Nine Times A Day: A Priorities Story

About 4 years ago, Brian came home a little later than to be expected from work. The kids who hadn’t seen their Dad all day were thrilled as he walked in the door. They ran to him in their footie jammies with their damp hair from being just newly bathed and hugged and kissed him.

Meanwhile, I was cleaning the kitchen after having made the fifth meal of the day, a supper of chicken, rice, and a vegetable. I had a warm plate in the oven for my dear husband. Brian watched me sweeping rice up from the floor. For any of you who have had little kids and had to sweep up rice from the floor, it is the worst. THE WORST.

My husband said to my oldest who was just 4 at the time, “Is Mama ok?”

He asked because as I was sweeping that sticky uncooperative rice from my kitchen floor, I was tearing up. Of course, he was the only one who noticed my silent welling of tears, because when you have three kids who are 4, 3, and 2, they don’t notice such things when Dad walks in the door. He sent the kids upstairs and told them to read books until we came up, and sort of tip toed toward me and said, “Sooooo, how was your day?”

I replied curtly, “Well, this is the 9th time today I’ve swept the floor.”

He responded still unsure of my current mood, “Ummm, and this is bad right?”

“YES! This is bad! I cannot keep up with anything!”

He said, “Keep up with what’s important, Erin. How about, tomorrow, just sweep once at the end of the day. Or how about not at all. It really doesn’t matter, just feed the kids from the floor. That is where it all ends up.”

His comments at the time made me laugh, and made me feel a lot better. Thank goodness for Brian making me laugh. When he said, “Keep up with what’s important.” I didn’t really know what that meant at the time.


I was very much caught up with life with three kids so close together, who were all home with me. Let me tell you, it was utter chaos for so long.

Every day for many years was like sweeping the floor Nine Times times a day.

Sweep up a mess. Someone drops cheerios. Sweep up that mess. Someone drops blueberries. Sweep up that mess. Someone drops noodles.

You get the picture.

It was hard to keep up with these babies and toddlers.

As soon as I would think I was done with a stage, or with a pile of laundry, or cooking a homemade pureed baby food meal (how stupid I was), or a size of clothes from Rubbermaid tub, or bottles, I would be delivering another baby, or potty training someone else, or pulling another tub of hand me downs out from the basement, doing laundry or cooking or cleaning or SWEEPING THE FLOOR FOR THE 9th TIME THAT DAY!

At the time, I thought I was keeping up with what was important.

Last week it happened. My youngest started full day Kindergarten.

I’m home alone, you guys.


And I’ve kind of noticed a trend. I have a bit more time in the day to myself, but…

Today as I write this, I look around and I have a To Do List a mile long. There are dishes on my counter. I have laundry piled up (clean to be folded and unclean to be washed). I have soccer uniforms that need ordering. A doctor’s appointment to make. Not to mention, now the kids get older there is a whole host of issues and homework and stages and fun(?) that I need to keep up with. Also, we’ve added my full time career to the mix. Not to mention, I probably still should sweep the floor, but I haven’t touched it yet today.


There were days when I had three little ones crawling/scooting/toddling around and I would be sweeping that floor for the 9th Time That Day and I dreamed of the light at the end of the tunnel. The day all three of my kids were in school all day and I would have all this time to get things done and focus on our home. I would say things like, “I cannot wait until the kids are in school all day and I can clean all day and make our home lovely for them.” or “I cannot wait until the kids go to school so I can focus on making the perfect snacks and when they get home we can blissfully play board games and read stories around the fire place like a magazine.” or “I will never have to sweep the floor 9 Times A Day again.”

I’ve learned a little bit over these last few years. The dishes and the laundry and the Legos and sweeping the floor 9 times a day really doesn’t matter. I have the rest of my life to clean. I wish I could go back and say to myself 4 years ago crying silently as I swept that sticky rice from the floor, “Erin, put down the broom and smell your kids baby shampoo scented heads and snuggle their footie jammied pudgey bodies.”

