Category: Home Organizing

3 Simple Christmas Traditions for Young Families

Christmas can be such a stressful time of year for most folks. But add to that sleepless nights, colds, teething, temper tantrums and just trying to keep your kid from knocking over the Christmas tree you worked so hard to put up, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a holiday that isn’t any fun.  Well, since I started reading The Whatever Mom (Roxanne is my mama spirit animal), I’ve come to the conclusion that often less is more. My main goal with motherhood is to keep my sanity and have kids who are happy and healthy.  Here are 3 things we do at our house to simplify Christmas with our 17 month old, while still making it memorable and fun for our family, and something we can look back on fondly.

Holiday Traditions

For our family, the easiest way to guarantee fun each year and make the holiday special is to start a family tradition (or two). It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.  We use a fun little Christmas plate for meals starting the day after Thanksgiving and we break out the advent calendar.  Not a lot of work to grab these two out of our attic and they’re so cute in pictures each day.  Here’s one of our banana and pancake breakfast this morning!  

lukes-breakfast

You can find similar plates just about anywhere.  I believe we got this one from the dollar section at Target, but if you shop online you can have it shipped directly to you and you don’t even have to leave your house. (See shopping links below).

We also like to use an advent calendar to count down until Christmas.  It makes for a fun little daily tradition and cute pictures too! Here’s one from Pottery Barn, which holds up great, but if that’s not in your budget this year, you can make a paper chain or coloring chart, or look for one that’s half off at the end of the season!

advent-calendar-pottery-barn-kids

No Fuss Decorations

When you have young kids, they want to touch and hold and play with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. So put away the $100 crystal ornament you inherited from your great grandmother; and the sentimental (breakable) ornaments you got the first year you were married. Instead, fill in those spaces with some fun ornaments your kids help you make.  It will give them hours (or at least several minutes) of fun and they will have keepsakes they can take with them some day.  Most craft stores have little wooden ones for a dollar or two that can be colored-in with markers.  If you’re really brave, you can even get out the paint!

wood-ornaments

Plan Ahead

Making a plan may sound like work, but it can actually give you peace and sanity this time of year.  Talk with your husband (or co-parent) and your kids (if they’re old enough) about what activities are most important to them.  Then, make a list of 3-4 activities that you know are doable, and make a plan to do just those activities.  You might be surprised what means the most to you and your family.   

Our list typically looks something like this:

  1. Set up Christmas Decoration
  2. Take Family Photos for Christmas Cards
  3. Visit the trains at the mall (They have an Amazing electric train display at our mall, that our little guy LOVE to go see).
  4. Make cookies
  5. Go look at Christmas lights

The great thing about planning ahead, is now we don’t have to think about what we want to do and no one is left feeling like they didn’t get to do what they wanted.  As an added bonus, if things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s OK!  Didn’t get a chance to make cookies? That’s OK! We’ll buy some festive ones from the store or local bakery.  Our little guy got sick last year during the week of Christmas and we opted not to take him out to look at Christmas lights, but we’re hoping to this year!

Spending time with each other is the most important thing this time of year so make sure to carve out a little time to relax, drink some cocoa, enjoy some wrestle snuggle time and watch a Christmas movie or two.  You’ll be glad you didn’t overwhelm yourself with a huge to-do list this year!

peter-and-rosieRosie Bynum is a boy mom and owner of The Dinosaur Clothing Boutique. Her son Luke and husband Peter help her run the family business. Check out all the adorable creations on her website, Facebook and Instagram.


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Friday Favorites- Kid’s Back Packs

Kid Back Packs

Last week I shared with you the mini travel activity pouches we use to keep the kids entertained while out and about. Well, I don’t carry them along in my own bag. In fact, I haven’t carried a diaper bag, or back pack, since my kids were able to walk on their own. Nope. I gave them their own little back packs to carry their own things in. 

My mom gifted my girls with adorable little fuzzy animal back packs. There wasn’t much room, just enough for 2 diapers and a travel pack of wipes and a small snack. I kept a well-stocked diaper bag in my car for back up. My kids carried their own things where ever we were going; play dates, or church, or a restaurant, they carried their own supplies. Once they outgrew the little animal packs we picked up two toddler sized back packs. 

