Surprise Eggs And Family Finger?!?!

This one goes out to the moms of toddlers and preschoolers. When my son was really small sometimes when we were out, we would let him watch videos on YouTube. It started out with us parents choosing Toy Story or Sesame Street videos as these were his favorite characters. Eventually, he learned how to pick his own videos to watch from the ones suggested. This led him to find the biggest baby crazy I never knew existed:

Surprise Eggs

You can find surprise eggs all over YouTube from all different channels and accounts. Some videos provide narration of the toys that are found in the eggs, others just provide music. The eggs are either plastic or chocolate wrapped in foil and generally feature various cartoon characters. Inside the eggs are small toys, stickers and key chains. Surprise eggs are difficult to find in the states as they are not distributed in the U.S..  This led us to have to order these eggs online so my son could open a few of his own.  We have purchased a few boxes which we have given to him for special occasions.

On the other hand, the watching of egg videos eventually leads to watching videos for Shopkins and Mashems and pretty much any other toy that comes in a blind bag or surprise box. These other toys are available in the U.S.

These videos can be anywhere from basic to elaborate with puppets, animation, and giant eggs decorated in play doh to look like popular characters. My son can now sit and watch several videos of people unwrapping surprise toys in a row and be fully entertained. He now knows characters from shows he’s never even seen because he’s watched the toys unwrapped. He can even narrate a few of the videos with the host.

One time we went to a friends house who has a daughter about 6 months younger than T (my son) and she was watching Bubble Guppies. My son immediately started naming the characters. My friend asked me if he liked the show. I responded, “He’s never seen it. He just knows them from watching their toys being unwrapped on YouTube.” She looked confused; I told her just wait, her daughter will be doing it too!

Due to this obsession, we now have 15 Mashems at home several Shopkins, a minecraft mini figure and a few mini pops from Funko. When at the store my son will recognize any toy that comes in a surprise bag or box and proudly announce the name of the character. While this makes is easy to pick little toys every once in a while that we know he’ll love, it makes it difficult to walk by the toy aisle of any drug store.

This brings me to my son’s other YouTube obsession: Family Finger

This is a video of a hand and a song about the different fingers. The song starts out “Daddy finger, daddy finger, where are you? Here I am, here I am, how do you do?” They then repeat this for mommy, brother, sister, and baby. This can be very easy to learn for toddlers. Parents are on the fence of whether this is good or bad….

This video has thousands of versions using images of pretty much every cartoon character. So for example, there’s a Toy Story family finger where each finger is one of the characters from the movie: daddy finger = Woody, mommy finger = Bo Peep, brother finger = Buzz, sister finger = Jessie, baby finger = Potato Head. The song is pretty catchy much to every parent’s chagrin. My son has taught every member of our family the family finger song. He can sing this song endlessly without getting bored. Somehow he doesn’t find it as mind numbing as his parents do.

Luckily, we are not alone. My husband was in H & M recently and he heard another toddler singing the family finger song. The toddlers dad confirmed that his daughter was obsessed with the videos on YouTube.

Is your toddler or preschooler obsessed with family finger or surprise toys? Are they obsessed with something else from YouTube?

If you too have a child obsessed with Surprise Eggs you can find an assortment of eggs here: Surprise Eggs This is where we got them for the T monster and he loved them!! He also reenacted his own surprise egg videos…

Pre-mom vs. mom vs. post-mom

Ok so the post-mom part of the title is a bit inaccurate, you never stop being a mom once you become one. I just mean to say post having your kids at home, but for title purposes, that seemed more catchy.

Today, I’d like to talk about why I think it’s so important to be a multitasking mom, and it has to do with the 3 phases of a mom’s life: pre-mom, mom, and post-mom.

Prior to becoming a mom, we all had lives and ambitions and we had a lot more time to ourselves to pursue whatever we wanted. We probably had jobs and families and all, but for the most part our free time was our own. Pre-T (my son), I worked full time, danced for sports teams, taught dance, took dance classes, was studying for actuary exams, and participating in community theater. When offered a new performance opportunity, I jumped at the chance. If a team practiced 3 times a week plus games, who cared. Dancing was how I enjoyed spending my time.

