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St. Patrick’s Day Parade :: Should I Push My Luck?

St. Patrick’s Day is something I look forward to each year as I grew up going to the South Side Irish Parade in Chicago. As a child, I often walked alongside a float, and as an adult, I visited the bars along the parade route.  And whether it be in the church basement or at my grandparent’s house, we have always enjoyed a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage.

When I moved to Wichita, I tried to recreate my childhood experience by attending the Delano St. Patrick’s Day Parade and then hosting friends for corned beef and cabbage.  The parade is a ton of fun for adults and kiddos alike. This year’s parade begins at noon on Saturday, March 14th, and the route starts near the turnabout on Douglas Avenue and goes through the Delano District. If you can, arrive early to get yourself a good spot to snag some candy! Once the parade is over, there are lots of cute shops and restaurants to check out all along the district.

And if you’ve never tried the traditional corned beef and cabbage, I highly recommend it. We celebrate with friends, but the The Shamrock Lounge will also be serving this St. Patty’s favorite at 11:30 on March 17th.

St. Patty's Day 2012 (2)

Nico and I attended the parade last year and we had fun, but he was still pretty little. So I’ve looked forward to this year’s parade and the chance to see his face light up while listening to the bag pipes and watching the floats. I was excited, that is, until I checked the time – the parade starts at noon. Ugh, that’s nap time! I’m totally that mom who plans life around naps and bedtime. My guy is a good sleeper, but he only sleeps in his crib or car seat.  He’d likely fall asleep on the way there and then not nap at all, which as you all know is TROUBLE.

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So this leaves me with a decision to make –  go to the parade and prepare for a meltdown or let him nap and try again next year? I’m leaning towards the nap, the happier the tot the happier this mamma.

I’ll probably use the quiet of nap time to make Irish Soda Bread, a required staple at our corned beef and cabbage dinner. Check out my recipe below. {And to appease my picky friends I always make one loaf with raisins and one without.  I also load up on the caraway seeds.}

Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 & 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. caraway seeds (I use way more, not sure how much)
pinch, cream of tartar
1 & 1/2 cups raisins

Mix all of the ingredients, adding the raisins to the mixture last.  Bake in loaf pan at 350 for an hour and ten minutes.  Serve with butter.

I’m bummed we won’t be able to make this year’s parade, but there is always next year!

What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day this year?

Wichita Wednesday :: “Namaste Play” at Yoga Central {Sponsored Post}

Wichita Moms Blog is partnering with Yoga Central for this sponsored post. We love keeping you informed about fun activities for you and your baby right here in Wichita. 

stretching out

When I heard about Yoga Central’s “Namaste Play” yoga practice for mommies AND babies, visions of baby leotards and leg warmers came to mind…

and then I realized I have a boy.

Sweatpants. Again.

*Sigh*

eli with instructor

Picking my outfit was a little more challenging. Then it hit me. Everyone else in class would ALSO be grabbing whatever they could find that wasn’t covered in spit-up. They would all be self-conscious of their post-baby bodies too. We were all in this together.

Of course, my little one opted to boycott his morning nap that day, just to remind me who’s really the boss. This meant we were going to have to be flexible.

Flexible.

Ironic, huh?

Ask any mom and she’ll tell you that the secret to motherhood is flexibility. Well, it turns out, the key to a successful mommy-and-me yoga practice is the same. Yes, that bendy stretchy kind of flexibility, but it’s more than that.

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I’ve done yoga videos. Scratch that, I have TRIED to do yoga videos. The problem with those videos is that I have no way to know if I’m doing my practice correctly, and no one is there to help. I usually find myself at some point sarcastically talking to the screen “Yeah, sure, just as soon as my child gets off my face and removes his finger from my eye socket.”

I need more, say it with me now, FLEXIBILTY.

That’s exactly what I found during my time at “Namaste Play”. I was intimidated at first because many of the babies had been doing yoga here since they were in their moms’ bellies! Thankfully, drop-in style classes made me feel confident that I could try it out without feeling like I was locked into a class for weeks simply because I had already paid for it. It also meant that if Eli had a challenging morning or got sick, skipping a class wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Flexibility.

downward dog grey

Our instructor, Tonya, set the tone of the class from the beginning. She saw that we had a bunch of alert ready-to-play babies. She customized each position and activity to match the needs of those in the room.

Flexibility.

Having the oldest baby in the class, I also had the privilege of having the most vocal and mobile baby. Let’s be real: I was the mom with the baby wandering the room, stealing kids’ toys, and then letting out random screeches to celebrate the theft. The first time he squealed I thought, “Oh no, I’ve ruined the zen-ness of the room.” Our instructor just smiled and happily squealed right back at him. The other moms turned, not with the judgy eyes I half expected, but with smiles.

