Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Backyard Oasis on a Dime: Intex PureSpa Portable Hot Tub

Scroll to bottom for links to numbered items!

Backyard Oasis on a Dime

Parenting can be tough! Stressed out? Want to create a little Backyard Oasis in a little nook in your yard, but don't have oodles of money or time? Would you maybe like to just try a hot tub "on for size" to see what all the fuss is about without making a huge investment? For years, Mr. Kidlutions has talked about wanting to have a hot tub of our own, yet with three kids in multiple sports and being on the road more than we've been home, it just never seemed to be the right time. Now that two of our kids are in college, and one not far behind them, it seemed like a great time to create our own little relaxation station in a nook in our yard. Follow along to see how easy it was, get our affilate links to the products we tested out and see exactly how we did it.

An Easy Peasey Choice

We did not want to spend thousands of dollars (remember, it's the college years), so we opted for a portable, inflatable hot tub. I was more than a bit skeptical, but I ended up agreeing to give it a whirl. It all started with a little order place through Amazon Prime (a huge amount of our shopping is done here because we are so rural and shopping is limited in these parts). We decided on an  Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage 4-person Portable Hot Tub. It arrived in just a few days, and we set it up on our side patio which had never before been utilized. The complete cost of the hot tub and all the supplies we needed to get started (included in the boxed set) came to under $400, not thousands as would be the case with a traditional hot tub. This tub is economical and well-constructed! It was an easy peasey choice. So, depending on how many bells and whistles you'd like to add to your outdoor oasis, you can easily complete this project for under $500.00.

This picture courtesy of Amazon/Intex.

Looks Aren't Everything

I have to say, the hot tub looked cute online, but we just had no idea what the quality and craftsmanship would be like. Things often look so much better on commercials and online than they do in person. My thought was that it might look good in the pictures, but would it work? What use would a hot tub be if it looked good but didn't work? We were about to find out.

Everything You Need is in the Box!

Once our tub arrived, we set to work to get it inflated (the pump comes with it), get it filled and start heating it. Within an hour, all was said and done and we anxiously awaited it heating up so we could take our first dip. Set-up is fairly easy and straightforward. It comes with directions and a DVD. In addition, you can find videos online that explain the set up.

A Pleasant Surprise

We were extremely pleased with the quality of the hot tub. It was sturdy and well-constructed. When inflated, it appeared just like it did online...and is durable enough to sit on the sides when properly filled.

We checked the temp hourly, mostly because we were so excited. It went up about 1.5-2 degrees per hour. By the next morning, it had hit 98 degrees and the youngest Kidlutions Kid took the first dip.

But, That's Not All...

That hot tub was just the beginning. We needed to do a bit to spruce up the area...remember it had been a forgotten, tucked-away side yard that was mostly neglected. There was no landscaping, color or "jazz" to it, so we set out to remedy that with things we had on hand already, and a few extra purchased items (again, from Amazon). With some plants from a local drugstore, resin wicker furniture (ours was already on hand), a bistro table (again, we had this on hand) and some tiki torches with citronella oil (a must in our mosquito-magnet town), solar lights and LED, battery-operated lanterns, outdoor rug (wasn't sure at first about this, but ended up LOVING it...you can hose it down to clean it) and twinkle lights in the shrubs, we were all set!

Mr. Kidlutions and I got to try it out that evening. It's magical at night, with all the ambient lighting! It's like being away at your own private retreat (with a teenager thrown in for good measure)!

Our Thoughts on the Hot Tub

When the Mr. and I finally got a turn to try it out, we were beyond thrilled with the hot tub. It was truly sturdy and comfy. I was a bit worried because this portable hot tub does not have seats in it (you just sit on the floor of the tub). I thought it would be a bit uncomfortable, especially since it was on a cement slab. However, Intex includes a round mat with air bubbles for insulation purposes (think bubble wrap, only sturdier) to put under the tub, which does an amazing job of making sitting in the tub (even for an hour) a pleasure. The bubbles from the jet spa are great, too. Stronger than I imagined. The fact that it comes with a locking, insulated cover (also inflatable in the center) makes it safer to use around younger children and animals (however, never leave children unattended by bodies of water). 

