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**FLASH GIVEAWAY** Get Your Home Holiday Ready Faster With Norwex!

FLASH GIVEAWAY (1)

I had never heard of Norwex when my friend Rebecca invited me to a Facebook online party. I thought I’ll just look around and order something small so I can help her out. I honestly never, ever thought this stuff was going to work. I scoured the Internet for any red flags and negative posts about the company and the products. All I found were some very happy customers!

Norwex Kitchen Cloth

The first products I fell in love with were the spirinets and the kitchen cloth. Brace yourselves, because what I am about to show you is truly horrifying! The inside of my microwave. (You may want to remove the kids from the room).

Please don't look at my messy microwave

Normally, I’d spend 20 minutes scrubbing one small area at a time with soap and water. With this microfiber Kithcen cloth I finished cleaning the entire microwave in less than five minutes using just water! What impressed me most is this cloth cleaned up more stuck on food in one swipe than my regular kitchen sponge.

Norwex Cleans Microwaves

 

Three parties later and I am hooked on these products! Now I’m in love with the Enviro Cloth! Lucky for you because you might be the winner of this weeks FLASH GIVEAWAY!! ONE reader will win TWO FREE Enviro Cloths!

Norwex Enviro Cloth

The Enviro Cloth cleans just about everything in your house using ONLY WATER! No need for chemical cleaners! You can dust with it, clean counters and table tops, or heavier stuff like spills on carpets and couches. One Enviro Cloth reduces chemical and water use by 90%!! It lasts for 500 washes or 10 years! The BacLock (TM) technology has silver antibacterial fiber melted into each cloth.  The silver inhibits bacterial odor, mold, and/or mildew growth within the cloth AND it removes 99% of bacteria with just water! Check out Rebecca’s blog for details on how BacLock technology works, and check out videos of Rebecca using the cloths in her own home!

I am so excited to use my Norwex cloths to clean before the holidays!!  The micro fibers pick up so much more dust and debris than other cloths, so it’s a quicker more efficient way to clean! Just one cloth can clean my entire bathroom, or kitchen without any chemicals! No need to carry a bunch of cleaners from room to room. I simply rinse with water between uses and hang it up to dry. Once it is completely dry the silver is again ready to kill bacteria!!

Curious to know how YOU can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the holidays? My friend Rebecca is working on something special exclusively for The Whatever Mom readers! Click here to join her Norwex Customer Club on Facebook and send her a message that The Whatever Mom sent you! Then, Join us for a LIVE Facebook chat on Friday November 20th at 9:00 p.m.! Rebecca will send you the link to our private event when you join her Norwex Customer Club. I do not like a hard sell! So, I love that Rebecca truly enjoys sharing her honest experiences with Norwex. She is not pushy with sales, and is happy to answer any and all questions you have!

 

ONE lucky winner will get TWO Enviro Cloths for FREE!! Plus a FREE sample of the UPP detergent!! You have 17 Hours to enter before the winner is announced on The Whatever Mom Facebook page! 

**** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS JULIANA W!******
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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Moms, We Have Each Other

MOMS

Ever meet a mom and think, “Man, I wanna be her friend!” That happened to me at the park today.

I was just sitting there minding my own business, watching my kids run all over the play area when this other woman walked toward us with two girls close to my kids ages. I really did not want to make small talk. I just wanted to sit alone … in silence. Our kids were so ecstatic when they met each other I thought they were long lost friends.

“Hello, how are you?

“Good, how about you?”

From there she sat down on my bench and I don’t remember much about our conversation other than we laughed and we had the same vibe going. We watched our kids from afar as they helped themselves up and down the stairs, come down the slide together and even walked over to use the bathroom by themselves. This mom didn’t even flinch when all of the kids kicked off their shoes to run through the park in their socks! Neither of us jumped up to scold or demand the kids keep their shoes on. We just rolled with it and continued our conversation.

Every time one of her kids asked her a question she replied with the same tone and remarks I encourage my kids with, “You can do it. YES you CAN!” “No, I just sat down.” “OK, so just go to the bathroom.” It was like hearing myself, but with a voice outside of my own head. I felt like, “so I’m NOT the only one that says these things!!?” We both sat back and let the kids just play and make up stories while we chatted. It was so nice to not feel pressured to impress this mom with how attentive I can be, or for either of us to defend our decisions on organic food, co sleeping, or vaccines. We were just two tired moms sitting at the park watching our kids. We didn’t need to be anything more.

