Category: Time savers

Friday Favorites: FabFitFun 2016 Spring Box

Friday Favorites (3)

Fellow Mombies nod your heads if you agree with any of the following statements:

  • I wear pajamas all day and maternity clothes past their prime.
  • My meals consist of 3 times reheated coffee and leftover chicken nuggets from my children’s plates.
  • I’ve run on just a few hours’ sleep for the last five years.
  • I want to lose the weight that crept up on me but with 3 boys under 5 years old, the only thing I am losing is my sanity.
  • I am not being the best version of me!

All of these things were my life. Then something finally clicked and I wanted to start taking care of me! It’s my responsibility. I owe it to myself and my family. After this epiphany I found myself walking around Ulta Beauty for an hour trying everything on. Then I got my hair colored in a salon as opposed to my generic $6 box o’ color. And I am finding ways to budget in purchasing a couple of new outfits. Overall I am beginning to live a healthier life for me.

With the weight finally coming off I want to give myself a reward. Let me introduce my new healthy obsession: FabFitFun!

Fit Fab Fun Magazine Box

The FabFitFun box is a quarterly subscription service that sends out products each season. Each box shares full sized products from the latest in beauty, fashion, home, fitness and health. I love this subscription box! There are items in here that I would never splurge on myself with, nor would I even know about them. Each box will always contain full sized premium products with at least a $100 retail value. The Spring 2016 box is worth $282 but the subscription cost is $49.99. Read below to get $10 off of your first box, or prepay the annual subscription fee and get a $20.00 discount and pay only $179.99. Most of these products include a promo code just for FabFitFun members to use toward next purchases.

Let’s go over all my new goodies…..

Herb Garden by MakersKit –  How cute is this wooden trough? It comes complete with compost, containers, basil, mint and thyme. Instructions are also included. Perfect for Spring! ($35 value).

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

Contour Kit by Ish – I have watched contouring videos before and I’m too frightened to even try. I was happy to find that Ish makes easy to follow “HOW TO” videos that you can watch HERE. If contouring is still not your thing you can just use them as blush, eye shadow, or highlighter. ($32 value).

Bath Bomb Trinity by Jus ‘Amour – Confession: I don’t own a bathtub. Another Confession: After smelling these bath bombs and reading the essential oil blends, I’m being selfish and not giving these away as a gift!  I’ll use them at some point in my life during a dream vacation. ($28 value).

  • Love Potion (Jasmine, Rose & Sandalwood Essential Oil Blend)
  • Wake Up (Eucalyptus, Peppermint & Lime Essential Oil Blend)
  • Deep Breath (Lavender, Chamomile & Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Blend)

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

BodiPure Keratin Gloves & Socks – If you can’t go to the spa, bring the spa to you. These left my hands and feet silky soft. Make sure the kids are asleep so you can put your feet up and relax! These items are packaged separately so you do not need to use the socks at the same time as the gloves. ($10 value).

Tag Necklace by Jook & Nona  –  I typically wear silver, but I adore this 18K gold plated necklace engraved with the word “LOVE.” This is an example of something that I wouldn’t have purchased on my own because it’s gold. I’m so glad that they picked it out for me! I hear celebrities love Jook & Nona so now I feel like a VIP. ($65 value).

Jook and Nona Love in Gold

Shaving Emulation Lotion by HelloLegs – Spring means Summer is around the corner and Summer means shaving. Make this tedious task easier with this combination of body lotion and shaving cream. The website hasn’t launched yet, no full value price available.

Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh – This product left my hair feeling healthier, smoother and with a shine. However, I just want to keep smelling it. It’s amazing! You need it.

Marrithew Mat Strap Plus – My initial reaction was “I hate yoga.” I do. I know that I’m in the minority but my body and brain just can’t get on the same page when it comes to yoga. If you do enjoy yoga or Pilates – this is a pretty nifty strap. It has a 3-1 versatility so I did actually get some use out of it. Use it as a strap to hold your yoga mat, to assist you in yoga poses, or resistance exercises. Great for travel! ($15 value).

There were 2 gift cards included that did not come with any stipulations so they are as good as cash!

  1.  31Bits– I used this $25 gift card to purchase a gift for my niece. After shipping I only paid $6.00. I love what they are doing to make a difference in the world with their products.
  2. Sterling Forever  I typically don’t purchase inexpensive earrings without trying first, but I made the splurge. By splurge, I mean $10 since $30 was already covered! ($30 value + free shipping).

