Ten Easy St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

I’m no super mom but I dream of being one. I love all the creative ideas floating around with fun things to do for your kids on holidays, but the truth is, I tend to forget to actually do them. Am I alone?

Here’s a list of super easy and quick ways to do a little something extra special for St. Patrick’s Day this year:

1. Green Toilet Water

greentoiletwatervia A Differentiated Kindergarten

Add a little green food coloring to the toilet bowl before you call it a night, and blame it on those pesky leprechaun’s.

2. Green Breakfast

IMG_6590

Or if you forget, do it for dinner. You get a second chance with this one. This is my husband and my oldest having green eggs and green milk. Endless options here…green milk in the cereal, green smoothie, green pancakes/waffles/french toast.

3. Lucky Charms

luckycharmsvia Wizards & Fairies

Get ’em hopped up on sugar cereal!

4. Free Printables

freeprintablevia Money Savvy Michelle

There is a plethora of free printable coloring pages and activity sheets on Pinterest.

5. Wear something silly & green

Via Target

Pick up some St. Patty’s Day themed socks for each family member.

6. Make some art

via Parenting.com

Browse Pinterest for a bunch of easy art ideas you can do with your kids. I love this hand print version of a four-leaf clover. Precious!

7. Rainbow water

via happy hooligans

How cool is this? Just add a little food coloring to your ice-cube trays in rainbow colors to make this “rainbow water”. This would be a fun way to spice up dinner time.

8. Jazz up the lunchbox

via Bento Diva

You don’t have to go all out like this adorable bento box, but try to add some green or a shamrock sandwich to the old lunchbox. If you don’t have a shamrock cookie cutter, you can also cut out three small hearts to form the shamrock leaves, and add something else for the stem.

9. Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner


via Canadian Family

Make a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. This recipe is easy peasy, you just put everything in the crock pot and get on with your day.

10. Green beer

Now pour yourself a green beer and kiss someone – Irish or not ūüôā

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Review: The Honest Company Diaper Bundle

Time for a shout out to my new favorite company, The Honest Company. You know, the company my friend Jessica Alba started up?

Well, we’re not really friends, but I have a feeling that if I were a rich, famous person living in LA, I would see Jessica Alba at a yoga class and we just might have a nice little conversation after a deep pigeon pose stretch. We might even go for a smoothie afterward. I just don’t know.

I came across The Honest Co. when I finally threw in the towel on cloth diapers with my second child. I know, hypocrite, I have raved about my love for cloth diapers on this very blog. I am still a huge fan of cloth diapers and I am not giving up entirely, but for now I needed a different option. I was having the hardest time keeping up with the laundry because my little diva is the lightest.sleeper.ever and her room happens to share a wall with the laundry room so I can only do laundry when she is awake. Major laundry back up.

So I started looking into other options that were still earth friendly and affordable. I just can’t live with the fact that a regular disposable diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose. Yikes!

Honest Co. has an amazing disposable diaper that is plant-based (made from corn and wheat), has no chemicals and is naturally biodegradable. You can buy them in individual packages or they have a convenient monthly membership that includes both diapers and wipes.  I love that you can tweak the delivery schedule however you want, and you only pay when delivered. So even if you ship every six weeks, you still get the monthly membership discount price.

Win win right?

And the best part? They come in ADORABLE prints.

I know. Seriously.

It kind of makes changing a dirty diaper easier. Kind of…

You will pay a little more for these diapers than regular disposable diapers, I have figured we spend about $20 more per month.
To me it’s worth it.

So, even if you are a loyal cloth diaper user, these are a great alternative for travel or even those first few months when it can be hard to get in the groove of using cloth. And if you can’t fathom using cloth, this is the perfect alternative!

Here is my little one sporting her adorbs diaper:

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FYI – Trying to take a tushie photo of a busy 1-year-old is like trying to catch a chicken.

10 things I learned from my mom

1. Always send a thank you

We were taught from a young age to promptly get thank you’s in the mail after our birthday and Christmas, or any other time we received gifts. I love our modern ways of communicating – email, Facebook, text, etc., but there is just something about getting a handwritten thank you note in the mail. It might seem old school but I always feel appreciated and honored when a little note comes addressed just to lil’ old me. And I think it’s an important manner to pass on to my children so we are instilling the same habit in our kiddos.

Target has some cute options to help kids with thank you’s. I have seen some with stickers they can use to decorate and some with fill in the blanks for kids that can write. Or, look online for a free printable kids thank you template.

2. Love your babies, but love your husband more.

You probably read this and thought, “what”? I’ll explain.

While I was pregnant with my first, I remember my mom telling me to be mindful about still paying attention to my husband after the baby was born. How very 1950’s of her right? I may have done an eye roll at the time but after my son was born, I knew what she meant. The love you have for your child is so perfect – they love you no matter what, everything they do is adorable, and for the first few years you’re focused on¬†meeting their every demand. At the end of the day in my exhausted state it was easy for me to forget to greet my husband when he got home or prioritize those much-needed date nights. I believe that¬†the best thing you can do for your kids is keep your marriage strong – strong but not perfect. And I’m not saying I have been great at this one, but I’m working on it.

