*This post is not meant to provide medical advice or be a substitute for a medical professional or lactation consultant. These are simply things I have learned after my own breastfeeding experiences.
Breastfeeding. it's supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. I mean our bodies were perfectly created to grow a baby, deliver it safely into the world, and then continue to nourish it with every single thing it needs. However, for one reason or another, breastfeeding doesn't necessarily come naturally. At least not to everyone.
I've written before about my struggles with nursing Caleb, especially at the beginning. I knew from the start of this pregnancy that there were a few things I didn't do correctly the first time around that I needed to correct from day 1 with Chloe. In the post I linked above, I mention how I was determined to make it work, and was able to make it work because of that determination, and in spite of having people doubt me. One of the things I did differently this time was have an in-home consultation with a lactation consultant. She told me, "Breastfeeding is 90% motivation, and only 10% skill." If you truly want to breastfeed, and you are willing to put in the work at first, then you can and you will.
I'm not going to cover everything about breastfeeding in one post - that's impossible. There's so much to know. But I will tell you the most important things to remember in the first few weeks.
Breastfeeding is 90% motivation, and only 10% skill.
So there you have my biggest tips for the beginning of your breastfeeding journey. Experienced mommas, what else would you add? Leave your tips in the comments!
P.S. I get that breastfeeding is not for everyone. This post is not meant to shame those moms who choose to feed their babies formula or expressed milk. A fed baby is a healthy baby. Do what you have to do, ladies! This post is only to tell you that if you truly want to breastfeed, you can!
In November, we took an extra long weekend trip to New York, and even though we have been there a few times already with Caleb, this was the first time that he was really aware of what was going on and the fact that we were in a new city. We planned a lot of activities based off of things we thought he would like, and decided to visit some major landmarks, even though we had already done a lot of them, because we knew he would enjoy them.
We spent a few weeks leading up to the trip talking about how we were going to go visit New York City, and talking about some of the sights we were going to be seeing. We watched a few movies that took place in New York and made sure to point out the landmarks, and he was more than excited once the day of the trip finally rolled around.
We flew out of Miami into LaGuardia, and because Caleb is over the age of two, he needs his own seat now. Let me tell you, purchasing a seat might be more expensive, but oh my goodness was it so much more comfortable! While Caleb does watch TV at home, I don't usually let him handle devices unless it's a real necessity, but trips are a different story. I made sure to download a few of his favorite movies onto an iPad and we got him headphones. We also brought along a few snacks and some of his favorite toys. Since the flight wasn't a long one I wasn't really concerned with much else.
Once we arrived, we picked up our bags and took a car into the city.
The Statue of Liberty
One of the landmarks we talked about a LOT was the Statue of Liberty. We figured she is so iconic that he would always recognize her. I booked the tickets online ahead of time with the service that the National Park Service recommends, so we wouldn't have to wait in line. We went on a Thursday at noon and the lines weren't bad at all anyway.
Caleb absolutely LOVED the ferry ride there. He kept looking around, and looking at the water. Once we got to Liberty Island, we walked all the way around, stopped in front of the Statue of Liberty, and then kept strolling. His attention wouldn't have held for much longer than that.
Make a stop at DO, Cookie Dough Confections if you've ever enjoyed a piece of raw cookie dough in your life (and who hasn't?). Don't go overboard, it's super rich. But Caleb loved this stop for sure.
Okay, so we typically avoid Times Square, unless we are going to see a show or something. But we knew that it would have a major draw for Caleb, and boy, were we right! He loved looking at all the lights and buildings. He even took a picture with Spider-Man (albeit a little wonky-looking Spider Man), and he is still talking about Times Square a few weeks after the trip. We popped into the Renaissance Hotel, which has some amazing views from the lobby, and then we walked around a bit. We also strolled through the Disney Store, because why not?
We walked over a couple blocks to Bryant Park, too and he really enjoyed watching the ice skaters. If you're there during the holidays, they have the cutest holiday village set up so you can go shopping for Christmas gifts from local artisans.
