tips & tricks,
do's & donts.
mommy to mommy.

it's me, irma blanco. glue-gun toting, 40-something, latina, mommy, wife and radio girl.
i've started this blog to spotlight my new radio feature.
keep up with 'finding fabulous' on my main blog

Your Mommy Minute

losing a pet - RIP Sandy.

we just had a loss in the family.  sandy the fish went up to goldfish heaven.  we decided to tell sophia the truth - thought this would be a great learning experience.  (last time we lost a fish we told her he went to live in the reef with the clown fishies - not very original i know.  but at 4yrs old - she bought it)

now at 6 yrs old we told her the truth.  she shed a few tears as she stood on the diving board facing the avocado tree where sweet sandy was laid to rest.  sophia said a few nice things about sandy and said a prayer.  it was so touching. 

i was really proud of my kid and i wish we had talked about this the first time.  You might think 4yrs old is too young – but its not.  i did a little research.  At that age – its good to educate them about things dying… like leaves, spiders or pets.  Better now than when someone they know passes away.  top pediatricians say ‘as your child gets older they develop a a more nuanced and natural view of what death means’.   So when a pet dies, tell them.  Let them cry.  And reassure them that she will feel better soon.  Then maybe help your child remember the good times.  It may seem silly – but its important to your child.  Maybe have them draw a picture of the dearly departed.  Tell a story about how great they were.  It helps them cope, and eventually the idea of death will seem less scary and easier to understand.

on the plus side, we have two new goldfish.  summer and merliah.  she ‘won’ them at a school carnival.  i swear those ladies were letting every kid think they ‘won’ a goldfish.  lol.   

xo, irma

shopping cart safety

Heres a scary number.  23-thsnd.  That’s how many kids under the age of 5 get hurt in shopping cart accidents a year.  Don’t let your little one add to that number.  Heres a few tips to keep your kid in check while you are running errands. 

Buckle up!  Make sure you kid is strapped in the front of the cart… not in the big part.  I know they love it – Sophia always begs to sit in there.  But its really unsafe and they are more likely to stand up and that’s where you have accidents.  Not to mention your loaf of bread will get crushed.   

Skip the car seat.  Perching your precious cargo on the front of the cart could be dangerous.  Someone can accidentally knock it over.  If you baby is too small to sit up – use your front carrier or a sling – or push the stroller.

Insist your big kids walk.  ‘but im so tired!’  That’s what I hear all the time.  A lot of grocery stores have cute little carts – your child gets involved, big responsibility and suddenly they are not so tired. 

And finally – bring wipes!  Those carts have lots of germs.  Most stores supply wipes right by the carts, use them.  Wipe every part down that your kids might touch.  Then after shopping – wipe yout kids down. 

xo, irma 

potty training apps

Got an email from john and robin… their son jack is at potty training age.  John says they should wait until the kid is ready.  Robin wants to push the process along.  So who is right?  Well, you’re both right.  You have to follow your childs lead but that doesn’t mean you can lead him in the right direction.  Like the bathroom at the end of the hall.  Luckily you have help.  In your smart phone. 

potty training?  yes there is an app for that.  several actually. 

Iwentpotty is great for the organized parents.  A daily tracker, printable award certificates and a facebook link to share your kids successes with friends.  Oh come on you would have posted on facebook anyway.  Iwentpotty will cost you a dollar.

Stepbystep potty is worth 4 bucks – and kids can watch animated how-to’s then play little games like hunting for toilet paper.  Its cute but wordy and a little expensive. 

The free app is pottybaby.  Sends mommys and daddys reminders when your child should make a trip to the bathroom.  In the end I suggest staying calm patient, rewarding with hugs and stickers not candy and toys.

whatever method you choose - grab some extra paper towels and your patience.  you will need them. 

good luck! 

xo, irma

toddlers getting dressed

Emily send an email with a great question - How do I teach my child to get dressed and undressed?

