How to Manage Your Team in a Snap

I have made it a point never to say the words, “I can’t wait until…” when it comes to my son because I know that time will pass quicker than I would like and all too soon these will be the days I will long for. With that being said, I am really looking forward (because I can wait) to the day my son starts playing sports. I can already picture him in his little soccer uniform, running in the wrong direction. It’s going to be adorable. Trust me.

Team sports were a highlight of my childhood. I guess that’s why I look forward to having my son in them. Also, I know that being a part of a team teaches kids valuable life lessons and skills.

As wonderful as playing sports can be, though, it also can be quite a bit of work for everyone involved – the child, parents, coaches. There’s a lot of coordination. Thankfully, technology can really help with this. If you have the right tools! (How did my parents keep everything straight without cell phones and Facebook?)

How to Manage Your Team in a Snap! Are you a parent of kids in sports A coach Click here to check out this app and website that will help you manage your team in a snap! Team Snap.

(This post has been sponsored by TeamSnap. However, all opinions and views are my own. Please read my disclosure for more details.) 

I was recently introduced to TeamSnap, a website and app (available on iOS and Android) designed to help coordinate all the details involved with managing sports teams. Though, we’re not quite there yet I played around a bit with it (I may or may not have made my own team) and I really love it! In fact, I wish I had something like this when I was a children’s pastor and had to coordinate various groups and events. I could have just as easily used this to coordinate practices for our musicals and even to handle communication with parents for camps.

How it works 

Basically, someone creates the team (i.e. manager, coach, team parent, etc.) and adds members to the roster. When a member is added, he or she will receive an email invite to join TeamSnap. Upon accepting the invitation, that person can then set up an account. Parents, grandparents or guardians can sign up as “non-members”. They can also add additional contacts for the family. All of the contacts will receive updates and alerts. This really helps when you have multiple family members chauffeuring your little athlete around. As a coach or manager, you can easily communicate with the entire team all the important details from practice schedules to fees to who’s bringing snack! 

 

Features 

There are a lot of great features to help the coach (and parents) stay informed.

  • Roster – See the names and contact information of the people on your team.
  • Schedule – View the schedule for games and events, including directions.
  • Availability – You can indicate which games and events you will attend.
  • Tracking – Keep track of required tasks and items.
  • Payments – You can see what teem fees are due, as well as who hasn’t paid yet.
  • Statistics – View both individual and team statistics.
  • Refreshments – Sign up to bring refreshments and see who is scheduled.
  • Media – You can post photos, videos and other files for the team.
  • Messages – Send e-mails, post or text all or part of the team.

 

Team Snap - Schedule your sports team in a snap. Click to find out more!

Try it for yourself! 

As you can see, you can manage everything on TeamSnap and it’s really easy. And if you know me, you know that I love easy. I highly recommend that you try out TeamSnap. And thanks to TeamSnap, you can try it for four months for FREE. This is a $72 value. NO credit card required. 

What are you waiting for? Get signed up today! 

How do you think TeamSnap can help you? 

3 Easy Keepsake Ideas for Busy Mamas

Years ago, I got really into scrap booking. I loved it. I bought the whole Creative Memories Kit (being a student at the time, that was a major purchase). There was only one problem. I didn’t have much to scrapbook. I was still a little too young (and broke) to have a very exciting life and, as a ministry student, I didn’t have the traditional college experience.

But, still, I tried. I have a lovely scrapbook with the brand new car I got at 21, New Year’s 2002 when my friends and I stayed at a nice hotel (and then stayed in our room all night because we were afraid of all the drunk people), a road trip to Disneyland, and my friends and I posing with the books we bought at Barnes & Noble (I told you).

I finally gave up on documenting my life and I ended up making a scrapbook as a Christmas present for my mom. My friend and I would meet with some of the moms from church and scrapbook with them. I would frequently comment that I wished I had something to put in my book and they frequently assured me that when I did, I wouldn’t have the time and would fall very behind.

Boy were they right!

