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Happy Homeschooling–Even with a Toddler



In the almost 4 years we’ve been homeschooling, there has always been a baby or a toddler in the house. Without a doubt the biggest challenge for me has been figuring out what to do with the youngest during school time.  I can’t even count the times our school day was cut short because of a younger sibling whining or getting into mischief or having a potty training accident, and after dealing with the situation I was often too frustrated to get things back on track. I realized that most of my frustration was coming from trying to fit our lives into a picture of what I thought homeschooling should look like, and it simply wasn’t working.

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Tricks To Keep Your Household Running Smoothly & Still Have Time For Fun This Summer

It’s a beautiful summer day and you have big plans! Maybe it’s going on a wilderness hike, checking out your local zoo, a day of playing in the pool, or a family movie or game day! Nothing is more exciting, and nothing can derail it more quickly than the infamous “Oops Moment”. If you’re a mom I know you, like I, have had this happen once too often. You’re all set for the day when *bam* something like this comes across your path and derails your plans faster than you can check for a backup.

Yes, whether it’s no toilet paper, squeezing the last ounce out of the toothpaste container, or the very last diaper, there are many everyday essential items that take the household to emergency status when it’s discovered you’re all out. And nothing is more of a bummer than having to hold off your plans to battle the holiday or weekend crowds in store, full of other moms with kids in tow who happen to be there for the very same reason.

You see, summer is this beautiful, crazy mess. On the one hand, the bustle of the busy school schedule and extra circular activities are done and days can be full of staying up late, sleeping in, and those extra fun activities instead like playing games and building blanket forts (what summer should really be all about!). I’ve noticed for us, however, that the lack of the disciplined schedule makes it way too easy to let things slide and fall through the cracks, which leads to those “Oops Moments”!

That’s why as a busy work from home mom I’ve come up with some handy tricks that I use to keep myself from having these “Oops Moments” anymore! Every moment with my family is precious, and I try to make the most of them while still keeping on top of all the jobs that being a mom involves! Because I know most of you are busy moms as well I wanted to share my tricks to keep your household running smoothly & still have time for fun this summer!

Shop For Your Household Essentials Online

This is a huge one! I’ve been a fan of shopping online (especially for Christmas!) for years, but until recently the thought of combining my “every day essentials” shopping and online shopping just didn’t happen. I’m so excited that I realized I can now stock up on all of my very favorite brands online at , they even have a super handy “Avoid The Oops” page set up right now to make stocking up a breeze. The best part is that you get the great prices you love and if you spend over $50 you get free shipping! This works perfectly for me because another part of this trick is buying plenty of the things so that way you’ll be well stocked up (the best way to avoid and get it delivered right to your doorstep! For this shopping trip I literally got to place my order while watching the kids splash around in the pool, how’s that for convenient one-stop shopping?!

Less time running around for errands means more time to run around for fun! Here are the products that made my “must have stocked up” list:

  • Charmin Ultra Soft — As I mentioned before, few things cause bigger “Oops Moments” than realizing you’re completely out of toilet paper. This is something that you always want to have an abundance of on hand!
  • Cascade Platinum Dish Packs — Going to tackle a stack of dirty dishes after dinner and realizing that you’re out of dishwasher pacs is a disaster as well, so I always have at least two of these big containers on hand.
  • Febreeze Air Effects — Summer means wet towels, dirty clothes, and lots of extra smells floating around the house- we help keep those smells be of the good variety by always having several of these throughout the house.
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser — A complete oops moment saver when you notice that weird smudge all over the door just before guests arrive (don’t even bother trying to figure out what it might be, just scrub it away).
  • Crest Complete Scope — In case you’re unsure why you need to keep stocked up on toothpaste, just picture hearing this ringing through the house at 8 PM at night, “Mooommm!!!! There’s no more toothpaste!!!”
  • Aussie 3 Minute Miracle — Because summer for us means the Texas heat we’re all pretty much living in the pool these days. This is awesome but is also brutal on our hair! This is a definite must-have product to keep bad hair days away and things running smoothly!

Once you have all these items on hand and stocked back up it’s time to tackle how you’ll handle the rest of your grocery list.

Meal Plan Once a Month & Shop In Store Once a Week

Can you tell I’m all about getting things done at once these days? It’s amazing how dedicating a chunk of time to getting a task done at once saves so much time in the long run! I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of all the different meals currently on our menu rotation and then schedule them out using my Google Calendar a month at a time, having it online makes it easy to swap around days and make last minute changes if we are invited out to eat or something comes up. Once you have monthly menu planning in place it makes it much easier and faster to come up with a grocery list and go shopping once a week at Walmart in-store. Only having to pick up fresh items thanks to shopping online makes those trips quick and easy as well, and planning ahead let’s you pick days and times where you can avoid the rush, which leads into our next trick.

Come Up With a Loose Schedule

As I mentioned the beauty of summer is the lack of structure, but without some kind of a schedule things descend into chaos and it’s too easy to forget things or realize that the kids have been watching the screen for hours on end. Planning your week out loosely at the beginning will help keep you on track, make sure you’re taking care of essentials, and also make sure you’re knocking some things off that fun summer bucket list. Alternating days where you stay at home and days where you’re out running around makes for a great variety so you don’t feel exhausted or cooped up, as will varying days to take care of tasks like shopping and cleaning and your all-day fun days. If you’re wondering how you’ll manage to fit those in you’ll need my next trick!

Have The Kids Help Around the House For Screen Time

I just mentioned on Instagram that one of the things that “stuck” from our ticket system that we used a few years ago was that our kids have to work to earn any screen time. This is especially great during the summer when they have more time at home and free. It also really helps you out as a mom because it frees you up to focus on other things that need to get done, so you can have more time for fun together!

