Monday, October 13, 2014

Must-Have Monday: Miracle Cleaner

I don't know about you, BUT, I hate cleaning my showers and tubs. 

Torture, I tell ya.

So I'll just cut right to the chase.

Every mom needs this amazing, make-at-home, magic cleaner.

You need:
  • A spray bottle

  • Blue Dawn dish soap (Has to be blue!!!)

  • Distilled white vinegar
Aaaaand...that's all. Not kidding.

Guys. I am really skeptical about make-at-home cleaning products/laundry soap/anything. But you neeeeeed this in your life. Trust me. I wouldn't lead you astray.

So here's what you do.

  1. Warm up some vinegar in your microwave (I usually do about a cup)
  2. Pour warm vinegar into spray bottle
  3. Pour in equal parts of Dawn soap (Doesn't matter how much vinegar and Dawn you use, but just make sure you use equal parts.)
  4. Give it a little shake
  5. Spray solution on ANYTHING that needs a good scrubbing. (Showers, tubs, windows, sinks, etc.)
  6. Let sit for some time (I let it soak in my showers for about an hour)
  7. Scrub off with water (I use just a normal sponge or scrubber)
  8. Do a happy dance
It seriously is amazing. You don't have to sit and break your back trying to get all the junk off. It just wipes away and then sparkles.

It smells terrible.

But it is worth it.

The best part? My showers seriously stay cleaner, longer.


You can thank me later! Go clean.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jekyll & Hyde AKA: My toddler

Last week I was picking up my (almost) 3-year-old from Joy School.

(FYI: Joy school is what me and the other neighborhood moms do once a week for 90 minutes, each week rotating teachers and houses. It really should be called, "90 minutes to pretend like I'm catching up on cleaning and laundry but really I am catching up on the long list that is piling up on my DVR, with a bowl of ice cream, in my sweats." ...but, Joy School makes us sound like really good moms.)

That's beside the point.

Anyway, when I arrived, the kids were playing downstairs. My little girl was going down a slide and when I told her it was time to go, she promptly climbed back up the ladder. I told her she could go down one more time and then we had to go. She quickly told me "2 more times" to which I replied, "You can go down one more time or no more times." Her answer?

"No more times."

Seriously? Where does she learn this stuff? I swear an "I'm going to call your bluff on every little thing" hormone is released when they turn 2.

I have been trying to do better at my follow through and for whatever reason, decided this would be a great time to exercise that. So I picked her up, and started to make my way out the door.

You guys.

I don't know what happened. She clearly was overtaken by some demonic spirit. In fact, I snapped a picture at that very moment to document it so you would believe me.

I swear I've never seen anything like it. I couldn't really see what was happening because she was hitting me so furiously that my vision was impaired. And a shrill so loud and high pitched that only the dogs down the street could hear it, was escaping her lips. I feared for my life.

And quite frankly, hers.

I was trying to make a quick escape but also trying to reason with her so that the other moms, who I imagine were looking on in complete and utter horror, could see that I knew how to kinda, sorta parent my child.

You've been there right? Good grief, please tell me you've been there.

I found myself holding on to her as tight as I could in fear I was going to drop her, she was bucking so hard. (It was like riding a bull at the rodeo. Only in reverse.) She was still screaming but now that was partly because I was pinching her leg (never works). And through my I-just-won-first-attendant-and-am-so-pissed-but-can't-show-it smile, I was bidding farewell to the other moms.

"I don't know what's come over her!"

"Nothing a 2 hour nap can't fix!"

"I guess your house is just too much fun!"

"We are good! Thanks!"

I was grateful when they laughed and told me it was a relief to see other kids behaving that way so they felt more normal.

Luckily, the stars aligned, a 2 hour nap DID happen, and I went to my happy place (Ellen & Oreos) to recover from the trauma.

And that whole thing about being better at following through? Well, I guess that happened.

Next week's parenting skill to practice: picking your battles.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Must-Have Monday: For the Diaper Bag

Does anyone else feel like their diaper bag is a spitting image of Mary Poppins bag? Sometimes I pull things out of it and think to myself, "how did that get in there?"  It feels like a bottomless pit. (We won't talk about how many times I have pulled out a bottle/sippy with rotten milk in it, after it's been sitting at the bottom of the bag for who-knows-how-long?)

This problem was severely compounded once I became a working mom. Most days, my kids are still in pajamas when we leave and that's just disaster. Clothes, shoes, socks, hair things, bottles, formulas, diapers, snacks, etc...all in one giant, heaping pile.

So these little do-da'shave honestly saved my life and very much pleased the psycho, OCD part of my personality. And they're by a company called SugarBooger. So that makes it all the more better.

