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Apryl Duncan

Apryl's Stay-at-Home Moms Blog

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This Month's Moment for Mom

Friday May 30, 2014
A picture of a mom taking a break
Enjoy a moment for yourself.
Photo © Juzant Productions / Getty Images
Ah, here we go. School is out and you're already craving some downtime. Take a mini-break to find out what's new on the About.com Stay-at-Home Moms site in this month's Moment for Mom:

New Articles:

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Bring Quality Time Back to Your Family

Thursday May 29, 2014
Have you ever spent the entire day with your family but then felt like you didn't spend any time with them at all? With today's many distractions, it's easy to be in the same room with your children but not really be in the room with them.

A picture of a family reading
Make quality time a part of your family's day every day.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
We're checking our phones. We're updating our status to hundreds of followers. We're using virtual pin boards to share our dream house contents.

It's not long before the day is gone and you're putting the kids to bed wondering where the time you were supposed to spend together actually went. Tracking those time wasters is one eye-opening way to see where those minutes are actually going. You may be surprised at how much time distractions are taking away from your family time.

Make the most of family time every day, regardless of how busy your family's schedule. Bring quality time into your day with activities like daily traditions, family activities and so much more.

My personal favorite is taking part in projects together. From the whole family redecorating my children's rooms together to sewing blankets and clothes together, my husband and I are doing our best to make sure our family time isn't marred by gadgets and time-hungry distractions. Up next: creating a 2014 family photo album together.

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Fun Ways to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

Tuesday May 27, 2014
Your kids have made it very clear. This school year is history and summertime is here.

A picture of a kid scientist
Avoid summer brain drain with easy activities like science experiments.
Photo © Digital Vision / Getty Images
Will they be forgetting a lot of what they learned over the past school year? Studies have shown students lose about two months of what they've learned during the school year over their summer break.

My family is going to have a carefree, fun-filled summer but we're also going to be learning at the same time. It's easy to beat summer learning loss with this list of activities that are fun and educational. My kids are loving the science experiments and I'm loving that they're learning without even realizing it!

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Rewards Programs for Parents

Wednesday May 14, 2014
Unless you're a duchess or even a Kardashian, you probably keep a close eye on your family's pennies ... and usually that means you watch your money go right back out the door to cover the mortgage, utilities and child-related expenses. Stretching your family's paycheck is a fine balancing act.

A picture of a change purse
Rewards programs can be easy money back in your pocket.
Photo © Geri Lavrov / Getty Images
Instead of trying to balance your family's budget without a net, there are ways to get deep discounts and even cash back. Rewards programs for parents help you save money on the products you buy most.

There's a free program on the list that suits every parent. From the family who wants to go green to the kids who love special treatment on their birthdays (and the parents who love saving money on their birthday presents!), each of these free programs is designed to put money in your wallet where it belongs.

I use all of the rewards programs listed for my own family. Just using #5 on the list alone, I was able to put close to $1,000 back in my family's pocket last year. Not a bad kickback for buying things my family needs, such as diapers, wipes and clothes.

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Help Your Child Cope with a Death

Monday May 12, 2014
My father passed away when I was three years old so I learned about death at a terribly young age. One of my children is now three and I can't imagine having to tell him what my mother had to tell me at the same age.

A picture of a sad child
Helping your child deal with death allows him to begin to cope and deal with the loss.
Photo © Photodisc / Getty Images
Although we do everything we can to protect our children, they will undoubtedly have to deal with a death at some point in their lives. Whether it's a family member or a beloved family pet, we will find ourselves having to tell them bad news that will break their heart.

Helping your child deal with death is one of the most difficult situations you'll face as a parent. No matter how tough your children act, they're still fragile little ones who will rely on you to help them through this difficult time.

From having an open door policy to helping them say goodbye, you can be the rock that helps them cope with the loss and begin to deal with the death. Above all, always be their shoulder. Being there for them will make a dramatic difference in how quickly they accept the death and begin to move forward. Just ask my mom.