Books of Wonder
After reading about the most whimsical children's book store, Books of Wonder, I knew we had to make this a stop. We all enjoyed perusing the vast number of children's titles, and they have an adorable little area where you can read books with your kids. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.
Central Park & Tavern on the Green
There is just so much to see in Central Park. From the views of the city, to the ponds, to people watching. We were there so I could take maternity photos of my brother-in-law and his wife, but Caleb liked being pushed around through the little pathways and looking at all the big trees around him.
We made a reservation for brunch at Tavern on the Green, which is right on the edge of the park. The food was delicious, and they had a great selection for children, as well.
New York City Subway
Go for just one subway ride. The sights, the smells, the sounds - kids will be enthralled. We headed to Brooklyn on our last day there, and we decided to take the subway. Caleb liked going on the "fast train" and asked all kinds of questions about it.
We got off the subway and stepped right into DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It's a really beautiful area filled with families and beautiful views of Manhattan. We walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and took a ride on Jane's Carousel. It was built in 1922 for a park in Youngstown, Ohio, and was moved to Brooklyn in 1984 for restoration. It was opened to the public in 2011. It is enclosed in a glass "jewel box," and you get the most gorgeous views of the city while you are on it.
Either we talked about the bridge a lot, or Caleb latched onto it when we did talk about it, because the entire trip, he talked about how he wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge. So when we finally made it there, he was so excited to see it. We walked across it (it was a Sunday afternoon when the weather was glorious and it was packed), and now he knows he was on the Brooklyn Bridge.
There were a few other places we stopped in at, mostly food places, that I wouldn't necessarily say are great for kids, but that we really enjoyed. Here's the short list.
If you have been following me on social media, you know I'm not posting as frequently because we are on vacation at the beach. This year, we decided to do a staycation on a beach close to home. We arrived a week ago, and we'll be here for another little bit. Unfortunately for us, the weather has been terrible! We've had a few flashes of sunlight and clearer skies, but for the most part, it has been soggy and rainy.
We have decided to make the most of it anyway and we have been doing a lot of reading, playing together, and spending time with one another. It has forced us to slow down and enjoy one another, which is something I will never be upset over.
But since our time in the sun has been limited, I try to have my beach bag ready to go at all times so we can just run out when the sun comes out. Truthfully speaking, my beach bag is always packed and ready to go in our linen closet, especially in the summer months, when last minute beach days are always a possibility.
Keep in mind a couple of things:
1. We are staying on the beach. If I was spending a day at the beach and was further away from home, I would probably pack a lot more.
2. Caleb requires a lot less now than he did last summer or the summer prior. Now he's happy to play in the sand most of the day and run around chasing the birds or run from the waves.
I'm using a Longchamp bag that my mom gave me for Christmas as my beach bag. This one is colorful, and it doesn't let the moisture in. Plus, I can zip it up to keep the sand out when I'm not using it. It cleans up easily enough, just wiping it off with a damp cloth.
Inside my bag I keep a few essentials (not everything is shown in the photo above):
A couple of other things we take to the beach, but that are not in my beach bag:
And for Caleb, since sunscreen application and re-application is important, but sometimes difficult, I dress him in a swimsuit and swim diaper, but I always put a rash guard with SPF on him to protect him from the sun's rays and preventing a sunburn.
And there you have it, our beach essentials! I hope this is helpful, and I hope you have some amazing summer beach days! I'm off to enjoy some sunshine. :)
I was provided meals at no charge for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Transitioning from a full time stay-at-home mom to an almost full-time work from home mom has been a huge adjustment. It wasn't a conscious decision, it was something that just happened, and it's been a blessing in more ways than one, but it has definitely been a bigger adjustment than I ever imagined. Some days I feel guilty because I am not giving Caleb my full attention all day long, but I have come to realize that I need to find a balance. And if I can dedicate two hours to just working in the morning, then I can focus on him for the majority of the rest of the day, or at least until Eddie comes home.
