I borrowed the baby swing from Graco from a friend when my third baby was about 1.5 months old and I do wish I would have gotten a baby swing for his older siblings. The question of whether a baby swing helps to soothe a baby has a definite answer, yes it helps! I am not going to say that my baby sits content in this swing day around because he doesn’t, but it gives me time enough to do dishes, brush other kids’ teeth, pack a laundry and write an article, and that is a huge help.

Now, let’s look at the actual baby swing to review its pros and cons…

Putting it together

The Graco baby swing comes in 3 different parts that are easy to assemble. You don’t need a manual for this because the parts show you where they should go and how. This is a plus both for the actual process of assembly and for moving the swing around. Remember, I borrowed mine and we managed to pack it into a small car without any problems.
The swing is powered by 3 size D E95 batteries (the big ones) and it can be used for weeks without needing new ones (of course depending on how much you use the swing) The batteries are also easy to insert and you don’t need a screwdriver for this. A kitchen knife will pop the lid open but siblings won’t be able to do this, perfect!

Putting the baby in the swing

The swing has belts but I never figured how to get the upper part to fit over my baby, the lower belt is enough to keep him in so this doesn’t bother me. There is also a tray, with 2 toys, and this tray folds over the baby. I am not completely satisfied with the tray function because it can easily snap over the hands and fingers of the baby if you are not careful when putting it in place. You must raise the baby’s arms when sliding the tray in place.

Effects and music

The baby swing from Graco comes with a few classical tunes that can be played while swinging the baby. These are pleasant and I find that the rest of the family enjoys hearing them. You can also play white noise like birds chirping but I personally find these sounds annoying so I don’t use them. There is also vibration in the chair but I don’t use this either as it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to the baby.



Speed

The speed can be adjusted in 6 steps. I find that level 1 and 2 are fast enough and levels 4-6 makes my head spin. Since my baby is starting to be too heavy for the swing (to 9 kg) I find that I often have to give the swing a push to make it run smooth. This could also be due to need of new batteries and it is not something that bothers me. You can swing manually if you want to.

Cleanliness

To clean the swing you can take the fabrics off the chair and run them in the laundry machine. The materials are easy to keep clean and the rest of the swing is made of plastic parts that are easy to wipe off. The only detail that could be tricky to clean is the belt but the one in my swing is in perfect condition, this most likely because you don’t really feed a baby this age in the swing so it stays clean. Just make sure to instruct older siblings not to play with food, colors or other staining materials around the swing.

Summary

This Graco baby swing review will simply have to give the swing thumbs up. It is a big help and even if you will only use it for a few months it can do a lot to keep you sane and happy during a period when things can be very hectic. I would say borrow one if you can and buy one when you know that you will hopefully use it more than once.

Since the swing stays in such nice condition it should be perfectly fine to buy one that has been used without much difference from a new one.
I will put this post under gift for Mom because this is a great gift for a new Mom since it can really help out during the day and night!

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Planning a vacation with young children calls upon all your resources as a mom to make sure it will be enjoyable for the younger generation and the grown-ups alike. Your choice of destination is important. A short flight of less than 3 hours from the New York area, Orlando, Florida is one of the most child friendly vacation spots in the US. It tends to be sunny, and is much warmer than the American Northeast. Most tourist attractions, dining facilities and accommodation are geared toward the comfort of vacationing families. When you plan a visit to Florida, picking the right hotel in Orlando, your home away from home, is essential.

A peaceful night’s sleep

At its most basic, a hotel should provide a place for a peaceful night’s sleep, and that is what you will be looking for in your Orlando accommodation. When staying with young children, your needs will most likely be different from those of a single traveler. Probably you will not be interested in close proximity to the night club or the casino, but rather in the quietest location possible. You will need a room with space enough to fit in a crib or two. Safety rails for the children’s beds are an added convenience. You should ask about these requirements before making a reservation.