We shared stories about how life used to be when kids could just open the door and run free. A time when kids ate dirt and peed in the yard. It was incredible to share this space with a mom who was just so Whatever. She didn’t judge me and I didn’t judge her. We didn’t even judge other moms. We just shared the same philosophy of keeping life simple and doing what we need to, to get through the day. She is a grandma well into her 60’s and I am a mother about to turn 40. And, we just clicked.

“Man, these kids exhaust me. As soon as I hit the pillow I’m out like a light.”

“Me too.”

“It’s great that they have each other though.”

“It really is.”

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I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Simmer down now, this is a family show!

I don’t know about you but I am filled with a great determination to get organized this year! (Maybe it is just coincidence that about 1.2 million other people have this same urge?). Now that my twins are 4 I feel like I am finally coming out of survival mode. I’ve taken a look around the house and wow is it a mess! Well, not that anyone would actually see it as a mess because like everyone else I keep it all hidden in the closets! *wink*

I was hesitant to write about the dirty little secrets I keep behind closed doors. I mean who really cares about MY messes right? Well, we’re all friends here so I think it’s OK to let you take a peek. It will be like the Whatever philosophy expressed in pictures. Alright, only two pictures. I know we’re friends, but let’s not over share.

I was ridiculously overjoyed when I found these little beauties at Sam’s Club:

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The best way to my heart is through organization supplies.

 

Yes, that IS twelve clear-plastic, empty shoe boxes for just $9.94! (I admit I have a strange addiction to storage totes and office supplies). But, where to use them? Hmmm…

How about that crazy bathroom closet I CAN NOT keep tidy?! Here we go! My bathroom closet stores all our extra supplies, the kids bath stuff, my hubby’s stuff and just a bunch of stuff. It looks like this:

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Whatever pic #1- open door and drop stuff where ever. Just don’t look back.

 

Every morning I go rummaging around for my deodorant at the bottom of one of these cute baskets I employ to keep me organized. It’s always the wrong basket and I always drop something. No more!

 

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Whatever pic #2- this is what works for me!

 

Let there be boxes!!! Glorious see through boxes!! (I won’t tell you how many boxes are just for my products alone). Now when I do my hair I can pull out just the supplies I need without having to rummage around and carry them in my arms. I can have all my make up next to me at once instead of pulling out three different bags. Now to find pretty labels.

 ~ ~ FAMILY SHOW PORTION ~ ~ 

I did say this is a family show, so here is how I plan to bring the kiddos in on helping me keep things tidy.

Neither of my girls will stick to a chore chart. I think the longest one has lasted is three days. BUT! They are amazing helpers. Most often I cannot finish a task alone because one of my littles will ask to help. Sometimes I just want to finish MY OWN task (like tearing apart a closet). That’s where these helping hands come in!

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I have a love/hate relationship with stickers (as in I hate peeling them off the floor). I was happy when the girls let the sticker charts go. NOTE: If you notice a chair or rug that seems out of place in our  house, it is probably there to cover a stubborn sticker that refused to be removed. (Cue my new strange addition: Goo Gone).

Here’s how Helping Hands work:

Trace your child’s hand on a colorful piece of paper. Allow your child to decorate with (cringe) stickers, or jewels, or just color with a crayon.

Allow child to trace their own hands and decorate!
Allow child to trace their own hands and decorate!

Write a chore or helpful task on a Popsicle/craft stick.

Write out chores or helpful tasks.
Write out chores or helpful tasks.

Glue the decorated hands to the sticks and allow to dry.

Kids can pull out a helpful hand when needed.
Kids can pull out a helpful hand when needed.

Display upright in a pretty vase or jar, or you can stack them in a … clear plastic storage box? [har har]

When my kids want to help, but I need space to do what I need to get done, I ask them, “you know what would really be helpful? Can you pull out a helping hand?” Maybe my kids are weird (Hello apple? Meet tree.), but they really love a good task!

 

Now, it’s your turn to share a pic of that secret cluttered mess!

 

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DIY Shower Soothers Using 3 Ingredients

This weeks post is going to be short and sweet. My little girl picked up a terrible cold virus. It comes with a wicked cough and major sinus congestion. She woke me up at 3:00 a.m. standing by my bed shouting, “mom!! I can’t smell!!” Poor kid.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many medicines a 4 year old can take for a cold. So, I have to find ways to help ease her symptoms without giving her a ton of medicine.

