Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts

First-time Moms: How Should you Buy your Diaper Bag Online?

If you’re planning to purchase stylish diaper bags online, you might find it difficult to choose the exact
diaper bag to go with especially if you don’t have a particular brand or model in mind. A simple search
will net you dozens of results, and even the process of trying to narrow down the field to your top five
choices might be a daunting task.
            Here are five things that you can do to help make that process just a little bit easier:

Compare, Compare, Compare

            This might seem like counterintuitive, but a lot of people actually DON’T like canvassing on the
Internet because of the sheer amount of choices that they have available. You might think that people would
rather canvass for items online because it seems more convenient and easier, but when you compare
browsing in stores compared to browsing for products online, most people would rather go to
brick-and-mortar stores.
            There are two ways that you can actually go about this. If you already have a certain diaper bag
model in mind, or at least, an idea of what you’re looking for in a diaper bag, you can compare different
brands and models online. You can simplify your search by using filters such as features, bag types, or price
            However, if you don’t have any idea of what kind of diaper bag you need at all, it might be better if
you go to a brick-and-mortar store first to canvass for ideas. By going to a store, you will have a first-hand
idea of the size and appearance of the different bag types, as well as the material that you want in a bag.
Most stores can also point out different features that you might want to have in your final choice of a diaper

Ask Other Moms

            Asking other moms is a valuable way to get feedback on the performance of a particular model
of diaper bag. You can get valuable feedback that you won’t be able to get in a store, such as how well a
certain bag holds up to long-term use and abuse, if a certain bag really does store and organize baby items
well, and whether certain features are worth the extra price tag tacked on them. Mothers are generally more
than happy to give feedback and help out other moms to find the right diaper bag.

Check Out Forums

            If you find it difficult to ask other moms for their honest feedback and opinions on certain diaper
bags, you can always go online and check out parenting forums. There are dozens of forums out there
dedicated to baby care, and many of the threads discuss which qualities you need to look for in a good
diaper bag. In fact, some threads are even dedicated to popular diaper bag models, so you might be lucky
and find a thread that’s dedicated specifically to a particular diaper bag that you’re considering.

Reviews are Great, BUT…

            One of the ways that you might be considering to help you choose the right diaper bag is by
checking out online reviews. As a baseline idea, online reviews can be helpful, but you should always take
any reviews you find online with a grain of salt. It’s very easy to create fake reviews online to boost a
product’s popularity and make it more attractive to consumers. In fact, it’s an actual industry! Many
companies have been caught red-handed hiring writers to create fake reviews for their products or services,
or even writing reviews themselves. The practice is so widespread that it has become difficult to actually
spot which reviews are real and which ones are fake.

Go for a “Test Run”

            Once you have decided on a certain model but you’re not 100% sure, there’s nothing wrong with
going for a “test run”. Many stores have floor models that you can check out and try so that you can see
whether it lives up to your expectations or not. Take your time and be meticulous with inspecting a
particular diaper bag. Check whether the straps are padded, and whether the seams are strong and
well-stitched. Does it have enough pockets and compartments to hold all your baby’s essential items? Does
it feel comfortable to carry even if the bag is full?
            You might think that it’s silly to bring all your baby’s essentials and load them all into a diaper bag
before you decide on it, but consider this: wouldn’t it look even sillier if you’re lugging around a bag that’s
too small for your baby’s items, or worse, if you’re stuck carrying around all the contents of the bag
because it gave out? 

Easy Cheesy Chicken Tacos {$7 Dinner Series}

My favorite meals to prepare for my family are easy, economical and packed full of veggies. The less time I spend cooking and cleaning up the better. I would much rather play with my kids or read them a story after dinner than spend an hour cleaning up! I would also prefer to have time to listen to my son talk about his school day over cooking!

This recipe for Easy Cheesy Chicken Tacos meets all of my criteria for a great meal! This is so easy to make and you can create this recipe for about $7 with smart shopping!

To begin here is a run down of what I purchased to create this dinner for my family and how much each ingredient cost.