Kids Back Packs What to Carry

Having twins makes it hard to carry a bag (any bag) and carry two kids at the same time. I used a back pack to carry everything in, in the early years but always overloaded the pack and it was such a pain to wear. My kids seemed to enjoy carrying their packs so this worked for us!

Now that we are passed the potty training stage I keep the loaded back packs in the car as back up. I keep a full outfit for each kid (including extra undies- because accidents happen), a package of travel wipes for sticky situations, and their mini activity pouch. They no longer need to carry their packs all the time, but having them close by when we need them is great! 

Kid Back Packs What to Carry

Just thought I’d share this quick tip with you! Maybe your kids are growing up quick, or maybe your tired of carrying all of the stuff. The way I see it, my kids are capable little pack mules that can take care of their own things! Mama has enough to do already! If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, or just to the grocery store giving your kids their own packs to carry helps!

What would you pack for your kids to carry?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Holiday Shopping with Groupon Coupons

This is a sponsored post. All honest opinions and experiences are 100% my own. 

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A couple of weeks ago I shared my love for saving money by shopping for Groupon Goods. I don’t shop or travel without checking with Groupon first! Now I am ready to try out Groupon Coupons to save even more!

If you are like me, maybe you just started your holiday shopping. I’ll just share my gift giving plan this year. I am planning on buying gifts from local crafty moms because I’ve got zero talent, or time. Also, I am only buying maintenance free gifts because I am tired of picking things up off the floor. How many parents can relate to that?!

I signed an oath upon entering motherhood that makes me obligated to put socks and underwear under the tree. There’s no getting around it! Every mom MUST buy these staple gifts at Christmas! So, I checked out what Groupon Coupons has to offer and of course they have some codes from Hanes! I clicked on the Black Friday deals first to find the most savings. Am I the only mom that gets excited to see mix and match sweats starting at $5.00?

Groupon Coupons

Last year we gave our kids a ridiculous amount of art supplies. We have an entire art cart that is cleaned out by yours truly. So I’m thinking a once a month subscription box from Kiwi Crate will be more manageable! All the art supplies I need for one project!? No storage needed? Easy! Plus, living in the North East we get some crazy cold weather, so having a fun indoor project on hand is a must! Otherwise I have to listen to arguing, or worse…. the theme song to Peg & Cat on continuous loop! Agh!! Thankfully there are 15 coupons for Kiwi Crate alone!

Groupon Coupons

All coupons are verified and you can use them online, or in-store where specified.

Thank you Groupon Coupons for helping me check off two easy (low maintenance) holiday gifts for my kids. You helped me save money and saved me from shopping in stores during the holiday rush! That’s what I like to call more time for wine!!

Have you used Groupon Coupons yet?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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#GrouponCoupons #Ad #Spon

 

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Friday Favorites- Kids Mini Travel Activity Pouch

kids-travel-pouch

I love sharing my favorite products that make my life easier, but with the holiday season upon us I think I’m going to throw in a few of my favorite activities too! This mini travel pouch is one of our favorite things to use to keep ourselves entertained while out to restaurants, in doctors offices, on the train, or any place where waiting is hard. It fits easily into my kids’ back packs, or in the glove box of my car. We carry it everywhere!

We try not to use video games to pass the time unless we have to (because there are times you have to). This is a supeer easy “unplugged” way to engage your kids during down time! We made these to take with us last year when we took our first train ride to NYC. I am so glad we had them for the 45 minute delay!

We fill our mini travel pouches with fun things like little action figures, mini markers and notebooks, stickers, and sometimes I even hide a little treat inside like a chocolate coin or a lollipop in a favorite flavor. Since it is a small travel pouch everything inside is perfectly kid sized.

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Simply find a pouch small enough to fit in your bag, or car glove box. Someone gifted my girls with these cute zipper pouches, but you can use a makeup pouch from the dollar store.

Fill it with things your kid likes to occupy themselves with. Coloring, stickers and creative play are our go to items. This is perfect for holiday travel. Take it with you on the plane, or pull out during a layover. Hand it out at the first rest stop on car rides, or like we did, use it on the train. Have one on hand to keep little ones occupied during Thanksgiving dinner. This is such a portable source of entertainment for kids you could plan to use it anywhere!

