15 Guaranteed Ways to Make This School Year Successful and Memorable

Photo by Julia M

This school year, no matter where the learning takes place, will look very different. Whether it is in person with masks, online, at home, or a combination, learning has taken a drastic new look.

The start of a new school year causes anxiety for some children with all the unknowns, but this year, apprehension is at an all time high for students, teachers, and parents.

Which ever way you chose to have your children learn, there are was to make sure this year is a success and a fun one at that.

Most of the following ideas are geared towards learning from a home setting, but can be adapted to all forms of schooling.

1. Back to School Shopping

Whether you go to the store to shop for supplies and/or new clothes or shop online, have the kids be involved. Let them help pick out colors of folders or a design. Maybe you will not need a backpack, which might give you the funds to splurge on a fancy unique pencil box to keep the mood positive and light. If shopping online, make a big deal about waiting for the package to be delivered. It gives them something to look forward to and the joy of opening the package.

2. Let the countdown begin! We have one more week in our house until school starts. You can make a Post-it note countdown, or a chain countdown, or even a chalkboard or whiteboard countdown. It can be simple or fancy, but a way for the child to rationalize when the first day of school will start. On the flipside, a countdown can be used to look forward to things like winter break, holidays, birthdays, and the ever anticipated last day of school.

3. Give them a dedicated work space. Again, this can be as simple as a cleared off spot on the kitchen table or a room revamped to imitate a schoolroom setting. The goal is so the student knows where to go and have consistency throughout the year.

4. Students need supplies for various projects all year long. Again, whether it be a simple caddy system, shelf, or room, having all the supplies in one location will help the task/day/year go more smoothly.

5. First day pictures. Typically we celebrate life’s milestones by taking pictures to remember them. Well, this is no different. Treat the first day of school like they would be going any other year. Maybe, they even have a nice outfit picked to make them feel special.

6. Participate in school themed days. Keep an eye on the school calendar and website and stay on top of what is going on in the school building. If they have a “theme” week to show school spirit, you can participate at home. Especially if you have live virtual classes over the computer, the class will be able to see your participation.

7. School Picture Day, similar to a theme day mentioned, take a special photo. Have them pick out a memorable outfit and pay attention to their hair. You could go outside for a seasonal back drop. A special picture to commemorate this unique year of learning.

8. Ordinarily, older students receive daily planners and are required to write down their assignments. If one will not be provided for them, a planner can be purchased (as cheap as a dollar. My goal with this one is to keep that act of responsibility. Keep the student in the habit of writing things down for themselves. This will maintain the expectancy in future years.

9. Dress for the day. As much as I love working in my pajamas, all nice and cozy, my workload can take a hit. It’s like making the bed. After you do that first thing in the day, you feel successful and ready to start the day. It also keeps the students in the right frame of mind. It maintains the routine and structure that students typically need.

10. You can still support your school and/or district by participating in various activities. Schools have been switching over to higher technology by scanning Box Tops instead of cutting them out and physically handing them in to the school’s PTO. You can scan your receipt and make sure your donations and rewards go directly to your home school building. Some schools have a Scripts gift card system where a portion of the proceeds go back to the school. Depending on where you live and what is available, there are still ways to assist your school.

11. Use seasonal items to keep things fresh. After getting into the wing of things, we all sometimes get antsy and bored. Switching things around seasonally gives new life and rejuvenation to the work/area. This can be done by using seasonal pencils found usually inexpensively at local stores. Adding some additional decorations for Fall or the holidays can boost the spirits.

12. Who knows what the holidays will look like this year. Traditions will be challenging to continue exactly as remembered. However, these are the things that we need to do for the children to reassure them that we will get through this rough patch in history.

(I will have a future article on ways to help get through the holidays in these times.)

13. Treat and approach the year, like any other year. You have to have a separate workspace, not to be confused with their toys and fun areas. Act as if you were in school. Discipline as if your were in school. They need to know what to expect and act appropriately. If maintained with the same attitude, it will be easier to carry on throughout the school year.

14. Prepare for next year’s success. My main goal for this year is to do what I can to prepare them for next year to help bridge the gap between home and school.

For example, I bought my son who is starting fifth grade, a planner from the Dollar Tree. He was writing down his homework daily last year and will be required to do so next year in middle school.  My goal is to keep him in that routine and get him to do it without me reminding him to do so and giving him that responsibility.