Flexibility.

downward dog pink

Later in class, some of the smaller babies started making little noises themselves.

It wasn’t distracting at all.

Instead, my heart melted a little. I miss those tiny newborn noises that have faded away through the months.

yoga mamas and babies

That’s when I realized that, again, we were all in the same boat. There’s no better place to be a mom with a vocal baby than in a room full of moms with other vocal babies.

No apologizing necessary. No guilt. No judgment.

Just flexibility.

Tonya reminded us that our babies were free to explore and visit each other. She even played with my rambunctious son while I moved through some poses, leaving me free to focus on my breathing and not just my baby.

Flexibility.

When Eli started crawling away from me mid downward-dog, the woman next to me didn’t give me a sideways glance for not keeping my child under control. Instead, she pointed him out to her adorable grand-daughter, “Look Kate, crawling!” He wasn’t a nuisance, he was a mentor! Flexibility.

grandma and kate

I learned a valuable lesson about the power of flexibility sitting on a yoga mat in Eastborough. It wasn’t the kind of flexibility I expected (which is good, because I can’t even touch my toes), but it was exactly the kind of flexibility I needed.

 Yoga Central offers a variety of yoga classes for all levels, including classes for Wichita moms like Namaste Play (“Mommy and Me”) and Prenatal Yoga. Email [email protected] for questions and like them on Facebook to stay updated on class offerings. 

3 Easy Tips to Encourage Reading

blogreadingAs a child I did not possess an innate desire to read. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I dreaded our weekly visits to the library, independent reading time, and book reports (yawn!).  For me, attending the school book fair meant I could buy new Lisa Frank (how awesome was Lisa Frank?!?!) pencils or a friendship bracelet kit. It wasn’t until college, where I was introduced to some amazing authors, that I really discovered that I did in fact enjoy reading.

My desire to read was one of the primary reasons I enjoyed teaching K-2 grades. I was able to teach and help build a positive reading foundation. Working with my students as well as my own boys, I have discovered three helpful strategies to encourage kids to read.

Read Everywhere
Reading before bed is important for kids, but don’t let reading only occur in one place. I keep books in almost every room in the house (even the bathroom!) so that books are always within a little one’s reach. I also keep a stack of books in the car for when we are running errands or eating out. I try to switch them out at least once a week so that they don’t get bored. We take weekly trips to the library for my boys choose books of their own, or they tell me the topics they’re interested and we select books together. Barnes and Noble is also a great place for kids, it has a colorful environment and a great place to show kids new books (BONUS: they also have a train table!). I also think B & N is a valuable tool so they can see other people reading.

Read Often
Bedtime reading is a great habit to form with kids, even when they are babies. I mean who doesn’t love to snuggle up with a good book (and wine) before bed? Although this is a special time to spend with your littles, take some time during the day to read to your child or set aside a special independent reading time too. Both my boys have stopped napping, altogether. Every. Single. Day. I now enforce (and strictly because this is my sanity hour) a quiet time in their bedrooms. They are given the option to sleep (rarely chosen), read, or play with puzzles. I keep stacks of books in their room that they can explore independently.

Read with Everyone
I’ll admit when bedtime rolls around, I’m not always thrilled to read a children’s book, especially if its The Little Blue Truck for the tenth straight night in a row. This is why my husband and I take turns reading to our kiddos. They love to hear daddy read in silly voices or make up funny parts to the book. On Tuesdays I also take our boys to tot time at The Andover Public Library. The librarian reads two stories and usually does fun voices and gestures. My boys are mesmerized. Like Paw Patrol-watching mesmerized. We love it!

Between all the bedtimes and in-between times when you are reading with your kids, don’t forget to show them that reading is fun. Last week I read a book about pirates wearing underpants, obviously not my first choice, but my boys LOVED it and couldn’t believe how silly the book was. I mean pirates and underpants, for small boys, does it get much better? Also while reading make sure to change it up a bit and implement new silly voices while reading. This is especially helpful if you are reading a book for the hundredth time like we seem to do. Or if a book has a repetitive phrase let your kids say that specific part, it helps keep them engaged and let’s them feel like they are reading. If kids can see that you enjoy reading to them, it can help shape a positive attitude towards reading, thus building a life-long desire to read.

What tips do you have that help encourage your little readers?

Wichita Moms Blog Launch Party Recap {hosted by Apricot Lane}

We can’t say thank you enough.

A huge thank you to all the mamas who attended our launch party last week! We know how hard it is to get out on a frigid February evening. And for that reason, we were pleasantly surprised by the turnout of just over 35 moms. Because if we’re honest with ourselves, it is so much easier to stay in sweatpants and grab the nearest wool blanket, willing the cold to go away. {Not that we’re speaking from experience or anything}. But we were so happy for those who managed to make a pit stop on your way home from work or snuck out while your babysitter put your kiddos to bed.

