Free Stuff For Kids in July

Tomorrow is one of my favorite national holidays: Free Chickfila Day! I am only sort of kidding but I have been dressing myself and my kids up for a free chicken sandwich for a few years now and it serves the dual purpose of feeding them and entertaining them. The deal with the freebie is that you have to show up dressed as a cow. They are fairly lenient on this though so a few cut out black spots taped on a white shirt will get it done. If you want to get really fancy you could follow this tutorial from Make It Love It.

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Cows not your thing? There are a few other ways to get free stuff in July.

You can get free slurpees on July 11 at 7-11. They do this promotion yearly and it’s a fun one because you can guarantee you’ll need to beat the heat with something cool.

Half drank green slush

Not a total free one but in honor of IHOP’s anniversary Tuesday, July 16, participating restaurants will sell short stacks, or three buttermilk pancakes, for 58 cents from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stack of pancake with honey and butter on top

Visit McAlister’s Deli Thursday, July 18 for the chain’s annual Free Tea Day and get a free 32-ounce McAlister’s Deli tea sweetened or unsweetened black tea.

Fresh drink

July 21 is National Ice Cream Day. You can get freebies from Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, McDonalds and more.

Blue Ice Cream and Sprinkles in a Waffle Cone

To round out the month of goodies, you can hit Cheesecake Factory for half priced cheesecake on July 30 to celebrate National Cheesecake Day. Pro tip: order ahead and pick up to avoid long lines.

How To Roadtrip with Children: 25 Easy Steps

  1. Make extensive list of things to pack for every member of the family.
  2. Attempt to assemble said items while kids “help”.
  3. Time trip so that child will sleep for bulk of the travel time.
  4. Resign yourself to signing nursery rhymes while child #2 screams.
  5. Forty five minutes into your drive, realize you forgot several essentials.
  6. Blame respective spouse on the issue while Amazon Priming items to your destination.
  7. Decide everyone is just really hangry and its time to stop.
  8. Realize after you’ve told kids you’re stopping to eat that you have passed the last viable exit for food for the next 50 miles.
  9. Panic when child #1 says they have less than 5% battery left on their device.
  10. Realize you now have to choose between giving up your phone for the remainder of the trip and giving up silence
  11. Now that you no longer have your phone, attempt to read the novel you purchased for all of your “downtime” this trip.
  12. Dig through your purse for Dramamine because you’re now car sick.
  13. Stop at gas station for gas, Dramamine and potty breaks.
  14. Tell children not to touch anything in the gas station restroom.
  15. Child 2 peeps through bathroom stall while you’re rushing to pee. Make mental note to google “symptoms of conjunctivitis”.  Husband is using restroom alone.
  16. Spend $52 on gas station snacks and drinks.
  17. Spend 14 minutes scrolling through podcasts looking for something you and your spouse can agree on that is also child appropriate.
  18. Push play. Child #2 suddenly has pressing story to tell. Press pause.
  19. All children fall asleep. Briefly enjoy podcast in silence while sitting next to spouse. This is essentially a date.
  20. Arrive at destination 20 minutes after children sleep.
  21. It was bedtime but now children are refreshed.
  22. Keep children from destroying destination. If it’s a hotel, worry about noise complaints. If it’s an Air BNB, worry they’ll break things.
  23. Continue worrying and not sleeping for 7 days.
  24. Pack up to leave. Forget your phone charger.
  25. Repeat steps 1-19.

How She Does It: Abigail Schneider

This week’s installment of How She Does It features our community manager in the Triangle Area, Abigail Schneider! She is truly the PlatinumSitters expert and is a magician at finding amazing babysitters, In addition, she is raising a baby of her own! Working from home with a little one around is a true challenge and she makes it look easy. Read on to find out how she does it!

Abigail Schneider

Community Manager for the Triangle Area

Mom to Neil II, almost 1

Partner to Neil

Uses PlatinumSitters: Weekly

Your son is 1 ! What has been your favorite stage thus far?

I have loved it all, but the older he gets when new words enter his vocabulary and he learns new things it is so much fun.

What is your biggest struggle in terms of finding balance?

  With a partner who works long days, travels and is gone most awake hours, I have had to learn to let go and set small realistic goals for myself. I have also tried to learn to time block so that I can be present for my child and devote my full attention to work when focusing on that.   

How has PlatinumSitters helped you in that pursuit?

PlatinumSitters has helped a ton with the days/weeks my son is out of “school” or if I have a week where I am overloaded and overwhelmed. I book a sitter for just a few hours so I can dedicate that time to nothing but getting my things done.

What would you go back and tell yourself as a first time mom?

  To believe everyone when they say “time goes by so fast” and to really enjoy each and every little moment. To also be easy on yourself and be sure to take time for yourself to reset if possible. 

 Quick! You have two hours of kid-free time…what are you going to do?

  Either run for the car to run errands kid free OR lay across the couch while catching up on my shows and doing nothing 🙂

Babysitting: Beyond Date Night

We all know the feeling: your kids are safe with a sitter, your husbands driving, and you are headed for a scream-free dinner. Its pure bliss, right? Well, at PlatinumSitters we believe you deserve to feel that carefree and relaxed more often. Additional date nights are a great place to start but we can help with so much more!

