The Mommyhood Life

Parenting

The Made to Matter Collection by Tom’s of Maine is Available at Target!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom’s of Maine for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
My favorite way to unwind is to wander around Target aimlessly without my children in tow.  My local store has a coffee shop right as I walk in, so I am able to sip a latte and check out all the pretty new things.  Plus of course, pick up our families everyday needs, I am one of those women who runs in for toothpaste and leaves with a cart full of things.

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Perfecting our Bedtime Routine ~ The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep Book Review

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.
Bedtime has always been an uphill battle
in our house.  The kids never want to go to bed and setting up a night
time routine has been a continuous process.  We have been trying out our
newest routine over the last couple weeks and it has been working like a charm.

The kids’ bedtime is 8 o’clock.
 Anthony has to be up by 6:30 and the twins are up by 8, so aiming for an
8 pm bedtime is our goal.
After school we try to get homework out of
the way early so that any stress it causes is settled and out of their minds by
bedtime.  Then we have snacks, play, and dinner all before 7 o’clock so
that we have an hour to unwind.  Granted with
extra curricular activities, sports, and other
random activities that pop up, it’s not always possible to
maintain a strict down time at 7 rule.  However, we do make
a conscious effort to keep our routine in tact whenever
possible.

At 7 we start to settle down for the
night, I turn off the TV and turn off any unnecessary lights that
have been turned on through out the house.  Then it’s bath time, pj’s on,
the kids take turns reading some stories, prayers, snuggles, and then right
before bedtime I read the book “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep”.
This is an interesting new book that I hadn’t heard much about prior to it being delivered.  Its approach is to help soothe kids to sleep using special language and tone of voice while reading. 
It’s a cute book that tells a story about a rabbit named Roger who can’t fall asleep so his mommy takes him to visit Uncle Yawn who can help anybody fall asleep.  Along the way he meets Sleepy Snail and Heavy Eyes Owl who give him some other sleeping tips.
All through out the story the focus in the text is on being calm and relaxing your body, and the vocal points that are cued to the reader correspond with that focus.  At certain times the reader is to yawn, insert the child’s name, and even pretend to sprinkle sleeping dust over the child.
My opinion:
I really enjoyed the story, I think it has
been a valuable asset to our nighttime routine.
During our routine, the kids have a chance
to read a story of their choosing, so this stops any fighting over which story
we will read at night and the children are excited when I come into their rooms
to read an extra story.  Plus the twins seem to get wound up easily, so they
can become a bit energetic while reading a sillier story .  This book
helps to calm them back down as they are told to relax their feet, relax their
legs, and other relaxing activities.

“The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall
Asleep” is a great extra step that has stopped me from having to go back
into the room over and over to stop kids from jumping around in bed. Since even
if they are not completely asleep when I leave the room, they are still fully
calm and relaxed and able to drift off to sleep soon enough.  This makes
evenings in my house a lot less chaotic and stressful!

Overcoming Infertility from a Pituitary Gland Tumor and No Ovulation ~ #AstroglideTTC

 Astroglide TTC™ sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine
If you’ve ever struggled with infertility you can relate to the emotional rollercoaster that comes month after month while your trying to conceive and it seems everyone around you is popping out babies left and right.
When my husband and I decided to start trying to build our family, we were a young newly married couple, and very naive about what it would take to get a bun in my oven.  I had never had a regular monthly cycle, infact my “monthly cycle” would sometimes happen in six month intervals.  Before we got baby fever, this was pretty convienent.  Getting my monthly visitor every six months, meant rarely having to worry about womanly issues while on vacations or at the beach.  However once I started thinking about my fertility health, my irregular cycles went from convenient to scary.