Tyson 2/5 pound bag of frozen chicken breast, sale price of $4.99. I used 1/2 of the package  for a total of $2.49
1 jar of Meijer brand salsa, sale price of $1.00
1 pacakge of Meijer brand soft flour tortillas $1.49
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese 1.00
2 ounces of cream cheese .33 (a 6 oz package was .99)
1/2 an onion  ( sale price of 67 cents for a small sweet onion) .33
1/2 a green pepper .50

For a total of $7.14

1 1/4 cup of cooked chicken breast
1 jar of salsa
1 package of tortillas
1/2 cup of shredded  cheese
1/3 package of cream cheese
1/2 an onion
1/2 a green pepper

Cook your chicken in a pan of boiling water when it has reached the recommended internal temperature, remove it from heat, allow to cool to a temperature you can work with and cut it into small chunks.

Cut your onion and green pepper into small chunks

Add salsa, cream cheese, shredded cheese, chicken and chopped veggies to a medium size pan, over medium heat, allow the cream cheese and shredded cheese to melt, stirring several times. Once the cheese is melted you can serve this on soft tortillas for an easy meal your family will love.

Garnish with Sour cream or hot sauce if desired.

I often serve this with a side of Spanish Rice, or a light salad. The best part is this is one meal my entire family loves!

You might also enjoy this Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe from my $7 Dinner Series.

Making Motherhood Less Messy With Dyson

I was compensated to write this feature with a sample from the manufacturer. 

As a busy mom of 2 kids, 2 dogs, a cat and a few small animals, let me tell you that life can get busy and messy! Having the right tools on hand to clean up all of the aftermath of family life is important to me because it makes the job easier and it helps me to stay stress free.

We are a crafting family so, scraps, sprinkles and sparkles are frequently an issue to contend with. Not to mention general dirt, ever present pet hair and kid schmutz.

My husband often comments that in my hands, a vacuum stands no chance at survival. I will work it to death in record time. He isn't joking either. With a herd of goblins in tow, things get out of control fast here. My vacuum is put to work 2 times a day, at least!

The number of vacuums I have worked to death over the years is at about 10. With a track record like that and knowing in my heart, if it can suck up dirt, I will push it to the cleaning limits, I am a hard sell on any vacuum retailing at over $200.

Then I got to try the Dyson Animal Ball. This vacuum is priced much higher than my cut off of $200. I had never used a Dyson, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this unit. I know this is the brand my peers all cheer for so it had a point in its favor with me.

The vacuum was easy to assemble. My husband had it together in a few minutes time. He reported the instructions were easy to follow.

When I turned it on to start my daily cleaning, I was immediately taken by the power of this unit. This vacuum really sucks. And it sucks up dirt you didn't know was there, left behind by my old vacuum! Pet hair? Where? I can't find any on my floors after running this.

It is easy to clean with, easy to empty and has a whole lot of power. No matter how much dirt the family tracks in, they can rest assured I am nearby with my Dyson Animal Ball in hand.

I tested this unit for a full 4 months. I wanted to form a complete opinion on how it preformed compared to the cost. First, the vacuum looks good. The purple color is appealing. The canister is easy to see, making it obvious when to empty.

The unit has a lot of power. It really sucks up well, but I have found that on occasion I need to release hair and small debris that might become lodged inside the vacuum. This has been easy enough to do, but is a problem I haven't encountered with other vacuums. I love how much hair and dirt it can suck up quickly, making cleaning time less time consuming for me.

I like the lightweight features of the Dyson Animal Ball. It is easy to push and carry as needed. It is compact enough to easily store in a small closet when not in use, which is another bonus for me.

Overall, I liked this vacuum very much. It is one of the best ones I have used in terms of cleaning power and durability. I think it is well worth the price and would happily recommend the Dyson Animal Ball to other parents looking to make clean up time a breeze!

8 Truths About Line Drying Clothing

Earlier this summer, my dryer stopped working, it was unfixable. The timing was terrible, as finances made replacing it right away impossible. A well meaning relative reminded us that when she was a kid, they simply didn't have such luxury, and she turned out okay. While I might have thought... that was over 50 years ago lady, get a grip... I grinned and bared it. I knew she was right. Dryers are a luxury item. A clothesline went up and I got a taste of what it really feels like to give greener living a shot.  Let's explore the truth about line drying your clothes that no one seems to talk about.