Now that I have T, guess what, I still enjoy dancing. Not only do I enjoy it, but I still pursue it. Just differently.

I still need to work full time to support the family. But my love for dance didn’t stop just because I made a person. The thing about dance is your child rearing years are also your prime dance years. It’s not exactly a field that you just jump back in when your kids are grown. Plus it makes me happy. I don’t want to wait 18 years to make myself happy. So I adapt.

I still dance for companies and teams, but I choose teams that don’t require as many practices. I teach at places that allow me to take my son with me and I specify when I am available to teach. I choose not to teach on weekends so I can have family time and I am available for all those fun weekend events that come up. I also select gigs that only require a few rehearsals, if any.

I make it work because while I love my husband and son and spending time with them, I know I am a better mom when I am feeling fulfilled. I am super lucky to have supportive family and friends as well. My inlaws are always willing to watch T if I have a rehearsal, my husband will bring T to my performances, and the places where I teach allow T to sit in class with me. Without that kind of support, I could never balance it all.

The emotional support is key as well. My husband encourages every endeavor I pursue. He never questions when I say I want to try something. When I decided to try pageants, that meant that our family vacations we’re going to be wherever I was competing. My husband just asked when and where. He never questioned or complained or asked me to stop. We make it work.

This has a lot to do with my husbands pursuits as well. My husband works, but he also pursues acting. He understands the need to fulfill the part of yourself that was there pre-kids, so we work with each other so that both of us can pursue our outside interests.

Now back to the 3 stages. While it’s important to pursue your interests during parenthood because you will be a happier better person, it’s also important for after your kids grow up. If you do nothing for yourself when your kids are growing up, then what do you have when they leave? A lot of time and nothing to do. While it’s perfectly acceptable to start trying new things at that point, it’s nice to have something that you’ve maintained throughout.

You’re the same person at all three stages. Your goals and dreams and inspirations may change, but you should never stop pursuing them. It’s what makes you, you.

Love yourself and make time for yourself. It’s one of the most important tasks in your multitasking life!!

My Favorite Busy Mom App

As promised on my Facebook page, today we are talking about one of my favorite phone apps for busy moms.  Picking one to talk about today was pretty difficult because there are a ton of great apps to save time and help you be more efficient. I chose today’s app because not only is it great for busy moms, it’s great for everyone!! In fact, I’d say it’s pretty much a must have for anyone living in this day and age. So, without further ado, we have 1Password.

If you are a busy mom like me, you pretty much do everything online. From paying bills, to shopping, to banking, it’s all done from the convenience of your computer or smartphone. Doing this means you have about a million passwords to remember. If you are writing them down on a piece of paper, STOP. If you are making all of your passwords all the same, STOP. In this day and age of hacking and identity theft, you are opening yourself up to trouble. If someone finds your list, they have everything. If someone learns 1 of your passwords, they have them all.

1Password comes to the rescue!! Let’s talk about the free version first. In the free version, 1 Password provides a clean and organized place to save your passwords on your phone. You can also save your credit card info and secure notes. For the sites you go to all the time you can identify them as your favorites so they are quickly accessible. All your entries are listed in alphabetical order in your little cabinet so they are easily found. But wait there’s more. These password are encrypted on your phone with a 256 bit encryption. It’s not saved in some database somewhere that can be hacked, but right on your phone. As the name states, you just need 1 password to get into to the app and you are all set.

Another awesome feature is the little globe symbol. Let’s say you want to pay your credit card bill on your phone. You don’t have to keep switching between this app and your browser. Just click the globe and as long as you included the web address in your password entry, it will take you to the site. Then when you get to the login page, you just click the little key symbol on the bottom of your screen and the app will automatically fill in your username and password!! The same thing can be done with your credit card purchases so you don’t have to type in your credit card info. Another great feature, is that if you are connecting to the websites from the app, it ensures that you are accessing the secure version of the site.

