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Footwear essentials

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 7, 2022 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1196)

By: Rev. Dr. Stephanie Noircent

There are billions of shoes available for purchase in stores. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're confronted with rows upon rows of footwear. Where do you start? When you have a budget to stick to or you just don't want to clutter your closet, you need to know what you need and stick to it. Here are footwear essentials you will need throughout the year.

Cute boots. Are you going out to a fun party, or just want to look fashionable during the fall? Boots are perfect for this occasion! Whether you prefer ankle boots, thigh-highs or just below the knees, leather or suede boots are a must-have. You can choose the heel you're most comfortable with and try on different styles. You're sure to find one you love, and then you'll have them to wear with a flirty dress, a long sweater, or leggings and a cute top! I would suggest a deep brown or black for the color, since these colors go with everything!

Comfy sneakers. For the sake of your feet, you need at least one pair of comfortable shoes. Whether you're an avid jogger or you have plenty of kids to keep up with, running shoes are probably your best bet. Grab some tennis shoes if you prefer, and get them in a color where they will match almost anything. Often people get grey, black or white in color. If you do get them in white, be sure to keep them clean so they still look new.

Dress shoes. For work is most often when you need dress shoes, but also to wear to a loved one's wedding. Sensible shoes are a must and really show off an elegant yet professional style perfect for a corporate job interview, being a boss babe at work, or having nice footwear at that office party. Preferrably in black or silver, make sure these shoes can match any formal outfit to finish off your look.

Winter boots. Especially if you live where it snows, winter boots are a no-brainer. Depending on how deep the snow gets, you need to get boots made with according height. If you go in deeper snow, get boots that go up to your mid-calf or higher. Make sure they can withstand low temperatures so they keep your feet nice and toasty. A comfort fit is best; you don't want blisters while you're trudging around in the freezing cold. Black would be a good color to go with so it matches everything. It's even better if you have a black winter coat to go with it! If not, you can always get boots that match your coat.

Sandals. During the warmer months where even socks make your feet sweat, sandals are the way to go. If you're on a super tight budget, crocs and flip-flops are sold at the dollar store. If you can go a little higher, Payless Shoe Source has many selections at a great price. If you think ahead, you may even get a discount if you shop for them during the colder months. Get a color that matches the sundresses, shorts or tops you wear during the summer and late spring. 

With all of these choices, you are sure to keep your feet healthy and happy. You won't be scratching your head wondering what shoes to wear, and you'll be covered for at least the rest of the year. Enjoy!

Get ready with me! My Morning Routine

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 21, 2022 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (4)

By: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent

Get ready with me! Here is my morning routine that I try to stick to as much as possible, whenever possible. Of course, sometimes there are appointments thrown in there or it's the summer so the kids have no school. Here is what my morning routine looks like most of the time.

Get dressed. I often just grab what's available and matches with the season. Pants and a long shirt for the winter, shorts and a tank top or T-shirt for spring, a dress for summer. Sometimes I put some thought into it and grab something pretty, especially on a special occasion or if I just want to look good.

Wake kids. Often times my oldest child is already awake, so I will have to wake up my youngest. I try to gently wake her by opening the door and going about my business, but sometimes I also go into her room. I rub her back gently and talk to her softly, and sometimes I crawl into bed with her and give her cuddles and kisses. She is always happy to see me and very affectionate and I love it. My oldest often crawls into bed with me very early in the morning, so I get to cuddle and kiss her and keep her warm before it's time to wake up. Once they are up, I make sure they remember to go to the bathroom and I give them their daily multivitamins.

Skin care. I start by washing my face to get rid of the dirt, grime and oil from my face. I do this by double-cleansing, using a water-based face wash and then an oil-based to make sure all makeup is removed, even waterproof. I put on some serum, and then I put on my day cream for the day. I also use sunscreen, but usually later on in the day. 

Makeup. I have a fairly rapid makeup routine since I am in a rush to get the kids out the door. I use a fiber lash mascara to lengthen my lashes, and sometimes a thickening mascara to make my lashes appear thicker. I then put some eyeliner on the outer upper corners of my eyes to give the illusion of a thicker lashline. I then put some chapstick on and some lip gloss, and I'm done. 

Hair. I brush through it thoroughly and then put it into a simple do. Most of the time I pull it back in either a low or a high ponytail. Sometimes I'll use a half-up half-down style, pulling the top half and tying it back to keep it off of my face. 

Breakfast & Feed kids. My husband often takes care of breakfast, but I do also prepare cereal, french toast, eggs, or a fruit salad for my kids. It depends on what they feel like eating, and also what's available in the fridge at that time. I know my youngest loves strawberries and raspberries, and my oldest loves grapes and apples. My husband and I set the food on plates for them and we all eat breakfast together.

Brush Teeth. Once breakfast has been eaten, it's time to brush our teeth! My husband, my kids and I brush our teeth thoroughly, then floss, then use mouthwash. Sometimes the kids put up a fight and say they don't want to brush their teeth, but this is usually because they have decided they want to drink milk or juice. They would know that it would taste weird after brushing thier teeth.

Dress kids. The kids often pick their own clothes, but most of the time at least one of them is evasive and doesn't want to get dressed. I bring them the clothes if they haven't picked it out already and help them put it on if they haven't done it already. It helps on cold winter mornings if my husband runs the clothes through the drier for a few minutes.

Prepare kid's lunch. My husband has been kind enough to make my kids sandwiches at the same time he makes his. So what I do is that I take my oldest's lunch box and fill it with a portion of fruit, a portion of vegetables, some cheese and a drink. It's often either milk, juice, or drinkable yogurt. I put in a cold pack, zip up the lunchbox, and put it in her backpack. I do the same for my youngest.

