Category: Organize

For me, organization means efficiency. When I’m efficient I have more time to do the things I love. When my house is clean and organized, I feel freedom to sit back and relax, because I’m not thinking about the mountains of laundry or dust bunnies I need to get rid of. This does not mean my house has to be perfect. It means I have to set realistic goals, do a little bit each day, and be content when I get most of the things on my list done.

Grocery Shopping With My Little People

It took me a while to get the courage to go on shopping trip with all three kids BY MYSELF. But sometime within the last month I started doing it. I’m not gonna pretend to tell you it’s a breeze. I definitely have to mentally prepare and give myself a little pep talk before venturing out, but we’re making steps in the right direction. It’s funny; before kids I never thought twice about the moms I’d see shopping with their kids. (Unless their kid was throwing a tantrum in which case I would ingorantly cast judgements on her ability to control her kids. Ha! Like I said, pure ignorance.) But now I find myself feeling forever bonded to the other moms with youngsters I pass in the store, knowing we’re in battle together, running on borrowed time before our kid(s) could explode like ticking timb bombs.

I’m certainly not an expert in shopping with little people yet. Afterall, only one of my children is mobile at this point! But I have learned a few tricks that help my trips to go as best as can be expected.

Phase 1: Preparing for the Trip

1. Before leaving home, make sure everyone is well-rested and has a full tummy. If I can help it, which I usually can, I never even think to journey to the store during naptime. Or when they’re hungry. I believe 85% of meltdowns can be prevented by following this rule.

2. Have a list. Shopping with three kids under two isn’t a practical time to wander aimlessly through the store. Nope. I have my list categorized by the layout of the aisles in the store we’re going to so I can make sure I grab everything we need first go around and don’t need to dilly dally. Efficiency is key, my friends!

3. Shop when it’s not busy. My babies are happy to shop if the cart keeps a movin’. There isn’t time for stop and go traffic. For this reason, I avoid taking my kids to the store on weekends or during the early evening when the majority of the population is off of work.

Phase 2: Arriving At the StoreTarget Cart Scout Out

1. Depending on the store, I decide if I’ll shop with my stroller or use the store’s carts. If I use my stroller I’ll pull a cart behind us or use my Mommy Hook and hook a basket to the handlebar. At Target, they have a fabulous large cart that works great for us so I don’t usually get the stroller out. Upon entering the parking lot, I scout out a cart corral that has one of these carts. I park near that corral, grab the cart, and transfer the kids.Target Cart Loaded

2. Pray for the best as you enter the door. Yes, I absolutely believe that God cares about things like mom’s sanity!Target Entrance

3. I’m not above bribery when it comes to shopping. At Target, the bakery gives out free chocolate chip cookies to kids if you ask for one. Depending on the day and his mood, Baylen either gets one at the beginning of the trip to buy me some time, or he gets one at the end as a reward for good behavior. If we aren’t at Target, he’s to an age where suckers are great. I especially like Ring Pops right now because I don’t have to worry about the stick jamming down his throat.Target Cookie

Phase 3: Shopping

1. Shop quickly, and talk to your kids while you shop. My toddler does so much better when I engage him as we shop. So I’m the crazy mom who’s basically talking to myself the whole time. “What else do we need, Baylen?! Eggs? Okay! Let’s go get eggs! Oh, and some milk too? Okay, how many gallons? Let’s count them. One. Two!” And at some point the grocery cart likely morphs into Lightning McQueen and we race through the last few aisles, vrooming to the finish line.

2. Pick a cashier who looks like he/she might have a clue. Not to overgeneralize, but I’ve made the mistake once or twice of choosing the college-aged kid who has no idea that I need him to scan the items faster than fast, quicker than quick, instead of talking to me about how his day would be so much better if he didn’t still have 7 more hours to work, yada, yada, yada. For this reason, I try to choose the sweet looking mom type who gets it. Because again, we’re stopped at this point, and I don’t have much time to stall before I become that mom (whom I once judged) with the screaming kids.

3. I use my Target Debit Card to save 5% on each transaction. It comes right out of my checking account, and saves me lots of money over the course of a year! At Target, you can swipe your card while they are still scanning your items, and since I always do a mental calculation of how much I’m spending as I shop, I don’t need to wait for the grand total. After they bag the last items, I grab my receipt, which I treat as a certificate of completion, and head out the door! If my kids are still happy, I reward reward myself with a coffee, or soda, something! Last time, my kids were rockstars and I got to enjoy my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year. Woot! Woot!