Years ago my sister in law gave me these really wonderful shower soothers scented with lavender. The running water in the shower melts the disc and releases the scent. I wonder if I can make some with the soothing vapors of vapor rub? Turns out, I can!

After some Googling and searching the Intereweb I find a recipe for DIY vapor shower discs using only 3 ingredients- water, baking soda and vapor rub (any brand). Luckily, I already have all of these things on hand! No need to drag a sick kid through the store! Awesome!

Here are the Ingredients:

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All the items you need for this project.

 

Here’s the DIY:

Add 1 cup of boiling water to glass mixing bowl, or measuring cup.

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Begin by boiling 1 cup of water.

Add a generous scoop of vapor rub to boiling water and mix until melted. (I used 2 Tablespoons).

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For stronger vapor release simply add more vapor rub to boiling water.

Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time to 1 cup of baking soda and blend until consistency reaches a smooth paste. (Should not be watery).

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Consistency should be pasty, but not watery.

 

Pour mixture into lined muffin tin. *Liners keep the strong odor of the eucalyptus from “sticking” to your pan.*

Pour into muffin liners 3/4 to the top.
Pour into muffin liners 3/4 to the top.

Allow to sit over night at room temperature to dry out and harden.

Use muffin liners when using petroleum based vapor rub.
Use muffin liners when using petroleum based vapor rub.

Gently remove each disc from pan and remove liner. Store in an air tight container (mason jars work great). Keep in the bathroom on a shelf and toss into shower when ready.

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Store discs in air tight container. Any glass, or plastic jar will do.

 

These work beautifully and double as a shower timer! As soon as it melts it is time for sissy to take her shower.

I wish I could stick around to share more. But, my mommy senses are tingling… they’re telling me there is a nose that needs to be wiped and juice to be fetched.

If you’re looking for more to read check out my fabulous giveaway post from last week. See how you can win a $25.00 Toys R Us gift card!

 

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Kids who tantrum in public – A Parent Perspective

Last week, fellow blogger Discount Diva gave out medals to moms with children who throw tantrums. As a mom of two children with epic tantrums I am not looking for a medal, just simple understanding and space to be a parent. Let me take you through a recent experience and break down for you what I, the parent, was thinking and feeling.

The library is one of our favorite places to go. It is rare  my girls have an epic melt down there; maybe a little whining if they are not ready to leave. I usually remind them we can always come back and they’ll move on. So, I was at a complete loss as to why my one daughter went nuclear while we were at the library a few weeks ago. She knew it was time to leave and she was ready to go. We stepped into the bathroom to change her since she had an accident that soaked through her pants. As I tried to take her shoes off so I could change her she started getting whiny. This is where I start taking deep breaths because things could go either way here. She can continue to simply whine or start to completely wail. I changed her and asked her to wash her hands. Something happened from the time the paper towel hit the garbage can to the second she stepped outside the bathroom (I still have no clue what it was). She was on the floor flopping, kicking and SCREAMING. A high pitched, ear shaking scream. The kind that causes mass panic that a child is being abducted. Now here is where experts diverge. One group advises you not to react. Just keep the “demand” on her and expect that she will change her behavior. The other group advises to stop what you are doing and get down on the floor and hold your child. I have both experts arguing inside my head. I have another child in tow and I am carrying several bags packed full of kid gear who do I focus on first? I go from taking deep breaths to survival mode in only a second. It’s fight or flight and I’m looking to flee to the next open door!

There is no end to the screaming. No amount of gentle tones or soothing hugs is getting this kid to move. As we inch slowly to the door she’s screaming, “No! No! No! I don’t want to go out the door! I don’t want to go home! I don’t want to leave this place.” I start preparing my response to the CPS worker who will be greeting me when I get home. I try to muscle her through and tell her this is NOT OK. You NEED to get up and walk to the car NOW! I can feel my temperature rise and my heart beat escalate. Nothing is working and as we make our way out the door she’s screaming, “pick me up! carry me!!”

My mind is now a blurry fuzz of options: 1. I can walk away and leave her there- except we are on a busy corner with heavy traffic. 2. I could attempt to (painfully) carry everyone up the hill. 3. Just flop on the ground myself and start screaming. 4. Remain calm and drag her.  I went with #4 and I keep my focus on just making it to the car. My mind is split between just taking baby steps toward the car and praying the other kid continues to be cooperative. If they both melt down at the same time I have no choice but to just plop down with them for one hell of a cry. Not even a good cry.