We tried month after month with no success.  I was in my early twenties, so my primary care doctor and my gynecologist both gave me the same advise “keep trying”.  After countless months of hoping I would ovulate, trying, praying, testing, and no happy stick, we finally got a referral to see a fertility specialist.
Going through the fertility clinic process was another emotional rollercoaster, all its own.  You sit in a waiting room hoping for answers yet scared about what those answers will be, dreading the tests yet wanting the tests to be done.  Infertility is a huge ball of ups and downs, full of endless prayers for the ultimate high, two lines on a stick.
After a couple months of testing.  Ultrasounds, blood tests, exc. I finally found out that I had a tumor in my pituitary gland.  As the doctor told me this I started to freak out a bit, I have an extensive family history of cancer.  However she quickly assured me that this was a farely common problem and that they are almost always benign and that most cases are treated with medication.  I left the fertility clinic that day, extatic.  I had been given a treatable reason for why I wasn’t conceiving and couldn’t wait to start the medication to level out my hormones.  Within a few months my hormone tests were coming back normal so we started Clomid, a fertility drug to help me ovulate. 
We did two rounds of Clomid unseccusfully, and then I cracked.  I couldn’t do it anymore, the hoping, the testing, the let down.  Finally after over a year and a half I gave up.  My husband and I decided to just take a break, I started focusing on other things.  I joined a gym and lost 15 pounds, started going out and experiencing new things because my brain wasn’t consumed with trying to get pregnant.  
Three months after this new found freedom.  Freedom from calanders, peeing on sticks, and disappointment.  I was cleaning the bathroom and found a left over pregnancy test.  As I cleaned, I realized I hadn’t gotten my period in over a month and my boobs were sore.  However I hadn’t been nauseous or tired so I assumed the tender breasts were just a sign of PMS.  As the afternoon went by the left over pregnancy test kept popping in my head, I hadn’t peed on a stick in months and before that it had become an addiction so having an extra test in the house made me feel the need to take it even though every ounce of me believed there was no way I was pregnant.
My need to pee on a stick finally won and I took the test laster that afternoon.  I remember that day so vividly now.  I remember taking the test and walking away, because I just knew it would be negative.  I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anymore tests, I wouldn’t put myself through this again.  Then I walked back into the bathroom, and I almost fainted, TWO PINK LINES!
I was extatic for a few minutes, then I didn’t believe it.  Surely I had left the stick sitting for too long.  I immediately went out and bought a basket full of tests, sure that money could have bought a carseat but I just couldn’t believe it was possible that I was really pregnant after so many ups and downs.
I went home and stuck stick after stick into a little pee cup.  Plus signs, 2 lines, and pregnant appeared on all my tests.
It was the beginning of this journey of Mommyhood, that has been the best chapter of my life.
I found out the next day, I was 6 weeks pregnant.  As soon as we calmed down and relaxed, everything worked the way it was supposed to.
4 years later when we decided to try again, I left it as “it will happen when it happens”.  I assumed it would take at least a few months and prayed it wouldn’t be a year like with Anthony.  It took one month and we got 2 babies!  I didn’t stress, I made sure my body was healthy, and let nature take it course.  One month later I got a positive test and had an ultrasound tech pointing out baby A and baby B. 
Now that my family is complete, I still have friends and family members who are struggling to get pregnant.  One tip I give them is  to switch out their normal lubricant for Astroglide TTC™.  It’s a water based sperm friendly personal lubricant, perfect for making the ideal environment for sperm to swim freely while trying to get pregnant.
Astroglide TTC™ is available at most major pharmacies for a retail price of $12.99.

Astroglide TTC™ sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine

Watch Out for the 10 Perils of Summer + A Doctor on Demand Coupon Code!

*This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Network and Doctor on Demand. All opinions are my own.*

Summer is here!  I love the summer months, we are able to get outside and explore all over the place.  This year we have plans to go camping in New Hampshire, visit the beaches in Florida, and do so much exploring in between.

With all this outdoors time it is inevitable that one of the kids will get a bug bite, step on something yucky, fall off their bike, or end up with one of the 10 perils of summer.

1.Bee Sting – Ouch! Bees, wasps, hornets and other stinging bugs are sometimes unavoidable. 

2.Sunburn  – Protect your skin from the sun, and avoid the most severe UV rays between 10am-4pm.       