It Was Still Missing Something

It seemed like our little oasis was missing something, but I wasn't quite sure what it was. When Mr. K was out of town, he picked up the finishing touch...the thing that tied it all together. Bamboo Straw Fencing that just made everything pop! We attached it to the existing chain link fence in about five minutes with cable ties. That made it all come alive! 

Our Final Thoughts: We would have even paid more more this hot tub. We love it that much. It went beyond our expectations. Our only regret: We wish we had done it sooner! Our other regret is that we didn't take a "before" picture of our desolate patio! One important thing to know about this hot tub, is that you have to take it down when the temperatures dip down below 39 degrees. We figure we'll be able to enjoy it into the cooler fall days before packing it away in its carry bag for the season!

Some wicker we already had and 
flowers (on sale) from the local drug store
added the finishing touches.

Our local drugstore was the perfect place to
buy some foliage and pops of color! Best part? They were
all on sale! SCORE!

To reach our new flora and fauna (and even to fill the pool), we needed a hose that would reach far distances. Our old one was just not going to cut it. Enter the 75 ft expandable garden hose...the best we've ever had. It seems to go on for miles and miles and stretches easily without crimping!

So, there you have it...our own little Backyard Oasis on a Dime! 

Pictured Above

Not Pictured

What's your favorite outdoor space?

Do you have a favorite outdoor space? Where is it? What makes you love it so? We'd love to hear about it over on our Kidlutions Facebook page! Even (and especially) if you don't see this until the middle of winter (when we'll be under a minimum of 3 feet of snow), please share your little slice of heaven oasis with us! You can even tweet a pic to us @kidlutions We can't wait to see how you like to de-stress!

And here's a little reminder for life in general:

Drinking coffee out on the patio in the morning
makes it just a bit tastier than usual, too! 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Support for Anxious, Angry & Over-the-Top Kids in the Classroom: #6thchat

How Can We Support Anxious,
Angry & Over-the-Top Kids
in the Classroom?

Teachers want to know the best ways to support anxious, angry and over-the-top kids in the classroom and we'll be discussing it on the next #6thchat, this coming Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 9pm EDT. We'll be covering some of the toughest behavioral/attitude issues teachers face and share how the BLOOM approach can make all the difference!

Just follow the #6thchat hashtag!

Just follow along with the #6thchat hashtag and join in the fun!

Win a BLOOM book!

We'll be giving away a BLOOM book to one attendee from the continental U.S.

I hope to see you there!

Moderated by @mrskochheiser

@mrskochheiser will be hosting/moderating! I've known her for well over 30 years, and this is the first event we're doing together. We were kind of "neighbors" a VERY long time ago! Are we sisters? Cousins? Or something else? If you'd like to learn how we're connected, ask on the chat!
I'm sure we'll let the cat out of the bag on the chat!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

4th of July Activity Book for Kids - Freebie

The 4th of July is a day to celebrate. Parades, barbecues and get-togethers of all types! And it's all about the kids, too! Red, white and blue streamers, hair ribbons, T-shirts, hand-held flags and adorned flip-flops proclaim our Independence Day!

In between the parades and fireworks, here's some fun for the kids!

It's free! 

Just sign-up below to get your 10-page guide for FREE! 

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Listen and Learn: Immersion Reading and 3 Ways it Helps Kids

A Multi-sensory Reading Experience

Have you ever heard of immersion reading, the multi-sensory reading experience? The time has come and it can really benefit your child, as well as become a new way to read for your entire family!

Recently, I was invited to test-drive immersion reading through Audible, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), using their Whispersync for Voice technology.  I jumped at the chance because here at the Kidlutions Headquarters, reading is a really big deal. It always has been. We were super excited about this new approach to reading that takes the concept of “books on tape” and supercharges it! You’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how this encourages emerging, reluctant or struggling readers.