Kiss husband. I don't ever want my husband to feel left out and I want to give him a healthy dose of love before he heads out for work. I always kiss him before he heads out. We make a point to kiss every morning. If it's a weekend and he happens to be working and the kids are asleep, he will sneak back into the bedroom to kiss me before he leaves. So cute!

Put outerwear on kids. Whether it's a hat and sunglasses for summer or the full snow gear kit, it's the time when I start bringing the outerwear to my kids and help them put it on if needed. I help them find their favorites if we have time if that's what they request. 

Drive them to school. I get the kids in my van, secure them, and I get in myself, put my seatbelt on, and drive them to school. They often like music to be played so I turn on the radio. If it's snowing out, the kids love to help me clear the van's windshield and windows and mirrors from snow. 

Check emails. When I get home I check my emails to see if there are any messages from my kid's school. Sometimes I do this before headed to school in case there is a snow day, depending on what the weather is like outside. I have started checking my email many times a day since it,s the main way my husband communicates with me during his lunch break.

Work on blog. Either now or later is when I start working on my blog. I write and schedule posts, make graphics, check traffic and moderate comments. 

Eat lunch. I make myself some lunch, often something small and simple. My dog loves following me around everywhere and I'll give her some meat scraps. I also check her water dish and food bowl and change her pee pads as needed.

Run errands. If there are groceries to be done, perscriptions to pick up, or call-backs to be made, then this is when I do it. Sometimes it's also early in the morning, it really depends. But I try to do it before I go pick up the kids from school.

There you have it! That's my morning routine. What's yours?

How To Encourage Independent Play

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 28, 2021 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (1)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree

Depending on their age group, children can be extremely attached to their parents; sometimes, too much. There are years where they have great seperation anxiety, and that's okay. They want to be near you because they know that's where they will be safe and loved. Once they start outgrowing this phase however, it's time to start thinking about teaching and encouraging your child to engage in independent playtime.

Whether you work from home or just need a break, it's important to encourage your child engages in independent play. This allows them to focus on the task at hand and accomplish it with better results. There are many more benefits to independent play, including:

Self-reliance. Your child learns that they are able to trust themselves to do certain tasks that they need or want to do. They learn that they are capable of playing alone and spending time by themselves. 

Emotion regulation. Children get to take sensory breaks from the loud voices of people, the blinding bright lights in buildings or the bright sun in their eyes, many people touching them and handling them, and unfamiliar smells. They are able to self-soothe and keep calm, lowering their blood-pressure. 

Cooperation. Kids learn how to cooperate with themselves. They learn that they can control their body and it develops their hand-eye coordination. They also learn about cooperation through building towers with blocks, and how objects have to work together to maintain balance and support one another.

Better learners. Children are better able to notice things like cause and effect, patterns, shapes and colors when they are alone. Focus and concentration are key, and they are able to develop these things when they are able to have time to themselves.

Self-confidence. Kids can build their confidence as they get to be whoever they want while they play. They can run around pretending to be a super-hero and saving the world. They get to perfect their fine motor skills and gross motor skills and become more confident in their abilities.

Creativity. School-aged kids can use this time to develop their imaginations and express themselves. They can act out scenarios in pretend play, or with dolls or action figures. Kids often treat their dolls the same way they are treated, so it's also fun to watch your kids tuck in their toys the same way you do. 

Patience. When you are unavailable and it's time for independent play, children learn that they need to wait until playtime is over to have access to you. They also learn patience when stacking objects and trying not to make them topple over. 

Social independence. Children have the ability to learn to be socially independent, and having some independent playtime really helps to fine-tune these skills. They will be comfortable being in social situations where they would rather keep to themselves. They won't feel pressure to interact with others when they don't have to. They also develop a sense of belonging and importance which is crucial for asserting themselves and forming bonds with people around them.

Self-awareness. Babies aged six months and up start to learn how to coordinate their bodies, and at a certain age they discover that their hands belong to them, and that they to what is asked of them. With solo playtime, they are able to explore and experiment with how their bodies can move according to the brain commands they execute. 

Self-help. Kids are able to develop problem-solving skills and will be more self-sufficient and independent. They will learn that they can get up and get the toy they want, and not rely on a parent to hand everything to them. They will also learn to experiment with a toy they're not sure how to operate until they are able to work it the way they want to.

Freedom. Children get to be themselves! They get to call all the shots. They don't have to share or adhere to anyone else's wishes or requests. They can do what they want and play what they want, when they want, where they want. This helps the children to relax and reduces stress.

Decision-making. The most basic of decision-making skills are acquired through independent play. Kids don't have adults telling them what to do right now, so they have to pick their own game they'd like to play and which toy to use. They also get to weigh different options and choose which is best for them.

Self-motivation. For babies who can't crawl yet, having a toy roll out of reach will motivate them to start moving towards that toy. Your babies may learn to crawl or walk this way! It also helps them feel safe and secure so they feel like they have control over their own life.

Concentration. Free of distractions, this allows for the child to focus 100% on their playtime. With this level of concentration, they are able to do things better and even learn how to execute new movements. 

Self-discipline. They get to feel a sense of achievement and success, knowing they did this all by themselves with no help. They also get to learn how to be self-disciplined. 

With all of that in mind, how can you encourage independent play in your child? Here are some tips you might find interesting. Feel free to pick and choose which ones would work the best for your child and your familial situation.

