Monday, January 31, 2011

Groundhog Day Fun with the Kids

I think Groundhog Day is an underestimated holiday. I love it! Not only is it a great excuse to watch the Bill Murray flick, but a fun holiday to celebrate. Here are a few things to do to celebrate the day...

• Talk about shadows. Go outside on a sunny day and look at your own shadow. Help them notice how it changes as you move. No sun? No prob. Turn off the lights and break out the flashlights. You can study shadows of your whole body or make shadow puppets with your hands. Help them see that when something gets in the way of the light, it makes a shadow on the ground/wall.

• Study groundhogs. Help them do a mini-research project to find out all they can about groundhogs. Guide them to informational websites, books, etc to find info. Once they’ve gathered said info, have them make a poster about it. With my 3-year old, I just pulled up an informational website, read some facts with her, then created this simple poster:

• Make a groundhog craft. Here’s an easy one. Paint a paper cup brown or green to look like the ground ;) Next, color or draw a picture of a groundhog, then glue it to the end of a popsicle stick. Push the popsicle stick into the cup, then you can move the little guy up above the ground to see his shadow.

Use it as a prop while you recite this poem:

Here's a Little Groundhog
(to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot")
Here's a little groundhog, furry and brown,
He's popping up to look around. (push groundhog up)
If he sees his shadow, down he'll go. (pull groundhog back down)
Then six more weeks of winter - Oh No!!

• Talk about hibernation. What is it? What other animals hibernate? After your discussion, you could make a fort out of blankets and pretend you are a groundhog hibernating. Bring books, snacks, blankets, and pillows to get all cozy. Ask your child what they would want to do when they finished hibernating all winter long (I’d want to eat a big cheeseburger, if you ask me).

• And don’t forget to talk about why we celebrate Groundhog Day. For a good summary, go here.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Daybreak: Sponsor Spotlight

    It's kind of ironic that one of my sponsor spotlights is all about buying a home in husband and I are so ready to buy a home it's ridiculous - but we have to wait and see what happens with my husbands I will grin and bear it as I tell you a little about these beautiful homes in the Salt Lake Valley...

    "This is getting good...Daybreak is Utah's favorite place to buy a new home...

    About one out of every five new homes sold in the Salt Lake Valley is in Daybreak. In fact, over the past several years more people have moved to Daybreak in South Jordan than to any other new-home community in Utah. Why? We think it's because Daybreak is so much more than homes. Here you find businesses, parks, shops, restaurants, schools and beautiful energy-efficient homes ... all built around a big lake. You also find a smarter, healthier way of thinking about community."

    Check out their site for more photos of homes and more info about the community. They even have a blog you can follow!

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    Induction or No Induction?

    Today I am getting induced - guess this little guy just didn't want to come on his own. With Little Miss my water broke - which was awesome! Unexpected, no waiting to time contractions - just go to the hospital and have a baby after your water breaks. Wish that would be the case every time!

    So I've never been induced before. I'm not really nervous or scared - just anxious. Super excited to see this little guy's cute little face!

    Have you had to be induced? Was your experience positive or negative? Go ahead - lay it on me. I won't read your comments until after baby comes - so don't be worried about scaring me. =) I'm probably at the hospital right now anyway.

    Next week sometime I'll post my experience with induction - all the gory details you probably don't care to know. =)

    There are many reasons to be induced...
    • Post-term (42+ weeks)
    • High blood pressure
    • Health problems
    • Infection in the uterus
    • Placenta abruption
    For me - I have health problems, epilepsy to be exact. Having epilepsy during pregnancy offers two great benefits - tons of ultrasounds (I've had about 8) - so I get to see my cute baby more! And my doctor won't let me go past 38 weeks - and for that I am grateful! I can't imagine being pregnant for 40...ugh.