And that, friends, is how I survive my grocery runs these days. I treat it as a challenge and try to strategically conquer it. There are times when our trips don’t go as smoothly, however. And those are the days we get the basics, call it quits, and mommy gets to go back later ALL BY HERSELF. The solo Target run, another thing that I didn’t appreciate before kids, but now carries equal weight to a winning lottery ticket.

Disclaimer: Target did not compensate me for this post. I just really love that place! 

Question: What tips do you have for shopping with babies/toddlers? How about as they get older? 

Enjoy your Tuesday afternoon! I’m actually headed to Target BY MYSELF, thanks to Grandma being here!

Amber

Share Button

A Day In Our Life (Currently)

Happy Weekend! The weeks just keep flying by this summer…I can hardly believe we’ve made it to the last weekend in June. Since things just keep moving along, I really wanted to pause for a moment and document what our ordinary days look like at this stage. We all know that as kids grow, schedules adapt to their needs, so while it will be ever-changing, I want to remember how I made it through these crazy months with three kids under 2 years old!

Before I start, I’d like to note that while this is a “typical” day, certainly not every day looks exactly like this. I can plan all I want, but there are days when kids will be kids and have little interest complying with a schedule. And there are also days when my alarm goes off and I just can’t pry myself out of bed, so I wake up when the kids do. However, this is what I shoot for, because we all function optimally around here when we have an idea of what to expect everyday!

Our Daily Schedule (Baylen: 20 months, Emersyn & Mckinley: 3 months)

6am: Alarm goes off. I shower and/or get ready, pump, read a devotional, and get a cup of coffee into my system! Once in a while I’ll get up a bit earlier and work out before the kids get up too, but I’m not quite at a point where that happens regularly yet. Prep Baylen’s breakfast to minimize stress when all three kids want breakfast at the same time.

7am: Baylen gets up. He’s sleeping straight through the night without getting up. Praise the LORD for that! I get Baylen dressed for the day and we cuddle for a few minutes in the upstairs toy room until the girls get up.

7:15 – 7:30am: Emersyn and Mckinley wake up. Change and dress them for the day. Bring everybody downstairs. IMG_1756IMG_17597:30 – 8am: Breakfast. Feed Baylen at the same time I feed the girls. IMG_1284IMG_09118am: Story time, playtime, tummy time, and whatever else it takes to keep all three happy!IMG_16739am: Girls go down for their morning nap. This means I get some one on one time with my little bud! We either do puzzles, work on colors or words, play outside, or he’s my little helper while I do laundry and get some cleaning done. IMG_1709IMG_168210:30am: Feed the girls, snacktime for Baylen while he watches a show or plays on his own. I must give major props to my friend Leah who gave me the great idea for a snack rug. Baylen now knows that if he wants a snack, it must be eaten on the snack rug, and not all over the house. Game changer. IMG_102611am: Out and about! I try really hard to prioritize being home for my kids’ naps. When they get enough quality sleep, they are happier, and our days are much smoother! Therefore, the most opportune window for getting out of the house is between 11:00am – 1:00pm. Most days we go on a walk and end up at the park for a while so Baylen can release some energy! Sometimes the girls will take a short catnap in the stroller, but I only let them sleep for 10 – 15 minutes at the most so that they’re ready for a nap when we get home in the afternoon. IMG_171612:30pm: Lunch for Baylen and Mommy while the girls kick around on the floor. IMG_167712:45pm: Feed the girls

1pm: Put the girls in their cribs for their afternoon nap. After they’re down, put Baylen down for his nap. Fun fact: This is known as Baylen’s “long nap shirt.” I kid you not, when he wears this shirt to nap, the kid pulls out a 2.5 – 3 hour nap every time. There may be a few days here and there when I strategically change him into it. IMG_1174

1 – 3pm: Break for Mommy! I make myself the cup of coffee that I’ve looked forward to all morning, blog, read, have phone dates with friends, or clean the house (if I absolutely have to). I’ve learned that it’s best to start out naptime with something that really recharges me, or else by the time I finish cleaning, ect, I never actually get a break because there is always something to do! This means my house isn’t as clean as I’d like most of the time, but at least I’m in a happy mood for my kids!

3pm: Baylen usually wakes up around 3 (unless he’s wearing that striped shirt). We play or watch Thomas together.

4pm: Feed the girls, snacktime for Baylen.

4 – 5pm: Read more books, shake rattles for the girls, more tummy time, zoom cars around the house and *pray* that the girls don’t start their witching hour before Jake gets home.

5ish: Jake gets home from work. I usually demand a little break and go for a quick run, or go to Target or Trader Joe’s (by myself). If I’m not desperate for solo time, or we need all hands on deck, we walk to the park or just hang out at home before making dinner.