  • Bring them to a new place. They will be taking in everything around them and are bound to take off and explore their surroundings. Babies, kids and children always want to experience the world around them.
  • Make sensory bins. You can offer sensory bins to your child that they will really enjoy. You can even choose those that work on fine motor skills such as making red tape, pompoms at the bottom of the bin and have the child fetch the pompoms with tweezers.
  • Give them a water table. If your child loves water, they will love a water table. They often come with wheels, toys and cups so the children can learn how to manipulate water all while having a blast. 
  • Offer them substitutes. If they can't get enough of your car keys, get them a plastic set they can play with, or a spare set you don't need anymore. Same with light switches, doorknobs, a phone that doesn't work, or anything else they seem to be fascinated with.
  • Start playing with them. This works with an especially clingy child who can understand what you are saying. You can start playing with them, then let them know that you are going to the bathroom. Wait until the child is well immersed into their activity so they are less likely to follow you.
  • Get craft supplies. Offer your kids pipe-cleaners, construction paper, scissors, glue, tape, pompoms, glitter, markers, tissues, string, anything you think they can make fun crafts with. You can even give them specific supplies for a specific project and play a video showing them on how to make that craft.

What are you waiting for? It's playtime!

Benefits Of Hiring A Birth Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 14, 2021 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (6)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree

You've read one of our previos posts which lists what a doula is, and frequently asked questions. But, do you know exactly what the benefits of having a birth doula are? Well, you're about to! Adding a doula to your birth team is a decision you will never regret, and will keep reaping the benefits for the rest of your life. Here's why!

The statistics don't lie. According to evidence-based research, people who hire doulas have:


- A 28% less chance of having a c-section


- Are 40% less likely to need pitocin to speed labor


- Are 60% less likely to use an epidural


- Reduced amount of anesthesia and for how long it's used


- Reduction of the use of any type of pain medication


Higher APGAR scores in newborns


- Woman report being more calm and relaxed during the birth


- Women report a more positive birthing experience


- Fewer births need forceps or vacuum extraction

- Fewer cases of fetal distress


How exactly are all of these benefits possible? Here's how a doula does it.


Doulas offer informational, physical and emotional support. They offer prenatal classes while you're pregnant for you and your partner and teach you exactly how your body, pregnancy and birth works. Doulas also physically support you by providing acupressure, massage, and more for pain relief. They also offer emotional support as they encourage you and empower you to make your own decisions and cheer you on through your labor and birth.


They can help you make your birth plan and choose what's right for you. They explain every procedure possible and what to plan for if things go unexpected. They will help you write your birth plan and support you in whatever choices you make and they will never judge you. If you're giving birth at a birth center or hospital, they also help you make a list of things you will need to pack for the big day. 


They can help your partner figure out what to do during the birth. Some partners are like deer in headlights and have no idea what to do when they see their partner in labor. Your doula will offer various options for your partner to help you during the birth. You will also be able to express what you would like your partner to do, such as show you affection, catch the baby, or cut the umbillical cord, and everything in between. Your doula also works with your partner to meet your needs. They can take turns feeding you ice chips and putting a cold compress on your head or changing the bath water, massage you, and anything else.


They are also called birth coaches and are great for encouragement. They are your own personal cheerleaders. They will remind you that you can do this, and empower you to assert your rights and preferences. They will give you strength when you need it and be someone to lean on when neccessary. They will also usher people out of the room that you have not agreed to be in there, so you can rest assured your nosy neighbors won't be allowed to enter your sacred space if you don't want them to! They're like a night light, they watch over you and ensure that you're well taken care of.


They help the entire family adjust to their new roles. You only have nine months to wrap your head around the fact that you will become parents. A doula helps you prepare for everything, even if it's just making a list of baby items you will need. They can also offer advice to your loved ones on how they can best support you during and after your pregnancy. They can encourage you to maintain a routine once the baby is born and teach you how to breastfeed or bottle-feed, whichever you choose.


Doulas are certified and undergo training so they know what they're doing. They have experience and know how this works, and most of them are parents themselves. Whether they are fresh out of school or have decades of work behind them, each doula is full of knowledge and is excited to help you and your family. They want to give you the best experience of your life and give you space after the birth to bond with your baby and to be a family. 

So what are you waiting for? Hire one today!



In honor of all mothers

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

Author Unknown
Translated from french


A dad comes home after an exhausting day at work. He just wants to watch his soccer game without having to endure the cries of the kids or take care of the housework. But that day, his wife couldn't take it anymore and left him. Her world breaks down when she leaves him alone with her children. Here are these words:


" My love,


two days ago we had a big fight. I came home tired from work. It was 8:00 pm and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch to watch the game.


When I saw you, you were exhausted and in a bad mood. The kids were bickering and the baby was crying while you tried to put him to bed.


I turned up the volume on the TV.


‘Would you mind giving a hand and getting involved in your children's education?’ You said to me upset by turning down the TV.


Exasperated, I replied: ‘I spent my day at work so that you could spend yours at home playing dolls.’


The tone is raised. You cried because you were angry and tired. I told you cruel things. You shouted, saying you couldn't take it anymore. You left the house crying and left me alone with the children.


I had to feed them and put them to bed. The next day, you didn't come back and I had to ask my boss to have a day off to take care of the little ones.


I became aware of the whims and tears.


I realized what it was like to be everywhere at the same time, all day long, without having a free moment even to take a bath.


I realized what it was like to heat the milk, prepare a child and put the kitchen away, all at the same time.


I realized what it was like to be stuck all day without talking to someone over the age of 10.


I realized what it was like not to be sitting comfortably at the table, enjoying a quiet lunch on my break time, because you have to run after the kids.


I was so mentally and physically tired that the only thing I wanted was to sleep for 20 hours straight. But I had to wake up after 3 hours because the baby was crying.


I experienced two days and two nights in your own skin and I can tell you, I understand.


I understood your fatigue.


I understood that being a mom is a perpetual sacrifice.


I understood that it was more tiring than sitting in my chair for 10 hours or making financial decisions.


I understood your frustration at having abandoned your career and your financial independence so that you could raise our children.


I understood your doubts that our economic security no longer depends on you, but on your partner.


I understood the sacrifices you made by never going out with your friends, forgetting your exercises or not sleeping an entire night.


I understood how difficult it was to be trapped and to have to watch the children when you missed what was going on outside.


