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Family Road Trip Essentials – What to Do & Pack for a Great Road Trip

July 20, 2016

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Road Trip Essentials Last week, my hubby, daughter and I went on a great road trip from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico. (See our fun little family road trip video below)

We’re evidently not the only ones hitting the road this summer.  With gas prices so low this year, (AAA reports that travelers hitting the road will pay the lowest summer gas prices since 2005), more travelers than ever are hitting the road.

If you’re hitting the road with your family, you want to make sure you’ve got everything you need.  We got you covered.  Here’s your Ultimate Family Road Trip Checklist and Packing List.14533913873_0d5025b02d_z

2-4 Weeks Before You Go On a Trip

  • Ensure that your car battery is in good conditioning
  • Check your vehicle’s engine oil level and its color
  • Check the vehicle’s coolant
  • Get any major repairs done to the vehicle
  • If you don’t have a car or will be driving a rental car, make a reservation to rent one.

1 Week Before You Go On a Trip

  • Check the tire pressure
  • Check the vehicle’s air filter
  • Buy a road atlas or free maps from AAA if you’re a member
  • Buy snacks and first aid kit supplies
  • Check your Vehicle’s Load Capacity

1 Day Before the Trip

  • Check GPS for travel suggestions and traffic or detour warnings
  • Prepare a map as a backup
  • Keep your mobile phone fully charged in case of emergency
  • Check your car insurance policy and carry the valid proof of insurance in the car
  • Pack all the items you will need from the Ultimate Road Trip Packing List for Families (below)

The Ultimate Road Trip Packing List for Families:

Health & Safety

  • Bandaids in various sizes
  • First Aid kit
  • Flushable wet wipes
  • Extra Diapers (if necessary)
  • Benadryl for surprise allergies in new places
  • A bucket with several plastic grocery bags tucked inside for surprise “travel tummy” scenarios
  • Sunblock
  • Children’s Tylenol
  • Tylenol or other headache medicine for adults
  • Heartburn meds for adults
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tweezers
  • Large scissors and/or Seat Belt Cutting Tool

General Organization:

  • Change of clothes for each kid, easily accessible in case of spills or sickness
  • Pens & Paper
  • Sunglasses by each kids’ seat
  • Window shades for babies
  • Travel pillows
  • Blankets (for when you can’t agree on air conditioning levels, or for impromptu picnics at rest areas)
  • Diaper/pull ups for all kids up through age 5 just in case
  • Umbrellas
  • Car Phone chargers
  • Auxiliary Cables
  • Towel: can be used as seat cover, cleaning tool, picnic blanket, and more
  • Slippers: more comfy than shoes for a long drive
  • Cash in varying denominations
  • Coins for tolls
  • Batteries &/or chargers for any devices you bring

Food

  • Bags for garbage
  • Re-usable water bottles
  • Individually packaged, crumb-free snacks (e.g., bite-sized goldfish crackers)
  • Hard to bruise fruits (e.g., apples, berries) and/or fruit roll-ups or fruit leathers
  • Trail Mix

Entertainment

  • Playlist of family music (you can find great playlists on Pandora or Spotify)
  • Headphones for each kid
  • iPad or other tablet with movies & educational games
  • External battery charger for digital devices
  • Audio books that are good for the whole family (e.g., Harry Potter or Narnia)
  • Swimsuits and towels for the whole family in one easy to grab tote bag
  • Jump ropes and balls for exercise breaks at rest stops

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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Family Beach Day Checklist

July 12, 2016

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Family Beach Day ChecklistIt’s time for a family beach day!  Grab this Family Beach Day Checklist and start gathering your items to make sure that you’ve got everything you need for a day of fun in the sun with the whole family.

Get the free printable Beach Day PDF Checklist here.

