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August 16, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
1 Comment

Pay It Forward: Teaching Your Kids to Overcome the Entitlement Mentality

In this day and age, many parents are concerned about their children developing an “entitlement mentality.” Maybe you’re a parent who’s already seen this mentality exhibited in your kids. Teaching your kids to “pay it forward” – that is, to give back to others and their community – is a remedy of sorts for the entitlement mentality.

Here are some ideas on paying it forward, and teaching your kids to overcome the entitlement mentality.

Pay It Forward: Teaching Your Kids to Overcome the Entitlement Mentality | The Jenny Evolution

1. Learn to Say No

This doesn’t mean you have to start saying no to everything your kids request. If you need to ask for time to think about it first, by all means do so. But if you do say no to something, make sure you stick to it. Modern society has made instant gratification the norm. I certainly can see that in my own kids — they want it right now.Remember when you had to spend hours at the library to research for a paper and your parents had to drive you? Now all that information is just a mouse-click away. And sites like Amazon make purchasing something super-easy, often arriving in just one day. My boys often can’t believe they have to wait until the next day for something to arrive. And if it takes several days, well, good grief.

So to counteract this, saying no now and then is a good idea. It may seem strange to your child and he may react with a huge outburst, but just calmly ride it out and don’t engage in an argument.

I’ve worked really hard on choosing when to say no to my kids. And now, even if it may tough for them to not get what they want, they accept it. And when I do say yes, they are thankful for it rather than just expecting it.

2. Push Your Kids a Bit

Sometimes, kids needs to stretch. If you give in to their dislikes, they may refuse to do something legitimate because they are afraid or uncomfortable. Then you deny them the opportunity to sacrifice something for others.

For example, what if your child was asked to speak before a group, and was terrified at the prospect? Requiring him or her to do it despite the fear teaches several things: (1) that sometimes you need to sacrifice for others; (2) a sense of accomplishment; and (3) a deeper understanding of what it means to give time and effort (not just giving things).

From an early age, I would include my children in the culling of their toys. I would ask them to help me figure out what toys they had outgrown and which ones they didn’t really use anymore. Anytime they claimed they needed them all, I would remind them that there are families whose parents can’t afford to buy toys. By donating, we make toys accessible to those who don’t have the money.

3. Just Because Others “Have” Doesn’t Mean You “Deserve”

No one owes your child because he or she has less than another child. If the other kids at school have gaming systems, then your child is going to feel like he or she deserves one, too. It may go further – your child may feel like wealthier kids owe him something of their wealth just because they have more than he does.

To counteract this, teach your child to take responsibility for his wants. Tell him he will need to earn the money to buy that particular thing and help him find age-appropriate jobs that pay. (If you can afford it, you can pay him to do some jobs.) This helps your child come away with a sense of accomplishment (once again) and a recognition that if he wants something, he can take the initiative and go out and get it.

We strongly believe our kids should earn their own money. Rather than paying for chores (which I tell them is an expectation as a member of our family), we reward them when they display really exceptional behavior — from taking that extra step to help us out to being an exemplary brother. They save up their money and then buy the toys that they really want. Right now, they’re saving up for Skylanders.

Some books I recommend include:

The-Weekly-Kids-Co-Op-150px-Button


August 14, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
13 Comments

Friday Flash Blog No. 81 {Plus Features}

Friday Flash Blog is a flash mob of blogs, highlighting the best of bloggers from the week. Be sure to check them out (and the ones I’ve featured) as well as link up your own.