When I have a few spare minutes, I almost always choose a shower.

Still, documenting my son’s life is important to me. I want him to be able to look at pictures of himself and read about the things he was doing and saying. I’ve found 3 easy keepsakes to help with this!

3 Easy Keepsake Ideas for Busy Mamas - Click to see these easy ways to document your baby or child's life!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information.)

Words to Remember Book 

I received this book as a gift from a friend at Christmas time and I totally love it! It’s just a journal to remember the things your child has said. I’ve only written in it less than a handful of times and that’s really what I love about it. When I do write in it, I just jot down the new words my son is saying and date it. It only takes a few minutes and I don’t feel like a bad mother for not keeping a daily journal of my son’s life!

Old School Photo Album 

When I was pregnant I decided that instead of a Baby’s First Year book I would just buy a simple photo album, print pictures from Wal-Mart and put them in. (OK, fine, I actually have two books because I filled up one book with the first 6 months!) This is such an easy option for documenting the first year (or any year, really). Of course, it still requires a little work.

My Social Book 

If writing and printing pictures still sounds like a little too much then My Social Book is perfect for you! My Social Book takes pictures, status updates, etc. from your Facebook timeline (or Instagram feed) and puts them into a book. It looks like your timeline… in a book. It’s really cool! I had one made from the time I announced my pregnancy publicly (at 28 weeks. Yes, I said 28 weeks.) up until my son’s first birthday. I could not be happier with the outcome of the book. As you can see from the unboxing video. I will definitely be making more of these books.

Use this link for 25% off at My Social Book. 

Do you have any easy keepsake ideas?

7 Ways to be Kind of Crunchy

If you’re a mom, chances are you’ve heard of “crunchy moms”. You know… the ones that don’t vaccinate or wear deodorant. They clean with vinegar, they’re obsessed with essential oils, only shop at farmers markets, cloth diaper, wear their babies and breastfeed toddlers. Oh my!

Of course, not all crunchy moms do all of those things – the scale of “crunchiness” definitely varies – and while I’m not really into labels, I do think there is something to said about being even just a little crunchy.  According to crunchymoms.com “crunchy” means being “environmentally, health and socially conscious”. There are a variety of ways that we can do this. And, honestly, I think we can all stand to be a little crunchier.

Why wouldn’t we want to be conscious of these things? 

Though I have been called a hippie and the other day my mom told my brother that I don’t use soap (not true by the way!), I wouldn’t consider myself super crunchy. I have just found little ways to be a little more environmentally, health and socially conscious.

7-ways-to-be-kind-of-crunchy

Buy natural products as much as possible. 

Natural products really aren’t that hard to come by anymore and they are better for both your health and the environment. Consider switching out things like your detergent, dish soap and cleaning products with a natural brand. Some of my favorites are 7th Generation, Honest Company, BabyGanics and Dapple. Yes, natural brands can be expensive, this is why I like to have a few favorite brands that I can switch between based on sales!

Make your own products as much as possible. 

This kind of stems from the “but it’s so expensive excuse”. Making your own products can save you a significant amount of money. Like I said earlier, my mom told my brother that I don’t use soap. He was disgusted and I got a good laugh but it’s actually not true. I made Baby Wash when I was pregnant and started using it on myself because I wanted to eliminate soaps with fragrance. I’ve been using the wash ever since and when my son came along, I started using it on him. This has saved me a huge amount of money. To date, I have spent less than $33 on body/baby wash since March 2015.   (You can get the recipe here.) I also made diaper cream for my son when I was pregnant, for less than $5 and we haven’t even used half of it yet. (Get the diaper cream recipe here.)

Use reusable bags. 

So simple yet so many of us just don’t do it. Leave several in your car. Something else I often do is use my reusable bag as a “purse”. I just throw in my wallet and a couple of diapers/wipes.

Find little ways to conserve water and electricity. 

