5 Easy & Cheap Holiday Celebrations For Kids

5 Easy & Cheap Holiday Celebrations For Kids

Those that are on my Facebook know that my kids and I celebrate everything. If it’s a wacky holiday, we celebrate it! Life is too serious, doing this mom thing is exhausting, being a kid is stressful so this helps lighten the week and gives them something to look forward to! Most of these things don’t cost much money or can be done with things you already have! With the holiday season fully underway, I wanted to share some ideas with you!

  1. Grinch Party: This is one of the kids favorite things we do! We make grinch floats (Green sherbet and 7 up) and pop in the Grinch movie! You could add other green foods to make it a snack and float night so you get out of cooking supper! Winner!
  2. Christmas Light Adventure: Surprise the kids with a ticket (can make on a word document) to be turned in as they enter the vehicle. Have them wear pajamas, slippers and bring their blanket. You could make or stop for hot chocolate to share, pop on some Christmas music and head out to find the best Christmas light displays! When the kids were younger, I had a scavenger hunt we used one year, could also do a make-shift bingo for them to cross off if they see a Santa, reindeer, etc. Pop in a Crockpot meal that morning and supper can be ready when you get back!
  3. Baking Party! Grab all the ingredients for your holiday baking and put them to work! This doesn’t seem much like a party, but adding party to it sounds more appealing to them and the kids are more excited to help out! Turn on the Christmas music station, have the kids decorate boxes to put their goodies in- this will become one of your favorite memories! Fun Fact: December 18 is National Bake Cookies Day.
  4. December 9 is National Christmas Card day! As much as we all want to send out the perfect Christmas Card, have the kids decorate the card or the envelope! Grab the Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon and use that to get some cute things for the kids to decorate cards with. Check with nursing homes or hospitals to see if your kids could send some to the residents there. Getting nice snail mail is becoming a lost art, this will be a great teaching moment! I love this idea from Octavia & Vicky on easy kid Christmas Cards.
  5. Advent: Jesus is the reason for the season! There are so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest for Advent ideas. This kid-friendly Advent idea from Jen at “Being Confident Of This” is the one we did last year! It was a lot of fun!

 

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Here’s a FREE list for you to save to your phone! 

This season is all about making memories. Each year that my oldest gets closer to graduation the more I realize that these beautiful memories will someday be replaced with kids coming home from college, future son/daughter in laws and grandbabies. I want to grab as many memories as I can with my kids while they are still little.

If you have fun traditions that you do each year, comment below or head over to my Facebook page   here   to share with me! I’d love to hear them!

Planning ahead for a busy week!

Planning ahead for a busy week!

We always think that once school begins, life will result to some sort of “normal”. Then school activities begin, Fall has arrived, and before you know it the holidays will be here!

Now that all of my children are in school, I’ve been finding my new “normal”. I have taken on more work as well as installed actual business hours. It’s nice! Sunday nights have always been my planning night where I plan the week, let my family know what’s going on, make some quick snacks for the week and menu plan. Now that I am spending 4 of my days as office hours, I’ve began planning on Sunday AND Wednesday. Wednesday is my day off, so I can get the cleaning, laundry, etc done. To break up the week, I now also use Wednesday as the day where I make quick snacks for the rest of the week.

This past Wednesday, I knew that Thursday we would have picture day. I’m not sure how picture day goes in your house but with 2 girls and now a little boy it can get chaotic quick! Last minute outfit decisions, hairspray, curling iron/ flat irons on the counters, and there’s always someone who’s not too excited about the whole ordeal! Wednesday I decided I better make something quick for the next morning so that making breakfast was the last thing I had to worry about. I decided to whip up a batch of the easiest (and healthiest- WW +2PP) muffins I could make! These are so fluffy, moist and everyone in my family loves them! Here’s the recipe:

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Next is another super simple recipe but it’s so delicious! Homemade Applesauce! After taking a trip to the local apple orchard this past weekend, apples are plentiful around here. This recipe is just a bunch of ingredients thrown into the crock pot and then you let it do its magic! So easy! We ate some while it was still warm, also added some whip cream to the top. It’s amazing… have I said that yet? hehe

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Do you have any quick go-to meals for when life gets busy? Share below! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Back To School: Meals