I’ve lived a little and learned a lot.

This is what I know now:

The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t that the mess is gone. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a pretty house. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a perfectly laid out snack after school. The light at the end of the tunnel is being ok with the messy kitchen floor. It is not caring about the trivial. Brian was right those years ago, I needed to keep up with what’s important. (That’s right, Brian, you were right.)

I literally have seen the light. I know what’s important. Sweeping the floor 9 Times A Day is not Important.


So, tonight when the kids get home (from soccer and various other things) we will gather around the dining room table (after moving aside my laptop and take home folders) I will put together a dinner (from the slow cooker) and we will eat and talk and clean up together and maybe play a game of cards. Brian and I will do some laundry after the kids go to bed (the bare necessities), then we will quickly order soccer uniforms (before heading to bed ourselves) and perhaps I can sweep the floor one time (tomorrow)… if there’s time after I snuggle my kids.

As Mother’s Day Approaches, Momvice from One Mom to Another

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NurseryMusts #CollectiveBias

I have written a few parenting posts with suggestions for new parents. Some of these posts included sleep tactics, cloth diapering, registry suggestions, and even ideas for making your own baby food. However, now that my three kids are a bit older and I am further removed from the baby phase, I have some different perspective on parenting babies than I did all those years ago.

 I have combined the three best pieces of advice I can gift all my expectant Mom friends into a little gift.

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1.) Trust your mother’s intuition (and your nose).

Whether it be through adoption or birth, being a new Mom is tough work. Everyone is trying “to help” with various suggestions and advice. From trusted friends to the stranger waiting in line at the supermarket telling you she didn’t need all these new fangled appliances like teething rings for her babies.

Moms have a sense of intuition when it comes to their children. Sometimes it is there right away, sometimes it develops over time. A mom can usually tell when their baby is overtired, needs to be fed, is bored, or needs a change (that one is pretty obvious). However, you should trust YOUR intuition FIRST! Then, if you need advice ask for it. 

Then, when do you change that diaper you don’t want to smell it again. Trust me on this one. 

Mother's Advice Gift 1

At Target, I found the NEW Diaper Genie Complete with The Ultimate Odor Lock system.

Diaper Genie 1

This Diaper Genie features a 7-layer refill bag with double Air-Tite® CLAMP, built in carbon filter which can help absorb those nasty odors, and can hold up to 270 blow outs! In addition to lots of Target runs, there will be blow outs in your future. So after you trust your nose, trust your instincts.

2.) Follow your baby’s lead (each baby is different). 

All three of my kids are as different as they come. They were born in a span of 33 months, I attempted many of the same parenting techniques, but I can tell you that some of them worked, and some didn’t. My oldest switched back and forth between nursing and bottles pretty easily but was a premie and was kind of a gassy baby and the first bottle we tried wasn’t the best for him, my middle guy preferred nursing and I had a hard time finding a bottle that simulated nursing for him, my youngest preferred a bottle over nursing after awhile. Even now, I can tell you I parent them each a little differently because they are three different individuals who have different needs and require a little bit different care.

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Babies after all are little humans, all with different temperaments, likes, dislikes, DNA, and habits. Let’s face it, what works for one little cutie, isn’t going to work for another. Which is why, I say if you try something a few times and it isn’t working, move on to plan B, C, D… there is a whole alphabet after all. 

This is why I always give a couple different options when it comes to bottles and Playtex has lots of options.

Mother's Advice Gift 2

First, The Playtex Nurser with Drop-Ins Liners is closer to natural breastfeeding and can simulate the same suck, small, and breathing patters as breastfeeding. This would have been a great fit for my middle son who would have, I am sure, appreciated a smoother transition from nursing to bottle feeding. Also, with a Like Mom® NaturaLatch® Nipple it can help with a natural latch.