3. Take care of your skin

She has told me this all of my life. I am adamant about wearing sunscreen and slather on a massive amount of face cream every night. I can’t go to sleep without washing my face. I don’t know if this will prevent me much from getting wrinkles but at least I won’t have a leather face. Try my coconut oil body scrub, it’s delish.

4. Never say never…or always

Because “no one never does something or always does something”. Those are fighting words.

We were taught not to use never or always when arguing, because it’s simply not true. I liken it to the difference in calling someone a liar, or saying that they lied to you. Never and always sound like character flaws, instead of isolated offenses. This is a big one, one we should be sure to teach our kids.

5. Entertain simply.

We’ve talked about this recently. My mom and I share the love of entertaining, but it’s easy to get caught up in making things fancy and trying to have everything perfect. If our real goal is making and building quality relationships, we should skip the goal of perfection and keep it simple. Make a big pot of chili and invite the neighbors over (she just did this). Throw in some pizzas and or do a potluck for movie night. It takes the pressure off of everyone.

And, whatever you do, do not clean your house from top to bottom before a playdate. It’s just not necessary. Everyone knows you have kids.

6. Cut the butter.

I am not suggesting that butter is a bad thing. I believe in butter, real butter, not that fake margarine stuff. But, my mom usually cuts some or half of the butter out of recipes and they still turn out wonderfully. So, cut some of the¬†butter out of your next recipe¬†and you probably won’t even notice the difference. Except in your thighs.

7. Never stop learning.

Read, read and read some more. Watch the history channel. Try something new. Uneducated doesn’t always mean you didn’t go to school.

8. Cooking dinner is always better with some Frank Sinatra on.

Enough said. You simply cannot be in a bad mood with Frank around.

9. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more.

I’m working on biting my tongue more. Instead of offering up advice, she would often tell me should would pray about my problem for me. Sometimes I thought it was annoying, because I wanted to do the over-analytical thing that I am so good at. But there is wisdom in listening and praying for your friends and loved ones, and keeping your mouth shut. Again, I’m working on it.

10. Be a woman of action.

Sometimes it’s ok to be the squeaky wheel. If you don’t call about that obscenely high medical bill, you may never find out it was billed wrong. Or that you can get a discount if you pay in one sum. If we don’t question things, they may never change.

What would you add to the list?

::giggle giggle snort::

A life changing organizing tip

Well, that might a big dramatic. But, my sister did promise it would change my life. So here we go…

This happens all day long, right? I am constantly digging through the pantry and grabbing snacks for the kids, and trying to keep my diaper bag stocked. And then along came…the snack bin.

I did not¬†come up with this idea. I was raiding my sister’s pantry during a visit and admiring her organization (she is amazing, you can find her at Morganize with Me), and I saw the snack bin. She explained how it worked, and I knew I must do the same thing immediately. She got the idea over at I Heart Organizing.

The idea is to package up portioned snacks ahead of time in small containers and make them accessible to your kids so they can help themself. Then the individual snacks go in a bin in the pantry where they can reach them.

In our house, my son needs to ask permission to get a snack from the snack bin, because I don’t want him helping himself all day and filling up too much before meals. I have found it really helpful for those times when I am busy and can’t grab a snack, and my son loves to be able to pick his own out.

I copied my sis and got the same containers, they are the Ball Plastic Freezer Jars. I have tried pre-portioning¬†snacks in ziploc bags before but they end up getting smushed in my bag and my son can have a hard time opening the bags. I love these containers because they keep the snacks fresh, they don’t get crushed and they wash well.

I also love these because they help me when I’m doing the mad dash out the door in the morning. I always grab a couple of snacks for my bag so I am prepared for the day.

Some snack ideas for your snack bin:

  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Animal crackers
  • Veggies Straws
  • Raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Pirate’s Booty
  • Nuts
  • Chex Mix
  • Granola
  • Trail mix

My sister also keeps a snack bin in the bottom drawer of her fridge for items like string cheese, yogurt, applesauce, etc. I love this idea but I’m not ready to give my kids access to the refrigerator yet. ūüôā

How do you organize snacks? Would these work for you?

Displaying kids art

I am SOOO excited about this finished project and can’t wait to share it with you!

You know the drill…you’ve got your kids adorable art sprinkled all over the house and car. I think it’s important to honor their creativity and display their prized artwork, but I was struggling with a way to contain it all. So I came up with the idea to once a year scan the pieces onto my computer and make a mosaic¬†collage¬†to hang on the wall. I had Cole go through his art and pick out his favorites for the mosaic and other favorites to keep in a file. Now he can proudly show off his work and I don’t have projects all over the place.