My other son will be starting kindergarten. I bought him a dinosaur covered folder. He is excited to use it since he loves dinosaurs. Students in the younger grades need time to master life skills like placing papers neatly into folders and how to maintain a neat work space. We will be working on this all year long, with the intention of making it easier when he returns to school in person.

15. The final and in my opinion, the most important piece of advice would be, to encourage them and yourselves. Children look to adults on how to handle situations. You set the tone. If you enter this year on a positive note and keep your positivity, the kids will replicate your feelings for the year. You will have to allow yourself grace since we are all doing our best. We cannot expect to be perfect from Day 1 and will have a learning curve to get into the swing of things.

My goal through these examples is hopefully ease anxiety, have a successful year, get ready for next year, and to feel apart of the community and not so isolated.

Please share this article with other parents who may be going through some of the same things. Let me know if any of these ideas have helped you. Is there anything that your are doing or plan on doing throughout the school year, I would love to hear more suggestions.

How to decide? What should we do about schooling this year?

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As we navigate these unprecedented times, we have to make the best decisions we can to protect our families. Parents all around the world are determining how they want to proceed with the new school year.
There is no right answer. I will not list the pros and cons for the various forms of education out there available.  You will have to do research online, talk with neighbors, seek chat rooms on social media, and ask opinions.

I will not try to persuade you one way or the other. As, I too, am struggling with this decision in my own household.  What, I will tell you, is to ask yourself this one question:

Can I dedicate my family to this decision?

Whatever you choose, public school, private school, cyber school, homeschooling, or virtual you have to be fully committed to that choice. Notice I said “family“. The decision affects all in the household. Whether it is possible exposure in an in-person setting or being available to assist a student working from home if needed.

Once you make the decision, you should dedicate as much energy to that decision as possible to ensure that the student or students school year is a success.

 I will be following up this article with another blog that will share my tips on how to make this unusual school year a success. Stay tuned for that!!!!!

Does what I’m saying mean that you cannot not change your mind for the whole school year? Am I stuck for the whole year? I was told a student starting out with cyber school can move back to the in-person school setting?

One word: NO!!!!

You certainly have the opportunity to change your mind. IF you feel your decision is not working for your child or the family and need to make alternative arrangements, you certainly may. What my message is here today, is that the decision should be given the same respect and determination as any other school year.

For example, just to show the multi-faceted situations out there could look like, let’s take a single father who has a daughter starting second grade and a newborn. He is currently working from home. He decides to homeschool his child. He will have to determine if he can juggle lesson planning, instruction time, and working from home while up in the middle of the night tending to the baby’s needs. He very well may. I’m not saying it is impossible, but he has to think about the level of dedication it will take. Will that second grader get the support she needs? Will the baby get all the attention he deserves as well?

Think as a whole family unit. Are grandparents (age of at risk) involved with the children? And so on, and so forth. When you have made up your mind together, as the parent you need to set the tone. You have to put on the brave face needed to enter this school year. Lean on one another, seek help from friends or faculty. We all want our students to succeed. It starts from home with a positive outlook.

Please give this a like if you agree. Please follow me to make sure you know when my new article comes out sharing my tips and tricks for this school year. Sign up your email address and share with all your friends. Leave me a comment on how your kids handled the decision.

5 Things You Should Be Doing While Quarantined

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* This post contains links, from which, I may receive a commission from items purchased through this article.

While doing our part to slow the spread of the Coronvirus, we are spending more time at home. This can be easy for some and hard for others. Depending on your situation, if you are single or a family big or small, these are ideas of things that can be done with the extra time you have on your hands. Maybe you are juggling work at home and homeschooling and do not have extra time, these are suggestions that should still be taken into account now that everyone spends so much time at home.

1. Detectors

For the safety of everyone in the house, ask yourself, if your detectors are up to date? I am not just talking about batteries.  I mean the whole unit. Did you know that detectors have a expiration date? We are talking smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

I learned the hard way. Standing outside in the yard with my four children watching as the fire department came, luckily, as a false alarm due to the fact that my carbon monoxide detector was going off as a warning that it was expired. We had a plug in detector with a back up battery. We thought we had all the bases covered. But life snuck up on us and the whole unit was too old and needed replaced.