I also understood why you were susceptible when my mother criticized the way you raise our children, because no one knows better than a mother what is good for them.


I understood that becoming a mother means occupying one of the most important roles in our society. What no one recognizes, appreciates or remunerates.


I am writing this letter not only to tell you that I miss you, but also because I do not want to spend another day without telling you that:


"You are very brave, you do it perfectly and I admire you."


This very moving letter was shared more than 110,000 times on Facebook. To all the moms who have cared for or are still caring for us and who do so much for us, so much so that we take it for granted, this letter is for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

How To Get Kids To Get Dressed

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

By: Dr. Stephanie McEndree

We all have had at least one child who would rather be naked or in their underwear or diaper all day, every day! It makes it easier for them to lift up their knees as high as they can, do jumping jacks, or whatever else they have set their minds to do. However, there are times where kids have to suck it up and put some clothes on, especially in NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE places. Unfortunately, trying to get them dressed is a whole other story. Meltdowns happen, tantrums are thrown, and kids refuse to clothe themselves. It can take forever to get your children finally dressed, and at that point they are kicking and screaming, or peeling their clothes right back off. So how can you get your kids clothed when the just do not want to be? Read on to learn more.

Here are some tips that my husband has come up with to help get kids dressed.

Help them. Even if they do not need the help, sometimes it will be enough to see you involved and willing to help, that they will cooperate. Put the shirt over their heads and help them put their arms through the sleeves. Place the shoes at their feet and hold them so they can balance as they slip their feet in. Open the waistband of pants so they can slip their legs in easier. Whatever it is, in my experience, they should cooperate.

Do not announce. Depending on the child, if you announce it is time for them to get themselves dressed, they will bolt. My girls love to run away and hide if we tell them that it is time to get dressed. In our cases and cases like this, it is best not to annouce that it is time to get dressed, or that they have to dress themselves. It works better for us if we say in the beginning of the day that they will need to get dressed later today. 

Involve them. Include them in the decision making process. Bring two different shirts and ask them to pick one. Do the same with pants and shoes. This is especially important when kids are at those ages that they are becoming more independent and assertive. They will not want to follow directions because they want to be their own person and lead their own life. So treat them like a big kid and let them choose what they would like to wear between two options.

Offer their favorites. Find their favorite outfit, or clothes in their favorite color, or favorite shoes. Kids are more likely to get dressed (even by themselves if they can) if you offer them their favorite outfit. I always get a big grin and gleeful shouts when I find my kids favorite outfits. What my kids hold very precious is their dresses, but especially ones that I make for them myself. Maybe your girls love a dress their grandma got for them.

Check the temperature. If it is hot outside and also too hot in your house, it is normal that the kids do not want to get dressed. They do not want to overheat. Turn down the thermostat and turn on a fan or the air conditioning. This way, if the room is comfortable enough the kids will not feel like they will overheat if they get dressed. If it is winter outside with snow out, simply point out to the window and show your kids that it is cold outside, so they will need to get dressed to stay warm.

Keep in mind that these tips may not work for every child. These tips work great for my kids, and they may work for yours as well. If you have any more tips to add, comment below!

Tips To Get The Kids To An Appointment

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree

Children don't always want to leave the house. However, if they have a doctor's appointment or a dentist appointment, they need to leave the house. Some kids have an introverted personality, and that's okay. However, to be able to care for them medically they need to go to appointments. Here are some last-resort tips to get the kids out of the house. 

If they are doing an activity, wait til they are done. If it's something that can be done soon and you are good with time, let them finish their puzzle, eat their breakfast or watch their tv show episode. Kids are less likely to protest, or at least not as much, if they're finished with whatever activity they were doing.

Start getting ready. You need to get ready ahead of time so it doesn't take a long time to get to your destination. Make sure you have your hair combed, teeth brushed, you're fed and hydrated and fully dressed before you move on to your kids. This avoids kids throwing their clothes off while you are getting ready and you have to start over again.

Do as much prep work as you can. Load the vehicles with the items you need such as the diaper bag, snacks, drinks, etc. That way you don't have to go back in the house once the kids are in the car and ready to go. If you're going somewhere up to an hour away or further, you will need milk for young babies and probably some water and a snack for school-aged kids. If your vehicle takes a bit to warm up during the winter, you can throw some blankets in there too to put on the kids' legs to keep them warm.

Get the kids ready. Get them dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, and have them go to the bathroom before you leave. If you have a baby, change their diaper and feed them before taking off. Make sure they ate their latest meal and/or snack. Put on their coats and boots if it's winter, a windbreaker if it's spring or autumn. 

Pick them up and put them in the vehicle. Of course if they're too big to be picked up, hold their hand and let them know you're going to the car. They may start to protest, but it's what's best for them to go to their medical appointment, so they need to be in the vehicle. They will probably start figuring out that they're going somewhere they don't want to be. Buckle them in their car seats, then sit yourself down, and you can start driving. I find that often once you start driving, after a few minutes they calm down.

If they don't, once you have arrived at your destination, take the time to open the door of the car and talk to them softly. Give them kisses and hugs and explain that going to the doctor or dentist is necessary. Encourage them to speak calmly to express why they are upset. Validate their feelings and praise them for vocalizing their needs. If they say it's because they were cold, offer them a blanket. If they were hungry, offer them the snack, and some water if they are thirsty. 

Show them the play area. Once you arrive, there is often a play area in the waiting room of every dentist or doctor. Show them the play area and encourage them to play while they wait. There are often toys, books and a coloring station to keep your kids happy and entertained. If it's winter, be sure to remove their coats and boots first. Then, you can take a seat in the waiting room and wait within view of the kids. You did it mama!

What tips do you have to ge the kids out of the house for an appointment? Comment below!

