How To Keep Your House Tidy Even With Young Kids

Disney toy organizer

If you are a mom with small kids around, you know how it can almost be impossible to keep the house clean and tidy. Here are some tips for those moms who still have any hope left of keeping your house tidy (like me!). May perseverance and endurance be ours!

Disney toy organizer

You will need to revisit your definition of tidy

When you become a mom, you definitely need to revisit your idea of tidy. Tidy when I had no kids in the house meant picking everything where I put it last month. It meant all my surfaces where clear and things were stored in the right boxes. Now, scrap that. Tidy now has a totally new meaning. It may mean the toys will be in the baskets, but are visible. It will mean that during some times in the day, the house will be in full play mode meaning that visitors may have nowhere to sit. The good thing is as a mom, most company we keep doesn’t notice this anyway. Neat will look as though the house is in order and has been picked up, but it will be different than what we defined tidy before kids.

Just have the essentials

To keep your house neat when you have kids, then you simply need the essentials. If you have to put decorative or sentimental items on display, do so above arms reach. If you have lots of items in your house, a mini yard sale will help minimize the items. It’s also another way of getting extra cash. Keep the bare minimums on lower surfaces so that you have less items strewn on the floor.

Work with your kids…never against them

When my first born started crawling and pulling everything in the house, I was so offended. Does this kid realize how tedious it is to put the house in order? Is he doing this to test my patience? But then after sometime, I figured out that wasn’t the case and that I needed to come up ways to let the babies be, keep the house orderly but still, be homely.

A child playing with toys

I ignored when they threw their toys and blocks as they were playing. When they were done, we’d all pick them up. Some days they would do it happily, but others, they would simply refuse. That’s motherhood for you. Most times, I allow them to run around the house with toys then ask them to put them back. Everybody wins.

Organize well

I’ve realized if things do not have a designated storage space, they all end up in the kitchen counter. If the toys don’t have a place to be stored, you will end up finding them in the wrong places. Get baskets and containers for storing everything. This makes tidying simple because at the end of the day, you just have to put everything back where it belongs.

Sweep everyday

I clean up after the babies are done with play and then another major sweep when they get to bed. That’s all. These ensures that every night, the house looks neat and tidy before I get to bed. And it really doesn’t take so much time to do it. If you allow the messes to accumulate for 3 days, you will take longer to clean and tidy everything up.

Sometimes, my house looks super neat. Other times, it looks like I just had a tornado in there. I don’t sweat it a lot when it looks lived in, but I think it’s important to teach our children to clean up after themselves. While you may never have that super neat tidy house you once had, you can live in an organized one.

Birthday Cards!!!

birthday cards

This year we are going to be on a VERY tight budget for the first half of the year…but I still want to send birthday cards to all the important people in my life. But it costs to buy them. And it costs to make them. And it costs to send them. So….I went through all my junk on hand and did my best to create enough cards to send to everybody throughout the year. And I did it! Barely. And broke my “epic six” in the process But it’s done and now it will only cost around $25 in postage. That I can live with!

birthday cards
I always like getting the handmade cards better anyway, so this will be an added bonus (I’ve never been able to make cards for everyone year-round…you just get too busy sometimes!) I kept them simple, but since I sat down and thought of each person as I wrote them out, I think they’re still heartfelt and personalized.

anniversary card
I also made enough anniversary cards for every important anniversary. And if I can ever find all of my “baby” stamps I’ll make some new baby cards too for all the preggers people in my life! (I think I’ll try using machine stitching on these…wish me luck!)

Valentine’s Day

valentines day

Well…when you’re a mom sometimes the romance is small…and sometimes it’s just a day to celebrate love in all it’s forms!
We focused on Logan more this year. So I cut about 100 hearts and put them all over the house (we also skipped to letter V – can’t miss this opportunity! – we’ll revisit in order too). And put ribbon on the hand rail to try to catch his attention when he first got up. And it did!

valentines day
The view coming down the stairs
He even started looking for all the new hearts that were all over the rest of the house…
And since it snowed before and it was pretty warm he got to play outside with a few of the neighbors. One dad even made a snow chair that was a big hit with the kids!
And then his Daddy had class until 8pm…so no date for us. But that’s okay. I gave Logan 20 bucks and he bought me pizza and snuggled with me while we watched a movie! Pretty great day if I do say so myself!

valentines day

P.S. The letters on the door are my example letters. His letters are hung in his room. (And there’s cut-out letters on the back of the bathroom door. He tends to take awhile to finish his business sometimes – useful space to subliminally teach

The Best Christmas Crafts For Young Kids

Christmas YarnTree

Christmas YarnTreeYeay! Its Christmas time and that means there is more time for me and my kids to spend more time indoors! Doesn’t feel great?

And even though I enjoy spending time with my kids, I always ensure I have planned a list of activities to be done so that we do not drive each other crazy. In addition, it makes me look super cool and we get to create Christmas memories and keepsakes for the children to look back to when they grow older.
I love doing crafts and my kids can attest to this. I use readily available materials and my little kids help in putting together the materials. Here are some of my favorites. I hope you and your kids will get time and try them out.