Hopefully, these tricks will help you keep your household running & still have time for fun this summer! Don’t forget to stop by Do you have any amazing ones I didn’t mention or that I need to know about? What about a hilarious “Oops Moment” that happened to you (surely I’m not the only one!)? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Easy Easter Centerpieces

Although I can hardly believe it Easter is just right around the corner! Our family always enjoys Easter–as you’ve seen through our family Easter Sunday updates from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 (can you believe this blog is almost 6 years old?! Wow!)

I’ve also shared my best Easter Basket Ideas with you, and the Best Easter Books & DVDs. 

So today I decided it would be great to share a few

Easy Easter Centerpiece ideas!

Easter Easter Centerpiece IdeasDSC_0185

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How To Get Your Kids To Help Out Without A Fuss

This shop for a microfiber spray mop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanForTheHolidays #CollectiveBias

The most wonderful time of the year is also usually the busiest and can quickly turn into the most stressful! If you’re in any work field that revolves around retail or service the holidays are the definitely the busiest time of year; plus add to that the extra activities, traditions, decorating, travel, hosting family and friends, and all of a sudden keeping up with the day to day basics can become more than just challenging!

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Keep Family Ties Tight with the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser which offers Walmart Best Plans with Unlimited Talk Text and Data/Web. #FamilyMobile #CollectiveBias

The day I met hubby one of the things that impressed me the most about him was that even though I could tell he was attracted to me, he didn’t once try to ditch his little brother who was tagging along with him. Having a strong, loving tie to your family was something that meant the world to me and a quality I’d always been hoping to find in my future spouse! In addition to being super close to his younger brother, hubby has always had a great relationship with his Dad as well.

Through the years hubby has always kept his family ties strong even when he, his Dad, and his brother were spread far apart throughout the country because of the boy’s military service and their Dad’s job in welding inspection which keeps him continually on the road.

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How To Set Up a Pest Free Recycling Center

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. As always all opinions shown, thought, and sniffed here are 100% my own! #CollectiveBias

How To Set Up A Pest Free Recycling Center #shop

So for some reason lately I’ve gone into a wild and crazy reduce, re-use, recycle kick. I’m pretty sure Pinterest might be to blame.

So for Mother’s Day I asked hubby to set me up a recycling center and compost bin as my gift from him and the kiddos. I was already starting to collect the things to recycle, but since there was no official way to store or keep them yet it was beginning to look like our garage was a big assortment of random trash piles–not cool! Especially given the fact that one of the things East Texas is infamous for is its pest, rodents, critters, and insects. I knew that if I wanted to recycle I needed a step-up in how I was handling things that would encourage recycling as much as it would discourage pests!

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My Morning Coffee Journey with the Best Coffee Maker

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias , Millstone® Coffee delicious flavored coffee, and Mr. Coffee® Drip Coffee Maker. #CoffeeJourneys

My Morning Coffee Journey with the Best Coffee Maker #shop #CoffeeJourneys

My Morning Coffee Journey

Her small apartment smelled lightly of smoke and afghans in a just-right musty kind of way, it was filled with owls and pitchers–the perfect kind of a place for a Great-Grandma to live. She’d always be sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee in her hand, no matter what time of day it was. I’d run quickly to the little kitchenette set that she kept for us, grab a teeny-tiny plastic doll cup from it, and bring it to her–begging her to fill it up with black coffee for me.

I was about 6 years old when I started my coffee journey.

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Simplify Your Life ~ Simplify Your Products My Healthy Home

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy who help promote social responsibility by providing products for My Healthy Home, and are endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World—-an organization dedicated to creating healthy environments for children.

Simplify Your Life ~ Simplify Your Products My Healthy Home #shop

Pressures begin to build–work, school, after-school activities, recitals, pets, check ups, visits, holidays, vacations, overflowing inboxes, overflowing counters. All piling higher and higher on the ever spinning plates that I as a work from home mom am forced to juggle around each day. Throw in an unexpected curve ball like a nasty spring illness and things start to fall, crashing to the ground and shattering in stress-filled and messy pieces all around.

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Ideas to Freshen Your Home and Car

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Febreze

It’s that spring-cleaning-itch time of year! Between the weather warming up and Easter being just days away, chances are good that you’re in full-on cleaning mode right now. This time of year is crazy though–recitals, kids programs, exams, work, and more! So today I thought it might help if I gave you some great ideas to freshen your home and car–with each I’ll include a speedy fix that you can do immediately and then a long term “keep the clean” feeling strategy! Because one of my favorite thing about Spring is all the amazing scents it brings–and the memories that come along with them!

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How to Make the Most out of a Tiny Master Bedroom

How to Make the Most out of a Tiny Master Bedroom

Legalese Nonsense: Knowing that I love a great room but am in a small space the folks over at Bold Rugs contacted me to see if I’d like to add one of their great products to our room. All thoughts, ideas, and blue hued bedrooms are my own!

Welcome to another chapter in the Organizing in Small Spaces Series! Today I tackle a fun and much needed topic–the Master Bedroom! When we lived in our apartments and condo we were very fortunate that although our living space in general was small, the master bedroom and closets were quite generous! Now that we’re sharing a house with the in-laws, however, their master bedroom is the generous room and ours is, well, about the size of a normal child’s bedroom. I’m very thankful for it, however, after having much larger rooms in the past it felt tiny when we tried to move everything into it! Over the past year and 1/2 we’ve made it our own and found some tips and tricks for maximizing the space and so today I wanted to share them with you!

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