Last year I wrote about something super important to me – internet safety for kids. It’s still one of Small Fry’s most visited posts and I hope it continues to be as the whole topic keeps me up at night! 😉 The internet is such a wonderful tool, but as we all know it can get dark, fast. Today I wanted to revisit that post and also add another awesome resource I have been testing out! You all know Amazon makes their own tablet starting at $99 for kids called Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet, right? Well what I didn’t know is about their Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service, which we’ve been using with their tablet as a part of today’s sponsorship. It is incredible! The FireHD 8 Kids Edition tablet actually comes with a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service and is 30% off right now, so it’s a perfect time if you’re in the market! (They also do $20/month payments right in time for Christmas!)Part of my volunteer work at my church a while back was to help interested families get all their computers and devices protected and one thing I felt like was loud and clear across all the families I worked with was that it felt daunting which is why no one had attempted it on their own. So anytime I see a product come around that makes it easy I am all about it!Okay so here’s what you need to know and why I think it’s excellent!
I know there is a lot of talk about what is good for kids and screen time, and even eliminating it, but I feel really strongly that they need to learn to manage their time (with my help) and employ healthy habits from the start, as it will always be a part of their lives. For better or for worse. Just wanted to get that out of the way! First off with the FireHD 8 Kids Edition tablet, I can create “Learn First” goals so they have to do educational things before they can start the other stuff. I can set a “Bedtime” where the it stays off no matter what until I choose (BEST!) and the settings can change on weekends and weekdays.We are strict one hour a day for screen time and so I can set timers to make sure we stick to that (let’s be honest, I forget all the time and they end up playing longer). Then, I love the Parent Dashboard so I can review exactly what was done during that hour. And that the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet notifies me of every game they download in my email. Most importantly, the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service profiles are set up to filter out anything that isn’t age appropriate. You won’t even see games or videos or options that don’t fit your specifications. I truly don’t even have to worry about what they’re taking in. As a lifelong Apple user, I was shocked to admit I preferred this tablet for my kids. Besides the fact that it is SO much less expensive. But ultimately it is the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited that swayed me. It is SO awesome.
It’s so important to find devices that have these features built right in, instead of something on your router, because as soon as you leave the house and access someone else’s Wifi, you no longer have those protections.
And I am glad we got in the swing of these good habits before school started and all I had to do was alter the time frames and and bedtimes a bit! If you pick one up, let me know how you like it!!
For this month’s Mine + Ours I actually started the book pick for myself two months ago. I didn’t realize then that it would be such an important, timely read for me.
I chose Homegoing based off reviews, and it is SUCH a beautiful book. I hesitate writing too much about it because it feels like it doesn’t belong to me, like I opened someone’s diary. It is so raw and personal. I think it’s a must on Audible because the narrator helps keep you focused on where the story is in time and place with his accents. In short, the story follows a 7 generation lineage from Ghana to America. From the 1790’s to modern day. Seeing the strengths and struggles and how history weaves itself into culture. To see the racial in equality and how pervasive it was in each generation, the effects, the struggle, the triumph. Then now seeing what happened in Charlottesville. I just can’t deal. Enough is enough is enough! I wish every single person had to read this book, I will never claim to understand, but I feel like this book does a dang good job of illuminating each corner of this inequality. But the best part is that it’s not preachy or in your face. Its just beautiful storytelling and you draw your own conclusions. I just won’t stand for this in my lifetime. I think the problems are deep, but not hopeless. I read a quote from a friend that said “Equality feels like oppression to the privileged” and that rang so true to me. Individuals will have to be wiling to sacrifice (pride and entitlement to start) to make things better for the whole.
I wish I had a better grip on race conscious books for kids, I am going to do some research and get some shipped so we can better review them, but there are two posts that have great options here and here if you need ideas!
My oldest Hayes fell hard for Harry Potter this month. We are knee deep in the books and movies and he loves it. As I knew he would because it’s the best! I started reading it when I was 13, somehow my mom heard of it before anyone else I knew and it felt like this special secret for awhile there. I have loved sharing it with him! If you haven’t gotten those on Audio yet, it will make your next road trip fly by. It’s not original or an exciting rec but that is what we’re doing day and in day out, so gotta mention it!
But, the focus of the OURS section today is on Raleigh – my 14 month old. He LOVES reading books and wants to touch each page, he lights up when he gets his hands on an interactive book. Here are our favorites for his age:
When I think about having my first baby nearly eight years ago I look back at that girl so fondly. She was so uncontrollably excited to be a mom. I had graduated college only a few months before my due date and decided to quit my job about a month before my son came. I had been running at a break-neck pace most of my 4 year marriage. Full-time student, employed full-time and also working on side part-time projects and a business I had started. It all came to a halt a few weeks before I delivered and for the first time ever I could just sit around. No homework to be done, no deadlines at work, my entrepreneurial endeavors weren’t pressing. I didn’t know what to do with myself! And then he was born. Who knew the process of feeding and keeping a baby clean could take so many hours!?
The advice came rolling in “Sleep when he sleeps” (YES, DO THAT!) “Enjoy every second” (Pretty sure that’s not possible but I guess with the right outlook, sure!) SO much of the advice contradicted other advice and it is so easy to become overwhelmed and ashamed that you can’t be the right mom for your baby.
That is where we are wrong, ladies. No one is a more perfect fit for your baby than you. They’re the only ones who have heard your heartbeat from the inside, you know your intention and your desire to do things right by them. The best part is they will love you no matter what. That unconditional love that can only come by being a parent is the most healing, encouraging, motivating thing in the world.