Not only do they make packing the diaper bag easier, they also make unpacking it after a long day easier as well. Instead of sorting through a mountain of clothing and junk, the dirty clothes are zipped up nicely in the dirty pouch, clean things (ha! yeah right.) are placed in the clean pouch, extra snacks in the snack pouch, etc.

I love them. You'll love them too.

{What are your diaper bag must-haves? Send me your favorites!}

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Should You Be Reading to Your Child?

Reading to your child at a young age is one of the best things you can do for them. Not only is it a wonderful way to bond with your child but it also has been proven that being read to at a young age boosts language acquisition, literacy development, and reading comprehension. It is a gift that your children will take with them throughout their life and it should begin from day 1. (Before day 1 if you are a real over-achiever and read to your babes in the womb! #firsttimemoms) The age of your child determines the qualities and characteristics that you should look for in the books they read, Here are some things you should be looking for in your children’s books.

0-1 year
  • ·      Board, plastic, or other pages that children can easily handle
  • ·      Primarily pictures—very few words! (Even wordless books are wonderful! We have a tendency to overlook wordless books but they can be just as valuable for language development, since they offer the opportunity to engage with children about what they SEE rather than just what the words tell them.)
  • ·      Textures
  • ·      Real photos (as opposed to cartoons)
  • ·      Books that children can put in their mouths without ruining
  • ·      Familiar songs and stories
  • ·      Rhyme and repetition
Book suggestions: A Kiss For You!, Peek-a-Zoo (Little Scholastic)Soft Shapes: ColorsFirst 100 Words

2-3 years
  • ·      Picture books with pages that are mostly pictures and minimal wording
  • ·      Rhyme, repetition, and high predictability (These elements can help children be successful in reading, since even though they may not be able to decode (sound out) all of the words, they can use rhymes and repetitions to help them figure out what wording might be used.  By having books that are highly predictable, children can build comprehension skills as they figure out what might happen next.)
  • ·      Very basic concepts (avoid anything that is too abstract or has complicated story lines)
  • ·      Large print that makes it easy to track with their finger (You should be modeling this when you read to your child.)

Book suggestions: I Love You Through And ThroughWhere is Baby's Mommy?Today I'll Be a Princess

4-5 years
  • ·      Detailed pictures
  • ·      Books that contain the sight words your child will begin to read and recognize in kindergarten (Sight words/High frequency words vary depending on school districts. Contact your local school or district office for a list.)
  • ·      Storylines can begin to be more complex
  • ·      Things that deal with real-life problems and events (ex: going to school, being afraid, making friends, sharing, having a pet, etc. Make believe stories that deal with these concepts are great also!)

Book suggestions: How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?(the entire "How Do Dinosaurs" series is awesome., Scholastic Discover More: Animal BabiesLove You Forever(who doesn't love this book?), and my absolute FAVORITE children's books are the Elephant and Piggie series. {Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)} These are a must-have!

The most important thing is to READ WITH YOUR CHILDREN! But remember, reading WITH your child is different than reading TO your child! It is a great language-development tool to actually engage in conversation with your child about the books.

Happy reading!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Must-Have Monday: Toddler App

Being a teacher, I am always getting asked different questions about preparing your kiddos for school. Being "Kindergarten ready" is one of my soap boxes that I could spend an hour on, so I will spare you (at least for today!) and just cut to the chase.

This app. Is. Awesome.

Seriously. Go download it now. I will wait...


Done? Okay! So as I was saying. This is both fun and educational! It helps with letter name and sound mastery, teaches the concept that letters make words, and introduces high-frequency words. The one thing that has helped my kindergarten students has been teaching a story and an action for every letter and this is similar to that. I was seriously in shock when my 2-year old caught on so quickly to it.

Happy Monday Mama's!

{What are the must-have apps in your home? Share it with me!}

Monday, September 22, 2014

Must-Have Monday: Favorite Face Mask


I love hearing about people's favorite products. Beauty, baby, cooking, cleaning, you name it. I'm a total sucker and if someone loves it, I have to give it a try. 

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to FAMK's new blog series that I so fondly like to call...

Since this is the first "must-have" that I am sharing, I figured it had to be something really good. Something that I feel should be in every woman's possession. Something that will make up for you wanting to tear-your-freaking-hair-out-because-your-child-refused-a nap-today. (Really. Is there anything worse? I say nay.) So. Ladies and gentleman. Boys and girls. Put your hands together for...(drumroll)...

Boscia's Luminizing Black Mask

Sounds dangerous, right?

It is. Dangerously addicting. (See what I did there?)

The first thing is that it really goes on black. So that's pretty awesome.