My favorite item in the entire box is surprisingly NOT a product. It is a little note card from I AM THAT GIRL. It’s a non-profit organization but at its core – it’s a movement! Empowering girls to love, express and be exactly who they are. I AM THAT GIRL has made a difference in thousands of girls lives from all over the world connecting them both in online and offline programs and initiatives.  If you want to raise the standard on how girls treat themselves, each other and the world then consider being a sponsor. I am hanging this card on my bathroom mirror to “remind myself that I’m not alone, that I’m beautiful, that my voice matters, and that I am enough.”

Follow FabFitFun’s Facebook page for great tips and articles!

Sign up for a subscription box here. Treat yourself, you deserve it! Use Promo Code: GLORIA for an additional $10.00 off your first box!

Thanks for reading to the end! As promised here is the Giveaway Winner for 4 Mess Fest tickets!

Congratulations Jennifer R. You will be contacted directly via email today!

Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

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Friday Favorites: Top Picks for Summer Skin Care

SAFE SUN

Did you know the first official day of summer is June 20th? But many of us are already enjoying some fun in the sun now! I spend hours outside in the back yard, or at local parks with my kids. I want to be sure each of us is protected from sun damage or sun burns. I am really careful about what I put on our skin. I also like products that multi-task and save me a little time.

Before I share my favorites here’s a quick word about SPF. The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, estimates how long you are protected against sun burn. For example, if you know your skin starts to redden after 20 minutes in the sun, a product with an SPF of 15 will keep you safe approximately 300 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the SPF the longer the protection time. But it is important to apply properly and reapply in time to get the most benefit from your sunscreen.

Here are my favorite can’t live without summer skin care items:

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 

I rely on my tinted moisturizer for a casual coverage that evens my skin tone. Using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF protects me  from damaging UVB and UVA exposure. I personally like Mary Kay’s CC cream with an SPF 15. The coverage is great and it is light weight enough for me to wear while at the park with the kids, running my errands or even working up a sweat at the gym. Not only does the SPF keep me from burning quickly, but it is the first line of defense against aging. (Sun damage = wrinkles). You can locate a Mary Kay rep online and purchase for $20.00.

cc cream

Lip Balm with SPF 

My absolute favorite is Kiss My Face Lip Treatmint with SPF 30. This water resistant lip balm keeps my lips smooth and tastes amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a sunburn on my lips just standing at the park with my kids, or playing outside in our yard. Too much sun exposure to your lips can cause dehydration and aging. The antioxidant formula re-hydrates and heals dryness. I also love that it is gluten free and cruelty free. Kiss My Face also has a really great line of organic lip balms that I buy for my girls to enjoy. You can purchase online for around $2.50, or find in most retail drug stores.

kiss my face lips

Sunscreen with SPF 

I go with Kiss My Face Organic sunscreen. It is gluten and cruelty free and made with 87% organic ingredients. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means I can run through the sprinklers, or take a dip in the pool with the kids without worry. It is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may seem pricey at $13.99 a tube, but worth the peace of mind I get knowing it’s less chemical exposure for me and my kiddos.

kiss my face sunscreen

Sun Protection Tips:

To get the most benefits from your sunscreen you should apply 10 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes that long for the minerals in the cream to settle into your skin and create a barrier of protection. I apply my tinted moisturizer and lip balm as part of my morning skin care routine so I am set for the day. I try to cover the kids just before we leave the house, or before they leave for school.

Getting a little sun isn’t a terrible thing. It is actually medically necessary to get enough sun to help our bodies convert proper levels of Vitamin D. We only need about 15-20 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for good health. You want to be sure you are protected during the peak times of day which is 10 am – 3 pm. That is when the suns rays are most intense and you are more likely to get a sunburn. If you know you will be out in the sun for longer, say a day at the beach or at the pool, be sure to cover up and use your sunscreen!

Product links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

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Friday Favorites- Earth Day Roundup

Happy Earth Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate the earth and all the fabulous wonder it brings. Hug a tree, recycle a container or go out and plant something. Here are my Top 3 favorite earth friendly (and human friendly) products I have shared so far in my Friday Favorites series!

NORWEX

Norwex

My absolute top favorite is Norwex. We use the Envirocloth every day and need only water to clean with! This has cut down my household dependence on paper towels, cleaning chemicals that wash into our water supply and I let my kids help out more often too! That saves my energy resources. 😉 I started using the crazy mesh dish cloth I thought would never work and now I am hooked! It cleans better than a sponge and food doesn’t get stuck inside. I no longer have to buy pesticide soaked sponges! That saves me money, our water supply and adds way less waste into our landfill. You can find my original post about Norwex products here.