Wichita Moms Blog thanks you!

contributors

And another standing ovation-style thank you to Kami, owner of Apricot Lane, and her delightful staff for hosting the soiree. These gals sure know how to throw a part-ay. There’s nothing like a bunch of spunky and adorable gals rolling out the red carpet for a group of moms who are wanting and needing exactly that. Not only did they provide fashion inspiration with their latest spring wear, but they served refreshments, hosted a $50 gift card giveaway, and refilled our glasses of sangria all night while we shopped and mingled. Not to mention the fact that just about every mom who walked in the door took advantage of the fact that the entire store was discounted just for us. A pretty big deal considering Apricot Lane was voted Wichita’s “Best Place for Women’s Clothing” according to Wichita Magazine.

Apricot Lane Launch party

We had a steady flow of mamas coming in and out of the store. Some came with friends {there’s always safety in numbers}, some brought their kiddos along for fashion advice, and some flew solo {props to these girls because we know how hard it is to show up somewhere new knowing no one – you get a standing ovation too}. And in the spirit of Wichita Moms Blog’s vision of connection and the journey of motherhood, it was only fitting that several gals brought their own moms. How fun is that?

shopping and mingling Party Details

And did we mention the lovely food spread? We munched on veggies and cheese while sipping on sangria. And our resident baker, contributor Jeny of Brown Sugar Bakery, provided the desserts. She took the time to customize our evening’s treats, complete with WMB and Apricot Lane logos. There were cookies for those who do and do not do gluten. And then there were the always popular cakeballs that were gone in about 10 minutes flat. Luckily, we were able to replenish the empty tray. We weren’t however, quite able to fulfill all the requests for more strawberry cakeballs – they were a hit!

Food Spread

Launch party

Brown Sugar Bakery Launch Party

And finally, we can’t forget to thank our photographer for the evening, Erin Kata Photography. As a mom herself, she was also able to do some shopping and mingling in between snapping photos. She was overheard sharing about her love of photography and how she wants to help other moms capture simple moments with their kiddos through this shared passion. She will be teaching a “Mom-tography Workshop”, and she would love anyone interested to email her at [email protected]

Fun at Launch Party

Once again THANK YOU to all who made it out to celebrate our launch. But more importantly, we thank you for supporting Wichita Moms Blog with all of your likes, shares, and comments! We do this for YOU! Our goal is to connect moms to each other and to the community, so be sure to check our events page from time to time as we will update it with upcoming events. And if you are a local business interested in hosting a special event for special moms, be sure to contact us!

The Ultimate Toddler Boy Book List for the Ultimate Toddler Boy

Right around the time my oldest Henry turned one, he started adding to his vocabulary. I noticed it mainly on walks when we would move from street to street in our neighborhood in the early summer mornings, and he would start to point at each and every vehicle we met saying “tuhhhhh?” for truck, and “tuhhhhh?” for car.

And so it began, his love for all things that move, zoom, crunch, crash, steer, honk, dig, work, and vroom.  He’s since also fostered a love for not listening well, running, jumping, being destructive, and leaving a trail of debris wherever we go.  I love his spirit with all my might and know one day it will be the most amazing attribute for him, but as I’ve said before here, raising an “all boy” boy is…wow.  We are constantly working on listening and trying to teach the appropriate times for running and jumping, and encouraging gentleness when at all possible.  But we are also careful never to stifle the things that make Henry the way he is…active, high-energy, never still, constantly throwing, constantly learning and still very much a lover of trucks.

Because I have a slight addiction to children’s books, we’ve really built up our library over the last (almost) three years.  I have a stack almost as tall as Henry of books that I’d put up against any toddler boy, even one that finds it hard to sit still for a quick read on mama’s lap.  I’m assuming you already have Little Blue Truck (and maybe even Little Blue Truck Leads the Way too for more rhyming and life lessons) along with a copy of Good Night, Good Night Construction Site or Steam Train, Dream Train and probably a handful of Wheelie books because you’re a smart mama and know the super tactile book/toy combo frequently make quiet-time occasions like church or doctor office waiting rooms just a bit easier.

alison moore photography reading 1

alisonmoorephotography.com

alisonmoorephotography.com reading

I scoured our bookshelves for a handful of our favorites that may just be a little lesser known, but definitely qualify as must-haves.  Plus, I polled fellow Wichita Moms Blogger, friend and boy mom to two Rachel for her expert opinion since she’s got a couple of more years on me in the raising rambunctious boy readers department.

1. Demolition – The rhythm of the text in this book is seriously fantastic, and I can easily get into figuring out how to make all of the ridiculous construction vehicle noises that my son is already wayyy better at.  There are two others from this series too – Roadwork is a fave from Rachel after her oldest Luke (4) received it for a gift on his second birthday, and I definitely have Construction on our wish list!

2. The Ultimate Book of Vehicles – This book.  I could open mouth kiss it.  It has bought us hours and hours of quiet time.  In the car.  At church.  At home.  Henry cannot get enough of all the moving parts and comprehensive list of vehicle illustrations.  We hope to pick up another from the same creators, The Ultimate Construction Site, soon.

3. Night Light – Henry adores trying to figure out what vehicle comes next by the clues left by lights, and I adore the simplicity AND the opportunity to practice our counting.

4. Diggers Go – Are we in a safe space where I can admit everything I know about different types of diggers I learned from this book?  I had no idea what the difference was between an excavator, front loader, skid loader, etc. until Henry came along and along with it came his love for these huge monstrosities.  This book, along with Trucks Go, are on our favorites list, because I enjoy the abnormal shape of the book and gorgeous bright watercolor illustrations.  (And if planes or trains are more of your thing, author Steve Light has written versions for you!)

5. Honk Honk! Beep Beep!– Per Rachel, if you LOVE to hear your sweet little boys repeat phrases from stories, than this book is for you. While she and her boys read this book, she loves to pause and hear them say “Honk Honk Beep Beep!” with loud little boy enthusiasm. Plus, this book is full of rhyming and repetition which is great for emergent readers.

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Y’all, the list could go on and on…Farmer Dales Red Pickup Truck, Digger, Dozer, Dumper, Who is Driving? etc.  Of course we have a stack of books equally as high that deserve mention even if they don’t vroom, zoom, or dig  – Good Night, Gorilla, Press Here, Have You Seen My Dragon?, The Little Engine That Could, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Stuck, Where the Wild Things Are, plus some of Rachel’s faves – I Love You Stinky Face, Dinosaur Roar, and Love You Forever.

I may or may not take my kids to storytime to get new book ideas for our always growing wish list (and fortunately neither of my tots is complaining about our weekly outing), so please share some of your favorites in rotation too.  If we don’t have them now, we will soon.

alisonmoorephotography.com reading 9

Do you have any favorite books to add to the list?

Consignment Sales for Kids:: A Way to Save

Consignment Sales for Kids-My little guy just turned two, and one hallmark for us with the passing seasons is the spring and fall consignment sales. It’s amazing to go through old clothes and reflect on where we will be over the course of the next season.

Consignment sales are when a group of moms come together with their gently used items and sell them to other moms (or dads, or grandparents, etc.). The nice thing is you don’t have to physically be there while the selling is going on! You simply prepare your items, check them in and then pick up your items that did not sell (or donate them) and your check!

It’s an opportunity to clear your kids’ closets and make some cash at the same time. And you can also save money by buying from the sale as well. Most of my son’s wardrobe for each upcoming season is purchased at a local consignment sale, {and usually funded by the items I just sold!}

 Sometimes walking into a big sale for the first time (or sixth!) can be overwhelming. But I promise they can be fun!

Here are some tips for buying:

  • Make a list of what you need.

Same principle as going to the grocery store with a list. If you don’t, you’ll forget things or end up buying what you don’t need. Trust me, learned from experience!

  • Bring a laundry basket, or something to carry everything in.

I prefer my laundry basket over a big bag – talk about painful shoulders! {Bonus points if your basket has wheels on it.}

  • Pick first, choose the keepers later.

There are usually sorting stations at the sale and you can put things back afterwards. I pluck everything off the rack that is a good maybe and then choose the ones I am actually going to buy after I’m done browsing.

  • Leave your kiddos at home.

Measure them, make a list and leave them at home if possible. It’s easier on everyone, and you can focus on the sale. But if you can’t find a babysitter, it’s not the end of the world – I’ll probably have my son with me too.

Ready to try your hand at consigning? You can do it!

Here are some tips for selling:

  • Have a consignment bin year round.Consignment Sales

As my son outgrows things (toys, clothes, etc.) they go into the consignment bin in his closet. Then, when it’s time to get ready for the next sale, I just go through his closet and drawers quickly and bring out the bin.

  • Plan ahead by preparing with the right supplies.

Don’t wait to the last minute or you will make yourself miserable. I find that once I get started, it’s not so bad. As long as I get my supplies (safety pins, hangers, tags, tape and a marker) ready with my consignment bin, it’s a simple weekend project and all is ready to be checked in at the sale.

  • Prep all clothing outfits/hangered items first.

Lay out all your items and organize by size, grouping them together for how you want them sold (1 shirt, 1 pair of pants together, etc.) Then put them on hangers and pin them. This way you can rearrange items as needed.

If the thought of tagging and prepping your items has you giving up already, you could see if your local consignment sale has an option for them to do the prep work for you in exchange for a smaller commission of the sales. Each sale has different rules and procedures for everything from the sale fees and commission rates to the way the hangers should face, so make sure to read through the rules and procedures to make sure you are consigning correctly.

If you have never bought or sold at a kid’s consignment sale, now is your time to try one as spring consignment season is here!

WAPOM Consignment Sale

Rhea Lana’s (Greater Wichita and West Wichita)

Kid’s Closet Connection

Britches and Lace

Mulberry Bush Consignment

Twice is Nice Kid’s Consignment Sales

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Consigning mamas – do you have any buying or selling tips to add?

8 Tips to Soothe Your Child’s Cold

If you’re anything like me, you know the moment a sick bug is about to strike. A sudden waking-through-the-night streak. Irritability. Excessive whining. Zero coping skills.

In our house, we may not do so well at preventing illness {toddlers are filthy little creatures who dislike sharing everything but germs}, but we sure have mastered soothing illness. I’d even go as far to say that we have become experts in the comfort department. Sickness is part of childhood, so we should at least embrace the extra cuddles and help our littles the best we can by soothing their aches and pains.

I, of course, am far from a medical expert. However, I have spent an embarrassing amount of time in our pediatrician’s office. {In fact, I told her at our last visit that I had a suitcase and sleeping bag in the back of my car so that we could move in for the winter.}

Between over a dozen colds, a handful of sinus and ear infections, and 2 cases of RSV, we’ve become skilled, well-oiled robots when it comes to soothing and lessening the side affects of colds with our kiddos.

Here are eight tried and true ways to help lessen the blow of a child’s pesky, miserable cold ::

Soothe a Cold

1. Warm Bath. Anytime we call to talk to the nurse {a.k.a. my winter bestie}, we begin the conversation by saying, “yes, we’ve given her a warm, steam bath”. because that’s the first thing she’ll ask. but the hope here is that the steam will help loosen and open up the airways a bit – helping little ones to breathe better.

2. Cool Mist Humidifier. So we keep one of these bad boys running at least half the year. we try to change the filter at least once a month and give it a good rub down with vinegar to keep mold at bay. humidifiers help with the dry air in winter and especially help create moisture for little ones who are struggling to breathe. we even take ours on trips with us. they’re that essential.

3. Tilt bed//Extra Pillow. We use wooden blocks at the head of the crib for a tilt affect anytime we notice the beginning signs of a cold. The tilted crib props them up and helps so that all that respiratory crud doesn’t settle in deep. And for our toddler, we just give her a pillow to prop up for the same effect.

4. Vick’s on Feet. {Check with your doc on this one}. We’ve always put Vick’s Vapor Rub on our kiddos’ feet. the thought is that the feet absorb the mentholatum, which opens up the airways.  we have found it to work wonders and help with little coughs.

5. Honey. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. and let me tell you, it works. we give our toddler spoonfuls of honey all the livelong day when she’s sick. it really helps to control a cough, and it soothes the throat. not to mention, it helps curb a case of the sickie-whines.

6. Nose Sucker//Saline. Out of everything on the list, i swear up and down by a good nose sucker. something where you actually do the sucking – like a nose frida. and yes, i agree. it’s the most disgusting thing on the planet. but until you’ve experienced a little one struggling to breathe and the power of a little saline and a lot of sucking, you cannot judge me for using this contraption. because it works. and it gets them better quicker and lessens the symptoms. i pinkie promise.

7. Boogie Wipes//Vaseline. All that nose wiping. ouch! we sure love boogie wipes and vaseline to help with sad, chapped little noses.

8. Wine. Because let’s be honest. after all that nose-sucking, you deserve it mama.

What are some of your tried and true cold remedies for kiddos?

3 FREE Ways to Build Your Child’s Library

build your child's libraryIn a world with an increasing number of educational toys, learning-based television shows, and apps-for-everything, it might seem that real books made from real trees are a thing of the past. The time and expense of adding to your child’s library may seem overwhelming or unimportant. Or maybe you’re like me, just plain tired of reading the same books over and over again! Here are three fun ways I’ve found to keep kids interested in reading while adding new books to your stash. Oh, and did I mention they’re FREE?

LFLLITTLE FREE LIBRARY
By far the cutest option on my list is the Little Free Library! Maybe you’ve seen these around town – we’ve got one in Riverside, one near the zoo, one downtown, one in College Hill and two in the Brook Hollow area – maybe more! These are just the ones we’ve visited. They each have a unique style – be on the lookout for an over-sized birdhouse or unusually stylish mail box. A map with GPS coordinates and addresses is available here – the hunt is half the fun! My daughter loves scouting out the nearest Little Free Library – in fact, promising a stop for a new book often makes a day of errands much more bearable for both of us! The idea is this: bring a book you’d like to swap (they’re stocked with adult & kids’ books, so parents can snag one, too!), track down an LFL, leave your book and choose a new one. I typically keep our Little Free Library books in the back pocket of my passenger seat so we always have one on hand.