Gear:

  • Beach Towels
  • Umbrellas/ Beach Tent
  • Beach Chairs
  • Water Resistant/Outdoor Blanket

Clothing & Accessories:

  • Beach Bag
  • Swim Suit
  • Cover Up
  • Swim Goggles
  • Floaties
  • Flip Flops/Water Shoes
  • Rash Guards
  • Change of Clothes
  • Hair Tie
  • Hair Brush

Sun Protection:

Kids Playing in Water

  • Water-Proof Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Food & Drinks:

  • Lots of Drinking Water
  • Juice Boxes or Other Beverages
  • Snacks (e.g., sandwiches, fruit, cut up veggies, pita chips, hummus, crackers, etc.)
  • Cooler with Ice or Ice Packs
  • Napkins, Plates, Utensils
  • Extra Bags for Garbage 

Pinterest Beach Day Checklist

Entertainment:

  • Beach Toys (buckets and pails, beach balls)
  • Frisbee
  • Reading Materials (books, magazines, tablet)
  • Headphones or Bluetooth Speakers
  • Boogie Boards or Surf Boards 

Extras:

  • Wallet
  • Cash
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand Sanitzer/Wet Wipes 

Beach Hack Items: 

  • Plastic Sandwich baggies
  • Baby Powder
  • “Fake” Dirty Diaper/Empty Jumbo Sunscreen Bottle
  • Uninflated balloons

That’s all you need for a great day at the shore!  Enjoy your day and let us know how it goes!

Click here to get the free printable Beach Day PDF Checklist.

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at Checklist Parent.  She has made it her mission to empower parents to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, yogi, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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5 Beach Hacks That Are Borderline Genius

July 8, 2016

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It’s Summertime and that means trips to the beach! In this post we share with you 5 ingenious beach hacks to help you have a super fun, safe, and relaxing beach day!

  1. Photo by Monick Halm 2016

    Photo by Monick Halm 2016

    Put Your iPhone in a Sandwich Bag
    We all want our smart phones with us at the beach, but you don’t want them to get sandy or wet. Putting your iphone in a sandwich bag will protect your phone from the elements, but still allow you to work the touch screen.

  2. Store Your Valuables in a “Used” Diaper

    You want to go off into the ocean, but what do you do with your valuables left on the shore? You can put your money, keys and other valuables in a stealth item no one will thing to touch – a seemingly used diaper! Only the sickest person will try for that. If you don’t have a diaper, you can also use an empty jumbo sized sunscreen bottle or an empty tampon box.

  3. Use Baby Powder to Remove Sand

    You are done with the beach and even though you’ve showered off, sand is still sticking to your feet, legs, hair, or other parts of your body? Here’s a great trick to quickly remove it. Use baby powder. It removes moisture and the sand just comes right off.

  4. Blow Up a Balloon to Unclog Your Ears

    You went into the ocean or pool and have water in your ears? A quick way to get rid of it is to blow up a deflated balloon. If it doesn’t work at first, try plugging up your nose while blowing.

    Photo by Monick Halm 2016

    Photo by Monick Halm 2016

  5. Put Steering Wheel in Upside Down Position When You Park

    Ever come back from a long day of surf and sun to an excruciatingly hot steering wheel? You can avoid burning the skin off your hands by putting the wheel in upside down position when you park. The bottom will get heated, but the top where you place your hands to drive will be cooler.

5 Beach Hacks

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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Fourth of July BBQ Checklist

June 28, 2016

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The Ultimate 4th of July BBQ ChecklistThe Fourth of July is coming up!  Are you planning on having a party?  

If so, we’ve got the ultimate checklist for you to make sure you’ve got everything you need handled. Just follow this list and enjoy your shindig with less stress, less mess, and much less fuss.    

TWO WEEKS BEFORE

  • Make guest list and send out invitations – for a casual affair like a 4th of July BBQ, e-mail invitations are fine.