How To Encourage A Picky Eater To Eat A Healthy Meal

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 12, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (4)
by: Stephanie McEndree

Some kids can be particularly difficult when it comes to which foods they eat. Most kids would prefer to eat junk food all day, but this is not what is best for them. It's important to give them more than empty calories throughout the day and get their nutritional needs met. Whether they are picky eaters or have sensitivities to certain foods or stimulus, these tips can help you get your children to eat some foods that are good for them.

Make the food. Cook or throw together the meal that you want your child to eat. Make sure it's nutritious and aesthetically pleasing. A plate with white rice, eggs and mashed potatoes is pretty bland to the eye. Make it colorful and exciting, such as carrots, green beans, red peppers, etc. You can add some apples, grapes and oranges for breakfast foods or a healthy snack. Either way, it needs to be prepared right. Be sure to make more than what your child will eat to ensure the next step.

Start eating the food u want them to eat. If you have issues with them eating at the table, be sure to sit at the dining room table first. Then, slowly start eating the meal. Be sure to only take a few bites so there is plenty left for your child. Take small bites and make it obvious to your child that you're eating. 

Exaggerate the good taste. Rave about how good it is, hum while you chew with your mouth closed. If your child isn't already curious, now they should be. In fact, most kids will come up to you and ask you to share, or say that they want some, or straight up steal the meal! It's a subtle way to get them interested, and encourage them to eat more nutritious food and sample a wider variety of foods.

Make it fun.  Kids like to play, so why not make it fun with dips and sauces? Offer some honey to dip the fruit, some jelly for toast, or some dip for celery and carrot sticks. This enhances flavor and exposes the kids to ways they can make their foods unique. It can also be the turning point for a child to be interested in your food and want to eat it.

Got any more tips? Comment below!

Cheap Easter Goodies To Get In One Store

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 9, 2020 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree

With Easter right around the corner and us moms wanting to be safe, it can be hard to get the easter shopping done. It doesn't seem like a priority with what's going on right now in the world. With very young kids, they probably won't notice that easter didn't come this year. However, when you have older kids they will definitely notice. Here is what you can do to make it a wonderful easter without breaking the bank.

Backyard easter hunt. For people with special needs kids, introverted kids, or who simply don't want to make a trip somewhere else; a backyard easter egg hunt is perfect. Keep an eye on the kiddos while they look around your yard for some chocolate eggs!

Indoor easter hunt. This is great no matter the weather outside. Hide easter eggs all around the house and help your kids find them!

Egg painting. Paint some hard-boiled eggs or eggs with the yolk removed for some cute easter decorations. Watercolor paints or regular paint can be found at your local dollar store as well as paint brushes.

List of materials to get at your local dollar store for easter:

Chocolate bunnies. They come in milk chocolate and in various sizes, and some are in the shape of trucks, chicks and more. Pick up one chocolate bunny per child at your local dollar store and save big bucks on mall prices. Your kids will still get the chocolate they crave and you will have more money in your purse.

Paint and paintbrushes. Get these at your local dollar store for a couple bucks or less. Have your kids paint easter eggs at home with the eggs you probably already have in your fridge. 

Coloring books. There are often coloring books that are easter-themed around this time of year. Pop by your local dollar store and get one for the whole family, or one per child if you feel like splurging. You can even use the paint to paint the pictures instead of coloring them.

Chocolate eggs. They come in small bags at the dollar store and are under $4 each. These are a great alternative to the chocolate bunny as you can make sure the kids don't have too much at a time since they are seperate doses of chocolate. You can get them as well as the chocolate bunnies if you want!

Plastic eggs. You can get these easily at the dollar store and place the aforementionned chocolate eggs inside for a cute easter egg hunt! You can use them again next year too, so no waste.

Jelly beans. For the kids and even adults that prefer sweets to chocolate, these are also cheap and available at the dollar store. You can put them in plastic easter eggs or just put small packs around the house for the kids to find. Yum!

Any other ideas for materials found at a dollar store? Comment below!

Co-Parenting Dos and Don'ts

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Melinda Humpherys

You might be a single mom like me, and not be with your child's father anymore. It can be a challenge to co-parent with someone that you aren't with, especially when they hold a grudge. If you need to go to mediation, I would definitely recommend it. However, if you think you can come to an agreement, here are some co-parenting dos and don'ts to serve as a guideline.



  • Work as a team. Come up with a co-parenting plan. Talk about how you want to raise your child, the values, morals, discipline and religion are just a few of those things. Some won't always agree, but it's good to set down a baseline when you can.
  • Communicate. If you're on bad terms, just communicate about the kids. Make sure doctor's appointments, homework assignments, and results are always told to each other. You need to be up to date on your child's life to best be able to give them a good life.
  • Allow the other parent to see their child. You both made that child together, and barring some worries about the child's safety, you should always permit your child to see both parents.
  • Make a childcare plan. If you'd rather watch your child during the dad's days when he works than a babysitter, say so. Be sure to be comfortable vice-versa if you want to ask for such an arrangement.
  • See each other as little as possible. Exchange the kids by their schools; drop them off at school or daycare, and have the other parent pick them up on their days. This avoids confrontations in case one or both of you are not happy with the other, and your kid won't beg to stay with the other parent.
  • Keep a record of all exchanges. Write down the custody schedule and keep a record of it. If the other parent starts bad-mouthing you on the phone or by text, make a record of that as well. You can use it if you choose to go for full custody.
  • Keep up with the ex in-laws, especially if your ex has no relationship with them. This way your child can keep seeing his or her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Family is very important.




