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Chores are a huge part of our parenting philosophy

These kids, a 5-year-old and a 2.5-year-old, were born on a farm. They have never not known what it's like to live among animals. They learned how to crawl in the kitchen next to an orphan piglet and they cuddle with newborn baby goats in their bed instead of stuffed animals.

Chores are a huge part of our parenting philosophy

There is no more hopeful person than a mother who has just created a chore chart.

Like, seriously.

Our first chore chart was a BIG deal. About a week before making one we started talking about chores with the kids, "What do you think you would like your chores to be?" "Would you like to track your progress with stickers or stamps?"

The day of the chore chart was exciting for everyone. We went to the craft store and picked out poster board and stamps. I let the children make all the decisions for what the chart should look like in hopes they would be more inspired to complete the tasks.

And then it came time to write the chores down.

These kids, a 5-year-old and a 2.5-year-old, were born on a farm. They have never not known what it's like to live among animals. They learned how to crawl in the kitchen next to an orphan piglet and they cuddle with newborn baby goats in their bed instead of stuffed animals. They've witnessed birth and they've witnessed death; they are equally intrigued by both.

"Feed the baby goats their bottles!" Isadora shouted.

"Drive tractor!" Banzai chimed in.

Farming, for them, wasn't a newfound passion like it was for their dad and me. Farming is their life.

As farmers, and specifically owners of a goat dairy farm that makes artisan cheeses,Matthew and I spend a large portion of our day working, and most of this work (with the exception of what occurs in the cheese making room) happens with our children right alongside us.

At 5 years old Isadora is capable enough to do work that is not only helpful, but also necessary.

She can bottle feed baby goats, corral goats for milking, prep udders for milking, actually milk goats, haul hay to feed her horse and the llama, cart food to the pigs in her little wheelbarrow, muck barns, steer the tractor and clean up our event space.

Her brother, Banzai, is right beside her, learning and growing, every step of the way. He picks up the strings left over from the bales of hay, carries his own Banzai-sized flake of hay for the horses, pushes the wheelbarrow his sister has filled with dirty bedding into the field, preps udders, and pulls weeds (we're still working on identifying what's a weed and what's not).

(Now I know why farmers used to have so many children!)

At one point in their short little lives, Matthew and I took a step back and asked ourselves, "Are we robbing our children of the magic of childhood by asking them to step up and do real work?"

We watched our children closely for a week looking for clues to see if we were slowly killing their beautiful little spirits with the asks involved in manual labor.

On the contrary, we saw two children flourishing under the work of a farm.

This farm is shaping these children into incredibly strong, driven individuals. They care about this farm not because it's where they live, or because it's where their food comes from, but because they see it as their farm.

These tiny humans walk around the farm and see it not only as a playground (don't worry they still play) but as something they are responsible for. They will often come running to us with frantic observations.

"The baby goats are out of the pasture and they're eating the garden!"

"A peacock just had babies!"

"The pigs peed in their water!"

Immediately, they will start offering solutions.

This farm has taught them that their opinion matters, and, on an ever-larger scale, that they matter.

But what happened to the chore chart?

Hilariously enough, it fell behind the refrigerator never to be seen again.

I had put so much energy into inspiring them with a chore chart I lost sight of the fact that the farm, in and of itself, empowered them.

Introducing a formalized system was about trying to nurture children who saw just how important their actions were to the success of their village. It was about them working right alongside their parents, modeling hard work and determination, and in the process, learning the strength of their own bodies and their own mental fortitude.

Turns out they already knew all those things.

Watching these children blossom, from infants being toted around the farm while we do chores, to tiny little humans who can outwork most adults, has been an incredible journey. Everyday chores with children gets a little easier. We repeat ourselves less. We don't have to remind them of the steps to complete a task. They start to learn their roles in a specific job and become experts in it.

In my opinion, chores haven't made their childhood less magical, they've made it more magical. Chores have given these children a purpose and sense of belonging that will root them for years to come.

The other day as we were delivering cheese to one of our customers the vendor asked Isadora, "Are you helping your Mommy deliver her cheese today?"

"No," she replied, "I'm helping my Mommy deliver OUR cheese."

And you know what? She was right.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

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Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

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