 

RUME

MyRuMe

I still love my RuMe reusable bag! I carry this tote inside my mom purse where ever I go. It has saved me from using countless plastic bags when shopping for only a handful of items. I can skip the plastic bag at the library too when out with the kids. And I can even use it to carry home a wet pair of pants (don’t ask). It is a great size and rolls up small so I can carry in my purse. It is washable and very sturdy! You can read my original post about my favorite RuMe products here.

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Poofy Organics

Last but not least, Poofy Organics has become our bath time favorite! My girls are still using and loving the Young Wild and Free shampoo and conditioner. I am loving the organic ingredients (entire product is not organic certified) and that it is cruelty free. The products clean really well and smell wonderful! We also use the lice prevention spray in the morning before leaving for school. This also smells really good without being over powering! All products that are good to our earth from start to finish! You can read my original post about Poofy Organics here.

There ya have it! A round up of my Top 3 favorite eco-friendly products I can count on! For me being kind to our earth is necessary to leave behind a healthy world for my children and my children’s children. What earth friendly products do you love the most?

All links to giveaways are now closed. Winners have been chosen and prizes distributed. No financial compensation given for reviews all opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links contained within individual posts. 

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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Friday Favorites: Money Saving Apps That Earn You Extra Cash

MoneySaving Apps

This week we upgraded my dumb “smart” phone to a much better option! My last phone really was the dumbest smart phone ever! If I tried to download an app (or use any app) the phone would freeze. I would have to turn it off and restart it every time. I couldn’t upload any of my pics any where and it would just shut off randomly. I know… first world problems. But, it can be frustrating when you are trying to use your phone for business and an all inclusive scheduling tool.

Now that I have a fully functional phone I am finding more apps that save me time and money! Who doesn’t love that? During those early years of paying for formula and diapers for two babies I spent a lot of my time clipping and organizing coupons. Now, I just don’t have the time. So apps like Target’s Cartwheel and Ibotta are super easy to use and much quicker than clipping and sorting coupons!

I feel like I’ve come late to the party because just about everyone already knows about these apps. But, if you are as late to the party as me, let me share my favorites!

 

ibotta app

The Ibotta app allows me to unlock savings deals on grocery items, apparel, electronics, specialty gifts, pet supplies, arts and crafts and more. I simply unlock a coupon to get cash back on that item instead of the amount deducted up front like a coupon. Once the cash amount reaches $20 you can cash it out and transfer to a Paypal account to spend any way you want. Who doesn’t want EXTRA cash?!

walmart savings app

I am not a fan of shopping at my local Walmart. Mostly because it is swamped no matter what time of day I go. There’s never an easy place to park and the lines are always so long it’s never just a quick stop for me. But, a lot of my friends are using the Walmart Savings Catcher app when they shop. It automatically searches your purchased items and compares the prices at other local stores. If an item is cheaper at another store Walmart refunds the difference! Another way to make EXTRA cash! (I have not used this one yet).

cartwheel app

The Target Cartwheel app is super easy to use and you can stack your savings! If you have a coupon for an item already AND there is a cartwheel coupon you can use BOTH! I purchased bathing suits for my kids Easter baskets this week. As I was standing in line I remembered I could use the app! I’m glad I did because there was a coupon in there for 15% off kids bathing suits AND additional coupons for the candy items I purchased too. I didn’t pay full price for anything! You don’t get cash back with this app, but saving up front is a great way to keep cash IN your pocket! The best part is no coupon clipping and it stores your digital coupons in your dashboard to access at the cash register!

Often these kinds of apps offer a chance to earn extra cash by sharing with your friends. So, the first time they use the app you are rewarded with $5-$10 in your account to spend any way you want. Between earning cash and saving cash you are getting paid to shop!

I am hooked on using these apps to save and make money. Now, I am curious what other must have apps are out there! Which ones are your favorites?

PLEASE share in the comments below!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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That’s Where You’ll Find Me!

Where You'llFind Me

Hey All! Do you know you can now follow The Whatever Mom on BlogLovin’ ?! It’s true! If you are not using BlogLovin you will be soon! It’s a great way to keep all your favorite blogs organized in one place! (Think Pinterest for all your favorite blog posts!). Go check it out!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You can also follow The Whatever Mom on Twitter and Facebook!

Yes! The Whatever Mom is on Pinterest too!