Similarly, newer thermostats need batteries. Replacing these often will provide and maintain the working function of your furnace and air conditioning units.

If you do not have a fire extinguisher, that is a possible investment that is good to have on hand. Those too, have a shelf life. If you have one, check the unit itself to see the date and whether it needs replaced.

2. Dryer lint

 A serious threat to house fires is collected dryer lint. Given our busy lifestyles these days, it is easy to overlook a small detail like dryer lint. Not just the lint that catches in the filter, but the lint that forms and accumulates in the pipes leading the exhaust to the outside.

3. Back up

With cell phones at the tip of our fingers that act as our computers, cameras, and video cameras all in one, are you sure your files are safe?

What about your home computer? Do you have documents or family pictures that need to be protected and saved somewhere safe?

Whether it is using a reputable site, the cloud, or external hard drive, do it now before it is too late!

4. Dangers

This encompasses a lot of things. Are there any dangers in or around your home that need addressed? Broken locks or weak entry points? I recently added chain locks to my doors. Could you benefit from improving anything to eliminate dangers or threats to your family?

How about baby proofing items? Are your bookshelves and heavy furniture properly mounted to the wall? Maybe its about time to mount that television?

With families finding schools and daycares closed and children being home all day, is your home as safe as it can be? If boredom should strike or tempers flare, do your kids know what is off limits? If they wander off do they know what poisons are and not to take medication that looks like candy?

You can (and I did) sit your kids down and discuss the dangers inside a home. Afterwards go on a scavenger hunt and point out all the relatively dangerous items that are off limits. Place Mr. Yuk stickers on poisonous or hazardous materials. (Making them aware and accountable does not negate proper supervision.)

Mr. Yuk sticker can be found: 1-800-222-1222 will direct your call to the nearest regional poison center. You will be asked to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the nearest location to be given a free sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers.

5. Are you prepared?

Ask yourself if you and/or family is prepared for an emergency? Depending on where you live and your living situation, are you ready? From power outages, natural disasters, to medical emergencies, are you covered?

This can be a family project as well. Get the kids involved. Let them help pack the supplies, so that all, know where these rations are at all times. It can be fun when you add some entertainment for long periods of waiting times.

Do you have flashlights for all member of the house? Do you have enough batteries to work the flashlights? Do you need candles and/or matches? Food supply enough for everyone? Enough water?

Complete lists can be found on the internet that you can tailor to your needs. Given the short demand of items right now, you can at least make an inventory list of what you do have and make another list of things you do need and can accumulate them over time.

Do you have a survival kit already made? When was the last time you replaced anything? Have you checked expiration dates on these items?

Do your children know what to do in an emergency? Keeping it age appropriate, you can have discussions about who and what numbers to call if an emergency should arise. Are the phone numbers in a visible and easy place for them to access? Fire drills can be practiced, just like they did in school!

Well, I hope I have given you enough to think about and good advice. If there is anything this pandemic has taught us, is that we can not take anything for granted.

Stay strong and stay safe.

Is there anything that you would add to my list. Leave it down below in the comments. I would love to hear your suggestions too. Sharing is caring!

It’s the Little Things

My baby is growing up!!!!!!!! Why? Why can’t they stay small forever?

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Every say this? I am guilty too. I was given the same piece of advice over and over again while I was pregnant with my first child. “Enjoy it while you can, it goes by so fast.” No truer words have ever been spoken.

After experiencing this first hand, I made a promise to myself, that I will never let the little things go by. I will not take each and every day for granted.

There are of course challenges, rough times, and bad days. But, it is a day that I get to spend with my four miracles.

When I feel down or struggling, I have to stop and focus on the little things. These small details get me to refocus my energy on the important things in life and the abundance of blessings I have been given.

You may never have this day with your children again. Today is a gift. Breathe an notice. Study their little faces and feet. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today mama, it will be gone before you know it.”

Jan Hatmaker

This quote doesn’t just speak to me, it screams in my ear!

So here are some of the little things that I have noticed about my children:

My oldest is a chip off the old (not that old) block. He is a natural. My occupation by day is a teacher. My son has seen and heard me enough, that he might one day take my job. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy this so much.

My second son, when we go for family walks, he holds my hand. His hand is just the right size. Like Goldilocks said, it’s not too big, it’s not too small, it’s just right. I will take the hand holding as long as I can get it.

