Look:: Tired of seeing pics of my kids at the Please Touch Museum? Too Bad! We love it there. It is the perfect morning. First we cruise through the cars and buses. Then we head downstairs for some serious play time in the grocery store, hospital, house and Alice's world. We do the carousel and lunch before ending our day with the water table. It's a perfect set up for a stress free day with my two.
Learn:: Each time we are there I see new things. Yesterday I noticed a whole section of blocks in the train area. My kids are hard core into legos and large building blocks, but we have nothing like these. So they got into stacking and building right away.
Love:: Sometimes I am not up for the ride down to PTM. But I should be every time, because this morning is filled with laughs, memories and well behaved kids. What else could I ask for?
Are you wondering why I try to save time? It's so I can do what I want (which is not housework). Some of these strategies are to keep me less overwhelmed with the day to day stuff. Others really help so I can do things I enjoy (like cook) and entertain the kids. Then the remaining ones are just to help me shave off time from my to do list so I can enjoy other things....like a Bravo show, a good book or playing with the kids.
1. Keep toys nearby. These are the baskets for the kids under the living room coffee table. It is just steps from the kitchen. When I need to prep dinner or empty the dishwasher, I just begin the kids playing and slip away.
2. After meals, I put a pile of clean dishes for the next meal on the table. This is the dinner pile. It's ready and waiting for the kids or my dear hubby to set the table. I do this often as I clear the table. Since I am walking from table to sink and cabinets, I save steps. Then it's on someone else to set it, which leaves me to prepare meals more easily.
3. Laundry System: When a basket upstairs gets full, my husband brings it down. He puts it right next to the washer and replaces the hamper with an empty one (yes I own 4 total dirty hampers...2 for us, 2 for kids). This way I peak into the laundry room and begin a load if needed. Another great tip is to start a load in the washer before bed. Then in the morning move it to the dryer. Then before lunch or dinner I move the laundry into the room it belongs. I can do this while the kids are getting their shoes on to go out or on a commercial break. Before bed I put away the laundry. This system helps me stay on top of laundry easily without feeling it's a hassle.
4. Another laundry tip....similar to #1. We have kid stuff in the laundry room. I use that room as the messy room for crafts. When I have work to do cleaning or laundry, the kids play and I work.
5. Art supplies within reach. We keep two plastic trays and container for markers, crayons and pencil along with paper or coloring books at the end of the table. It's such a time saver because I can set the kids working on a page or story and use the time to finish cooking or cleaning.
6. Schedule. The paper attachment is a suggested schedule for our day. It helps me not feel overwhelmed when there are hours to the day and my preschoolers are full of energy. The topics are vague and leave room for creativity and being spontaneous. Like: p.m. activity, computers, books, craft.
7. Also in the picture is our Menu Plan for the week.Seriously if there is one thing to do it's to plan out in advance a week or two of meals. I write it up and never feel the angst of what is for dinner. It also means very few times have I ever needed to hit the store unplanned.
8. Cleaning: To the left of the menu is our cleaning schedule. It shows that I clean one thing a day...such as floors, bathrooms, vacuum. It means my house is never squeaky clean at all once, but it also means I never spend more than 20 minutes cleaning at a time (unless it's a special occasion or seasonal cleaning).
9. I usually have 3 complete outfits (for the general weather and general day) pulled and at the front of my closet. This helps on those mornings I don't want to think about it. Also my closet is in color order...though it's hard to tell from that picture. So I don't have to search long for a shirt at all. Quicker and effective!
10. New one we just began. Nothing is in my sink. All things go right into the dishwasher, it takes a few extra seconds at various times of the day, but I haven't been getting that overwhelmed feeling of seeing a pile of dishes. My husband and I are only ones following the rule now, but I think if we stick with it, the kids will too when they are old enough to load the dishwasher.
Monday:: Dry rub chicken on the grill with spiced veggies and margaritas
Tuesday:: Date night!!! Leaving pizza dough and sauce for the kids to make with my niece
Wednesday:: Gavin's Birthday Dinner We'll be grilling up some burgers, chicken and hot dogs. Also serving Pasta salad, fruit salad and a green salad. Frog inspired cake too!
Thursday:: Movies! Taking the family out to the movies, we may pack sandwich bentos.
Friday:: Party time! Bring fun 4th of July bentos for the kids to a party we're attending.
Look:: On almost every trip we make to the mountains, we do a walk in the woods. It is such fun! The kids always expect to see some animals. I am hoping we discover something other than butterflies and birds soon, so they don't lose their zeal for going. Lots of the trails in Pa can be called breathtaking. On this we went to a nearby nature trail and it is my favorite. After a short walk in the woods with a beautiful wide stream rapidly flowing to the left, you reach some amazing rock and fall formations that are not to be missed.