And, of course you can always subscribe to the blog via email to be sure you get ALL the freshest and most current blog posts first! Please like, love and share The Whatever Mom with your friends and family (even your frienemies!).

 

If you can’t find me in any of the places listed above it means I am hiding from my kids and enjoying a cup of icy cold coffee. You know, my happy place. *wink*

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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To Grandmother’s House We Go!

To Grandmother's House

As soon as summer arrives the girls and I hit the open road. We make several road trips each summer to see our family and friends. This weekend we traveled home to see Nana (their grandma). The girls were so excited they started packing two days in advance. Of course all they packed were pajamas and stuffed animals, but hey they were motivated!

On a typical trip home, or an outing anywhere, I pack up individual activity bags for each of my girls. This time I decided to go with one basket of activities. This will save me from having to reload two different bags and keeping track of what items belong in each bag.

Road trip activity basket

I re-purposed a broken picnic basket I had set aside for the trash. (A small child in my care put their foot through the top while using it as a step stool. No names are given to protect the identity of the evil doer). I simply removed the hinges holding the top to the basket- viola! A perfectly usable basket!

Road Trip Activity Basket

My mom has a low tech household, which is fine because we do to. So, I packed activities they could do with grandma: side walk chalk, bubbles, card games, story books, and crayons and coloring books. I even packed our calming bottles just in case we needed to get through a tantrum while at Nana’s (thankfully they were really, really well behaved).

Road Trip Activity Basket

This basket was especially helpful during our drive! I left it in my passenger seat so any time the girls wanted a new book I could easily reach for one and pass it back to them.

The basket idea was a big hit for the girls and worked great for me!

 

What kind of activities do you keep on hand while traveling with kids?

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

 

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Weekly Round Up!

So… after a rough week with the kiddos I took my Whatever philosophy to heart and gave myself the night off. Which meant I didn’t get my Friday Facebook Roundup to you. At least you’ll have fun reading this morning!

Put the kids in front of the cartoons and check out these links!

 

You can never have too much glitter with this Gobble Globe!

I am a sucker for a painted kiddie hand print turkey!

Keep the kiddies busy during Thanksgiving break with these FREE coloring pages!

Can’t wait to make this our new Thanksgiving breakfast tradition!

A great project for older kids- Gratitude Placemats!

Kids will have fun (and develop fine motor skills) with this fun beaded napkin ring project!

This one is super easy! Even toddlers can help make these Thanksgiving Silverware Napkin Rings!

Let the kids join the fun in making this kid friendly Thanksgiving Table Runner!

Color your own Thanksgiving Placemate!

For my vegetarian friends, Thanksgiving Meatless Main Dishes!

Sweet idea for a Thanksgiving play date- Turkey pudding cups!

Adult friendly dessert in a glass- A Frozen Turkey!

Can’t get enough of these FREEBIE coloring pages!

Finally, the best thing I’ve ever made Sweet Potato Casserole!

 

Also, don’t miss my personal blog post this week, 7 Ways Being a Mom Has Made Me a Horrible Friend.

 

Join me on Facebook to get all these great tips every day!

 

Have a great weekend!

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Happy CrOcktober

Have I shared with all of you how much I love my crock pot? My love affair with slow cooking began a few months after my twins were born. It takes a lot of work to put a hot dinner on the table while adjusting to life with kids! Once I got over the fear of burning down the house  and gave my crock pot a try there was just no turning back! In less than one hour a week I prep 5 week night meals and put in the freezer, then I let the crock pot do all the heavy lifting. Now, I’m not juggling the evening dinner rush with prime time tantrums, phone calls and my own end of day melt down.

I am often asked to share some of my favorite recipes. I have collected a bunch over time and have no idea where I picked them up from (somewhere on the great world wide web), and I have my go-to sites to check out new ones. Here are seven “pop and drop” freezer meals I make most often. Pop and drop means there’s no chopping or dicing. You simply add your chicken and pop open a few cans/jars and dump all into one freezer bag. Your prep is complete. I’m guessing you may not want to eat a full week of chicken dinners, but maybe you’ll find one or more to liven up your freezer meal rotation.

