All Posts By:

Christine Cox

    How to Teach Children to Swim at a Young Age

    It is so important to teach children to swim at a young age. When they're young, they have no fear and are curious. Here's how to teach them to swim.

    I live in a town where a river passes through it. Creeks were in my backyard and lakes only miles away. My brother and I were always surrounded by water. And we loved it. You couldn’t keep me out of the water when I was little. Now that I am a parent, I made sure to teach my children how to swim as soon as they were ready. Here’s how I believe you can teach children to swim.

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    Top 10 Beers and Malt Beverages For Your Summer Party

    Top 10 beers and malt beverages for the summer

    Having some beers and malt beverages with your buds in the summer is always a good time. Whether you are by the pool or by a fire, sipping your favorite drink is refreshing. This summer, there are some really popular beers and malt beverages that I think you should try. I also want to show you these super cute cups that I have been making and using for my drinks. They are awesome! Continue reading

    Beer Themed Teacher Gifts- Plus a Free Downloadable Beer Poem

    beer gift ideas for teachers end of the school year teachers week

    Teaching is hard. There are a lot of days when I am thankful that I am not a teacher. Basically it boils down to me not even being able to deal with my own two kids. So how could I deal with a class of 20+ kids?! What I do know is that teachers deserve an awesome gift for the end of the school year. What is better than beer? I know wine related gifts are super popular for teachers these days. However, let’s remember the male teachers who may shy away from the wine and those female teachers who love a good Blue Moon, Angry Orchard or even a Corona while they are floating around the pool.

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    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites

    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites Plus an Essential Oils Tick Repellent Spray Recipe
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    I am going to be honest with you. This girl was never really afraid of bugs when I was younger. I didn’t even know what a tick was to even be worried. But now, ticks are constantly in the news and on my social media feeds. Parents posting, “is this a bull’s-eye rash from a tick bite?” or “Do these symptoms sounds like Lyme Disease?” and so on. I didn’t even know how many different species of ticks there actually are. The best way to not get bit by a tick is to take precaution before heading outside. Check out these 5 ways to avoid tick bites.

    1. Know Where Ticks Live

    Earlier this week there was a Facebook post from my local TV station about a shrub that ticks love to live in, the Japanese Barberry. According to the article, the shrub acts as a nursery for deer ticks, which can carry Lyme Disease. Pennsylvania is home to one-third of all Lyme Disease cases in the United States, and studies have shown that not only are more deer ticks found in Barberry patches, those ticks are more apt to carry Lyme.

    According to Terminix, ticks love moist and humid environments, but they can adapt to any number of different areas. I feel like no matter where you live, you could find a tick. Check out these maps from the CDC and find out what kind of tick is prevalent in your area.

    2. Always Use a Tick Prevention Spray

    There isn’t a fool-proof prevention spray that 100% deters ticks, so I always like to go with the all-natural route first. I make a homemade tick prevention spray using my Young Living oils. I use lemongrass and eucalyptus oils mixed with a small amount of water in a metal spray bottle. This mix gets sprayed on my family before we head outdoors. I spray from feet to head because I feel like ticks are more likely to get on your feet, but truly they can jump on anywhere.

    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites and an Essential Oil Tick Repellent Spray Recipe

    You can also check out other bug sprays at your local stores for body and clothing. Please be aware of the amount of DEET and Permethrin used. There should be at least 20-30% DEET to be effective, but DEET makes me nervous with the kids, so I use cautiously. As for Permethrin, there needs to be 0.5% to be effective for tick prevention. Products with Permethrin in them are NOT safe for the body, only clothing.

    3. Play in Sunny Areas

    Ticks are less likely to be in dry, sunny areas. When you are planning to build or set up a playground in your yard, choose a sunny area that dries out easily. Same with any outdoor furniture. Stay away from thick, wooded areas. If you do have to venture into the woods, wear proper clothing, prevention sprays and try to stay on a cleared path.

