Update From the North Pole

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We are only 9 days away from Christmas. Can you believe that? 9 days!! Where did the time go? With it being so close to Christmas morning, do you ever wonder what is going on at the North Pole? Need a place to find an update from the North Pole? Just want to check in and see what Santa’s favorite cookies are? Look no further. The elves up there have actually started their own blog!!! Find it here.

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Welcome to Baking Season

Sprinkles Cupcake

Can you believe that it is December? We are on the count down for Christmas and staring down 2016. In our house, once we pass Thanksgiving it is not the Christmas Season, we enter “Baking Season”. Personally I HATE to cook, you can’t get around it (cause kids like to eat). But baking, I love to bake; warm bread, cookies right out of the oven. That is why I was so excited to get the opportunity to work with Sprinkles Cupcakes and kick off our baking season with their yummy cupcakes.

These are no ordinary cupcakes, that you whip up from a box that you picked up at the store. These are gourmet quality, but from your kitchen, cupcakes. They are rich, dense (yet light), moist pieces of perfection. If you are so lucky to live in a city where you can go down and get one I would highly recommend it. Go now. I promise you won’t regret it. If you don’t live near one, no worries; you can order their mixes and make them at home. Continue reading

The Santa Hotline

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This year has been crazy, now I am no Scrooge. But Christmas is AFTER Thanksgiving. Most years I have no desire to hear anything Christmas related till after turkey day. There is no need to mix the two, or gip the turkey out of their ONLY holiday. This year, however, I am all in the holiday sprit now. I am so ready for cozy sweaters, scarves, mittens, hot chocolate. The jingling of bells everywhere we go. Peppermint in the air. There is something magical about winter and I am ready for it now.

How about you all? Are you looking for something to get into the holiday spirit? Are your kids working on their Christmas lists for Santa. You know that there is only a few weeks left to get that list into the big guy in red. So instead of writing him, hoping that not only he gets it in time, but that he has not completed the gifts; give him a call instead.

Thats right, you can call into Santa. Even better, you can do it for FREE!! Now, Santa is super busy this time of year, so he probably isn’t answering his phone (except for when Mrs Claus calls), but you can leave a message and he does listen to every single message he gets.

How fun is that? My girls have called into him and LOVED it. It was so cute, and sounds just like what his answering machine would say. His little message about all the good boys and girls is adorable. There is even a shout of to his reindeer, and of coarse Mrs. Claus don’t want to leave her out.

Click here for the phone numbers.

Give him a call and let me know what your kids thought? Did they think it was as fun as my girls did?

Pre-Parenthood vs Real Parenthood- 5 Lies We Tell Ourselves and Others

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How many of the things that you said you would never do before becoming a parent do you do now? What about after the first child? We all are guilty of saying things pre-parenthood, then once parenthood is in full swing, we find ourselves doing them. Or at least that was the case for me; and by daughter number three, everything went out the window. Here is my top list of things that I swore I would NEVER do once becoming a parent, and how they are today after three kids.

  • Number 1-
    • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will never watch TV.
    • Real Parenthood- Why is the house so quiet? Oh the TV is off, lets fix that.
  • Number 2
    • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will never eat sugar.
    • Real Parenthood- If you just eat three more bits of dinner, you can have a cookie.
  • Number 3
    • Pre-Parenthood- I will never ever bribe my kids.
    • Real Parenthood- Look back at number 2.
  • Number 4
    • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will eat all their dinner without complaint.
    • Real Parenthood- Look back at number 2.
  • Number 5
    • Pre-Parenthood- My kids will never sleep in my bed.
    • Real Parenthood- We wake up with at least one girl that has snuck into our bed. On the flip side, they are sleeping in.. Woo Hoo win for us.

What about you guys, what were some of the thing that you swore you would never do or the things that you “knew” you kids would do?

Online Parenting VS Real Life Parenting

Online VS Real Life

 

There seems to be a growing number of moms using social media these days. We use FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, Instagram and so many other platforms to keep in touch with family and friends. As moms, we love to show off pictures of our kids (when they are cute and behaving correctly; nobody is showing off pictures of their kids throwing tantrums in the middle of the grocery store). We want to show off that perfect dinner that we got on the table, on time. Lets face it, online we are all perfect moms. But what about real life?