For starts – be patient!!!   Dressing oneself is a huge milestone.  And their little fingers are a little slower than yours.  ok, a lot.  So if you usually run a little late in the mornings – you might be headed for disaster if you are planning on starting this new habit during your busy mornings.  Find a time when you are both relaxed.   maybe over the weekend.

Ok - start with the easy one.  Pulling up a pair of pants or shorts or pulling on a T-shirt or putting on a pair of socks.   Start slow.  Teach just one task at a time.  Be encouraging – even if its crooked or inside out still - you need to encourage.  And again – be patient.  It takes time.  My five year old is still working on buttons and it’s a big deal when she gets them all right.  we give high fives all around! 

After a week or so, add a new task. Along the way, remember that young children love being in control.  Let your child pick the color of socks, for example.   Even if the socks don’t match with the rest of the outfit – get over it.  It’s one day and your kid will be the cutest, proudest, mis-matched sock picker on the play ground.  

Experts say as a parent, one of our biggest challenges is learning to adapt as your baby gets bigger.  What was good for your one year old will need to change when they hit 1 ½ and 2.  We can all get stuck in a rut, doing things the same old way.  Maybe its time for a mismatched pair of socks. 

xo, irma

weight-gain for teen athletes

Found this question on line…  a woman says her son’s high school football coach asked him to gain 10 to 15 pounds.  Is this a good idea, and can it be done safely?

Experts say you should first ask the coach why.  Is he actually underweight? Then, by all means, help him gain weight sensibly and responsibly.  But if your sons BMI – (body mass index) is in the normal range for his age, the coach may want him to gain weight because he is smaller than most of the other players.  So bust out your calculator.  if a 10-15lb gain still keeps him in the healthy range, then consider it.  but if it puts him in the danger zone, overweight or obese, that’s not a good idea at all.  looks like coach just wants a big tough front line to win games.  Time for a chat with the coach. 

Anyway – if you decide the weight gain makes sense – theres plenty of safe ways to do it.  lots of complex carbs like pasta and wheat bread.   Increasing protein – with protein shakes or more lean meats like turkey or chicken roll-ups and eating more low-fat dairy products such as yogurt or low-fat chocolate milk.  Keep the fruits and veggies on your sons plate – but topping it with cottage cheese and peanut butter would help.  Also, experts say make sure your son eats breakfast daily and has an evening snack.  

xo, irma

parents connect  

musical kids

Music soothes the savage beast.  And that includes a cranky infant and a fussy 5 yr old.  But its true – music is valuable for kids on so many levels.  Cranky or not.  Not only does music reduce everyones stress but it creates a fun, creative environment where kids can blossom. 

Im no singer.  I can not play any instruments, even though my mom forced to take piano lessons for 2 years.  But heres a few tips to get more music in your kids life – and it doesn’t take a lot of money or effort or talent just to make music a regular part of your childs life. 

Sing.   Your kid doesn’t care if you can carry a tune.  Sing a book instead of reading it.  sing about the weather… anything!  make up a song.   I used to sing the grocery list when I was making it at home – and then sing at the grocery store when I would put the items in my cart.  A little softer – no need to scare anyone in the produce section.  Pretty soon your kids will be making up their own songs. 

Play music.  Not just kids music.  Play anything – especially things you like listening to.  Obviously watch out for some risky lyrics that you don’t want your 3 yr old repeating to her preschool teacher.  Im talking to you katy perry. 

Dance.  Make it fun for everyone – have a weekly after dinner dance party.  And instruments are easy.  If you’ve got pots and pans and some wooden spoons – you’ve got the best kitchen band ever! 

xo, irma

quick tips and tricks… your rubber ducky will thank you!

Got an email from Sandra.  ‘My kids love to play with rubber squirt animals – but I just noticed more than half of them have black gunk inside!  Is that mold?  Should I toss them?’ 