A good start to the day

Another essential with young children is giving them healthy food that they will enjoy, shortly after they begin to feel hunger. A hungry child is not going to have a good time, no matter how luxurious the accommodation or how entertaining the attraction. Look for an Orlando hotel that provides for the needs of young families by furnishing refrigerators and kettles or other food warming facilities. A child friendly in-hotel coffee shop that opens early in the morning is also very handy, if your youngsters are past the stage of bottles and baby food from jars. Once breakfast is taken care of, a hotel concierge who can help in booking tickets to sites you wish to visit will make your life easier. Even more important, if you do not have a car, is frequent shuttle service between the hotel and the major tourist attractions.

Finding a hotel

So how do you find a hotel that has these conveniences? The Internet is a busy mother’s friend. Look for accommodation near the sights you’d like to see and read reviews by other parents of young children who have stayed in the hotels to see what they recommend. Make sure that their priorities were similar to yours. When you find a hotel that looks promising, don’t be shy to email them and ask whether they can accommodate your requests. Arranging everything in advance for the comfort of your children is a great way to help make your vacation a wonderful family experience.

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There are plenty of kosher restaurants in Northern Israel but not everyone is a gem to return to. If you are in the area between Nahariya and Safed you should type Shomra into your GPS or just look out for this yeshuv as you make your way to find something kosher to eat in the region. In Shomrah you will find Sahara, a restaurant with traditional Moroccan food, the Jewish way. This is a restaurant with the best possible kashrut and a menu to match. People who are staying in nearby zimmers can order their food but a visit is recommended.

Food for Everyone

Moroccan food can be very spicy bit don’t be afraid. At Sahara you can tell them that you want your food less spicy and they will hold back on the hot stuff. This is one of the best features of this kosher restaurant in Northern Israel, because you get the feeling that they treat every guest individually, and not that they just hand out whatever is brewing in the pot for the day. Kids will most likely enjoy the tasty potato chips and different meat dishes. Try the fish, it works well for all ages and it also fits the unique style of potato chips that are being served.

Great for kids!

Before the main course is served, you get a whole bunch of sallads to snack on. Together with fresh pita you have to be careful not to fill up on the sallads as the main courses deserve great appetite.

The Atmosphere

You can sit out on the porch or choose the air conditioned indoors, both are very pleasant. On the spacious porch you will still enjoy the background music while you get some of that fascinating view of the North. There are plenty of dogs and cats moving around below on the grass which makes it extra interesting for little kids to sit here and watch the show as it unfolds on the grass below the porch. The feeling that you have in this restaurant is that it is clean and very welcoming. People come to sit for a drink just to enjoy the unique atmosphere.

The Service

It is interesting to see how a restaurant in the sleepy North of Israel can offer faster service than a restaurant in Jerusalem. You get what you order fast and that’s why Sahara in Shomran in a great choice for families with little kids who don’t have the patience to sit and wait for the food to be ready.

So to sum up things, if you are in the North of Israel and you are looking for kosher lemehadrin, Sahara is a great choice. This is simply one of the best restaurants in the North of Israel and you will not regret driving 15-30 minutes to get here. In fact, you will most likely return, because there are a whole bunch of mouthwatering dishes to try out!

For more information you can visit Sahara’s Facebook page by clicking here

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A birthday party for a toddler can really be quite easy to arrange. You just need a few different activities and food that works well for toddlers and you are set. Also, don’t forget that these types of parties demand a gift for the toddler and his friends. All kids love to walk home from a party with a gift bag so this one will become one of your main points when planning the fest. Here are some tips for how to make a birthday party for toddlers and unforgettable one!

Food

The first thing to think about is the food. Let the kids eat once they arrive. You can either arrange a snack table at their own height or actually have them sit around a bigger table. Having big bowls of chips, cookies, and other sweets is smart. Give them little cups and help them serve themselves in these. For drinks it is enough to have some soft drinks. Some toddler will drink freely from a regular cup but others still like the sippy cup so make sure to have a few of those for your guests! You can also make a birthday cake with a nice decoration but don’t expect toddlers to pay too much attention to this.