Maybe I am alone here, but my online face is no where near my real life face. There are filters to help everything look just a little bit better. That dinner that was so perfectly on the table, well the picture that is missing is the one from the night before, where dinner was forgotten in the oven and burnt to a crisp. Thank goodness for take out pizza. The backgrounds might be picked up in the picture, I can assure you there is a mess just outside of the view finder. While in the picture my girls are smiling, clean and dressed; the moment that the photo is snapped, the clothes are ripped off, they are back to screaming at each other, and some how they are now sticky. How do they manage to get dirty so fast?

Now don’t get me wrong, we are a happy, busy family and my online face certainly shows that. It just doesn’t show everything else going on.

So while we have moments, of being picture perfect; they are just that- moments. What about you guys? Does your online face show the real family or they also just moments of being picture perfect.

How To Keep A Clean House

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Isn’t this what every person wants? To come home and have a clean (and presentable house)? Now in my fantasy, I would have the little cleaning fairies come in and clean my house for me. That way I don’t have to do any actual cleaning. Cause lets be honest who likes doing that? But alas, the fairies have lost my address and don’t visit me. This forced me to come up with a system to keep my house acceptable, without it being all that I do.

There are two ways to tackling cleaning your house. First, you can pick a day and have a once a week cleaning day. This is what we did growing up, and it was always Saturday morning. Trust me it stunk to waste my Saturday scrubbing bathrooms. The second, is what I prefer now and what I will be showing you, break it out into little bits every day.

I am a HUGE fan of breaking things up. As you could tell from my post How To Prepare For Overnight Guests, which you can find here. It makes it easy to check it off your list and move on. Plus, your house will always be ready for people to pop by. Well in theory, it will always be ready.

How To Clean

 

There is my break out. I have a few items to do every morning, and a few items to do every night. Easy, quick, little things that make life a little easier and prettier.

My daily chores are the bigger items, the ones that you don’t really want to do but have to do. The breakout is:

  • Monday
    • Meal Plan
    • Grocery Shop
  • Tuesday
    • Bathrooms
  • Wednesday
    • Dust (including blinds, shutters and so on)
  • Thursday
    • Vacuum or Mop
  • Friday
    • Scrub Kitchen (including cleaning out the fridge)

And you can see that I am boycotting cleaning on the weekends all together now as an adult. There is no need to waste your precious downtime scrubbing the floor. My girls have to take care of their own bedrooms and the school room.

That is my plan, how do you tackling cleaning your house? Did I miss any big chores that need to be done? Let me know.

How To Organize a Kids Closet

I am so excited to have partnered with partnered with Modernize to get today’s post to you. If you have not checked them out, take a moment to pop over there and see the amazing ideas that they have on all the rooms of your house. But be careful, you might just spend hours over there, it is that good.

Creative Ways To Organize Your Child’s Closet

Organizing your child’s closet can be a ghastly chore. With so many tiny sized things, the closet can become cluttered and disorganized quickly. With only a few minutes to get your child ready in the morning, digging through piles of disorganized items can add unnecessary stress to your day. You can use a few creative solutions to your child’s closet organization. Soon it will be easy to find even the smallest items at a moment’s notice.

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Via Modernize.com

With so many small items stored in your child’s closet, installing a chest of drawers or shelving unit will help immensely. Fold neatly all sweaters and and everyday tees. Pack the items in the drawer vertically so you can see each item from the top of the drawer. This will help you pull out exactly what you want without disturbing your pile. Create a label for each drawer so your child knows what’s inside.

A shelving unit makes a great storage solution for shoes. You can line your child’s shoes along each shelf with the most often worn pairs towards the middle so they are easiest to grab. Baskets can be used to store more utilitarian shoes and socks such as flip flops, ballet shoes or sports gear. One creative way to store shoes or folded items is to place a ladder in the closet. The steps of the ladder can be used as a rack and create a whimsical and functional display.

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Via Modernize.com

Using a curtain instead of a door for your closet will allow your child to move freely in and out, learning how to put away his or her own clothing and clean up. Large doors can be damaged as your child flings them open and closed. Sliding doors are dangerous for children because they can run off the track and injure your child. Choose a fabric that matches your child’s room decor and let your child move freely into the closet, learning to dress themselves and making life easier for you.

You can buy dividers to label your child’s hanging clothing. There are printable dividers you can download to make labels of your own. Dividers can be especially helpful for someone with more than one child sharing the same closet space. You can sort your child’s garments by size, age, person, or type. This also gives your child a sense of responsibility for their things.

When organizing your hanging items, group the clothing by like items. By placing things of similar lengths together, your hangers will fit together snugly and you can fit more things onto your closet rod. Everything will look more organized. You can add a tension rod into the closet to make a second hanging rack below. You’ll be able to hang your child’s clothing in a way that has more space between each item and the closet will look much more attractive.