That’s when “Super Grandma” jumps in with her two cents. “My grand kids act like that I just step over them.” Oh, ha ha … yes I already thought of leaving my volcanic child here on the corner of a busy street while I walk to my car 10 cars away. I smile, nod, ignore her remark and keep walking. Then I heard the words, “just a bad kid.” I swear I could feel my hair catch fire. If I wasn’t so focused on keeping it all together I would have turned around and verbally blasted this woman.

A child having a tantrum (even in public) is only a small snapshot of their day. We don’t see the bigger picture of their day. What grandma failed to recognize is how hard I was working to keep it together and not flipping out on my kid in public. She also doesn’t know about the many sleepless nights I spend wracking my brain trying to figure out what I am doing wrong as a parent, or how I beat myself up because I’m failing at this parenting gig. Lady, I can assure you this is no cake walk for me. I do not enjoy, or ignore the fact my child can’t control her own emotions yet. It is actually painful for me to watch and feel powerless.

This day it was only one kid melting down. I have experienced tandem tantrums. (That’s where both kids melt down at the SAME TIME in PUBLIC. Usually when we need to get some place on time). I have heard a lot of hurtful remarks, “there’s something wrong with your kid!” “My kids would NEVER act that way.” “You’re kids are hyper.” “Good luck with that one.” “Her behavior is over the top.” “How do you put up with that?” “She’ll NEVER learn to cope with the real world.” These comments have come from teachers, strangers and even friends and family. They are all hurtful and none of them help me resolve the issue. They all feel like an F on my parenting report card. It’s hard to not look at my kids and think, “why can’t you just be like all the other kids?”

I have learned to deflect those comments by reminding myself how beautiful my girls are. The way their smile lights up a room, how they can be absolutely charming and how incredibly smart they are. I try to remind myself that they are still learning to navigate how the world works and their place in it. It is my job to teach them how to cope and how to identify boundaries. In those moments when I am under fire by other parents (and grand parents), it is MY responsibility to role model for my girls how to handle adversity. How I respond to those comments is going to teach my children how to respond to those same personalities when they are adults. Kids aren’t going to have it right the first time around. It takes practice and it takes repetition. My kids may not fit into any one size fits all check box and that’s a good thing. I have been called “persistent” “bossy” and “defiant” too. It is those traits that have made me the most successful in life.

So Super Grandma, go ahead and make your judgments when you see my kid melt down in public. You can assume the worst of me as a parent. But, keep it to yourself. If you really want to help give me a thumbs up, tell me it only lasts a short time and maybe offer to hold my bags while I walk my kids to the car. If you can’t do any of those things then please follow this protocol:  take your right hand out of your pocket, place it over your mouth and keep walking.

To my friends and family, before you quickly judge that mom at the store who is just loosing it on her tantruming child, or you see her trying to wrestle her kid into a car seat while the kid is kicking her in the face, just think she isn’t enjoying this moment. Remember you don’t have the whole picture. This is one small peek into their day and is not an accurate reflection of this persons parenting style. It’s easy to forget that, so I offer up the same protocol listed above.

I rarely share how hard it is to have twins because I don’t want anyone to think I am looking for sympathy. Motherhood is just hard no matter the cards you are dealt. With twins, most people assume one twin is “easy going” and the other is “difficult.” I am blessed with two formidable little ones even Hercules would bow to.

 

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Potty Training Edition

So you know that What to Expect when you’re Expecting series of parenting books? I’m about to add another volume to that called, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting- Potty Training Edition.”  Potty training has not been a magical 2 day experience for me. It hasn’t even been a difficult 2 months. It has been an on again off again roller coaster from hell for the last 26 months. No joke. Not even a typo.

My twins are a special breed. There is no pushing them to your way of thinking. No amount of bribery will sway them. They dig their heels in and plant roots. If you are fantasizing your kid (or twins) will be potty trained by age 2 (or at least before age 5) you can expect the following:

Expect to increase the number of potties you own. You will have one that plays music and sings and cheers. I have a Mickey Mouse potty for each twin, plus a travel potty for our traveling rest stop. I also have 2 toilets at home and somehow still have to fight for a seat!