The first day, I was pretty pleased. I could do laundry and I didn't need to go to a laundromat. Within 5 hours or so I had a load of sun dried clothes.

The second day, life took a brutal turn and we had rain... rain that lasted for about 3 days time. My laundry pile grew to monumental proportions. This is the first truth of line drying. Perfect weather is needed. 

By the third week without a dryer, I was growing bitter. Berries from our mulberry trees were falling and with perfect precision, they were falling at angles unexplainable to my mind, to stain many shirts and skirts.
The second truth of line drying is nature will throw plenty of curve balls your way, via berries, leaves and other fun which we will get into later.

I learned over the first four weeks that timing is everything. My life took on a new pace, and that pace was timing the laundry. If you catch it just as it is dry, things will be soft and smell almost nice. If you wait 10 minutes too ling, everything will be stiff, hard to fold and unpleasant to wear. The third truth is that when you line dry, your life belongs to your laundry.

One afternoon as I dashed like a sprinter to get the laundry off the line before it got as stiff as a board, I noticed some 13 or 14 year old boys standing at the foot of my driveway staring. As I followed their gaze, I realized they were checking out my unmentionables. The fourth truth of line drying is that your neighbors will get intimately acquainted with your panty collection.

By week five, every article of clothing we owned was covered with lint. Like, lint on top of lint, mixed in with some random hairs. There is a good reason we use dryers. That reason is called a lint trap. The fifth truth of line drying is that your clothes will look like garbage, or worse. They will collect lint and hair and look worse coming out of the wash than they looked going in.

By week 6 I was crunching numbers, trying to determine if I could afford a skin transplant after my epidermis was painfully removed by one of my over dried towels. The sixth truth of line drying is that your towels become weapons of mass destruction. Entire towns can be eliminated with the wrath of one towel dried in the sun for too long.

Halfway through week six, I found myself in a heap of lint covered clothes that were so stiff and scratchy that I debated becoming a nudist. For the greater good of humanity, I decided against it, but I did go out and buy 2 new outfits, just so I could feel soft clothes against my skin for a day.

Week seven was a hot one. The clothes dried faster than I could rotate them on and off the clothesline. Everything smelled like dust, dirt, and crud. The seventh truth of line drying laundry is a vulgar one, and I am sorry, but guys, I tell it like it is. Line drying your laundry stinks. Seriously, your clothes are going to smell like dusty shit.

Week 7 also brought back an earlier line drying truth and added a spin to it. Actually, two truths were revisited. Recall those mulberry trees I mentioned earlier? Birds love to eat mulberries. Birds also happen to be laundry pooping ninjas. The eight truth of line drying is that nature is beautiful and nature will poop on your sheets, drying in the sun. Thanks, birds....

Week 7 was the last week for me. I could line dry no more. I crunched the numbers and decided, it is time. I do not care if a dryer is a luxury, I work hard and I like to look like I am not a homeless person. I am buying the dryer, and then I am telling the world the truth about line drying your clothes.

Tonight I folded a load of laundry from my dryer and I sighed with happiness to touch clothes that were clean, soft and lint free.

Have you ever line dried your clothes? Can you relate to any of these truths?

Easy Xylophone Craft

It is summer, my kids would live in the pool or perched on a swing, with possible breaks for snacks, lemonade and some screen time if given the opportunity. While I am a firm believer in the importance of play, I am a firm believer in learning year round and brushing up on the things that kids already know too.

One afternoon we were talking about instruments and toying with a few drums, triangles, and maracas when I mentioned a xylophone. My son couldn't picture what I was explaining so I decided to make a quick craft with the kids to see if it would refresh his memory without grabbing the ipad to give him a visualization.

This craft took about 4 minutes for my speedy little boy. It would have taken half of that time had I not nudged him to color the sticks completely.