6pm: Eat supper. Eat quickly before the girls get too tired and fussy and need to be held nonstop. Although, who am I kidding, we almost always eat with a girl in our arms these days.

6:30pm: Bathtime for all three kids. We give baths every other night. Every night in the summer for Baylen because he gets filthy being outside so much. Bathtime is followed by jammies. IMG_1650

6:45pm: Swaddle the girls and bring all three kids to the upstairs toy room. Feed the girls while Baylen watches a bedtime video, usually Cars or Cars 2 which we undoubtedly have memorized by now. Sometimes we sneak in The Lorax or Toy Story for a little variety, but most of the time our motor head toddler insists on Cars. We oblige. And laugh at Mater.

7pm: Put the girls to bed. They barely make it to 7, and are more than ready to hit the hay.

7:30 – 8:00pm: Put Baylen to bed. He gets to stay up a little later than his sisters, which is a pretty big deal.

8:00pm: Go downstairs and pick up fallen debris. Our house is a disaster at the end of the day. As much as I try to contain most of the toys to the toy room, this is what we end up with. We always pick it up before we go to bed though, so that I have a clean slate to start with in the morning. IMG_0828

8:30 – 10:30pm: Hang out with JAKE! I love my kids so much, but he’ll always be my favorite person in the world to hang out with.

10:30pm: Bedtime. Fall to sleep when my head hits the pillow.

3:00 or 4:00am: Girls wake up hungry. Most nights they are sleeping 8 or 9 hours straight until 3 or 4…occasionally until 5! When they wake up, we feed them, and they go back to bed until morning. I’m so glad we are past the worst of the sleepless nights!

6:00am: Alarm goes off. Repeat.

And that’s how we do it! Some days it feels like we’re in a good groove, and other days it feels like complete chaos. BUT, God always gives us the grace we need to make it through, and keeps multiplying our love for our three precious littles! He is so faithful and good, and despite the craziness, I feel like these are some of the best days we’ve experienced in our lives thus far. We’ll keep maximizing the moment, because boy does time keep flying by so quickly.

Take time to treasure the simple memories today, friends!

Love,

Amber

 

Share Button

Follow Me on Bloglovin’

Mommy’s Me Time is now live on Bloglovin’! I would love if you’d follow it!

Click here to follow.

Hope your Wednesday is going well! I’ll be back later today with a “real” post!

Blessings!

Amber

 

Share Button

How to Successfully Implement a Cleaning Schedule

IMG_8500

Now that we’ve been living in our new home for a couple months, I’m finally in a comfortable groove and have developed a cleaning schedule that fits our house. When my house is clean, I feel like I have a freedom to focus on and enjoy my family without the piles of laundry and dust bunnies guiltily looming over me.  For that reason, I follow a cleaning schedule to keep our little household sane.

I think many of us, including myself, have probably tried implementing a cleaning schedule at some point, only to find ourselves lagging behind and once again failing to consistently keep things clean. Since my home is about to get real crazy soon with the addition of our twins, when we moved in I knew I needed to devise a plan quickly that I’ll be able to maintain when the girls come. So far, I’ve had success with this schedule, and I attribute it to adhering to the following principles.

How to Successfully Implement a Cleaning Schedule

1. Do a little bit each day. My schedule only requires me to do about 20 – 30 minutes of cleaning each day, doing certain tasks the same day each week.

2. Do your tasks early in the day. I’ve found that when I clean early in the day I’m much more likely to complete my daily tasks as opposed to when I’m tired in the afternoon and want to piddle out on the couch.

3. Remember that life happens, and it’s okay to miss a day of cleaning from time to time. As faithfully as I try to follow my schedule, life happens, and there are days when I have to prioritize other tasks over cleaning. When this happens, I simply skip that day instead of compounding it onto the next one, which could make me me feel overwhelmed the next day resulting in another skipped day. There are worse things in the world than the bathrooms not getting cleaned for a couple weeks.

4. Delegate tasks when needed and include your family. It’s never too early to teach your kids the importance of picking up after themselves and helping you out. Since Baylen was about 12 months old I’ve given him a dust cloth when I dust and he loves to mimic what I’m doing. When I tell him it’s time to vacuum he’ll walk over to the closet and point to where we keep it. He likes to help mommy and I’m hoping that teaching him about picking up after himself now will result in good habits later on!

