Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 Ways to Declutter the Playroom!

Are your kids messy?  Ok, ok, what kid ISN'T messy?  (That's a much easier question!)  I have found some things that work (for us) to keep the mess contained and fairly easy to pick up.

1.  Have a plastic tub - you know, the BIG ones - and take unused (but still age-appropriate) toys and put them in the tub.  Put the tub in an unknown location so that you can swap out with another set of unused toys in about 4-6 months.

2.  Build what works.  We are building a large, wooden shelving system to store toys in.  It has plenty of space for the tall, bulky, awkward toys.  And then it has space for bins for the small stuff.  I realize that building your own isn't an option for everyone - if that's the case, look for something until you find something that fits your home rather than buying a new piece over and over.

3.  Labels/Photos - For younger kids, take photos of what goes in each bin and use them as labels.  I use a combination of photos AND words to label our bins.

4.  If you are done playing with it, PUT IT AWAY!  This really helps cut down on the time it takes to pick up, but it also creates more space to play.

5.  Get rid of the toys that are no longer age-appropriate.  If your kid can't/won't play with something because it's too "young" for them, donate those things to friends, family or charity!

6.  Use a bookshelf for books - don't mix those treasures into your toys.  They will just get bent and torn that way.

7. Only use the space you have.  If you have a playroom, but the kids like to play in the living room, let them.  BUT, make sure ALL toys go back to their place at the end of the day.

8.  Clean out.  Go back to #1.  When you are sorting unused toys, this is the PERFECT time to divide toys into 4 piles - keep, toss, sell and donate.

9.  Get the kids involved.  They are more likely to keep a clean/organized space if they have a hand in cleaning up/out.  Let them decide what they don't want anymore and where it should go (charity or garage sale).

10.  Be flexible.  It's a kids' space - there WILL be disorganization.  Hopefully setting some limits and labels will help to keep it more organized that it was before.

In what ways do you and your family keep the play areas of your home organized? 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Little Mover

I have never been a fan of the changing table.  We have always changed diapers on the floor in the middle of the living room.  We have a little end table that houses the basket of diapers and wipes.  When a change is needed, we pull out the basket and get to work. 
What's diaper changing time like at your house? Do you change on a changing table or on the floor? What do you do to keep your kiddo happy (and STILL) while you change their diapers?

C is right at the age that he SHOULD be potty-training, but he knows that he is in charge of that and he tells me he is NOT ready.  So, when it's time for a diaper change, I wrangle him to the blue "diaper changing rug."  Then I have to make sure he has something to entertain him while I attempt to change his diaper.  Even if he has something to play with, he tries to get away to find something better to play with.

We tried Pull-Ups, but they are a little more expensive than diapers and what's the point in trying to transition if C is telling me he doesn't want to?
Well, Huggies has come up with and AWESOME new diaper design ... Huggies Slip-Ons!!  I LOVE this idea!  All I have to do is pull off the old diaper and he can step into the new one!  Also, I really like the idea that this is a precursor to moving on to Pull-Ups and then to BIG BOY UNDIES!!
I am anxious to try the new Slip-Ons!  I want to know how I change a poopy diaper with the slip-on design.  I want to know if C would be more motivated to use the potty if he has to take a diaper on and off like regular underwear.

What do you cute names do you call your kiddo when they won't stay still for diaper changes?  I usually call C a Wiggle Worm.  No explanation necessary, I am sure ... he just won't stay still!  What is it with kids and not wanting to get out of that dirty diaper!?

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I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Huggies blogging program, for a gift card worth $35. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


When I was a kid, people would ask me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Any my answer was always the same - I want to TEACH!

I went to school to be a teacher (I am not done yet - as I still have student teaching - but that's all I have before I am done.).

I don't want to teach anymore - but I have no idea what I want to do!

I LOVE education and learning, but I don't want to deal with other people's kids and I don't want to deal with the politics and standardized testing that comes along with teaching.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fun ... at least the thought was there!

Last year, my husband was invited to the ESRI conference in San Diego, but we couldn't afford to send him.  So he missed out.  I felt REALLY bad.

This year, the company he works for PAID for him to go to the ESRI conference (he was presenting a speech). 

He told me he would be gone for a week - ok - so what do I do with that week?! 
I tried to tell him that I needed to go with him - but he didn't buy that.  (Plus, the kiddos would have to stay with Grandma and Geezer for that week.) 
I called my Mom and asked if she wanted to go to the coast (Corpus Christi, TX), after all I had a free night at La Quinta.  The plan has been made.

Day 1 - Drive to the coast, spend time at the beach, check in to the hotel, swim, sleep ...
Day 2 - Go to the Texas State Aquarium, drive home.

I have not really ever longed to have sand on my feet - I don't like it - but I did it for my kids.  I WILL NOT EVER GO TO THE BEACH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUMMER AGAIN!  It's hot, humid ... and it's just plain gross.  Couple that with two kids that refuse to listen and a Grandma that takes their "side" when I try to discipline ... I need a vacation from my "vacation!"