Include items your kid has never played with before to keep them occupied longer! I can’t tell you how much play time we had just with this mini pipsqueak wizard marker! He draws, he sings, he dances and he casts spells!! Best purchase ever!

mini-marker

What activities would you include in this little pouch?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Friday Favorites – Toy Subscription from Pley.com

This is NOT a sponsored post. I received a free trial in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own. 

Pley.com Logo

Imagine not having to find storage solutions for a mountain of toys. Imagine your kid playing with that pricey toy you couldn’t afford a week ago. Imagine your child getting to pick out a new toy every month! Pley.com brings that wild imagination of yours into reality!

Pley is like an online toy library. For $12.99 a month (shipping extra) your child can select a new toy to rent, and swap it out for a new one when they are finished playing. It’s really that easy! They even pick up the return postage so save your shipping box!

Nano V2 Helix 180

My kids were over the moon when I asked them help me review this service, “I’ve never been a toy reviewer before!” They were simply excited when the big box arrived. We selected something totally different than any toy we have at home currently, the Hexbug Nano V2 Helix 180. This was supposed to arrive with 40 pcs. but there were a few parts missing. Thankfully the instructions were included so we could see how to assemble. The set included a battery operated bug that danced and wiggled it’s way through the tubular design. My kids thought this was the most hilarious thing ever! Unfortunately, the batteries died shortly after our toy arrived and it was quickly abandoned.

This toy retails for around $35, but the monthly subscription cost is less than half that price! There’s no rush to return a toy if your kid is really loving it. Simply skip returning it for the month and you are covered under your subscription price. When you are ready to select a new toy, send it back and the next one on your list is sent out right away. Did I mention they have Lego sets? Once your child has mastered building with a set, send it back for a new one! No more sorting! No more searching for storage containers!

WHAT WE LOVED

  • All toys are sanitized before sent.
  • Return postage is prepaid. Simply apply the label and leave out for your postal carrier.
  • My kids get to play with pricier toys I normally won’t spring for.
  • The excitement of opening a new toy.
  • Access to an unlimited selection.
  • No need to find storage space.
  • All parts come in zipper mesh bags to keep all pieces together.
  • They have BABY toys! I wish I knew when my kids were babies. The outgrow toys so quickly!

WHAT WE DIDN’T LOVE

  • Because it wasn’t our own toy I couldn’t just toss it in a bin and out of sight.
  • I am in love with the concept. But managing a subscription service is an extra thing for me to keep track of.
  • The batteries in our toy died quickly. Which resulted in disappointment.

Overall, the quality of the toy was great! The kids were excited to try out a new toy and I didn’t have to step on any little pieces! I highly recommend using Pley.com to save money and space in your home! This would make a really fun holiday or birthday gift for your favorite little one!

Have you tried a toy subscription service yet?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Get Saving by Using #Groupon

This is a sponsored post. All honest opinions and experiences are 100% my own. 

Snow before Halloween?

Happy Halloween everyone!

Can you believe we have experienced our first snowfall of the season already?! Yep, four days before Halloween we had a full day of non-stop snow falling from the sky. I had to break out my snow shovel! ………….. Before Halloween!! …………. Of course where there’s snow there’s thoughts of Christmas right? My mind wandered to thoughts of Christmas SHOPPING and I realized I haven’t even started yet!

I don’t know about you, but we are very budget conscious around here. And right about this time of year I start to pinch the pennies a little harder! So we don’t buy anything, or go anywhere until I check out the deals on Groupon! I check out Groupon Goods through out the year catch their best deals for things we need like our bedding sets, new cookware, electronics and kid stuff. If I’m really ahead of the game I snag some really great deals on toys to put away for my kids birthday or Christmas gifts. For example, I scored a set of magnet tiles way cheaper than what my local retail store sells them for. My kids are going to love them!

groupon-screen-shot

My guess is if you aren’t using Groupon right now you have at least heard of it! Let me tell you how easy it is to use.

First of all, IT’S FREE to sign up! No membership fee required!

