How to Find Meaningful AND Affordable Gifts

“Merry Christmas,” said the checker at the grocery store. Really? … and that was three weeks ago! And if I weren’t Practical Mommy, maybe I’d be freaking out a lot. But see, I try to keep my finger on all things cool, fun, new for kids and moms.

How? I have friends. Who own all the right stores! Like Molly at City Sprouts. Our kids are friends and she is totally in the know.

So when Great Day St. Louis asked me to share the inside scoop, this is what I brought:

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How to Entertain Your Kids on a Coupon Run

I wanted to talk about ways to keep your children entertained while on a coupon run. I always recommend that if possible avoid couponing with your kids, however that is not always possible. In fact for many of us shopping with our kids is our only option. I wanted to share with you some ideas for ways to make your experience positive for both you and your children.

I always look for inexpensive ways to reward my son as we shop. It is always amazing to me what entertains him and what simple steps I can do to “include” him in the process.

1. Make a shopping list for your child. I always make a special list for my son to carry at the store. He always wants my list so if he has his own it works out better for us. I include a few of his favorite items on the list and give him a pencil/crayon to mark of the items as we put them in the cart. [Read more…]

How to Share (and Host a Clothing Swap)

I am NOT a shopper. Period. Going to the mall makes me hyperventilate. I’m making it a life goal NOT to ever step foot into a Norstrom Rack. But I’m a new fan of my neighborhood’s clothing swap.

Last weekend, we congregated in a neighbor’s living-room-turned-giant-dressing-room with our cast-off’s and “I love it but never, ever wear it’s!” Although it was my first time going, I was not a newbie to the neighborhood hand-me-downs. On occasion, a little baggy will show up at my door with a note and a doodle. And wouldn’t you note it, those well-loved, slightly-worn items have always been my wardrobe favorites.

I like to tell of a couple of springs ago when I absolutely refused to go swimsuit shopping. [Read more…]

How to Get Your Preschooler Ready

Recently, I was on Great Day St. Louis doing a segment on “Back to Preschool.” Host, Matt Chambers and I talked about how to prep your kids for their first time out of the nest (sniff)!

If your toddler is heading to preschool for the first time this fall, it’s a big step for the whole family. Your “baby,” will fare better if you can equip her with some things to ease the transition. Think BOTH confidence-building and security. Here are some tips:

• Get her excited about the big step by getting her involved in picking out her preschool gear. Appropriately-sized and designed backpacks will allow her to take responsibility for her things and take pride in the fact that she can carry it herself. If she has older siblings, she probably is already wanting to be like big brother or sis!

• If her preschool will allow, see if she can bring a lovey or special cuddly friend for naptime that will remind her of home.

• If you can, see if you can introduce her to her teachers before you have to leave her at school for the first time.

• If you know other kids that are going to be in classroom, see if you can arrange for playdates ahead of time so there will be some familiar faces in class.

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.

How to Save on Back to School Shopping

school_suppliesIt’s time to get your kids geared up for school. It’s time for squeaky clean shoes, shiny new lunch boxes and backpacks… er, maybe not. Everyone is watching their wallets so don’t think that your tikes will be the only ones using the same backpacks and lunch boxes they had last year!

What are some ways that you can save on shopping for school clothes, gear and supplies? Here are my tips! [Read more…]