I have often joked that my lack of daily showering isn’t because I’m a tired mom but because I am doing my part to end the drought in California! All joking aside, cutting back on showers whether by shortening your shower by a few minutes or taking one less shower a week all together is certainly not a bad idea. Did you know the average American shower uses 17.2 gallons of water? Check out this article for more ideas on how to conserve water in your shower time.

Also, an easy way to save electricity is by unplugging unused appliances. Not only will this conserve energy but it can save you money, too!

Always have vinegar and coconut oil on hand. Always. 

I never cease to be amazed by how much you can do with vinegar and coconut oil. I use vinegar in the wash, to wipe down counters, unclog drains (just add baking powder)… and I keep seeing more uses for it! And coconut oil? I’m pretty sure you can use coconut oil for anything. I currently use it as face wash but if that’s just too crunchy for you, it’s also a great eye makeup remover! There really are a ton of home remedies you can do with these items. 

Invest in essential oils. 

I’ve used some essential oils here and there but I recently received a DoTerra starter kit with Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint from a distributor I met on Instagram (her name is Rachel and she’s AWESOME. You should check out her feed! Also, though I received these products for free, all opinions are my own). It’s only been a couple of weeks since I received the oils and I have already used them for all kinds of things. The package arrived right as I was leaving for a camping trip and when I came back, I brought allergies back with me. I used a combo of the three oils to relieve them and they really worked! I also had a horrible headache the first night we came back, so I rubbed some Peppermint on my temples and within an hour the headache was completely gone. Then I caught some kind of stomach bug. (I know… so many issues!)  I used  Peppermint, lemon and coconut oil (always on hand, right?) and rubbed it on my stomach. It took a couple of times but the bug was gone within hours. My mom had the same thing and it held on for a couple of days. I totally give the oils credit for my bug being gone so fast!

There are so many uses for oils from cleaning to medicinal.

Drive Less. 

When I lived on Oahu in Hawaii, I did not have a car. That was not initially the plan but I quickly realized that I didn’t really need one and I actually liked not driving – no car insurance, or repairs or gas  meant more money in my pocket! Plus, I felt like one less car on that tiny rock was definitely a good thing. Oh and I felt so much healthier (and less stressed!) because of all the walking I did!

I realize there are places that being without a car would be difficult but there are definitely still ways to cut back on driving (unless you are in a really rural area). Now, I  do have a car but since there is a store within walking distance rather than jump in the car I will walk (except when it’s 100 degrees out!).

These are just a few of the things I have found that help me be a little crunchy. What crunchy habits do you have?

Sippy Strap Review & Giveaway

I looked forward to the time when my son would start using a sippy cup. I don’t know why but I just think it’s adorable to see this little person drinking from a “cup”. But do you know what’s not adorable? The tiny person throwing the cup. Over and over. And over. At first, I didn’t mind too much because I had read that it’s all a part of development. So, I would just respond with something like “Wow. That’s a loud noise.” Or “Uh oh. Where did the cup go?” But after a million and one times, it got old. Plus, I think we are far beyond the “its good for his development” stage. Now, he just thinks it’s funny. And me? Not so much. Needless to say, when I received a message from Hny Baby asking if I’d like to review one of their products I was ecstatic to see one of those products was a Sippy Strap.

Yes, please! 

(I received the Sippy Strap in exchange for an honest review. However, all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links. Please see my ddisclosure for more information.) 

sippy

I was very pleased with how quickly my package arrived and also with the adorable packaging. But, of course, what I really wanted to know was if it worked. More specifically, if it really would work on our high chair and sippy cups. (Am I the only one that’s been disappointed by one size fits all claims that were more like one size fits some?)

We’ve been using our Sippy Strap for over a week now and I am really happy with it!

Sippy Strap Review - Diary of a New Mommy

It’s cute and, more importantly, it works. I have tried it out on multiple sippy cups of varying sizes and the strap is easily adjustable to fit all of them. It’s also the perfect length, as it’s long enough for my son to take a sip but not so long that it hits the ground.