On weeks where I know we will be extra busy, Babe Appetit has come to the rescue! Babe Appetit is an organic meal delivery service based in Miami, FL. They design food plans for children ages 6-36 months. Packages range from 6 meals for parents wishing to introduce new flavors a few days a week, to 10 meals, which would cover all weekday lunches/dinners. This was designed to offer weekend flexibility since many families (at least ours) eat out on Saturday and Sunday. Meals are delivered on Sundays.
The meals are delicious. We have tried several of the items off the menu, and I can honestly say that it is food I wouldn't mind having, either. With samplings like mojo chicken, vegetable lasagna, and turkey chili, who can go wrong? There are meals for every taste and they are all executed deliciously.
So if you're like me and you need an easy fix for your mealtime worries, don't hesitate to check out Babe Apetit!
For more details and pricing reach out to Debbie at email@example.com
When I first started this blog, this was one of the things I most wanted to do with my readers... share places I love and have enjoyed with Caleb. I can't believe now is when I'm finally getting around to it! I haven't been to every single place on this list with Caleb, but I did get a lot of suggestions from other toddler mamas in one of my mommy groups. So if we are recommending it, you can bet that they are places we have taken our kids!
If you're from Miami, most of these places probably won't come as a surprise to you, but you might not have been to all of them. If you're not from Miami, but have been considering making a trip down here with your kids, know that South Beach isn't the only part of Miami that you can visit with kids (nor should it be the only place you visit!).This list isn't totally comprehensive, and I didn't include areas like Little Havana or Wynwood, which have their own attractions, some appropriate for kids and others not necessarily. I focused on places that really are entertaining and captivating for kids.
Without further ado, here's MY-ami!
1. The Beach
You can't mention Miami and not think of the beach. So that's why it's first on the list. Kids love the beach and can be entertained there for hours at a time. There is always the miles of beach on Miami Beach, although during peak tourist season parts of the beach can be particularly packed. South Pointe Park is a great option - there is a splash pad area that is great and some lush green areas as well. The biggest downfall here is that parking can get pricey and the walk to the beach from parking is a long one. If you've ever been to the beach with kids you know how much stuff a day at the beach requires, so this might not be the absolute best option.
One of our favorites because it is far away from all the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach is Matheson Hammock Park. Tucked away in the back of the park is a man made lagoon which is fed by the bay. It's lined with palm trees, has lifeguards, and parking is easy and close to the sand (and cheap!).
South Point Park
1 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Admission: Free (Parking fee varies, however)
Matheson Hammock Park
9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL
Admission: Parking Fee About $5.00
If your kid loves trains - take them to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum! They have old trains that are no longer in use. Caleb loves climbing into the cars and running through them. At Christmastime they do a really cute Polar Express activity (we haven't done it yet but will probably do it this Christmas). They also have special activities throughout the year and Thomas comes to visit, too!
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
12450 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177
Admission: Adults $8.00, Kids (ages 2-12) $6.00
3. The Zoo
Once your kids are old enough to recognize animals, Zoo Miami is the place to go. The zoo is huge and has some beautiful areas. Get ready for some walking! They have family bikes you can rent as well and tour the zoo that way. There are two splash pads and tons of cool animal exhibits. One of our favorite things to do when we go there is to feed the giraffes. It's $3 and you get lettuce leaves to feed to them.
The zoo and Gold Coast Railroad Museum are actually located on the same property. The zoo is massive but the railroad museum isn't, so you might be able to squeeze both in on the same day, but I wouldn't recommend it.
12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177
Admission: Adult $21.95, Children (ages 3-12) $17.95
4. Miami Children's Museum
We haven't been to the Miami Children's Museum in a while, but this is an awesome place to go anytime, but even more so when the weather is crummy because it's indoors! They have tons of exhibits, where they focus on dress up, on careers and occupations, and loads of sensory activities. They have seasonal exhibits which are always filled with activities as well.