Learn:: Each time we go I sort of learn something new. On this day, I learned many of the sticks on the ground are shaped like the letter Y. Seriously, walk through a wooded area and there you will find the fabulous letter Y. Gavin is learning his letters and finding the sticks cemented this letter in his brain.
Love:: I love the time we spend as a family at the mountains and lake. But the walks are close to my favorite. There is no urgency, no televisions, no worries...just us alone in a quiet surrounding enjoying the beauty of nature, our kids and each other.
Some weeks I do pretty well fancifying myself. Those are the times I feel pretty good about this package I call me. Anything I can do to contribute to me feeling great is well worth the effort. Especially if it is as fun as putting together clothes. What is making it more fun is all the people I see at The Pleated Poppy. They take fancify to a whole new level. I'm taking baby steps, but soon you may just wonder who is that fashionista?
Pants:: Eddie Bauer Tank and Necklace:: Target Cardi:: Old Navy
Shoes:: Born from Nordstrom Rack
(While making pancakes)
Apron:: TJ Maxx
Trying to replicate something similar for a present.
Jean skort:: (yes, there are shorts under it!) Kohls
Pink polo:: Old Navy
Shoes:: Keens...comfiest shoes I own.
My comment. This outfit needs something to liven it up. But I feel weird wearing scarves or lots of jewelry to the playground. Ideas?
Most of the weekend I was at the lake wearing my lands end suits and cover ups...love Land's end. You did not really expect me to put a bathing suit picture...did you?
Necklace:: Old Navy
This one is for me. I made a garden salad with tomatoes, radish and two types of salad from the farmers market. In the compartments are leftover skirt steak and diced peaches. The small white container has a homemade italian dressing. The kids have some pita chips with their lunch, I will steal 2 and crumble for instant croutons.
The kids have hummus in a container, peaches, meatballs on a stick and tortilla triangles. Not in the picture are their juice boxes,banana and pita chips. The hope is that they will make tiny meatball tortilla wraps and enjoy chips with dip. But I have a feeling they will be tiny chefs and make their own creations. Lately it has been hard to gauge how much they will eat. So I always bring along fresh fruit that is uncut. This way if they are hungry they can munch out more. If not I haven't ruined the fruit by cutting it.
Here is them enjoying their bentos with their friends at Ikea!
This was another lunch on the go. Easy, peasy! Pretzels, grapes and whole grain rounds with cream cheese substitute and jam.
Look: My kids love amusement parks. The rides thrill them to pieces. So what could be better than a day in Hershey Park with Grandma!!!! There were tons and tons of kiddie rides. The park had them grouped in little clusters which made riding them super easy. I was surprised to see how many were miniatures of adult rides. Hershey Park is a great day with little ones. We went before school let out so there were no lines and the kids rode the rides...over and over and over! Such Fun!
Learn: I was smart enough to bring safe chocolate along with us. My kids have never had a candy bar. This brand is enjoy life chocolate and I highly recommend it. Whole foods and wegman's sell them and they are delish. I use them in recipes and this day they came in handy for an awesome treat! It was funny that the kids didn't know any of the candy bar characters walking around...but hey, there are worse things. I personally love peppermint patties and was drooling over the desserts offered in the park. Maybe next time I will indulge in a treat!
Love:: This may have to be a yearly event because we had a great day. Chelsea and Gavin could not decide what was better...the rides? or being with Grandma all day!!! I enjoyed seeing smiling faces on a warm sunny outing in our beautiful pennsylvania!
Look:: This weather has us enjoying lots of playgrounds. I love this time of year because of all the places we get to go. I was thinking what a great workout the kids get...then wondered why they don't make playgrounds for adults? Anyway this playground is in the poconos by the local school. Since last year they installed this cool bike circle.
Learn:: Gav isn't quite good at pedaling. But with Chelsea doing the work his legs were learning the motion. He has been a bit better on his trike since this day, so I think this cool piece of equipment was a learning tool.
Love:: Playgrounds have so much to offer my kids. They get a chance to try new things and work past their comfort zone. Here's to a few more months of favorable playground weather! Yipee!
Look: Have you ever been to a grocery store with a tiny shopping cart? Our local Trader Joe's has them and recently I took Gavin on a shopping trip. He loved it!!!!
Learn: This was a good idea on a weekday when the store wasn't crowded. Picture an almost 3 year old going willy, nilly around the store...best when there are only a few shoppers. This was seriously fun and we got all the things we needed!
Love: My son is pretty cute, add a shopping cart and it's complete adorableness (if that's even a word!)