You will need
6 craft sticks

As you can see I placed 2 of the craft sticks at vertical slants almost mimicking a V

I had Roo color 4 of the sticks in whatever colors he liked

Next we placed the sticks horizontally on the vertical sticks, like rungs on a ladder, securing with 2 beads of white glue per stick

By the time we had placed 3 of the 4 sticks on the frame, Roo remembered what a xylophone was. This was easy to make and the kids had fun banging on the craft stick xylophone. I enjoyed that part too because it was quieter than the real deal.

This was also a great way to discuss colors, shapes, ladders and how one might use a ladder as well as how rungs are like steps in a trickier way. I loved that so much conversation happened around one simple project, involving 6 craft sticks!

Don't miss this fun paper sandwich craft for kids!

Makeup for Busy Moms

This conversation has been sponsored, via product or payment but all opinions, chit chat and ideas are my own.

As a busy mom, sometimes I feel like I have to sacrifice sometimes. You know the joke, 'It's the house or me. We both can't look good at the same time.' That rings entirely too true in my life some days. As an example, last week when I attempted to style my hair my sweet little 2 year old climbed atop a counter and found a bottle of honey in a cabinet... I might have looked halfway human after 5 minutes with my curling wand, but my house was an entirely different and sticky situation.

When it comes to my makeup routine, time is always of the essence. With active little movers and shakers in the house and limited patience, I need products that make my skin look amazing without requiring a detailed regimen. I am kind of a wham, bam, thank you ma'am kind of woman. Not that I wouldn't love to devote 30 minutes to getting ready for the day, but life moves fast.

Mineral Hygienics is my go to makeup these days. Not only is it a matter of steps for a polished look, but geez you guys. Have you ever tried this stuff? It is incredible. Let me tell you why.

I have fair skin. I burn fairly easy for a few weeks in the spring and early summer, but then I am fortunate to develop a nice tan. However, it doesn't seem that I tan evenly. My high cheekbones generally catch all of the rays. My skin tone looks a little blotchy and uneven at times.

With 2 shades of Mineral Hygienics, I can even out my skin tone. I love that these are natural products and even better- for my high cheekbones- this makeup offers natural, chemical-free protection from the sun and those damaging rays!

After adding my foundation tones in the appropriate places, I follow up with a cool mineral enhancer, which adds a pop of pretty color to my cheeks. A quick brush with silk translucent and my face is silky, even looking and picture perfect.

Even on the busiest of days, this is a few moments I can spare for myself. As a mother, I feel it is important to look and feel confident. While sometimes it is nearly impossible to get yourself dressed and get your makeup on, it really makes a difference in how we feel as mothers. When I am dressed in a nice outfit and I get a little dolled up, my attitude is positively impacted. I feel like I can face the world.

If you are a busy woman, this is one makeup brand I insist you try. After receiving my starter kit, I tossed all of my other foundations. I finally found the perfect one for my skin.

Want to give this makeup a try? Why not apply coupon code SILLYSARA to your order?

The Heartbreak That Looms In My Future

Why do they have to grow up so fast?

My kids are growing by the second, before my eyes.

At the end of the school year my cute little boy was wearing a 5 t perfectly. Today we tried on one of his favorite shirts from last year and guess what? It wouldn't even fit over his head. I spent an hour sorting out his clothes, making a pile of things he has outgrown. I spent about another hour crying into his cute little t shirts. Sobbing on his pants that are now several inches too short to wear.

Feeling like a hot mess, rolling around and wailing into outgrown clothes. Feeling small and helpless. There is no way to stop it, he is going to keep growing until one day he outgrows his need for me. I realize; Yep, there is true heartbreak looming in my future.

Harper is almost 2 now. She is getting so tall, her hair is getting so long. A beautiful child that girl is. Her little giggles send chills up my spine. Like something I have longed to hear, like a bell ringing in my heart. And guess what? She is going to crush me someday. She will keep getting taller. She is prettier every day. Maybe she will crush a handful of other hearts on the way and we can all start a support group?

Summer is winding down in my part of Ohio. The nights are turning cooler and the leaves are showing signs of changing color, and as the seasons turn from summer to fall, I must prepare myself for the changes I will see in my kids. The changes I know are coming but I dread.