Second, The Playtex VentAire has a unique anti-colic bottom vent which helps to create fewer air bubbles. This would have been perfect for my oldest. And when baby is happy, Mom is happy. Also, this bottle has the added bonus of having an angled design which helps prevent ear infections because you can then feed baby in a semi-upright position. This bottle also features the Like Mom® NaturaLatch® Nipple for easy switching from nursing to bottle feeding.

3.) Be kind to yourself (with a Target run).

Finally, as a new Mom you need to be kind to yourself. Be gentle and forgiving. It’s ok that you don’t know how to fold down the stroller completely and just put it in the back of the car completely open (me). It is ok if you go to Mom and Me Music Class with your shirt on inside out and backwards (also me). All of us Moms are with you in solidarity.

We see you. I see you.

So, lastly, in my Mom Advice Gift, I put a Target Gift Card.

Mother's Advice Gift 3


This is just for you. For that rainy day when you cannot walk to the park, but you cannot stand another day in the house. You can wander around with your baby in the stroller sound asleep (don’t stop walking the baby will wake up) and buy yourself some caffeine and a shirt that doesn’t have a stain on it. Because you deserve it!

For more information about Playtex products, follow Playtex on FacebookYouTube or Twitter @PlaytexBaby.

What advice would you give to a new Mom? What kind of gifts would you include for some #NurseryMusts? Would it be an assortment of Playtex bottles? Share in the comments.





What is With the #TealPumpkin?

In addition to potting some mums that were on sale at Home Depot and hanging the last of my fall decor, it was time for us to put out our Teal Pumpkin. This is a tradition my family and I began last year (you can read about it here), with some inspiration from the awesome people at FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

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For those that regularly follow, Home Everyday, you know all about my kids food allergies. But did you know (according to FARE).

  • About 15 million people in the United States have food allergies.
  • About 1 in 13 kids in the United States as a moderate to severe food allergy. (that’s about 2 per classroom)
  • Every 3 minutes a person is sent to the Emergency Room due to an allergic reaction.
  • A reaction can be mild or extremely severe and even fatal. This life threatening reaction is known as anaphylaxis.
  • Many allergies are not outgrown over time, peanuts, tree nuts, finned fish, and shellfish allergies often tend to be life long allergies causing severe reactions.
  • A food allergy can develop at any time.
  • According to the CDC, between the years of 1997 and 2011 food allergies in children increased by 50%

While my kids have food allergies, they are just like any other kids. They go to school, play sports, go to events, and restaurants. All of these activities just require a little extra care and planning. For the most part, the people we associate with are extremely helpful and accommodating. Also, while my kids have been educated from very early on to read packages to look for possible allergens, ask a trusted adult what is in a dish before eating it, come find me at a party, or when in doubt refrain from eating a treat, they are also still children who are learning how to deal with their allergies.

In The Moment 1

This is why Halloween, for a Mom of allergy kids, is extremely stressful. While my kids are planning out the final details of their costumes, I am wondering how to navigate a through a day that is so centered on candy. Who will we donate our candy to after Halloween? Can I call every candy manufacturer between now and Halloween and find out what candies ARE safe? Should we go trick or treating or a just have a Halloween party instead?

When I found out about the #TealPumpkinProject through FARE, I was so excited to participate. This campaign was designed not only to bring awareness to food allergies, but also allow children who have food allergies to participate a little more fully in the Halloween traditions that we are so used to.

When you knock on the door or ring the doorbell of a house with a Teal Pumpkin (teal is the color of FARE) this tells the trick or treater that this house is offering glow sticks, stickers, pencils, bubbles, or some other Halloween trinket other than food. For the kids with food allergies, this is so exciting! My kids have always trick or treated in the past, and we would often donate our candy or share with family and friends after the holiday was over. Now, the kids have a small memento or trinket they can play with from their night of trick or treating with friends.

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This year, I have a jar of candy for those that can have candy, and a jar filled with Halloween stickers and glow sticks.