    So how does one get induced?
    • Ripening or dilating the cervix through medications or devices (does the idea of *devices* scare anyone else?! Sounds horrible!)
    • Stripping the Membranes
    • Rupturing the Amniotic Sac
    • Oxytocin to cause contractions
    TMI Warning: My cervix does not need help - as of Monday I was already 3 1/2 cm dilated and 80% that's not the problem.

    Stripping the membranes - had that done Monday morning. And no, it wasn't painful at all! I didn't even know he'd done it, I thought he forgot and I had to ask. The only time it is painful is when your cervix isn't dilated. It did cause some contractions - but didn't jump start labor as hoped...bummer.

    So, I'm guessing my water will have to be broken and they'll give me drugs to start contractions. I'll let you know how it goes. And of course - I'll post pictures of the Little Man when he gets here! Can't wait!

    {Natural ways to induce...yep, I've gotten so impatient - I've just about tried them all! I figured it couldn't hurt. Pineapple, spicy foods, pressure points, among others *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*...yep. None of them worked. At least not for me}

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Homemade Steamers

    If you haven't had a steamer - you need to! I love them with all of my little girl heart. It's a great alternative to hot chocolate for a warm drink during the cold months (or all year round if you're like me). You can get them at coffee shops for about $3-4, so yummy. But kind of on the pricey side for me.

    And if you don't drink caffeinated drinks, no worries - steamers are only milk with flavoring - no caffeine.

    I decided I didn't want to pay the high price anymore - my homemade price for steamers is 43 cents/cup compared to the $3-4 I usually pay. Yep, good savings! And look at that frothy goodness...the only thing missing is the beatnik ambiance of the coffee shop....

    Here's what you'll need...

    Torani syrup flavoring. You can find it by the coffee filters and creamers in your local grocery store. There are tons of flavors - my favorites are Irish Cream, Hazlenut, and Amaretto. You can also use Torani syrups to flavor hot chocolate, milk shakes, lots of things! I even used 1/2 tsp in my bowl of cream of wheat the other morning - delicious!

    Heat up on med-low 1 cup milk. To make sure it doesn't scald, and that it is nice and frothy at the end I use my handy mixer, love this thing...

    ...The milk will be far to hot to drink if you let it simmer - so just keep an eye on it and when you see the first light steam come off of the milk, turn it off. Then add 2 Tbsp your choice Torani syrup - mix again. And voila - homemade steamers! Tastes just like what you buy at the coffee shop!

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Pass It On - Blogger Award

    I received this blogging award the other day...

    My first award! Thanks Granny T!! 

    My favorite part about this award - it's a pass along.
    So I get to choose 15 other blogs to receive it...

    So here's how this award works:

    1. Thank the person who gave you the award 
    and link back to them in your post. 

    2. Tell 7 things about yourself.

    3. Award 15 recently discovered new bloggers,
    contact them
    and let them know they've received the award :)

    Super fun!

    Thank You Granny T!!!
    7 Things About Me:

    1 - My favorite color is red and it takes a conscious effort to not decorate my entire house in red...

    2 - I am days away from having baby #2 - I'll be induced Friday at the latest - woohoo!

    3 - I secretly wish I was a jazz lounge singer - maybe in another life.

    4 - I am married to a rocket scientist - literally.

    5 - I am the youngest of 9 and have 20+ nieces and nephews, and 7+ great nieces and nephews - there are so many I can't keep track anymore.

    6 - I have an obsession with cooking and traveling and wish I had the time and means to do more of both.

    7 -  I am LDS - a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka mormon)

    Blogs I have Chosen for the award are:

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Favorite Valentine's Wreath Ever!

    I love this wreath! If I wasn't about to go into labor and if we weren't about to move - I would make this in a heart beat! It is so cute! Maybe next year.

    You can find the tutorial here.

    Monday, January 24, 2011

    1, 2, Buckle My Shoe

    Being a new mother can be exciting, stressful, enjoyable and tiring. And so it is when baby #2 comes around. Transitioning from 1 to 2 kids has many ups and downs, and for me it was a big adjustment. I was really lucky because my husband works from home, and so I was able to have more help than a lot of women. Here are just a few things I experienced this year.