3.Concussions – A concussion can result from a blow to the body or head, such as a fall from a swing set.

4.Poison Oak & Ivy – In the woods everything is green and leafy and… poisonous? Some plants really make you itch. 

5.Jellyfish – They’re not really fish, and they don’t attack. But their tentacles pack a painful and potent venom.

6.Tick bites – Lyme disease and other complications can arise from a nasty little tick bite. Ask a doctor.

7.Sunstroke – Kids and seniors are at higher risk for heat exhaustion and sunstroke. Be aware.

8.Sports Injuries – After a long winter, we’re in a rush to get outdoors. Sometimes leading to a trip and fall.    

9.Burns – Accidents can happen when we’re around campfires or BBQ grills. Get treatment right away.

10.Kids bumps and bruises – Sometimes it’s a minor scrape, but it may be a more serious bruise. Let’s have a look.

I’m a lot less nervous about all these potential accidents now that I’ve tried Doctor on Demand!  There has been so many occasions when I have sat with a kid that just got a boo boo not knowing if it really warranted a trip to emergency room and when the pediatricians office is closed trying to describe symptoms to a covering doctor over the phone isn’t always easy.  With Doctors on Demand, I am video chatting with the doctor so they can see what I see, plus I can snap pictures during the chat and send them right to the doctor.

Another great thing about Doctor on Demand is the app is its available when ever you are.  As a busy mom I often have little illnesses that I just don’t want to waist the time sitting in a doctors office for, so I put off going.  Now I can just tap my phone and the ‘waiting room” only takes a few moments.

 I used Doctor on Demand today for a rash I have on the arch of my foot.  The rash has been a nuisance but not painful or bothersome enough to schedule a doctors appointment during my busiest time of the year.  Luckily Doctor on Demand came to the rescue, I was easily able to turn on the app and connect with a doctor immediately.  I was able to send pictures to Dr. Sullivan along with video chatting so that she could get a great visual and then she called me in a prescription for an antibacterial cream and an anti itch lotion.  Both prescriptions were ready at my pharmacy within an hour, I simply ran through the pharmacy drive-thru and my rash is on its way to being healed.

 A Doctors visit at Doctor on Demand cost $40, but you can give them a try for free with coupon code EASTCOAST.

Stuff happens but Doctors on Demand is always just a few taps away, no matter where you are this summer!


5 Benefits of Swimming for Children! #FunnestSport

*This post is sponsored by Swim Today, all Opinions are 100% my own*

My family loves to swim, we are like fish all summer long.  Swimming helps the kids cool off and burn off energy over school vacation.  Plus it is a relaxing way for mommy and daddy to spend a hot summer day.
The best part is there are so many benefits that come along with swimming for children!

Here are just a few:

1) Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise.  This is especially important in a generation where kids spend more time playing with electronics than playing sports.

2) Swimming improves balance, posture, flexibility and coordination.  This is an incredible benefit considering how low impact swimming is.

3) Learning to swim initially and then improving on the skill builds confidence and self reliance, while cultivating high self esteem.  Which are skills that can help children in all aspects of life.

4) Swimming can be an individual or team sport.  I have a child who is very outgoing and another who is extremely introverted.  I love how swimming is a sport that works so well for both personality types. 

5) It’s fun and challenging.  As soon as you get a bunch of kids in the water it seems instantaneous that the games, races, cannonballs, and laughing begins.

I can definitely vouch for these benefits.  Having children with special needs often makes the improvements from being in the water much more visible.  Aidan is instantly calmed down once he hits the water and Lilly’s strength and balance improves greatly during our swimming months.

 Now that the kids are getting older I look forward to enrolling them in our local swim team.  Swim teams are the perfect combination of fun and competition! 


Learn more about the benefits of swimming, swim teams for children, and the Funnest Sport at SwimToday.org.
 
You can also connect with Swim Today on Social Media!
 