Miami Children's Museum
980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132
Admission: General Admission $20, Florida Residents (Must present I.D.) $15
5. Fairchild Tropical Gardens
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a beautiful botanical garden filled with lush vegetation and greenery. I actually haven't been here with Caleb but I was there last week for a photo shoot and all I could think while I was there was that it would be the perfect place for Caleb to run around. There are wide open spaces and plenty of interesting things for them to look at. It also has so many incredible photo opportunities!
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33156
Admission: Non-member adults $25, Children: 5 & under FREE, 6-17 $12
6. Pinecrest Gardens
Another place with lush greenery, Pinecrest Gardens has a lot more areas geared towards kids. They have a playground, a petting zoo, and a splash pad. Its much smaller than Fairchild and comes with a smaller price tag. We have only been for a birthday party and haven't really experienced all that the Gardens have to offer, but it is certainly somewhere we will be going back to!
11000 Red Rd, Pinecrest, FL 33156
Admission: General Admission $5
7. Knaus Berry Farm
Knaus Berry Farm is open seasonally from November - mid-April. When they are open, they make these incredible cinnamon buns and outrageous milkshakes. Lines can get pretty long, but when you taste one of those buns you will know that your wait was worth it. Take a bunch to go. You can also go strawberry picking here. I actually remember going here when I was younger - it has been around since the 50s and remains family owned and operated. If you can make it out here before they close for the season, definitely do!
Knaus Berry Farm
15980 SW 248th Street, Homestead, FL 33031
8. Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
We haven't been to the Perez Art Museum Miami with Caleb. I'm not sure that the museum itself would entertain him for too long. But the draw of PAMM is that they have lots of family friendly events. The park outside is also so inviting for kids, and has amazing views of the bay, along with this incredible breeze. If you can swing it, enjoy lunch at their cafe, the food is delicious and it's such a relaxing environment.
1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
Admission: Adults $16, Children (under 6) FREE, (7-18) $12
9. Robert is Here Fruit Stand
Similar to Knaus Berry Farm, Robert is Here is only closed in September and October. They specialize in rare and exotic fruits, but also have milkshakes and produce. They also have a petting zoo and a splash pad, as well as picnic tables. They have grown so much that they now have live music on certain days of the week as well!
Robert is Here Fruit Stand
19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034
Admission: Free, Prices vary
10. History Miami
Truthfully, the last time I came to History Miami I was probably in elementary school! But it is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, and it has all kinds of exhibits that are meant to preserve the history of none other than, MIAMI! It's actually somewhere I would probably take Caleb when he is a little bit older, but it's still a cool option and an awesome way to learn about Miami's history! I'm actually really intrigued by some of their upcoming exhibits and may try and convince the hubs to do a date night there. ;)
101 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33130
Admission: Adults $10, Children (6-12) $5, (6 & Under FREE)
A few bonus spots:
For those of you who live closer to or north of the Dade/Broward County line, I had some amazing suggestions as well. I'll just list them below along with links to their home pages.
And there you have it! A list of all things Miami for kids. Pin it, save it, let me know what you get to! I can't wait to hear all about your Miami adventures! Go ahead, make it YOUR-AMI!
P.S. I have to give a special thanks to my mommy group, who supplied me with a lot of the ideas you read about in this post! You girls rock!
I'm always interested to hear what other parents consider their absolutely must-haves. For some parents, it's certain toys, for others it's a food product. Our top must-haves in our house vary, but these are the things that have gotten the most use in our house over the course of the last 2 years. I'm including links to the products to make for easy shopping (I got you).
And there you have it! The items we absolutely cannot live without in our house!
I'd love to hear your must-have items - leave them in the comments section below!
*This post is not sponsored.
If you know anything about me, you know I am all about ease. Whatever makes my life easier, I'm all about it. So why would I be any different when it comes to making meals for my family?