    3 Best Things:

    1. The love you feel for your children. If you thought you loved your only child, just wait until #2 comes along. Before #2 came, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to love him as much as I loved #1. Boy was I wrong. Not only did I instantly love him unconditionally, but it made my love for #1 grow as I was able to see her grow up into a big sister.

    2. The love your children have for each other. It is sweet to watch my daughter take care of her little brother. She talks so sweetly to him, and always wants to help. My advice is to remember that your attitude towards the new baby will greatly affect your older child’s attitude. If they always hear your frustrated voice, that is the kind of voice they will use with the baby. If they see you love and nurture and laugh with your baby, that is how they will act too. And it is even better to watch my baby light up when he sees his sister. He loves her more than anyone. I love watching her make him laugh. She is the only one who can get him to give that awesome belly laugh.

    3. Feeling much more comfortable about being a mom. Since this wasn’t my first baby, I already felt comfortable in the mother role, and knew what to expect (for the most part). I am much less paranoid and over-protective. I have a much more relaxed attitude this time around.

    3 Hardest Things:

    1. Feeling like I was not giving enough attention to #1. At first this was not a problem, because newborns sleep a lot. But as he grew out of that, I found it hard to balance my time between both of them. I was so used to being able to devote my whole day to #1, and now I have to divide my time between 2 kids…and a helpless baby usually needs more attention. Even now, as my son is crawling all over the place, I feel like I’m always chasing him around and never get to sit down and play with my daughter. So I try not to get on the computer or have lengthy phone conversations during the day—I save that for after the kids are in bed. And I’ve learned to use #2’s nap time as a special play time for my daughter and I. It’s hard, because there are so many other things I want to get done around the house while he is asleep, but I know that I’ll feel like a better mom if I have some one-on-one time with my daughter. And that brings me to the next point….

    2. Feeling like my house is always messy. I could get all of my housework done in one day when it was just my daughter and I. But now it is a trick just to keep the dishes out of the sink! I’ve learned to divide up my chores and do some each day. Monday I go to the grocery store, Tuesday is laundry day, Wednesday I recover the kitchen from the disastrous state it is in, Thursday is for bathrooms, and Friday is my day off. Saturday I enlist the help of my husband to do other odds and ends like mopping and vacuuming. I have also learned to clean up toys once a day. Otherwise I’d be doing it all day long. Live with the mess while the kids are playing, then clean up at bedtime so it’s clean for the next day. Totally unrelated, but here is another time-saving trick I use—bathe them at the same time. When #2 was a newborn, I would stick the infant bath inside the tub with big sister. #1 loved helping, and #2 loved having big sister to watch.

    3. Keeping #1 away from baby! When he was a newborn, this was mostly to make sure he wasn’t kissed to death. #1 loved him so much, and wasn’t always aware of her own strength. Now that #2 is mobile and getting into her toys, she occasionally gets mad and knocks him over. I just keep reminding her that if #2 is touching something he shouldn’t, to ask mom to move him instead. And I always praise her when she touches him soft and lovingly.

    But this was not only a transition for me, but for #1 as well. So I’ll quickly share some things I did to help my daughter adjust to the new addition:

    • While I was pregnant, we talked a lot about the new baby. She even came to my ultrasounds. We talked about how baby was growing big and strong inside mommy, and soon he would come to live at our house.

    • We got her a big girl bed a few months before the baby came. That way she didn’t resent the baby for taking her crib away once he arrived.

    • We read lots of stories about being a big sister.

    • I let her help me as much as possible. I don’t know if every kid is like this, but she was so eager to help. She wanted to do everything for the baby. But because I knew there would be things that she wouldn’t be able to help me with, I bought her a bath tub and high chair for her doll, and refinished my old doll bed for her so that she could take care of her baby while I was doing the same things for #2.