With the paid version, it gets even better!! The paid version is only $9.99 for life. It’s not some annual subscription, it’s one payment of ten bucks. This version allows you to make filling cabinets and share passwords with other people. So you can make 1 personal cabinet for your own personal passwords and make another one with other passwords that say your husband also uses, like the family bills. You can make a third cabinet for passwords your kids need like say the wifi password or the netflix account. It’s all encrypted and protected. Also, remember the ten dollar fee, it’s one per family! So you don’t have to pay to put it on each person’s device, it’s a family license. You can also link it to your iPad and your desktop computer. Paying bills will be a breeze. And as if you needed anything else, here’s one more thing, you can also save documents from you computer in 1Password. Need a copy of a contract in a safe place, maybe your lease agreement, maybe even some pictures, there a place in the app to save those as well!!

This app is amazing!! If you have ever experienced identity theft or know someone that has, you know how valuable an app like this can be. So go get it, right now!! FYI, I am not a paid advertiser, I don’t get any compensation for posting this, I just really like this app!

One more thing about security. When setting up your security info on a site, I highly recommend lying for your security questions. These are the questions people get in case they forget their login info. In this day and age where everything we do is online, answering honestly can really bite you in the bottom. Anyone can just go on Facebook to get your mom’s maiden name, or the name of your pet, or the name of your high school. The best thing to do is lie, make something up. It doesn’t even have to be a real word. Since you are saving all of your login info on 1Password, you can save your security question answers there too in the notes section. That way they are safe and secure and unguessable.

I hope you enjoyed this little love fest for 1Password, but I truly think it is one of the most important apps on my phone. Not only does it save me time paying bills on my phone, but it also saves me from the horror of identity theft! So go get it. Now. What are you waiting for??

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hello and welcome to my blog!

As an introduction to this blog, let me first tell you a bit about myself.  First off, I am definitely a multitasking mom! I am a mom, wife, insurance adjuster, professional dancer, USA Cheerleader, dance teacher, grad student, founder of a nonprofit, One Hope Wine Cause Entrepreneur, pageant queen, and blogger.  With all that on my plate, I have learned a lot about prioritizing, time management, organization, and tips to make the most of your time.  I am learning new tricks and ideas all the time!

Family-wise, I am the mother of a rambunctious 2.5 year old and wife to a talented indie actor.  My day job is as in insurance adjuster, but I am currently in grad school earning a Masters in Mathematics (yes, my undergrad degree was in mathematics as well) in the the hopes of transitioning to a career as a community college math professor.  I have danced all my life and I continue to do so as an adult.  I perform with a jazz dance company, Aries in Flight as well as with the USA Cheerleaders.  I also spend a few hours a week teaching dance at a local dance studio.  The nonprofit I founded is also dance related.  It’s called I Hope You Dance, Inc. and its purpose is to ensure all children have the chance to dance.  Through the sale of dance calendars, we raise funds which are used to offer need-based dance scholarships as well as support organizations that offer free dance classes.  With One Hope Wines, I also work to support a variety of causes.  This company sells wine through wine tasting events and online parties. 50% of the proceeds for every sale goes to support different charitable organizations.  There are also ways to support your own local organization or school.  Lastly, in the past year I have participated in 2 pageants both of which were big advocates for community service.

In regards to this blog, I intend to share my knowledge and advice as well as share fun anecdotes and mom humor.  If I find a product or an app that helps cut down on mom stress, I’ll share that too!  I’ll have time management tips.  I’ll talk about the top apps I use to keep my life organized.  I’ll share top products that help me organize and save time with my busy schedule.  Anything else that I think might be helpful to busy moms, like just humor.

I hope that you will enjoy this blog and if you have any topic ideas or anything you struggle with as a busy mom, please mention that in the comments.  If I have a useful tip or trick, I’d love to share it with you!!