2015-03-04 11.47.00This picture is the end to a not-so-great morning. You know the saying that says, “There’s no use in crying over spilled milk”? Well, how about spilled milk, cereal, smeared poop, and an egg? Yes, that summed up my morning.

Everything seemed to go wrong this morning. I slept terrible, so I ended up miserably laying in my bed until I had overslept. I knew I had missed my “me” time this morning as the kids would surely be awake. I scrambled to their rooms only to find both fast asleep still. I thought, “Well, maybe this morning won’t be so bad?” I made my eggs and coffee and sat down to a nice, quiet breakfast.

Next thing I know, my oldest child (almost 3) was standing at the edge of his room with no pants on. “Where are your pants?” I yell. He answered in his foreign 2-year-old language. As I near him I smell poop radiating out of his room. I look only to find his pull-ups laying on the floor and poop smeared from floor to bed. His humidifier (he’s had an ear infection and a cold) had leaked down the side of his dresser and the floor was covered in a smattering of poop and water. I wipe him down and throw him in the tub.

My 8 month old daughter is screaming from her room. I dress my 2 year old and make a bee-line for the kitchen. I fill up a cup of cereal and hand it to him. He misses the hand off and the cereal lands in the kitchen floor. I tell him to pick it up while I fill his milk cup and make my daughter’s bottle. At this point the stress is setting in. I run to my daughter’s room and dress her.

My son comes running in screaming to wipe off his pants. No idea what the liquid is on his pants I do a quick clean up with a wipe and go to the couch to give my daughter her bottle. I look at our ottoman and see a pool of milk running from my toddler’s sippy cup. I follow the trail of milk all the way back to the kitchen. My son tips the cup up only to dump milk all over himself (ahh, the mystery of the strange liquid). I yell for him to stop drinking. He obviously knows I have an attitude as he looks at me and says, “Don’t yell mommy!” Well, that’s my first eye-opener when my almost 3 year old corrects my attitude.

I come to the kitchen to make them an egg. As I go to crack the egg, the whole thing breaks open and plops in the floor. At that moment, I almost cried, but I turned around to find both of my children staring at me with a look of “What is she going to do now.” Instead of crying, I suddenly let out an uncontrollable laugh. Both of my kids smile back and start laughing too. I could have cried, but that laugh changed the whole tone of the morning. My attitude suddenly changed and we all enjoyed the rest of what was left of the morning.

That egg may have been the end to a not-so-great morning, but it was the start of a much better attitude and better day. Instead of letting it “break” my day, I let it “break” my attitude. It really reminded me that attitude really does make such a difference no matter how horrible your day seems to be going. Hey everyone, join me in a hearty laugh this morning, it may just change the direction of your day.

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2015-02-18 10.05.05

I have two little ones, 8 months and almost 3 years old, and it is amazing to me how quickly they outgrow clothing. I hate to spend tons of money on clothes I know they will outgrow in just a couple of months, so I started looking for ways to keep my children clothed nicely while not breaking the bank. I discovered several tips that I would like to pass on to you.

 

  1. About a year or so ago, I discovered ShopYourWay points through Sears and Kmart. I started receiving surprise points for just signing up. These points are worth a certain amount of money through Sears or Kmart and many of them have no spending limit (some come attached with a spending limit). I would use the amount I received to buy my children’s clothes (or other household necessities). I have gotten to where I hardly have to spend any money to purchase my children’s clothes, and they stay nicely dressed throughout the year. If you are interested in signing up for ShopYourWay points, go here and sign up for me to be your Personal Shopper. In the near future, I plan to do a post on how to earn even more points with ShopYourWay, so be sure to follow me by email, Facebook or Twitter to learn more.
  2. I use gift cards throughout the year earned from various apps that I talk about on Thriving on Thrifty to pay for their clothes and other necessities.
  3. I shop clearance racks at the end of the season to buy for the next year. I plan to write a post in the near future on how to find clearance clothing throughout various stores.
  4.  I have never been a huge fan of consignment shops for the sheer fact that many times I felt I could save more with other methods. However, here recently online consignment shops have been offering great deals to sign up for their site. I have been able to score several “gently used” items for FREE. I have used sites such as Thredup, who is currently offering a $10 credit when you sign up here. Plus, once you sign up, you can refer people and earn $10 credits as well. Head over here for more information.
  5. Ask for clothes for their birthdays and Christmas instead of more toys.