  • Call each other names. No matter what went on in the past, you need to be polite for your child's sake. Even if they can't do it, keep your cool. If they are upsetting you, feel free to walk away or hang up the phone, or stop texting. Remember, your mental health comes first.
  • Put up with any crap. If they become abusive towards you or overall unpleasant, feel free to put a stop to it. It's not good for you or your child.
  • Get jealous. Your ex will date again, and your child will eventually refer to that person as their step-mom. Don't get jealous, and don't be mean to this other person. Be polite, and realize that you can never be replaced. See it as an extra person to love your child.
  • See each other outside of kid-related things. You don't want to confuse your relationship or re-create romantic moments that you might end up back together. This will destablize yours and your child's life. You are exes for a reason. Keep it that way.
  • Do all the work. You need to keep your ex responsible for their part of the parenting. They need to take care of your child when it's their time. You shouldn't have to provide food, diapers, clothes, etc. for their time unless specified in a custodial plan. If your child is going without, file for full custody immediately. If you're going to do all the work, you might as well have full custody.
  • See his friends. If they were his friends first, let them go. You don't need to be involved in your ex's life anymore. Stick with your own friends. You don't need to be adding more tension.
  • Stalk him. Don't bother checking up on him on social media or ask everyone what he's doing. Your child will notice, and it might give them false hope that you will get back together. He isn't your concern anymore. Focus on your own life and your child's life.


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How To Find Time For A Social Life

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (23)

by: Stephanie McEndree

Being a mother keeps everyone extremely busy. Between working and parenting, it seems impossible to find time to catch up with friends or family. So, how does anyone find time to maintain friendships? Here are some tips below.

Gather information. Make sure to note everyone's schedule such as work, extra cirriculars and more. This will help you find out when is best to spend time together when you aren't busy, whether it's just you and one friend or a group of friends.

Make it a habit. Especially with your mom friends, it's good to see each other regularly. Set up a playdate, even just getting together at a local park and sitting on the park bench chatting while the children play. It's also a great option because you're not limited to when you can get time apart from the kids, and you can do it once in a while on weekends when no one works. 

Set aside time. Even if it's just a 5 minute phone call at the end of the day, make sure to carve out those precious minutes out of your day to connect with your best buddies. It will improve your mood and uplift your spirits, guarenteed.

Plan ahead. Choose about one day a month to have your partner watch the children, or to have a babysitter. Get together with your friends and go out together. Even if it's just going to a friend's place to watch a movie together, it'll get you that social time you've been craving.

Scout local events. There are local events you can attend together with your families. It's especially easy if you live in the same town or at least nearby. There are yearly carnivals, festivals and grand openings you can all attend.

Take a class together. If your kids are signed up for the same sport, for example, you can all chat during the games while cheering your kids on! If you drop off your kids for practice, you and your mom friends can get some coffee nearby while you wait until practice is over. You can also join parent-child activities such as cupcake-making and ceramic mug painting.

It's important you keep open-minded and keepa spot in your schedule open. With some flexibility, anything can be accomplished.


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Time Management Tips For The Working Mom

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree

Whether you work from home or you work outside of the home, it can be tough to manage your time. Add children to the mix, and it seems impossible to get things done. Moms are expected to make a decent income, have a great career, take care of the children, cook, clean, and even have time for herself. It can get pretty overwhelming and seem impossible. 

To help you figure out how to balance your time between working and parenting, here are some time-management tips to get you started.


  1. Have a routine. Routines are key for any child no matter what the age, and it will help you pick out time slots to do everything. It's okay if some things take more time to accomplish, as long as you roughly stick to the routine and schedule, it will work wonders.
  2. Hire some help. If you are a single parent and work outside of the home, you may need to think about investing in a daycare, a babysitter or a nanny. If your parents are retired and nearby, you could always asked them to look after your children while you work. You can also hire a cleaning lady if you need help keeping the house clean, even if it's just once every other week.
  3. Set up an office space. For those who work from home, have a computer room or an office set up in your home you can retreat to. Have your partner care for the kids while you work. This way you can concentrate on your job without being interrupted. 
  4. Pre-make meals. It'll be easier for you to feed yourself and your kids if you can just grab a meal. Make some sandwiches for lunch, bag up some snacks so they're ready. One night a week, you can meal-prep during naptime or after the kids are asleep and freeze meals for dinner.
  5. Take advantage of naps. Naptime is when you can get some cleaning done, or even some well-deserved alone time. Take a break from work if you can, and indulge in some me-time. or get your chores done.
  6. Give the kids chores. It's a great time to give children age-appropriate chores so you aren't cleaning all by yourself. Have them help you with dishes, wipe up counters, sweep and mop and put their toys away. Have some food available in the pantry that your kids can get themselves when they're hungry. Teach them to be a bit more self-sufficient if they're old enough.
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The Rainbow Movement

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 27, 2020 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (3)

by: Stephanie McEndree

A movement has been sweeping across the province of Quebec in Canada. People are searching for ways to connect to the outside world while also being safe. This turned into the rainbow movement. The idea goes like this: parents have their children draw, color, paint, etc. a rainbow. Then, they stick it on a window facing the street. Often, parents add a hashtag #CaVaBienAller which is french for ''All Will Be Well''. Then, parents go for a walk with the kids and look at houses' windows to count how many rainbows they can find. 

It's a very touching movement, and also allows kids to go out, get some exercise, get some fresh air, and do something fun with the family. You can also walk the dog at the same time. Here are some ideas on how to make a rainbow.

Rainbow Mosaic

Handprint rainbow

Sponge painting

Paper plate rainbow

Got any more ideas to make a rainbow? Got any display ideas for your windows to encourage social distancing activities? Comment below!

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Parenting Hacks During Coronavirus

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree

With the mass panic happening, there is a shortage of resources. It's taking a while for grocery stores to replenish stock, and when they are replenished, people panic-buy all over again. Here are some tips that can stretch out your grocery store trips even longer and you can become more self-sufficient. 

Cloth diaper. If you don't own any, go out and buy some. You won't have to buy disposable diapers over and over again, it's better for the environment, and you won't have to worry about getting diapers when there aren't any in the grocery store.