Immersion Reading Defined

According to Audible, immersion reading combines e-books with audiobooks, allowing the user to read and listen simultaneously. It immerses you in a story by narrating and highlighting the text as you read. This allows you to read and listen concurrently with real-time highlighting that syncs with the narration. It’s sheer genius. And it’s going to revolutionize how kids learn to read and is a promising way to improve outcomes for emerging, reluctant or struggling readers.

The 3 Benefits of Immersion Reading

Immersion reading assists in three ways:

1.    Engagement  

It can boost a child’s interest and attention span, 
keeping the focus on the book and on 
learning the crucial life-long skill of reading.

2.    Comprehension 

Reading while listening improves comprehension 76%.

Students can listen and comprehend 
two grade levels above their reading level.

3.    Retention 

85% of what we learn we learn by listening.

It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

In three simple steps, you can have your child exploring new worlds, imagining bigger and dreaming more wistfully. It’s as easy as this:
  1.       Select a Kindle Book
  2.           Add Narration through Whispersync for Voice
  3.       Read and Listen Simultaneously
Read all about it on Amazon’s site.

With more than 64,000 titles from which to choose, there is something for everyone. Have you visited Amazon or Audible lately to see how many titles are available in Whispersync for Voice? If you've never been, now is the time to take a look. If it's been awhile, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the options.

Now is the Time to Try It!

You’ll find thousands of read-along and listen books, some just for kids! We tried a childhood classic: The Ugly Duckling and it worked like a charm. You can easily switch between reading and listening or doing both. It’s almost guaranteed to become a fond memory in the making for your kids!

The time to try is now because Audible is offering about 200 childhood titles with heavily discounted audio narration for a limited time! Not only that, you can try Audible free for 30 days!

More Exciting Ways to Use Whispersync for Voice from Audible

“Just One More Story, Mom!”

Kids love stories and they love having parents and caregivers read to them. So go ahead and read your child a story a two, but when bedtime rolls around, why not allow them to be lulled to sleep by a narration of a favorite story? Why not find a book that has peaceful theme? This can become a very soothing, relaxing ritual that becomes part of the normal bedtime routine.

Travel Time

Sneak in some extra learning time while traveling, by loading up a few new Kindle books and Audible narration. Long before this technology was available, I used books on tape with my kids while traveling. This takes it to a whole new level.

The Daily Commute

If you do a lot of driving, you’ve ample time to listen and learn or be entertained while enroute to your destination. Make getting there half the fun. Indulge yourself in a book about faraway, exotic places, or work on improving your thinking, management skills or sense of humor…it’s all available on Amazon & Audible!

Hearing Impaired/Deaf Parents

Using Kindle books with Audible narration allows parents who experience hearing impairments or deafness, be able to spend some wonderful cuddle time with their young children, exploring books. While the books are narrated by Audible, the parent and child can interact by pointing at pictures and sharing smiles and excitement as the story unfolds.

It’s Going to Be a Game-changer

In closing, I’d like to share one final benefit that is compelling me. As someone who provides psychotherapeutic services to children in a school setting, I know the toll that reading difficulties can take on self-esteem. This will be a game-changer for kids who experience reading struggles. I can’t wait to share about Audible and Whispersync for Voice with these children, their families and the numerous educators with whom I consult!

How will you use Audible and Whispersync for Voice? We’d love to hear!


This post was sponsored by Audible. All thoughts are 100% my own and are based on my experiences with Audible/Whispersync. To learn more about working with Kidlutions, read our Media Kit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me 
on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Faulty Parent Thinking

Faulty Parent Thinking

Most of us can relate to the idea of being stuck in "Faulty Parent Thinking".  We have all been a victim of it from time to time. If you are still stuck there, don't worry. You are not alone. You are not the first parent who's had "Faulty Parent Thinking", nor will you be the last. The good news is, we can change it all up. It's as simple, and as difficult as, changing our thoughts.

It's Not Your Fault

"Faulty Parent Thinking" is not your fault. It's long been ingrained in most of us that behavioral issues are willful and that children need to be "stopped" from engaging in "misbehavior". This is what leads to "Faulty Parent Thinking" in the first place. It's how our society has operated for years and years...and the problem is, it's backfired. We become punitive and angry and it's engaged the child's defensive brain (as well as ours). We lock horns and ultimately end up doling out consequences that never seem to work because we do it again and again. With very limited results. Now, neuroscience shows us what works best and Dr. Lynne Kenney and I put it all in BLOOM.