 

If you have any other strategies for saving on kid’s clothing, comment below.

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Sorry that I was unable to update yesterday, but honestly I have not been doing so well with the challenges the past few days. I have been more busy than usual but hate to use that as an excuse. My hope is to catch up on the “extra” challenges of cleaning out the freezer and cleaning out underneath the beds and sofas this weekend. I have, however, continued to keep up with my morning routine and completed all 5 of my goals for this week. I hope you all are having success with the challenge and hope to hear from some of you in the comments below.

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If you are following along the with the 4 Weeks to A More Organized Home Challenge, then here is my update for how Day #2 went for me.

Two of the big challenges for me was getting the refrigerator cleaned out and getting rid of 7 items.

  • Getting the refrigerator cleaned out: Again, for some reason I seem to be running a day behind on these “extra” challenges so I didn’t get it done until this morning. To be honest, I thought about just skipping it and then I took a look at my refrigerator. Wow! So much stuff and it needed a good wipe down. After throwing out about a fifth of the stuff in my refrigerator and cleaning it up a bit, my refrigerator looks better than it has in a long time. While it seemed so much easier to just skip this challenge, I am so happy I pushed myself to get in there and get it done (even if it was a day late).

 

  • Get rid of 7 items: I have been loving this part of the daily challenges. It’s amazing the amount of stuff just sitting around that needs to be thrown away or given away. So far, between day 1 and day 2, I think I counted a total of 13 items. I guess I’m one item short, but I’m still excited about my success so far. I can already see my house looking straighter just with those few items gone.

 

How did Day 2 go for you? Please leave your progress in the comments section below.

 

Check out previous post in this series:

Day 1: Getting More Organized with “4 Weeks to A More Organized Home Challenge”

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I am excited to be participating with Money Saving Mom’s challenge, 4 Weeks to A More Organized Home Challenge. Money Saving Mom is offering up a free ebook for this series to help in getting your home more organized. So far, I am really enjoying this challenge and it was certainly something I was in need of. I hope you will participate as well. The challenge started yesterday, so I wanted to give an update on how I did yesterday with the Day 1 Challenge. I’ll do my best to update each day. If you decide to participate, please comment below with your progress as well.

Here lately, my home just seems to be getting out from under me. I feel like I’m working all day long to see my home look exactly the same at the end of the day. This challenge came at just the right time for me. I love the way it breaks down the steps in getting more organized by listing specific challenges each day.

 

Day 1:

Sit down and make a list of 5-10 goals for the week: I really thought hard on this and came up with things (whether big or small) that I am constantly avoiding. On the first day, I accomplished 2 of my 5 goals.

 

Clean out my purse: Honestly, I didn’t get to it, but I made sure to get it done first thing this morning. Better late than never. I have to say that I think my purse just stays disorganized. It is amazing the amount of literal trash that I found in my purse.  I think it’s the place where everyone in the family places stuff while we are out and about and then it just stays there.

Complete Your Morning Routine: I sat down and made a written list of my morning routine. I am a very scheduled person, so I already had a routine. However, I had never really written it down. Something about writing it down seems to be making me more accountable (at least so far)

Set your time for 15 minutes and clean up the main living area of your home: This is already part of my morning routine just to pick up the house, but I like that it focuses on one area each day. It has helped me to take care of the finer details in each room.

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So I was having a discussion the other day with another Stay at Home Mom who was talking about her need for adult interaction and conversation throughout the day. I was totally in agreement with her and felt relieved to know that I wasn’t alone.