Yes Sandra it is mold.  But you don’t have to throw out the rubber duckie or the rubber dolphin – that’s who is living in our bathtub right now.  Its gross… but all you have to do is soak it in vinegar.  Its natures secret cleaner.  But an even better idea – fire up your glue gun and shoot some in the little hole on all bath toys before you toss them in the tub.  they wont squeek anymore but you’ll never have to worry about it again. 

I’ve got a few more tips and tricks to make mommyhood a little easier. 

Remove crayon from your tv screen or computer screen with some WD40. 

Attach a Velcro strip on to the wall of your kids room to store all those soft toys. 

When you are packing your beach bag – grab a small bottle of baby powder.  It will help get sand off your kids feet and skin much easier.  which means less sand in your car!

Save those egg cartons – they are perfect for storing little Christmas ornaments and it makes a great craft caddy. 


to hug or not to hug…

The holidays are coming.  So that means special visits with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  And there is always the one awkward moment – uncle Robert wants a hug and auntie jen wants a kiss.  And your kid is like – no way! no how!  Awkward!!

To spare their feelings most of us force our kids to hug and kiss.  But what kind of message are we telling our kids?  A recent CNN article talked to some mom bloggers who says ‘forcing kids to touch people when they don’t want to, leaves them vulnerable to sexual abusers ‘– most of whom are people our kid already knows. 

Ok – I know what you are thinking - giving grandma a kiss on the cheek shouldn’t have anything to do with sexual abuse.  their argument is while we are teaching our children to listen to their own gut feeling and make their own decisions yet we force them to hug and kiss when they are uncomfortable.  so are we teaching them to accept anyone in those uncomfortable moments?  Like a predator. 

Im still up in the air on this one.  I come from a big latino family.  my husband is part of a large Italian family.  hugging is like water to us.  But respecting your childs feelings should come first.  After a certain age hugs and kisses should be theirs to give when they want.  And maybe you can have a discussion with your kids and find out why they feel weird around some people.  Communication is key – listen to your children. 

xo, irma

shopping tips for great deals

Im all about smart shopping.  Found a great website that’s sure to save a pretty penny in your pretty wallet.  whether you are looking for a carseat or a birthday present or ipad… checks out all the stock rooms in all the stores near you.  Getting you the best bargain in your area.  Just type in what you need and your zipcode – you get real time prices and store availability – plus a reminder on how much you will save.  Brilliant.  This website is really good if you know exactly what you want… and you are just looking for the best price. 

If you are an online shopper – my favorite go to is  you could spend hours combing thru magazines and newspapers looking for coupons and special codes for your favorite items – but these guys do it for you.  Type in the website you are shopping in and gives you special codes and promos that will help you save money on shipping or just a big discount on the total price. 

Works for all the major websites like amazon and target… plus some smaller sites too.  Im a big fan of Melissa and doug products – so I usually get an added discount when I do my holiday shopping for my nieces and nephews.  And retailmenot also lets you know how good the code is. 

love it! 


get your kids to give back

When is the right time to teach your child how to be charitable?  Heres a hint – he doesn’t need to pronounce the word to be the word.  Lets face it many families have had to tighten the spending in the last couple of years – but that doesn’t mean those who are in need cant benefit from you and your children.  You can still make a difference with out digging deep into your pockets. 

Sometimes all it takes is cleaning out their toy box and playrooms.  Have your child sort thru their old toys and clothes and teach them these old favorites are going to a good cause – not just getting trashed.  You don’t want them to freak out about losing their favorite tshirt or legos – but feel empowered because they are giving back.  There might be a few pieces they cant let go of yet.  So you might have to compromises here and there. 

You can make a donation basket.  Everytime you shop at the grocery store pick up a non perishable iten like a can of veggies or box of cereal and put it in a special donation bin or shelf.  When its full you and your child can take it to a local food pantry together.  

Follow your kids interests – if you have a baseball fan… have then take a little out of their piggy bank for a donation to the baseball hall of fame and museum.  If they are crazy about animals… how about a local pet shelter or the world wildlife fund.  That’s a win win and gets them started on their favorite charity. 

xo, irm

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