Weekly Thoughts: Apparently when they talk about the dog days of summer, they mean the warm summer days where all your dog does is lay in the patch of sun coming through the windows. :-)

Sun-Melted Crayon Art from A Little Pinch of Perfect

Sun-Melted Crayon Art from A Little Pinch of Perfect

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling. Recipe by Some of This and That

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling. Recipe by Some of This and That

Golden Welcome Wreath Tutorial by Simply Dream and Create

Golden Welcome Wreath Tutorial by Simply Dream and Create

60+ Alphabet Crafts, Books, and Activities for Kids compiled by From ABCs to ACTs

60+ Alphabet Crafts, Books, and Activities for Kids compiled by From ABCs to ACTs

15 Back to School Picture Books for Kids compiled by The Jenny Evolution

15 Back to School Picture Books for Kids compiled by The Jenny Evolution

Friday Flash Blog is a Flash Mob of Blogs

Share ALL Your Favorite Posts of the Week

Now Let’s Get This Party Started

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August 13, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

Safe Bottle Feeding Tips and Formula Prep

Let’s not get into the debate about whether breast feeding or bottle feeding is better. The fact is there are many reasons a woman may bottle feed — from physical to a lifestyle choice. I ended up bottle feeding both of my boys because my milk never truly came in, despite all of the tricks and tips professionals gave me.

Whatever the reason, it’s important when bottle-feeding and preparing formula to follow some steps to make sure you’re doing everything safely. Baby’s immune systems still have a way to go as far as development is concerned, and sanitation is vital. From cleaning bottles to storing premixed formula, it’s good to know what you’re doing! Here are some formula prep and bottle feeding tips to help keep your baby as healthy as possible.

Great tips! Bottle Feeding Safety Tips and Formula Prep | The Jenny Evolution

Safe Bottle Feeding Tips and Formula Prep

1. Clean Bottles

How do you clean a baby bottle properly? If you have a dishwasher, rinse the bottles and nipples and wash them in the top rack. This process will help sterilize them. Be sure not to put them on the bottom rack, which can effectively melt the plastic.

If you do not have a dishwasher, then you’ll need a bottle brush (sold at most major retailers). Wash nipples and bottles in hot, soapy water and set them in a drying rack to air-dry.

To sterilize bottles without a dishwasher, you can boil them on the stove for 2 minutes and allow them to dry. Air-drying is important; towels can harbor bacteria. Boiling water dries very quickly, so it’s not too long a wait.

2. Formula – Check List

Before mixing up a batch of formula, check for the following:

  • Dents or bulges in the formula can
  • The expiration date
  • Damage to the container or the seal
  • Rust on the can

3. Preparing the Formula: Washing Up

It’s important to wash your hands with soap and water before mixing powdered formula.

4. Preparing the Formula: Water

What water should you use? Spring water, distilled, tap? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends “safe water,” and other experts recommend tap water. The WHO further recommends boiling the water you’re going to use and then allowing it to cool (to around body temperature) before using it to mix the formula.

Honestly, we used bottled water because we knew it had been treated and was safe. The decision is entirely up to you.

5. Preparing the Formula: Mixing

Pour the water into the bottle first, sources say, and then add the powdered formula. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions. Then shake and swirl the mixture until the powder is dissolved.

6. Liquid Formula

Some formula does not need to have water added. Once you open a can of liquid formula, it’s recommended that you do not keep it in the refrigerator for more than 48 hours.

To warm liquid formula, you can hold the bottle under warm tap water or set the bottle in a pan of warm water. Whether you’re using powdered or liquid formula, it’s not a good idea to use the microwave. As easy as a microwave can be, they heat the formula unevenly, possibly causing “hot spots.”

7. Don’t Re-Use

It may be tempting in this waste-conscious age, but don’t re-use a bottle of formula once a baby has nursed from it. Bacteria from the baby’s mouth are introduced into the formula when he or she drinks from the bottle, so whatever baby doesn’t finish must be thrown out.

Some products I recommend for bottle feeding include:

August 12, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
6 Comments

Summertime Instagram Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday on The Jenny Evolution PicMonkey Collage2

Summer has been a whirlwind — from going to Six Flags with the hubby to enjoying the quieter moments of summer. I’m not quite sure I’m ready for it to end! But I know I’m also ready to get these kids back into a better routine and back in school.

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August 12, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

Getting Ready – Top Back to School Tips for Preparing and Organizing

Maybe last year, you got a little tired of books and papers all over the place. And perhaps the kids weren’t getting their homework done before bedtime. Was studying getting done? Did everyone make their appointments and scheduled extracurricular activities? Were your kids prepared for the first day of school last year?