    • I make sure to give her one-on-one time while he is napping, and my husband and I take turns taking her out on “dates” without brother. She has fun doing something special just the two of us (even if it’s just going to the park to feed the ducks or getting some ice cream).

    There are so many more things I’m learning as I go along. What are your experiences with your growing family?

    Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

    Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

      Saturday, January 22, 2011

      Primrose Schools: Sponsor Spotlight

      "Walk through the door and you'll feel right at home"

      Founded in 1982, Primrose Schools is the nation’s leader in providing consistent, accredited early childhood education and child care services in more than 200 schools in 16 states. Primrose School’s foundation is based on a dedicated and passionate group of early childhood professionals providing high quality education with a balance of learning, character development and play.

      Primrose School’s Balanced Learning® Curriculum blends teacher-directed and child-initiated activities and is consistently delivered in all Primrose Schools nationwide. This exclusive curriculum is standards-based and enables teachers to help children build a foundation of knowledge and skills that will enable them to move successfully from one level of development to the next. Primrose is the first preschool organization in the country to achieve the gold standard in educational accreditation from AdvancED and to require all of its schools to become SACS CASI or NCA CASI accredited.

      To learn more about Primrose Schools, their curriculum, and find a school near you click here.

      Wednesday, January 19, 2011

      Delayed Postpartum Depression

      I recently talked with a friend who shared her story with me, here's a quick summary

      Eight months after her son (child number 2) was born she started breastfeeding him less as he started eating more solids and she found herself in a slump. She was embarrassed, ambivalent, and had all the signs of postpartum. She set up a doctors appointment and her doctor confirmed what she didn't think was possible - she was experiencing postpartum depression...8 months after giving birth. Crazy!

      Her doctor said it can happen up to 18 months after giving birth. I've done a little more research and am finding a lot of scholarly articles that say it can manifest itself up to two years after having your baby.

      I had not idea! I thought if I made it through the first couple months I was fine - just something to think about. Have any of you experienced delayed postpartum depression?

      I wish there was more information out there about it - I really couldn't find a lot. Here are a couple of links to research article summaries...
      The last article found that...

      "Among participants, 11.5% reported prenatal onset, 22.0% late postpartum onset, and 66.5% early postpartum symptom onset. Those reporting pregnancy onset were more likely to be unmarried, and those with a late postpartum onset were less likely to report a past history of postpartum depression."

      That's almost 25% of cases being late or delayed onset...who knew!?

      Postpartum is more common than we realize - and if you do experience symptoms, don't be embarrassed! Just talk to you doctor and get the help you need to enjoy your time with your new bundle of joy.

      Tuesday, January 18, 2011

      Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

      I have a secret...I make my own laundry soap and have been for nearly a year. My mom and I perfected our recipe and we even sell it locally.

      So, I technically cannot give out my recipe...but I can point ya'll in the right direction to making your own and let you know about all the amazing benefits!

      Let's start with the quick facts...
      • Making your own soap saves you ridiculous amounts of money!! Tide is about 18 cents/load & the generic at the store is about 13 cents/load - my homemade soap cost is about 2 cents/load!! TWO CENTS!! Love it!
      • It's all-natural, biodegradable, and phosphate free! No fillers - just cleaning power. 
      • It's scent free for those with super allergies
      • Extra sensitive for those with skin problems (exzema, etc) pretty much rocks!

      Interested in making your own? You'll need a 5 gallon bucket, cheese grater, and spoon to stir.

      Here is a link to some recipes I found online...have fun saving money and being eco-friendly!!

      I've also made powdered detergent and loved it!

      Monday, January 17, 2011

      Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr

      When your kids are home from school today, plan to spend a little time talking about the holiday that the nation is celebrating. I think it is important to teach our children about tolerance, love, and equality, and this is the perfect opportunity. Here are some things you might discuss:

      • Peaceful behavior. Martin Luther King, Jr. promoted non-aggression. Show your children that this is the best way to handle conflict. Role-play with them different situations that they might face and have them act out a peaceful way to react (ex: Someone takes your toy; someone calls you a bad name; someone likes something different than you, etc). You can even use puppets—some kids are reluctant to act things out, but are more at ease when using puppets.