While I wouldn’t trade my job for anything in the world, there are times where I long for other adult conversation.

So I got to thinking about all the little things that I do throughout the day that have almost warped my mind back to childlike behavior, thinking, and communication. So for a little comical relief this Friday morning I thought I would share them with you. I hope there are other mothers out there who can relate to me and that I’m not the only one who has these somewhat embarrassing moments.

  1. My new favorite television shows are on Disney channel. While they may not truly be my favorite, I do find myself still watching them when my son has left the room. Awkward moment!
  2. I find myself singing songs from his toddler learning toys. Definitely guilty!
  3. While out with other adults, I found myself saying my son’s toddle phrases. For example, “Was dat” instead of “What’s that.” I very quickly realized what I had done and had to laugh it off.
  4. Instead of my son imitating me, I sometimes find myself imitating him. He does a cute little dance when songs come on. I’ll find myself in there imitating him with the same dance. For some reason, I’m thinking it’s not as cute when I do it.
  5. I go into hiding when I’m eating a snack in order to avoid the temper tantrum that is sure to follow otherwise.

While there are many others, I’ll save myself the embarrassment and keep some of them to myself. I hope this helps other moms realize you’re not alone in the need for some adult interaction and communication.

I would love to hear some of your embarrassing moments where your mind has been warped back to toddler years in the comments below.

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It never fails, when the holidays come…so does stress. While I have picked up a few tips, learning to avoid this stress is a continuing issue. Therefore, this article is just as much a reminder for myself as it is for anyone else.

 

1. Avoiding the Financial Stress: I have found some ways to avoid the financial stress by budgeting, finding great deals, and buying throughout the year. I start shopping mid year to be sure I’m done in time and to find the best deals throughout the year. Not to mention, we make our Christmas budget early and stick to it. I’ve also found creative ways of saving up Christmas money by using sites like Ebates, ExpoTv, SavingStar, and more. Remember, you don’t have to go into debt to have an awesome Christmas.

 

2. Learning to Say “No”: While the holidays can be a blast with family activities, holiday parties, and so much more, these same “fun” activities can also lead to stress. Here is where my biggest struggle comes in, learning to say “NO”. I mean the holidays are supposed to be about getting together with others, right? To some degree, yes, but when you have so many activities that you have no time to enjoy being at home and making family memories, then I think over-planning has taken place. This is definitely a work in progress for me.

 

3. Take time to enjoy the season. Be sure to plan out fun activities to do with your family and kids. For example, we made a gingerbread house and had more fun during that 2 hours than we did at all the other holiday “events” combined. Family time is so important especially during this busy season.

 

Have a great, stress-free Christmas everyone!

 

What are some tips you have for avoiding the holiday chaos?

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A special thanks to Laura from The Beautiful Unknown for this great guest post on managing motherhood, home, and life in general. Check out her blog, The Beautiful Unknown, for more inspiring posts on motherhood and everything that goes with it.

 

“Mommy, you’re my hero,” my oldest son says when he is running around playing superhero and saving the world from imaginary bad guys because thank God he does not see the real ones at his age.

The first thing that comes to mind when he speaks this affectionate phrase is not a picture of me in a cape blowing in the wind, a mask hiding my identity, and me standing on top of a tall building with my chest puffed out. Instead I think about the term “Super mom” and if I was really super this house would have been cleaned two hours ago, a five course meal on the menu for dinner and me still working my full time job and going to school. We all know that term, “Super mom.” And we have all most likely cowered under the qualifications, thinking there is no way we could do it. And yet we try and we keep adding things to our list until we feel less like “Super mom” and more like “Super failure.”

But that is not the point of motherhood. It is not to deter us, to tear us down, or for us to compare. It is for us to love our children, raise them the best way we know how to make the best people they can be. We are always looking, comparing, thinking, I wish I was that mom, she has it all together.