Sippy Strap Review & Givewaway - Diary of a New Mommy

Hny Baby Sippy Strap Review - Diary of a New Mommy

I think my favorite part about the Sippy Strap is that it also works on strollers and car seats! We have the Summer Infant Go Lite stroller and the bars are extremely thin, so I wondered if the strap would adjust small enough. It did!

Sippy Strap Review. Baby Product Review. Toddler Product Review. Favorite Baby Products. Favorite Toddler Products. Sippy Cup.

Check out Hny Baby to get your own Sippy Strap (they also have some other great products, like super cute Bandana Bibs). Also, Hny Baby is giving away two Sippy Straps to one lucky reader! You can enter below. Contest closes on Sunday, July 17 at midnight (PST).

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Pool Time: What’s in Our Bag?

Summer is in full swing and, let me tell you, it gets pretty hot here where we live in Northern California. Which means… a whole lot of pool time for us! Unfortunately, we don’t have a pool in our yard (unless you count our two kiddie pools) but our Homeowners Association has a really nice pool just down the street with a nice view of the lake. My little man loves the water and he loves watching the other kids. So, I try to make it a point to get down there at least once a week.

So, what’s in our bag? I’m glad you asked…

Pool Time: What's in Our Bag?

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.)

Mama Bear’s Organic Sunscreen – This is a brand new product in our bag. We’ve been using BabyGanics. For the most part, all of our non-homemade hygiene products are BabyGanics. It’s the most cost-effective natural brand I’ve found. However, though I thought the sunscreen was fine, I wanted to try something else. I felt like the BabyGanics was a little hard to rub in and a bit heavier than I would like. I had heard really good things about the sunscreen from The Crunchy Mama Bear. When I sent a message to the owner, Rebecca, inquiring about pick up since it’s a local company she delivered a bag of goodies (did I say for free?!?!) to my house in less than an hour! Oh, yeah,  is where I say… though, I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review all opinions are my own. Back to the sunscreen, we have now used it a few times and I really like it! It’s not white and it’s not heavy. I was a little concerned that it would feel oily but this is not the case at all. It has a nice solid consistency and it goes on smoothly.  It’s pretty easy to rub in and, more importantly, my son doesn’t look gray in his pictures! It does have a scent to it but I think it smells good. It definitely doesn’t have that sunscreen smell. Also, it comes in a round container rather than a tube. I love this packaging wise, however, I do feel like I have to be extra careful about washing my hands before I scoop. I would like to get a little spatula but, for now, I’ve been using the lid to scoop. Then I wipe it clean after.Pool Time: What's in Our Bag? Mama Bear's Sunscreen. The Crunchy Mama Bear. Natural Sunscreen.

Sippy Cup & Water Bottle – I always make sure to bring a sippy cup (we’re still having issues finding the perfect one, so if you have a suggestion, please let me know!) with water for my little guy and a water bottle for myself. Because hydration is important!

Snack Cup – I will usually make sure to have a snack prior to going to the pool but you never can be too safe so I make sure to grab my son’s Munchkin Snack Catcher which usually either has Annie’s Bunnies or Organics Happy Baby Superfood Puffs.

What's in Our Pool Bag. Munchkin Snack Catcher.

Coach Wristlet – Even though we walk to the pool, I keep my wallet with me in case we want to buy something and, also, I attach my keys to it so I don’t misplace them. I absolutely love this wristlet wallet. I consider it one of my best purchases.

What's in Our Pool Bag. Coach Signature Black Wristlet Wallet

Towels – I would like to say “duh” here but first, of all that’s so 90’s and second of all, I’ve forgotten them. More than once. But when I’m not absent minded, I grab one for me and one for my son.

Swim Diaper & Wipes – I always toss in an extra swim diaper. We have both Pampers and Huggies. I prefer the Huggies because I don’t feel like it has a scent like Pampers and, also, they currently have Dory on them (duh). Also, I make sure to have enough 7th Generation Wipes in my Uber Mom Whale Wipe Box.

What's in Our Pool Bag. Huggies Litle Swimmers. Finding Dory. Toddler. Swim Diaper.