      • Sharing and being fair. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for the end of segregation. Discuss the meaning of segregation in a way that relates to your child (like why it’s not nice to say “no boys allowed”). Stress the importance of sharing and being fair no matter how they are different from us.

      • What makes us alike and different? There are many things that we have in common, and that are different—not just skin color. You might bring up physical features like eye color and hair color, or other things like favorite color, hobbies, religion, gender etc. Make sure to include in your discussion that it’s okay to be different, and no one is better than someone else because of any of these things. Play a matching game to reinforce the skill of finding things that are the same. You can make a matching game or use one you already have. You could also play “I Spy” to find things around the room that are similar (ex: things that are all the same shape or the same color).

      • Skin Color. I feel that rather than teaching our children to be “color-blind” it is better to help them be aware of, and celebrate differences. Show pictures of people with different skin colors (clip from magazines or find some online). Discuss the science behind it—different amounts of melanin (the dark pigment in our skin) cause skin to be light or dark. Have your children examine their own skin. Notice how it feels, any freckles, what color it is. Don’t just call it white or brown or black. Use descriptive terms or relate it to an object (ex: It looks like bread or chocolate milk or peanuts; it’s light brown, cream or peach). End the discussion with having them draw a self portrait. Have them mix colors to get just the right skin tone or use multicultural crayons.

      Here are some books that might accompany your discussions:
      • All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka
      • We Are All Alike, We Are All Different by Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners
      • Why People are Different Colors by Julian May

      Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

      Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

        Saturday, January 15, 2011

        Barefoot Books: Sponsor Spotlight

        I.Love.Books - I really believe there is no greater gift you can give your child than to read to them daily - from a very young age. They're never too young for reading!

        One of my newest sponsors is Margaret Sullivan with Barefoot Books...the books she has are beautiful! You can host an event and earn free books too!

        She even has a special event tomorrow!

        Shop in your PJ's!

        Jan-16-2011 8PM-8AM your house
        Shop in your PJ's! This is an online-only "party" with a mystery-hostess! The person with the greatest total will get the hostess credit and earn 20% of the total sales in free merchandise!

        Nothing beats free!
        You can check out her books here...

        or follow her blog here!

        Thursday, January 13, 2011

        Baby Moon

        Pregnancy gives me tunnel vision - I think about the new baby, I dream about the new baby, and I busy myself preparing for the new baby...a lot! My tunnel vision is especially acute this time around because when I'm not focused on the new arrival, I'm giving Little Miss all the attention and play time I can muster.

        Poor husband (and poor me) - a baby moon was a must for us! And I'd highly recommend it to everyone who is expecting - whether it's your first or seventh!

        We initially wanted to go somewhere - but as things turned out, and since I'm pretty uncomfortable and feel sick at night time, we decided it would be a waste to spend money on a hotel. After shipping Little Miss off to Grandma's for the night - we did some of our favorite things locally...
        • Dinner out
        • Ski Ball
        • Movie - The Tourist
        • Dessert
        • Sleeping In
        • Lazy morning watching movies & cuddling
        • Foot Spa (for me)
        • Lunch out
        • Fun Drive
        • Steamers 
        • Book Store
        • Lots of laughs and fun with my best friend!
        • and ZERO responsibility!
        Loved every minute of it! Now we won't have any regrets or "should-haves" once Little Buddy makes his appearance. So...come on, Little Buddy! Make your appearance!! =)

        A couple of rules for our baby moon - no answering the door, getting on the computer, or answering our phones. It was almost like returning back to newly-wed lockdown - which rocked!

        Have you had (or are you going to have) a baby moon? What things did you do (will you be doing)?

        Wednesday, January 12, 2011

        Five Love Languages in Marriage

        Remember the giveaway I did back in May for this book?