Cloth wipe. Use washcloths to wipe your baby when you change diapers. They are washable, reusable, and you don't have to worry about there being a shortage at the grocery store. You can buy some at the dollar store if you don't have enough at home.

Breastfeed. If you have recently given birth or are currently breastfeeding, continue to do so. You won't have to worry about a formula shortage at grocery store, plus you pass your immunity on to your children when you breastfeed. This is especially important during flu season and during pandemics.

Homeschool. Since daycares and schools are closed, feel free to homeschool your children. Send a message to their teacher asking what they need to know to succeed in their next grade and teach them that. There are also countless resources online you can scour. Be sure to make it as fun as possible so the kids still feel like they're on a vacation.

Grow your food. If you already have a garden, great! If not, you can buy some seeds at the dollar store to plant in your garden. Plant veggies, fruits and herbs. It will feed you and reduce your trips to the grocery store by giving you some fresh produce.

Do you have any other tips for parents to make social isolation and being self-sufficient easier? Comment below!


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BTW: You ARE A Single Mom If you are Married

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree

I have seen the argument over and over, especially on the internet; what defines a single mother? Coupled with different definitions and cultures, it can be hard to come up with one answer. Here is my take on it.


In the “Single Parent” page on Wikipedia, it says “A single parent family is a family with children that is headed by a single parent.”


Now, when you are no longer with the child’s father, this is always the case. Sure, if you have a boyfriend he may help you out, but the child is completely and legally your responsibility.

Marrying someone else doesn’t make them the father of your children, especially if the father is still in the children’s lives. Barring adoption or termination of rights, your ex’s name will remain on the birth certificate. Therefore no matter the custodial arrangement, in your home you are the only parent resposible for that child. You do all, if not at least most, of the child care alone.


Why is this even up for debate? It’s often due to jealousy because other single moms who are in no relationship feel the title belongs to them alone, and they wish they had more help with their own kids. It’s fine to feel that way, however it isn’t fine to minimize another woman’s struggles just because she has a boyfriend or husband. She has the same struggles as the others; no child support, doing most if not all of the child care, court battles for custody, late nights, mounting bills and more. Let’s not try to diminish other mother’s experiences or invalidate them because they happen to have a boyfriend.


The question itself is also sexist. No one has even asked this question about a man. Also, seeing her as “better off” when she is coupled with a man, is also sexist. Women are portrayed as sad or crazy if they are single, but desirable and successful if married.


So what is the true definition of a single mother? It means a mother who is not in a relationship with the child’s father. It’s that simple. Let’s not make it more complicated than it needs to be.


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Exclusively Pumping For Two

Posted by Live Love Mom on October 24, 2016 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree

Yes, I am a single mom of two kids that I exclusively pump for. How do I do it? What is my secret? I’ll let you in on it.


I only pump twice a day. Once in the morning after my 2 year old is at daycare and my 3 month old is asleep for her morning nap, second time when both of my girls are asleep for the night.


I use a Medela Pump In Style Advanced. This pump is portable as it comes in a backpack, so I can just wear it on my back and move around the house. This is crucial as a single SAHM, as if one or both of my kids wakes up in the morning or evening, I can get up and tend to them without skimping out on my pumping. Since this is a hospital grade pump, it allows me to pump only twice a day without losing my supply!


I use Freemies. Thank goodness there are Freemies compatible with a PISA. I put these suction cups in my bra under my shirt, so it is very discreet! I even went out running errands while pumping!


I have a deep freezer. This helps for storing my extra breastmilk because my regulat freezer is full of food for myself and my kids!


I make about 44 ounces a day. With my 3 month old taking in 35-40 ounces a day that leaves 4-8 extra ounces that I can store in the freezer for long-term storage, the fridge for short-term storage, or to just give to my toddler.


With these things to help me, it is possible to exclusively pump as a single mom!


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Being A Mom of a Special Needs Child

Posted by Live Love Mom on September 24, 2016 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree

Last weekend, my family and I went to the Easter farm. While my youngest daughter was getting face paint, my oldest daughter was having a meltdown. She is autistic. People were staring at me, giving me odd looks. I didn’t care. I spoke calmly to my daughter, asking her what was wrong. The simple action of speaking softly and offering her a hug, calmed her.


Dear people who were staring, who were judging; children have tantrums sometimes. The stares make them uncomfortable. Please either look away, or offer them a smile.


Dear parents who don’t know what to do during meltdowns; what has helped me is to ask questions. Ask your child what’s wrong. If they refuse to tell you, think about what led up to the event, and ask relevant questions. Are you sad? Are you mad? Once they confirm their emotion, ask them why. Is it because you didn’t get the toy you wanted? Is it because you didn’t get to pet the rabbit? My daughter says yes or no to these questions, and then I can pinpoint the issue. I can then explain to her why that happened. “The rabbit wasn’t hungry, so it hopped away to play with it’s friends. It’s okay, you’ll get to pet one next time.” I also validate her emotions. “I understand why that makes you sad, you really wanted to pet the rabbit.” Then, I ask if she wants a kiss, a hug, if she wants to leave the room to a quieter place. This often calms my daughter down. She often says yes for a hug. Then, if not before, get away from the trigger. Take them to another store, or to another part of the petting zoo farm. That way, they won’t have another meltdown for the same reason “but I want to pet the rabbit!” and it saves them from being upset all over again and getting stressed out.


Our children are precious. Let’s help them where we can.




A special needs mom


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Hospital Vs. Birth Center

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 30, 2016 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree

I have given birth in both the hospital and at a birth center. Are you undecided about where you want to give birth? Here are positive points on both types of births.


Hospital birth:



Epidural. If all else fails, you have access to pain medication. This can make birth much easier for a lot of women.