When it comes to cooking, the less I have to prep, the less I have to dirty, and the less I have to clean, the better! Which is why I absolutely love these Aidells All Natural Chicken Meatballs. They are tasty and I can read every single ingredient in the ingredients list. They come fully cooked, so all you need to do it heat and eat. Best of all, Caleb and Eddie love them too! I actually always have two packs on hand, for nights when I forget to pull something out or plan a meal or just in case we end up with last minute company, I can always throw these on the frying pan and have a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner.
This combination is one of my favorites because it's tasty, and the colors look gorgeous together, don't they? It's also a one-pan meal, so there's that, too.
I buy a packaged butternut squash at Publix, it already comes chopped (again, all about easy) and vacuum sealed so it will last longer in your fridge.
Friends, it doesn't get much easier than that! Enjoy!
Valentine's Day is around the corner, and although I'm not huge into Valentine's Day, I know a lot of people are! Also, our anniversary is at the end of the month. And while we typically try and do a weekend getaway for our anniversary, sometimes we like to do a date night that's a little different, too. And because we like to get out of town, we don't want to spend tons of cash on a fancy dinner.
So I've rounded up a couple of ideas for dates you can enjoy that won't break the bank! We have done most of these at one time or another. Some are really simple, others require a little more research, but they're all fun and can all be done for way under $100!
A couple of years ago, on Valentine's Day, we decided we didn't want to go to crowded restaurants anymore. So we decided to go to an area of Miami where you could park your car right up in front of the water, and we had ourselves a picnic. We picked up stone crabs (one of our faves), brought some wine, and some prepared sides from the grocery store deli. I brought a couple of candles and we had a moonlit & candlelit picnic on the water, looking at Miami's skyline. It's probably one of my favorite Valentine's Day memories.
A Drive-In Movie
There isn't a drive in theater in every city, but if you have one near you and you've never been to one, it's pretty fun! It transports you to another time, and you can bring your own snacks and food.
A Dance Class
I know, there are some places where dance classes can cost an arm and a leg. I'm not talking about that. In Miami at least, there are half a dozen salsa studios where you can go and take basic salsa lessons for $15. It's a big group setting, and after they teach you the basics for that course, they do open floor dancing. I took these classes in middle school and I loved them.
Check Groupon for this! Some tastings can run a pretty penny, but in our area for example, Groupon typically has a special for a local winery where you can have wine tasting for two including two souvenir glasses, for about $35.
Find yourself an old school lounge or bar where they play live music. Grab a drink at the bar, and enjoy the sounds. I love to listen to live jazz music, and there are a couple of hotels where they have that regularly. Just do a quick search and I'm sure you'll find some in your area! (Maybe you can even put those dance lessons to good use!)
So get planning! Would love to hear some of your favorite inexpensive date night ideas!
So it's date night, the sitter just knocked on the door, and hubby is ready to go enjoy a night out with you. But you glance in the mirror on your way out the door and realize, holy cow, I can't do date night looking like this!
Girl, I've got you! Been there, done that. Luckily, I have a super fast makeup routine for everyday. You can read that routine here. So, I do that, and then I just take it up a notch. My friends over at Reina Rebelde sent me some samples of their products, and I absolutely loved their products to help elevate my look and take it from day to night.
I love Reina Rebelde because it was started by a Mexican-American woman, Regina Merson, and the line is all about embracing duality as a Latina woman who not only loves her Latin culture, but also embraces America and everything it has to offer. The name Reina Rebelde translates to "Rebel Queen," and the line itself is unabashedly Latina. The colors are versatile, which I adore. Some days I want to look just put together enough where I don't scare people on the street, and other days I want to really have that extra oomph in my look. This line lets me do that.
For my eyes, I used their 4 Play Wet Dry Eye Shadow in Azteca. I used the lightest shade (top left) in my brow bone and on the inner corners of my eyes. For my crease I used the shadow in the top right, and I then I wet my brush and used the darkest brown to line my lids on the top and on the bottom.
For my lips, I used their Bold Lip Color Stick in Brava. I am a sucker for bright lips, and red is my absolute favorite. It doesn't hurt that hubby loves it too! This red is classic, and the color is definitely long-lasting. I also love when I don't have to line my lips, which eliminates another step, and with this Bold Lip Color Stick, I didn't have to do that. The color didn't bleed or feather, and it didn't dry out my lips, either.