Story or Song

After the food you can let the kids play a bit with the gifts for your child. Make sure to have space on a floor and put out the cars, dolls and blocks in stations so that they can gather around their favorites. When the toddlers have played freely a bit you can gather them for a short story or song. If you know how to play the guitar this is a great idea. Little kids love to sit in a ring and hear song and story with an instrument. Make sure that the story and song are age appropriate. You can check what they sing in their playschool and copy this for recognition.

Cool Activity

If you want to make more activities for the kids without having to engage too much yourself you can advance the theme of play stations in your house or yard. A hot summer day makes it possible to let them play with water with different sorts of water toys. You can also use a plastic pool for kids, year around, and fill it will balls to make them a ball bath.

Gifts for the Toddlers

When the party is coming to an end, time has come to bring out the toddler party gifts. Make little bags with candy and some small gift. In thrift stores you can find very cheap toys like cars and crayons. These are excellent for the gifts for the kids. It might be wise to hand them the gift as they leave the party since they will enjoy it on the way home or later on which will be appreciated by their parents!

Expertmom loves this birthday cake from Howdini.com:

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Some babies suffer more from teething pains than others and when you see that your child is constantly rubbing at their gums a teether might be helpful. There are many different types of teething tools and when you pick one for your baby you need to keep a few things in mind. Foremost is safety but after this you can enjoy the cool designs available and get something which is both practical and playful.

A Simple Teether

Look, the simplest teether is usually for free and exists in your home already. Kids are good at finding solutions for soothing their itching and sore gums. It might be perfectly sufficient with fingers or the edge of a treasured toy. The thing you need to think about here is that finger sucking could become a habit and it is much easier to remove a teether toy than get rid of such a habit. This works much like a pacifier, and indeed a pacifier can also be a teether.

Pacifier

If you are already using a pacifier you can be lucky enough to go through the teething period without much noise. Many children find the pacifier soothing enough and you don’t realize that they are actually suffering from itchy gums. Put the pacifier in the freezer every now and then to give an extra cooling effect, especially when you do see that it is being used for this purpose.

Cooling Teethers

There are some very simple teethers with fluid inside that can be cooled down to have a better effect on the gums. These are usually available in any pharmacy or grocery store and they are pretty efficient. However, some of these teething tools can start to leak the water if your child is persistent enough and this is a bit scary. They can also be too plain to be of interest to the child but this is a question of personality and taste.

Cool Teethers

The very best teethers are shaped like toys and the child can play and gnaw away to everybody’s satisfaction. In fact, getting a teether toy meant for this purpose is probably the safest solution since the materials and colors used are not harmful for the child to gnaw off. For children that are eating on their toys this is a smart solution and one that doesn’t cost much. Get a popular toy teether and surprise your baby with it. It will become a treasured companion for Mom and baby, also for after the actual teething period.

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It is summer and your kids are home. Camp is over and you have to be Mom, Teacher, Cook, Entertainer and everything else. Now, to get through these last of summer fun you need some good tricks up your sleeves. This will help you put up with the hot and sticky summer days and the nudging for Mom to get things moving. Here are some ideas for what you can do right now with your sweaty and bored brood and their friends.

Stay at Home

If you have AC and you’d rather stay home than face the heat you need to find some activity to entertain the kids with. Start by promising them a good game and a treat if they tidy up their room and the house. This means picking up their toys and putting them in place. You can help them and get some cleaning done at the same time. When the house looks nice again you will have better peace of mind to start some game with the kids.

Possible Games

Board games are great for days around the kitchen table. Place some snacks and cold drinks and sit down together. If you have smaller kids you can set them up in their baby chair or with something that will keep their hands busy like carrot sticks or stickers and paper. Start a good game and get into it. Kids love when Mom is in the game for real. No acts. Beat them and do it with a smile!

Good ideas for board games are Memory, Lotto games, dice games and creative games where you are supposed to guess things and come up with stories. A great idea here would be a game like Rory’s Story Cubes but only if the kids are big enough to make their own stories out of pictures.