Organizing your child’s closet doesn’t have to be stressful. Use a few of these creative solutions and your child’s wardrobe will look great. You can enjoy looking at all of the miniature sized clothing items that become sentimental along the way and your child can learn responsibility for his or her things.

For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com

How To Prepare For Over Night Guests

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Does having guests make you cringe? It is always stressful having an overnight guests. There seems to be a million things to do, and things to consider. If you let it, it can completely stress you out. But it doesn’t have to.

We are so lucky to live in a small town, about two hours away from the big city that my husband and I grew up in. It is close enough that we can visit friends and family often. And they come and visit us; almost every weekend. However, we are just far enough that a simple lunch date turns into a full weekend ordeal. For most of the people who want to visit it is just a smidgen to far for a day trip. So they come up after work on Friday and leave sometime Sunday.

It use to really stress me out. There seemed to be a thousand things to do, and never enough time to get them all done. But then I learned a great routine, and I am going to share it with you. It will lay things out in nice bite sized tasks, with the theory of just a little every day. Then it is never overwhelming or stressful having one person over or twenty (as we are this weekend for the fourth of July). It is going to be a full house!

  • Monday- Pick Up House/Meal Plan
    • Pick UpHouse-
      • Pick Up All Clutter
      • Pick Up Kids toys
      • Straighten Bathrooms
      • Straighten Living Areas
      • Put Shoes/Jackets Away- ours seem to sit by the front door and just stay there.
    • MealPlan-
      • List out all meals that you will be preparing. Normally for me it is two dinners (depending on what time people arrive on Friday night, and Saturday night), then two brunches (Saturday and Sunday)
      • I don’t make lunches. There is a myriad of snack foods that people can help themselves to if they are hungry. But I won’t make a formal lunch.
      • Think of easy to prepare meals- you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen with everyone having a good time in the living room.
      • Try to plan around people dietary needs. We have several vegans that visit us, so I make sure to have food for them. As well as for people with allergies- it just makes for a good hostess and people will appreciate your effort.
  • Tuesday- Clean House
    • Pretty self-explanatory here. Nobody wants to use a dirty bathroom. Not glamorous but it needs to be done.
  • Wednesday- Wash Linen and Towels/Set up Bedrooms
    • WashLinens-
      • Okay so I am odd here. I rewash all my linens (unless we are just doing a switch over), my linens sit in a closet and lose that fresh, just out of the dryer smell. I want them to smell fresh for my loved ones.
    • Set UpBedrooms-
      • Get all bedrooms/sleeping areas set up, complete with towels.
  • Thursday- Grocery Shop
    • Since you have all of your meal planning done, time to make a shopping list, and do the grocery shopping.
  • Friday- Bake and Enjoy Guests Arrival
    • By the day that your guests are arriving all of the heavy lifting is done. If you are up to it, you could bake a little treat for them once they get there. I try to bake based on what my guests like: when my dad comes I always have fresh chocolate chip cookies; for my best friend I have banana muffins. It makes the house smell amazing and it is so nice having a fresh-baked treat after traveling.
    • So sit back, relax and enjoy your guests arrivals.

There is my system. It really helps having it all broken out over the course of the week. Then nothing piles up, and I can still get my other stuff done. You know like blogging, and schooling the girls lol.

What is your system? How do you prepare for guests? Does it make you anxious or do you have it all down?

Chalk It Up- 5 Ways To Play With Chalk

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I am so excited to be guest posting over at The Real Thing With The Coake Family. If you are not following KC yet, then you need to. She posts about all kinds of DIY things, from American Girl accessories, to interior design, to crafts, to holiday decorations, basically you name it and she posts about it. Not only does she do amazing projects, she words them in ways that even the most uncrafty of us (aka me here) can follow and make great things. Click here for her blog.

She is doing this great weekly Summer Of Fun party, featuring different bloggers. And I am getting to kick it off!!! Well, without further adieu, lets get this Summer Fun rocking and rolling. I thought that we would start the party with something that everyone loves: CHALK. Kids love it, adults have fond memories of playing with it, and lets be honest it just screams summer. Plus it is so simple (not to mention cheap), all you need is a piece of chalk.

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Here is my top 5 list of the best chalk activities, for kids of all ages (2-102):

BUT…… to see what they are you are going to have bounce over to my lovely friends blog. Click here.