The youngest son cracks my husband and I up. Since he was able to sit up straight when being carried, he has imitated my husband and pats him on the back. Never fails, every single time. It became like reassurance for us after while.

Now my daughter, the baby, the princess. She gives the best hugs. She doesn’t let me do all the hugging. She wraps her arms around my neck and squeezes. I will not be the first to let go.

“As a mother there will be many times in your life that you hug your child, knowing that you needed that hug more than they did.” -Unknown

I have enjoyed watching my first get older and hit all the big milestones and firsts. As those are his firsts, they will always be our firsts as parents. He is growing up and there are advantages to him getting older. Him and I bond over the latest things trending fads. We love to watch YouTube videos sometimes at night while the younger ones are sleeping. He gets to stay up later. He can tell me about what is on his mind. Just real heart to heart conversations.

During the school year, my second son, really misses his older brother. When we go pick him up from the bus stop, they run to each other on the sidewalk and hug. My oldest carries him back and greets his other brother and sister. I hope they always get along like that and will be there for each other.

I could watch my youngest son’s face all day. I’m fairly certain he has not made the same face twice. He is so animated and full of life that he puts a smile on my face from ear to ear just by looking at him.

I can also smile while I see my daughter run. For seven years I only watched boys run as fast as they can. But my daughter has a different run. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but it has a mixture of a run and skip combination. She runs on her toes. But don’t let that fool you, she can keep up with her brothers and hold her own.

It’s the little things!

During these busy times we live in with all of the distractions, it is important to stop and actually notice these things. Make note of them so you don’t forget. I am taking daily pictures of these things to remember and cherish.

Take Time

“Take time to tickle, to kiss and to hug; take time to giggle, to talk and to love. Perhaps there’s a lot that needs done today, but take just a minute to stop and play. They need you right now, and soon they’ll be grown. Soak up the memories while they’re still at home. Take time to show them they’re worth the time spent. The amount of time shared should never be a regret.”

-Jenn Gigowski

Please leave me a comment down below what “little things” you love about your children.

Remember, sharing is caring. Please follow me on Instagram @trucksandbows1 and on Facebook.

10 Guaranteed Ways to Make Your Kids Feel Special

At some point or another, we all ask ourselves, “am I doing enough for my kids”? We worry about their academics, social life, eating habits, health, and the list goes on and on. Chances are, if you are even asking that  question, you are doing great. With the hustle of today’s society, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important. Money, material objects, numerous activities, the latest fashion, and newest gadgets are not the only things needed to be provided. They need love, guidance, reassurance, and made to feel special. I hope to provide some ways that are easy and free to guarantee kids that they mean the world to you.

Lunch Notes

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A lunch note is a quick and easy way to show your kid that your are thinking about them throughout the day. It can be a joke, reminder, picture, or a short message. It can be done on a napkin, card, or Post-it. I have even seen messages written on a banana itself! Whether it is written the night before or jotted down while eating your breakfast, it will still send the message to your child that you are thinking about them.

Secret Letter

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I had a pretty piece of stationary paper for Valentine’s Day. I wrote a secret letter to my son the night before and put it in his folder in his backpack. He got to read it when he was unpacking at school. Since the theme was love, I listed many of the things I love about him. When he came home, he placed it in his binder where we keep all his certificates and memorable items. He loved it, because I showed him how much I love and cherish him. It only took a few minutes the night before.

Cooking Buddy

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Dinner time can be chaotic! With school pickup, after school activities, homework, not to mention hunger meltdowns, I have made it a goal to start choosing one child to come out with me to the kitchen and help me cook. I have started a rotation system, while the other ones are with my husband doing homework and other things. Cooking together has so many benefits, teachable moments, and learning opportunities. But the focus on them at that time, makes them so HAP-PEA!

Voice Text

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In this day and age of technology, it is easy to keep in contact. One way, would be sending a voice text to your kids. The message could be played and not only would they know that you are thinking of them, you can reassure them with the sound of your own voice.

Wake Up or Stay Up

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There have been times when one child has gotten up earlier than the others. Use that time together. Snuggle, talk about the day, read together. Anything in those special moments together will start them off on the right foot for the day.