        Well, sadly - not doing another giveaway yet. But - since so many of you voted that your New Year's resolution was to improve your relationships I thought this would be a good place to start!

        If you haven't read the book - do! Go out and buy it, or check it out at the library.

        Here's a little taste of what it has to offer...

        When I'm at the hospital in the next few weeks with my new baby the following will be my reading to help pass the time...

        ...if it's any good (which I'm sure it will be) - I'll be giving it away the beginning of February! Have you read either book? What did you think?

        Tuesday, January 11, 2011

        Hospital Must-Haves for Delivery

        Just started packing my bags for the hospital so I'm prepared when Little Buddy decides to make his appearance...funny thing is - I can't remember what was useful when I had Little Miss. Here are the few things I have packed...
        • Toothbursh/Toothpaste
        • Deoderant
        • Nursing Cover
        • Nursing bra and nursing pads
        • iPod with relaxing music
        • Chapstick
        • Book
        • Take home outfit for baby
        • Carseat in car
        • Makeup and brush for after
        • Camera/Camcorder
        And that's where my list ends...So...HELP! What did you pack for the hospital that you used? What did you pack that you didn't use? Am I missing anything super important? Sure wish I could remember!! 36 weeks this week! Little Miss came at 36.5 - could be any day now!

        Monday, January 10, 2011

        Pregnancy Induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

        Sounds made up right?! I would've thought so too. It's funny how every pregnancy can be so different. My first pregnancy - no swelling or water retention. This pregnancy....I've got sausage fingers. =)

        And sometimes your wrists can swell just enough to block off the nerve endings and make your fingers go numb - which is what I have, pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome.

        I asked my doctor what I could do - he said the best cure is to not be pregnant...ha-ha. Funny guy. So I mostly just have to wait it out and it will go away after delivery. But meanwhile - I'm wearing a wrist brace and that helps immensely! The less I use it - the better.

        Just another strange pregnancy thing I didn't know about and thought I'd share!

        Friday, January 7, 2011

        How to Keep a Clean House with Kids: Archives

        *Originally posted 4/30/10 - I figured this would be a good one to re-post with the New Year...just a quick update. We still do all of these same things. Little Miss even asks me sometimes - "Is it cleaning day yet?" - my husband says I've brainwashed her. Maybe...but I'm not going to ruin a good thing.

        It's all in how they perceive our attitudes (this goes with anything, not just cleaning) - their little attitudes will follow suit. I love cleaning day, hence, she loves cleaning day. We crank the music and have a great time!

        The younger you can start them - the better! 

        I can think better when my house is in order. I feel better. I'm happier. I have more time to play with Little Miss instead of running around trying to pick up the clutter. do I keep my house clean with a messy two year old? After professionally cleaning for 9 years - I've got some tricks. Here's what works for me...


        Rinse and load the dishwasher as we use dishes - I hate dishes stacked in my sink, and when they're not rinsed they get stinky and stuck on! Plus, if I do it right away and keep up on it - it only takes a half minute more.

        Once the dishwasher is full I run it. And unload when I remember (usually naptime). Or my mister will unload for me when he gets home. I hate unloading, and he hates loading. So it works out to split up the task.

        (note the play iron in the dishwasher - picked that up at a thrift store, any cleaning toys you can find will help)

        If Little Miss is awake I let her help unload it. She loves to put the silverware in the drawer - so I load it accordingly, dangerous knives in the back out of her reach.

        We pick up toys and books with Little Miss before we get any more out. Toddlers, kids in general, have a short attention span. It doesn't take long for Little Miss to move on to something else. Since she was just tiny, we've made it a rule and a habit that before we can play with something else - we put our toys away instead of leaving them around the house.

        She knows where things go. We sing a fun "Clean Up" song. She usually complies happily. But when she doesn't want to help...I firmly, kindly, and matter-of-fact-ly state, "If you don't help pick up your toys, mommy will have to take them away" - a natural consequence. Toys are a privilege.