Someday, I will sit down to write and Roo will be like 9 and Harp will be like almost 6.... they will be different than they are today. They will be like new people. With new interests, different opinions, and a style of their own. Someday, I might be thrilled to discard some outgrown clothes in favor of something that reflects their increasing maturity.

Growing Up, oh why must they grow so fast? Why can't I keep their hands small, and their need for me strong?

Knowing I can't keep them as babies, I must enjoy these moments while they are small. I must let the toys take over the house during epic play sessions. I must let them need me, and I must embrace their need for me. If we are close now, and I am constantly reinforcing that bond, then maybe I can avoid the heartbreak that looms in my future. Maybe they won't need me when they are grown, but maybe they will still want me around. Maybe, if I can live in the moment with them now, they will never stop wanting to tell me about something fun they did, or about their interests, hobbies and ideas.

Saturday #204

On Saturday #204 (24 for Harper) my son was excited! He had his first ever baseball practice. The morning was beautiful so we walked over to the park together. Roo was thrilled to be at baseball playing with other boys. After practice we played at the park until Roo was hungry.

After lunch we decided to venture out again. Roo needed a batting helmet. We found a tee thing for him to practice with and a wooden bat as well. He is all set for tee ball.

We decided to buy his birthday present early, a big swing set is sitting in a shop with my name on it. I just have to pick it up. He is going to love it! Our plan is to assemble it while he is sleeping, then let him venture outside to play on his birthday and find it.

After shopping for Roo's big 4th birthday and his new adventure in tee ball we went home. I had shopped my heart out. Maybe I should rename this series 940 Saturdays the Shopping Edition? It seems like that is how we spend our weekends....

A Clean Home Challenge: Crock Pot Cleaning

I love my crock pot. I use it often! Several times a week I prepare something fantastic in my beloved crock pot. With a new baby I don't know how I would manage to prepare dinner without it. The last time I put my favorite small appliance to use I realized the interior was looking pretty funky and I made a note to clean it.

Now, how does one go about cleaning a crock pot? I saw a lot of suggestions online, from using a general cleaner, to using oxi clean, brillo pads and so on. I thought there had to be a less expensive way to maintain my crock pot so I kept searching. Someone suggested using a baking soda paste and I was anxious to try it. I had a box of baking soda in my pantry and the idea of cleaning without a harsh chemical really appealed to me.

This is what my crock pot looked like before I cleaned it.

I made a paste of 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 teaspoon of water.

                     Then I rubbed the paste into the base of the crock pot.

               Let this sit for about 20 minutes, then use a damp rag to wipe the baking soda off.

The baking soda scrubbed much of the dingy baked on mess out of the crock pot easily.

While the crock pot wasn't restored to its brand new splendor, it sure looked a lot better!

If you have very stubborn stains after the baking soda scrub you can apply dish soap to the stubborn baked on spots and let it set overnight. The dish soap will break up the baked on residue and will wipe off easily with a damp towel. My crock pot wasn't that bad so I didn't require this last step, but I feel confident it would work because If I have a baked on mess on any dishes this is the method I use. 

If your crock pot needs a good cleaning, this method will work well for you and it will only cost you pennies.
How do you keep your crock pot clean?

Dear Weary Mom: Biore Strip Bonding Experience

A few weeks ago my husband came out of the bathroom holding a box of Biore Strips I had in the medicine cabinet, he asked "Can you use one of these on me?" I was feeding Harper, taping a page in a book that has ripped while Roo said "Uh Oh. Oh no. Help!!Oh no!" in his most panicky voice, the dog was barking at the door because he had scratched to come in about 5 minutes earlier. I looked up and said "They are easy, wash your face, don't dry it. Peel the clear plastic off, stick it on, press it down, then wait..." I handed the book to my son, rushed to the door to let the dog inside and continued on to get pajamas for Harper, who was still having a bottle on the go style. Let's be honest. I don't have time to put a Biore Strip on me, let alone Adam.

Later on that evening I asked him if he had a blast removing black heads from his nose. He said "Oh, I didn't use one..." in that way that could become a pout at any moment.  He wanted me to do it for him.