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Mother's Day 101

Friday May 9, 2014
In case you haven't watched the tear-jerking commercials or seen the banner ads all over the Internet, there's a certain event coming up this Sunday. Mother's Day is almost here and it's time to celebrate Mom for all she does for her family.

A picture of a mom blowing out candles
Don't forget Mom's special day.
Photo © Cavan Images / Getty Images
Want to wow her? Throw a party for Mom and invite your entire family. If you have generations of moms coming over to your house, turn your party into a celebration of them all.

If you're looking for a simple get together, plan an easy Mother's Day brunch. Mom has cooked plenty of meals for you so try some of these easy Mother's Day brunch recipes to give her a day away from the kitchen.

And if you've waited until the last minute to get Mom a special gift, break away from those predictable gifts of cards and flowers with fun Mother's Day ideas that give her everything from a spa day to a weekend getaway. Or if you want gifts you can wrap, look to these irresistible gifts for Mom that will earn you lots of kisses.

Happy Mother's Day!

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5 Useful Hobbies for Moms

Wednesday May 7, 2014
I'm a big cheerleader for "me" time. It's so easy for moms to get wrapped up in raising their children that they don't take a single moment for themselves. You're still you even under those layers of spit up and flat-out exhaustion.

A picture of a woman taking photos
Learning more about photography can help you take better pictures of your family.
Photo © datarec / stock.xchng
Hobbies are a great way to immerse yourself in some well-deserved "me" time. You can get involved in something you've always been interested in and it's on your own terms.

There are even creative, relaxing hobbies that are actually useful in your life as a mom. If you're looking to try something new, one of these five useful hobbies for moms will help you set aside some time for yourself while also enhancing your days as a mom.

I've recently taken up #2 on the list and I'm having a blast making keepsakes out of my children's old clothes. My family is so supportive of my new hobby and the first thing my kids ask me when they wake up in the morning is if they can see what I did the night before while they were sleeping!

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PBS Tackles Modern Parenting Issues

Monday May 5, 2014
I get a lot of emails here at About.com but one I got this morning caught my eye. PBS NewsHour is hosting its first installment of "Parenting Now" starting today.

A picture of a family
Learn more about the modern family with PBS' new series.
Photo © Stephen Simpson, Inc. / Getty Images
Here's a schedule of the week's planned broadcasts:
  • Monday, May 5: Achieving the Right Balance

  • Tuesday, May 6: Raising Girls

  • Wednesday, May 7: Raising Boys

  • Thursday, May 8: The Affordability of Good Child Care

  • Friday, May 9: The Overprotected Kid
Check your local listings for times the series will be broadcast.

I'll be tuning in this week as the reporters catch up with some parenting experts on these important subjects. The discussion also continues online with Twitter chats and Q&As. Learn more about this week's events on the PBS NewsHour website.

Related Resources:

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Things to Do with Kids in May

Friday May 2, 2014
I turned over my calendar to the month of May and found something written on one of the days that shocked me:

A picture of a boy playing kickball
Play outdoors in May during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
"Last Day of School"

Is another school year really about to be in the books? I feel like I was just shopping for school supplies yesterday.

On that last day of school, I'll be parading my older son around town to collect free stuff for good grades. Then what?

Fortunately, there are loads of fun things to do with kids in May. From food to fitness, we'll have plenty of activities to keep us busy until the school bell rings signaling the beginning of another school year.

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Get Ready for Graduation!

Wednesday April 30, 2014
It seems like yesterday you were snapping a picture of your child's first day of school. Now it's already time to say goodbye to the school year and celebrate graduation.

A picture of graduation caps in the air.
Hats off to graduation!
Photo © jessiejacobson / Flickr
Graduation is such a special time in your kids' lives. These days, kids can expect to celebrate a lot of graduations. Some preschools hold graduation ceremonies so if you add in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school and college graduations, you'll have a whopping six ceremonies to celebrate for each child.

But seeing those smiling faces acknowledged for their achievements is a tear-jerking moment you don't want to miss. To celebrate their accomplishments, browse the graduation gifts list. The gift ideas are separated by stage so you can quickly find gift ideas for the right age.

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