There you go! Date night makeup in under 15 minutes. I'm sure you can get on board with that!
Some days, going outdoors isn't really an option. Whether there are sickies in your house, the weather is crummy, or you just don't feel like putting on pants (hey girl, I feel you!), sometimes you need to keep those kiddos entertained indoors. And while I am the first to admit that I use my TV pretty often, I also like to have Caleb do engaging activities that hold his interest for a little longer than 5 minutes.
Sensory play is anything that engages your child's senses. Sensory play is important in helping your child explore the world. It also helps them to naturally use scientific processes, problem solve, and develop skills such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. PBS Parents has a really informative article on why sensory play is so important.
Most of these activities require little prep, and I actually keep everything stored in a box and just pull it out a couple times a week. Once you have all the tools it's actually fairly easy to incorporate these activities into playtime a couple times a week.
If you check on Pinterest, there are hundreds of activities you could do with your little one. I'm only focusing on five that are tried and true in our house..
Sensory Rice Box
I bought an underbed storage box, filled it with rice, and bought a couple of tools so he could play. The same tools are actually used for multiple activities. There are: measuring spoons, fine motor skills tool set, plastic tongs, and little construction trucks. He's snuck a few other toys in there over the months but those are generally the tools he uses in there. I know many people do this using beans, but when we started doing it, Caleb was still pretty small and putting everything in his mouth. Even if uncooked rice would give him a tummy ache, it wasn't a choking hazard, whereas a dry bean could be.
Level of ease: Very easy once you have the tools, but cleanup can be a nightmare if you don't prep for it. Pro tip: use a fitted sheet with the ends propped up on the sides to keep the rice contained and make for easy cleanup!
We did this just yesterday, with zero prep or advance thought. I realized I was out of paper towels and decided to do something with the roll since I had a cranky toddler. I cut the roll in half, and covered one end of each with paper. I had him fill them about halfway. We used garbanzos and couscous because that's what we had on hand, but you can use rice, pasta, any kind of dry bean, cheerios, etc. With the garbanzos, I also practiced counting with him. Once they were filled, we covered the other end and had a dance party! A friend also reminded me that this can be down its water bottles, which probably makes it quite a bit easier!
Level of ease: Easy. But not very independent. If you're looking for something to keep them busy without you having to work, this isn't the activity for you. lol
Pom poms keep Caleb entertained for over an hour. There are so many things you can do with them: counting, color sorting, size sorting. He likes to transfer them from one place to another. A lot of times I will pour them all into a big mixing bowl and give him the muffin tin and his fine motor tool set and let him do as he pleases. This day I just put some on the floor and some in the muffin tin and let him use the tools to move them around as he pleased.
Level of ease: SUPER. Literally just dump everything and let them go.
Strainer & Pipe Cleaners
This is another super easy activity. The strainer is in my kitchen, so I just thread a few pipe cleaners through the holes and have him do the same. Sometimes he does it, sometimes the game is pulling them all out, but it keeps him busy for a little bit.
Level of ease: Eh. Doesn't keep him busy for a super long time, and threading those pipe cleaners can be a pain in the ass.
No Mess Painting
I fill Ziploc baggies with some paint, tape it down to chart paper, and put the chart paper on the window. Taping the baggies down keeps them in place, and I love the effect of the light coming through the paint, which is why I attach it to the window.
Level of ease: Semi-easy. Requires a little bit of prep with the taping and such, but I typically leave this up for days.
There you have it! Five sensory ideas that will keep your kids busy for a good amount of time! Incorporate them as you feel your child needs it - one a day, a couple a week, once a week. Below is a photo of how I store the tools, pom poms, and rice. I usually have the pipe cleaners in there too, not sure where they are at the moment. haha
What other fun activities do you do with your kids around the house? I'd love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments below!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.