WEEK BEFORE

  • Enlist help. You will need assistance with cleaning, bringing dishes, manning the barbecue, serving drinks, etc. Figure out who can help with what. And many of your guests will offer – to help set up, bring a side, or clean up. Take them up on it and add what they are doing to your list!
  • Clean the house. Top to bottom. Yes, the week before. This may seem like it’s a bit ahead of schedule but if you do a big clean ahead of time, the day before your BBQ you’ll only need to wipe down your kitchen, the surfaces guests will see, and the bathrooms guests will use. [Unless you live in my house, where within 12 hours, the house looks like it’s never been touched. ;)]
  • Confirm Guest List. Make calls or send e-mails if you haven’t heard back from people you have invited.
  • Decide where you’re hosting your party.
    • Make sure you have enough seating and shade.
    • If it’s your backyard, schedule when you will mow the grass, set up tents, etc. Also make sure you have a contingency plan in case of rain.
  • Plan your menu. Consider how many people you expect and what food you’d like to serve. Make lists of what you have, what you need, and any other necessary items Items you’ll need
    • Meats for the grill (e.g., burgers, hotdogs, ribs, salmon)
    • Buns
    • Vegetables for the grill (e.g., corn, bell peppers, zuchini, eggplant)
    • Side dishes (e.g., baked beans, guacamole, potato salad, cole slaw)
    • Chips & Dips
    • Desserts (e.g., ice cream, cupcakes)
    • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
    • Plates
    • Cups
    • Napkins
    • Cutlery
    • Table cloths
    • Serving platters
    • Serving spoons
  • Decorations. Decide which decorations, if any, you’d like. Decorations can be as simple as red, white and blue napkins and table cloths and decorated cupcakes.
 A FEW DAYS BEFORE
  • Do your shopping. Unless there’s an item you need to buy fresh the day of the BBQ, picking things up ahead of time will save you stress.
  • Confirm Your Serving Dishes. Match up your many to any cooking/serving dishes you will want to use. Missing something? Borrow or buy it now.
  • Pick Your Outfit. You don’t want to be trying to figure this out as your guests ring the doorbell. Keep in mind you want to be relaxed and comfy.
THE DAY BEFORE
  • Set up. As much as possible. Lay out your serving dishes, set up tables and chairs, and put up any decorations your heart desires.
  • Do a Last Minute Tidy. Wipe down surfaces, and make sure guest bathrooms and party areas are neat.
  • Buy Ice (or have tap someone to buy ice for the day of the party)
  • Cook and prep any items that can be done in advance  
    • Make your pasta or potato salads.
    • Shuck your corn on the cob.
    • Make your dips.
    • Marinate your meats and vegetables.
    • Bake your desserts but leave the icing for the day of the party so it’s fresh.
  • Create a music playlist.  Great music always helps set the perfect vibe.  Organize your playlist so that when guests come, all you have to do is hit Play. If you don’t like having to make your own, you can find lots of great ones pre-made on Spotify.
TWO HOURS BEFORE
  • Last Minute Prep. 
    • Cut up your veggies,
    • Put chips in their bowls,
    • Set up drinks in coolers with ice.
    • Frost any deserts that need to be frosted.
AN HOUR BEFORE
  • Glam up. Shower and get ready before your fabulous guests arrive.
PARTY TIME
  • Party! Put out appetizers and greet your guests. Make yourself a cool drink and relax.
  • Have fun! You’ve worked your booty off to have a great party. Enjoy it!

4th of July BBQ Party Checklist

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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10 Great Movies for Mother’s Day – 52 Checklists Project Week 18

May 6, 2016

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snappa-1462507626This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  One of my favorite things to do as a mom is to watch movies with my family.  There are some great movies featuring strong, wonderful mother characters.  And for this week’s 52 Checklists Project checklist, I’ve made a list of 10 Great Mother’s Day Movies.

