Kat’s Tip

It is that time of year again; time to get out the hats, mittens, and scarves.  This also means adding at least ten minutes to your departure time in the morning which can wreak havoc on your child’s attendance record if mommy doesn’t plan accordingly. Not to mention, mommy doesn’t want to have to walk into the school’s front office to sign in her and explain why she was tardy while wearing her robe under her short pea-coat. That is just an embarrassing moment for all parties that are involved, the kiddos, the secretary, and mom.

Eldest daughter's hats & mittens

So to save everyone for any embarrassing situations at the school’s front office this winter here is a handy tip to help shave off at least a few seconds in the morning.  Keep a small baggy or jar filled with clothes pins next to your winter weather basket (this is where you store the hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves and the basket should ideally be next to the front or back door. This minimizes the trail of melting snow throughout your home).  This way when the children get home from school or come in from playing outside they can simply grab a clothes pin and pin their mittens or gloves together.  Thus there will be no more scavenger hunts that involve retracing your child’s steps from the day before in hope of finding that other mitten during the morning chaos.

Toddler's

Added tip: Moms always color coordinate your kiddos mittens, hats, and scarves.    Sometimes your children can wear the same mittens or hat from last year but perhaps they outgrew their coat. If each child has a specific color scheme this can make purchasing a new coat or winter item effortless and you don’t have to start from scratch purchasing all new winter gear each year.

Son's

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I have finally come to the realization that the diaper bag has officially replaced any chance I may have had of purchasing a Louis Vuitton or Coach.  I haven’t carried a purse in five years and I have actually grown to respect the diaper bag. It is my weapon in
this mommyhood and it is my responsibility to make sure it’s arsenal is full and ammo loaded before we leave the house. I keep the following in my diaper bag (and yes, it does get heavy at time but who has time to workout, I see it as a killing two birds with one stone concept).

•Diapers

•Wipes (cloth & water)

•Butt paste/nursery jelly

•Doctor- baby books (name, location of doctor and current
vaccinations)

•Small First aid kit

•Sanitizer

•Tissues

•Mat to change diapers

•Playdough

•Crayons

•Paper to color

•Safety pins

•Protein bar

•Snacks for older siblings

•Snack for baby

•Hooter Hider (for nursing moms) or Formula in bottle (for supplementing moms)

•Wallet

•Phone

•Feminine products

•Water Canteen for mommy

•Cell Phone

True, it may seem like a lot of “stuff” to carry around in a bag but if you have all the items above in your bag and ready to go before you leave I will guarantee you a less stressful excursion.  So, if you have not purchased a diaper bag yet or yours is a small measly excuse for a diaper bag, or you are the crazy bag mom with tons of bags, it is time to get an efficient diaper bag.  Look for a large bag with compartments that snap (added bonus, mine has a phone purse attached and clips to attach extra items on the sides), can be easily washed down (inside and out), is waterproof, fashionable (I always buy black, it goes with everything and my hubby will
carry it), and functional (put the straps on your shoulder, do they stay? Is it comfortable?). This bag will be your best friend for the next couple of years so take your time and choose wisely.

After you have purchased your bag, filled it with the necessary mommy ammo, and journey out with your little ones, then (this step is vital), restock your mommy ammo and place the bag in the front closet. Maybe you do not have time right when you enter your home but, once the kiddos are napping or occupied with activities take a few minutes to restock the items you used on
your last trip.  Once the Diaper bag has been replenished from your arsenal place it near the front door and you are ready to go at the drop of a dime for your next outing.

If you no longer require the diaper bag congratulation, and make sure you really rock that Louis Vuitton for all us diaper bag hauling mamas to envy.

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Travel Torture

With the Holidays vastly approaching travel is inevitable and along with travel comes the travel torture.  We all know it, even if you have been blessed with the best little traveler in the world eventually tormenting repetitive comments comeith. Such as;

•Are we there yet?

•I have to go potty?

•How much longer?

•I am hungry!

•Done…Done…Done (my husband’s favorite, our son yelled this after only two hours into a 15 hour journey).

This is when mommy needs to pull out her fun bags…no, not those fun bags (where is your mind?), bags filled with fun activities for the kiddos. These will vary depending on the age of your children but it is wise to have a small tub with a lid for each child that contains activities they will enjoy.  Items I include for toddlers & preschoolers include:

  • Books
  • Coloring books (markers or crayons depending on the age of your children &  keep an eye on the crayon in extreme heat)
  • Quiet toys- doll or action figure
  • Stickers (might end up on car- vinegar & baby oil will get off any adhesive left behind. Sometimes ten minutes silence is worth the clean up later.).
  • Legos
  • Movie (If you have DVD player in car- if not, get one. Movies are perfect for long car rides. Must have strict rules, only watch movies during long trips, that way it is a special treat, and not the norm.).
  • Car bingo
  • Snacks
  • Encourage older children to play additional car games together (20 questions, what animal am I, **Name the healthy food)

I suggest packing in your luggage new time filling activities for the journey home. This way they are not already bored when they get in the car to go home.
You are now prepared for travel, happy trails!

