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Children/Motherhood

How I Keep A Clean House With Children Around

How to Keep a Clean House with Children Around


I live by two rules in my house:
1.) Everything has its place.
2.) Do a little bit each day.

I'm a neat freak through and through, I cannot relax unless my house is clean. My husband often teases me and says that I like cleaning, but I actually like the end result. Keeping a clean and tidy house is important to me; it keeps me sane and helps me feel like I'm in control of something.

Even though I have two small children, I still like to keep things orderly. Yes, messes and accidents happen and there are some times when I need to just let life happen in our house. But there are plenty of other times when order reigns supreme in our house. Here are my tips on how I keep our house tidy even with my children around.

1.) To repeat myself from the beginning: Everything has its place.
Teach this to the people who live in your house. Shoes go on the shoe rack, book bags get hung up, toys go in the closet, books go on the shelf, papers get filed etc. My daughter knows where everything goes and when I tell her that it is time to clean up, she can easily help put everything back where it belongs in its proper place. By putting things where they belong eliminates the clutter on the kitchen counters and tables in the living room.

2.) Do a little bit each day.
Before I had children, I used to spend one day each week (and sometimes every other week) cleaning the house from top to bottom. I quickly learned with children that I don't have time for that. Plus, that cleaning day usually ended up being on a Saturday and I definitely don't want to spend our one completely free day cleaning. So I developed a cleaning schedule where I do a little bit each day. One day I will clean the bathrooms, another day I will clean the kitchen, another day is when I vacuum, etc. My cleaning schedule has changed over time, but I still live by the rule that I need to do a little bit each day.

3.) Wash your laundry by person. 
I do separate loads of laundry for each person in the house. This makes putting the laundry away a breeze. I don't have to worry about separating anything out, I just take the laundry to the appropriate person's room and put it away there. This is really helpful when other people help to put away laundry, they don't have to guess which items belong to anyone as each load is only for one person. I also do a little bit of laundry each day (or every couple of days). This way I stay on top of the laundry and don't end up with a mountain of clothes to get washed. Doing a little bit of laundry each day is actually better for your septic system too.

4.) Devote 15 minutes at the end of the day for a "reset."
After I put the kids to bed and before I sit down to watch Netflix, I tidy up and "reset" the house for the next day. I'll tidy up the kitchen, clean any dishes that maybe didn't go into the dishwasher, make sure shoes are put away, put the pillows back on the couch where they go, put away any miscellaneous items. By taking a little bit of time each night to pick things up, I save myself a lot of hassle in the morning.

5.) Make your bed.
One of the easiest ways to have your bedroom appear clean is to make your bed each morning. A nicely made bed looks so much better than a heap of crumbled sheets. When we first moved into our new house, one of the first things I did was make the beds.

6.) When you first get home, put away whatever you brought in.
I absolutely detest having clutter and items just laying around. It is a slippery slope if you let items accumulate in common areas. Whenever I come into the house, I immediately put away everything I brought in. If I purchased items at a store, I will put them where they are supposed to go. If I bring trash in from the car, I'll throw it away. If I carry in my purse, I will hang it up. By not procrastinating and putting everything away as soon as I come in prevents me from having a big mess to clean up later.
The same is true with packages that get delivered. As soon as I open a package, I will throw away the packing supplies, tear down the box and put the new item where it is supposed to go.

7.) Clean as you cook if you can.
I love making recipes for dinner that get prepared first and then bake for about 30 minutes. While the meal is baking, I will clean up the kitchen. That way almost all of the dishes are done, all leftover ingredients are put back and the kitchen is clean before you sit down to dinner.

Clean house with kids
Keeping a clean house



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Home Decor Items From Amazon

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Home Decor Finds From Amazon

As a work from home mom with two littles, my shopping time is often limited! Thank goodness that we live in an age where basically anything you want can be found online and shipped straight to your door. I'm currently in a home decor buying phase as I work to style and decorate our new house. A few weeks ago I shared a photo of my front door on instagram and people went CRAZY over the mats.

Judging by the popularity of my front door purchases, I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a list of things I'm currently scouting for our house. Every single item I'm listing below can be found on Amazon and everything is VERY affordable.


Front Door
In full disclosure, I actually found my front door mats at Hobby Lobby, but I found some really great and affordable options to share with you here.


Rugs
I clearly have a thing for grey. I love using rugs to add extra texture to a room.



Indoor Fake Plants
My thumb is black and most certainly not green, but I still love the look of plants in a house. Fake plants are my jam right now!







Are there any home decor items that you are in need of and would like me to help find? If so, comment below and I will gladly search and perhaps compile another post!

Taking Time To Slow Down and Rest

Tips to rest and slow down

It's a fast paced world in which we live. Society is constantly telling us that we need to do more, be more, have more, get more. Somehow in recent years, I've allowed my life to get back to the craziness it used to be when we lived in D.C. Throw in a five year old starting Kindergarten, a 6 month old baby, a new house, work commitments to three different businesses and my life gets pretty insane.

Tolar and I recently came to the realization that we are not teaching our children what rest looks like. We are teaching them to fill up every weekend with trips and meetings and standing commitments. We are showing them that life is always go, go, go and we want to change that!