Back To School: Meals

One thing that can get out of control when it comes back to school time is meals! For me the chaos hours of 4-6p are the worst. Knowing that, I need to make sure I start preparing for it now! Here’s some tips! back toschool3.jpg

  1. Start limiting snacks now. My kids are grazers, they get it from me. They are so used to just going and grabbing a quick snack throughout the day before they go outside to play. The older kids are way past school snack time, so getting them back in the routine of eating a good breakfast and not “expecting” a snack at 10am is something we start working on now.
  2. Decide some good breakfasts to have on hand just in case the mornings are rough at first! Some things you can make ahead are:
    1. Pancakes
    2. Muffins
    3. Waffles
    4. French Toast- cook it up, cool then freeze
    5. Breakfast Burritos- choice of meat, veggies, cheese, scrambled eggs in a burrito then freeze. Make a big batch. Only takes a minute or two to warm in microwave.
    6. Granola bars made yourself
    7. Crock pot or freezer meal breakfast casserole
    8. Breakfast bites- use muffin tin and layer tater tots, choice of meat/veggie diced thin, cover with scrambled egg mixture then covered with cheese. Put in oven 350 degrees. Freeze, warms well in microwave for just a few minutes.
    9. Have the ingredients for smoothies on hand. Yogurt, orange juice, fruit, can add veggies or granola. Only take a few minutes to mix and can enjoy on the go.
  3. Have a snack ready for when they get home or off the bus. Using a clear container in your fridge with portioned amounts or a bin in your pantry will help. You can get this all ready the night before as well and could make enough for a week. Think about high protein snacks for those that had lunch early. Boiled eggs, protein balls, fruit and peanut butter are easy ideas.
  4. Plan on simple meals until you have a routine down for school nights. Crock pot meals, freezer meals, or quick casserole/grill meals are wonderful. Meal planning and knowing your schedule helps a ton! Create a place in your kitchen to let everyone know what supper will be. I use a photo frame with some scrapbook paper behind the glass. This way I can use a dry erase marker to write on the glass.. super easy!

 

What are you favorite tips or meals for back to school? I’d love to hear!

Preparing For Back To School!

Preparing For Back To School!

July is almost over, can you believe it? Soon the days will become shorter, our tans will fade, school will be starting and we will be finding ourselves back into a new routine.

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As the end of July comes to a close, now is a perfect time to start preparing for August. Here’s some tips for what we as moms can be doing now to prepare for the August rush:

  1. Decide bedtimes now. You may not start them yet, but letting your children know what time they will be going to bed can save you an argument in a few weeks. My children will all be in school, but different schools. We adjusted bedtimes based on that. I also let my oldest who will be going into High School what her curfew will be.
  2. Designate homework spots. This will apply to all of my children. My high schooler will need a spot away from everyone to do studying, my middle schooler will need somewhere close to mom to work and my preschooler just needs to be aware that when the girls are there.. he is not. Those spots will also have a basket of supplies such as scratch paper, highlighters, pencils, scissors, glue stick, index cards and a calculator.
  3. Decide a filing system. The first day of school the kids come home tossing papers around. With 3 kids- papers get misplaced easily! I set up a command center with folders so as soon as they come home, their papers go in there for me to go through. I’ll sign what needs to be signed and check homework after supper. This is a huge chaos repellent! haha!
  4. Decide chores. Let them know what sort of chore system you’ll be using and get in the practice now. During the summer my children have more chores than normal. School time they’ll only have 1 or maybe 2 short ones.
  5. Go through their clothes! This is one I dread! Have them go through drawers, closet, and under bed to get an inventory of what they’ll be needing so you’re not overspending. Nothing like buying 5 new pairs of jeans to find out their’s 6 pairs in her drawer already that she “forgot” about!

School time can be so crazy. There’s a lot to do! Starting now and preparing can help alleviate some of that chaos down the road. Now for my bloggers/direct sellers/wahm’s, I have some tips for you as well!

