Kids and Technology: KidloLand App

Monday, January 9, 2017
Love it or hate it, one thing is for sure: technology is here to stay. The way I've always dealt with technology and screen time is with a little bit of balance and knowing that there's a time and place for everything. Technology has a TON of advantages and with an IT nerd for a husband, fact is- our kids are around technology and will be for the unforeseen future.


We aren't super strict with screen time rules in our house- there are days that we all watch more TV or are on our Ipads more than others. Some days, especially a lazy Sunday- the girls will play games or watch movies, or worse- watch kids YouTube- you know the videos mamas- surprise eggs-for a few hours. But then, there are some days that the Ipads or screens are put up and aren't given a second thought. See? Balance!


With that, there is a balance of apps/games and what they watch as well. Some apps and videos are purely for entertainment purposes- I'm looking at you surprise egg videos- but one of the several advantages that technology has to offer us, are all the amazing educational apps that are now available. I believe a mixture of learning opportunities available to kiddos, in a variety of formats is important. So, I also believe that technology definitely has its place in education. One app in particular that I've recently discovered is KidloLand. With over 1,000 nursery rhymes, songs, stories and games it's just the thing that Saidey (3 years) loves to play. It's eye catching, rhythmic and colorful and there are so many things to choose from! It's also super easy to navigate and Saidey was able to move around with ease once I showed her where everything was. Even my oldest, Sophia, was into playing the games! I definitely recommend this app for your preschooler- and Saidey gives it a TWO THUMBS UP! =)



Here are just a few ways we manage technology in our home

1) Preview any games/apps 

Whenever we purchase an app/game, I always play with it first. I do this for a few reasons, the first being so that I can make sure it's appropriate and kid friendly- you just never know! The second reason is so that I can help the girls if they get stuck on something- I'll know my way around the app/game

2.) Ask first

We have a rule that if they would like screen time, that they ask first. My kiddos do really great with this. Usually, if they ask, I have no problem with them having some time on the Ipad- but if I do say no, I try to offer an alternative activity or at least tell them when they can have it next.

3.) Screen time last

This is a great rule of thumb- the girls know that if they ask for the Ipad, I usually will ask, "Have you done X yet?" If the answer is no, they know that they need to complete X before they get screen time. For example, usually in the mornings, we allow screen time for Sophia IF she is dressed and her teeth and hair are brushed. If those things are crossed off and we have time, she is allowed 10-15 minutes of screen time before we leave for the day.

4.) Engage in other play

A lot of times for us, screen time increases when I'm busy doing other stuff. There goes my idea of not using screens as a babysitter ;) There are days when I feel like they've had A LOT of extra screen time and I've been busy cleaning or doing laundry or whatever else needs to be done, that I will sort wave the flag and declare us ALL to do something together- usually a game or an art project. I've found that while I don't think they need entertained by me 24/7, screen time goes down considerably when I'm engaged in an activity with them or at least get them started in an activity.

Saidey LOVED the alphabet tracing!! 

Tell me, how do you manage screen time at your home? What educational apps do you love! Please share below! 





**This is a sponsored post, meaning that I was given a product in exchange for me to  review the product. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. 

Friday Favorites: A Bunch of Randomness

Friday, January 6, 2017
Hey Friday! It's so good to see you!! As always, I'm linking up with Andrea over at Momfessionals. This Friday, I have a whole lotta randomness that made my favorites list!

January Goals and Some EXCITING NEWS!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Well, people- it's 2017 already! We had a WONDERFUL NYE and got home in time to have a relaxing day on Monday. We got all the Christmas decor down and stored away, did laundry, watched the Iowa game, and played with all of our new stuff!



A fresh, clean start to the new year! 

It's January and of course that means it's time for January goals! This month is a little different though because several of my goals are related to my exciting news I have to share! So, that first!

Last Fall, I started looking into what it would take to start seeing therapy clients privately and ended up speaking with an old supervisor who was also looking to expand her practice. Things moved forward unexpectedly and I am so excited to announce that officially in February, I'll be moving into an office space with 5 other ladies to provide therapy services! I will continue my work at my full time job and work nights and Saturdays, or as needed. I already have started seeing clients in a temporary location. Right now, I am only accepting private pay and then once I start getting credentialed by insurance companies, will accept those insurances. So, if you know anyone in need of therapy- send them my way! =)

Here's a link to my website, you can check out!