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And of course, I have my Teal Pumpkin in front of my door, again, this year. For not only my kids, but for all kids to have a happier healthier Halloween.

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For more information about the #TealPumpkinProject, visit the FARE website. You can find ideas for non food treats, free printables, and all kinds of awesome information!

Organizing Legos: A Lego Figure Display

“If I step on one more Lego!!!!!”

This is a phrase often uttered in my house. The kids have all reached the age when Legos are the primary toy. This of course means they are EVERYWHERE. On the floor. In the couch. On the table. In the kitchen. In the car.

While I love that my kids play with Legos (I mean hello hours of entertainment, education, and did I mention silence), I had to think of a a way to organize this insanity.


The first thing I did was to get some sets of clear plastic drawers, and I sorted all the Legos out by color. I figured this would kind of help with finding certain pieces, and when putting things away, everything would have a place. I even had a couple leftover drawers for instruction booklets, Bionicle pieces, and Lego Figure (known at our house as Lego Guys) pieces and accessories.

Lego Organization 1

After everything was sorted, I thought it might be nice for the kids to have a place to display the things they had built. Normally, they don’t mind displaying something for a few days on the craft table, but then taking it apart to build something else. However, when it comes to their Lego Guys, they really like to keep them together for some reason.

I pinned a few projects, and decided to create a display for their Lego Guys. It was simple and fairly inexpensive as I used up a few things I had on hand.

DIY Chalkboard “Lego Guy” Display

1 picture frame (I chose a large poster size frame)

Chalkboard paint (I used Martha Stewart brand found at Michael’s)

12 – 36 (2 x 3) Lego bricks depending on size of display you want to create

super glue (I used Gorilla Glue Super Glue as I know it adheres to plastic)


Paint brush

drop cloth or trash bags

Lego Guy Frame 1

Lego Guy Frame 2

Step 1: Disassemble Frame. Take apart the frame by removing the glass or plastic, and any paper. Set aside the frame. Then place the cardboard or wooden backing on the drop cloth to prepare to paint.

Lego Guy Frame 3

Step 2: Paint. Paint. Paint again. Paint the front side (the part of the frame without the hooks to use for hanging) with chalkboard paint. Be sure to use smooth strokes and watch for drips. I ended up painting three coats of chalkboard paint making sure to wait at least an hour between coats.

Lego Guy Frame 4

Lego Guy Frame 5

Lego Guy Frame 6

Lego Guy Frame 7

Step 3: Scribble. Most chalkboard paints require you to cure the chalkboard paint with chalk before moving on with anymore steps. To do this you must draw on the chalk paint after it is completely dry (12-24 hours) and wipe clean.

Lego Guy Frame 8

Step 4: Measure. I placed the board back in the frame without the glass. Then, using a measuring tape, a level, and some chalk I marked out some lines to help me determine exactly where I wanted to clue my Lego Bricks.

Lego Guy Frame 11

Step 5: Glue. Using the super glue, carefully put a dab of glue on the side of the Lego brick and placed the brick on the markings on the board. (I didn’t photograph this step as it made me nervous to have my camera or phone around super glue).

Step 6: Wait. It is important to wait a few hours to make sure that all the Lego bricks are secure with the super glue and are completely dry before attaching your Lego Guys.

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Now, you and your kids can enjoy an awesome display of Lego Guys (and label them) and you won’t be stepping on them anymore.

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In The Moment Monday

A few weeks ago, I lamented about my lack of preparation for the upcoming school year. Last week we started school, and it all got done. Well, mostly got done. It might have had a few hiccups. I might not have had perfectly styled Bento Boxes for lunches, I might have been missing a 3 ring binder, I might not have blown out my hair for first day of school pictures.

In The Moment Monday 1

Guess who cares?

No one.

George did get up a little early because he was excited and nervous, and helped me pack up everyone’s school supplies. Having the extra alone time with him in the morning was good for both of us, I think.