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      • Steel Magnolias – This is one of my favorite movies and Sally Field is the most wonderful mom in this.  Julie Roberts plays her daughter Shelby.  It’s very funny and a complete tear jerker.  Bring the tissues for this one. Just watching the trailer again made me teary.
      • Stepmom – This is another movie featuring Julia Roberts and is about the relationship of the biological mother and step-mother to two children.  As a stepmother I can particularly relate to this movie.  It’s really very lovely and also a complete tear jerker (tissue warning!).  It also makes me feel very lucky that I never experienced that type of friction with the mom of my step-kids.  We love each other!
      • Joy Luck Club – This is a wonderful movie about 4 mothers and their daughters.  I first fell in love with Amy Tan’s book of the same name, but the movie was a good adaptation.  As a first generation American whose mom went through her own trials and tribulations to make it to this country, I particularly resonated with this story.  I think this is a story that works for any mother and/or daughter though.
    • Mamma Mia – In this movie, Donna (played by the always wonderful Meryl Streep), is an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, preparing for her daughter Sophie’s wedding with the help of two old friends. Meanwhile Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), has a plan. She secretly invites three men from her mother’s past in hope of meeting her real father and having him escort her down the aisle on her big day.  The great ABBA music is a bonus. 
    • The Blindside – in an Academy Award winning portrayal of real life mom Leigh Ann Touhy, Sandra Bullock plays a mom who takes in and becomes the legal guardian of a homeless African-American teen.  Through her family’s love and tutelage he graduates school and becomes a pro football star.
    • Terms of Endearment- This is another movie that will make you laugh and cry.  In this movie, Shirley McLain (who also stars in Steel Magnolia) plays widow Aurora Greenway who is the prickly mother to Emma (played by Debra Winger).  They have a strong bond that is tested when Emma marries teacher Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels) against her mother’s wishes.  This is a great movie of love, heartache, and most of all the gorgeous relationship between mother and daughter.  
    • Forrest Gump– The main character is Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks), but his mother (played by Sally Field)’s love and fierce determination is such a critical feature of the Forrest’s character development that I think this movie merits a place in the Mother’s Day Movies checklist.  (This is the second movie I’ve chosen in which Sally Field is the mom. And I almost added to this list Mrs. Doubtfire – another great movie in which she plays a mom.  I guess I really love movies where she plays mamas).  
    • Beaches – This is really the story of two best friends, but in the end they both become mothers. You should watch this one because it’s awesome.  It’s also one the requires tissues.
    • The Kids Are Alright – This is a great movie about a family with two moms.  In this movie lesbian couple Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together for almost 20 years and have two teenage offspring named Joni and Laser, who were conceived via artificial insemination. Unbeknown to their mothers, Joni and Laser seek out their biological father, a restaurateur named Paul (Mark Ruffalo) and invite him into their lives. Complications ensue… Dum Dum Dum!
    • Corrina Corrina -When Manny Singer (played by Ray Liotta)’s wife dies, his young daughter Molly becomes mute and withdrawn. To help cope with looking after Molly, he hires sassy housekeeper Corrina Washington (played by Whoopi Goldberg), who coaxes Molly out of her shell and shows father and daughter a whole new way of life. Manny and Corrina’s friendship delights Molly and enrages the other townspeople.  This is a great movie about love despite boundaries.

 

Those are the 10 Great Mother’s Day Movies on my checklist. What is on your list? What’s your favorite Mother’s Day movie?  Please share in the comments.

Also, if you’d like to access our free printable Mother’s Day checklist to make sure it’s a great day for mom you can do so HERE.

10 Great Mother's Day Movies - 52 Checklist Project

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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Happy Mother’s Day – Free Mother’s Day Checklist

May 4, 2016

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Free Printable Mother's Day ChecklistMother’s Day is coming up this weekend.  Do you have everything you need to make Mother’s Day a special event?  Or are you a mother who’d like to make sure that the people in her life know how to make this a special day for you?  If so, you’re in luck.  We’ve compiled a free checklist you can use to make sure it’s a special Mother’s Day.  You can access the Mother’s Day Checklist on your iPhone or iPad using the Checklist Mom app.  It’s one of the suggested lists under the “New Mom” icon.  Or print out our free printable Mother’s Day checklist for yourself, leave it in a conspicuous place, or just forward this post to your special someone.

 

Mother's Day Checklist

Mother’s Day Checklist

1. Cards

2. Flowers

3. Gifts

  • Shop & Order Early — Remember gifts bought online or through a catalog will take time to ship. Give yourself plenty of lead time or budget for rush delivery.
  • Make a Gift – You can choose to DIY and make a special gift. This is especially great to do with kids. Give yourself enough time to gather materials and make the gift.
  • Wrap Gifts — Wrap gifts and attach cards ahead of time. For added impact, place Mom’s gifts in the living room or on the breakfast tray for Mother’s Day morning.

