March 25, 2013

Spring Cleaning Made Simple

In one of my previous posts, I shared with you how unmotivated I am to start the spring cleaning process. However, spring is officially here, which means I need to get it in gear and get started. I know that I’m not the only busy mom out there who feels overwhelmed just by thinking about spring cleaning. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Below are a few tips that should help simplify the spring cleaning process for you (and me).

1.      Make a list. Go from room to room and make a list of the things you want to get done in each room as part of your spring cleaning. The key is to make a separate list for each separate room. For me, it makes the whole spring cleaning process less stressful if I see five or six small to-do lists versus one huge to-do list.

2.      Spread it out. There’s no reason that you should feel like you have to get the entire house deep cleaned in one day. Give yourself a few days to get it all done. It may even take a week depending on how much you want to do. Once you’ve got your individual room to-do lists made, look at your calendar and schedule a day and time to knock out each room. One day you may be able to get three to-do lists done while the next you may only be able to get one or two done. That’s okay! Just make a schedule and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your spring cleaning will get done when you create and follow a cleaning schedule.

3.      Enlist help. Another thing most moms need to remind themselves of is that they aren’t the only one responsible for keeping the house clean. You aren’t the only person living in your house, right? Then that means you aren’t the only one contributing to the dirt in it. While you may not trust your kids or spouse with cleaning chores such as scrubbing the showers and thoroughly dusting the living room, but it shouldn’t be out of the question to expect the kids to pick up their rooms. If you have older kids, then give them the to-do lists for their individual room and expect them to take care of the lists on their own. This alone will save you a lot of extra time.
Hopefully, you aren’t feeling quite so overwhelmed with the idea of spring cleaning now. If you just take your time and make room-by-room lists, a cleaning schedule and enlist the help of your family members then it won’t take you long to get it done!

March 23, 2013

Spring Has Arrived

Wednesday, March 20 The First Day of Spring (Spring Equinox) 2013

I’m not sure about you, but when I woke up today the day seemed just as normal as any other day. The morning routine was the same – get up, put makeup on, wake 5 yr. old up, feed him breakfast, get the baby up and feed him, load everyone in the car and take the oldest to his morning spring break camp. The morning didn’t seem to be any different than yesterday or the day before that. However, on the drive to the children’s museum where his day camp is, my son suddenly says, “Mom, I want to build a bird feeder. That way, we can watch all the birds eat!”

I wondered where in the world that thought came from, but then they announced on the radio that today is officially the first day of spring. Although the morning didn’t feel any different to me, my son obviously sensed there was something different. Why else would he ask to build a bird feeder out of the blue? Additionally, a Facebook friend posted a picture of her potted flowers that have begun to bloom.
Spring brings with it so many things. The trees begin budding, flowers begin to bloom, the kids start to get restless, etc. The majority of people look forward to spring because it’s a wonderful change of pace from the last few months of winter – when we were “locked” up in our homes. All that changes when spring arrives! Now we can all get outside and enjoy the outdoor activities as a family again.
I admit, as a mom, it is easy to treat the days of spring like the days of winter. After all, being confined to the house for months at a time does tend to promote habitual behaviors that can be hard to break. This is especially true for those of us with young kids. Steady routines are paramount for maintaining good attitudes and behaviors in young children. So, when spring rolls around and the daylight savings time begins, it can be hard to adjust.
Regardless, spring is here and we have to adjust! To help the kids ease into spring and all it has to offer, start by taking them to a nearby park to play a couple times a week or get the bikes out and head to a nearby trail one afternoon after school is out. I’m a big believer in making children play outside when the weather is nice. Getting kids outside and away from the electronic time-suckers inside helps build a healthy imagination while getting kids the Vitamin D and exercise they need on a daily basis.
For my family and I, the beginning of spring means afternoons spent outside kicking the soccer ball, playing catch, playing in the park, eating ice-cream and planting flowers. Spring is one of the most exciting times of the year because it’s when nature wakes up from the dormancy of winter. Therefore, celebrate! Go out and do something fun with your kids to celebrate the beginning of Spring 2013!

March 19, 2013

Creative Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

As you know, Easter is only a couple of weeks away. While many people are still trying to get the kids’ Easter dresses and/or boy's suits ordered for Easter service, there are many others who are already focused on the big after-church festivities. What after-church Easter festivities? Well, the big Easter dinner with friends and family, but for those of us with kids, we also plan a fun Easter egg hunt for the kids too!