In The Moment 2

Russell came home the first week with a PBIS recognition for respect. What a sweet kid!

In The Moment 3

Caroline is loving walking to the bus stop each day to pick the boys up.

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Would I love to make a Phineas and Ferb Bento Box surprise for the boys? Yes. Would I love to have an afternoon tea party for Caroline and her friends after school? Sure. I’ll put those things on my to do list.

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First, I am going to enjoy the fact that we survived the first week.

So, This is What the Present Feels Like

You guys, I am so in denial.

If I wasn’t so hot all the time, I would cover my head with the blankets and hide until Halloween.

In The Moment 1

Here is the thing, I love the start of school. New teachers, new friends, the smell of a new box of crayons all with so much potential for a wonderful and productive school year. There will be learning happening. There will be growth. There will be fun. There will be reading logs, journals, flashcards, and math. There will be field trips and lunches and school bus stories. There will be cooler weather. There will be autumn leaves and soccer practice and hot chocolate and snuggles. There will be organization and normalcy.

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This is one of my favorite times of year.

However, didn’t summer just get here? Didn’t I just make the summer bucket list? Didn’t I just build a fire at 8:00 a.m. to have s’mores for breakfast? Didn’t we just have swim lessons? Didn’t we just spray the grass off our feet with the hose before coming into the house? Didn’t we just watch the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup? Didn’t we just bunk your beds, hang twinkle lights, read Harry Potter, go on day trips, watch movies, drink floats, go to car shows, and laze about? Didn’t we just get back from vacation?

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The seasons are passing more quickly now it seems, which is why I am firmly planted in denial.

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In a world where school supplies are next to pool toys, Halloween is discussed in July, and Christmas decor is already making an appearance it is hard for me not to feel guilty about my lack of over the top school preparation this year. Typically, I am in a organizational frenzy, cleaning every nook and cranny of the house and purchasing every possible back to school supply needed.

In The Moment 2

This year however, it’s the bare minimum.

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The more I think about it, though, the more I realize I am not in denial, really. I am just firmly planted in the present. Living in the moment. Something, I must say, I am not used to. One foot in summer, one foot in autumn. Still waking up late and not grocery shopping while at the same time making lists for the upcoming year and faxing allergy forms to school. I am excited for autumn’s arrival while enjoying the last remaining days of our summer. Soaking up every ounce of sunshine, sprinklers, and popsicles while making sure my little ducks are in a row and have everything they need in due time. Autumn will be waiting for me. Summer will not.

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So, this is what living in the moment feels like. I like it. I think I will stay.




Being Prepared: I Wish I Would Have Known About UnderJams Sooner

I have been compensated for this post, however the thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

I guess you could say I like to be prepared. I like to have things on hand for those “just in case” situations. I have always felt that even being spontaneous takes a little bit of planning so I always have some snacks in my purse, some hand wipes with me, some sunscreen in the car because you just never know when you might want to take a little day trip.

This is why I was so glad when the kids were potty trained. There was less I needed to keep on hand, and less I needed to lug around. No diapers, no diaper cream, no extra clothes. It was amazing. When my kids were all potty trained, I loved the freedom of just being able to use a bathroom when we were out.

I was still prepared, I mean everywhere you go there’s a bathroom right?

Then, a few months ago, I had a moment when I wish I was a little more prepared, and had a flashback of when I had three little ones in diapers at the same time.

I had to make a quick run to our local Big Box to pick up a few things. I had all three kids with me, and my middle son asked to sit in the cart. This never happens, but because I wanted to get in and out of there in a hurry, I was grateful to have one less dawdler. My other two chimed in, “can we ride, too?”

I furrowed my brow wondering why these kids wouldn’t want to walk around and touch everything in sight, but I didn’t question it. Oh well, I thought to myself, and quickly found a cart big enough to hold my three growing kids.