4. Activities Out

  • Make Reservations — Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, so plan and reserve in advance. Also resorts, amusement parks, hotels and bed & breakfasts fill up fast as well. Make any reservations at least a week in advance.
  • Buy Tickets — Any event on Mother’s Day will probably be well attended. If you plan on taking in a play, movie, concert or sporting event make sure to purchase tickets in advance.
  • Plan on One of Mom’s Favorite Activities — Whatever your special mom loves – whether it’s antique fairs, motorcycles, zoos, or anything else – bring her/allow her to indulge in that for Mother’s Day. If you have outdoor plans, check the weather and have alternate plans in mind.

5. Fun at Home

  • Movies— Get and watch fun Mother’s Day themed movies at home.  Check out our blog post – 10 Great Movies to Watch on Mother’s Day for ideas.
  • Games — Does Mom love games? If so, Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for some family fun and togetherness, in game mode!

6. Cooking for Mom

  • Recipes — If cooking for Mom, make sure you’ve selected the recipe or recipes you like and have the recipe on hand.
  • Groceries — Do your grocery shopping the day before (or make sure there will be time Sunday morning to go out and get what you need).
  • Clean Up Afterwards — Make sure the chores are done (kitchen and dining area clean), and mom can relax.

7. General Preparation

  • Check In with the Family — if you’re planning to visit any family (e.g.,  grandmothers, aunts, friends) phone several days in advance to confirm plans.
  • Have Kids Finish Homework — Minimize any potential worries that might get in the way of a fun and carefree Mother’s Day, and make sure homework is complete by Saturday.
  • Have Cameras Ready — Take plenty of pictures to remember the special day.

That’s our Mother’s Day checklist! What are your plans for Mother’s Day?  Let us know in the comments and please share this post with anyone who you feel could use it.

 

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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10 Kids Movies Adults Will Love Too – 52 Checklists Project Week 16

April 20, 2016

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10 Kids Movies Adults Will Love TooFor this week’s Checklist Project, I’m sharing  my 10 Favorite Kids Movies That are Enjoyable for Adults.  

My daughter loves watching kids’ movies, and I like taking her to see movies.  In my opinion though, many kids movies are pretty dreadful and painful to watch.  I compiled a checklist of some movies to watch with your kids that you will also love.  These are my favorite eleven (I know I wrote 10, but I wanted to share a bonus).10 Kids Movies You'll Love Too

    • Zootopia: I brought my daughter to see this one over Spring Break and we both loved it.  My 16-year old step-son went with his friends and they all loved it too.  This is definitely a great one for all ages. 

    • Labyrinth: This is an oldie, but a goodie.  I loved this one when I was a child.  When I saw it again with my daughter, we both loved it still.  I feel particularly nostalgic about Labyrinth given David Bowie’s recent passing.

    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This is a holiday movie, and one of my favorites.  It’s 30 minutes of pure goodness.  I particularly love the dog Max.   I had a hard time deciding between this one and the movie Elf, another holiday favorite of our whole family.  

    • The Incredibles: I saw this when I was an adult, but before I had kids.  I absolutely loved this movie.  When I showed my kids they all felt similarly – who can’t relate to a family of super heroes with super normal problems?  

    • Meet the Robinsons: This is another favorite movie of mine.  I love the message in this movie about how it’s ok to experiment and fail. In fact, it’s more than ok, it should be celebrated.  

    • Up: This is such a sweet movie and has one of the best love story montage scenes EVER.  Though this is a kids’ movie it really speaks to people of all ages and is a reminder that you’re never too old to follow your dreams.

    • Princess Bride: This is another oldie, but a goodie.  I find it so hard to believe that this movie is 26 years old!!!  It’s great for kids and hilarious for adults.  It also is one of the most quotable movies.  I’ve seen this movie a million times and love it more every time.

    • Shrek Series: I’m including all the movies in this series because DreamWorks managed to pull off 4 spectacularly funny and well-told movies.  They were all great, and the jokes work on many levels to entertain the whole family.

    • Toy Story series: This was another film series that managed to stay strong with all 3 movies.  These stories of change and loss and friendship definitely speak to people of all ages.  I loved them and my kids did too.