Chances are, you can see room for improvement in your preparation and organization for the school year… and your kids probably agree. Here are some tips for preparing and organizing for back to school that may help.

Looking for even more great back to school tips, tricks and insights? Find loads more ideas at my back to school roundup!

Get Ahead of the Game

You’re reading this article, so you’re probably already ahead of things! Staying that way can help a lot in preparing and organizing for the upcoming year. Look out for school supplies when you are out doing your regular shopping – pencils, pens, notebooks, etc. often go on sale as stores clean out their inventories in preparation for the upcoming year. Go ahead and buy them at the discounted price and keep a school supply stockpile.

While you are getting ahead, think about clothes. Grab good deals for out-of-season clothes as you are running your regular errands. A lot of getting ahead is a mindset – just always be on the lookout for back to school stuff, even when it’s June and you aren’t in the mood!

Take Inventory

Like the stores, now is a good time to take inventory of what you have. It can be quite an eye-opener when you realize how many school supplies are already around your home. Pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks are often hiding in various places in your house. Pull them all out and throw out what can’t be used, and reuse what is still in good condition.

You can do the same thing for back to school clothes. Take inventory of your kids’ clothing and see if anyone can wear hand-me-downs, for instance, or if you can mix and match clothes. This helps avoid paying for clothes you don’t need, and helps you focus on what you actually do need.

Change of Schedule

Going back to school is often a schedule jolt – sleeping late and staying up to midnight (or after) has to give way to the school year’s early mornings and earlier bedtimes. Try to ease into this schedule before school starts to help everyone prepare for the upcoming change. Go to bed and get up a bit earlier as the school year approaches.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET READY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL?

August 11, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
4 Comments

Mo Willems Activities, Crafts and Author Spotlight

Mo Willems Activities, Crafts and Author Spotlight. Find Mo Willem’s books at your local library or use the affiliated links provided for your convenience. All recommendations are my own.

Some authors create such a wonderful mass of work they deserve their own special post. This week, I’m spotlighting Mo Willems, who has infused humor kids love with an artistic simplicity that seems deceptively easy in his books. Mo Willems just gets what makes kids giggle, laugh and get engaged. He doesn’t rely on extravagant artwork but rather uses his characters in such a targeted way that they carry the story without any additional fanfare.

Mo Willems Spotlight: Crafts, Activities & Books Round-Up!

We first discovered Mo Willems not through his wildly popular pigeon series (Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus) but rather through his daughter’s beloved Knuffle Bunny, where Trixie loses her stuffed animal at the laundromat but can’t talk yet so she can’t tell her dad. We happened to get the book along with the Audio CD, which is top notch. As my son turned five, we latched on to Elephant and Piggie, who are part of an ongoing series for Mo Willems and now he is reading the series on his own!

To see all of Mo Willem’s books, visit his Amazon Author Page.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems #kidlit

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale: Trixie, Daddy, and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes somebunny was left behind Using a combination of muted black-and-white photographs and expressive illustrations, this stunning book tells a brilliantly true-to-life tale about what happens when Daddy’s in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler’s temper tantrum.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book): Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In A Big Guy Took My Ball! Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too…but is he big enough to help his best friend?

Should I Share My Ice Cream? Gerald has a big decision to make. But will he make it in time? Using vocabulary that is perfect for beginning readers (and vetted by an early-learning specialist), Mo Willems has crafted a funny story about the challenges of doing the right thing. Fans of the Geisel Award-winning duo will eagerly eat it up!