Regardless of whether you have the Easter bunny hide the eggs for the kiddos or you hide them and let the kids find them, chances are you do have some kind of Easter egg hunt for the little ones. But, before you can have the hunt you have to decorate the eggs. I’m not sure about you, but decorating Easter eggs the night before Easter was one of my favorite Easter activities, as a child. I want to continue that tradition with my kids, as I’m sure you do too. Below are a few creative ways to decorate Easter eggs.
Polka-Dots - When I was a kid, my Easter eggs were dyed with the kits you bought at Wal-Mart. It never crossed my mind to get creative with the eggs. However, I’ve recently seen some pretty cool polka-dotted eggs that would be super easy for the little ones to do. All you have to do is dye the eggs for the base color. Once dried, give your little ones each a pencil with an eraser on it and a plate with different paint colors on it. Simply, dip the pencil’s eraser in the desired paint color and “dot” the egg with it!
Glitter Eggs – For those with little girls or even boys who like lots of sparkles, why not make a few glittered eggs this year? (Be prepared for a little mess, especially if you have young children.) The first step is to dye the hard boiled eggs for that solid base color. Once that is done, mix craft glue and water together in equal parts. When the eggs are cooled, “paint” them with the glue mixture and follow by rolling in extra fine glitter then let dry.
Ribbon & Rhinestone Embellished Eggs – If you have older children, then they may enjoy decorating their eggs with ribbon and rhinestones. Again, the eggs need to be dyed first for the base color. They can also be glitter eggs too, it just depends on how much work your kids want to do before they get to the ribbon and rhinestones. Once the egg’s base is done and dry, kids can glue small pieces of decorative ribbon around the middle of the egg and top with decorative rhinestones.
Stickers – For younger kids, after the eggs have been dyed and cooled, placing decorative stickers on the eggs is a fun and easy way for them to make the eggs unique. I personally prefer to buy the stickers used for scrapbooking because they look nicer and make the eggs “pop” a little more than the thin, flat stickers do. However, any type of sticker can be used and it’s an easy, no-mess way for young kids to decorate Easter eggs!

March 2, 2013

Benefits of Joining a Gym

It’s hard to believe that we’re already heading into the month of March! Spring is definitely on the horizon, which means that summer won’t be far behind. A lot of people start the year off with the resolution to get fit and lose weight before summer starts and, as a result, they join the local gym. While getting in shape and losing weight may be one of the main goals for joining a gym, there are a lot of other benefits to be gained, especially for moms.

1.      New Friendships – It can be hard for moms to make new friends because we just don’t have the same opportunities as women without kids in regards to getting out and meeting new people. Why? We always have our kids in tow and most of us focus on getting our errands done and heading back to the house when we’ve got the kids. However, most gyms offer childcare and that allows moms to go and workout alone, giving us the ability to strike up a conversation with someone who is also working out. Believe it or not, there are a lot of new friendships that are formed at the gym.

For moms, making new friends at the gym keeps them motivated to keep coming back. Whether it’s just to do a little cardio with another mom or you’re taking a class with other women, there really is power in numbers – especially at the gym!

2.      Stress Relief – I’m not sure why, but a lot of people think that being a mom is easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being a mom is incredibly stressful, especially when the kids are in school and start to deal with all kinds of outside issues. Going to the gym on a regular basis is a great way to release some of this stress. It doesn’t matter how stressed I am before I work out, when I’m done I always feel better and not quite as bogged down with life like I was before I walked through the doors. 

3.      Alone Time – For some mothers, the only time they are able to get to themselves is when they’re at the gym. There are a lot of people that can’t afford to pay a sitter so they can go to the grocery store alone or to go shopping, so they have to take the kids everywhere. Therefore, when the gym offers complimentary child care (included in your monthly rate), these women take advantage of it. Let’s face it - every mom needs time to herself. When you get it at the gym, not only are you able to enjoy being alone, but you’re also doing something that’s good for you too!

4.      Setting a Healthy Example – Moms who go to the gym on a regular basis are setting a very healthy example for their kids. Kids are able to see that mom feels better after she works out and this naturally piques their interest. In addition, many gyms offer programs and classes for kids too. If your gym offers this, then sign your kids up and schedule your workouts around those programs so your kids can experience the benefits of exercise.
Being a good parent is about more than just providing for your kids’ basic needs. It also means taking care of yourself and doing the things that make you happy and feel better about yourself. Why? Because when moms are happy and content, they’re naturally more patient, loving and kind to their children. Joining a gym has many benefits for moms that can help them become better parents all-around.

Resources:  Articles by Andrea K. Clark