I had mixed emotions. A part of me is flattered that he wants me to help him with such a simple task, but then again the other part of me said Pal, I spend darn near every minute of my life helping others. From the second my eyes open in the morning and usually until my eyes close at night, I am busy. Helping others. I am caring for the baby. I am caring for Rolf, I care for both cats and both dogs. I take care of every detail and chore in our home. I spend every moment I can get working to help other people rock their blogs. Are you really borderline pouting because I didn't drop the baby, let the dog bark and let Roo have a meltdown over his book so I could do this simple thing for you?

That flattered helpful part of me wanted to jump up and meet his expectations, but I had just got the kids to bed, gave the living room a final cleaning of the day, fed the cats and loaded the dishwasher. I was tired. After 14 hours of parenting, cooking, cleaning and oh yeah, I had actually worked that day and was due to get back to it in 8 minutes, I felt selfish. I felt like that 8 minutes was mine. I earned it. I deserved it. I had spent an entire day working. I was paid with good night hugs and kisses. At night I tuck my kids in and trade in my mommy hat for my working woman hat. I work until I fall asleep at my computer. A few nights I have been so tired that when I drift off I wonder if I might be dying because I feel dramatic and seriously exhausted.

So yeah, that 8 minutes I had to sit down, flip thru the paper or sit with my eyes closed, or text a friend was something I needed desperately and that I wasn't giving up. Not even for marital bliss. My husband then said something like "I don't know how to do them. I need help. I might mess it up..." He went for his gloomy and helpless attempt. I wanted to tell him to read the box. There are instructions. You can do it.

But I didn't. I nodded and said "I see." I picked up the paper and scanned it, knowing how few of my 8 minutes were left. I went about my normal evening schedule. I worked until I was nodding off at the computer. I gave my husband a goodnight kiss and headed off to bed.

A few days later while I was working he came into the room and had the Biore Strips in his hand again, with a smile he said "Wanna put one of these on me?" I said "I will make a deal with you. If you can give me 15 minutes I will use one with you." He nodded and went about his business.

When 15 minutes had passed I went to the bathroom to find him there waiting. He sat down and expected me to wash his face for him then apply the strip. I smiled and said "Wash your face please." I got the strips out of their packaging. I handed him one that was half peeled off and said "There you go. Sticky side down. Smooth it out." He looked a little annoyed but he did it himself. I put one on my nose after washing my face and I went back to work for a few minutes.

When my strip felt dry I went to find my husband. We peeled them off and said "Eww!" "Yuck!" "Gross..." together. To me, at the time it was ... normal, ordinary, just a moment in skin care. To my husband it was like a bonding experience. He laughed until he almost cried, he had a little out of his normal skin care pampering and he had my attention if only for a few minutes. He was happy.

Aren't guys funny? Boire Strips=Bonding.

Dear Weary Mom, I guess the point of this story is that sometimes I am greedy with my time. I give my time to others, to my kids freely, but then when it comes to time for my husband or myself I am greedy. Getting me to do something as easy as a Biore Strip with my husband took days. How long does that take to do? 15 minutes? I want to remind myself to slow down, not to take for granted the time I have but to spend some of that time without an agenda.

How do you balance work, kids, the house and your marriage?

Saturday #194

On Saturday #194 (#14 for Harper) it was very cold and snowing. We woke up early  to a bleak world outside. The sun wouldn't rise for a few hours, the snow was blowing and we could feel the wind whipping around. It has been so cold here that we can feel the wind coming in around our windows and doors. This has caused us to spend most of our time in the bedrooms which are smaller than our large living room and much easier to heat. Roo, Harper and I grabbed a quilt and cuddled together under it for a while. We watched a few cartoons and gave up on our frigid living room. We went to Harper's room and looked at books and played with toys, it was warm enough in her room to send me out to lower the heat. We basked in the stuffy hot room.

My husband woke up and asked me what I wanted to do that day. I opened a curtain, looked out at the cold world and said "Nothing that involves leaving our house..." Well, it didn't work out that way of course. We ventured out to get the basics for surviving another week in what feels like a frozen tundra.
Yes I complained about going out, but in the end I was quite glad to have escaped for a while. I guess that is how you prevent cabin fever.