I think I need to fly to another state and see what my husband does with two unruly kids for a week! ;)

I hope you all are having a great week!!  Send some prayers and patience my way! :D

Monday, July 11, 2011

10 Reasons I'd LOVE to Visit Virginia Beach!!

Have you ever been to Virginia Beach??  You have?!  I am a little jealous!  I haven't ever been!  What's your favorite thing to do or see in Virginia Beach? 
I have been looking at the Virginia Beach Visitor's site and I have seen LOTS that I would love to do ... let me tell you!

1. I LOVE history ... so the first thing I would do is visit the Adam Thoroughgood House!  "... Built circa 1680 and is one of the oldest brick homes in America."  Can you imagine what it would have been like to be in that home in 1680?!  Historical interpreters (in costume) will lead you on a guided tour through the home. 
2. Then, I would go to the Francis Land House (circa 1805).  Full antiques (and reproductions) I can only imagine what I would learn on a tour through this amazing piece of history!  I would relish my trip back in time. 
3. First Landing State Park - "retrace the footsteps of our forefathers" ... YES, please!  That sounds like so much fun, to me!  Put yourself in the shoes of our forefathers - are you there?  Can you imagine what it would have been like ALL those years ago?!  How different did the land look, what kind of animals did they run into, what were they wearing? 
4. Nauticus looks absolutely spell-binding!  I love learning - so for me, this is a great cross between fun and education!  Prices weren't outrageous, about the same as most zoos and aquariums in our area but it seems as if there is so much more to learn and do!
5. Parasailing - I have a huge fear of heights, but parasailing is on my "bucket list."  So, why not do it in Virginia Beach!?  That super colorful balloon (found here) looks so appealing!
6. Boat Tours - Gosh!  There are so many to pick from!  How do you determine which boat tour is best for you?!  Fishing, Pirate Ship Adventures, Dolphin-watching, Kayaking ... I think my family would go for the Pirate Ship because they are small and enjoy the "fun" of pretend Pirates.
7. Yoga ... on the Oceanfront?!  Now, if you know me, I have NO coordination!  But, I would try Oceanfront Yoga just to say I've done it!! :)  It sounds AMAZING!
8. What's a trip to Virginia Beach without a day at ... (yep, you guessed it) THE BEACH!  Take your pick - they all look awesome!

What's a vacation without food?  What are your favorite places to eat in Virginia Beach?  We love to find "the little hole in the wall" when we travel, because they almost always have great food that isn't super expensive.  Did you want to dine like a "local?"  Here are some tips:

9. Dining on the boardwalk - it sounds so delicious to me.  Lots of choices for food and a beautiful scenery! 
10. Kayaking for your dinner - I read about this place here (under tip #3), but didn't find (or missed) the name of the restaurant. 
I found a list of restaurants in Virginia Beach - - for your convenience.

Some great information and links:

About Virgina Beach
Virginia Beach entices visitors to “Live the Life” year-round! Located in the southeastern corner of the state, Virginia Beach is four hours southeast of D.C. by car and within a day’s drive or less from two-thirds of the U.S. population. For visitor information, call 1-800-VA-BEACH (800/822-3224) or visit for online trip planning. For media information and digital images, click on Please
follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook.

Virginia Beach Resources
More info on Virgina Beach:

Virgina Beach on Facebook:

Follow @VaBeachCVB on Twitter

Now, I know I am ready to pack my bags and book a flight!  What about you?!  Did you find anything in my list that you just have to add to your list?!  What was it? 

If you visit Virginia Beach before I do, please come back and tell me what you did and what I can't miss out on!  Enjoy your trip!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach Tourism blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I love fireworks because they are beautiful!   I love how you never know what to expect, be it color, shape or size.  We don't often go out and watch them in person because it's just so hot here.  (Plus, the BOOM! scares my kids.)  However, this year, we don't even have the opportunity to watch them live because there is such a huge fire danger.  We have only had (I want to say) 6 inches of rain since January.  It's HOT and DRY and it's been mildly windy.  So I guess this year we will be watching the fireworks on television.  It makes me a little sad. 

One year I was in Denver, Colorado for the 4th of July and got to see them at the military base there - they were AMAZING!!!  That was before I was married, before I even met my husband. 

What are your plans for the 4th of July?!

Hope you have a SAFE and HAPPY Independence day!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Experiences ...

J is 7 years old ... and this morning was his very first experience with swallowing a pill.  It did NOT go well.  After the first two attempts, he took the pill out of his mouth (which he was told not to do).  We got the pill back in his mouth.  I told him to take a drink of water and think about the fact that the water needs to go down - but NOT to think about the pill in his mouth.  He held that drink of water in his mouth for about 3 minutes before it finally went down.  J kept walking to the sink (as if I were going to let him spit it out - HAHA, yea, right!)

What are your tips and tricks to get your kids to swallow pills without a fight?!

Enjoy your day!