Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, School, The Salties, The Salty Mamas Bookclub, Tips & Hacks

How to Teach Your Toddler (or Preschooler!) to Read

With kindergarten becoming increasingly academic, I’ve noticed a push for parents to teach their kids to read before school even begins.  As a certified teacher, I can say that I  do think there are other skills that are more important– like independence and kindness, to name two-but the need for early reading skills cannot be ignored.  The Salty Mamas are all about raising readers, which means that we start them young. But rather than focusing on just letters and phonics, we encourage you to teach your child to be a reader– and that means going beyond the basics. Here are 8 easy reading strategies you need to teach your toddler to read- or teach your preschooler to read! We promise their future teachers will thank you for it.

Trying to teach your child to read? Might we suggest that you teach them to be a READER instead. Find out easy tips to make it happen, from thesaltymamas.com. #learningtoread #teachingkidstoread Continue reading “How to Teach Your Toddler (or Preschooler!) to Read”

Bouncing Babies, Mama Mojo, Married with Children, momlife, Pregnancy

My REAL Feeling About Our “Surprise” Baby

Confession: Our third child was a big, fat, whoops.

Let me back up a minute. We wanted three kids. Heck, we are still planning to go for four. Five? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In a very much planned event, our first two kids are 18 months apart. In retrospect, getting pregnant when my first was nine months old – still SUCH a baby himself – was a little, uh, crazy. So, immediately after our daughter was born, I put the kibosh on all baby conversation. I’d only taken a nine month break the first time, but this time I was going to go BIG. I adamantly proclaimed to anyone that would listen that we were taking a WHOLE YEAR OFF this time. For a year we wouldn’t even TALK about that next baby.

During the year, we made our master game plan.

We’d enjoy our first two children. We’d get the swing of things. We’d find our groove. And then, when the kids were older, maybe in school, we’d decide that the time was right. We’d tuck in our kids – maybe 5 and 6 by now – and look at each other, both thinking about how we missed the sweet smell of a little baby, the weight of them in our arms. We’d go for #3 and then quickly after #4. We’d have two sets of two, our perfectly planned family.

But you know what they say about plans. I think I can still hear the heavens chuckling…..

Continue reading “My REAL Feeling About Our “Surprise” Baby”

Holidays, Kids' Art Projects, Recipes, Saturday Six, The Wonderful Ones, Why We're Salty

Saturday Six

Another Saturday, another week of Mothering under our belt, another Saturday Six. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read more at our legal page. Thanks for your support!

1. Crafts and Cabin Fever

We’ve been housebound a lot recently thanks to rain, ear infections, and the dreaded flu. When we get cabin fever, we like to bust something out of our secret craft stash! This week, we looked forward to a break from the rain with this Hide and Seek Rock Painting kit that we can take outside when the clouds part! And you can’t go wrong with ANY of the craft kits from ALEX Toys! (But this one’s on sale for 50% off right now!)

2. We LOVE Low Mess Meals

Have you ever noticed how many delicious “One Pan” dishes there are on Pinterest? But then they’re all “We SAID one pan, but that’s really only if you have a cast iron skillet, and if you don’t then you need to use a regular skillet and then transfer into a baking dish, and I realize this changes EVERYTHING because you were really planning on this dinner when you pinned it and we lied to you about that one dish thing?”

Yeah, we’ve noticed it too. So Christine finally bit the bullet and bought this cast iron skillet and now she’ll never get screwed by Pinterest again. Well, until she tries to do some “kid friendly craft” that proves to be anything but…..

3. National Puppy Day

Is it any coincidence that Chad sent Christine a picture of puppies on National Puppy Day and suggested that one join the family? Spoiler alert: She said No. Or, more accurately, “HELL NO!” I mean, they’re cute and all, but puppies? Stay tuned and she’ll fill everyone in on the ten reasons she gave him for absolutely, under to circumstances, adding another family member let alone one covered in fur that will never be potty trained.

4. Christine is Having MAJOR Problems with Co-Sleeping.

Mainly, her kids all want to and she doesn’t. It’s like having a newborn again with all the shuffling kids back to their beds all night long. Or they stay and rub their feet on her all night long, which is worse. Christine and Chad considered getting an obscenely giant bed like this one from The Ace Collection, but knows they’d still end up getting pushed off the edge somehow. The struggle is real.

5. Jaymi’s Not the Only One Going Gray!

If you loved reading about the way she embraced her gray – and then how she changed her mind and went down the rabbit hole of hair coloring, then you’ll totally dig our friend SewGeekMama’s fight with her husband over her gray silver hair.

And if you haven’t ready any of that, well, now you have something to do while you drink your coffee! Or wine. We don’t judge.

 

6. Tragedy at Jaymi’s House

We love Abram, we really do, but we were not loving the way he threw Little Blue Truck across the room when he was done reading it peacefully. And we especially did not love the tragedy that befell the TV screen when it happened.