As I made my way through the store, I zigged and zagged the cart through each aisle trying to get my mopey kids to laugh, but also trying to get through the store as quickly as possible (which upon further reflection was not a good idea). This is when my middle guy spoke up again: “Mommy, my tummy hurts.”

As I was asking my sweet little angel if he needed to use the bathroom, he yelled, “Mommy, you better hurry!”

I sprinted the cart toward a family bathroom just in time for him to spew his breakfast.

We made it just in time, but that was much too close for my liking.

As I was helping him get cleaned up, my other two children clutching their stomachs said, “Mommy, we are not feeling well either.”

OH NO! I thought, I am going to be trapped in this bathroom with three kids who are ill. One more child threw up, and all of them had diarrhea.

That is when one of my sweet sick darlings with tears said to me, “Mommy, I went in my pants.”

I told my little one not to be embarrassed, and Mommy would fix it right away.

I looked in my purse out of habit and luckily found some wipes. I used an extra grocery bag with the help of a clerk to store the soiled clothes, and bought some underwear and a pair of pants to get my little one home.

When we got home, I got everyone showered up, put on a movie, and called our pediatrician. She said that a bad stomach flu was going around, and to do my best to keep them hydrated.

In the time that the kids were sick, we only had one more accident. However, I felt terrible.

When Acorn Influence and Pampers UnderJams asked me to participate in this campaign, I was eager to share this story because NOW when my kids are sick, there won’t be any more embarrassment over an accident. I have already bought a pack of Pampers UnderJams at WalMart and are keeping them on hand just in case the need arises again because honestly you never know when they will come in handy and save a little kid from an embarrassing situation.


Pampers UnderJams are discreet due to the ComfortWear quiet material that is like cloth, are super absorbent due to the NightLock core which is perfect if you are trying to #ConquerBedwetting, and they even have a lower waistband so no one has to know your child is wearing them except your child. I also liked that they come in a good range of sizes.

I have added Pampers UnderJams to my being prepared kit.

For more information about staying prepared when it comes to enuresis (bedwetting) check out the information below.

What do you do to stay prepared with your littles ones?

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

I Love Them Because You Love Them: Taking Care of Those Lovies

All three of my kids have lovies. Special friends with special names with whom they sleep, snuggle, and must have for events like shots, first haircuts, and all other things scary. They have each had their lovies for as long as they can remember. Even their baby books include photos of them with their special buddies. I had a feeling from the beginning I would need to take care of these buddies for a long time. Maybe until they head off to college (or head to their first job, apartment, walk down the aisle, or have kids of their own).


Because of the kids attachment to their special friends, it is sometimes like I have SIX kids to take care of rather than THREE. In fact, it is joked about that I sometimes worry about some of same things I would with the kids. (Let’s face it if these buddies get lost or ruined it would break my kids’ little hearts.) Hence: I worry about their location, safety, and cleanliness.

So, here are some tips that we follow to keep our lovies safe and clean.

1.) Safe Place: After too many nights searching for friends at bedtime, we have decided to keep them in their beds. This way the kids know where their buddies are all the time. The only time they are allowed to take their lovie out of bed is for an extenuating circumstances like watching a movie on the couch when sick or going to the doctor for a blood draw.

2.) Sewing Skills: When these little buddies are so loved they are bound to have a rip or tear here or there. I have learned to keep some thread on hand for such an occasion. I have also learned that small curved upholstery needled works best for mending stuffed buddies.

3.) Freeze ’em Clean: I know this may sound strange, but when the kids have been sick my first line of defense is to put their buddies in a plastic freezer bag and put them in the freezer for 48 hours. This is a tip we got from our pediatrician. Doing this will kill any germs and will also kill dust mites. It does take some explaining to the kids, but I tell them that just like they need medicine to get better, their buddies need to get well too.