Second, I signed up to receive daily deals right to my inbox so I can maximize my savings on whatever we need! It’s like getting an early peek at what’s on sale. Then, I simply purchase my Groupon Goods and have them delivered to my door. This is a HUGE money and time saver for me!! So much easier than shopping with my kids hanging out of the cart!

Third, I can select my location to find deals NO MATTER WHERE I AM! We use the location search option before going on vacation to purchase dining deals, or activities in our vacation area. I’m serious when I say I don’t make a purchase, or a plan before I check Groupon!

I have promised to only share with you my tried and true favorite things! Groupon is truly one of my favorite ways to shop and save!

 

Have you tried saving with Groupon yet?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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How Printables Saved My Sanity – Guest Post

the-whatever-mom-2

Hi! I’m Carolina and kitchen printables have saved my sanity. I spent years believing that structure was for control freaks. Then I came to the life-altering realization that I desperately need order. Yes, after having kids. And yes, the kitchen was the place in most need of a change. That’s when printables started to appear on my fridge.

I used to believe that if I couldn’t keep my kitchen exactly the way I wanted it then it was a lost cause. It felt pointless to clean a mess only to have another one moments later. Dishes were dirty and the cupboards were cluttered. Food was going bad with no meal plan for the future. Having kids meant having even less time for chores. And let’s face it, some of us don’t adjust to motherhood in a timely fashion.

Thankfully, I found printables! Turns out there are whole Pinterest boards dedicated to organizing your life via pre-made lists, and worksheets that you can print at home.  While I wasn’t looking to go quite so crazy, I was willing to start with a simple grocery list to slap on the fridge. Guess what? It helped more than I could have imagined!

Once I got used to working with a grocery list printable I decided to expand my horizons. Before I knew it I was printing off cleaning checklists, cooking tips, weekly schedules and anything else that could up my game. Some I found more useful than others as there’s a huge selection online to choose from. The best allowed me to save time, manage my chores, and they even look pretty on display.

carolina-guest-post

Fast forward a few years and I’ve created my own set of printables to help busy moms like us. These get me through all the weekly chaos between a husband, two kids, appointments, sports, etc. The meal planner gives me a leg up on the week and basically determines my grocery list. The grocery list is divided into sections, so I can shave off a few minutes of misery not having to scan the entire list over and over while running down the aisles after a toddler.

When the holidays roll around, a self proclaimed scatterbrain such as myself needs a way to organize my thoughts amidst all the holiday madness. When I came up with my dinner party plan worksheet that’s exactly what I had in mind. How can I very simply (and on one sheet of paper) jot down the gist of what’s happening and what I need to do to prepare. With an overwhelming schedule, who can expect any parent to just “whip up” a holiday party? Now I can at least see the big picture. How many seats? Does anyone have a food allergy? Did I clean the bathroom that my 7 year old son destroyed? Never underestimate the power of a worksheet!

I’m no Martha Stewart, nor do I want to be. But I also don’t want to live life constantly at the mercy of my limitations as a parent. If I spend a few minutes per week scribbling off a few ideas on these printables it saves my sanity down the line. You know, like the grocery store line that you’ve waited in for 20 minutes only to recall a dozen items you forgot to pick up when you’re FINALLY next at the register. Ugh.

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Give yourself a boost and try out the grocery list or meal planner I’ve put together (everyone needs groceries!). See if it helps you gain a sense of empowerment in the kitchen. It sure did for me when I needed it the most. And besides, I’m always looking for help in the kitchen whether it’s an extra pair of hands or a to-do list I can print at the push of a button.

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* This season on my food & kitchen blog, A Butterful Mind, I’m connecting with busy mamas who are hosting for the holidays. Some love it, some hate it, some just need help! I’ve got a time saving solution that’ll further save you your sanity. Stay up to date with the progress of this e-book via Facebook and Instagram!

carolina-circleCarolina Weick is the creator of A Butterful Mind, a food blog with step by step recipes and kitchen tips. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two kids and is all about the local food scene in Charleston. She’s a goofball who loves Jesus and hates chocolate.