Birthday Parties

There’s the cupcakes that need handing out–Beckett wants chocolate and Aiden prefers vanilla. There is the juice boxes that need straws in them and someone needs to fill up the next round of water balloons. Has anyone seen the lighter for the candles? Oh, and maybe you’d also like to enjoy your kiddo’s expression as he opens his gifts. Hire some extra hands and soak it all in–they’re only this young once!


Grocery Shopping

Let me set the scene: you’re cruising the aisles. You’re drinking Starbucks. It’s hot. You’re actually following your list. No one has asked you for Oreos. You’re getting Oreos you can hide somewhere to eat in your closet later. It’s heaven, really. Totally worth that two hour minimum.


Family Events

You know what you don’t need? To spend two hours cooking, cleaning and prepping for your mother-in-law to come in and criticize your youngest’s outfit. Someone to come hang out with the kids while you get ready for your parent’s anniversary dinner will make all the difference for the night–and your sanity.


Self-Care

When’s the last time you got to soak your feet in a pedicure tub while sipping a cold drink? Too long? Hire someone to take the kids to the park for the afternoon. They’ll be thoroughly worn out while you’re thoroughly relaxed and then you can still enjoy some low-key family time before bed. Win-win!


PlatinumSitters vets all of our sitters through background checks, reference checks and interviews. We believe in hiring engaging sitters who are going to have your kids asking when they can return. Our sitters know to follow your house rules regarding screen time, meals and bedtime. PlatinumSitters is run by moms and we only hire sitters we would trust with our own kids because we know how important safety and reliability is.

Its simple to register (www.platinumsitters.com), input the dates and times you need, and review profiles of available sitters. Rates are set per child (starting at $14/hour) and no cash exchanges hands–we charge the card on file! We are making babysitting easy and stress free so you can have peace of mind to enjoy the day-to-day and the special times.

We look forward to working with you!

It’s Monday and Mondays Matter

Shoutout to my colleague, Ms. Mitchell, for this mantra. See, as many of you know, I am an educator at heart. I taught middle school for seven years before I started with PlatinumSitters. For half of that time, I was at a middle school with Ms. Mitchell and she did the Monday morning announcements–always signing off with “Don’t forget, today is Monday–and Mondays matter!”

I don’t know when or how, but somehow that little affirmation lodged itself in my brain and has lived there ever since. I think it to myself each Monday morning. I say it to my kiddo as I usher her cranky self off to school. Because it’s true: Monday is the start of something new. A week of possibility. The chance to get things back on track or keep the momentum going.

Well, guess what? Today was a MONDAY. The baby cried so much that I called my mother-in-law crying. Yes, eight years into the parenting game and they still break me from time to time.

After that, I had to hustle to get a mama a sitter when she was diagnosed with the flu and deal with some work “fires”. Somewhere in there, I burnt my lunch and cried a little more over some tough situations around us. I realized I dropped the ball on my own childcare for an event later this week. I hustled to fix it, hustled to catch up on laundry, and hustled to put on real pants for story time.

The opposite of my work setup most days.

But, my husband came home with flowers and chocolate. We managed to have a nice meal. The rain they promised didn’t come until well past our need to be outside. We reset. It’s fine. And I am choosing to embrace what Ms. Mitchell always tell us: It’s Monday and Mondays matter.

So let’s get after it this week, mamas. If you have had a day like me, lets remember that today dictates the rest of the week. End tonight on a positive note: email a friend to say hello, call your own mama, schedule a date night to look forward to.

If you’re have an awesome start to the week, soak it in! Recognize it and appreciate it. Let that good feeling carry you through whatever the rest of the week may bring. Because today is Monday–and Mondays Matter!

Daylight Savings is the Worst

A lot of us spent the past 48 hours slugging through the day, dragging whining kids behind us. They’re overtired but the sun is still up so they’re kicking and screaming all the way to bedtime.

So, why exactly are we torturing ourselves?

We can thank ol’ Ben Franklin for this one. He realized he was wasting daylight hours and hatched a plan to get everyone up earlier.

He had three kids so why would he do this to us?!

However, the idea really caught on during WWI as an energy-saving tactic and the practice has been a staple in many western countries since then. Although it does save a small amount of energy, the biggest push for keep Daylight Savings Time is actually a financial one.

When the sun is shining, we do more. We go more places and we spend more money. There is a lot of lobbying done to make sure we keep those “summer” hours. So, if you’re tempted to lobby against DST next year, be prepared to go up against….ya know, actually lobbyists.

So, whats the key to coping? As much as it stinks…you gotta go to bed at the same time and get your kids up at the same time. That means that at some point, everyone is truly going to be functioning on one less hour and it may take a few days to sort things out.

The good news is: this means spring is on the horizon! Your evenings can now include park visits, backyard grilling and bike rides. If you’re heading out without your kids (and with the use of a PlatinumSitter!) you can expect to be more alert when driving, to enjoy more outdoor concerts and patio dinners. It isn’t all bad after all. Thanks, Benny!

Plannin’ for the Weekend

There are more clouds on my weather app than bachelorette posts in my Facebook feed–its dire, guys.

Michael Scott keeps us laughing, at least.

So, its extra important to find something to keep ourselves entertained and to keep the blues at bay. Here are a few things happening around town this week:

For Date Night:

For Girls’ Night Out:

For the Whole Family: