cleaning with kids -- three tips to getting it all done (and staying sane)

This post is sponsored by Bona; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Friends! Especially friends with kids! Let’s talk cleaning. Because if you’re a mom, you know that cleaning with kids is basically an oxymoron. You clean, they destroy. You clean, they mess up. You clean, they pour everything out, and so the cycle continues haha. I keep telling myself that one day, the house WILL be clean and quiet and I’m going to hate it, so I just keep trying to soak in the sound of little feet running around.

BUT that doesn’t mean I stop cleaning haha! Cleaning is actually super therapeutic for me.. I don’t love it and it’s hard to get started but once I do, I’m here for it. Cleaning, purging, decluttering, it’s all just so good. Walking out to a dirty kitchen in the morning or crumbs that stick to my bare feet as I stumble around making coffee or sticky spots that remind me I have mopped in a week or so… those things increase my anxiety like you wouldn’t believe. They cause me actual physical stress haha!

So here are a few things I’ve found helpful while trying to keep a house with young children:

1) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We found a great deal a few months back and hired a maid service to come 2x/month and clean the entire house… and it is GLORIOUS. I still have to clean on the in-between weeks, but honestly, the maid service has take a huge load off my shoulders. It just helps to make sure the house never gets unmanageable. You know what I mean — when it’s so far gone that you’d rather just burn the whole thing down because you don’t even know where to start?? Yeah, that. It doesn’t happen anymore! Having the service just keeps everything on a schedule and makes it easier for me to keep up with my own cleaning. My husband is in real estate and works long hours, I have two toddlers, a blogging business, we host a bible study at our home once a week, we’re very involved with our local church, etc. We’re BUSY (and I’m sure you are, too) so if you can swing it, I highly recommend hiring help. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it all, it just means you’re choosing to use your time more effectively! Also, PS: our maid services uses our Bona mop when they’re here to do the floors haha! That’s how good it is!

2) Get the kids involved! I get it, sometimes that’s more stressful than just doing it yourself. Especially when they’re THIS young. Trust me, I can’t wait until my kids hit 7-8 and can really take over some of the big chores like loading/unloading the dishwasher, bathrooms, etc. haha! BUT they’ll never learn (and probably won’t WANT to do chores when they’re older) if we don’t start now. I’m terrible at this sometimes — it just goes SO much faster if I do it myself. However, I’m trying to get better at finding small things, little responsibilities I can give them throughout the day. We are a family and that means EVERYONE needs to contribute! So far, these are the things I’ve found that work best with ages 2-4:

  • transferring laundry from washer to dryer (they stand there and I hand them the wet clothes)

  • cleaning up their toys (sorted into the right containers and put away in the toy closet)

  • mopping the floors (Silas LOVES this one — especially because he can pull the handle to spray the cleaner out! We have been using the Bona mop for about 6 months now and absolute love it — it’s gets the floors cleaner than any other brand we’ve tried AND it’s safe for kids and pets, which is huge for us [the kid part].)

  • vacuuming (we have a cordless vacuum, so Silas can actually operate it and does a great job! Another fave of his)

  • unloading silverware from the dishwasher (both kids do this one — they’re not quite old enough to do the cups/plates but getting them started on small stuff hopefully preps them for the big stuff)

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3) If having the kids help is just too much right now, set a timer and do it at night.If you’re anything like me, coming out to a dirty house in the morning just starts the day off on the wrong foot. I would much rather set a 15 min timer right after the kids go to bed, do a quick clean, declutter, pickup and then relax the rest of the night. What Matt and I do during those 15 min: clean the kitchen from dinner, set the dishwasher to run during the night, pick up any stray toys, mail, and anything else that’s gotten piled on the dining room table, finish putting laundry away, place the throw pillows back on the couch, etc. It’s just a general tidy.. quick and easy and for whatever reason, the timer really helps. Little things like that really help control the chaos and keep it from getting so overwhelming. I’m much grumpier when I’m overwhelmed haha!

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I hope these tips were helpful, friends! I’m always so curious to see how other people run their households and cleaning schedules — I’d love to hear from you! Do the kids help? Do you do it yourself? Have you hired a service? Comment below with your answer!

Love,

B

be YOU!

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Osh Kosh B'gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Y'all, I just can't believe it's the middle of August and school is about to start (or has already started!) for everyone. Like, what?! I swear summer goes by faster and faster every year, so insane. 

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But I DO have to say this fall is extra special for us because it's the first year both kids will be attending the Mother's Day Out morning preschool program near our house! Silas will go 3 mornings a week, from 9am-1pm and Verity will go 2 mornings a week, also from 9am-1pm. I seriously don't know what I'm going to do with all the free time haha! I haven't been completely alone on a regular basis in almost 4 years, sooo... HELLOOO naps and coffee and quick errands and brunch with friends and and and and... need I go on?? ;)

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Of course, as grateful as I am to have some alone time this coming year, I am sooo gonna miss having these sweet babies around 24/7!! Like, I want to cry when I think about it haha. But that's motherhood though, right?? Desperately needing a break and then feeling super anxious to get back home and all be together again. It's such a wild ride haha.

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Needless to say, I've been running around like crazy, getting everything ready for the first day of school (x2). Backpacks, lunch boxes, lunch containers, new clothes, new shoes, the whole 9 yards, y'all! So I was super excited when Osh Kosh reached out about working together on their back-to-school campaign this month, because, hello, welcome to my life right now! Such perfect timing!! And I love the message behind the campaign: BE YOURSELF! I loveee helping Silas learn and realize that he was created so unique and so special and that he should never be anything other than himself!

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He's also really started to get into fashion and always wants to make sure his clothes "match". He seriously lays out his entire outfit the night before and then begs to get dressed first thing in the morning -- it's truly the cutest thing I've ever seen haha. We loved picking out some awesome pieces at Osh Kosh that can all mix and match (you know how I feel about capsule wardrobes!!) for both kids and, of course, the quality can't be beat!

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Okay, I know this is a long post but before I end this, a couple things to note:

- Osh Kosh is running a back to school sweepstakes from 8/22-9/5! Fans should share their BTS photos featuring Osh Kosh. You can enter by tagging you photo with
#firstdaysweepstakes to win school supplies for their school/classrooms. They will have 1
grand prize winner ($10K in school supplies and $500 OKB gift card) and 10 runner up prize
winners ($1K in school supplies and $100 OKB gift card)!

- I'm including a coupon at the end of this post -- take advantage of it while finishing up all your kiddos' clothes shopping! Yay for saving money!!

- If you don't know where your closest Osh Kosh is located, click here to find your nearest store:

https://www.oshkosh.com/find-a-store?cm_mmc=SocialMedia_OKBG-_-Blog-_-Ongoing-_-EA

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Here's the coupon, friends! And I want to hear from you! Are you done with all your back to school shopping??! If not, what's left on your list? 

Love,

B

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back-to-school lunch ideas

This post is sponsored by Sistema; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Happy Monday, friends! I can't tell you how excited I am for today's post!! We've used Sistema products for years so I was thrilled when I found out we'd be working together on this blog. If you know me, you know that two of my main hobbies in life are healthy eating and organization and well, this post encompasses both of those things haha! Happy lady over here.

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I recently started a new workout program and have found these particular lunch containers incredibly helpful in portioning out my food each day. The bento box fits my salad, a few sides, a container for yogurt or dressing AND room for a sandwich (on gluten-free bread, of course ;)).

The blue one pictured below is their salad container and it's GREAT for when I'm on the run -- mainly because it comes with everything you need! A fork, knife, dressing jar, the whole shebang. And still room for grilled chicken or a sandwich/ cut-up fruit on top. That's one of the biggest reasons I love Sistema -- just how versatile all of these pieces are!

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For the kids' lunches, I typically do a bento-box style meal! I've found that 1) it's the quickest way to get their lunches ready in the morning and 2) it's perfect for getting a variety of foods in their tummies. My kids are actually great eaters -- they each have a few foods that they flat out refuse every time but other than that, they will eat pretty much anything I put in front of them (thank God haha). 

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I actually have a little list of all the options that I use on a regular basis in their bento-boxes -- I typically choose one item from the protein section and then 2-4 other options from the list. It's a really fun, easy way to mix things up and ensure they each get new foods every day! I hope this is helpful for you mamas out there!

Main Protein:

  • Chicken hotdogs from Trader Joe's
  • Deli meat (torn up)
  • Leftover protein from dinner the night before
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Gluten-free corn dogs
  • Avocado toast

Add-in's:

  • Black beans
  • Avocado 
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Blueberries 
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cutie oranges
  • Sliced cheese
  • Apple slices
  • Banana
  • Tomatoes (cut-up with a sprinkle of salt)
  • Pirates booty
  • Freeze-dried strawberries 
  • Pretzel sticks with hummus
  • Olives
  • Cottage cheese
  • Kefir yogurt
  • Energy bites (oats, honey, PB, vanilla)

They're actually super sturdy and I love that there's a divider in the center, so I can separate and organize their food a little better. Small things like that make the perfectionist in me very, veryyyy happy. Haha!

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One of the best parts is that you can purchase Sistema directly on Amazon AND they're running back to school sales throughout the month of August, so definitely go check them out! What are some of your go-to lunch ideas? I'd love to hear from you!

Love,

B

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mommy con 2018

Mommycon! Who's going?! There's an upcoming conference in Pasadena, California on August 18th, 2018!

Some of you might be asking, what is Mommycon?!

Well, Mommycon is a nationwide convention that is focused on celebrating and nurturing the community 0f parents and soon-to-be parents -- specifically those that aim to take a more natural/gentle approach with parenting (such a natural birthing, breastfeeding and baby-wearing). 

Some of their main focuses:

- holistic health

- eco-friendly diapering

- child safety standards and procedures

- female self-care and wellness

They have several admission levels for the conference: VIP Admission (includes 2-day admission, access to all sessions and events and a VIP gift bag), Premium Admission (includes a single day admission with access to that day's sessions, events and a gift bag), and General Admission (includes a single-day admission with access to that day's sessions and events). 

It's being held at the Pasadena Convention Center, which is located at 300 East green St., Pasadena, CA 91101. Parking is available at the convention center for $13/day (up to 16 hrs) or $18/day for in-and-out privileges. You can even book your parking online before you go! For more info on parking, hotel accommodations and rental car discounts, head to www.mommycon.com!

You can also check out the schedule for each day on the website and plan your trip accordingly! There are going to be so many amazing sessions and exhibits... truly, if you are a parent of a 5 year old or younger or even an expectant parent, and live near Pasadena, CA, then you're not going to want to miss Mommycon this year!