Here's my Psychology Today profile too, where appointments can be made through. 

 But February 1st is the BIG date and there is SO much to do! From creating an LLC, to office furniture, to taxes and accounting, to figuring out all the little details- do we want to pay someone to clean or clean ourselves, to working out details of the lease and business accounts. Billing and insurance is something that I've had the luxury of not having to do and that is all changing here in the next month. Oy vey. It's been a little overwhelming to say the least and I will be honest in saying that I am a little terrified. I wonder if I will be able to build a caseload- will people come? I also feel a little traitorous- you don't go into this field for the money so doing private practice feels like I'm moving to the dark side, in a sense. I know I have to get over that and I have to know the benefits that someone would get by seeing me. I have to know my worth. Again, it's definitely a work in progress. So, for the past few months- my world has been filling out insurance applications, building my website and working with the other ladies in finding a space that would work for all of us. I could not have done it without them! I am so excited to start this journey for 2017!

That also brings me to my monthly goals

The first being all about starting in February:  1.) Get office furniture (I will need everything- from a desk, to chairs, a couch and toys for kiddos) I will need to start scouring Craigslist and other furniture stores to hopefully get stuff on sale.

2.) Credentialing- I am working on filling out the MOUNDS of paperwork needed to be credentialed by insurance companies. I am starting with one and then going to go from there. I am also going to fill out the paperwork to accept state insurance but that's a total of FOUR applications. In their defense, the main one is the longest and the other three are much shorter. I could probably recite my NPI and license number by heart now for the amount of times I've had to write it down.

3.) Trips- Will and I need to sit down and figure out trips that we want to take this year. We've been meaning to schedule a trip to Florida to see my grandparents but with so much going on, it's been difficult to say the least. We also want to take a couples trip to celebrate Will's graduation this Spring.

4.) Organize- We've only lived in our new home for going on four months. And already, our junk drawer has accumulated to its max. On Monday, I finally tackled it and got it organized. I made a list of all the areas that I would like to organize. One space at a time. So, next space for January will be the girl's bathroom vanity. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from here and of course Pinterest!

Before 

After (I also moved the junk drawer to the bottom- when we moved in, I worked on the kitchen at midnight and so now I've had some time to figure out what works and what doesn't. 


I think that'll be it for January! I can't wait to keep you all updated on my adventure into private practice and be able to share some pictures of our office space.

Happy January and 2017!

Top 16 Moments of 2016

Friday, December 30, 2016
Another year has flown by and when I reflected back on the year- so many memories came to mind that I truly will treasure forever. 2016 was a big year for us- full of celebrations and time spent with family. Sure, there were hard moments and sad moments but the memories that stick out are the ones that were full of laughter and love. And isn't that a great reminder? That even in the worst situation, just when you think you won't get out of it, God always has a way of getting you through and there is always a rainbow at the other side.

I don't remember the time when Saidey had a tantrum in Target and I had to carry her out to the car or the time that Sophia slammed her door and declared me the worst mommy ever because I wouldn't let her do something. No, I remember the hugs, the smiles, and the complete unconditional love that happened in 2016.

Check out my favorite memories from 2015! 

So, without further ado- here are my top 16 moments of 2016!

1.) In January, I joined an incredible group of mamas over at Des Moines Moms Blog and really stepped outside of my comfort zone. This was for sure a FAVORITE part of 2016 and I can't wait to continue this journey into 2017!

Here is my first post I wrote for DMMB


2.) Celebrating Saidey's 3rd birthday party was an absolute favorite! I love celebrations and love making the day special!




3.) I discovered a love for chalk paint. I did a makeover on our dining table and chairs. I was SOOOO scared to start but once I started, I was trying to think of all the things I could cover with chalk paint!

Before

After (first coat only)

Chairs

I have several projects I'd like to start in 2017 and can't wait to figure out which one I want to tackle first! 

4.) Mother's Day was a favorite moment! 