This is so easy to do, you don’t need¬†a fancy program. I searched for a free program to make a mosaic using his first day of school picture as the master image, and found mosaickr.com. This is a free program and worked great, you just upload your photos and they put it together for you. The only problem I had was that this looks the best when you use 300-500 photos, and I had around 50.

I ended up using Picasa¬†(also free) to put together the collage. After uploading your images and editing, you simply select all the photos you want to include and click on the “Create Photo Collage” button at the top.¬† I also included his first day of school photo in the collage to put in the center.

Then select “mosaic”¬†from the collage options and rearrange until you are happy with the layout. I was able to put his school picture in the middle and put the year in text over the picture as well. Then, just save and have it printed and that’s it!

And I framed it. Now I just have to figure out where to hang it up!

GAK

Gak: A popular Nickolodeon slime, available in many variations such as glow in the dark, speckled, coconut smelling, etc. Useful for making fart noises and grossing out friends. (via Urban Dictionary)

We made our own. So easy, best $3 project ever.

Homemade Gak

  • Empty two 4 ounce bottles of Elmer’s glue into a big bowl.
  • Add 8 ounces of water and mix (you can just refill the Elmer’s bottles with water)
  • Add desired food coloring.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp Borax into 1/2 cup of warm water.
  • Add the Borax mixture to the glue mixture.
  • Watch it turn into the slimey fun we call Gak!

See, wasn’t that easy??

What you need to know about cloth diapers

I know. The whole cloth diaper thing causes most of us to wrinkle up our nose. More laundry, stinky poopy laundry. I get it. I really do. That’s what I used to think before I learned more about them.

Here’s the deal – I will preface this post saying if you have no interest in cloth diapering, DO NOT DO IT. Being a parent keeps us busy enough and the last thing you need is someone trying to convince you that will be a better parent if you do cloth diapers. You won’t. But, if you are even the slightest bit curious, keep reading. I made the switch from disposables to cloth after educating myself, and they work wonderfully for us.

I get the same questions over and over again from people about cloth diapers. Let’s get straight to the point, what you all are really wondering:

So people really wash dirty diapers at home, in their washers, where they wash all of their other clothes?

Yes.

Here’s how it works. Diapers from an exclusively breastfeed baby can go right in the wash. Breastmilk is water soluble. It’s that runny, watery poop and it washes right out.

Fomula fed babies and older babies (on solid food)¬†will have poop that is a firmer consistency. No, you don’t dump a whole dookie into your washer and call it good. For these kind of stools, you remove it prior to washing. Most people simply dump what they can of the poop into the toilet. They also make a diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet that you can use to spray off the majority of the poop. Yes there will still be a tad bit of poop going into your washer but if you are washing them correctly this won’t be a problem. On a side note – we all should be dumping the poop into the toilet, disposables or cloth diaperers. Human feces aren’t supposed to end up in the landfills. Think about it. Ewwwww.

So how do they really get clean then and is there leftover poopy water in my washer?

There is a ton of info out there about how to wash your diapers and different machines will require a different approach. Basic rules are:

  • wash diapers seperately from your other laundry (duh)
  • do a cold wash first
  • do a second wash in hot with lots of water and detergent
  • do a second rinse
  • line or tumble dry

A lot of people, myself included, have had the best luck using Tide. There is something about the enzymes in Tide that really get the diapers clean. Every time.

Is there leftover poopy water in the washer? I really don’t know. But I consider myself a reasonably intelligent gal and if the diapers come out clean, wouldn’t the washer be clean too? And if you have experienced the wonderful world of potty training, it’s certainly not the first time your washer will see poop. I have a front loader and once a month I do the bleach cycle to clean the washer and avoid getting the horrid musty smell.

Can I really save money? Is this worth all the trouble?

Yes. You can really save money. A lot of it! There is a wide range of cloth diapers out there, and you certainly can spend a lot, but there are also lots of very reasonable choices.

According to Consumer Reports, you can expect to spend around $2,500 on diapers per child until they are potty trained. I can think of a lot of other shoes¬†things I would rather spend my money on. Cloth diapering is generally much less expensive. I would say we have invested around $500 dollars for the diapers I have used on both my children. And I honestly didn’t notice a change in our gas or electric¬†bill from a few extra loads of laundry.

How are they better for the environment? You are still using energy and water to wash them.

It has been estimated that one baby in disposable diapers will contribute one ton of waste through their years in diapers. A TON. That is a lot of waste. And waste that will be around for a long time considering that it can take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. 500 hundred years, so at least six generations…WOW.

By choosing reusable diapers, you are using a renewable resource, including water and electricity. It just makes more sense to me.

There is a lot to learn about cloth diapering. But please know that if you are interested, it is do-able! Even if you do it part-time, or just when you are home, or¬†even just when you feel like it, you¬†are still doing something great for your baby and the¬†environment, and your¬†budget.¬†And if you don’t, that’s okay too.

For more info on cloth diapers check out Cotton Babies or Abby’s Lane. They have great FAQ’s and easy ways to get started.