Getting advice bombs dropped on you? Just smile and nod. Take in what feels right to you and let the rest roll off your back. Nothing can compare to your intuition, to your gut, it has proven itself to me in my parenting thousands of times. The best advice I ever got was to trust myself and that has made all the difference.
Now for the fun part, THE STUFF! It is so fun to prepare a space for your baby. While there are loads of products you and your baby probably won’t need, here is what I swear by!
You’ll find with a newborn there is asleep and then there is eating, and then there is sleeping again. So here’s what I think are musts for those two important times of day. 😉
Wal-Mart has such a great collection of Babyletto which has such great modern pieces and accessories. You can’t go wrong with this Crib and Bedding Set. It’s such a good deal, too! Black and White a great a neutral starting point, add pops of color with the decor and other accessories and you can use it for either gender and for multiple siblings to come! Pro tip: You’re gonna want a second and third back up crib sheet. These are my favorites: HERE and HERE.
I don’t like things to be too matchy-matchy, so I veer away from buying sets and try to collect pieces that all go together! This shelving and changing pad combo is so minimal and airy and goes great with this crib which is so on trend with the light wood details!
Perhaps the place you will spend the most time in in the whole house is your nursery glider. Make sure it’s comfortable! I love a swivel glider and have this one in my nursery. I still rock my one year old to bed each night so it gets A LOT of use! I wish I knew to skip the ottoman, I found it was always in the way especially at night when you’re stumbling around.
Whatever decor you decide on make black out curtains a priority. Studies have shown that sleeping in total darkness or, at the very least, dimness allows for a deeper sleep. All three of my boys are stellar sleepers and I attribute this partially to a dark room with a fan to block sound. But what I wish I knew with this is that whatever environment you create for them at home you’re going to need to recreate when traveling. So yep that means we carry a fan everywhere!
As your baby gets older you’ll notice they get very handsy, wanting to grab at everything and it gets especially trying while you’re chasing their diaper or getting them dressed. Lay your baby on something soft and tactile and you might get a few wiggle free moments. Love this small area rug for just that!
My babies live in sleeping gowns in those early months. So many diaper changes you gotta keep it easy as possible. Then since you’re not giving them a blanket in bed until a year old, sleep sacks are an excellent way to keep them warm and cozy! I wouldn’t bother with too many outfits those first few months, I always just want them to be comfortable, so I say keep them in PJs as long as you can get away with it!
For me, helping my babies find good sleeping habits from the start included a good nighttime routine. Something we did every night to help calm and settle them. Usually a bath, lotion and massage, lullabies. With those calming scents and sounds they seemed to fight me less! Since half my kids have had sensitive skin issues I just start out with all-natural products like California Baby. This makes a great shower gift, too! Also Butt Paste is my go to for rashes, stock up!
I am always surprised at how early my babies are ready for a little bit of stimulation. Having ways to soothe and also engage them are equally important and something I wish I knew! This rattle is a great starter! Shiny, bright, different textures and easy to grip!
I know this is an investment and it is really the only one I make for this stage. If you’re planning on having multiple kids it will easily last you and after trying other brands I won’t go back. I swear by the Uppa Vista System and wish I would’ve treated myself to the bassinet attachment for all three kids instead of just my last! So much of my mental health after having a baby is getting out of my cave. Whether it’s for a walk or a solo trip to the store for more diapers. The bassinet attachment makes it so easy to be outside, they’re so comfortable and it is everything to me as a new mom! My favorite way to carry baby outside of the bassinet is a soft baby wrap! If your baby is fussy and doesn’t like to be put down, this will save you. If you have other children, this goes from a nice thing to have to an absolute must. Once they outgrow their infant seat get a convertible car seat! I love this one.
Okay mamas and papas to be, I hope this helps! You truly have got this, and I am here and all ears with any questions you’ve got!
Today’s post makes me so excited, if you’ve read Small Fry for awhile you know I get this way when I spot innovative new products and today is for sure one of those days! Say hi to Spun Sheets!Bed Sheets are one of those inventions that has hardly been perfected over the last 100 years. Sure the fibers have gotten softer, but the functionality has largely stayed the same. Then London and Chloe came along.There are so many improvements the Spun team has made on making your bed it makes my heart sing. And also question why no one had thought of it sooner. Ready to see them all?
And of course I had to try it out before I shared with you guys and it is really as good as they say. Check it out! First off for you packaging buffs — so cute right?My first favorite feature is the grippy, extra strength elastic fitted sheet. It DOES NOT budge. Nothing is worse than having the fitted sheet pop up on you at night.Next for the top sheet! Historically I don’t even bother because they drive me crazy, they usually get ripped off and end up in a pile at the bottom of the bed. So their promises of a better way was a tall order for me.
Here is the top sheet, right now its just settled on, not “made” just yet. It fits right over your mattress and then…You just slide your hand over that flap and tuck it in. It looks so good with hardly any effort. You can leave the side flap untucked or tuck it in like this. It comes easily so you aren’t trapped in your sheet by any means. And a few more pics of the babe for ya: Raleigh sits with me while I get ready and I think he’s noticing more than I realized:Also an update for you following along on the Intellibed journey. I still love it and my lower back pain is basically non-existent. I can tell the bed is “broken in” now and there is slightly more give then at the beginning but I prefer it this way, its comfier to me! That SMALLFRY10 code is still live for a few more months so don’t forget about that as you plan out your holiday shopping. It’s an investment for sure, but that 30 year guarantee is unmatched and if you never have to buy another mattress again the cost is totally worth it to me.