What's in Our Pool Bag. Seventh Generation Wipes. Toddler. Swim Diapers.

What's in Our Pool Bag. Uber Mom Wipe Holder. Swim. Summer. Toddler. Baby.

 

Hat & Sunglasses – Hat for him. Sunglasses for me. Not that he will keep the hat on but, still, I try.

Swimways Float – Last but certainly not least, I pack our Swimways Baby Spring Float (ours is a different style than this link.) My son loves this float! It comes with a canopy (which he doesn’t love so much for some strange reason) and toys. It also comes with a handy bag to carry it in. So, when you’re done you can just deflate it, fold it, and put it in the bag.

Pool Time: What's in Our Bag. Swimways Pool Float. Toddler Swim Activity.
As you can see, little man loves his Swimways pool float. Also, you can see that he refuses to wear the hat and have the canopy up!

I like to keep it simple. What’s in your pool bag?

This post is part of the July Blog Hop with some awesome mamas from my Mom Blog Tribe on Facebook. Check out their post titles below and feel free to “hop” around! Also, if you’re a mom blogger, you are invited to join our hop next month. Just join the tribe and watch for details!

Diaper Bag Contents: Differences Between Infant and Toddler Needs // Fab Working Mom Life

Diaper Bag Contents of a New Mom // Mothersrule

Mama’s Beach Bag // My Mama Project

What’s in My Bag? The Kids’ Day Pack // Mama’s Sweet Home Team

What’s in My Bag: A First Time Mom’s Weekend Bag // So(lace) in a Small Town

What’s in the Bag? Southbank Sunday // Amazing Beautiful Individual

What’s in Your Diaper Bag? // Sophia Says Hello

What’s in Your Bag? – Packing for a Road Trip with Toddlers // The Crafty Christian

 

7 First Birthday Gift Ideas

My son recently celebrated his first birthday. (Make sure you read all about his UNO party.) I had considered providing people with some gift suggestions in the invite but, ultimately, decided against it. For not providing any suggestions, except to one person that asked, I was really impressed with how well everyone did picking gifts. There was a perfect mix of necessities and fun stuff!

First Birthday Gift Ideas. One Year Old Toys. Gifts for a One Year Old. First Birthday.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.)

If you are looking for some gift ideas for a one year old, here are a few that we received and loved… well, really we love them all but I’m not going to bore you with our whole list. I’ll just give you a few highlights.

7 First Birthday Gift Ideas: 

Vtech Fly and Learn Airplane – So, I have two or three brands for toys that I am in love with. Vtech is one of them. I was very happy that my son received this airplane for a couple of reasons, one being that it’s not a large toy. We are quickly running out of space for all his… stuff. This is a great toy that he really enjoys playing with and it’s fairly small.

Vtech Fly and Learn Airplane. Toys for One Year Old. First Birthday Gift Ideas.

Fisher Price See N’ Say The Farmer Says – In the vein of compact toys, this See N’ Say toy is the perfect size… not big! I also like that it has some animals that we don’t cover when we sing Old MacDonald (like a mouse or a goose!).

Fisher Price See N' Say Farmer. Toys for One Year Old. First Birthday Gift.

 

Little Tikes Gas N’ Go Mower – My son is obsessed with lawn mowers, so it’s no wonder that this was a big hit with him. I like this mower over others that I’ve seen because it looks most like an actual lawn mower. Technically, the age on this is 18 months but he still enjoys it. The only thing is I have to help him stand because it is not intended to be a push mower and is a little light. But he is able to walk around (not quite walking yet on his own) with it without my help. He loves pulling the string and hearing the motor. It also comes with a gas can and little balls make a popping sound when you push it. It’s a great toy!

Little Tikes Gas N' Go Mower. Birthday Gifts for One Year Old. First Birthday Toys.