Leading a life that lacks rest and includes chaos means that I often don't notice the small [read: important] things around me. My children on the other hand, they do. 

Often, I'm so focused on completing each task at hand that I realize I'm just going through the motions; trying to finish everything but never really allowing myself to EXPERIENCE it. 
So what do I do about it? How do I remind myself to slow down, get some rest and notice the world around me? First let me tell you that I'm a work in progress! I'm most comfortable when I'm busy and checking something off my to do list. The list I share below are my ideas on how I will allow rest to become the norm for our family.

1.) Schedule REST on your calendar
Early in the summer, we noticed that almost every single weekend in June, July and August were booked with some sort of event or trip. We did not like that, so I scheduled two weekends in our summer calendar where we would not plan anything. We stayed home, cleared our schedule and just allowed the day to happen.

5 AND 6 Months Update

5 Months Old
6 Months Old

Life is crazy and chaotic in our neck of the woods, so imagine my surprise when I found myself taking photos of my 6 month old baby before I got around to posting a 5 month update. So today's post is a combined update! Let me just say, Knox is definitely a second child. When Kendall was a baby, we never missed each monthly anniversary and always took the pictures on the exact day. With Knox, we are lucky if we take a picture a week after each monthly anniversary. 

Stats: Knox had a 6 month well check and weighed in at 17 pounds, 1 oz. He is also 26.25 inches in length. So he has gained about 2 pounds and 2 inches since his last well check. His head circumference is 17 inches; he's definitely in the right family with that large cranium!

Development: He started rolling over right around 4 months old, but he got REALLY good at rolling at 5 months. I often joke that rolling is his mode of transportation - he can get from one side of the room to the other very quickly. There have been numerous times when he rolls onto his stomach where it looks like he is getting ready to crawl. He can sit up for several seconds, but will quickly fall backwards or to the side. He can really reach up to grab things and we often see him try to stretch his body to get whatever toy might be just out of his reach. He still hasn't popped any teeth, but I'm sure they will come along soon as he gnaws pretty hard on just about anything. Just like his sister (and his mama!), he babbles and talks a lot.

Loves: He loves to eat! In recent weeks Knox has started kicking his legs in excitement whenever he sees his bottle. He will even reach out and pull the bottle to him because he is so excited to eat. He also loves to look at himself in the mirror and always giggles and squeals with delight. He has one of the best giggles ever. His sister can still make him laugh like no one else can - I hope she is always a favorite of his.

Dislikes: Taking naps apparently. His naps are super inconsistent. I might get a few good naps out of him for a couple days, then he will give me 30 minute naps for several days. I just cannot figure out why his napping is so terrible, feel free to send me suggestions!

Sleeping: Even though his napping isn't the best, he is sleeping through the night! After we returned from the beach, we tried some sleep training which did the trick! He goes to bed between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and will sleep until 6:30 or 7 a.m. He has started talking in his sleep around 5 a.m., but he usually stops and goes back to sleep for a bit before he is ready to wake up for the day. On the days he takes good naps, he will go down for the night very easily. However, on the days where his naps were short or nonexistent, I can expect there to be plenty of crying when I place him in his crib. Luckily, he always quiets down and falls asleep. He prefers to sleep on his stomach and he moves around his crib all night long. I find myself taking so many pictures of him while he sleeps because he is always moving.

Diapers: We just moved him up to size 3 diapers. He was in size 2 until just before he turned 6 months old.

Eating: We started giving him pureed food right around 4 months old and he hasn't turned anything down. Like a typical boy, he will eat whatever we give him. He really loves sweet potatoes and pears. When he turned 5 months old, we upped the amount of pureed food he was given because he always seemed to want more. We are just now starting to give him chunkier food; we started with a banana a few days ago. I'm hopeful he will like avocados when I feed him those too! We also have given him a pizza crust and a french fry to chew on when we were out at a restaurant. He REALLY liked the French Fry and kept pulling it back to him whenever I would move my hand away.

Clothing: Because different brands size their clothes  so differently, he is wearing all sorts of sizes. He can still wear some 3-6 month stuff, but also wears 6-9 month clothes too. And there are a few 6 month pieces that are starting to feel snug on him. 

Miscellaneous: At his most recent doctor's appointment, we were told that he is right on track. His weight is in the 50th percentile range and he is developing normally. Knox is a mama's boy which warms my heart. If he is crying, I can cuddle him and calm him down almost instantly. But his Daddy can tickle him and play with him and get him laughing better than me.




Amazon Fashion Finds Under $35

This post may contain affiliate links.

Do you want to know the hottest new place to score fashion???
Amazon!!!

I'm not kidding, there are so many great clothing and accessory items available on Amazon. I think it will quickly become my new favorite place to fill my closet. Plus, so many clothing pieces are available with Prime 2 day shipping - score!!!!

I have rounded up some of my favorite pieces from Amazon in four categories: dresses, tops, shoes and accessories. Some of these pieces already have a home in my closet and others will be arriving on my doorstep shortly. The best part about the items I've selected is that everything is UNDER $35. Most items are around the $20 mark!!!!

Check everything out below and feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Happy shopping!


Dresses




Tops





Shoes





Accessories