    • Pee Wee’s Big Adventure: This strange and hilarious little movie is definitely one of my favorites.  I thought it was so great when I first saw it and have fallen more in love with it in each re-watching.  It’s available on Netflix now and I recently watched it with my 7-year old.  We were both crying with laughter.  This old gem has certainly held up over the years.  

    • Earth to Echo: I really do love this movie, but I’m making it a bonus because I am a bit biased.  My son, Teo Halm, stars in the movie.  I’ve seen it many, many times (not including the times I was on set watching it get made), and I still laugh and even tear up a bit at the end.  It’s a very sweet movie that’s great for the entire family.    

So that’s my “Kids Movies Adults Will Love Too” Checklist.   It turns out that it was pretty hard to limit it to just 10.  As I dug deeper I remembered more and more great kids movies.  What are your favorite kids movies?  What’s on your checklist?  Share it in the comments, on twitter or on Facebook with the tag #52checklistsproject.

10 Kids Movies Adults Will Love Too

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Kids

April 19, 2016

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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your KidsEarth Day is coming up this Friday and it’s a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about taking care of the environment.  This is something that I’m really passionate about teaching my kids.

I’m not sure why, but people in the part of Los Angeles where I live really litter!  Sometimes I’ll even see people driving down the street and they’ll throw their trash out the window!  It drives me and my husband nuts.  Once he went to talk to someone who’d just dumped a bag of trash on the street and asked him “Why did you throw that on the street?”  The guy responded “Because the street cleaners come and pick it up.”  My husband replied “They only come once a week!”  The guy just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.  Grrrr.

I was raised that you NEVER littered.  You picked up after yourself and you left a place at least as clean as you found it.  Because I live around so many people who obviously were not raised that way, I’m obsessive about making sure my kids have more respect for their neighborhood, city, and world.  Litter is just one of the problems challenging our environment and it’s up to us and our keeps to make sure that the world is around (or we humans are around) for future generations to keep enjoying it.  Earth Day is a wonderful time to bring that message home to our kids.

Towards that end, I gathered 5 easy ways to share Earth Day and the importance of nature with your kids.

  • 800px-MCAS_Yuma's_Environmental_Department,_CDC_assist_kids_with_Earth_Day_event_130425-M-HL954-163PLANT SOMETHING: Go into the garden or even a potted plant for the house.  Plant a tree, flowers, herbs, a vegetable garden.  Allow your kids to play in the dirt and get their hands dirty.  Then you will all enjoy watching your plant(s) grow and maybe eating of the fruits of your labors.
  • CLEAN SOMETHING: Earth Day is a wonderful time for a clean up.  Grab the kids, some rubber gloves and some trash bags and pick up trash from the beach, creek, city streets or anywhere else you find litter.  If you go online, you will likely find organized clean-ups in your area.
  • LEARN SOMETHING: Take the kids to a museum (natural history museum or science museum), zoo, or farm to learn about nature.  You can also take them on a nature hike and point out the birds, animals, and plants.
  • RECYCLE SOMETHING: bottlesGather up and return bottles and cans to a recycling center (you can even do something fun with the money you get back).  You can also create a recycled material craft.  
  • REDUCE SOMETHING: Teach your kids about the importance of reducing.  Turn off the lights.  Save on gasoline and bike or walk somewhere to commute.  Visit a Farmer’s Market and save on packaging by buying straight from the farmers.

Those are some ways I came up with to celebrate Earth Day with your kids and teach them to be good stewards of our natural resources.  How are you going to celebrate Earth Day?  Let me know in the comments.

How will you and your kids celebrate earth day

 

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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The Biggest Mistake I’ve Made as a Mom

April 5, 2016

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The Biggest Mistake I've Made as a MomI’m far from being a perfect mom.  I make mistakes all the time.  I can definitely lose my patience and raise my voice from time to time.  My kids don’t have the best sleep schedules (my little one could be part vampire – at least I’ve never had the issue of her waking up before me and getting me out of bed), and I’ll let my kid just eat pasta with olive oil and salt for days so she will JUST EAT SOMETHING.  But I don’t think any of those things are the biggest mistake I’ve made as a mom.