The truth is, we don’t know what other people are going through. Most likely behind closed doors those mothers are just as exhausted and feeling just as inferior.

One of the beautiful things about motherhood is that instead of comparing and doing it alone there are so many women working together, sharing their stories and giving tips (whether solicited or not!) and just being supportive.
So I look at myself, a young mother at the age of 26 with 3 kids aged 4 and under and I think, What do I have to give to other mothers?

The beauty of motherhood is that age makes no difference, how far down the path you are doesn’t matter either, but what you can share that may help another mother out matters. My dear friend, that is my goal for this post, to share a bit of my life on this path of motherhood- what I call the beautiful unknown- and hopefully it will help someone else make a little sense of their own path and have a smoother morning or two.

Structure. I cannot say this enough. There are many people that are easy-going and laid back and that may work for them. For me, when something goes off-schedule I get stressed. I know you have heard that children need structure and that they like it too; I have found this to be incredibly true. I do not schedule every minute of every day-kids need room to be creative- but certain things are scheduled, such as nap time, snack times, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. My children also know what to expect as far as what is and is not acceptable behavior/response.

Consistency. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Be consistent. Do not give up on yourselves or your children and how you want the house to run. Just like a child that is potty training needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom so does a child require reminders of other rules, such as bedtime, cleaning their room, etc.

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When I first had my son, my house was always neat, clean, and orderly, but the older my son gets the more that is slowly becoming a fading memory. Living at home with a toddler is a full time job whether you work or are a stay at home mom. Once my son learned to walk, my house looked like it blew up. He was getting into everything. I couldn’t get one thing picked up before he was ready to pull out the next. My “free” time has dwindled more and more the older he gets. So I’m having to learn how to keep my house organized and clean without spending all of my time doing that. As I’ve mentioned, my son is only 15 months old, so I’m still learning. However, I wanted to share a few things I’m learning along the way.

 

1. Teach your kid what he/she can and cannot touch.

At first, I just taught my son what he could and could not touch based on safety concerns. I am slowly learning that he just shouldn’t get into stuff for the pure fact that he shouldn’t get into it. In order to manage my life, I have learned that he can’t have full reign over everything and I have to set limits based on the fact that my life can’t revolve around picking up his messes.

2. Set times to pick up your house.

As I said before, my life revolved around picking up after my son when he first learned to walk. I’m pretty sure I could spend 12 hours a day picking up after him if I let myself, but I would get nothing else done. Therefore, unless I have company coming, I am learning to set 2-3 times per day to pick up after him. I tried once a day and that seemed to be a bad idea because it took me too long to clean up. The 2-3 times per day seems to be the perfect amount to keep the house sane while not working myself to death.

3. Teach your kids to do age appropriate chores.

It’s amazing to me how quickly kids pick up on things. My son is only 15 months old and has already learned to put his clothes in the hamper and occasionally helps put some of his toys away. Obviously, he is still learning so I can’t expect perfection, but I don’t think it’s too early for him to pick up on some good habits. I’m having to learn to let go of the reigns sometimes and let him clean up after himself. Sometimes it just seems easier if I just do it (you know so the clean clothes don’t end up in the hamper too), but I do think it’s important for him to learn to do chores that are suitable for his age.

4. Plan out your week to allow for cleaning time.

As far as actual cleaning (i.e. dusting, vacuuming, etc.), I’ve learned that planning is the key. I usually set one morning to get all my basic cleaning done and then get my deeper cleaning done at various times throughout the month. I’ve found that if I don’t allot time for cleaning, it just doesn’t get done. I encourage you to sit down and write out a schedule for yourself so time doesn’t get away from you.

5. Don’t expect Perfection.

I am a perfectionist at heart, so this was a hard pill to swallow. I have learned that sometimes good is good enough. It doesn’t have to always be perfect.

 

I would love to hear some more tips and time savers in keeping a clean home, so please share in the comments section below or submit in the Submissions area.

 

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