5 Tips to Help You Get a Great Night Sleep and a Luxurious Memory Foam Mattress by Nodical Giveaway! #NodicalBed #SleepisComing

*This is a sponsored post with Nodical Bed and New Thought Marketing. All opinions are my own*
I remember back before I became a mom being able to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  I could stay asleep all night and woke up refreshed and ready for the day.  Now that I’m in my thirties, a mom of 3, and what feels like the weight of the world on my shoulders, I long for those fully restful nights.
 
Now a days, I crash into bed after getting my little ones their fifth cup of water, trying to clean up for the morning, and making sure all the doors are locked and the dogs set for the night.  As my head hits the pillow I think about how exhausted I am and assume that surely I will be snoring in minutes.  However without fail, I start thinking of the next days errands, what I didn’t get done on todays to-do list, and every remotely possible thing I should be worried about concerning my kids.
Then once I fall asleep, I toss and turn, or am woken up by tiny bladders that need to pee or little belly aches.  This is the life of a mommy I guess, because I see all my fellow dark under eye circled mommy friends yawning at the playground. 
 
However there are a few things us mom’s can do to help us get a more restful nights sleep.
 
1.  Try to stick to a scheduled bedtime.  Bedtimes are not just for the kids, maintaining a routine with the same sleep and wake times will help train your body to fall asleep and stay asleep.  I began setting an alarm on my phone an hour before I need to go to sleep to help remind me that its time to wind down.  Otherwise I could easily get sucked into Pinterest world or a project and suddenly realize I wanted to be asleep hours ago.

 
2.  Watch what you eat and drink at night.  Stay away from caffeine and large meals that will increase your energy level and cause havoc on your sleep schedule.
 
3.  Get some exercise and fresh air during the day.  I’ve started walking outside for about an hour a day.  It was a war in my mind for weeks because I felt I should be doing so many other things besides walking around the neighborhood.  However now that I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, I can see how much it has not only decreased my stress, and helped the number on the scale slowly creep down, but also my sleep has greatly improved.
 
4.  Turn off your electronics and dim the lights an hour before bed.  This was the hardest routine change for me.  I’m used to laying in bed with the TV on and phone in hand.  However I have changed my routine, now when my alarm goes off for bedtime, I set my notifications on silent and turn the TV off.  Then I take a shower, get into comfy jammies, read or write, and try to veg out electronic free for a little while.  It really does help slow me down.
 
5.  Make your bedroom a sanctuary with a comfortable mattress.  Make sure your decorations and bedding are calming to you, and your bedroom is a place you want to be.  Try not to work where you sleep, make your bedroom a place of relaxation.
Most importantly make sure you have a mattress that you love!  You can follow every sleep rule there is, but if your mattress isn’t comfortable, you’ll never get a great night sleep.
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Say “bye bye” to your old mattress and “hello” to the best sleep of your life with the new luxurious memory foam mattresses available from Nodical!
 
Nordical has a new Luxurious Memory Foam Mattress that is made entirely in the USA!  The Foam comes from Georgia and the high quality knit cover comes from South Carolina.
 
Nordical also understands that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work with different sleeping patterns, so they developed 3 different mattress types.
Now you can choose the mattress that fits your lifestyle!
Nordical’s memory foam is latex free and made from plant based oils and minerals.  Plus the mattress covers unzip and remove easily for washing if needed.
To top it off, Nordical offers a 100% satisfaction Garentee!  Sleep on your new mattress for 100 nights, and if you don’t like it, they’ll come pick it up and give you a full refund.
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Are you excited about the new Nordical Memory Foam Matresses? 
Enter to win one of their 3 matresses!
 
Contest Details:
Visit the Nodical Bed website to access the entry form here.
 Submit your email address and name.
Follow Nodical Bed’s social media accounts to earn extra entries.
Share on social media to earn extra entries (can be done daily).
 
