Fostering Strong Bonds Between Siblings.

62388615_735308730200882_8866232694304931840_n.png

“There’s no better friend than a sister.” - Mary Engelbreit

One of my big dreams for my two daughters is that they would grow up to be close friends. When I hear stories about siblings who don’t get along or don’t speak to each other as adults, it breaks my heart.

Having healthy relationships with your siblings is so important – even the research proves it! One study found “Sibling affection was positively associated with adolescents' sympathy and prosocial behavior. Sibling hostility was positively associated with adolescents' depression.” Therefore, it is important for parents to help their kids develop positive relationships and strong bonds.

With summer approaching, I know I don’t want to spend my days acting as a referee between my girls, so instead, I’m going to act like a coach. Plus, a little conflict between siblings is healthier than them ignoring one another! Here are some of the tips I found in my research that I plan to use in my home to help my girls grow closer to one another and build a lasting relationship.

Don’t Make Them Compete

62262977_461519861081129_7887808856166760448_n.png

Why do parents do this? While it is easy to judge from the outside, it is easier than you may realize. You may even be doing it without noticing it. For example, have you ever commented on how one child is better at cleaning up her dishes or one child is faster to get buckled in the car? Instead, the only competition should be in the spirit of fun – and even then, be careful to avoid creating sibling rivalry.

Teach Them to Fight Fair

64395576_474212633324768_5601711525304729600_n.png

Like I said earlier, it is normal and even a good thing for siblings to have conflict now and then. It can actually work as a safe place for kids to learn how to handle conflict in healthy ways. For instance, while you don’t want them giving each other black eyes, you do want them to learn how to express their frustration in the right way. Along those lines, have some clear family rules for handling conflict, such as no name calling.

Remind Them They’ll Always Have Each Other for Support

64232469_632509777261194_5276447634729467904_n.png

Make a point to teach your kids that they have each other for support. Remind them to support one another and cheer one another on. Explain that, as they grow, their siblings will be their secret keepers and the only other people who get their family’s inside jokes and know their family’s history.

Encourage Them to Play Together

62326291_311050463179454_6074039597220757504_n.png

The more often siblings play together, the more memories they make. Depending on your kid's ages, this can be tricky. For instance, LEGO Movie 2 reminded audiences about how play becomes separated as the age gap appears wider. While your ten-year-old probably won’t always want to play with your five-year-old, you should still encourage them to play together – even if it is something as simple as a game of hide and seek.

Find Things They Enjoy Doing Together

64248332_461900227972132_4589333720128815104_n.png

Speaking of play, you may have to create moments for your kids – especially if their ages do not make it easy. For instance, encourage them to go on walks, bake cookies, or watch America’s Funniest Home Videos together.

What to Do in NYC as a Family this Holiday Season

christmas_blogs5.jpg

While there are always plenty of things for families to do in New York City, the holiday season ramps up the fun. The city comes alive even more and making it feel like NYC its truly the best place to be for the “most wonderful time of the year.” Each year, I try to plan out things to do with my family to celebrate Christmas in NYC. Here are my picks for 2018:

Shop at American Girl Place

My daughters have hit the age where American Girl dolls are all they want. Thankfully, there is an American Girl Place in NYC. If you have not visited the store before, it is a whole experience in and of itself. Visiting the store with my girls this time of year also helps me check something off Santa’s list.

Watch the Nutcracker Ballet

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

It is a tradition to take in a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet. All whole family loves watching The Nutcracker, and New York City Ballet has the best of the best.

Observe the Trains at the Botanical Garden

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is a city tradition that my family always enjoys. This train display is unique because it travels around over 175 New York landmarks.

Make a Wish List by Visiting FAO Schwarz

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

FAO Schwarz has newly reopened, so we are so excited to go visit this famous toy store. Not only will our girls get to make their Christmas wish lists, we will get to see first-hand the toys they really gravitate to making our Christmas shopping easier.

Marvel at the Gingerbread House in Madison Square Park

gingerbread-blvd-600_zxPpwqY.jpg

Making gingerbread houses is fun, but seeing a life-size gingerbread house is even better! Head to Madison Square Park to see those giant gingerbread houses.

See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Another New York City tradition is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes – and for good reason! It is such a fun show to see as a family! We look forward to it every year.

Go Ice Skating

christmas_blogs10.jpg

Throughout New York, there are several ice skating rinks. The most popular is the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. In addition to being iconic, it is also one of the most Christmas-y spots in the city.

Have Holiday Tea at the Plaza

If your kids have read the children’s book Eloise, the holidays are the perfect time to visit the Plaza Hotel and experience Eloise’s life in the hotel. In addition to holiday tea, they also have a cute setup for kids to write letters to Santa.

Visit Santa at Macy’s

christmas_blogs19.JPG

The most popular place to visit Santa is Macy’s. Everyone should visit the iconic (and giant) Macy’s Santaland with their children at least once.

Search for the Best Hot Chocolate

food-photographer-jennifer-pallian-173715-unsplash.jpg

While you trek around NYC in the cold weather, search for the best hot chocolate. While Serendipity 3 is the most well-known frozen hot chocolate spot, you are bound to find some others that serve warm delicious chocolate-y goodness in a cup.

Which Christmas Festivities Does Your Family Most Enjoy in NYC?

Spending a Nickelodeon Sunny Day creating fabulous hairstyles!

This post is sponsored by Nickelodeon.  The content and opinions expressed below are that of Inrachelshoes.

Sunny Day - Still_preview.jpeg

Talented 10-year-old Sunny Day is a master hairstylist and salon owner. With her friends Rox and Blair and a can-do attitude, Sunny is ready to save the day—one hairdo at a time! Their teamwork and exchange of ideas is such a great example for kids, tune in and watch Sunny Day weekdays on Nickelodeon! 

sunny2.jpg

When picking shows for my girls to watch and enjoy I like shows that are fun, but they also need to teach a valuable lesson.  Following a role model, a child can learn a lot about themselves which will help them towards their future.  What kid wouldn’t learn life lessons taught by their FAVORITE character on TV!  Nickelodeon’s show “Sunny Day” for instance is one of the top on my list.

Sunny Day - Key Art_preview.png

The thing about “Sunny Day” that my husband and I love for the girls are the messages that are being conveyed to the kids through the plots and characters of the show. Being that Sunny, the main character on the show is a hairstylist, she is always looking for inspiration and is constantly journeying through her creative process of coming up with new hairstyles.  I like that when my girls are watching the show on Nick Jr., they are learning what it means to be original and how ideas can come from the most trivial things that you would never expect.  I sometimes overhear the two of them coming up with creative projects and how they’ve been inspired by something in outdoors and on their tablets. 

Another key idea that “Sunny Day” hones in on is the significance of uniqueness by showing that being different or looking different can be a good thing.  In this day and age I think it’s very important for our kids to understand that there is beauty in everyone, no matter the color of your hair, skin, eyes, and clothes.  There is great diversity that’s exhibited in the show and my husband and I really enjoy that about the show.  And it’s a lot of fun too! As Sunny would say - “Keep Smiling, Keep Styling”!

sunny1.jpg
sunny4.jpg

_______________________________________________________________

I wanted to have some fun and create some Sunny Day-inspired hairstyles and here’s some tutorials to help you put your daughter’s hair in an awesome and fun way!

Maddie’s Hair Tutorial :

Step 1: Split the hair into three sections, creating an upside down “V” with the middle section of the parted hair. Then tie up the middle section to keep it out of your way.

maddie1.jpg

Step 2: French braid the right and left parted sections while you still have the middle section tied up out of your way. 

maddie2.jpg

Step 3: Now you should have the two sides French braided and the middle section (that was tied)  flowing free—or if you prefer to keep it tied, you can do it that way as well—and then braid the two side braids and the middle section into ONE braid. 

maddie3.jpg

Step 4: Add some pizazz! You can add some Sunny Day bow clips and clip them to the top of the left and right braid. For more color, add some Sunny Day colored extensions, and tuck the into the braid, or you can even braid them in! If you want some color without extensions, you can rub some colored hair chalk on the hair (thought it works better with lighter hair)

maddie4.jpg

____________________

 Olivia’s Hair Tutorial:

Step 1: Split hair into two equal sections, all the way. 

livy1.jpg

Step 2: French braid both sections as if you were going to braid French pigtails, but stop midway and tie them with small hairbands.

livy2.jpg

Step 3: Add some Sunny Day color extensions all around the already braided part of the hair. (I would recommend 6-8 extensions maximum cuteness.)

livy2a.jpg

Step 4: Take out the hair band of one braid and finish braiding down to the end while braiding in the extensions. Repeat on the other side. 

livy3.jpg

Step 5 (optional): Twist up each braid up (as if you were twisting a bun) and use a small clip or bobby pin to hold it up. Repeat on the other side. 

**For more Sunny Day inspired styles, check out the Style Files on  Nickjr.com/sunny-day

**For more Sunny Day inspired styles, check out the Style Files on Nickjr.com/sunny-day

**For more Sunny Day content and episodes, check out  http://nickjr.com/sunny-day!  **

**For more Sunny Day content and episodes, check out http://nickjr.com/sunny-day! **

Final snowstorm of the winter...oop I mean first day of Spring!

Just when we thought we were ready for spring, mother nature sent us a quick reminder that just because we’re ready, doesn’t mean that she is! I had my fingers crossed that this week was going to be the first of the spring weather we’ve been expecting. I had just put away their Moncler and Canada goose jackets, ready to shift their wardrobes into spring; so ready to just take the girls out to the park without having to lug around extra scarves, gloves, and hats so they don’t get too cold. Lone and behold, we are hit with another big snowstorm!

 

 Though, as much as we all like to express how inconvenient a snow storm is for us adults, we can’t deny that a snow day for the kids is something they wait on all winter. To be honest, I felt like a child myself when I heard that of the severity of the storm.  Knowing the girls would have a snow day it gave me an excuse to take the day off as well to spend it with them. So my husband and I gave in to the weather, and cancelled all the plans we had for our day allowing our entire family a day of fun in the snow! And what a day it was, thanks to Toby. Our world had been blanketed with enough snow to all the snow things that our girls love. We had snowball fights, built forts, and even a snowman, which of course, the girls named Olaf (how original). It’s funny how kids never seem to realize how cold it is when they’re playing in the snow. They play and play until their cheeks are all rosy, and their snot is running down the little noses. Thankfully their coats were not put away too far, and we still had their Sorel boots in the closet, which assured me despite their looks, they were kept especially warm in their snow-ready clothes. How un-expectantly grateful I was to have this snow day with the entire family. It’s a great opportunity for us grown-ups to feel like kids again and roll around with our little ones; to remember what it’s like to have so much fun in the snow that you don’t even feel you’re cold until you come inside. And my most treasured part of a day like yesterday, is when everyone is back in their pajamas, dry from the icy snow, sipping Swiss Miss hot chocolate to warm our hearts while telling stories to my little snowbunnies!

Enjoying family time with my girls with Ivory

ivory1b.jpg

This post is sponsored by Ivory. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Inrachelshoes.

Like many of the women of our world today who are both working and being a mom and wife, it’s easy to find ourselves running around from one thing to another. Whether it be dropping the kids off at school, grocery shopping, or picking up the dry cleaning, I think it’s safe to say  as women, we have many responsibilities to fulfill leaving us ever so busy without us even realizing it! Through the strong love we have for those who are important in our lives, we have an intrinsic obligation to Go! Go! Go! and constantly strive and work so hard to keep those who are around us safe, happy and well. From the world looking in, we mothers can seem like superwomen, and yes, while we do have super hero qualities, we are worrywarts! Naturally, I want the best for my two girls; I am always trying make sure that whatever products we are using are pure and natural at best, to say the least. Though, when I find a brand I can trust and believe in, it leaves me a great deal less to be worrying and thinking about. It allows me the mental space in my mind to really enjoy the small moments.

ivory3b.jpg

One of the simplest most treasured moments in my day is when I get to spend the quality time of bathing my two girls. They both have very sensitive skin, especially my little one, and I used to always find myself worrying about the products I would use to bath them, that maybe the ingredients were too strong, or contained additives or scents that would irritate their skin. It was until I discovered Ivory for instance, a brand I can trust my girls with giving me the peace of mind whenever I was washing them. When I purchase any of their products, I know I will be bathing my girls with the most caring, gentle cleansers designed to seriously clean with sensitivity. Their ingredients are chosen carefully, reassuring me that I make the right decisions for my family.  Ivory’s products allow me to be invested in just spending a carefree quality bath time.  We’ve recently been using Ivory’s Original Body Wash and Original 3-bar, both are free of dyes and heavy perfumes, which is perfect for sensitive skin. I’ve also enjoyed using the Ivory Free & Gentle Body Wash with Pear & Sandalwood, as it smells amazing and includes the #1 Dermatologist-Recommended moisturizing ingredient.

ivory4b.jpg

We need to realize life for its simpler pleasures and Ivory makes it easy for me to fill my life with moments that really matter!

ivory2b.jpg

Our first family trip to Europe... it was a lot of fun and work!

Our family trip to Italy was an amazing experience – it was the first time our family in Europe together and also such a far away place.  But it sure was tiring being around Milan, Florence, and Venice with the family.  Totally worth it.