Click links below for free recipe printable:

Lazy Tex Chili

Pesto Chicken with Green Beans

Thai Chicken

Hawaiian Chicken

Chicken Alfred with Broccoli

Maple Dijon Chicken

Creamy Salsa Chicken

NOTE: My kids are picky eaters so I usually make them mac and cheese on the side, but even when they do share our meals there are still plenty of left overs for hubby and I to enjoy for lunch. Even if you do not have kids this is still a pretty awesome system! Imagine not worrying about spending 30 minutes to prepare one meal, or wondering what’s for dinner? I wish I knew about freezer cooking before I even had kids.

quick tips

 

A few of my favorite sites to find dinner inspiration:

http://wp.sixsistersstuff.com/?s=freezer+meals
http://wp.sixsistersstuff.com/?s=freezer+meals

 

MexPumpSoup2ZZ77

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/01/mexican-pumpkin-soup.html

 

http://paleopot.com/2012/11/paleo-roasted-red-pepper-sweet-potato-soup/
http://paleopot.com/2012/11/paleo-roasted-red-pepper-sweet-potato-soup/

 

Leave a comment below with your favorite crock pot freezer meal site!

 

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3 Easy Steps to Feel Organized

Every week for nearly the last four years I have proclaimed, “THIS is the week I get organized!” I really mean it when I say this. But, the reality of taking care of the other humans in my home leaves me little time to organize like Martha (as in Stewart). I admit it is disappointing to open the closet to find things spilling out, or open the dresser drawers and see all the mangled clothes. I always feel pressed for time as we race through our mornings before to leaving for school, or getting to a play date. But, Martha doesn’t live here so it’s up to me to make things orderly and accessible.

So, how does a busy twin mom without a moment to spare get organized? Well, first I had to throw away my vision of what  organized looks like and really think about what it feels like. Being organized feels less rushed and less like I am behind on tasks. It feels less stressed. So, what stresses me out the most? Snacks, mealtimes and getting my kids dressed. I often forget to give myself a snack, or suddenly a child is melting down because I forgot to feed them. It is stressful pulling out one shirt after another until my kid finds THE ONE she likes. Suddenly it’s 4:30 in the afternoon and I forgot I have to make dinner! Ack!

Here is my “Master plan” to feeling organized:

SNACK TIME PREP

Use snack sized Ziploc bags to divide up kid sized portions of their favorite snacks.
Use snack sized Ziploc bags to divide up kid sized portions of their favorite snacks.

I divided our snacks into kid friendly portions by using Ziploc snack bags. I measured according to serving size, filled bags then I piled them into a clear plastic box and left on a shelf in a cupboard the girls can reach.

Create an easy-to-reach snack shelf in the fridge for fresh snacks.
Create an easy-to-reach snack shelf in the fridge for fresh snacks.

Next, I set up a shelf in the fridge with squeezable yogurts, carrot sticks, apple slices and drinks they can just grab and go. This alleviates my stress of preparing snacks on demand and gives my girls a bit more independence.

Keep snacks in car to ward off meltdowns on the road.
Keep snacks in car to ward off meltdowns on the road.

Don’t forget snacks for the car! This is my back up in case I forget to grab the snack bag!

Total prep time = 20 minutes (maybe 30 if you let the kids help). Time saved = 1.5 hours of prepping or chopping snacks on demand while the kids complain they didn’t want “thaaaat snack.”

 

DINNER TIME PREP

Prep ahead crock pot freezer meals are a HUGE time saver!
Prep ahead crock pot freezer meals are a HUGE time saver!

I have collected over a months worth of freezer crock pot meals my family will actually eat. I make my menu for the week, buy all my groceries and return home to assemble into Ziploc bags and freeze.

Total prep time = 1 hour. Total time saved = 6 hours.

 

CLOTHING PREP

Kids can see all their options at once.
Kids can see all their options at once.

My kids will not pick out their clothes the night before and stick to wearing that outfit by morning. By simply adding one more fold line to our shirts and pants I save a whole lot of space AND my kids can see all their options at once. For shirts I use a modified ‘Gap fold’ (it’s a real thing Google it!) and then I fold in half one more time. THAT’S IT!

gap fold
Not a true Gap Fold, but your shirts should look like this.
Fold one more time and stack several shirts together before lying down in the drawer.
Fold one more time and stack several shirts together before lying down in the drawer.

 

Fold pants one extra fold, stack and lie down in drawer.
Fold pants one extra fold, stack and lie down in drawer.

This saves me the time (and torture) of watching my kids pull out one shirt at a time to get to the one they want.

Total prep time = mere seconds added to folding time. Total time saved = 40 minutes a week!

 

So, if you like math here are the numbers: Total Prep Time = 1 hour 20 minutes Total Time Saved = 8 hours 30 minutes

Feeling organized and saving hours of stress = PRICELESS!

What are your time saving secrets to keeping your family organized?

 

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