**Name the Healthy Food Option vs. Unhealthy option

Appropriate for Age: 2 and up

Time: this fluctuates, you decide how many rounds your want to play.

How to play: While prepare a meal have your children sit around or within ear shot and you name three foods. You can either
name two healthy options and one unhealthy (they would name the unhealthy), or you name two unhealthy and one healthy (they would name the healthy).

For example: Name the unhealthy option- Apple, Peach, or French Fries? The answer is French fries.  Name the healthy option- Carrot cake, oatmeal cookies, or celery?  The answer is celery. You could also add to the fun and use visual aids if you have them
available in your kitchen.

You can make this age appropriate as well, say you would like to teach your elementary child healthy food options. You
could have them name the complex carbohydrate or perhaps the food with protein, etc. Then give your child a chance to ask you the questions, this really helps them understand nutrition. Hopefully one day they will stump you. I think that whenever you have the opportunity to engage in an educational activity with your child why not make it fun!

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What to do with all those art projects?

Is Junior bringing home art projects by the book bags full? Not sure what to do with all his magnificent projects?  Do you keep all of them with the fear of one day being profiled on hoarders or do your discard them with the fear of breaking junior’s heart? The answer is to compromise. How you ask?

Have a draw set aside for his art projects and star/sticker quality work that is sent home.  Allow him to show you his work then ask which ones he would like to keep in his drawer and which ones can be recycled.  Be practical moms, I realize every project your child works on is precious but you need a home, not a shrine to junior.  At the end of the year go through the drawer and select the top 12 projects (or more if you have the wall space but no more than 20 per child per year).  Purchase an inexpensive frame to display junior’s art work as well as scissors and double-sided tape.

Arrange the art work and any additional sentimental memorabilia on the insert (the cheap paper or picture shown with the frame) that is included with the frame.  You may need to cut various projects in order for all to fit accordingly.  Once they are arranged in a visually pleasing display stick double-sided tape on the back of each so that it is affixed to the insert. Place the insert back in the frame and decide where you will display your little artist and scholars work.

This is something that could be done every year. You can purchase a new frame each year and display every year, that is, if you have the wall space.  Or, you could remove the insert each year and replace it with new projects.  My ideal plan is to one day have a finished basement and be able to display each year on the walls with track lighting highlighting each.  A girl can dream!

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Car Clutter AHHHH……..

Car clutter is inevitable; you are a mom on the go, car pooling, practice, school, grocery store, parties,
vacations, etc. In-between the various activities snacks are divvied out, water, juice box’s, baby biscuits, Cheerios, items to occupy time, etc.  There are often enough random eatable items left in our car to feed the family for at least a week, although, that is a
diet plan I prefer to skip.  Granted, it is not just the children contributing to this mess, mommy also contributes to
the clutter with a half-dozen coffee cups in the front seat. So, how do you maintain a semi clean car with your hectic schedule? You can keep the clutter at bay with this simple acronym, T.O.S.S.

T.O.S.S.

T- Trash

Keep a small garbage bag in the front seat and one in the back with the children. Encourage children to
throw all trash and any left over food items into the bag.  This includes you mom, you need to model good
habits for the pairs of eyes watching you from the backseat, put the coffee cups in the trash.

O-Objects

Children leave behind various items, a few things I have found in my car includes, pencils, parts of
pens, sweaters, underwear, socks, half grilled cheese sandwich (this one was embarrassing, had to move around car seats and a relative was the lucky grilled cheese sandwich winner), toys, keys, sunglasses, tissues, etc. Have children
help remove any random objects after each days worth of errands.  If your children are too young to help then do this once a week.

S-Sweep

I always have a handheld vacuum plugged in and ready to go.  Grab the vacuum and sweep up any small items like Cheerios, leaves, dirt, etc. once a week.  When you go on a long journey bring the handheld vacuum with you as well as the charger.  Traveling is much easier in a clean vehicle.

S- Sanitize

Once you have tossed the trash, removed the objects, and swept the vehicle it is time to remove any
germs that are not seen by the naked eye. I keep a hand towel and small spray bottle filled with vinegar, water, and lemon juice for this very purpose. Spray down the door handles, any random sticky goo, cup holders, radio, and don’t
forget your steering wheel; it has nine times more germs than a public restroom
(makes you want to wash your hands? Go ahead, I will wait).

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