Help Jaymi not feel alone! Comment with the biggest tragic accident that’s happened at your house! And have a great weekend!

momlife, The Daddys, They Said WHAT?

10 Reasons to Say NO to a Puppy

This morning I opened my email to find a very rare message from my husband. We’re not people that email, text or really communicate while he’s at work, so I knew this was either something urgent, important, or special. What I received was a picture, followed by this:

Cole’s early birthday present???

I know we are not ready and really this burden would fall 100% on you but this could be the adoring fan who is always there for him that he needs.

I quickly went through a thousand emotions from rage, to thinking he was sweet, to crying at the idea of another thing to keep alive, to swooning over how adorable the pups are, to realizing that I needed to nip this in the bud. Fast.

I clicked “Reply” and fired off my ten reasons we are NOT getting a puppy right now.

#puppy #canihaveapuppy #shouldwegetapuppy #kids #kidsanddogs #kidsandpuppies #puppiesandkids #aboyandhisdog #familydog

Continue reading “10 Reasons to Say NO to a Puppy”

Crafty Mamas, Kids' Activities, Recipes

How to Make This Summer’s Best Lemonade (Kid Approved!)

Nothing says summer like lemonade- even though here in sunny Southern California, the lemon season is happening now, in this little space between winter and spring. My sweet friend Cynthia gifted me dozens of lemons over the last couple of weeks, and we are definitely making use of this little burst of sunshine. We got the kids involved in washing, cutting, and juicing the lemons (using these kid safe knives and this juicer). Then we put some of the juice in the freezer, placing one-cup portions in Ziploc bags, and froze them flat for future, less-lemony seasons. Finally, when the big jobs were done, we celebrated by making a big pitcher of our favorite homemade lemonade recipe.

Get ready for summer with this sweet, homemade lemonade recipe. Kid (and adult!) approved, from thesaltymamas.com. #lemonaderecipe #homemadelemonade Continue reading “How to Make This Summer’s Best Lemonade (Kid Approved!)”

momlife

Fifteen Useless Facts Taking Up Space in Our Mommy Brain

I have a bad case of Chronic Mommy Brain.

For three weeks in a row I came thisclose to forgetting my sons swim lesson. At the same date and time that it’s been for almost a year. I wish that was the only time that Mommy Brain reared it’s ugly head, but it’s not. At this point it’s chronic. I brew a cup of coffee that I forget to drink. It took me weeks to remember to make my kids their dentist appointment. My life is full of lists of things to do. It used to be because of the sense of accomplishment I’d feel crossing things off the list. Now it’s legitimately because I will not remember if I don’t write it down.

Why? WHY?? Surely it’s not because old age has begun to wreak havoc on my mind! I’m 35 – though if you ask me there’s a 97% chance I’ll say I’m 36 because I have FORGOTTEN MY OWN AGE. And I’m not pregnant – knock on wood – which has been my go-to excuse for the past 5 years. So what is it??

I realized it one morning during this conversation:

Continue reading “Fifteen Useless Facts Taking Up Space in Our Mommy Brain”

Cheapskating, Hair and Beauty, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

Why You Need to Try eSalon- IMMEDIATELY

I’m only thirty-two years old, so maybe you can understand why I am so offended by my gray hairs. I look around at my contemporaries, a sea of blondes, brunettes, and red heads, all of whom seem to have not a hint of silver in their luxurious tresses. And then I look at my hair, which used to be a warm, sunny brown and is turning more mousy and dull by the day. I had always thought I would age gracefully, but as my ratio of browns to grays changed, I knew I needed to make a change, too.

I didn’t want expense and time commitment of a salon visit every six weeks, and I found myself terrified at the prospect of figuring out how to dye my hair at home. I needed professional advice, like, yesterday. So imagine my excitement when I found a company who felt my pain, and were ready to help me through it, one step at a time. You might have seen ads on the internet for a company called eSalon, which boasts of “award winning hair color, made just for you.” And ladies? It does NOT disappoint.

Wondering about the eSalon hair color you've heard so much about? Read an honest review of this revolutionary at-home hair dye from thesaltymamas.com. #hairdyeathome #esalon #esalonreview #esalonhaircolor

Continue reading “Why You Need to Try eSalon- IMMEDIATELY”

Kids' Activities, Kids' Art Projects, Saturday Six

Saturday Six

This week was the highest of highs (Universal Studios! Finally feeling well! Lots of drop-off playdates!) and some fairly low lows (No sleep! Overcooked dinners! All the shaving cream everywhere it shouldn’t be!). But in a week of chaos, here are six things that still managed to catch our eye.

This post contains affiliate links. You can read more at our legal page. Thanks for your support!