Yarn Tree

This is one of the easiest Christmas craft that you can do with items that you already have in the house. It’s great for a last minute crafting session because mommy hasn’t figured out what’s for dinner.

Materials needed:
String or yarn for the garland on the tree
• Crayons or pencil
• Glue
• Green cardstock
• Tiny bits such as stickers, glitter and buttons for ornaments
What to do:
Trace an outline of a Christmas tree on a piece of green paper. Guide your kids as they apply the yarn and the glue or string garland. Coils can also give a lovely, rustic look. After they have put the garland correctly, give your kids buttons, bits and stickers and let them decorate their Christmas tree as they wish. This makes a great decoration for your fridge.

Christmas Paper Chain Garland

Super easy and fun too! It can also be made a yearly Christmas paper craft tradition too.
Materials:
• Construction paper with Christmas colors
• Pair of scissors
• Glue, stapler and tape to keep the pieces together
What to do:
Cut the different papers into strips of almost a similar size. Make a chain by connecting the pieces together.

This can be made for decoration or just as a Christmas countdown in which you will be removing a ring each day until Christmas. If you are using it as a Christmas countdown, you can write a short Christmas story or a short verse in reference to Christmas to be read each day one removes the ring.

Candy Tree

christmas candy tree
This is total fun as you will be able to eat it once you are done making it. You will not have to worry about finding another appropriate place to display your craft.
Materials:
Ice cream cones( pointy type)
• Cookies for the base
• Small candies to decorate your candy tree
• Frosting ( green or white )
What to do:
Fix a cone to a cookie base using some of the frosting. Assist your kids to frost the cone to resemble a tree that has green frosting. Then give them candies, sprinkles and any other little edibles that your kids love to decorate their tree. After you are done, sit down and eat up your candy tree.
Have fun with your kids this Christmas!

The ABC’s – Letter C

letter c

We finished B yesterday so this morning I took down all the B stuff and slowly started putting C’s up. He had no interest in helping this morning really but that’s alright.
He’s always up for the project! Today is a crab (seen first at Totally Tots.) He wanted him to be grumpy but I talked him into crabby since he’s a crab and all!

letter c
We talked about all the fridge items too (cow, chameleon, cat, cake, celery) and he helped me arrange the C’s on the fridge. And he loves changing clothes – hence the hat and tie with gym pants – so there’s a bonus C for today!
We wrote all the body parts on him (ones that he needs to look in the mirror to see, I write backwards so they look right to him). Cheek, Chin, Chest, and Calf.
For lunch we added cheetos and cheese to his plate for the letter C. For snack we’ll have carrots and cucumbers.
And it snowed last night (and still is kinda) so he wanted to spend time near the window today (especially because Daddy played out in the snow with him for 40 minutes!). So I got him to connect-the-dots without much persuasion today! (using Crayola Window Crayons)

letter c
He even made some dots for me to trace today (upper right).

We’ve also ready plenty of books. “The Icky Sticky Chameleon” made the C’s click best for him.

I really wanted to do a “cooking” activity or make cookies or cake with him. But with tomorrow being Valentine’s Day (and the huge box of candy (another C!) that Grammie sent in the mail…) I figured we’d had enough sweets without adding a batch of cookies to the pantry!

He definitely can identify a “C” without issue. Truly could before we even began today. But it’s such a tricky letter that it’s hard to make some connections…/ck/, /ce/, /ch/…they’re all c’s but they sound nothing alike…But at least we’re identifying and the rest will come in time!

Letter C day:

  • Crabby Crab paper craft (see above)
    Cats
    Crayons
    Cars
    Clock
    Clothes
    Clouds
    Caterpillar
    Chameleon
    Cake
    Cookie
    Cave
    Cartwheels
    Crawling
    Clapping
    Crab-walking
    Songs: Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? If you’re happy and you know it (Clap your hands!)
    Label “C” body parts: Calf, Chin, Cheek, Chest
    Special snacks: Cucumbers, Carrots, Cheetos, Cheese

Curtain Tieback

curtain

So…we live in a row of townhouses. And we love our neighbors (which is great – I can only imagine the hell of living this close to someone you can’t stand!) but that means we know our neighbors. And care a little bit about what they think of us. So when my husband exercises in the morning he likes to have all the windows blocked to outside viewers as he does his video-workouts. Can’t blame him really.
But the curtains I made for our kitchen window weren’t really meant to be opened and shut repeatedly. We can only use tacks in our walls, so putting a real tieback is out of the question…hmmm…

curtain
Then I added a buttonhole and button! Yay! Now he can open or close them as many times as he wants without ripping the tack out of the wall! It’s the small things that make a marriage happy.