Get a little potty that YOU love, because you will be carting that thing everywhere; birthday parties, ball games, trips to the park. EVERY. WHERE. While you are at it upgrade the family car to an SUV with enough space to accommodate your rolling urinal (complete with life like smell). Expect to keep it fully stocked with extra wipes, undies and clothes. Make sure you include a change of clothes for yourself because believe me $#@! happens.

Woman Cleaning Toilet

Expect to get cozy with poop. Get to know it on a first name basis and be prepared to shake hands because the two of you will be spending a lot of time together. Most kids can’t clean themselves properly until age five. Nope. Not a typo. You can expect to wipe those adorable tushies for nearly FIVE full years.  Also, FYI, you’ll find yourself increasingly obsessed with each family member’s daily constitution. If anyone cries the wrong way, or gets a little crabby the first thing you will wonder is, “when was the last time you pooped?” This applies to husbands as well.

Expect to apologize to Mother Earth right now for the things you will turn a blind eye to. Like the 17 pairs of actual undies you will throw in the trash because there is no way you’re cleaning that! If you are an earth huger try not to think about the BUH-zillion wipes needed to get kids through the first five years of life. Also, (if you use them) the 20 KUH-gillion pull ups you just sent out to the curb wrapped in plastic.

Hands on a globe

Expect to invest a small fortune in laundry cost too. If you are lucky to have a working washer and dryer you can expect to use them every single day (more if you have multiple potty trainers). Or just start searching now for the closest laundromat. This will be your new home for a while. Expect your kid to pee through every single pair of underwear within the first 2 hours of your first day of potty training. (Tip: bathing suits make great back ups in a pinch!).

laundry

Expect to be a hypocrite. Remember all those things you said you’d never do when you have kids? Expect to do them all! Just for funsies here is my ‘never going to’ potty training list:

I’m never going to use rewards like M&M’s, lollipops, stickers, and video games. (Used them ALL).

I’m never going to freak- accidents happen. If by accident you mean a child purposely squats in a corner to set a “pee trap” for the beasts to slip in. (Totally freaked!)

I’m never going to let my kids run around in just underwear in the yard. (Outside potty = clean floors inside).

I’m never rearranging potties. Potties belong in the bathroom. (And the living room, and the kitchen and the hallway).

Everyone keeps telling me that I can expect my kids to potty train when they are ready. But, really no one understands the steely determination my kids have to get their own way. The girls know the ins and outs of potty training. They understand where it goes and even have a potty preference. Heck, they are bringing ME stickers after I flush. Yeah, they’ve got this. At this point they are just messing with me.  And, I can expect that part will never change for us.

potty meme

Special note: If potty training doesn’t happen for you in 48 hours or less your kid is totally normal and you are doing nothing wrong. If your kids are like mine and take 26+ months … Whatever! It’s totally them not you!

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Eggless Easter Fun!

2014 Easter Blog 002

Last year I discovered the simple beauty of plastic Easter eggs and fuzzy pom-poms. With Easter right around the corner I’m bringing these back! It usually buys me at least 30 uninterrupted minutes. I can almost hear my own thoughts while finishing the dishes!

First, I picked up some plastic eggs and pom-poms at the dollar store.

Pick up items at any dollar store.
Pick up items at any dollar store.

Next, I dumped them into a deviled egg tray for easy access and storage. That’s it! Done! The kids will take care of the rest! (If you don’t have pom-poms you can use cotton balls).

Eggs and pom-poms
Eggs and pom-poms

You can find an egg tray similar to this one at the dollar store. I just happened to have one on hand.  You can also recycle an egg carton to store the eggs in. Use whatever works for you.

The first things my girls do is sort and match the colors by placing the pom-poms into the matching colored egg.

Color sorting/matching
Color sorting/matching

Next they enjoy using kid sized plastic tweezers to count out the pom-poms and fill the eggs. (This is a great activity for developing fine motor skills).

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Then they just like to make up their own games through pretend play. They grab handfuls of pom-poms and pile them up and mix them up. Sometimes they pretend to go shopping for eggs and fill up an empty shopping bag.

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No matter which scenario they choose, we almost always end with – you guessed it- an Easter egg hunt. They like to take turns hiding the eggs and finding them.  Of course I have to help look for the eggs too.