BRAND NEW BOOK: The Pigeon Needs a Bath! The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

 

Mo Willems Crafts and Activities

Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late! Handprint Painting | Juggling with Kids

Knuffle Bunny in the Dryer Paper Plate Craft | Frogs to Fairy Dust

Leonardo the Monster Collages | Reading Confetti

Toilet Paper Roll Pigeon Craft | This and That at the Library

Paper Plate Elephant Craft | DLTK’s Crafts for Kids

Pigeon Paper Hats | Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Ice Cream (Shaving Cream) Sharing Sensory Activity | Connecting Family & Seoul

Edible Pigeon with Rice Cakes | Creative Fun Mom

I Broke My Trunk Noisemaker | Thrive After Three

Learning to Draw with Mo Willems | The Educators’ Spin On It

Outdoor Nest Building | Mommy and Me Bookclub

Snake Sock Puppet | The Good Long Road

Knuffle Bunny Cupcakes | Jones Journal

Playdough Monsters | School Time Snippets

Construction Paper Pigeon | First Grader… At Last

Knuffle Bunny Washing Machine Craft | Thrive After Three

Birdseed Sensory Bin | Mom’s Tot School

DIY Pigeon T-Shirt | All This For Them

Squeeze Painting Hot Dog Craft | No Time for Flash Cards

Elephant and Piggie Paper Bag Hand Puppets | Three Little Birds

Naked Mole Rat Play Dough | Coffee Cups and Crayons

DIY Piggie’s Toy | Play Dr. Mom

 

About Mo Willems

A three-time Caldecott Honor winner for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, Mo Willems has also won two Geisel Medals for There is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside? And his books are perennial New York Times bestsellers. Before he turned to children’s books, Mo was a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmy Awards. Mo lives with his family in Massachusetts.

August 8, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
1 Comment

Don’t Buy, Rent Textbooks Sweepstakes

Don't Buy It Rent It Sweepstakes

Welcome to the Don’t Buy It, Rent It Sweepstakes

Organized by: Mom Powered Media

With special co-hosting blogs: Purple Monster Coupons, Memoirs of a Clueless Woman and Barbara’s Beat.

Rent textbooks

MPM is excited to share a way to help you save money on those high priced college textbooks. Rent textbooks this year and save up to 80%.

With Amazon.com’s flexible rental program, you can keep your textbooks for a semester. Yes, all semester long and when it comes time to send your books back, they will even pay for return shipping. How awesome is that? All this means more money in your pocket for the things in life that can’t be learned from a book.

What are you waiting for? Rent textbooks today from Amazon.com.

One winner will receive a $500 Amazon Gift Card.

Giveaway ends September 7th at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below.

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.

Don’t Buy It, Rent It Sweepstakes

August 7, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
20 Comments

Friday Flash Blog No. 80 {Plus Features}

Friday Flash Blog is a flash mob of blogs, highlighting the best of bloggers from the week. Be sure to check them out (and the ones I’ve featured) as well as link up your own.

Weekly Thoughts: This week is the final week of summer day camp and then the boys are home full time before school starts. <gulp> Good thing I have a mega list of ideas to wear these kids out!

9 Cleaning Tips from the Pros Shared by 3 Boys and a Dog

9 Cleaning Tips from the Pros Shared by 3 Boys and a Dog

Shopping & Coupon Apps to make your life Simpler! from No Small Life

Shopping & Coupon Apps to make your life Simpler! from No Small Life

Edible Pudding Paint Recipe from Krafts & Kiddos

Edible Pudding Paint Recipe from Krafts & Kiddos

Homemade Laundry Soap from Saved by Grace

Homemade Laundry Soap from Saved by Grace

How to Make Tie Dye Cupcakes. Tutorial from The Frugal Farm Wife

How to Make Tie Dye Cupcakes. Tutorial from The Frugal Farm Wife

Back to School Tips, Tricks and Insights | The Jenny Evolution #backtoschool

Back to School Tips, Tricks and Insights from The Jenny Evolution

Friday Flash Blog is a Flash Mob of Blogs

Share ALL Your Favorite Posts of the Week

Now Let’s Get This Party Started

Requests to bloggers:

  • Include a link to this sharing party, post my button on your site or add the linky party to your own posting
  • NO selling please
  • Note I pin all featured items onto my boards, which you can find here
  • By linking up, you understand you will receive an invitation to receive notifications of this linky
  • Take a look at some of the other links and comment on them
  • Leave your host a comment! Tell me which highlight was your favorite one

Please follow your host, The Jenny Evolution, on

Facebook | Twitter | Bloglovin | Google+ | Pinterest | Instagram

I follow back all of my friends!