Gazillion Bubble Hurricane Machine – This was actually my gift to my son, I bought it with the intention of using it at his birthday party. I gave it to him on his actual birthday, a few days earlier. I have to say, even after reading the reviews, I was not prepared for how amazing this machine is. Seriously. Ah-mazing. There’s literally a gazillion bubbles.  I recommend getting the 2 Liters Gazillion Bubble Solution, as well. The solution that comes with it will go pretty fast.

Gazillion Bubbles Hurricane Machine. One Year Old Birthday GIfts. Toys for Toddlers. Gift Idea for First Birthday.

Books – I’ve shared before that my son is crazy about his Illustrated Bible for Little Ones but I have to keep a close watch on him because it’s not a board book (and he likes to eat paper). So, I was really happy that he received My Big Handy Bible, which is a board book. It even has a little handle, which is… you guessed it… handy! He also got Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You, which is a really sweet book. I think that books in general are great gift ideas for children of any age.

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You Book. Gift for Toddlers. First Birthday Gift. Books for Babies. Books for Kids.

Season Pass to a Local Amusement Park – My sister got my son a season pass to the little (I do mean little) local amusement park. It has a few rides, a splash pad, playgrounds…  a perfect outing for little ones! I thought this was a very clever and useful gift. Though there may not be a park like this in your area, there may be something else like a zoo, children’s museum, etc.

Gift Cards & Money – We got two gift cards and even some cash (notice how I switched from “my son” to “we”?). Each of the givers of these gifts gave explanations or apologies for their gifts but there is no explanation or apology needed.  Gift cards and cash are always appreciated! Don’t feel bad if that’s all you have time to get or if you just can’t think of something else to give. Any mama would be grateful.

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What’s your favorite gift for a one year old?

How to Get Better Sleep

 

My mom and I were recently having a conversation about how I really don’t know anything about what I was like as a baby. Except that I was a good sleeper. My mom looked at me and said in a very matter-of-fact way, “You were a really good sleeper.”

I’ve always loved to sleep.

I had a friend who used to say he wished he didn’t need sleep because it was a waste of time. Thanks but no thanks. I need my sleep! Few things make me quite as happy a lying my head on my pillow at night. (sigh)

 

How to Get Better Sleep

 

Unfortunately, I just don’t sleep like I used to anymore.

Let me rephrase that, I don’t sleep as much as I used to. I’m still a pretty good sleeper, though. When I sleep, I sleep. It’s probably a good thing my son and I co-sleep, otherwise, he would probably be left to cry for quite awhile before I would hear him.

Although, I don’t have issues with sleeping once I am sleeping, I do have issues with not going to sleep early enough or taking awhile to unwind when I attempt to go to sleep earlier.

 

Maybe life would be easier if we didn’t need sleep but we do. It’s a crucial part of our health and well-being. And I know I’m not the only that struggles with getting some zzzzzz’s. This is why I am really excited to introduce you to, Casper, a start-up company that is involved in helping to create the perfect night’s sleep with innovative resources and products like their latex foam mattresses.

 

Casper sent me their exclusive better night sleep cards so that I could share one or a few with you. (I’m going to share them all… shhhh.) Also, though I have received these cards to review and share with you, all views and opinions are my own and I have not received compensation.

So, I have to admit, I didn’t really know what to expect when I heard I would be sent some “cards”. Were they going to hypnotize me? I had no idea!

Each card simply has a sleep problem with some advice on how to combat said problem. They’re pretty simple but they have great advice. I have actually struggled with most of these at one time or another,  except maybe Sunday night insomnia (I never even would have thought of that one!). Oh, and noise. I can sleep through anything. Right now, “busy mind” is probably my issue. I feel like when my little one goes down to sleep, the race is on to get stuff done. I’m going to try this advice and get into a pre-bedtime routine. Or maybe I’ll start with getting a bedtime!

I hope you find these cards helpful, as I have.

What’s your sleep problem?

 

Anxiety. Sleep Problems. How to Get Better Sleep.

Busy Mind. Sleep Problems. How to Get Better Sleep.

Discomfort. Sleep Problems. How to Get Better Sleep.

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