Prizes – 1 of 3 Nodical foam mattresses (winner chooses style and size)
Winners will be selected at random.
Contest dates – 5/11/2015 through 6/8/2015
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Nordical’s Technical Details:
Nodical mattresses are designed with next generation Memory Foam – EnergexTM — a high performance, durable and breathable hybrid foam made of plant-based oils and without latex. Energex Memory Foam is infused with an assortment of minerals and materials, which when blended together help to naturally pull heat away from the body. Energex supports deeper, uninterrupted sleep because it allows you to turn and move more freely, provides relief from pressure points, and absorbs the “bounce” caused by movement. This quick recovery and resiliency works to eliminate that “stuck in the bed” feeling common with other memory foam beds. Nodical’s creamier foam features a much smaller cell structure providing quicker recovery times, better airflow between the cells and reduced heat retention – all of which adds up to a more restful night’s sleep. For added temperature control, they incorporate ThermaGelTM beads which are body-heat activated to support rapid cooling and to maintain an ideal cool bedding temperature, especially helpful for those who experience heat spikes throughout the night. Nodical mattresses naturally breathe and pull excessive heat away to create a cooler, calming environment so you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer.
 
 
 


10 Ways to Save Money on Kids Clothing

1. Find a few great consignment stores in your area.  Over the years, I have scoped out dozens of local kids thrift stores.  Some are dingy, hard to shop in, and don’t carry great quality items.  However I always have at least 3 that I love!  Once I find a store that is clean and full of great styles, I make an effort to pop in a few times a month to see what they have in stock.

2.  Shop online, you’ll get the best selections, most stores offer free shipping and you can google the store you love to find coupon codes.  Plus if you use ebates to link into the stores website you’ll get a percentage of cash back, deposited into your PayPal account.

 
3.  Get on you favorite stores email lists.  I get emails from Gymboree, The Children’s Place, and Old Navy.  This way I never miss a great sale and always have a coupon code on my phone for those surprise trips to the store.
 
4.  Shop late in the season.  I have always heard shop off season which I do when I find rock bottom deals.  However to fill in essentials and finish up a seasons wardrobe, I try to put off a shopping haul as long as possible.  Living in New England makes this fairly easy because the weather takes so long to change.  Summer fashion hits store floors by March,  but the weather doesn’t call for spring/summer clothes until May or even June.  If I wait till mid June to do the majority of my shopping all the adorable new releases from March are already discounted to a fraction of what they originally were.  At The Children’s Place or Gymboree this is often a 40-50% or more sale, add the coupons that you get from their emails and you are getting amazing deals.
 
5.  If you have stores you shop at regularly, consider getting a store credit card.  Many offer great perks, such as rewards programs so that you earn points from each purchase and they can be redeemed towards store bucks.  Some stores also offer early access to sales and the best ones offer you an additional discount on all in store purchases made with your store card.  
 
6.  Shop for the future.  If you come across a pair of jeans that are marked down to a dollar or 2, get a few sizes.  Or if you come across a beautiful coat at the thrift store that is an amazing deal but its a couple sizes to big, get it anyways.  Kids grow, and they grow fast so building a practical stock pile of clothes in bigger sizes from great finds can really help you save a ton.
I shop seasonal consignment sales, where my local thrift store marks certain colored tags down to $1 a piece.  I have picked up some of the most expensive brands at the mall in like new condition for just a buck a piece.  Now I have a few storage bins for each child in my basement and as they grow into a new size, my first stop is their bins to see what I already have tucked away for them.
 
7. Host a clothing swap party for all your extra hammy downs.  Have a bunch of moms over, serve some wine and chips, relax, and swap clothes.  If you have boy clothes to get rid of and need baby girl clothes and a friend needs to get rid of a clothes her daughters outgrown and needs boys clothes, this could be a party.  Now add a handful of moms with different sizes, genders, and needs and this could be a productive and fun get together.
 
8. Shop discount department stores and outlets.  Anthony loves Under Armour,  Jordan, and other labels that would cost me a fortune at the mall.  However at stores like Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack these brands are very affordable.  Outlet malls are also a great place to find a deal, I love taking trips up to our local outlet center over holiday weekends when they have awesome sale events. 
 
9. Save clothes to pass down to younger siblings.  Anthony is 2 sizes bigger than Aidan, so I can usually get by without needing to buy Aidan jeans or shorts because Anthony has so many to pass down.  Plus any older t-shirts and sweatshirts work great for lounging and pajamas.
 
