5 Easy Ways to Get Kids Cleaning

Kids-Cleaning

I’ve always looked forward to the day that I could put my kids to work. I remember my mom doing it and at times felt as if I were a slave. Laundry, dishes, bathrooms, and more. I hope I pulled my fair share of the weight in the chores department but there was always something to do!

So now that my son is nearing an age where he is more than capable of helping out I’ve started to find that making a game out of cleaning is the best way to go about getting him involved! Here’s what we’ve been doing:

1. Stuffed Animal Hoops –

This is basically a game of basketball but you use shopping carts and strollers instead of hoops. You try and throw as many toys into the shopping cart as possible and than race them down to the playroom to dump out.

2. Food Hockey –

My kids are messy eaters. Crumbs fly everywhere! And when our dog isn’t inside to clean up what’s left on the floor, my kids are expected to sweep up the rest. But we make a fun game out of it!

One kid holds the dust pan while the other sweeps the crumbs in the direction of the pan and tries to make as many crumbs go in as possible. Usually I have to start out by making a small pile

3. Messy Suds –

Bathrooms aren’t the most fun room to clean (what room is??). So we make a fun game for the kids and let them sit in the tub with some soapy water and wash everything around them with washcloths. Not only is the tub clean, the kids come out sparkly as well!

Afterwards I simply spray a bit of water/vinegar/tea tree oil solution on top of the clean walls and tub and wipe once more. But all of the heavy scrubbing is left to the kids.

4. Floor Skating –

When we mop we have fun! While I go around mopping the floor with either our steam mop or our regular mop, I have the kids behind me with towels under their feet to skate across the floor. And while we do get a bit wet and slip a LOT we have a great amount of fun while cleaning.

5. Color coordinating –

When sorting clothes to take to the washer and dryer, my kids help by picking out the colors, whites, and reds.  Sometimes when I’m feeling especially evil I will have them sort the colors even more.

Then they help out by bringing the clothes out to the garage and putting them in the correct bin to be washed. They also love transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer and my daughter gets a kick out of slamming the dryer door shut when it’s ready to be started.

What do you do to get your kids involved?

A Few of my Favorite Things

One of the best parts about running a playgroup is that the women I meet become more than just “other moms” they be come friends as well. And sometimes these friends come up with awesome ideas. Recently an idea was posted on our meetup page about having a My Favorite Things party. I wasn’t quite sold on it until I found out what it was.

Don’t know what a My Favorite Things party is? Well channel your inner Oprah and read on!

My guests’ favorite things

A My Favorite Things party is a night in (or out) where each guest shares their favorite item under a certain dollar amount with their friends. For our party we chose a dollar limit of $6 per item. Each guest brings 5 of the same item under that $6 limit to share and gift to the others at the party.

When you get to the party, write your name on 5 pieces of paper. Each guest will choose 5 different people to give their favorite thing to (make sure to do this in advance to avoid duplicates or drawing your own name). Once the names are drawn, go around the room and explain why the item is your favorite and then announce who the lucky girls are to receive your item The party can be general, like our first one was, or themed!

My favorite thing – Earth Mama Angel Baby!

We each brought one of our favorite dishes to share and our favorite bottle of wine so that before we jumped into the fun of exchanging our favorite things we were able to eat and mingle together. Since each dish was a favorite I made little signs to go along with them. The party can also be hosted at a restaurant or other location outside of the home but since we all didn’t have childcare this was the best option for us. Dads watched the kids outside while the moms enjoyed some time to chat and talk.

Once everyone had a bite to eat we got to sharing! And boy was this part fun.

When the kids heard that presents were involved they quickly came in to help pass out the favorites. Once they realized what was inside the presents, they weren’t too excited about helping. Ignore my son, spiderman… he just got home from a birthday party.

Here’s the favorites from our party:

  • My Favorite – Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash
  • Elizabeth’s Favorite – Krispy Kreme gift cards
  • Clarissa’s Favorite – Muir Glen Organic marinara sauce
  • Jen’s Favorite – Tresemme dry shampoo
  • Kari’s Favorite – Lush Bubble Bar in Dorothy
  • Sophia’s Favorite – Yellowtail wine
  • Nikki’s Favorite – Bath & Body Works CO Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint

In addition to these awesome favorites, Chobani was kind enough to send each of my guests Family 4 Pack tickets to Kidsfest AND 2 free product coupons.  Boy were these mamas excited about yogurt!

I also included my Lipton Tea & Honey Klout perk samples and some Hot Dog on a Stick temporary tattoos for the kiddos that I received in a prize package I won at the SD Mom’s Night Out Tweetup. What fun is it to keep all these fun goodies to myself, right? Gotta spread the love!

Each mama went home with five new and fun items. I was so excited to see what each person brought and was surprised to find how diverse each of our items were. We’re already planning our next My Favorite Things party and this time we’re going with a theme: Baby/Kid’s Favorite Thing!