5.) My sister and I are 8 years apart. It was a favorite moment to see her walk across the stage and earn her Bachelor's degree from Drake University


6.) Memorial Day 2016 was a favorite moment


7.) Between swimming lessons and swimming at my mom's pool- Summer 2016 included goggles, lots of towel and swim suit washings and of course sunscreen. Pool time was a definite favorite this Summer!


8.) Our trip to Italy in July was an absolute FAVORITE!
You can see posts about our trip here, here, and here




9.) Celebrating this girl's SIXTH birthday flamingo style was a FAVORITE


10.) In July, we also decided to put our townhome of 7 years on the market! 


It sold in 7 days!

11.) As always, going to the Iowa State Fair (twice!) was a favorite 



12.) We decided to take a break from all the packing and took the girls to Adventureland, our local amusement park. This brought back so many memories from childhood for me and the best part?! I got to take Sophia on her first BIG rollercoaster! I was so proud of her and it was such a favorite moment! 


13.) Turning 30 brought some reservations but it turned out to be a pretty great day


14.) In September, we moved and settled into our new home. ALL of it was a FAVORITE! Well, except the packing and the unpacking =) 

One last picture in front of Unit 72

Saying goodbye to our sweet townhome 

And hello to our new home!

15.) With a new home, the outside work took some getting used to. But this moment was a favorite and I have a feeling we'll have a lot more favorite moments working outside together as a family!


16.) Christmas in a new home certainly was a FAVORITE 



Tell me, what were some of YOUR favorite moments from 2016?

Wishing you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bring it on 2017! =)

Christmas Recap

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday! Ours was filled with family, love, bleeding fingers/toes and whipped cream (more on that below)! 

This year, we were blessed for family that made the trip to see us and so we didn't have to travel anywhere. We had a lot of downtime, just the four of us to unwind and prepare for guests. When guests arrived it was nothing short of a good time with everyone. 

On Friday, Saidey started the day like this 


and ended the day like this: 


Poor thing shut her finger in a door and it was the worst. thing. ever. Poor baby girl. It was pretty swollen and sore to the touch, and we're pretty sure she's going to lose her finger nail. 

Friday night was pizza and movie night and it was very low key. 

On Christmas Eve morning, we woke up slowly and started prepping for Christmas Eve dinner with my family. The girls played and hung out while Will and I did a few last minute errands, cleaned a little and did a few things around the house. Once my family got there- we exchanged gifts and ate soup and appetizers. So good!

While we were opening presents, my mom got a phone call from my aunt saying that our Grandpa's wife (my Grandma Joan passed away a few years ago and he remarried recently) had passed away that day. Although my girls and I were not close to Brenda, our hearts still ache for her and especially my Grandpa. Our thoughts continue to be with my Grandpa and her family during this time. 


Attack of Odin =)


A pretty darn good view 

 Grandma and her girls 


No big deal, just doing some headstands =)

It was a wonderful evening but also a good reminder to always be thankful and that we are blessed with each new day. Always, always.

 We set out cookies for Santa and reindeer food in the front lawn and tucked the girls into bed. Once they were fast asleep, it was time for the fun! Will and I got the girls' stockings stuffed and set out Santa gifts before settling into bed ourselves. 



Christmas morning arrived and we all ran downstairs to see if Santa found our new house. Of course he did and the girls were so excited about the gifts that he left! 







We finished opening presents from us and then started breakfast while the girls played. Sophia stubbed her toe on our kitchen barstool and of course that was the worst. thing. ever. too. She survived though and  the rest of the day was spent playing with all of their new toys.


We clean up pretty nice 





Notice the photobomber over my head? 

Will's family arrived later that afternoon and so we exchanged gifts and then began prepping for personal homemade pizzas. So yummy! After that, the girls headed up for bed and declared it THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! 

Mama bird taking care of her Hatchimal 

Pie Face game is SO. MUCH. FUN!



Ending the night with hot chocolate in our new personalized mugs! 

Yesterday (Monday) was so nice to just relax and hang out. We played a lot of games and this mama didn't change out of her pajamas. When I finally got around to thinking I should get dressed, I looked at the clock and thought better. =) 


I definitely wasn't ready to return to work but am looking forward to another long weekend! I'll be back on Friday to share my top 16 FAVORITE moments of 2016! 

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and you got to spend it with your favorite people. For some of you, the holidays are a difficult time and my heart is with you too. 
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