5. Create a schedule that works well with the layout of your home. My schedule is basically broken up into the 3 levels of our house. We spend most of our time on the main floor and have a yellow lab who sheds like crazy, so that’s why I need to vacuum it everyday. On Wednesdays I clean the bedrooms and toy room which are all on the second floor. Fridays are spent in the basement cleaning the guest bedroom and living area down there because I figure if we have house guests I’d like that area to be fresh for the weekend. Do what works for you and what will set you up for success to follow through with the schedule.

If you’d like a little jump start to create your own cleaning schedule, I’d love to give you a hand! I’ve included the Word file I used to create mine so you could download it and tailor it to fit your home. I printed mine and framed it which allows me to use a dry erase marker on it. Then I hung in on my pantry door with 3M velcro stickies. Now I can have the satisfaction of checking items off the list and the accountability of seeing the tasks I need to get done each day! 

*The preview looks wacky, but when you download it the format will be as seen in the pictures.

[gview file="http://www.mommysmetime.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Weekly-Cleaning-Schedule.doc"]

IMG_8487

IMG_8493

IMG_8495

Questions for you: Do you follow a cleaning schedule? If so, what helps you to stay on top of it? 

Happy Cleaning!

Amber

 

Share Button

DIY: Pegboard Jewelry Organizer

Our little family moved into a different house about a month ago, which means we’ve been busy unpacking and finding places to keep our things. We’ve moved several times since we were married five years ago, and each time my jewelry has been neglected, ending up in a dresser drawer with no organization whatsoever.

IMG_8258

When I saw pegboards on Pinterest being used as jewelry organizers, I immediately knew I wanted some variation for my own closet. Jake and I set out for Home Depot a couple weeks ago and picked up a 2′ by 4′ white wooden pegboard, some trimboard, stain, picture hangers, and peghooks. This project came together for around $25, which is much less than buying a standard jewelry box!

After staining the piece of trimboard, my handy husband made some angled cuts so he could nail it on to create a perfectly sized frame for the border. He also added a wood frame to the back of the board so that it could sit flush against the wall and I’d be able to easily add peg hooks without having to pull it away from the wall.

IMG_8213

Jake of course had his little helper intently watching his every move. That little guy sure loves his daddy.

IMG_8218

I’m really happy with how the finished product turned out! Being able to see all my jewelry displayed as I get dressed has encouraged me to wear it more often which always makes me feel a little more put together. I’m also glad we went with a big pegboard because I can rearrange the pegs as I like and have lots of room to grow into it.

20130102-202541.jpg

If you don’t have access to the tools or manpower to cut and make your own frame, or prefer a different size, you could find a frame you like and ask the workers at the home improvement store to cut the pegboard to fit the size of your frame. Then simply frame it like a picture and hang it up!

Even though most of my jewelry is fairly inexpensive and comes from Target or Forever 21, it’s nice to know I’m taking good care of it and don’t have to worry about everything getting tangled in my dresser anymore. Check one organization project off the list!

Question for the Day:

How do you organize your jewelry? 

Have a great Thursday! Take a few minutes to organize something in your life today!

Amber

 

Share Button

Sperry Slippers Giveaway: Pinterest Entry

Thanks to those of you who entered the giveaway yesterday!

Sperry Slipper Gold

Before I share about a second way to enter today, I wanted to tell you what you can typically expect on Thursdays here at Mommy’s Me Time. Thursdays will be dedicated to something pertaining to our homes, meaning I’ll share either a DIY project, organization idea, or a fun home decor concept.

A little more about these categories…

Do It Yourself

While it’s definitely more convenient to run to the store and buy something when I need it, when possible its so much more rewarding to make it myself. With Pinterest at our fingertips, dabbling in DIY projects is totally approachable. Not to mention, I have a pretty handy husband who helps make it fun!

Organize

For me, organization means efficiency. When I’m efficient I have more time to do the things I love. When my house is clean and organized, I feel freedom to sit back and relax, because I’m not thinking about the mountains of laundry or dust bunnies I need to get rid of. This does not mean my house has to be perfect. It means I have to set realistic goals, do a little bit each day, and be content when I get most of the things on my list done.

Decorate

The atmosphere we create in our homes has the amazing ability to make our families and friends feel welcomed and loved. While mommy duties often take priority over finding new home decor, it’s fun and energizing when I get the chance to spice up the house a little.

Since we’re talking about our homes, it’s only fitting that the official way to enter the Sperry Slippers Giveaway today is by following me on Pinterest, where I get much of my inspiration for such things. Again, please enter using Rafflecopter below. Your entries are only valid when entered using Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open to USA residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make it a great day, and remember to take a few minutes for yourself!

Amber

Share Button