Coloring Books

When mixed ages are around the table you can bring out some coloring books. Let some kids color and other place stickers on the pictures. For older kids there are great games with paper and pen. One is very simple. Each person draws one part of a body without seeing what the others are adding. Each one folds the paper to cover the picture he made. In the end you get a very funny figure to laugh at together.

Face the Heat!

You can also head out to the park and let them burn off some steam. Ignore their objections and just go out to see what happens. Even older kids will find something fun by the swings so just get out there and see what you will find. Hopefully there will be other bored and hot Moms in the park to suffer the last days of summer with!

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Every Mom learns a lot by trial and error but there are a few essential things that you can learn by the mistakes of others. If you have the knowledge of these before they happen to you, you can save a lot of money and preserve your sanity. It is really possible to make a long list of the essential things that a Mom must know. These are some of the crucial ones. If you think there should be more, you can add on in the comments!

Here it goes, the 7 essential things that every Mom must know:

1. Your child had a fever 2 days in a row without any signs of recovery. At this point you go straight to the doctor since this could indicate bacteria which in many cases should be treated by antibiotics.

2. Defrosting the Freezer
OK, so Dad can defrost as well as Mom but make sure that he knows that by using a knife or sharp object he can actually punch a hole in the fridge wall and no insurance will cover this. Simply turn off the power and let the ice melt till you can remove it by hand.

3. Raising your voice will not lower theirs!
Don’t scream at screaming kids. It is hard to follow this advice but try it. With time you will see that they take you much more seriously when you speak normal all though they are throwing a tantrum at you. Just wait till they are ready to listen and don’t waste your precious voice on screaming games!

4. Your child will not be in a diaper till 18.
Up with your chin! Your child will get out of the diapers eventually. Read the porry training advice here and keep on trying.

5. Pin worms, lice and their eggs hate water, soap, direct sunlight and all forms of regular cleanliness so this is your best weapon against them.

6. Positive re-enforcement has the same effect on your children as it has on you!

7. Negative re-enforcement has the same effect on your children as it has on you!

These were the 7 essential tips for every Mom. Hope you enjoyed them. Feel free to comment below.

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When you have babies and toddlers in your house you must make sure that it is secure and baby proofed. There is only so much you can do and the most important is that you watch the kids and teach them how to behave in a world which is far from baby proofed. Still, there are some basic things that you should look over in your house and here is a list of things that must be secured for small kids no matter how careful and educational your approach is. Read and check if your house really is baby proofed. If you can cross them all off that is great if something is missing, fix it now!

Small things

You probably don’t buy toys with small parts for your babies but if you have older children in the house this area becomes shady. Lego blocks are great from age 4 and on but younger kids might feel tempted to put them in the mouth! Make sure to have a proper storage for the Lego and teach your older kids to put them back after a game. If they are all over the floor the house is not proofed for babies!

If you have candy holders for small candles you should make sure that they will never reach the hands of your children. Not only are they dangerous if someone put them in the mouth; their sharp ends also become like pieces of glass on the floor if left for the kids to step on.

Fridge Magnets

Not all fridge magnets are secure for children. In many the magnet comes off easily and it is usually small and easy to mistake for a candy. Swallowed magnets present a danger to life! If you are using fridge magnets make sure that they are big and that they are placed high up. Remember that older kids can reach high up and make the magnets available to anyone in the house hold.

Sharp Edges

Sharp edges of furniture are a fact and you can’t place foam on all of your furniture. If there are hours when you know that the kids are playing around your coffee table you can simply place a comforter over it. Coffee tables are dangerous for babies that are just learning to stand up and walk so have them covered with something soft for these occasions.

Strings from Clothing

Strings in pants and clothing can be very dangerous and many times it is better to just remove them before use. If you must use the string to keep the clothing on you should tie it well so that your curious child won’t be able to make it into t new toy.

Kitchen Knives

This is something we all know about and yet little children get to the knives, how is it possible? This is how it happens: You’ve got a lot to do and while you are using a knife you need to run to help a child in the bathroom meanwhile the toddler spots the shiny knife you left on the counter…

To fix this problem you should simply get a magnetic knife rack. This will make your kitchen safer and also make it nicer with all the knives stored properly.