4.) Machine or Surface Clean: After our trip to the freezer, it is time to wash. For those friends where it is safe to wash them in the washing machine, I always make sure to put them in a lingerie bag or even in a pillowcase. I then wash in cold on a gentle cycle with mild soap. Then, I keep the buddy in the bag and put it in air cycle in the dryer. For those friends that can only be surface cleaned, I follow the directions on the label.

5.) When All Else Fails: This may sound terrible, but when our kids started to develop an attachment to a certain lovie, we hit the internet hard and actually bought a backup. The kids know about their backups, and my youngest even keeps her backups with her. My oldest has his hidden away just in case. The kids are old enough to know that if (it hasn’t come to this yet) ever have to replace their lovies with a backup it won’t be the same as the original, but at least they will still have something similar with memories of their first buddy.

If you like this post and would like to read more about all things domestic with a touch of humor, become a Home Everyday follower! For blog updates or to see other places I write such as ChicagoNow or Chicago Parent follow Home Everyday on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

School Year Organization: 10 Things I’m Doing Now to Keep Myself Sane Later

Yesterday, I was lamenting about my internal struggle about how this time of year seems to be quite difficult for me as there is so much to do and not do all at the same time. In an effort to make the beginning of the year go smoothly, I organized some parts of the house over the summer so that we can spend the last bit of summer relaxing.

Here are ten things I did while the kids were home to get ready for back to school.

1.) Got Rid of Old Clothes: There is no sense cluttering up the kids drawers with clothes that are too small or clothes that have tears or stains from summer. I typically don’t do any “back to school” clothes shopping until the weather starts to change a bit (and I can hit up sales) as they have plenty of clothes to get them through those first few warms weeks of school. This way it is easier for them to find what they want to wear, and there is room for new clothes.

2.) Organized High Traffic Areas: The craft table, desks, and front hall closet got an overhaul. These are areas that typically see a lot of traffic during the school year. The kids tend to drop school bags, shin guards, ballet shoes, homework, and everything else in these places. I tried to make sure that everything has a place so that when we are in a hurry, we can find everything in a jiffy.

3.) Found a Place for All the Papers: So much for the digital age! Since my kids have started school, I cannot believe the amount of paper they come home with every day. Try as I might to get rid of a little bit every day, there are still some papers that I have to hold onto. I found a way to organize everything perfectly, while still allowing me to save time.


4.) Got the Kitchen Ready: I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like my kitchen get a break in the summer, and when school starts I am back to cooking, baking, fixing meals multiple times a day. Since I was cooking less this summer, the kids helped me do a little kitchen organization.

5.) Went Through the Toys: Once the school year starts, our family doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room in our schedule. So, I try and take an afternoon to talk toys with the kids and talk about what they don’t play with anymore and what can be donated. This helps make room for upcoming birthdays and holidays too.

6.) School Supplies for Home: When I do decide to go school supply shopping (I’m the worst), not only do I try and purchase school supplies for school, but I also try and purchase a few extra of everything for home. This helps especially for homework or craft projects at home, and everything is cheaper and can be bought in bulk this time of year.

7.) Got Everyone Back on Schedule: Over the summer we are all going to bed a little later and sleeping a little later. The last part of summer, I am slowly but surely trying to get my kids to bed a little earlier and to wake up a little earlier too. I don’t want to their teachers to experience how cranky they can be when they are sleep deprived that first day of school. We have been doing this in about 20 minute increments, little by little. Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.


8.) Got Myself on Schedule: This school year, I will have pockets of time where I will be alone, so I want to be able to fill those with productive things so that when the kids are home I am able to make time for them.

9.) Bought a Surprise: I bought each of the kids a special surprise for their first day of school. It is nothing expensive or lavish, but it is just a little token to let them know we are thinking of them that day. These are things I keep my eye out for over the summer and buy when I see them. This year, I got them each a book about the grade they are going into this year.


10.) Pack in the Fun: I scheduled a ton of playdates, events and fun for the last few weeks of summer as I could so we can spend time playing and enjoying the nice weather and each other.