I have also been known to let my oldest stay up a little longer. Sometimes we watch TV shows, YouTube clips, talk about the day, or he shows me his latest Lego creation. He goes to sleep comforted.

Heirloom

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An “on occasion” way to build a bond with your child, is by passing down an heirloom to him or her. Depending on the object and the child’s age, an heirloom is a physical reminder of the love you have between each other.

THE BOSS

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Give your children an opportunity to pick something out or choose something. They can pick what to have for breakfast or dinner. Pick what movie to watch or go see. They can pick the outing for the family. You will be surprised how much time and thought goes into these decisions. What seem like small trivial details we make all day long, are what the child will remember and build memories from for a lifetime.

Holiday Lunch

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Another example of how to show your kid they are exceptional, is by having a special lunch. Holidays are an easy way to spruce up everyday lunches. The internet and Pinterest have numerous ideas of how to convert the everyday items into holiday themed items. It just makes the lunch festive and your child knows that your are thinking about them while they are eating it. Even if creating these elaborate lunches seems daunting, you can throw a holiday napkin in the lunchbox. Stores sell a lot of snacks with seasonal packaging that appeals to the younger children. Because it is out of the ordinary, makes it more unique.

Goodnight Confidence Booster

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 A good established bedtime routine has been documented to show success. Well in that routine, I try and make sure that while I am saying good night to my kiddos, I leave them with one last thought before tucking them in for the night. It could be a compliment, something they did well that day, praise, or just simply a reminder of how they are a miracle. They will go to sleep with confidence in themselves that they can do anything.

Home Videos/Photographs

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Kids love to see pictures and videos of themselves. Whether they remember the event or not, they enjoy seeing themselves grow up and cherish those memories. This is a great opportunity to spend one on one time with a child and review more specific occasions. First birthdays, Baptisms, graduations, and first sporting events are all good places to start. Spending time together and sharing stories, will strengthen those memories so they never forget. Locations and names maybe hard to recall, but the feeling you get deep inside when you see these happy times will always be remembered.

I hope there were some ideas you can take and use with your little ones. If not the examples, the idea that making your child feel special is important.

“There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.” Dave Willis

Please leave me a comment! Follow me. Let’s start a discussion, what ideas do you have to make your little ones feel special?

Insanely Easy and Clever Ways to Plan for Christmas.

I have been told, many many times, that I am a “planner”. 

I need my planning skills to keep me sane during the holiday season.  My husband and I have four young children. I consider myself the CEO of the household details. There are times when I need to focus on and plan for 5 or 6 people. Here are some of my tips and tricks I use during the holidays.

MASTER LISTS

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I have a designated spiral notebook that is strictly for master lists. I have made over the years, lists for several occasions. They include favorite family dinner options, vacation packing, birthday party plans, and holidays. I did an absolute “brain dump” on these topics and wrote these lists down. When the time comes, I can refer to these lists and not have to start from scratch.  I add things when I learn something new. My kids are still growing and our needs change. I may not need everything on the list at that exact moment, but I am confident in knowing that I won’t forget anything I definitely need.

For the holidays I have a master list of typical Christmas activities we would like to do and attend. This way, I make sure my calendar is up to date. I have a list of typical ingredients I buy every year from cookies, meals, and kid snacks. I have these notes as reference for myself. I usually jot down some items and keep a list in my purse to buy them as I go, and refer to them while shopping so I don’t forget  anything. They are simply reminders and I would be lost without them.

WRITE CHRISTMAS CARDS

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We still send old fashioned Christmas cards made out by me in the snail mail. This is a major job, since we are blessed, and our list of people we would like to send to gets longer and longer every year. I write a message and sign all family members name by hand. I am unable to fill out all the cards in one sitting. So, I break up this task into smaller chunks. I usually do a couple a night after the kids have gone to bed. I can get more done if I sit and watch a Christmas movie all cozy under a blanket!!!!!

LUNCH NOTES

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Along the same lines of the Christmas cards, I try and make out some lunch notes for my son (only one in school full day) ahead of time. When more children are in school, this will benefit me even more. I use the quiet time at night to jot a quick note to him and have it at the ready when I am packing his lunch the night before. When I am making his lunch, it is too chaotic for me to think and take time to write a note. These notes may be as simple as telling him how much he is loved, a joke, or even a teachable moment.

