Tips on Raising Boys

This is a sponsored post.for the past 14 years, i’ve been a boy mom. i have three boys who have given me a lot of experience in this department. i wasn’t sure until this year, if were any differences between raising boys and raising girls. and since my little girl is only nine months, i still am not 100% sure. but, i did get the privileged of speaking to Dr. Eric Troyan, a pediatrian at Kaiser Permanente in Mission Viejo. he and i got to chat about the differences between raising boys and girls.

as i expected, there are some major differences. of course these are just generalizations, and there can and are similarities in all children, but during Dr. Eric Troyan’s 17 years of practice, he has learned that there are definite differences in how boys and girls learn, behave, and of course grow. he gave me some great advice to share with parents of boys that may help things run smoother at home.

Boys Have Higher Amount of Energy

this is probably a given. many boys have higher energy levels. they tend to do things before thinking it through, which is different than girls. girls tend to observe and are better at reading expressions and surveying the scene. boys don’t do that. boys exhibit higher risk behaviors. they are more active in their behaviors – skateboarding, pranks, messing around with their friends. you may feel that your son breaks everything, gets hurt all the time, and takes risks that he shouldn’t. that’s because they don’t think before they do. it is important to make sure their environments are safe, that they wear helmets, and not play with objects that can cause harm.

Boys Need Consistent Discipline

constant discipline is important for all children, but it is even more so for boys. the reason is – girls tend to pick up patterns and can figure out by observation what is right and wrong. but boys tend to learn by doing and experimenting. even if they know something is wrong, many times they will try it anyways to see what happens. only then will they understand the consequences and then learn what happens when they do certain behaviors.

so, it is important when boys do something wrong for the first time, not to overreact and give harsh discipline. when they do something new…a bad behavior that is, it is important for parents to sit down and talk to their sons about what just happened. then talk about what will happen in the future if they do this behavior again. once their son knows a certain behavior is wrong through experience, then it is important to follow up with the consequence that was discussed the first time he did it.

Dr. Troyan couldn’t stress it enough how boys need CONSISTENT discipline. knowing what to expect is very important. believe it or not, taking away screen time is a very effective form of discipline for all ages. time outs work too, but are only recommended for ages below seven years of age. after age seven, having the child go to his room or being away from family or friends also works.

it is also important to reinforce the good behaviors. whenever they do something well or being good….tell them. let them know what behaviors get rewarded. and don’t forget to hug your boys…they need just as much love and attention as girls do!

As Boys Grow

you will find that in boys, the bulk of teaching and learning happens around 3-5 years. then, there will be a period of time where life gets much easier. however, when the teen years arrive – you will see some regression. especially around the ages of 13-14 and the beginning of high school.  parents may see their teen boys act like they are 3 years old again. they start being more impulsive, and more aggressive. parents….try to stay calm! take it down to a lower level and re-teach your son how to behave again. if you go back to basics and re-teach them what is right and wrong, by 16-17, boys will again show more positive behaviors.

as boys get older, they may express that they’d prefer a male doctor. that’s fine. let them have that preference. make sure they are comfortable with their doctor and other important figures in their lives. they need to feel comfortable coming to them with problems and questions they have.

as mentioned before, girls are better at expressing themselves. where boys struggle to express how they feel. this is why it is important to screen boys for depression. talk to them and talk things out, try to help them tell you their feelings. and when it comes to sexual behavior, make sure boys understand the risks associated. have a male figure in their life talk to them as well. boys may worry a lot during puberty. this is because girls reach puberty earlier and start acting older and maturer earlier than boys. boys don’t know how to act around them. boys have their rapid growth later – at around 11-14 years…or beyond. this is when they start exhibiting more explosive behavior and reactions.

Nutrition and Sleep in Boys

as you know, it is important that all kids get the proper nutrition. it’s common with boys to eat more junk and lack balanced nutrition. it is really important the they don’t skip breakfast. drinking enough water is especially important, especially with non-athletes. it has been found that boy athletes often drink the necessary amounts of water.

staying up late is common for teens. kids have sports, homework, and lots of extracurricular activities which lead to them staying up late. it is important for teens to get 8-10 hours of sleep if possible. but, girls tend to be able to deal with less sleep than boys, who just can’t handle it as much. you may notice more explosive behavior, grumpiness, and anger when your son is sleep deprived.

see….an angry teenager who needs more sleep LOL!!!!!

wow! it was a great refresher course talking to Dr. Troyan about raising boys. he confirmed a lot of my thoughts and feelings on raising boys and also helped better explain how my boys brains and bodies work. even after three boys, i am always looking for advise on how to raise them up right. Kaiser Permanente Orange County has a great team of doctors that have made me feel very comfortable as a parent.

the great thing about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, is everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. plus, there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. wow…this is the kind of service i look for in my healthcare.

if you have missed the posts i have written about them, here they are:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones


Do’s and Don’ts for Keeping Your Teen Son Fresh for Back to School

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AXE®. All opinions are my own.

yikes! i can’t believe that this week, i am officially a mom of a highschooler. my oldest son is heading off for the ninth grade. he is no longer my little boy, he’s a full fledged teenager. which of course comes with all the challenges that high school has. homework, friends, teachers, popularity, insecurity, fun and not-so-fun. so i have partnered with AXE to share some ideas on how to keep your teens high school experience fresh all day.