I think the biggest mistake I’ve made as a mom has been to not prioritize having fun and quality time with the kids.  I feel like my interactions are more of the purposeful, task-oriented variety – getting them up and ready for school, eating or rather negotiating eating, making sure homework is done, chauffeuring to extra-curricular activities, getting kids to do chores, etc.  By the end of the day I’m exhausted.  My husband has the bedtime routine where he tells stories and has the quality time.  I feel like my biggest mistake has not been prioritizing the fun and quality time.  Someone does need to keep the ship running and on course, but my mistake has been to be so focused on the ship running that I haven’t focused enough on enjoying the journey with my shipmates – my husband and kids.

I shared before the story of my challenging childhood with my mom.  When I was young it seemed my mom was only focused on making sure we ate, were clean, did homework, did our chores, etc. Those were important things, but I don’t have any memories of fun times with her as a child.  In contrast, I have vivid memories of going to the duck pond or the library with my dad or just sitting and having tea with him and talking.  The fact that I don’t have any similar memories with my mom makes me very sad.  The thought of my kids might not having similar memories with me makes me even sadder.

So, I have shifted some things.  I am sharing some other duties with my husband and taking my turns at bedtimes and story times.  I am prioritizing fun outings with the kids and fun experiences, because I want to leave my kids with great memories (not of how much homework I got them to do, but of how much joy we managed to have).  How about you?  How do you get quality time in with your kids?

I took Aliza on a boating and kayaking trip.

Last weekend I took Aliza on a boating and kayaking trip.

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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10 Fun Spring Break Activities to Do With Your Kids

March 23, 2016

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Spring Break is upon us!  Are you wondering what to do with your kids?  If so, we have the answer for you.  Here are 10 fun family friendly activities (many of which are free) that you can do with your kids this Spring Break.  Read below to also get your free downloadable Family Travel Checklist PDF.

1. Road Trip! Go someplace within easy driving distance – like a nearby city or a national park. This year is the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Parks and there are probably some amazing parks in easy driving distance of wherever you are.CLM Travel Packing Checklist

If you’re going on a trip, you  to make sure that you pack wisely.  Click Here to get your free downloadable Travel Packing Checklist PDF and make sure that you remember everything.

2. Staycate. Be a tourist in your own city and visit spots in your city that you or your kids have never been to. Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 15 years there are still plenty of places – new and old – I’d love to discover and bring my kids. I’m sure there are interesting spots near you to bring your kids to discover.

3. Go Camping. Pack up the tent and sleeping bags and take your family camping. There’s nothing like campfires, open air, and no cell phone reception to bring a family closer together.

4. Volunteer. Volunteering is always a wonderful activity to do as a family. If you’d like some help to find kid-friendly volunteer opportunities, you can check out the blog post I wrote on How to Find Kid Friendly Volunteer Opportunities.

5. Plant a Vegetable Garden. As the ground thaws, it’s the perfect time for planting. Early spring is good for planting hardy and semi-hardy vegetables like spinach, kale, carrots, beets, broccoli and leeks. You’ll enjoy eating your harvest and the kids will love digging in the dirt with you.

6. Spring Clean. Are you thinking “wait… cleaning isn’t fun. How am I going to get the kids to do that?!” The answer is make it into a game. Race to see who can pick up the most items off the floor or gather the most dust on a cloth. Pretend you’re all Cinderella or the seven dwarves and sing while you work. Anything can be fun if you do it together and you play.

7. Get crafty. Pull out your craft supplies, surf Pinterest for ideas, and get crafty with the kids.

8. Go Spring Skiing. Many mountains still have snow, and the slopes are probably not as crowded as during the winter holidays. This break is a perfect time for spring skiing.

9. Hit the Beach. Drive or fly to the nearest beach and enjoy the sun, surf, and sand. After experiencing winter, getting to the ocean is one of spring break’s greatest joys.

10. Pajama Days. Spend the whole day in PJs watching movies and reading. There are few things I love more than this. After the frantic pace of our usual lives, one of the greatest luxuries is to do nothing at all.

Those are our 10 ideas for enjoying spring break with your family. What are you doing for spring break?  Share in the comments below.what will you and your family do for spring break?

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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