KID TREAT BAGS/TEACHER GIFTS

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If there is one thing that I pick to do early, it is treat bags and gifts. After I accumulate the items needed for the presents, I have the kids help me put them together and set them aside. If it is not perishable, they can sit and wait till they are needed. These are not “time-sensitive” items that can be crossed off the list.

FREEZE BAKED GOODS

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Starting around Thanksgiving, I start my baking. As previously mentioned, I make certain favorite recipes every year. I refer to my list, and see which ones can be done early and frozen. This helps me spread out the baking in between my busy daily schedule. I’m not stressed at the end of the month because I started early. Some days are better than others. If my schedule does not allow for extra baking, it is ok because I have been spreading it out for over a month. It is a nice cushion for time.

WRAP AS YOU GO

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This may or may not be everyone’s “cup of tea”. I know a lot of people who want to do all their wrapping in one sitting. You have to drag all your supplies and gifts out only once instead of multiple times. However, as I said before, my children are still at a young age and need me. I rarely get projects done from start to finish. This is the only way I can get the wrapping done.  You would be surprised how many gifts you can wrap in a short amount of time.

IRON HOLIDAY OUTFITS

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Another easy task you can cross off the list is ironing.  I go through their holiday hand me downs and new purchases.  We have school events, concerts, functions, family photos, church services, and family parties.  That’s a lot to organize for 5 people!!!! I usually iron while watching television at night. They get hung up and are ready to go when needed.

PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED

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I have learned over the years to have extra things packed. I typically take a complete change of clothes for each kid and leave it in the car if we need it. Anything can happen from spills, illness, car sickness, overeating, falls, and much more. Believe me, it happens, and then I am grateful that I am a “planner”. It’s even possible that you might be able to help out a cousin or friend!

I do like throwing in the diaper bag, a seasonal sleeper. This is so easy, it is a whole outfit in one piece. This can be used for accidents or even if the party lasts longer than anticipated. Your little one can be changed into their pajamas for the ride home.

STOCK UP ON ITEMS

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I think this one is genius! Keep track of everyday items you have in the house. For example, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, feminine products, diapers, wipes, etc. While shopping, you might want to purchase a back up of these items. The last thing you want to do is face the last minute shoppers for some diapers!

If you made it to the end, thank you! The last one is my favorite tip of all.

DIVIDED GIFT BAGS

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While shopping, throughout the year, if I see a good sale, reduced item, or a real gem, I buy it. I tend to bargain hunt. I have gifts bought early for all the holidays and birthdays. When it comes to Christmas, I have stuff piled away. Four kids presents and stocking stuffers can get confusing. I came up with a solution that works for me. I buy from the Dollar Tree (reuse if they are useable) their giant gift bags. I buy one for each kid. That way, I can divide up my purchases early in the season and see who has what and who I need to focus on. Plus, this provides organization during the shopping season. After I purchase an item, it goes straight in their bag. Then when I use the above mentioned tip of wrapping as I go, I can grab one bag at a time. 

I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful. Is there any that I missed? Please leave me a comment below. I hope you and your family have a truly Merry Christmas season and a Happy New Year!

My Top 10 Favorite Movies

Let me first start out by saying this is hard!!!!!! I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the sky. I love movies. Give me a good movie any night. I do fit into the cliché category of romantic comedies, however, I do like all sorts of movies. These picks were extremely hard to make. They have changed over the years and may change again.  These movies are definitely ones that I can watch my whole life.

Speed

Do not judge! There is something about this movie, I don’t know what it is, but I love it.  Oh, wait, I know, it’s KEANU REEVES. Enough said.

The Wedding Planner

This holds a special place in my heart. It was part of the first date I would have with my husband. Every time I watch this movie, it just takes me back.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

I know, I know, another Matthew McConaughey movie? What can I say? That southern accent and the charm.

Miss Congeniality

Another repeat actor, Sandra Bullock. I thought she was hilarious imitating pageant contestants. The ugly duckling turned swan gave this glasses and pony tail wearing girl some hope.

27 Dresses

I was able to relate to the main character in this movie. She did everything for everybody. Was reliable to the point of being taken advantaged of. She was overlooked, until one day, somebody truly saw her for who she was and appreciated her.

Pearl Harbor

It is among one of my favorites, however, I have only seen it a couple of times. I save it, as if I can refrain from ruining it. I still cry when I see it. I still get chills. I hope I never lose those reactions to this film. I love the soundtrack to this movie too.