Last year when I first introduced this to my girls they were 28 months old. I was worried they’d eat the pom-poms, so I sat nearby while they played with them. They also enjoyed taking them into the bath tub, dumping the pom-poms into a bowl to mix with a spoon, and just comparing the fuzzy feeling of the pom-poms with the smooth feeling of the eggs.

This year they found a new way to play- Pom-pom soccer!

Use a straw to blow pom-poms across the finish line.
Use a straw to blow pom-poms across the finish line.

The first one to blow a pom-pom into an egg using a straw wins. I love that there are so many different ways to play with these simple things many of us already have around the house.

Got a favorite simple (mess free) activity you’d like to share?

 

Thank you to everyone for following my blog! You can also find me at at http://hudsonvalleyparentblog.wordpress.com/

 

 

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Reclaiming my passion for painting.

My finished painting.
My finished painting.

I walk into a Vine Van Gogh paint night so excited to spend time with other moms (and a glass of wine). It really does not matter what we are painting, I am just happy to be out of the house and among other adults. In the last three years I’ve made due with stolen moments alone at the grocery store, or late night drives to run errands. FYI, none of those are fulfilling or deeply gratifying.

Connecting with friends.

Connecting with friends.

The instructor shows us how to set up our canvas and lets us loose with paint. My mind is flooded with distant memories of moving a brush around on canvas in another life. It feels like a refresher course of all the art classes I have taken. Then without expecting it, it becomes a refresher course in how much I love painting. I spend so much time painting with my toddlers I have forgotten how much I love painting for myself. There was a time in my life (before kids, marriage, house) I couldn’t go a day without painting, or drawing something. Don’t get too excited I’m not an artist by any stretch. But, I am creative. I can see new ways to reuse something, or finish a project in simple easy steps and occasionally I can get downright crafty.

Remembering how this painting thing works.

Remembering how this painting thing works.
Class shot.
Class shot.

I love my kids and I love that I get to stay home with them. I simply forgot the value of having my own space and time, or a project just for me. Something I clearly took for granted before kids. I feel guilty spending money on myself, or leaving when I know my kids will melt down. But, it’s OK to let dad feed the kids whatever for dinner, and so what if they skip a bath because it’s what dad needs to do to get through his night with the kids? The important thing I try to remember is it is one night. They will survive and so will I! I realize I am not spending hundreds on myself. The occasional expense of nurturing my own happy pursuits goes a lot further than just me. When I am personally fulfilled I am better at nurturing my family.

I love my time out painting and chatting (and I love escaping the monotony of laundry and the constant barrage of shrill screeches of“Mama! Mama! Mama!”  that jumbles all of my thoughts).  The class is nearly 3 hours long- which is long enough for me to reconnect with a long forgotten passion. Now, I can’t wait for the next class!!

Class photo.
Class photo.

We are all busy women, whether you’re a mom or working girl- what are some ways you keep in touch with your passions?

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Snow Day at the Beach

Here in the Northeast we are covered in about 30+ inches of snow. It’s safe to say I am over the snow. Every day I look out my window to a sea of white. It hinders my view at every stop sign and I have to tether my kids to the back deck before letting them go play for fear I might loose them. It’s seriously a lot of snow.

Every morning I wake up and think warm thoughts and remember my days at the beach. Ah… my toes in the warm sand and cool drink in my hand. I must be thinking about those days pretty hard because my daughter said to me today, “mommy I want to go to the beach!” I thought you and me both sister!

It is rare that inspiration and money come to me at the same time.  But today was my lucky day. We made a trip to the dollar store to get glass gems I want for another project I am dreaming about (you’ll have to wait for that post). While there I saw some glass sea shapes and I thought, “why not? I’ll figure out some way to use them!” We finished up our shopping trip which included some great bargains on plastic storage boxes.

We arrived home pretty close to dinner time and of course the girls were asking to watch TV. I knew that late in the day I’d never get them to turn it off to come to the dinner table. So, I did some quick thinking and just gave them the box with the glass sea shapes to play with.

Sea glass shapes in a box.
Sea glass shapes in a box.

The gems alone were just enough to keep them occupied while I put dinner together. They were so fascinated by the shapes and the smooth side and the bumpy side. I was so fascinated by no interruptions that I used the time to hunt through their toys to find beach themed items. I let them play until dinner was served and brought the boxes back out after dinner. I asked if they want to help me build a beach in a box. Well, of course!