1. Our Favorite Wallet is Now Available in Black

We may own like six All About the Benjamin Wallets between us, but we most definitely need two more- because now it’s available in BLACK. This wallet has all the pockets and sections you’ll ever need- and if there happen to be any other Dave Ramsey enthusiasts out there, we HIGHLY recommend it for your envelope system.

2. We Were Featured in Two Amazing Round-Ups

The world agrees- The Salty Mamas write posts worth sharing. (Is that braggy? Pretty sure that’s braggy. But anyways. We’re gonna go ahead and brag.) Check out the post we are featured in at SuzanneHines.org , where she is giving out some amazing Spring Break travel tips (and sharing our flight and road trip posts). We were also flattered to make the cut for Friday Favorites over at Misadventures of Megan, where she’s asking her readers which of the 7 Types of Moms You’ll Meet at an Indoor Playground they are.

3. We Got The World’s Cutest Necklaces

Are these necklaces A.) Crazy Adorable B.) Super Punny C.) Made By a Crafty Mama we know IRL or D.) All of the Above? Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed D, and then go buy a “Donuts are My Love Language” necklace for yourself. She also takes custom orders if you’ve got something else in mind!

4. Jaymi is Getting a New Camera

After years of debate, Jaymi’s finally pulling the trigger on a DSLR. She’s thinking of getting a refurbished Canon Rebel T6 from Amazon, but you’ve got a few days left to dissuade her if you know of a better one. Also, you can look forward to crisper, cleaner images for upcoming blog posts, so woot!

5. Marbled Shaving Cream Shamrocks

We took our Marbled Shaving Cream Art concept to the kindergarten St. Patrick’s Day party, and it was actually not a nightmare. Yes, a 12:1 ratio is not the ideal ratio for shaving cream and paint laden projects, but we DID IT, and the kids totally loved it. As a bonus, the whole classroom now smells like squeaky-clean shaving cream instead of five year old toots and gluesticks, so we’re gonna call it a win.

6. Spring is Almost Sprung!

We’re more than ready to usher in spring, and we’ve only got a few more days to wait! We are so excited for our April plans- birthday celebrations, strawberry picking, and a staycation at Great Wolf Lodge are in the works- and we are just desperately hoping the weather catches the memo. We’re ready for sunny days and blue skies for our outdoor adventures!

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So now you know what we’re looking forward to this week, we want to hear from you- what are you most excited about in the coming days and weeks? Drop a comment below!

Cleaning, Married with Children, The Daddys

What I Learned About Myself During Spring Cleaning

Every once in a while, my husband gets it in his mind that we can’t possibly go one day longer without getting rid of some stuff. A lot of stuff. All the stuff. We go to Costco and come home with bins and bins and shelving to hold the bins and off we go. I mentally prepare, grab trash bags for what we’ll toss, the bins for what we’ll keep, and have dollar signs in my eyes for the stuff I’m going to sell. 

I start in the kids rooms and secretly clear out some old toys, because Lord knows they won’t miss them. Then I retire the clothes that they’ve grown out of. Planning to have more kids, I get to keep all their clothes without much argument. Chad is great about getting rid of clothes. He sometimes goes TOO far in my mind, deciding that he only needs five t-shirts, one sweater, two casual polo shirts and one suit. Then I remind him about all the other times he might want to be dressed and we find a happy medium.

Then there’s me. And my bureau. And my walk in closet. And my bins of extras. In truth, I wear about one tenth of what’s easily accessible. And, walking Mom cliché that I am, it’s lots of leggings and casual shirts. My closet features lots of things with names you may recognize like Irma and Randy….but the rest hangs unworn, though not unloved. What transpires next is always like an episode of hoarders. Continue reading “What I Learned About Myself During Spring Cleaning”

Kids' Activities

No-Fail Recipe for the Fluffiest Slime EVER

I usually have no idea what’s trendy or what “the kids” are talking about, but every once in awhile I’m totally on point with trends. I even feel like I’ve helped start one or two . When I got married, I wanted red velvet cake because it had been my favorite and my wedding colors involved red. But the bakery we used didn’t even carry red velvet at the time. Six months later, and BOOM- red velvet is all the rage, every bakery around carries it and every bride has it.

Then four years ago, my friends and I started a co-op play school for our young toddlers. It quickly became known that if it was my turn to teach, there would be a sensory activity. Usually it involved some sort of flubber-yes flubber- back before I knew the word “slime” was cool. I never intended to become the Mom who makes all the slime, but somehow I found myself passing around my recipe all the time.

When Jaymi asked me if I’d share my no-fail fluffy slime recipe with The Salty Mamas, I happily obliged. This recipe produces amazing, fluffy slime that your little one will want to play with for hours- and you might even have some fun too! I get my daughter in on the mixing, and she loves picking the colors and scents.

The BEST, Fluffiest, No-Fail Slime Recipe, from thesaltymamas.com. Continue reading “No-Fail Recipe for the Fluffiest Slime EVER”