DOLLY PARTON’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY
Several months ago, an acquaintance on Instagram posted a picture of her kids with books they had just received in the mail from Imagination Library. FOR FREE. I immediately hopped online to do a little digging and was thrilled with what I found. The organization aims to build children’s literacy by sending youngsters a free book every month from birth until their 6th birthday. There are some eligibility requirements for this program, but if you are a Wichita-area family with kiddos ages 5 and under, you likely already meet those requirements! My kids LOVE getting packages in the mail, and I have been extremely pleased with the quality of the books we receive. Imagination Library has sent both hard and paperback selections, and each book comes with discussion questions and other suggestions for parents to enhance time spent reading with each child. Registration is free and can be done online by clicking here.

BOOK SWAPPING MADE EASY
Organizing your own book swap doesn’t have to be a huge production involving an email chain and a trip to the post office (am I the only mama who loses a piece of her soul every time she has to mail a package?). Keep it simple! Are you going to breakfast with friends? Have everyone bring a couple of books they’ve tired of and trade ’em! Got a playdate this afternoon? Ask your child’s pal to bring a book or two they don’t read often and make the switch. Allowing your child to choose which books s/he passes on to a friend will also give you an idea of which types of books they do and don’t enjoy, as well as offer them some control, so they don’t feel like their possessions are being arbitrarily given away. They may even surprise you and pass on a favorite!

What other tips for low/no cost books do you have?

Welcome to Wichita Moms Blog

View More: http://alisonmoorephotography.pass.us/wichitamomsblog

Welcome to Wichita Moms Blog!

I can’t believe it’s finally here. The launch of something so much more than its title suggests.

The vision of Wichita Moms Blog is to serve not only as an authentic and trusted parenting resource, but as a venue to connect local moms to each other and to the community.

As people, we are born with the need for connection – it’s one of our most primal, basic instincts. And when we become mothers, this need intensifies as we crave to find others who are experiencing the same wants, feelings and emotions. We need to know that we are not alone, not outsiders. Because being a mom, especially if new to the role or new to the area, can oftentimes bring feelings of isolation.

When I became a mother two and a half years ago, I was confused by my raw emotions and the overwhelming feeling that I should be able to do it all. Thoughts of doubt slowly crept in as I convinced myself that my baby was the only one who refused to sleep/cried all the time/was late in gross motor skill achievements/insert a million other fears. Of course I wasn’t alone in these feelings, but hormones tend to take over after having a baby to make us think otherwise.

I eventually swallowed my pride and reached out to some veteran mama friends who changed my entire way of thinking. That I am in no way alone. That I am {mostly} normal and am one stellar mom to my girls. That others have the same struggles and fears that I do.

Wichita Moms Blog hopes to serve that same purpose for you. To assure you that we are all in this together.

We have brought you a team of contributors from all over the Wichita-area, and they are moms trying to figure everything out just like me and you. But most importantly, they love their kids and our community.

Our goal is to bring true connection to Wichita moms – to each other and to our city. We plan to hold various events throughout the year, events that will allow you to get to know moms from all over Wichita as well as local businesses that Wichita moms adore.

In fact, our first opportunity to get to know you is this Thursday, February 26th. Join us at Apricot Lane, Wichita’s “Best Place for Women’s Clothing” according to Wichita Magazine. Come meet the faces behind Wichita Moms Blog and join us for a little shopping, a little nibbling, and a lot of connecting. The whole store will be 20% off just for YOU, and you’ll have the chance to win fabulous door prizes.

And because it’s launch week, it’s time to really celebrate, starting with a week of giveaways from local businesses that we personally love. Be sure to check out our giveaways page throughout the week to enter to win some Wichita favorites!

We are thrilled you are here. Please contact us anytime as we would love to hear from you! And be sure to subscribe and follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss out on anything!

image credit: Alison Moore Photography

5 Favorite Stroller Walks in Wichita

Walks in Wichita

I’ve never been much of a runner. Or even a gym-goer. But man, do I ever love walking.

Ever since I got pregnant with our first, I walk most days. If it’s not below 40 degrees or raining or snowing, I’m usually taking the kiddos for a stroll. It’s simple, I don’t have to look cute and it’s the perfect fitness playdate. We even invested in a heavy duty jogger stroller for my heavy duty walking.

We’ve lived all over the country, and I’ve always made it a point to find unique and pretty walking paths. But when we moved back to Wichita, it became very clear that I was going to have to really search for some “scenic view” walking areas. And though I have really grown quite fond of my routine path in our own neighborhood {we are lucky to have two really nice parks near our house}, I like to switch things up. Plus it’s fun to check out new areas.