    4. Wear Proper Clothing

    I know. I know. If it is hot out, the last thing I want to think about wearing are pants and long sleeves. But if I am going to be around high grass, a wooded area, or actually in the woods, then it is best that I wear long sleeves, pants and a hat to prevent ticks from getting on exposed skin. If you have long hair, braid it or make sure to pull it in a ponytail. You don’t want a tick hitching a ride on your hair.

    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites Plus an Essential Oils Tick Repellent Spray Recipe

    5. Shower After You are Finished Outside

    Make sure you check over your whole body while showering to ensure ticks are not present. Be sure to check warm spots on your body like behind your ears, under your armpits and between your fingers and toes. Ticks are tiny and can look like a freckle if you are not careful.

    Have you ever had a tick bite? If so, where do you live? What was your outcome? Check out this other post about eco-friendly pesticides for more bug information!

    I Have Summer Camp Mom Guilt

    Do you have summer camp mom guilt? It is hard to send your kids out on their own, but it is so worth it.

    Thousands of kids are already anticipating what summer will bring for them. And many of these kids are hoping they will be heading off to a summer camp with their friends. Whether it is a day camp or sleepover camp, summer camps are awesome for kids (and parents!) But if you are anything like me, you might have some summer camp mom guilt.

    Why Summer Camp Mom Guilt?

    I am a work from home mom. That means even though my oldest is in school all day, my youngest is still home with me while I am working. So even though I am at home with him all day, I am also working most of the day. Juggling his demands with work demands becomes, well, demanding!

    When school lets out, I’ll be adding my soon-to-be first grader into the mix. Luckily, she is entertainment to my youngest, but you know the fights will ensue. She will want my attention too. So I feel guilty for not always being able to give both of them 100% of my attention all of the time. And then the major guilt kicks in because I feel like I am shipping them off to summer camp to get out them of my hair.

    It boils down to me having FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. I don’t want to miss out on these memories and nice summer days with my kids, but I have to let go! We all experience it, I am sure.

    Summer Camp Schedules Are Hard

    Parents who work outside of the home might have a harder time with scheduling summer day camps and may feel some guilt about that. Since I can just stop working to do drop-off or pick-up, it is easy for me to work around my schedule for summer camps. But then I feel guilty because I can do this and others can’t. I can see this working out a couple of different ways:

    • Parents find a work around and are able to do drop-off/pick-ups for camps
    • Can work out a summer camp schedule with whoever would be watching their kids during the day
    • Find a sleepover camp so they don’t have to worry about it at all
    • And there is always the possibility that they have to tell their kids that they can’t do a summer camp just because of scheduling/babysitting conflicts. Uhg.

    And again, I feel guilty because my kids CAN do summer camps and maybe their friend is missing out on the fun. So I try to offer up my carpooling abilities but I can only do so much.

    Do you have summer camp mom guilt? It is hard to send your kids out on their own, but it is so worth it.

    Summer Camp Isn’t Cheap

    My oldest is excited to go to summer day camp and see her friends, especially the ones that she doesn’t go to school with. It doesn’t bother her like it does me that she won’t be home all day. But we had to put a restriction on how many summer camp activities she could sign up for because they aren’t cheap! Our local gym has different summer camps each week and of course she wants to do all of them. She also wants to do soccer camp. Talk about a boat load of money for all of those camps. So we had to tell her she could choose one summer camp at the gym and she could also do soccer camp.

    “But so-and-so is doing ABC camp, and so-and-so is doing XYZ camp. I can’t choose what camp to do.”

    It is hard trying to figure out which camp will be best because of cost restrictions.

    Summer Camp is Well Worth It All

    Even though I may miss my kids during the day, I know that they are having a ton of fun without me. Plus I can keep them on a schedule and not let them sleep in until 10:00 AM every day (because I am sure my daughter would).

    My guilt most certainly will kick in because I am not there to experience all the summer things they are doing. But sending them to a summer camp is a learning experience for me too. I don’t have to always be there for everything they do. And it is good for them to grow and experience life without their mom around! Summer camps are about:

    • Gaining independence
    • Learning new things outside of the regular classroom setting
    • Enjoying your summer with friends – not your mom.

    And summer camps are straight up FUN! Camp is something that kids want to go to and there isn’t a daily fight about attending. I can already feel the anxiety leaving my body because I know they are excited to go. It would be much harder if it was the other way around.