Willful Disobedience or Something Else?

When we are stuck in the idea that our children are misbehaving, being willfully disobedient and going out of their way to make our day miserable, we are stuck in "Faulty Parent Thinking". Basically, our children are doing the very best they can every single day, just as we are. Kids have bad days, too. 

Even If They Know Better

Even though they may know the difference of wrong and right, because you've told them a hundred times, they simply may not be up to the task that day. When we change how we think about misbehavior, instead of seeing it as willful disobedience and look at it instead as a skill deficit, we are able to respond in much more effective ways to change that behavior more quickly and have it last a lot longer.

Switch It Up!

To get you started on switching up that Faulty Parent Thinking, I've provided a few links down below that can help you get back on track and get you back to being the best person you can be and, therefore, the best parent you can be. If you've lost your joy, if you've lost your happiness, if you've lost your zen and you've lost your zest for life through the parenting process because things are not quite the way you thought they were going to be, there's hope. There's always, always hope. And we've got lots of resources on the blog that can help get you back on track. Start with the ones below and see how those work for you.

Two Minute Parenting Tip

Creating a Calm Family: 3 Things You Can Do

6 Steps to a Calm Family

Handle Mom Stress Like a Boss

How to Keep Your Cool So Your Child Can, Too!

READ: BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids

What Works for You?

We'd love to hear how things are going at your house this summer!
Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, is  the founder of Kidlutions and co-author of BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. She is the creator of numerous workbooks and resources to help from the preschool through the teen years. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter and Facebook! She'd love to see your smiling face there!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sassing and Disrespect: 3 Minute Makeover

Sassing and Disrespect

Sassing and disrespect. Did we get your attention? We thought so!

The BIG Button Pusher

It's one of the biggest button-pushers we hear about from parents and educators. As long as there have been parents and children, this challenge has persisted. It's been dealt with in numerous ways through the years, with limited results.

Stopping Sass Sooner

There is a way to deal with this challenging behavior, however, that allows both you and the child to maintain your dignity, as well as get to a place of calm a LOT sooner!

Watch our 3 Minute Makeover to see!

Did You Notice?

Did you notice what just happened here? The adult moved out of their defensive brain, chose NOT to personalize the behavior, and focused on helping the child learn a new way to cope with big feelings.

Wouldn't That Be Letting Them Get Away with It?

There is nothing to "let them get away with" in this instance. You may talk with the child about the sass/disrespect later, when both of you are calm, and remind the child about your family or classroom culture and mission. The difference in this approach from a traditional approach is that there is no punishment or consequence agenda at play. It's about seeking understanding and teaching skills. It's what neuroscience tells us works. I've seen it work! Over and over again!

Don't think this could work to help a child become better behaved more quickly than yelling, removing privileges and punishment? We challenge you to try it! We've witnessed this work wonders in our office and in homes! People across the globe are using this approach to create more harmony and peace in their classrooms and families. In fact, it's a universal truth that this approach works equally well in boardrooms and organizations.

This is just one of the many concepts in BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What REALLY works with anxious, angry and over-the-top kids

What REALLY works with intense kids?

Parents, teachers and clinicians all want to know what REALLY works with anxious, angry and over-the-top kids. The research tells us and Dr. Lynne Kenney and I have taken what the research says and turned it into practice-ready activities, resources and ideas. Join us in our upcoming training, where you'll get 50 of our strategies that can change everything! 

Check out our little two minute video below then go find out more about this 20 hour training HERE.

This training is going to be HUGE! Teachers, clinicians and parents can all join in!

Click on image above to learn more!

Are You New Here?

New around here? Welcome! Join our newsletter HERE 
and get our Anger Toolbox for Kids for FREE!

Click the image below for a good place to
start learning about helping your 
family or classroom CALM DOWN!

Get YOUR "calm mojo" on, go HERE!

Until we meet again, keep calm! You got this!

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