New town

new town

So we’re in a new town, where we know no one and have no connections. And I need to find a preschool for my three-year-old…hhrruummff! (How do you spell the sound I’m making?) I have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education…so…I’ve seen some AMAZING examples of great preschools. I have also seen some I wouldn’t trust leaving my dog in. And this makes me very, very nervous. I think I’ll know the bad ones. I think I’ll know the good ones – but how do I decipher this from a listing of 30 schools?

new town
I really do not want to visit all of these schools multiple times and then find out that the ones I want are full because I spent so much time running around! (I keep thinking there has to be a business plan here somewhere – a service that would do this for you? A website dedicated solely to parent reviews (instead of 80 sites with one review each)? a questionnaire you fill out and get magically matched to your perfect preschool?)

mt everest
I know it’s a matter of biting the bullet and getting it done. But someone out there, please share a little secret that makes it a little easier! I feel like I’m staring up at Mt. Everest! Oh, and my little boy is going to school :”’( –I know he’s ready for a few hours of school a week – but I’m not!

Logan’s Favorite Outdoor Activities

Relaxing on a Hammock

Relaxing on a HammockI like taking my kids out to play especially when the weather is great. It’s a fun activity and I also get to do some little bit of activity with them. Logan and his little brother love the outdoors and he has some favorite outdoor games he adores. If you are wondering what to do with your kids in summer, here is the list I created for you guys!

Do you have a hammock in your backyard?

If you already have a hammock in your backyard, snuggle close with your kids and sway the evening away as you soak in the setting sun. Watch out for things in the clouds as they change or read out books for each other.

Wash and dry

Water brings instant fun to any outdoor activity, so you can try a bucket of suds on a warm day. Fill the pail with water, pour in some drops of baby shampoo so that even if it gets into their eyes it doesn’t hurt and then give them some clean sponges. Ask your kids to clean up their rides: bikes, ride-ons and tricycles. When they have cleaned up their vehicles with soap, help them to hold the hose for a total rinse down. Let them dry their rides with old rugs or towels. And then to cap off the fun, ride around the block with them.

Do your garden together

Kids can be of help in the garden if guided properly. They can pull up weeds and sprinkle the flowers with a small watering can. Introducing them early to the wonders of nature is an excellent way of stimulating their curiosity about the world. In addition, growing a plant gives your kid a very big sense of achievement. To get started with this activity is simple: simply transplant already growing seedlings into pots that are filled with good potting soil. Keep them in the containers as they grow or plant them on the ground if you like it that way. The best veggies to get started with are tomatoes, basil and green beans. It will be so much fun for your kid to watch them grow and they will definitely love it.

Rain dance

dancing in the rain
Surprise your kids by taking them outside when it’s drizzling in the summer. Dress them up in swimsuits and gumboots and dance as you catch raindrops in your hands or mouths while jumping puddles.

Get out of your backyard

Time to hit the streets! Try this fun outdoor activity that will give your kids the opportunity to choose the route they’d like you to take. Begin by drawing arrows on some cards, pack them and start your walk. When you come to a junction on the road, give your kid a chance to determine the route you will take. On the way, you can play a game of guessing what you are likely to see on the block next; a white gate, a birds nest…you get the drift.

Your cuties will absolutely love these outdoor games. I’d also love to hear your tot’s favorite outdoor activities too!

The ABC’s – Letter D

Letter D

Well…our household has been a bit under the weather lately. So the name of the game has been survival. In fact if you knocked on my door I would be mortified of the mess inside my house. *sigh* But that’s just not as important as sleep and Logan’s play time. But we’ve been slowly plugging through letters. Really slowly.
Letter D was virtually unknown to him for some reason. He always identifies it as the letter with a “straight line in back and one bump in front”. But can’t remember to label it as “D.” Not sure why. But I finally moved on. Beating it to death isn’t going to help and we just weren’t progressing. Definitely on the list to re-visit later.
Anyway…for our D days we dug out the old dinosaur costume (he wore when he was about 1-year-old – we pretended it was a crocodile at the time) and he REALLY wanted to wear the whole costume. So we tried it on…

Letter D
And unbelievably it went on!!! I’m pretty sure he’s sporting a major wedgie under that tail though. He was in heaven until he started overheating. We did a bunch of other activities, but I’m tired. So I’m going to list them below and post the picture of the “dangerous dinosaur” we made out of the letter D.

Letter D
I sure hope we find some energy around here. We’re mostly well now, just still really tired!
Letter D day:
• Dangerous Dinosaur paper craft (see above)
• Daddy
• Dolphin
• Dog
• Deer
Dragonflies
• Duck
• Dragon
• Diapers
• Diamond
• Donkey
• Doctor
• Dots
• Doll
• Dime
• Dollar
• Dancing
• Songs: We Are the Dinosaurs
• Label “D” body parts: Dimples
• Special snacks: Doughnuts

Logan Napping

logan napping

Today is the first nice day we’ve had in awhile and all the windows are open with a lovely breeze blowing through the house. And Logan wanted to keep his window open for nap – but usually his room is very dark for nap. He insisted.

logan napping

And this is how I found him when I checked on him. Wrapped in the blanket with the most air inlet. Crazy kid!