching on fresh strawberries and pistachios on our picnic blanket. It was truly blissful.

I had a smile from ear to ear all day until – the car ride on the way back when I started scrolling through the photos I took during our adventure. Dozens of pictures and I didn’t get one good photo of my little one! While one picture might be too dark, another one captured the exact moment she sneezed. They were just awful. This of course didn’t ruin my day by any means, but it sure would be nice to have some beautiful photographs to remember this great day in a year from now – or ten years.

I looked through my Instagram feed and thought to myself – how in the world do these mothers get such amazing photos of their babies? I mean taking a nice photo of an adult is pretty straightforward – adults will smile and pose for you – but children? What is the secret?

So I went straight to the source and started asking the expert Instagrammers I admire. And guess what? They DO have some secrets. I’ve complied a few of their tips below, as well as some of their gorgeous photos so you can see that they really know their stuff!

photo 3

“I think waiting for a perfect smiling shot is important. Capture your child in the moment. We also sing songs to Avalon that have finger actions to match which helps to distract her or get her attention.”

photo 4

“I always have my kids sing. But it really depends on the child, for my kids singing makes them so naturally happy and the pictures are real as opposed to posed!”

photo 5

“Natural lighting is always best!!! Always make sure you’re not taking the photo against the light; always have the light facing the person or object, not behind. Also, a blank white background, (white wall, rug, sheet) is best to shoot against because it’s easier for editing purposes!”

photo 2

“I always take photos straight away when Oakley wakes up from a nap so I know his mood is good. If I don’t get a good photo within a few minutes I stop trying as he gets bored and fidgety very easily. I always make it fun, I hide behind things as he loves peek-a-book, or I sing nursery rhymes and do the actions or have colorful toys that I wake above the camera. He loves having his photo taken now because he associates it with playing fames and having fun. As soon as he sees a camera he smiles.”

photo 1

“The only way I get a really good shot of my kidos is to take a ton of photos with a quality camera! I shot my daughter for 15 minutes on Saturday to get one good smile – shot with a Nikon.”

Do you have some advice we missed? Please, leave it in a comment below! Our little ones are only this little for a short while. Let’s take the most wonderful photos we can so we can look back of these precious days for years to come.

New Little Wonders

Singing your way to beautiful baby photos