Emergency Intervention. If anything goes wrong, you are in the best place. Complications can arise, and staff are trained in whatever can go wrong, and the equipment is available.

C-sections. For those who have planned c-sections, of course this needs to be done at a hospital.

Longer stay. For those who like being away from home for a few days after birth, a hospital is ideal. Most hospitals keep women who have a vaginal birth around 48 hours, and c-section births around 3 or more days.

Lactation consultant/formula samples. If you want to breastfeed, you can ask to see the lactation consultant directly at the hospital. If you want to formula feed, there are often free formula samples around, so you don’t need to bring your own formula.

Birth center birth:



Natural. Everything that happens there will be natural barring any medical emergency. The lack of pain medication means you can give birth and labor in any position and switch around.

Classes. Often birth centers offer classes on pain management, birthing techniques, what happens during birth and labor, and breastfeeding classes.

Open-minded. Here you are more likely to have your alternative requests abided by, like placental encapsulation, delayed cord clamping, water birth, etc.

Personal touch. A birth center’s midwives add a personal touch to the experience. They will listen to you, advocate for you, and support you 100%. It’s a special, trusting bond that can only help during labor and delivery.

Luxurious Rooms. The rooms resemble those from a magazine or a luxury hotel. It comes fully equipped with (usually) a birthing ball, squatting bar, tub, bed, shower and more!


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My Mom Has Cancer

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2016 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie Noircent

Never in a million years, did I ever think that I would be in this position.


How can you ever prepare yourself for this? How could you ever see these things coming? How can you ever even fathom how to accept it?


Just a few short weeks ago, I got the devastating news: my mother has cancer. A lot of questions sprung up after those words were spoken. What type? What stage? What’s the plan? So far, there are very little answers, but what we do know is that she has Squamous Cell Carcinoma.


This is a cancer that I have never heard of before. My mom found out she had cancer from a biopsy done on a mass in her tongue. Reading up on SCC, Mayo Clinic states that SCC is a type of skin cancer. Interestingly enough, my grandmother was diagnosed with skin cancer before christmas of last year, and my great-grandfather had lung cancer. Of course, this raises a scary question…is it genetic? Could I have a higher chance of getting cancer? Or worse….could my children have a high chance of having it?


When thoughts start to spiral this way, it’s important to try to block the flow of these thoughts. I tell myself, we don’t know much yet, there is no point in stressing about this. Surely, answers will arise in the future. Right now, all that I know is that my mother has cancer, and I need to be there for her. I want to be there for her.


You see, my mom is a survivor. No one has necessarily led an easy life, but I like to think of my mom as a phoenix who rose out of the ashes. She is an amazing, selfless person. She single-handedly reconnected two branches of our family tree by doing tireless research to find them, and by reaching out and finding them. Now, we have plenty of cousing that we know about, and love! She even went so far as to dig through old photos and clean them up with photoshop, to give her first cousin a photo of her when she was a baby, which is what my cousin has always wanted. There were many happy tears shed!


This of course, goes without mentioning the fact that she survived my terrible teenage years and morally supported me throughout my teens and adulthood. Even now, she continues to be a ray of sunshine in my life. She would do anything for the people she loves. She has truly evolved, become very open-minded and accepting when others of her generation would balk.


So many horrible people in the world…and my mother is the one that ends up with cancer.


It’s so unfair.


Treatment against this cancer is planned, and all I can do right now is cross my fingers. I do worry. I mean, how can you not worry when you find out that your mom has cancer?


She is strong, kind, and determined. She has a family that loves her, and friends who adore her. If this had to happen to my mom, at least she has an amazing support system to get her through it.


She’s spent so many decades taking care of other people. Now it’s time that we take care of her.


I love you, mom. ❤


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You Were A Woman First

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree

Having your first child can be overwhelming, especially if your very own newborn is the first baby you’ve ever cared for. No amount of prenatal courses and expert advice can prepare new parents for the reality that is parenthood. Not every pregnancy is the same, not every birth is the same, and not every baby is the same. There will be some good days and some bad days. You may feel overwhelmed and unsure if you’re doing anything write. This is normal, and you are not the only one.


I myself suffered from postpartum depression. I had no inkling of how hard it was going to be to be a parent. I was lucky I had people there to help me through it. Through the sleepless nights, the blur of breastfeeding, the laundry, diaper changes, cleaning and more; I never found time for myself.


There was a man that came to my apartment, a social worker, who would talk to me and teach me different things to do with my baby. Along with the many activities he suggested and all the information he gave us about my daughter’s development, he asked me how I was. He said I looked tired, and I admitted that I was. He told me something that changed my life. “Be sure to take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 2 minutes. Before you were a mother, you were a girlfriend. But even before you were a girlfriend, you were a woman first.”


I didn’t really understand what he was saying, so he explained it in a different way. “Before you had your daughter and before you got with her father, you were a woman. You had plenty of time to yourself. Since you became a girlfriend, you dedicated time as a couple together, and also time for yourself. Now, you have lost yourself in this whirlwind that is parenthood. Make time for yourself.”


I was skeptical, but I tried it. He was right. I took 5 minutes each morning to myself. I got up and went to the bathroom to get dressed in something nice, brush my hair, and do my makeup. I felt much better. I looked good, I was clean, so I felt better about myself. I was in a better mood, so everything that I did after that became much easier. I wasn’t too exhausted to go out as a family to the park, for a walk, even to an event. I blossomed, and with some encouragement, education and support, I came out of the depression. I learned how important those 5 minutes were, and I haven’t given them up since.


You can’t pour from an empty glass. You need to take care of yourself first. If you are not at 100%, then how can you give 100% to your baby? Be kind to yourself. Take that shower, even if you have to place the baby in their swing in the doorway of the bathroom. Put the baby in a baby carrier and get your makeup done. Remember; before it all, you were a woman first.


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