Do’s and Don’ts for Keeping Your Teen Son Fresh for Back-to School

Don’t: kiss and hug your son in front of his friends when you drop him off at school.

Do: let your son know that you are always there for him, but also give him the space he needs. this has nothing to do with how much he loves you. it’s just part of growing up. (hug him before you leave the house)


Don’t: let your son wear a hat instead of brushing his hair.

Do: remind him to brush it before he puts his hat on. a fresh ‘do every morning will make sure he’s looking fly. he will thank you once his first period teacher makes him take that hat off during class.

Don’t: pick out your son’s clothes; he and dad don’t need to be matching. that’s definitely too much plaid and too much neck tie.

Do: let him wear what makes him feel good about himself and gives him self-confidence….no matter how awful you may think it looks.


Don’t: don’t pack your son’s lunch with cute little stickers and notes. don’t put milk in a thermos. don’t use that lunchbox from grade school. don’t pack leftovers…unless they are yummy.

Do: keep that lunch pail fresh. pack him an extra snack and a variety of fresh fruits, veggies and proteins. and nothing says “I Love You” more than a yummy treat to end the meal. (tip: freeze water bottles the night before, so by lunchtime, he’ll have a cold fresh bottle of water to enjoy.)


Don’t: let your son skip on washing his school gym clothes…there’s nothing fresh about that. stinkpot central.

Do: make sure your son’s gym bag is prepared for his sport. a clean uniform, the right shoes, socks, a water bottle, and don’t forget antiperspirant such as AXE dry spray antiperspirant

i totally lucked out in the non-stinky sports department. my son plays water polo…so yeah, less stinkiness there!

Don’t: make your son use dirty folders and broken pencils from the year before.

Do: send your son to school with fresh school supplies for new school year. new notebooks, pens and pencils always ease the pain of doing homework a little bit less.


Don’t: let your son smell. you never want to let your teen walk around with body odor or sweaty underarms all day.

Do: have your teen son use AXE YOU Body Spray to stay fresh all-day long, and use AXE Signature Gold Dry Spray or AXE Signature Night Dry Spray to stay dry for up to 48 hours. my son especially loves the AXE Signature Gold Dry Spray.

hey moms (and dads)!!!! now here’s where you come in. if you’re like me, in the past you probably bought your son deodorant and just handed it to him. have you ever….actually ever…showed him how to use it???!!! it’s never dawned on me that i needed to teach my son how to use it. and apparently, most guys don’t know how or when to use AXE body and dry sprays. did you know that 64% of young guys think body spray and dry spray are the same thing?!!!!! and 1 in 2 guys think that they should apply body spray to their underarms!

*Ipsos Body Spray Drivers and Barriers, 2017 or Ipsos, 2017

Don’t: let your teen over-spray AXE YOU Body Spray – creating “a cloud.” clouds belong in the sky.

Do: have your teen spray AXE body spray, like AXE YOU, in the shape of a “7” across his chest and mid-section, and only spray for only as long as it takes to say the word “AXE.”

Don’t: use body spray as a deodorant. sweat and cologne mixed together isn’t fresh at all.

Do: use AXE Signature Dry Sprays to stay dry for up to 48 hours. simply apply AXE dry spray antiperspirant under your arms for sweat protection (in place of an antiperspirant stick). and watch this video to help your son learn to use the products, too.

i want to make sure Jackson fits right in with all his high school friends. there is no way my son is going to be known as the smelly one, or the kid who wears too much cologne. and with these tips, i don’t have to worry about this. to learn more about AXE and its proper usage, visit

and most of all…


Don’t: nag your son.

Do: be his biggest fan. believe in him with all your heart, and tell him that you love him EVERY DAY. regardless of what he does or does not accomplish, if he knows that you are there for him, things will stay fresh between you.

Now it’s time for school!

every year of school brings a fresh start. exciting and new and just waiting to unlock the potential and amazingness of your wonderful teen. good luck son…i know you’ll be great.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AXE.