  1. Get your planner ready! Map out things that need to happen such as team meetings, retreats, conferences, etc. This way when you get the basketball schedule, you won’t be surprised, you’ll know what’s going on!
  2. Plan your work hours as well as your NON work hours. For me, the hours of 4-8pm are the busiest. So much to get done in 4 short hours before bed. My phone will be on silent so I can spend that time with my kids. Instead of working now whenever I can find time, in the fall I’ll be setting morning office hours. Adjust your schedule as you need… just set some hours AND communicate them!
  3. A new season is ahead. Whether it be your products changing or your blog posts changing to focus on a different season, start brainstorming ideas. Once school begins it’s hard to remember every single thing. Think about starting a brain dump journal next to your bed or on the table to jot things down as you think of them.
  4. Think of adding some technology on your phone to help juggle the roles of being a work at home mom such as adding in an app like Cozi. This way in between picking kids up you can glance at your phone and see that you need to pick up dishwasher tabs and milk on the way home. You can also use the calendar option to color code who’s doing what when.
  5. Use time such as waiting at the school to pick kids up to do some social media posts, scopes, or quick videos. Take your brain dump journal with you and implement some of those ideas you’ve had! I have an office-on-the-go bag that I have worked out of all summer. I’ll continue to do so in the fall!

I hope some of these tips are helpful! This next week is a great time to start fresh and plan what you want to happen. It’s a transition for kids to go back to school… but it’s also a transition for the moms! If you need more help preparing for school time, make sure you email me or you are more than welcome to join my Facebook Community by clicking HERE.

10 Tips to Stockpiling

10 Tips to Stockpiling

One question I get frequently is about my stockpile. If you haven’t watched my Youtube video on this… CLICK HERE. I’ve also listed out 10 tips to consider when beginning your own stockpiling adventure!

  1. Don’t buy it unless you’ll use it. There’s a big difference between stockpiling and ending up on Hoarders! If you use cream of mushroom soup a lot, then stock up! If you only use chicken broth for soup in the winter, don’t buy as much. Be smart about your purchases.
  2. Think about what food typically goes on sale that month. There’s a lot of charts out there that give this info away.
  3. Freeze fresh summer fruits for the winter. There’s nothing like blueberry muffins on a cold January morning!
  4. Tonight we had leftover ham, I froze it up into packages that will be used later for breakfast muffins and scalloped potatoes.We could eat the leftovers this week, but I’d rather stick to my meal plan and incorporate those into the future.
  5. Think about if stocking up on it would be the cheaper route, or if making it yourself would be better. Take laundry soap for example, paired with coupons you can get a fair price, but making it yourself is much cheaper.
  6. Set aside some extra cash just in case something goes on a 1-day sale. You’ll always be prepared for those. Sometimes if you go early enough to the grocery store they’ll have some meat marked down. This will help you be ready for those awesome specials.
  7. Decide a system for your freezer. This is one area that can trick you in your meal planning. It’s easy to forget what is all in there! Print out a cute printable or use a dry erase marker to keep track of what’s all in there.
  8. Decide a system for your other non-perishables. You’ll want to rotate them by expiration date. Oldest first. Beginning of the month pull out what will be expiring soon so you can use it up.
  9. Have good storage. Find a place that’s cool. That way you can store extra potatoes, onions, etc down there as well. Storage shelves are ideal. My husband built what I’m using now.
  10. Buy bulk, but be smart about it. You really need to watch your bulk prices. Sometimes buying bulk isn’t the best option. Also, you’ll have to consider storage for these items as well. I buy bulk baking ingredients the most. I have a container in my storage that holds the bulk and mason jar canisters for what’s in my pantry. Easy to refill. I take a trip to the Amish each spring and Fall to stock up on those ingredients.

I hope this helps give you  more tips on creating a stockpile. If you have more, please feel free to ask! As always, you’re more than welcome to join my Facebook community to get even more tips on being organized, meal planning, time management. Join here!

Summer Party: Kid edition

Summer Party: Kid edition

Summer is here! What better way than throwing a party to celebrate!

My 2 youngest have been spending all of this month in tow to my oldest daughter’s softball games. It hasn’t exactly been their ideal summer plans but they’ve handled it well. Unfortunately, my oldest has suffered some injuries the last week so while she is healing, I thought it’d be a great time to do something for the littles!