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Friday Favorites – Basic Invite

Friday Favorites Basic Invite

If you are like me you spend a lot of time designing just the right holiday card, birth announcement, or thank you card in your head only to find most sites don’t have what you are looking for. When the folks at Basic Invite offered me a select number of custom cards it was hard to choose exactly which card to design. I no longer need baby shower invites, or to send out personalized birth announcements. Those years are behind me now, but I know there are so many of you who need a great design site to find just the perfect stationary for those exact occasions. That’s why I am so excited to share this find with you!

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I thought about what I should create since I am not getting married and we aren’t having a birthday party for the girls this year. (Don’t worry we are doing something special, just not a party). I wasn’t sure what kind of stationary I really need. I thought about designing my Christmas cards, but I’m not ready to unveil those to anyone just yet. Those are top secret until they show up in mail boxes! So I designed some thank you cards to match The Whatever Mom web site. These will be great to include when shipping prizes, or thanking partners.

I have not yet found, or used, a site with so many options to personalize my design. After I select my card design I perused the gallery of over 160 different color options. I also have the option to change up the textures and patterns. For example, I start with a a polka dot background and a peacock in front. I have fun changing up the colors of the feathers, the polka dots and the background. Having the ability to change all of these essential elements makes it easy to match a party theme, baby nursery or wedding colors. Basic Invite offers truly customizable cards for every life event, from weddings to birth announcements to bah mitzvahs and graduations.

basic_invite_bannounce3

It is so hard to choose a final design because I love every thing. I love the instant preview option so I can see my changes within seconds. I am so excited that Basic Invite is one of the few companies that offers free samples of actual invite/card choices. Having a physical sample in hand before ordering hundreds of wedding invites saves so much worry! This way you can see the texture and the colors before placing your final order.

Even the envelop is customizable. You can choose from 40 different color options and include an address. The envelops come free with most orders and include a peal and seal closure. There’s no licking! This will be a huge time saver when sending out Holiday cards!

The most difficult part of the design process is selecting just one option. I narrow down my final choice from over 22 pages of card designs. I enjoy the list of recommended matching items and related items. This way I won’t forget to include special inserts and I can see what other stationary will look like with my design.

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Once I select the card I like best and change the colors from what is pictured to what I want the rest is easy. I see my design choices in the instant preview, and once I select the envelop color it is available for side by side preview.

The check out process is very simple. I was a little distracted by the fun of creating my design that I did not realize I forgot to create an account. I confess I have done this on other sites too. I typically lose my fun little design and have to start over again. This time my choices are saved and waiting for me after I create my account. It may sound like a small thing, but as a busy mom doing a few too many things at once, it is such a convenience to not have to start a project all over again.

During the check out, I agree to the final edits and that all the information is correct. I can do this for free or assign the task to the design team at Basic Invite for just $10. You probably won’t select this option on just a handful of thank you cards, or announcements. But if you are ordering over 100 wedding invites this is an important service to have available.

Basic Invite Thank You Card

Overall I am really impressed by Basic Invite’s services. The website is user friendly, the design process is easy and fun, the paper quality is excellent and the customer service post order is spectacular. I received prompt emails asking if I am satisfied with my products. I highly recommend Basic Invite to design your next round of one of a kind cards!

Financial compensation was given in exchange for honest review of Basic Invite online design service. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links are included in this post. I only review products and services that readers can truly use and feel good about using.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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Back to School Prep: Homeschool vs. Traditional School

Back To School Prep

When our oldest daughter was wrestling with some emotional struggles half way through third grade, my husband and I decided that homeschooling might be a better fit for her. We finished out the year at home and happily witnessed a jump in her self-confidence and enjoyment in learning. Yes! We knew we made the right choice for her.

But what about her little sister? Kids’ personalities and needs at different stages are so unique, and choices about their education have to be unique, too. We’ve found that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any family. As a social butterfly with a teacher she adores and a need to have some space from her overshadowing big sister, public school is where our middle kid is headed for first grade.

This untypical situation leaves us with a back-to-school prep season unlike any we’ve experienced before. Some things have stayed the same: the thrill of starting something new, an eagerness to get back to routine, wanting to pull my hair out from nonstop sibling bickering and “I’m bored” complaints. But the school year preparations – those are very different.