        She has seen me follow through on this and knows it means business - so she jumps right in to help. Whatever consequence you choose - make sure to follow through!

        We do a quick 10 minute clean up before daddy gets home and as Little Miss says "So he can be happy". It's true. We clean up so daddy can come home to a nice, peaceful, clean house. We make it a fun speed game. See who can clean up the fastest.

        We do another quick 10 minute clean up before tubby time too. This is when Little Miss tucks her dolly's in for the night. Then the next morning we wake up to a tidy house.

        Helping Little Miss pick up her toys has taught her to help others clean up even when she wasn't involved in making the mess. I've seen her jump in to help others before without being asked - it's awesome.


        How do you deep clean with kids around? Well, if the underlying theme wasn't obvious above, I'll just state it...involve them!! So I don't get overwhelmed I have a weekly routine I are the basics...

        I do all our laundry on Thursday. Little Miss helps collect clothes, bedding, and dish rags. Then she helps carry things to the washing machine. I usually have her help carry her clothes, so she has a sense of personal responsibility. She loves watching the soap and water go in, and she loves helping throw the clothes in.

        Friday is our serious cleaning day. Why not Saturday? Because if we get chores done on Friday than we have the whole day Saturday to play with daddy!

        I can get the entire house scrubbed top to bottom with Little Miss's help in about two hours and 6 easy steps (this is only possible if I've been keeping up on our daily chores). An added bonus - doing it fast is my workout for the day. Really, I break a sweat. =)
        1. First we clean the fish bowl - she watches while standing on a chair and...doesn't really help much, other than talking "fishy" through it - mostly for the safety of our beta. I get this done in about 5 minutes.
        2. Then we go around the house wiping things down. I take a clorox disinfectant wipe to all the doorknobs, remotes, handles, and light switches. Little Miss uses a baby wipe and cleans her toys, and pretty much anything within her reach. She follows me around each room and is even reaching the doorknobs now.
        3. Then we both get our dusters (I purchased a mini one for her at the dollar store) and get all the dust bunnies in every room. She loves to dust her toys and her bookshelf off.
        4. Next it's bathroom time. After I equip her with a special glove, slightly damp rag, and barely full spray bottle I go to work...toilet bowl cleaner in to soak while I wipe down the mirror, counter, and sink. Then I disinfect all surfaces on our toilet and scrub the inside - while she wipes down her dolly's potty. We switch places and she gets on her stepping stool to check my work on the counter with her rag, while I move on to the tub. Done.
        5. Time to vacuum. Little Miss was scared of the vacuum for a long time - but now she likes to go around "vacuuming" with the wand attachment or her play vacuum (sound effects included) while I do the real stuff.
        6. Final step, mopping. I love mopping. Weird I know. We move everything off of the kitchen/bathroom floors and into the hall or living room. Here it gets really fun. The kitchen chairs magically become train cars and of course Little Miss picks out stuffed animals to go on a train ride with her.
          While I sweep she tells me where they're going. Who they're going to visit. And says "choo-choo" a lot! When the train is stopped at the station, Little Miss likes to help sweep with her very own super cheap dollar store broom. The train ride continues while I mop and while the floor is drying I get in on the train action too.
        Two hours tops, six steps, completely clean house that smells lemony fresh and we still have a whole day ahead of us to play!

        A clean house helps me be a better mom because I can focus on Little Miss and not be distracted and discouraged by the chaos clutter brings.

        Involving your kids in cleaning, teaching them how to clean, why it's important to clean, and making it fun is one of the best gifts you can give them. My mom taught me how to clean at a very, very young age and I am so grateful!

        Have any cleaning tips/tricks that involve your kids? Pass on the genius.

        Wednesday, January 5, 2011


        I love my sponsors, but am tightening down on who can take up space on my site. Please only contact me if you are a relevant-to-mom's/family's company and family friendly.