Enjoy your safe house with your happy kids!

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A 3 year old boy is a hand full, but also a lot of fun. Little boys aren’t all that hard to please and if you need a gift for a 3 year old boy you can basically get him anything that rolls, make noise and comes apart. It all really comes down to the type of budget you had in mind but be aware that expensive toys break just as easily as the cheap ones and 3 year old boys LOVE to break things!

Low Budget Gifts

If you need a gift for a 3 year old but you can’t afford the expensive toy stores you should turn to the thrift stores. It is possible to get little cars and other fun toys for around $1. You could even get a few and put them into a box, individually wrapped. It will make the little boy feel like he is getting an explosion of toys! Many 3 year old boys love helping out around the house. (If their parents encourage it) so another nice low budget gift could be a miniature broom and dust pan. These are also usually available in thrift shops for very cheap prices.

Games

3 year old boys know to play easy board games like Memory and Bingo. However, they will also enjoy bending the cards and spreading them all over the house. If you get a game like this, it needs to either be very cheap so that it can be ruined without too many tears or made out of plastic so that it can take the attempts for making rolls and other things from the cards and plates. If you are getting a gift for a 3 year old boy with older siblings you could get the Rory’s Story Cubes. These are more for the older kids but it is a nice gift to bring to a family that is giving a party for their 3 year old.

For a Larger Budget

When you want to spend some more money on a 3 year old boy there is no lack for great gifts! A 3 year old is active and you can think of many fun activity toys. Get him his first bike, kick bike or why not a Water Play Wheel? Make sure that his parents have the time and space for this kind of toy so that it won’t end up standing in the basement collecting dust. If they have a garden they might already have swings and other toys that could use some company so get something to play with outside for everyone’s peace of mind! Another nice gift for a child in this age is a family wagon. Have a look at this type of useful toy ride in this review of the Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon Red.

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Once you start to potty train your child in the day you also need to make a plan for how to get to the dry nights. There are several different methods for night time potty training and which one you will go for depends on your child, your energy levels and what you think is right. It can be hard enough to get through the mess of the day so if you feel that changing sheets and clothes in the night is more than what you need to deal with right now, you can always wait a bit with the night training.

When to Start Nights without Diapers

Some will tell you that it is time to quite the diapers for the night when your baby wakes up dry in the morning. If your child wakes up dry you can certainly go for it and simply switch to underwear and night training sheets. If your child is still waking up with a soaked diaper it is not necessarily an indication of the child not being ready for dry nights. If the child is keeping dry days it is certainly possible to get rid of diapers in the night as well!

Pull-Up Diapers

Pull-up diapers are meant to look and feel like underwear and they can come in handy when it is time for night time potty training. They are also an excellent choice in the beginning of the day time training when you want to take the child for a long car ride without risking a soaked car seat. The thing with pull-up diapers is that they are usually very expensive. You can expect a price 2-4 times what you normally pay for regular diapers. This is reason enough to ask if you can night train without the pull-up diapers.

Yes, You Can!

You can absolutely save the pull-up diapers for car travel, plane rides and other times when this sort of support comes in handy. In the nights, in your home, you can choose to be brave and use regular underwear just like in the day. It is smart to start sleeping without diapers during nap time. If your child naps at home this is an excellent opportunity for night time training to begin. Make sure to go right before sleep but don’t make an issue of it. If your child says that there is nothing there you should trust it and let them go to sleep without a toilet visit.

Expect Busy Nights

When your child starts to sleep without diapers you should be attentive and understand that if he or she wakes up and complains it is most likely because of nr 2. If you ask if this is it they will most likely tell you “no” but be smart and just take the child to the toilet without discussions.

Remember positive re-enforcement and tell your child that he or she is being a really big kid and does so good. This is very important in all potty training and especially for the night part. Keep cheering for every step forward and don’t get angry with the mess-ups. Soon you will see dry days and dry nights!

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