Every Car Has a Personality: How to Choose the Best One for Your Family

This is a sponsored post.

this weekend, the boys and i finally got to see Cars 3 in the theater…yay! we’ve been waiting months for it to finally come to theaters. little miss Dani also tagged along…it was her first time ever at a movie theater. of course, we all loved Cars 3, and enjoyed watching it complete with popcorn and drinks. the movie had a great message and the ending of the movie was perfect. the new characters in the film were also awesome, we especially loved Cruz Ramirez – she rocks! the newer, more cutting-edge race cars were cool as well with their different personalities and specialty functions that made winning races for older cars much more difficult.

check out some of photos from our Cars 3 movie adventures….

wouldn’t it be fun if the cars we drove, were like the ones on the movie?!!! my boys sure think so! a car with personality?!!! well,  Autotrader, the most visited third-party car-shopping site, thinks every car has a personality. and they encourage people to find the car that best fits their own unique lifestyle, by using their online Car Match Tool. it can help narrow your car buying choices based on the selections you make.

Autotrader Car Match Tool

with the Autotrader Car Match Tool, you can choose body style, price range, power efficiency, features and technology, even the color! once you make your choices, you then get a list of all the cars that fit that criteria. it’s so helpful. and if you’ve narrowed down your car options, but need a bit more information, Autotrader allows you to compare cars and features. this provides you with valuable information to make a final, smart choice. you definitely don’t want to get stuck only on a vehicle’s “reputation.” rest assured, Autotrader helps you do your due diligence to research specific models.

in the spirit of Cars 3, Autotrader has made this great little commercial highlighting some of the favorite characters from Cars 3 and their unique personalities. o ver here, we’re more of a “Mater” family, and tend to buy the more reliable cars. more times than not, it’s a used one that’s not flashy and not going to go out of style for a while.

it was fun checking out the “Car Matching Tool” on Autotrader’s website. i would have thought we’d be a minivan family all the way. however, since we need a little more power and a toe-hitch to pull our travel trailer, we actually were matched with a handful of SUV’s. surprising…especially since i never thought we would need a large SUV. i don’t even think i can park one…hee hee.

do you know what car you really need? next time you are going to go car shopping…head over to Autotrader and try the  Car Match Tool for yourself and see which is best for your personality. you may be surprise with a perfect match you’d never considered. “Every car has a personality. Find the one that fits yours at Autotrader.” 

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Autotrader. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

6 Tips to Manage a Household as a Busy Parent

This is a sponsored post.

now that we are a family of six, i have to admit, life has gotten a whole lot harder. it’s mostly when it comes to juggling everyone’s schedules and keeping up with all their needs. i have been doing my best to organize the house and simplify everything to help make life a little easier for us. i also am learning to let things go…life doesn’t always need to be perfect. i used to think i could do it all, but i’m finally realizing that YES, i do need help. and now that i have realized this, things are going much smoother for my family.

so, how am i managing our busy family now? it may not be perfect, but the house is picked up for the most part, the kids have their needs met, and even get a shower most days. that’s definitely a win. so yeah…things are moving along. and i thought that i would share with you some of the ways i’ve adjusted our lives to make managing life as a busy parent easier.


time to get rid of the excess. too many toys. too many clothes. too much junk. there is just TOO MUCH STUFF everywhere. and this equals more messes. i’ve been learning that this kind of chaos really holds you back. especially when you’re constantly trying to clean up and organize around TOO MUCH STUFF. many trash bags of unwanted and necessary things have been leaving my house. what a relief!

Everything Has a Place

Tips to Manage a Household

once i simplified the amount of stuff i have in an area of my home, i make sure everything has a specific spot to live in. i have labeled every storage container and also the shelves in the cupboards so that everyone in the house knows what goes where. this has really cut down on finding things in the wrong places and has also saved a lot of time. we no longer are searching for lost stuff.

Get Outside Help

the fact is, there’s only one of you. sometimes it is physically impossible to get everything finished that you need to get done. this is when you get help from others. family and friends can’t always be there when you need them. i mean…sometime i just can’t keep up. YIKES!

so there are services like that can help you get the right people to do the jobs you need help with. it’s the world’s largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care – and includes services such as sitters, housekeepers, nannies, senior care, dog walkers and more.

did you know they even have a database of tutors? this is what really excited me….i could really use that kind of help.

using makes life simpler for families because you can go online and find the services you need at the click of a button. whether you need childcare while you’re at work or want to line up the occasional date night sitter, is there for you.

Shared Family Calendar

using a shared calendar is very helpful when it comes to keeping everyone in the family on the same page. there have been many times when i have just assumed that my husband knew of an event or appointment that was happening and vice versa, when in reality, i never told him. it’s really hard to keep track of everything happening at school, sports, extracurricular activities and in our personal lives. so writing it down is very helpful. a shared Google calendar or a large family calendar posted on a wall in your home is what i recommend. here are some tips to organize your family’s schedule.