I didn’t want to go crazy on spending a lot of money on this party, so a lot of what I used was things we already had. Best part was we didn’t have to leave the house! Here’s an over view of our fun:

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  1. We made fun popsicle crafts. Everything was from our crafting area. I thought the kids did a great job making their own unique popsicles!
  2. Mister picked out some real popsicles to enjoy after our craft. These were on sale and delicious!
  3. Blue kool-aid was mixed up for their drink “Pool Water”
  4. They built sand castles. Middle did a great job being creative! Mister basically made a cave for his dinosaurs and shark.
  5. We put on some tunes, and jumped into the pool. Clothes and all!
  6. Daddy got out the garden hose for his famous “redneck water slide”. The kids love it. The end of the slide turns into a huge mud puddle which excites them even more!
  7. We also had some snacks set up. We had beach balls (cheese balls) and made sand pudding (vanilla pudding with crushed vanilla wafers on top).
  8. To end the fun party we watched Finding Nemo and had a big bowl of freshly popped popcorn from our popcorn maker! This old wash bin was what my mother in law used for her children, now it’s been passed to us. The kids all love picking their own toppings for their bowl.

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It was a great (frugal) party for the 2 little ones. They really enjoyed it and had fun even if it was at home. As moms, it’s so important for us to take a break from life and just go have fun with our kids! I hope you find time to do the same!

Surviving Ball Season With Littles!

Sitting back relaxing in the sunshine watching a ball game sounds like the perfect way to spend an afternoon….. except when you have littles in tow! That quiet peacefulness of a ball field quickly turns to screaming children who are starving and bored!

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My oldest’s ball schedule has consumed the month of June. We have had games every day, many traveling, along with quite a few double headers. My middle and little don’t quite care for softball or the idea of sitting for quite a few hours in the sun. My oldest has played ball since she was in preschool. Middle and Little have grown up with their summers being spent at the field, but that doesn’t make things any easier!

First of all, what do we take to the field? softball4

We take our large utility tote, a thermal cooler, blanket and chairs. Our thermal only takes up part of our tote, so it is easy to carry. The other section of the tote holds the accessories such as bug spray, sun screen and toys. This summer I tried a few different things that little has enjoyed such as play-dough (which he plays with on a $1 cookie sheet), little spritz bottles (perfect for hot days), little play-dough toys that he uses also in the dirt, play tweezers, bug net, a small back pack with random small toys such as tractors and bulldozers, and also some bubbles (which you need to make sure aren’t getting blown toward the field as it becomes a quick distraction to the outfielders- SQUIRREL!).

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The Iowa heat is smoldering. We’ve had to endure the heat and humidity much earlier than normal this month. We made a make shift tent with the blanket, it did work well. We also have tried using umbrellas but that was tricky to keep in one spot. Today we took his little play tent and it blew all over. There wasn’t much air movement in there either so we will stick to the make shift tent for now!

Finally, probably the most important item to take to the ball field is food! Unfortunately, I don’t have a big list of fancy picnic meals for you just because my kids aren’t fans of that. Here’s some food they DO enjoy though!

  1. Gummy worms (just make sure they go in their mouths versus melting in a bag!)
  2. Yogurt cups. Can add fruit, granola, or crushed cookies to them for variety
  3. String cheese
  4. Meat, cheese and cracker combos.
  5. Sandwiches in all forms. Kids can get sick of them quick so switch it up with getting a sandwich cutter (Dollar Tree!) or a press that takes the crust off. It’s amazing how changing the shape makes it more appealing!
  6. Frozen grapes. I am convinced they are the best way to cool down.. and quickest!
  7. Protein balls or granola bars
  8. Watermelon! Don’t forget the wet wipes though!
  9. Make popcorn ahead of time. Add some nuts or m&ms to it to switch it up.
  10. When all else fails, take some light snacks and prep a crock-pot meal for when you’ll be home! Sometimes the kids are just over it. By the time you get back home you all will be ready for some food and a nap!

I love watching my daughter play ball, more so loving watching her fully engulfed in what she loves to do. As my kids get older, they both will find their own passion. For now, I just need to help keep them entertained and out from under those bleachers! Seriously… why is under there so appealing? Yuck! haha

I hope that you found some ideas to help keep your littles entertained while you’re out doing something that they may not fully enjoy. Do you have any meals or activities that your littles enjoy? Share below!

As always, you’re more than welcome to join my facebook community, Organized Chaos, click here to join! I’d love to have you!

With love, Shaya