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August 7, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
4 Comments

11 DIY Slime and Playdough Recipes for Sensory Play

Sensory play is such an important part of any child’s development. There is a reason playdough continues to be one of the top all-time “toys” for kids. It’s fun, educational, experiential and just plain cool.

Every week you can find amazing projects, crafts and activities to do with your kids with the Kids Co-Op, and I’ll be highlighting some of them with a common theme.  This week’s theme is DIY slime and playdough recipes for sensory play for kids.

11 DIY Playdough and Slime Recipes | The Jenny Evolution

DIY Slime and Playdough Recipes

Mash Potato Play Dough {Edible Play Dough} | Inspiration Laboratories

Cornstarch and Jello Play Dough | Inspiration Laboratories

How to Make Silly Putty | Crystal & Co.

Play Dough Recipe: No Cook PlayDough | Kids Activities Blog

DIY Colored Moon Sand Recipe | Look! We’re Learning!

Making Slime or Goo | Dabbling Momma

Ocean Slime Recipe | Buggy and Buddy

Easy to Make Sand Dough | Krafts & Kiddos

Melting Goo | Sand in My Toes

Thermomix Gluten Free Play Dough | Triple T Mum

How to Make Ooey Gooey Slime | Our Little House in the Country

The-Weekly-Kids-Co-Op-150px-Button


August 6, 2014
by Jennifer Hughes
0 comments

What You Missed in July on The Jenny Evolution

With the closing of July, I want to extend a very warm welcome to The Jenny Evolution’s newest followers. I’m glad you’ve joined us on this road of evolution. And I’m so grateful to my dedicated followers. I love reading your comments and emailing back and forth. Your feedback makes me want to write even more inspiring and insightful posts. We have such an amazing community here, and I’m thrilled that you’ve become a part of it.

Every month I like to do a recap of what happened on The Jenny Evolution because we’re all busy and sometimes miss out on some great ideas and insights. I know I always appreciate it when my blogger friends do a recap so I can see if anything slipped under my radar.

The Jenny Evolution

Popular posts on The Jenny Evolution in July included 4th of July and summer themes you’ll definitely to Pin as well as save for next year. And some of my most popular posts weren’t even from this last month!

 

And now on to the July Wrap-Up!

July Posts on The Jenny Evolution

  1. My Son Asked Me How Girls Pee… And We Were in Public
  2. 6 Ways to Save Money at Six Flags
  3. Water Play Activities for Kids
  4. Mystery Books for Middle Schoolers
  5. When a Wedding Spells (Sensory) Trouble
  6. Major Developmental Milestones for Children Aged 3-5
  7. Celebrate Summer! Fend Off Funsuckers with Cutter®
  8. Activities for Exploring and Learning Colors
  9. Wonderful Picture Books about Jazz for Kids
  10. Even More Funny Mom Confessions
  11. What Are Eco Friendly Toys?
  12. Potty Training Made Easy: Strategies That Really Work
  13. Help Friends in Medical Need with GiveForward
  14. Summer Sensory Activities: Ice Play for Kids
  15. Finding Cool Back-to-School Clothing on a Budget
  16. Night Time Picture Books That Say “I Love You”
  17. 5 Sunscreen Tips for Summer
  18. 10 of My Favorite Things About Summer
  19. Fine Motor Activities for Kids

Current Giveaways

  1. Are You Noseblind? Find Out and Enter to Win $60 from Febreze
  2. Win A Trip to Meet Katy Perry and Help Our Teachers
  3. Win $500 in zulily’s Back To School Giveaway

Photography/Wordless Wednesday

 

New to The Jenny Evolution?  We’d love for you to become a follower!  If you like what you have found here, you can follow The Jenny Evolution Pinterest, Bloglovin, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And of course, I encourage you to sign up for The Jenny Evolution Weekly Newsletter.

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