This has been the worst winter in my memory. It has been cold and snowing here for about 2 months already. My husband has not worked a regular week since maybe around Thanksgiving. There have been many 2 hour delays and snow days. They have exceeded their state allotment of snow days and it seems like they will be in school for a few weeks into June. We have had bitter cold temps, high winds and snow after snow.

Harper- All Bundled Up
Roo- In Action Fighting Bed Time

As I tucked my son into bed on this evening, he looked at the window and said "Cold Outside Mommy..." I agreed that "yes it is very cold outside." My son pouted for a minute and said "Go to the park?" I promised him that spring will come soon and we will spend a lot of time at the park. A weekend spent playing at the park sounds really wonderful about now!

I hope it is warmer where you live and that you were able to do something fantastically fun with your kids over the weekend.

I can't believe we are 194 Saturdays into the 940 I get with Roo. So far Harper's 14 Saturdays have not been too exciting, but I don't think she minds.

A Clean Home: Problem Area Assessment

We have a small 3 bedroom home. We have a small bedroom which was intended to be Roo's room, but he didn't sleep well in that room... fast forward 3 years. He is still sleeping with his Mommy while Harper's crib is in that room. As much as I hate it, it is also the play room. It is a good thing Harper sleeps like a log and Roo prefers to play in the living room. Mostly toys are stored in Harper's room. We have a bedroom that is larger than the baby's room, but it has an extra bed, our desk, printer, turtle habitat, carpet cleaner, vacuum, dvd collection, spare sheets and blankets... yeah everything stored in there. This is supposed to be a guest bedroom. No guests could sleep in there due to my mess. The last bedroom is the actual bedroom. It is also crammed full of everything. 2 bookcases, a baby swing, a queen size bed. All of the clean laundry I haven't put away yet... and the list goes on.

When I made an assessment of what the most annoying problem areas in our home were I came up with big and small issues to correct.

I tackled the drawer mess if you recall. That was easy enough. The mess that is my children's clothing and toys is another issue altogether.

These photos are mortifying. I am still in shock that the mess had got so far out of hand in a matter of days.

This mess is kids clothes. Sadly, this is not all of the mess. You can't see the clothes that won't even fit on the rack and are hung on the braces for the shelf. You can't see the baby clothes in baskets  or the pile of shoes they have and rarely seem to wear.

I have had 2 declutter sprees in the last month. Yesterday we took a box large (enough to hold an elliptical), a trash bag and a brown shopping bag full of clothes, towels, blankets and etc to Goodwill. We dropped off Beloved Kota the Dinosaur to the elementary school, where he will be in a play. My son loved this toy, but it took up a ton of precious space.

Break a leg Kota in your acting debut this spring..

With Kota and a huge pile of old stuff out of the way, I felt like I could finally get a good feel for what the true problem areas were.... The whole house is a problem area. No way around it.

Toys have taken over the living room again.

And the dining area too.

It only gets worse. I can't bring myself to keep posting these pics...

Another problem area in my house is my laundry room. Not only is the room just ugly, it is always full of stuff. Recycling to drop off, at least 20 pairs of shoes reside in this room, my husband has his plants in the laundry room. There are extra household supplies like toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap and shampoo. The gear for the dogs is in this area... it gets messy really quickly. The worst part is, the laundry room is actually an enclosed porch, therefor you must enter the laundry room which is in a constant state of disarray to enter my home.

My kitchen always needs attention. The breakfast nook is the catch all for everything in the free world. The area under the breakfast counter has been catching a great deal of junk too. There are always dishes ready to spill out of cabinets, the pantry is always messy.

Oh my, this clean home challenge is getting bigger and bigger. What a mess my home is! I hope you will come back tomorrow to find out where I begin and what the result is.

Preschool Heart Counting

Winter is a really tough time for my 3 year old. He already has cabin fever and it is only January.  I have started making printable worksheets for him to help keep him busy and learning.

I made this one and it was a hit with my son, so I wanted to share it with other parents of preschoolers in honor of Valentines Day.

To print this free worksheet, click the link below. I will have more printables to share with you in the coming days, so keep checking in with me.