So after being back for just over four years, I finally have a good variety of places worth packing up the stroller and checking out.

There were only two requirements for making the list: 1. must be easily accessible and have convenient parking. 2. be able to fit my ridiculous double stroller.

Below is a list of some of my favorite places in Wichita to take a stroll with the kiddos.

Chisholm Creek Park

When not strolling my own neighborhood, this is my go-to walking spot.  It’s a 2 1/2 mile paved walking path with beautiful scenery, an almost guaranteed wildlife sighting, and plenty of spots to rest and enjoy a picnic lunch. Not to mention the Great Plains Nature Center located at the 29th and Woodlawn entrance {another entrance option is located just off of Oliver, south of K-96}. This path is quite scenic – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been and not seen a photographer setting up shop.

Sedgwick County Park

Another scenic choice is Sedgwick County Park on the west side of town, adjacent to the zoo. You can make things interesting with this option, as there are multiple routes and loop choices, totaling 8.9 miles. This trail is lovely as you pass multiple small ponds, lakes and meadows. This walking choice is probably a favorite for the kids with the boundless playground, ball fields, and a multitude of sport courts.

 Eastborough Park

Although it looks completely different than it did 20 years ago, this walk is a favorite for several reasons, one being pure sentiment. It’s been completely remodeled since I was a kid and is one of the prettiest walks in this city. I ran my first {and only} 5K pregnant and sick with a sinus infection, looping around the neighborhood and through the park. The only thing that kept me going was the charming homes and beautiful gardens and lawns. And the park itself is reason to take a stroll – well done City of Eastborough.

Sedgwick County Zoo

This is a favorite for obvious reasons. But seriously, we use our zoo pass constantly. If anything, it gives us a reason to load up the stroller, get out of the house, go for a nice walk, and see a few animals while we’re at it. It’s a fun, easy way to get in a few extra steps in your day – for those of you Fitbit lovers. Plus, easy peasy parking and plenty of spots for a quick picnic lunch break.

Town East Mall

Yes, that’s right. I’m listing the mall as a favorite walking path. Listen, during the winter, desperate times call for desperate measures. Plus, if you hit it first thing in the morning {before the stores even open}, you’ll find plenty of sweet little old lady walking partners. Added bonus: exercise and retail therapy in one swoop.

Where are some of your go-to spots to take a stroll with the family?

 

Behind the Scenes: The First {Contributor} Meeting

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After leaving last Saturday’s Contributor Kickoff Meeting, I found myself smiling thrContributor Meetingoughout the rest of my entire day.

I couldn’t help it. I was on cloud nine after meeting with 10 phenomenal Wichita moms, and I left thankful to be part of such an inspiring group.

We met at Mead’s Corner, the perfect location for a meeting. It’s always great to have an excuse to make it downtown, a place I frequent much less than B.C. {before children}. Plus, what mom doesn’t dig through every excuse in the book to get out on a beautiful Saturday morning and discuss mom things over coffee? Which is exactly what we did.

But it didn’t exactly start off that way, of course. It’s never easy to walk into a room of people whom you don’t know. So there we were, sipping our coffees and trying to create small talk, most not knowing anyone else in the room. And I have a way of filling awkward silence with painful, nonsensical talk.

Contributor Meeting 1

Luckily Contributor Alison, of Alison Moore Photography, came to the rescue with her calm, professional demeanor and crazy-awesome skills. She lightened the mood and made everyone feel comfortable immediately, as evidenced by the beautiful photos she captured. While waiting to take individual head shots, the reMeetingst of us got to know one another better while standing in the warm sunshine, a welcomed surprise on an early February morning.

After photos, it was time to head back inside to get down to business. However this time, the small talk was no longer small talk. I was among friends. The mood was more relaxed and comfortable, which could likely be attributed to the distraction of sweet treats provided by Contributor Jeny’s Brown Sugar Bakery. She took the time to decorate the cookies and cakeballs using Wichita Moms Blog’s colors and logos, noting the ones labeled “WMB” were gluten free {and extra delicious}.

Brown Sugar Bakery Cookies

So when all said and done, I had plenty to smile about. I walked away confident and relieved that Wichita Moms Blog is in the hands of a group of extraordinary moms. Women who come from different backgrounds, different work statuses, and different stories. Women, who just like you and me, love their kids more than anything and who are passionate about connection.

So, this is where our story begins. We’re happy to have you here, joining us for the ride.

Contributor Team Photo

images credit: Alison Moore Photography

 

Avoiding Chaos: 4 Tips to Take Back Your Mornings

I am a morning person – once I get going. But some mornings (more often than I care to admit), I find myself rushing around tossing things into the sink and hollering at my toddler to hurry up because we have to go! He looks at me bewildered, because honestly, he’s just having a normal morning.