I gave a little bonus to my guests courtesy of Earth Mama Angel Baby and shared my Baby/Kid item, Angel Baby Bottom Balm. I’ve blogged about it before and can’t say enough about how awesome it really is. And EMAB was kind enough to also send samples of their awesome Monthly Comfort and Milkmaid teas (both of which I needed!). So stay tuned for our next party and what new favorites we come up with!

Check out more photos of my party on Facebook and G+!

What would you bring to the My Favorite Things party?

Disclaimer: I was given a free product or sample. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Girl Time {The Importance of MNO}

Over the past few months I’ve come to realize the importance of girl time.Not only does it bring me out of the house and away from the kids but it also allows me to form and build on relationships with my peers. I’m able to have adult conversations without wiping a nose or chasing a kid. And I get to meet new people too!

So how do I make this happen. It’s simple!

  1. Write it in on the calendar
  2. Remind the husband the night before
  3. Run out the door

This past week I was able to attend an awesome launch party for The Pulse SD at Whiskey Girls. Not only were there delicious Pulsetinis from Smirnoff, but the entertainment from Lucient Dossier Experience was amazing to say the least.

I was able to sit back, have a glass or two of wine, and enjoy some girl time with my good friend Kari and her sister (not to mention the fabulous ladies we also hung out with). We had fun, danced, acted silly and Kari even managed to talk her way into scoring a swag bag. What that girl will do for free stuff! I kid, I kid!

And I always make time for SD Mom’s Night Out. Not only are these events fabulous, they’re always at a different venue and feature different companies as well. The most recent event at Bliss 101 had chair massages, wine from Whole Foods, Skinny Shots, swag bags, and more. Plus the famous raffle! This time if you purchased $20 worth of tickets you got double the amount!

These events are definitely networking in disguise. Not only do I get to spend time with my girlfriends but I get to branch out and network with other moms and businesses as well all in one location. Much easier than trying to talk via email or online.

Then there are fun events that I get to partake in. Recently I won tickets to the advanced screening of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. We got some pretty nifty shirts, boxes of prenatal vitamins and some hemorrhoid wipes. Never know when you’re going to need those, right?

Aside from the goodies, I got to chat with friends beforehand and enjoy a hilarious movie! Usually I go to the movies with my husband so going with girlfriends is a much different experience!

Perhaps some of the most fondest moments of getting out with the girls is gathering with friends who come to visit San Diego after moving away. Whenever any one of our book club buddies comes back we always make a point to schedule something awesome to spend at least a few hours chit chatting like they never left!

Breakfast at Snooze? Heck yes! Good friends who’ve been together for 5!! years already? Do you really have to ask?!

Do you get out for a night (or morning or afternoon) with the girls?

Gardening with Kids

Gardening With Kids

Since we started our garden in November we’ve been trying to find more and more ways to get the kids involved in tending to it.

I’ve found that by including them in the process they’re not only more willing to actually eat what we harvest, they also are less tempted to start playing in the garden with trucks, balls, dinos and airplanes.

Those get left in the sand box where they belong! Below are a few ways to get your kids involved in the yard whether it be tending to an edible garden or picking the weeds in the flower bed.

[Read more…]

Body Parts: Call It Like It Is

Along with parenting comes a lot of choices. Choices on whether to cloth diaper or use disposables, to buy an organic crib mattress or a regular one, whether to try out breastfeeding or go with formula, whether to go for a pack-n-play or a bassinet (or both!). There are MANY choices a new parent has to make. Sometimes these choices are made for us, but others are all our own.

Photo Source

When it comes to body parts, it is the parent’s choice on what to call them. Because the parent (or caretaker) is the most involved in diaper changing and potty training, whatever the parent starts to call a baby or toddler’s body parts is most likely what the baby or toddler will start using themselves. So when I started thinking about what I wanted to call my son’s (and in turn my daughter’s) private parts I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. I don’t mind if they start to call their body parts by other names later on down the road as long as they know what they’re really called that’s all that matters.

And while this may seem like no big deal to most, I’ve watched a lot of Oprah  and I know that if a child is having issues “down there” then the correct terminology will make it much easier to figure out what your child is talking about. I recently read that while 95 percent of three year old boys know the word penis, only 52% of girls the same age have been given a specific name for their own genitals. And now that I have one of each I am so happy that I decided early on to call my children’s body parts by their real name. I might not be saying the same thing when my 2.5 year old asks again (in a very loud voice while we’re in a public restroom) if I have a penis or vagina (because he forgets) but that’s a whole other post.

Here are 3 great reasons why a child should know the correct terminology for their body parts: 

1. Reduces Cases of Molestation
Teaching children the proper names to body parts can greatly reduce cases of molestation. Often times predators use cutesy names to gain access to personal and private space, however children who have been taught to name their private parts are less likely to be led astray.