        I do everything I can to direct traffic to my sponsors! Including a highlighted post about your company/product, a 125x125 sidebar banner ad spot, and if you don't have a banner ad - I can make one for you!

        I also have done product reviews in the past and will continue to do that if I feel the product is worth my readers time.

        Monthly Stats as of November 18, 2011
        • Monthly Page Views Average: 3,940
        Interested? Please email me at barb.themomblog(at) for more information!

        Pay It Forward 2011

        There are so many ways to pay it forward. My cousin posted this on her facebook status the other day...

        "A friend shared this and I think it is a wonderful idea....
        Pay it Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They must in turn post this and send something they make to the first 5 people who comment on their status. *The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011."

        I loved it! Of course I got on her list to get something because she is a crafty genius and I'm sure whatever she ends up making will be amazing! Also, I love to craft - so why not give away 5 things to 5 friends!

        If you haven't seen this on facebook yet - I challenge you to post it on your status! Start the ball rolling. Such a fun and creative way to serve others. And a great way to start of the New Year!

        I'll update ya'll in a few weeks with pictures of what I made and sent to my five people.

        Tuesday, January 4, 2011

        Cookie Salad

        If your New Year's Resolution is to lose weight...maybe ignore this one. Or, you can make yourself feel better and justify eating this because it has fruit in it. =) Either way it is delicious and I couldn't help posting it!

        Cookie Salad (not really a salad...)
        • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
        • 1 large box instant vanilla pudding
        • 8 oz pineapple tidbits, drained
        • 11 oz mandarin oranges, drained & cut up
        • 12 oz cool whip, thawed
        • 24 fudge stripe cookies, crushed
        In a large bowl, whisk buttermilk and pudding until smooth, mix well. Stir in pineapple and mandarin oranges, distribute evenly. Fold in cool whip. Chill. When ready to serve, stir in cookies.

        *I personally think this is better when the cookies have been in it. So I always add them right away and chill - then serve. The cookies get soft, and so yummy! This is a great recipe you can make ahead - just as good after sitting in the fridge overnight!

        Monday, January 3, 2011

        Get Organized

        I am a firm believer in the power of organization - I think it drives my husband nuts and he appreciates it all at the same time. To be honest, the level of my organizing might (will more than likely) be a little too over the top for most.'s time to come clean about my habits and not be ashamed.

        So if one of your resolutions is to be more organized, get more done, keep your house clean, have structured play time/lessons for your kiddos and not go crazy - stay OCD just might come in handy!

        First, I am super forgetful - so I have to write everything down. Second, I'm very task driven. And third, I love to plan. I plan out everything. Planning it, and then writing it down sure helps me get more done! Having a *realistic* to-do list propels me forward and I accomplish far more on a daily basis then I would without it.

        Here's what I do...
        • Every Month
          • I print out a calendar with all dr's apts, engagements, monthly goals, etc on it. Then I meal plan for the entire month (only the dinners). - click image below to enlarge, this is my actual calendar for the month...however, I have hand-written my meals on it already...
        • Every Week
          • I print out a weekly calendar/spreadsheet with detailed descriptions of what I do on certain days. I then add things by hand as they come up, change, etc. And obviously - I leave plenty of room to hand write things in as necessary...
        • Every Night
          • I update my weekly spreadsheet for the next day depending on circumstances, how I feel, etc. I also add things/switch things around if I didn't get everything done the day before.
        • Every Day
          • I work off of my list - but focus first on what is most important. Once the urgent things are done I can spend my time on fun things - like sewing or scrapbooking.
        Scared yet? Don't be. I know it sounds like a lot. But it didn't start out this intense. I worked up to it. =)

        So if you want to get more organized, but not as crazy like me. I would suggest starting with a monthly calendar + monthly goals. And the meal planning - totally worth it! We get a healthy varied diet, I always use up leftovers, and we save tons of money by not eating out because we "don't know what to make" at the last minute.

        How do you organize your life? Have any great tips to share?
        Related Posts with Thumbnails