The Cutting Edge

Talk about chills!!! The end of this movie never fails to give me chills. I have huge goose bumps. The push and pull between these two to finally come together at the climax of the film is magical.

Princess Bride

AS YOU WISH. My brothers and I can recite this movie word for word. Can’t explain it better than, this is my childhood.

Spaceballs

Interesting choice, eh? Another movie that I could quote almost all the lines of dialogue. There is so much going on in this movie, from the costumes, backgrounds, and extras, I notice something new every time I watch it.

Newsies

A musical? That’s right. I could belt these songs out like I was on Broadway. (At least, I think so.) I knew Christian Bale before he was a huge mega movie star!

Did you agree with my picks? Anything I left out? Please comment down below some of your favorite movies. I am always looking for recommendations.

Things NOT said in my house.

There are certain words or phrases that are not acceptable in my house. I refrain from using them and my children are not allowed to say them either.

Disclaimer: These words/phrases are in no way shape or form being advertised. When a guest comes into my home, I do not censor their speech.  These are what I have chosen and feel it is best for my family at this time. Their ages and experiences will change. The older they get, the more they will understand things. This list may change or more will be added.

These phrases might be used by them, in the future, but I hope I am raising caring individuals who will use them wisely and know the consequences if used incorrectly.

Swearing

Swearing of any kind, is not permitted. Having 4 children who will repeat everything you say, you have to make an effort not to swear.

Although, I am human, and there have been times where a Lego or two have been involved and a curse word may have slipped!

Oh, my God!

Alternative acceptable phrases are:

“Oh, my goodness”, “Oh, my gosh”, “Oh, my word”.

We are religious, and teaching such deep topics to little children can be difficult, this is another way of teaching respect.

Although, last month, I did hear my four year (at the time) say out loud “OMG!”

Stupid/dumb

These words can be hurtful. Once you put them out in the world, you cannot take them back. By trying to keep them from saying these words on a regular basis, the chances of them using them so loosely in a situation where you can not take them back is reduced.

I don’t like.

Alternative acceptable phrases:

“Not a fan of”, “Not fond of”

I do not need FOUR children telling me they don’t like what I cooked for dinner!

Saying “I don’t like you” is hurtful. I hope my kids don’t hear this said to them and I hope they don’t cause other kids harm by saying it to them.

HATE

I really do have an issue with this word. I believe that it is used so often for such a powerful word. Hate has done horrible things as evident by history. Saying “I hate these jeans”, or “I hate pumpkin spice” is so trivial to be using such a powerful word.

I don’t care

Again, I feel that this is a statement. A declaration. It carries with it too much weight to be throwing around.

My 5 year old better not tell me he doesn’t care that the toys are making a mess. My 9 year old should not tell me he doesn’t care his sister is crying.

My message is simple. Think before you speak. You may not agree with these examples, but you should the theme. In these times, we have to teach by example and show kindness.

Please comment down below if this article meant anything to you. Did it stop and make you think? Is there anything that you forbid in your household?

Products you must have with toddlers.

Having four children, 3 of whom are toddlers currently, I have made it my mission to find items that will help me everyday. The items that follow, I have purchased, used, and loved for years. I hope some of these may help some parents out there.

This article does contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item from clinking on a link, I may receive a small percentage of profit.

  1. Cup Straps

These straps have been a lifesaver! I have attached them to highchairs, strollers, car seats, and even regular chairs. These straps have saved the cups from hitting dirty floors, the cups rolling away and getting lost, and from me having to bend over a trillion times for each kid’s cup. I have also used these straps for toys as well. You can use these straps at home, at a restaurant, or even in the car. I have purchased numerous straps. I have them at home and in my diaper bag. They come in various colors too.

2. Safety Straps

Another product that I use often. When your child is fighting a highchair, but a little too young for a regular chair, these straps are useful. These straps prevent your child from falling out of a chair and getting hurt. I have used these straps for more than just chairs. I have used them in shopping carts, restaurant high chairs, and even ride along toys outside. I usually have 2 with me in my diaper bag.