Where The Dough Goes

We’ve spent more money on books than clothes for our homeschooler. We’re just not as concerned about switching out her faded, well-loved summer grubs for a shiny new look. Instead, most of the back-to-school budget goes towards carefully chosen curriculum that fits our daughter’s interests, subject level and learning style. We’ll fill in the wardrobe gaps as needed with the changing seasons (and probably pay less doing it), but for now, her grass-stained knees are welcomed in class.  Our younger daughter, however, will look a little more polished come September.

Home school curriculum  sara hm school4

It should be noted that there’s a wide variety of teaching methods and philosophies when it comes to homeschooling. Many parents choose to piece together their own unit studies or lessons using mostly free resources (libraries and the internet are godsends), field trips, projects and more.  That has been my own approach in the past, but this year I’m hoping to scale back my lesson-planning time and embrace a little more structure. So while our family’s back-to-school budget needs to accommodate curriculum supplies, many homeschooling parents spend next to nothing this time of year.

Supply Checklists

Pencils and erasers can be found on both of our kids’ lists this year, but that’s about where the similarity ends.  Instead of traditional items like crayons, folders and tissues, our homeschooled fourth grader will get a re-stash of craft and science experiment supplies, along with copy paper for the printer.  No need for a new backpack and lunchbox, but a magnifying glass and some graduated cylinders? Yes, please!

Planning and Organizing

This is where the biggest difference lies. There’s not much to it with a traditional student: make sure their hair is neat, fill their backpacks and then get them to the bus stop on time (although that is admittedly a challenge in itself). But as part of the legal requirements of homeschooling, every student needs a plan of instruction for the year. That means that the bulk of my back to school prep isn’t revolved around spending, but planning. What does my kid need and want to learn this year? How will I teach each subject? Should we join local classes or meet-ups? What field trips should we plan? All of these questions and more run are on my mind while I piece together a yearly plan and a daily/weekly routine that works for everyone.

 sara hm school sara hm school1

I also look back on the past year to make note of what worked and what didn’t, and then make changes accordingly. For example, this year we’re setting up a dedicated workspace for those times when my daughter needs a retreat from her two-year-old, wanna-be-rockstar brother to give an assignment her full focus. We’re also going to try a four-day schedule, leaving a full weekday open for field trips, projects, cooking and other hands-on fun.

sarah hm school3 sara hm school2

Just like a teacher spends time setting up their classroom in the days before their students walk in, I’ll be working on getting everything organized to make the transition out of summer vacation as smooth as possible. A little effort now will make a big difference in our daily routines. As a work-at-home mom and teach-at-home mom, organization is essential.

Despite the work involved, I’m excited to get the ball rolling! Homeschooling is just one of those things in life that isn’t always a walk in the park, but ultimately worth every bit of time and effort it takes. I’m looking forward to a fun year of learning for all of my kids!

 

Sara HVM EditSarah Coppola is a wife, mom of three, Hudson Valley native and adventure-seeker. She founded Family Friendly Hudson Valley to discover and share all the great stuff for families found in our own backyard.

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Friday Favorites: FabFitFun 2016 Spring Box

Friday Favorites (3)

Fellow Mombies nod your heads if you agree with any of the following statements:

  • I wear pajamas all day and maternity clothes past their prime.
  • My meals consist of 3 times reheated coffee and leftover chicken nuggets from my children’s plates.
  • I’ve run on just a few hours’ sleep for the last five years.
  • I want to lose the weight that crept up on me but with 3 boys under 5 years old, the only thing I am losing is my sanity.
  • I am not being the best version of me!

All of these things were my life. Then something finally clicked and I wanted to start taking care of me! It’s my responsibility. I owe it to myself and my family. After this epiphany I found myself walking around Ulta Beauty for an hour trying everything on. Then I got my hair colored in a salon as opposed to my generic $6 box o’ color. And I am finding ways to budget in purchasing a couple of new outfits. Overall I am beginning to live a healthier life for me.

With the weight finally coming off I want to give myself a reward. Let me introduce my new healthy obsession: FabFitFun!