Here is the little cast of characters we included in the box:

People, animals and things you see at the beach.
People, animals and things you see at the beach.

I tried to include things we might see at the beach.

Then we filled it with “sand.” Since I often use whatever I already have on hand I had to wrack my brain a bit for some sand. Then I remembered I had a bunch of salt left over from our salt dough Christmas ornaments.

Our white sandy beach.
Our white sandy beach.

Ta-da! A white sandy beach!!

This is what it looks like all together:

All our beach items in the box.
All our beach items in the box.

The girls had so much fun with these boxes it was totally quiet for a FULL GLORIOUS HOUR! The only reason they stopped playing is it was time to take a bath and get ready for bed.

I will WARN you- this project wasn’t wet or sticky but will get messy when the salt spills outside the box. And it did. A lot. I’d advise against it if you are not in favor of messes entirely, or superstitious about spilling salt. (I had to fight the urge to throw a pinch over my shoulder while sweeping it all up).

I’m not going to lie and say my favorite part was seeing the joy on my kid’s faces (that was a bonus), or that it won me some rare quiet time. Honestly, my favorite part was that it only cost me $5.05 total ($2.52 each box). And, I felt pretty awesome coming up with this idea on the fly.

So, here’s looking forward to warm sunny days real soon!!

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The Day I Became the Whatever Mom

January 31 018

I think it is important to share that I am afflicted with a type “A” personality; which basically means I am very high strung and I want things done my way. I tend to fall apart when things do not go according to plan. And, by fall apart I mean I have a full systems meltdown (which I did when my girls were around two and a half).  I am very lucky I get to stay home with my twins. I do not however have access to family, back up child care and my husband works 98% of each day. So, most days I am out numbered.

Now, let me share with you that having twins as your first born is hard work. There is already a major learning curve to being a first time parent, but you throw in that extra needy little human and things get tough. Whether you have one, two or several, that first year is all about getting your parental bearings. Even with all the curve balls I hit that first year, it was still the easiest so far. Both kids were on the same eating and sleeping schedule. Juggling feeding and bathing two babies alone was difficult, but I managed. By the grace of God they both took two naps a day which gave me approximately three and a half hours to complete my household chores, maybe rest and watch TV. They were in bed by 6 p.m. and I had three more hours to get things done (and drink some wine). Since they were so portable we went for a walk three times a day. Errands were nearly effortless when I only had to pick up their carrier and lock it into the stroller. I was able to get things done, maybe not as perfectly as I could before kids, but my house was orderly, my kids were clean and dinner was on the table every night. I felt like I was THE domestic goddess. My type “A” was happy!

It all changed when my twins started walking. In opposite directions. I could no longer keep them contained and everything they touched was now out of place. They started protesting against diaper changes, wardrobe changes, bath time, car seats, the stroller and what was on the menu. It was exhausting. But, somehow I was determined to continue operating at a level of perfection only I had created. Until one day I landed myself in the ER with my first ever panic attack (a fore mentioned full system melt down). I hated it. I hated feeling like I did not have control. That was the scariest part. After meeting with a neurologist (I was convinced it must be “a tumah”) I realized I needed to make some changes. I needed to let some things go- namely my expectations.

My kids deserve a healthy mom. So, “whatever” became my mantra. I started saying “whatever” to the dishes now and then. I started saying “whatever” to the crumbs on the floor and the splatters of paint on the table after art projects. I even started saying “whatever” to keeping every single thing perfect. I lowered my standards from unattainable perfection to “whatever works.” I’m not going to lie. It was and still is difficult to do. I still get a twinge of “oh man I should be doing THAT!” when I go to other kids parties, or see friends awesome Pintrest projects. I get in a rush to make things bigger and better than I have planned. Then reality sets in that the only extra hands I have are little ones and I call upon my mantra of, “whatever” and I let it go.

I started this blog to give moms permission to do Whatever it takes to get through the day as a parent. You don’t need to keep it all together and make perfect crafts. You don’t need to put perfectly hot meals on the table every single night and hand deliver perfectly folded laundry. So, give yourself permission to leave the dishes in the sink a little longer while you play dress up with the kids. Our little ones actually want to be with us and shower us with kisses for a very short time.

Is your mail piling up? Is the laundry calling your name? Does your neighbor give you funny looks because you feed your kids out of a squishy pouch while driving to school? Repeat after me, Whatever! It works for me!

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