2. Helps Locate a Problem /Hurt Body Part
It also allows children to own their bodies because they can name when and where something hurts or has been hurt. This helps parents and doctors to locate exactly where their child might be hurting in order to come up with a treatment/solution. My son recently came to me complaining that his penis was hurting. Turns out he had a UTI. I’m so glad he came to me right away so we could get it treated ASAP.

3. Teaches Confidence and Respect
Teaching them the proper name also teaches them to not be ashamed so that they can be open with their parents about uncomfortable issues. Hopefully by starting young we can build up that comfort with our kids so that when they have questions later on they come to us first instead of their peers.

Do you have more reasons to share? Or do you disagree with this post? I’d love to hear your feedback!

It Aint Always Rosy {Naptime}

Just about every mommy or parenting book out there says basically the same thing about naps. They’re important. And routine/nap schedules are key to a happy child. So if your child takes two naps a day you should make sure that they take those naps in the same place (or similar) at the same time daily. No alterations should be made so that they have the optimum environment for peaceful sleeping. And NO letting them sleep where distractions are bound to wake them up.

Try abiding by these rules when you have an infant who takes two (and sometimes three) naps and a toddler who takes one nap usually at alternating times. You’d get one grumpy toddler who’s cooped up at home because their sibling is sleeping during playtime. Enter our routine. In order to make everyone happy I’ve tried my best to work around this situation. And I think it works… for us.

We only do playdates in the mornings. That way M gets a cat nap before we leave (or while we’re out) and can take a longer nap when we come home and her brother naps. Staying home in the afternoons is no big deal since it’s getting hotter and hotter at that time. Now I’m trying to get E to nap later in the day so we can align the two naptimes together and Mommy can get some solid alone time to get work done.  You know… the cleaning, dinner prep, internet surfing, and work. Oh, did I let that third one slip? Mama needs some mindless entertainment too!

When M was taking multiple naps a day (read: more than two) I wouldn’t just stay home and let her sleep. She’d get her sleep in the car, in the ergo or in the stroller so her brother could go to playdates with his friends. I figured as long as she was getting at least some sleep she’d be good, right? Our plan seemed to be working.

Well now that she’s on two naps a day I am constantly resisting the urge to just stay home all day and let her sleep. Some days she gets only one good nap a day and others she gets woken up way before she can get a decent amount of sleep. It gets me wondering what really is best. A toddler who is happy and well socialized or an infant who has her solid, peaceful rest.

And then I have to also mention the fact that M still naps in her swing when we’re home. Or on me. We still haven’t attempted another go at getting her to sleep in the crib and I have been putting off letting her sleep in our bed like E did at this age because I don’t want her to get used to it. So I think I’m kind of setting myself up for failure. I need to just bite the bullet and start working on a naptime routine where both kids are sleeping in their rooms (don’t worry, E has that one down after 2+ years).

It Aint Always Rosy {Being a Mom}

A friend of mine and I got to talking one day. About life. And kids. And how jealous we get of each other. Not necessarily jealous, no, that’s no the right word, but how inadequate we felt about ourselves as moms when we started to compare how we mother, how we live and how quickly (or slowly) our children accomplished milestones to how others are doing it. It got me thinking how many other friends feel this way. How many other girlfriends who don’t really see the “real” me.

You see… I’m far from a perfect mom (big surprise there). I do think that some of this mothering thing really did come naturally. I truly feel that some part of our ability to be a mom is innate. So I may make certain things look natural but what you don’t know is that I am really good at keeping things in. And failing to mention other things.

I get angry with my son. And sometimes even with my infant daughter who can’t even speak yet. I raise my voice. I tap little hands when they pinch or hit. And sometimes I yell and get mad when he sits in front of me and pees his pants on purpose even though every book I’ve read tells me it’s not the right thing to do. My son eats french fries when we go out for lunch or dinner. Sometimes he doesn’t get one vegetable in him. And sometimes I forget to give him breakfast (bad mom right there!).

My parenting style is not reflective of one book or one belief. It’s an accumulation of many different influences and what feels right. Sometimes it’s just what feels right at that moment. And sometimes what “feels right” is choosing the easiest choice for that time. Following the path of least resistance.

What’s funny is that all of mine and my husband’s major choices in parenting seem to make us (me) look pretty crunchy. I breastfeed, We co-sleep, I baby-wear, I make our children’s food (for the most part), I didn’t sleep train (might consider it with the second) and try not to let my child cry for long. But what these choices in parenting don’t show is why I do all of these things. And to tell you the truth the answer is that I do most of these things out of convenience.

So I’m going to break down the different aspects of my “parenting style” for you this week. Give you a little inside look to my choices and decisions as a parent. Feel free to ask questions, point out my flaws, share your parenting style and over all feel better about how you parent (or how you’re going to do everything better when you do parent) because you shouldn’t feel bad about how you’re doing it.

As long as your kids are happy, healthy and fed I’m sure you’re doing a great job!



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