Fit Fab Fun Magazine Box

The FabFitFun box is a quarterly subscription service that sends out products each season. Each box shares full sized products from the latest in beauty, fashion, home, fitness and health. I love this subscription box! There are items in here that I would never splurge on myself with, nor would I even know about them. Each box will always contain full sized premium products with at least a $100 retail value. The Spring 2016 box is worth $282 but the subscription cost is $49.99. Read below to get $10 off of your first box, or prepay the annual subscription fee and get a $20.00 discount and pay only $179.99. Most of these products include a promo code just for FabFitFun members to use toward next purchases.

Let’s go over all my new goodies…..

Herb Garden by MakersKit –  How cute is this wooden trough? It comes complete with compost, containers, basil, mint and thyme. Instructions are also included. Perfect for Spring! ($35 value).

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

Contour Kit by Ish – I have watched contouring videos before and I’m too frightened to even try. I was happy to find that Ish makes easy to follow “HOW TO” videos that you can watch HERE. If contouring is still not your thing you can just use them as blush, eye shadow, or highlighter. ($32 value).

Bath Bomb Trinity by Jus ‘Amour – Confession: I don’t own a bathtub. Another Confession: After smelling these bath bombs and reading the essential oil blends, I’m being selfish and not giving these away as a gift!  I’ll use them at some point in my life during a dream vacation. ($28 value).

  • Love Potion (Jasmine, Rose & Sandalwood Essential Oil Blend)
  • Wake Up (Eucalyptus, Peppermint & Lime Essential Oil Blend)
  • Deep Breath (Lavender, Chamomile & Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Blend)

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

BodiPure Keratin Gloves & Socks – If you can’t go to the spa, bring the spa to you. These left my hands and feet silky soft. Make sure the kids are asleep so you can put your feet up and relax! These items are packaged separately so you do not need to use the socks at the same time as the gloves. ($10 value).

Tag Necklace by Jook & Nona  –  I typically wear silver, but I adore this 18K gold plated necklace engraved with the word “LOVE.” This is an example of something that I wouldn’t have purchased on my own because it’s gold. I’m so glad that they picked it out for me! I hear celebrities love Jook & Nona so now I feel like a VIP. ($65 value).

Jook and Nona Love in Gold

Shaving Emulation Lotion by HelloLegs – Spring means Summer is around the corner and Summer means shaving. Make this tedious task easier with this combination of body lotion and shaving cream. The website hasn’t launched yet, no full value price available.

Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh – This product left my hair feeling healthier, smoother and with a shine. However, I just want to keep smelling it. It’s amazing! You need it.

Marrithew Mat Strap Plus – My initial reaction was “I hate yoga.” I do. I know that I’m in the minority but my body and brain just can’t get on the same page when it comes to yoga. If you do enjoy yoga or Pilates – this is a pretty nifty strap. It has a 3-1 versatility so I did actually get some use out of it. Use it as a strap to hold your yoga mat, to assist you in yoga poses, or resistance exercises. Great for travel! ($15 value).

There were 2 gift cards included that did not come with any stipulations so they are as good as cash!

  1.  31Bits– I used this $25 gift card to purchase a gift for my niece. After shipping I only paid $6.00. I love what they are doing to make a difference in the world with their products.
  2. Sterling Forever  I typically don’t purchase inexpensive earrings without trying first, but I made the splurge. By splurge, I mean $10 since $30 was already covered! ($30 value + free shipping).

My favorite item in the entire box is surprisingly NOT a product. It is a little note card from I AM THAT GIRL. It’s a non-profit organization but at its core – it’s a movement! Empowering girls to love, express and be exactly who they are. I AM THAT GIRL has made a difference in thousands of girls lives from all over the world connecting them both in online and offline programs and initiatives.  If you want to raise the standard on how girls treat themselves, each other and the world then consider being a sponsor. I am hanging this card on my bathroom mirror to “remind myself that I’m not alone, that I’m beautiful, that my voice matters, and that I am enough.”

Follow FabFitFun’s Facebook page for great tips and articles!

Sign up for a subscription box here. Treat yourself, you deserve it! Use Promo Code: GLORIA for an additional $10.00 off your first box!

Thanks for reading to the end! As promised here is the Giveaway Winner for 4 Mess Fest tickets!

Congratulations Jennifer R. You will be contacted directly via email today!

Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

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