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10 Little Things that Help This Mom with Preschoolers

When I go to classes at Second City, there are times when I know I am the only person there with a Mom purse filled to the gills with more things for the kids than myself, however, I also know that there are just some things that make life a bit easier living in a house full of preschoolers.

Here is my list of TOP TEN little things that help me survive parenting three little ones.
1. Spill Proof Cups and Water Bottles: A few months ago my son was mortified that I called his water bottle a “sippy cup” as in, “Mom, c’mon, I’m not a baby anymore. It is spill proof!” Apparently, my little one likes to exert independence when it comes to hydration. However, let’s face it, I know grown adults who spill (cough cough me), so we always have spill proof cups and water bottles on hand for both the kids and adults in the house. 

Look at these cute cups from Target!


2. Large Inexpensive Purse or Tote: We are no longer in need of a diaper bag! WOOHOO! However, there are a few things that we need to keep on hand at all times such as water bottles, medications, and some things to keep the kids occupied. Because of this, I have had to upgrade the size of my purse a bit to accommodate what we need while we are out. Instead of investing a lot of money in a fancy purse or tote (sigh, someday I will have a Kate Spade), I found an inexpensive and stylish large bag that I don’t mind carrying around. Since this is a bag that houses sticky medicines and often times snacks and water bottles, I won’t be heartbroken if there happens to be a spill. 

No one will know its from Target or filled with markers and juice boxes .


3. Keyboard Protectors: Life with little ones can be sticky. Literally. Between the jelly, play doh, and new found love of glue, kids just have sticky fingers. I found these keyboard protectors for my laptop, and I love them. Now, when someone climbs on my lap to play, I’m not so worried about jelly on my keys. 

These are a lot cheaper than replacing a laptop.


4. Easy to Make Trail Mix: (or Goldfish Crackers) Snacks at home or away are necessary for growing preschoolers. For this Trail Mix, I mix together Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Craisins, Raisins, Pretzels, and chocolate chips for a little treat to tide the little ones over until our next meal. Also, when this runs out, Goldfish crackers work just as well.
5. Board Games and Decks of Cards: My kids love playing games. It has become one of our favorite family activities. Games are educational, fun, and are an awesome way to foster family time. We keep both regular and travel size games on hand. 

Our current favorite GUESS WHO?


6. Mesh Laundry Bags: These have become a life saver. While my little ones are growing by leaps and bounds every day, their socks are still so teeny tiny and often get caught in the washer. Also, these little bags help keep pairs together. 

These would also be a cheap solution to storing bath toys.


7. Library Card: Most people have a Library Card. However, with all kinds of media so readily at our fingertips, many do not keep their Library Cards up to day. Libraries have amazing toddler and preschool programs, story times, crafts, sing-alongs, and all kinds of activities to keep my little ones happy. The programs are free as long as I tote my Library Card. 


8. Crayola Color Wonder Markers and Paper: My kids love to color and draw, but again, sometimes the mess is more than I can handle. Color Wonder Markers will only color on Color Wonder Paper. I cannot tell you how many messes these avoid! 

Color Wonder? More like Color Miracle!
9. Good Concealer: Having preschoolers is a whole different kind of exhaustion! My kids sleep through the night and gone are the days of middle of the night feedings and diaper changes, but keeping up with these little ones and making sure they aren’t getting into trouble has me sometimes looking a little worse for wear. With a little dab of some consealer under my eyes, I look fresh as a daisy.
My favorite concealer!
10. Anytime TV: Whether it be Netflix, a DVR, and Apple TV, or an old fashioned VCR, having your kids favorite shows accessible is perfect for those moments when it is time for a show, but their favorite show isn’t on at the moment. Sometimes, you just need 30 minutes to get dinner on the table, fold a load of laundry, or hide in the closet and eat a piece of dark chocolate. 

Apple TV


What are your go to items for surviving life with toddlers and preschoolers?

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