After you have applied a liberal amount, you let it set for 10-15 minutes and then you literally just peeeeeel it off your face. (*TIP: you want to make sure there is enough on your face so you can get it all off. If it's too thin, you can't grab on to it and you end up having to scrub it off which hurts and defeats the purpose. So make sure you are applying it evenly, especially around the perimeter of your face because that's where you will start peeling from.)

It's like, being born again, peeling that sucker off. You can almost hear your dead skin cells shrieking as they get whisked away and your new, healthy, smooth, shiny skin cells singing gospel choir "HALLELUJAH'S!" as they can finally breathe and do their job of making your skin glow.

It's that good.

I love how much smoother my makeup goes on the next day. I love what it does for my "glow" and it especially works wonders for my T-zone. I love how firm it makes my face feel. I love how it shrinks my pores. It is a miracle in a bottle, I tell ya.

You can buy it at Sephora (about $34), A $13 travel size here: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask for All Skin Types, 0.7 oz. DLX Travel Size, OR...if you aren't ready for that kind of commitment yet, tell them you want to sample it first and they will give you a little sample to test it out. (But you didn't hear that from me.)

And maybe, just maybe, you can convince your husband to let you put it on him too. (#hewillkillmeforpostingthis)

Happy Monday Mama's!

(See how there are a few places around the edge that look thin? It's hard to get off if it's like that.)

*Do you have an amazing "must-have" item? (beauty, baby, for the home, anything!) Let me know! {}

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY Area Rug Results/Tips/Pictures

Alright guys. The results are in. Here's the low down on spray painting the rugs!

I called in the troops (my best friend who is basically my sister, and her sweet sisters which also feel like mine!) I truly am not crafty and I usually end up spending tons of money for projects that look like my kindergarteners completed. So I wanted to make sure we really got things figured out. (If you missed the earlier post, check that out first.) Here is what we learned, in no particular order:

  • First, I will only ever do this project with other people. That is, people I like to be around. On the technical side, it is nice to have helping hands to measure, tape, etc. On the un-technical side, it takes a few hours so you will want the company.
  • Rust-o-leum 2x Ultra-Cover (Paint + Primer) is the best spray paint to use. Other spray paints will work but you will end up spending more money because it will take more paint. Getting a semi-gloss finish will make cleaning up stains down the road a bit easier.
  • We used the old fashioned painters tape like the tutorial suggested. It worked okay and I'm not sure if there is anything better to use BUT, a few of us ended up with some spray paint lines where they shouldn't have been. (pictures below) So next time, I will make sure the tape is reeeallly on there firm and good.
  • The measuring and taping is the most tedious part but it's worth it. It was easier to lay the tape straight once we started marking the stripes with chalk. Just a few dotted lines to guide you. Also, cute Aimee used tissue paper she had on hand rather than the craft paper. It worked just as well (newspaper would work fine) and is one way you could save a few bucks! (Make sure you overlap them so no paint gets in between.)
  • Try to coordinate your carpet color with the paint colors. For example, if you are going to use white paint, find carpet that is a lighter shade. It will be easier to cover and will save you money in the long run because you won't have to add a million coats of paint.
  • Buy more paint than you need. You can always take the extra back but it is a pain to stop halfway through and make a run to the store. (FYI: I liked the taupe color of my rug and chose to just add black stripes to it. I used 3 cans of black Rust-o-leum and that covered a 6x8 rug.)
  • The fumes will be a flyin! (Not a bad idea to use a mask!) At one point, we were all rolling on the floor giggling over everything because the fumes had seriously gotten to us and we all left with headaches. 
  • Spray paint from every direction to ensure you cover each side of the carpet fibers.
  • The final cost depends on you! My 6x8 rug was about $18 from Home Depot. I used 3 cans of paint which totaled about $13. I would say plan on a price range of $35-$60. (Depending on how many colors you want)

(This was about the time we started to get um...woozy.)

(My rug placed under my dining table. You can see what I mean about those black smudges. I am thinking about adding one tiny stripe to each black and making each one a different, bright color. Magenta, turquoise, lime green, etc.)

                         (Erin's cute rug for her kitchen. The lime green she used was DARLING.)

                      (Aimee's rug for her kitchen table. Her stripes were crisper than mine, which I liked.)

                              (Maranea's yellow and cream rug for her kitchen. So bright and happy!)

My overall consensus is that this project is totally doable for even the most challenged DIYer! (aka me) The cost itself makes the project completely worth it because seriously, who wants to spend $200+ on a rug?

Now go get yourself some carpet and email in your pictures! I am excited to see what kind of patterns people create, as well as helpful tips and tricks that worked for you! {}