3. Cart/highchair cover

Do you know how often I have used these? I have used them every time I go shopping. This product covers the handle and the top section of the cart, to prevent the toddler from touching (and eating) the cart. I also use them in restaurants for high chairs. It prevents a transfer of germs and protects clothes from the not so clean surfaces of the high chair. I throw them in the washer and air dry them and they have lasted for years.

4. Tag along handle

MUST HAVE! When my fourth child was old enough to go in a stroller and sit up properly, my second born was ready to come out of the stroller. He was ready to walk, but needed some guidance on how to walk with and next to me. These handles have been instrumental in this learning experience. I have used them on my strollers for walks and other situations. They are so easy to use, I have used them on carts for when we go shopping and he has to stay close to the cart. They just loop over the handle and are as easy to detach. My son successfully knows his boundaries of where he can walk with me in various situations and locations. My next child will be ready to use this soon and they are still going strong. They have held up nicely.

5. Counter Chairs

I have 2 of these hanging off my counter in my kitchen. Having so many little ones at once, I needed a way to have them safe wherever I go. This is an excellent solution to me being in the kitchen. This not only allows me to be hands free when cooking, they are a safe distance away from harm, and they can also participate in what I am doing. They can sit there and watch me and interact with me. These chairs have given me quality time with my kids. They have learned so much by watching me and what I was doing, learned a lot of real world vocabulary, and now can help me in the kitchen. Based on the weight limits, one of my toddlers grew out of them, but I had another one ready to move up into that chair and they have held up over time.

6. Sippy Caps

These are so inexpensive, small, and convenient. You guessed it, I have 2 packages of these. Each of my children has a color and doesn’t confuse which bottle is theirs. They fit so much easier than bulky sippy cups when out and about. Not to mention less to clean! It helps with the transition between sippy cups and regular cups.

I am such a huge fan of these products. As I said before, I have all of these products currently in my home and love them. I do not regret these purchases. They have helped me everyday as a mommy.

Please leave a comment if you have used these products and agree. Tell me what products you use with your toddlers that you love. I am always on the hunt for a new product and ways to make my life easier.

DO NOT say these things in front of my children!

Have you ever been out in public, shopping, at a restaurant, or in the neighborhood and people stop to talk to you and say questionable things to you?

I am a mother of four children. And every single time I leave my house, it is guaranteed that I will come back with a story. People look at me like I have 100 kids! Their heads follow me as my crew passes them in a long line. When shopping with my husband for a sizable haul, we have two carts, we look like a three ring circus coming through!!!

I have received looks. I have overheard comments. I have heard conversations. And I have experienced some interactions I wish never took place.

My children are young but they are getting of an age where certain words do resinate with them. My oldest is able to understand what they are saying but doesn’t understand where the comment is coming from.

QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ASKED. CONVERSTATIONS HAVE BEEN HAD! Certain phrases, topics, words, and meanings have been questioned by my two oldest which unfortunately have been the start to conversations I was not prepared for at that age in the middle of Target!!!!!

I know the average household now a days is 2.5 children. I know I exceed the norm.  I know most people have no malice when they say these things, but I hope this blog will get people to think about their interactions. I hope people share this article and its message: Think about what you say before you say it.

I teach my children the idiom that words are like toothpaste. Once you say them, you can’t take them back. Just like you can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube.

Please do not say these things infront of my children:

You’ve got your hands full!

This insinuates that 4 children are too much to handle.

Are you crazy?

A word children understand, in which, I do not need them repeating back to me. There is nothing “wrong” with me because I have a big family.

You know what makes all these babies, right?

Uh…….. I will not have the birds and the bees talk in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart.

God help you/God bless you!

Insinuating that taking care of a lot of kids needs divine intervention.

How do you do it?

Like all moms, we just do. We find a way.

GET A VASECTOMY!

This topic of conversation is off limits. Not only do I not want to have the “talk”, I do not want to discuss permanent birth control medical procedures!

And my personal favorite (NOT)

Are these all yours?!

Whoa. This question is horrible on so many levels. In these times, we should know by now how insensitive this question is.  I don’t have to list the reasons about fertility issues, adoption, and so many more topics this statement offends.

In my nine years of parenting, I have been humbled. I now think more about what I say to people in general, not just about kids. I hope I am raising sensitive children to be aware of peoples’ feelings.

Please leave me a comment down below of remarks you have received from total strangers.

Remember to spread joy. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” Marianne Williamson