10. As your child outgrows all these bargains, gather all the clothes that aren’t stained or ripped and bring them into your favorite consignment stores and recoup some of the original cost and put it towards the next cycle of clothes.

Don’t just be a Soccer Mom, Be a Sideline Hero! Check out my Sideline Kit including POWERADE® and Fruit Cones!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SidelineHero #CollectiveBias
I never imagined myself becoming a soccer mom, a sports mom, or anything of the sort.  I was going to be the cool mom, or so I thought.  Who knew back then that what would end up being the coolest in my children’s eyes would be a full fledged, mini van driving, lawn chair carrying, snack packing, sitting on a field all day cheering, soccer mom!  So that’s what I am, every Saturday morning I help strap on shin pads, lace up cleats, and get my players down to the field, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Seeing the passion in their eyes as they play their games, and watching the friendships and bonds they make with their teammates and coach is incomparable.

Season after season, I’ve learned what I needed to pack the most for the field and have come up with my Ultimate Sideline Kit.  These are the things that keep my kids and their teammates happy and hydrated, and me comfortable on a field for endless hours so I can cheer on my teams.
Luckily as a busy mom, I’m able to stock and restock the back of my mini van with everything I need to bring at Walmart.  So whats in my Sideline Kit?
 
First and foremost is a beverage, the players are running, sweating, and during many games under the hot sun.  They need to stay hydrated, and I trust POWERADE® to replenish them with its ION4® Advanced Electrolyte System helps replenish four electrolytes lost in sweat: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  Plus the kids love the flavors, so its a win/win!
The second most important thing I need to remember to pack is a team snack.  I like to keep it nutritional with fresh fruits and veggies, and on some weeks I like to get a little creative and make snack time an extra fun break for the team.  One of my kids favorite snack options are fruit cones, Ice cream cones that are dipped in a bit of chocolate and then packed with fresh fruit.  The kids get their servings of fruit in and get it’s served in an extra special sweet treat!
My Fruit Cones Recipe:
Ingredients:
Ice Cream Cones
Melting Chocolate
Fresh Fruit
Melt your chocolate in a bowl big enough to fit the top of your ice cream cones.
Dip the tops of your cones in the chocolate and scoop a little into the bottom of the cone,  you could use team colored chocolate for an extra fun pop of color, but my boys like milk chocolate the best.
Either let the cones stand for a while so the chocolate can harden or place them in the fridge for several minutes.
Once the chocolate is firm, stuff them with fresh fruit.  I usually use oranges, different types of berries, and grapes.  Once they are packed full, I use the left over chocolate to drizzle over the top of the fruit.
For my Sideline Kit, I wrap them in plastic and then put the fruit cones inside a fun bag with their POWERADE® and then seal up the bags with a cute soccer sticker.
This makes for some very happy kids during snack time!
Some other important things I need in my Sideline Kit are:
Sunscreen, the kids (and me) are on an open field with the sun beating down.  Its important to keep them protected.
Extra layers, in New England we start the spring season with snow banks still on the street corners and end it with beach weather, and the fall season is reversed.  So I always keep a couple extra sweatshirts in my soccer bag, and a few long sleeve shirts that fit easily under the kids jerseys.
Phone aka my camera, to capture these precious moments!
Mini First Aid Kit, with bandages wet wipes, and antibacterial ointment.  The big kids fall and it doesn’t seem to faze them but the little ones always need a little extra loving when they see a bloody knee.
Soccer ball, yes the teams have balls but when one child’s game is over and another one starts, I often have a child wanting to run off and kick a ball around.
Lawn chair/blanket to sit on,  my lawn chairs are permanently in the back of the van from the start of spring soccer season to the end of the fall soccer season.  I also usually have a blanket in there so that when the kids games are at different times, the kids not playing have a comfortable place to rest.
Extra snacks and POWERADE® for when my players are finished with a game and still have to hang around the field waiting for their brother or sister to finish.
Before I had kids I never imagined myself as a soccer mom.  The thought of a mini van nearly made me gag, but now with three little soccer stars, I wouldn’t trade in my mini van driving, soccer mommy, sideline hero life for anything in the world!
 I’ve shared my sideline kit ideas with you. I’d love to hear about yours!  How you prepare for game days?
No matter who you are, we all started from the same place – just a kid from somewhere. POWERADE® believes that we all have the ability to power through and reach our athletic potential. POWERADE® is teaming up with the Boys and Girls Club, providing the belief, emotional and physical support, and hydration young athletes need to perform.
Get social with POWERADE® for more Sideline Hero tips:

Getting Anthony his First Cell Phone with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChangingPrepaid #CollectiveBias 
#Shop, #Ad, #Cbias, #ChangingPrepaid, #CollectiveBias
Anthony will be turning 10 soon and we are starting to give him a little more independence.  
I don’t know where the time went, my little boy went from sippy cups and cheerios to technology obsessed and picking out his own clothes.  As he reaches the double digits we agreed to get him his first cell phone with a prepaid plan.
 
We don’t have a house phone because both my husband and I have cell phones and the kids know how to work them incase of an emergency.  With two cell phones, having an extra landline phone and the bill that comes along with it didn’t make sense to us.  This is the main reason we are agreeing to let him have his own prepaid phone.
 
 Anthony will soon begin learning how to stay home alone for short periods of time and I want him to have a way of contacting me or emergency help.  However Anthony is still young so we have decided to implement several rules to go along with this phone privilege, and because we are using a Simply Prepaid plan from T-Mobile, I can cancel the phone at any time. 

These are 5 rules we currently have in our house, I’m sure these will change as he gets older.

 
Our Family Cell Phone Rules:
1) Phones can not be brought to school.
2) Mommy and Daddy get access to the cell phone at anytime.
3) Bedroom must stay clean and chores have to be done or the bill will not be paid.
4) Homework and reading needs to be finished every afternoon before the phone gets turned on.
  5) No texting photos or videos.
 
Once we agreed it was time for Anthony to get his first cell plan, we had to start looking into cell phones and calling plan options.  We knew we wanted a prepaid plan because we didn’t want to worry about overages or being locked into an annual contact.  However prepaid plans often have slow data, a spotty network, and less of a selection of phones.  This was worrysome for me because I wanted to be sure the signal would work at several different places, especially my parents house where a signal can be hard to get.  It was also disappointing to Anthony who really wanted a “cool” phone. 
We were excited to visit our local Walmart, and see that they were introducing Simply Prepaid™  from T-Mobile.   Simply Prepaid showed us we didn’t have to settle for second-rate prepaid wireless!  Which was a huge surprise.
#Shop, #Ad, #Cbias, #ChangingPrepaid, #CollectiveBias
  Anthony loved the phone options and his new Samsung Galaxy Avant is a perfect fit.  It’s a nice smart phone that doesn’t break the bank. 
I was relieved that the plans run on T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE network, so I knew the coverage would be great. 
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Choosing a plan with Simply Prepaid was also a smooth process,  their prepaid wireless plans offer unlimited talk, text, and data with your choice of a high-speed data amount, starting at $40 a month.  This gives him the ability to talk and text with his uncle in South Carolina as much as he wants, play games and watch movies all without me worrying about him burning through a plan or occurring overage charges.
  We were also able to put parental controls on the phone during the activation process which was a great perk to me. 
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 This phone plan has been awesome for us.  As we come into spring, the kids are getting busier everyday with sports, school activities, and play dates.  I love having the piece of mind that comes with being able to get in contact with Anthony anytime I want, whether he’s at the soccer field while I’m running to dance or at a friends house.
Best of all, Anthony has been playing and texting with his uncle every night over the phone.  His uncle moved to South Carolina a couple years ago and Anthony really misses him and the bond they shared.  Its amazing watching him reconnect with my brother. 
So far giving him his own phone has been a great experience.
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