Toddlers don’t pay attention to the clocks after all.

4 Tips to Take Back Your Mornings

Whether you work outside the home or not, here are four tips to help jump-start your morning and get you off to a better start. It’s time to take back our mornings!

  1. Prepare the night before.

Every evening I try to do a few things to prepare for the next day: packing my lunchbox, cleaning up the entire kitchen, putting things back around the house where they belong, preparing the coffee for the next morning and setting out cups, bowls, utensils, etc. for breakfast. I also check to see what the dinner plan is for the next day so I know if I need to set out any meat to thaw or prepare in any other way. If I don’t do most, if not all, of this every evening, my mornings are much more rushed and I end up running out of time, or late.

  1. Wake up before the kids.

I know this can be a hard one with busy schedules and such, but it makes such a difference in the way your morning will run. There is a noticeable difference between a day where I try to “sleep in” (ha!) fumbling out of bed once I hear my son waking up and a day where I wake up earlier than him spending time reading my Bible and in prayer, drinking my coffee and just waking up myself. I really treasure that time and know it benefits my son as well because it helps me prepare for my day. Some days he might wake up a little earlier than he normally does, and that’s okay too. Just like bed time, there’s a time to get out of bed too. There are, of course, exceptions where waking up before the kids might not happen and seasons where it might not work for you.

  1. Get to bed on time.Eating Breakfast

Duh, right? I just started doing this and it really does impact my entire day. After a good night’s sleep, it is easier to get up on time and I feel more awake all day long! One way to really get to bed on time is to set boundaries for your evenings – set a time when you think you need to head to bed and then figure out how the later part of your evenings need to look to accomplish that. For me, powering down around 9pm is a big help.

  1. Give yourself buffer time.

If there’s one thing I can bet on, it’s that I take longer than I think I do. Any other mamas with me here? It’s a chain reaction that starts with me waking up on time and then add an 5-10 extra minute cushion to my morning so I can relax a bit. Then my toddler doesn’t have to look at me bewildered because I’m running around trying to chase down pairs of mittens and shoes, all while preparing my lunchbox I forgot to pack the night before and oh, what’s for dinner? Buffer time helps when we don’t fully prepare or when life interrupts the morning and things don’t go as planned.

So there you have it, my 4 tips to take back your mornings. I think they all play an important role in how my mornings run smoother and I hope they help you too.

And here is a free printable to stick it to the fridge to help remind you of your plan to take back your mornings

4 Tips for Taking Back Your Mornings

What tricks do you have that help you avoid chaos in the mornings?

 

Wichita Moms Blog: A Quick History Lesson

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Wichita Moms Blog History

It all started a couple of autumns ago when I was on the hunt for a family-friendly fall outing. I turned to my trusted friend, Google, for advice. And I was beyond frustrated with the lack of mom-focused, one-stop resources to help me find what I was looking for. How hard could it be to find something to do with my one year old in Wichita on a beautiful fall morning?

So, I did what anyone else in my situation would do, and I posed the question to social media. Within minutes, I had a plethora of ideas…things I had never thought of, places I’d never heard of. Better yet, these ideas came from other moms that I knew and trusted. On that beautiful fall day, we decided to go a local apple orchard. We had such a lovely time, and we’ve since committed to making a point to visit this particular orchard every fall. Furthermore, we love supporting the local family who owns it.

But this situation had me thinking and perpetuated my frustration with my lack of knowledge of resources in the area. Born and raised in the ICT, I suddenly realized that life in Wichita as a new mom looked completely different than it did growing up here. As a mother, I had different interests and different needs than those of a teenager {one would hope}.

A few days later, I came across a blog post written by one of my sorority sisters who was guest writing for a newly launched website in Kansas City. What a brilliant idea! It was a collaborative blog written by local moms for local moms and was dedicated to bringing moms together within a community.

I very quickly began researching and digging deeper into this resource as I felt Wichita could really use something just like it. I got in touch with the City Moms Blog Network director to begin the process of starting a site here in Wichita. After a lot of plotting, thinking and waking up one morning to the fact that I was pregnant with our second, I just didn’t feel that it was the right time to commit to something so important.

But fast forward to this moment. And I am completely ready. Wichita is ready. We have an amazing team of contributors lined up. We have partnered with some pretty stellar local businesses for our launch week of giveaways. And more importantly, we are completely dedicated to bringing Wichita moms together.

Because after all, we are all in this together!

If you have ideas to bring to the table, resources you’d like to share, or if there is a particular topic you’d like broached, please let us know. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you for following along.

Guides + Resources

Things to Do in Wichita | AUGUST 2020

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Things to Do in Wichita this Month August 2020 No matter the season, there are always fun things to in Wichita with kids (and without!). Welcome...