Make a Routine but Allow Flexibility

i know this sounds like a contradiction, but really, it can work in your favor. when it comes to mornings or bedtimes, i like to make sure the family sticks to a routine. i need the kids to be ready for school, and in the evenings, i need them to go down for the night so i can unwind and set up the house for the next day.

making lunches the night before, packing bags and cleaning up the house from that day makes the next day run much better. at the same time, it’s good to allow flexibility in our schedules. sometimes there’s going to be a late night, sometimes you have take out instead of making dinner, maybe to kids skip a bath on those not-so-dirty day, sometimes the dishes aren’t going to get done till the next day. it’s okay. life can’t always be perfect.


Take Time to De-stress

when parents de-stress, we’re more at ease and more focused. a simple date night or some alone time can give you back the energy you need to survive parenthood. This is another way that can help. You can find a babysitter that fits your family’s needs

How works

you can quickly and easily sign up on for FREE as a Basic Member, which allows you to start searching for great local help, see their services and rates. if you choose to upgrade to a Premium Membership, you can reach out to the persons offering the services you need and are able to check their reviews and references. you are also allowed to schedule interviews and even book and pay for care online through the app. if you are looking for something specific, you can post a job and receive responses from caregivers in your area. You are allowed to view each caregiver’s profile and contact them for interviews or learn more about them. also provides access to a variety of background check options, so you can make the best hiring decision. wonder how much you should pay your sitter?

remember: it is your responsibility to make sure that the persons you hire on meet the criteria you are looking for. There are lots of details to remember and things to think about and agree on, so it’s a great idea to create a contract to make sure you both understand what to expect from each other.

Get 20% off – sign up now for, and you can save 20% off a Premium Membership! from now through September 30th, you can use the promo code SANDYTOES20 to save 20% off a Premium Membership by visiting this link

these 6 Tips to Manage a Household as a Busy Parent are simply things that have help our family tremendously when trying to manage our large family busy lives. hopefully some of them can help you as well. it’s piece of mind when you know your kids, parents, pets and home are well cared for. life can be tricky with kids…so we all need all the help we can get. happy parenting!

{Disclosure: This post is brought to you by and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.}

Using Kelley Blue Book to Buy a New Car

so much has changed and is changing for our family with the birth of our baby girl. moving up from a family of 5 to a family of 6 has caused some major changes, especially in the space situation. suddenly our house is too small, our laundry piles are bigger, and everything takes more time. PLUS, we no longer have room in our truck to fit our entire family. the biggest issue with this, is that we can no longer pull our travel trailer when we go on vacation or road trips. how are we going to share our road trips with you if we can’t even fit in the truck that pulls the trailer! so it’s a great time to partner with Kelley Blue Book to help us find a new family car that will fit our entire family, and still pull our travel trailer.

since my husband’s truck is a company car, we are going to have to sell my minivan, and get something that will work. i am fine with that because i have been wanting a new car for a while now. and although i love my minivan, it’s getting old and starting to cost more in repairs than the money we are saving from having paid it off. how will we go about selling our old vehicle and buying a new one? we’ve done the dealer route and the for-sale-by-owner route. we are comfortable with either as long as we are getting the best deal. by using Kelley Blue Book, we can make sure we do. you can use to find the most trusted vehicle valuation and also use it as an information source to find the best vehicle, as it is one of the most trusted and relied upon sources for consumers and the automotive industry.

How will we pick our car?

to make our choice easier, the Kelley Blue Book editorial team drives and tests hundreds of new cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans every year. it has named its list of the 12 Best Family Cars of 2017. to choose this list, they focused on safety, value, reputation and fit of various child safety car seats. the new Best Family Cars of 2017 list focuses strictly on mainstream brands, and includes a diverse group of new vehicles that best meet the needs of today’s families. in fact, this is the first year that no sedans have been included.

How does Kelley Blue Book know what parent’s need in a vehicle?

the’s editorial staff includes several parents with children in a full range of ages from toddler to college. they’ve also enlisted the help of their own families to put this year’s contenders to the real-world test.

this year’s winners range in price from around $20,000 to the low $30,000 range, with only one vehicle exceeding a $40,000 starting price. that is just what my family is looking for. and with two children still in car seats, i am glad that took carseats into consideration when they made their list of winners. included in this year’s content is a car seat guide with useful tips and specific details regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each of this year’s Best Family Cars.

Who are the winners?

if you are looking into purchasing a new family car this year, Kelley Blue Book has created this video of this year’s winners:

i am very excited to be getting a new car this year. i can’t wait to go shopping. with Kelley Blue Book by my side, i have more confidence in my purchase. serves the typical everyday car buyer like myself to provide me with every bit of information necessary to make an intelligent car-purchase decision. i can’t wait to share with you what i end up getting!

{disclosure: This is a sponsored post through the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}