    I highly suggest that you find a summer camp for your children to be involved with. Don’t feel guilty about it. The memories that are made at these camps will be thought of for a lifetime. And I know this from experience. I am still friends with people I met at summer camp. Plus, I don’t remember missing my mom at all. That makes me sad since I am a mom now, but it helps too. I know that my kids will come home and be happy to spend the rest of the summer with me regardless. They will also be happy that they are getting to experience something else at summer camp.

    What are your summer plans? Do your kids attend any kind of summer camp? Do you ever feel guilty about sending them to a camp without you being around?

    Easy Ways To Start A Garden With Kids

    Prior to having children, you only had to answer to yourself (well sometimes your parents, I suppose). But you were an adult and you did what you wanted to do. So if you wanted to grow a garden, you went ahead and did it! But now, as a parent, you probably have kids that will question your every move. They will ask “how” and “why” maybe 10,000 times a day and sometimes the answers are too hard to explain (or you are just too tired – I get it). But I’m here for you! I’m about to break down gardening with your kids so it’s easy breezy. Growing a garden from start to finish with your kids is a great family bonding experience and will allow everyone to appreciate what is on the dinner table each night a little more.

    It Takes a Village

    There are lessons to be learned throughout the whole process of growing a garden. The first thing to learn is that sometimes it takes a village for the garden to come to life. Every family member involved plays their own role. There are many jobs to be passed out, so start with these:

    Designer: Someone has to figure out the exact place where the garden will grow. Somewhere that has good soil (or will be able to place something to hold the good soil), where sun is most of the time and a place where you can easily get water to for helping the plants grow. The designer could also be the engineer if you need to build a garden box.

    Earth Mover: The Earth movers either till up the ground so you are able to plant in nice dirt, or they are the people who move dirt into your garden box area. Dirt is heavy, but it is also great to play in. This could be an “everyone job” and everyone in the family could chip in with moving dirt around.

    Seeders: The seeders dig the row for the seeds to be place and bury them deep into the soil. They need to space out the seeds to give the plants enough room to grow, but they also have to be aware of just how big of a space they are working with.

    Artist:  The artist could make plant markers so you know where you planted your seeds. They could be made out of painted rocks, colored wooden spoons or even sticks with special markings on it. Whatever is chosen, just make sure it can withstand the weather and water.

    Water Team:  This team has an important job and I believe it should be an everyone duty. The water team makes sure the plants get the right amount of water to help them grow. Not too much or too little. Without water, the seeds won’t spout into yummy fruits and/or vegetables. Everyone needs to communicate who is watering and when so you don’t over water the plants.

    Weed Pullers: The weed pullers have to keep the garden area free of unwanted growth. Sometimes grass, flowers or other weeds will want to grow in your garden too so it is best to pull those out so your produce has room to grow.

    Produce Picker: This is an awesome job. They get to pick the final result of what you have grown from the plant. They should also bring it in the house and wash it so it is ready to go for lunch or dinner!

    Growing a garden might be intimidating but doing it with kids may be even more scarier! Follow these tips on how to make growing a garden a family event.

    Growing a Garden is Not a Race

    After your garden is put into the ground, it may take some time for your family to see the first sprout of a plant. Patience is often hard to teach but gardening can be a great example. Use your garden to show how plants live, from seed to plant to produce and seed again. Share these moments with every member of your family, no matter the age, because gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed for years. When you do finally have your produce, of course eat, store or freeze whatever you harvest but remember that your village may like to have some extras too. Share your produce with neighbors or swap with other gardeners. Someone may have something that you like to eat that you didn’t plant or your children may want to try something new (yay!).

    Enjoy the Time Together

    When you have something that your whole family is involved in, at home, it is wonderful. There are no long car rides or practices. It is just getting down and dirty, in the soil, in your yard. Your kids will cherish the memories they have of your garden and you will enjoy the time you have together. And don’t forget, they may enjoy their home-grown produce more than store bought since they grew it themselves!

    Do you garden with your kids? What’s your favorite tip to making it fun and interactive with them?