Thursday, December 17, 2015

How I clean with kids

                                          Photo by AKARAKINGDOMS  at

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Ever tried cleaning with kids around? It's hard isn't it? You pick up one mess, while they are off somewhere making two more. By the end of the day you're exhausted because you've cleaned all day, yet you feel like you have nothing to show for it, except an even bigger mess.
It can be very frustrating trying to keep a clean house with kids. They have a ton of toys that always seems to find their way into the living room. (At least that's how it is at our house.)

Here are some ways I keep our house clean with kids. Don't get me wrong, it's lived in. We do not have a magazine worthy clean house, but it's manageable.

Get them involved.

My husband and I have 3 kids, all boys. Our oldest child is 9, our middle child is 3, and our youngest is 1.
Our oldest has a set list of daily chores that must be done before play. On school days it's maybe one or two chores daily. On the weekends he has more free time, so he is able to help out more. 

Our middle child is responsible for helping make his bed, putting his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, taking his dishes to the sink, helping clean up any spills he makes, putting his toys away, and any other age appropriate chores.  He is learning to wipe the table before and after meals, and help sweep up crumbs with his Little Helper Broom Set..

Our youngest is learning to help pick up the toys. He can't quite sing the clean up song, but he will hum along a bit, while the other two sing.

Limit the amount of toys they have.

Each year before birthdays and before Christmas, we go through and donate any toys our kids no longer play with. Throw away broken toys or toys with missing pieces. Yet still they seem to have WAY TOO MUCH! One thing that helps us out is we decided to rotate their toys every so often. Not only does this help on clutter, but kids can get overwhelmed if they have too much. They don't really spend time playing with the toys, just dragging them out and not wanting to clean them up. When we rotate our kids toys they don't get bored with them as fast. They actually play with them, and when we rotate the toys and they see toys they haven't seen in a while, it's like Christmas all over, they are so excited. 

Get and stay organized!!

There needs to be a place for everything so that when you are finished you can put it back. This makes it easier to find things, and it looks a lot nicer. Tools to help you get organized

Make it fun.

We try to make it fun for our kids. Make it a game and race to see who can pick up the toys the fastest. Turn on some music and dust, vacuum, sweep, do the dishes or fold the dreaded laundry. 

Keep them busy.

Once in a while there are chores my kids just can not help me with yet. My husband and I try to tackle most of these chores together after the kids have gone to bed. Yet sometimes they just have to be done sooner. If my husband is home we tag team. He might take the kids outback to play, while I clean with bleach or sweep and mop the floors. I might do a craft or play a game with them while my husband does yard work, or works with power tools in his garage. (The kids are learning to do yard work and help daddy with certain projects, but some things they are still too young for. )
When all else fails we let them watch a movie or play a video game while the baby naps and we do what needs to be done. 

Clean as you go.

Anyone who cooks or bakes knows that it is so much easier to clean up as you go. Rather than having a huge mess afterwards. When you're done with something simply put it back. Make this a rule for your kids to follow. 

Have a routine.

When you have a routine, your day flows a lot smoother. You already know what you need to do and your kids know what to expect. How to set up a routine.

Don't try to do everything.

Delegate some chores that you normally do to someone else who can handle it. Maybe you normally are in charge of dinner. Delegate that to your husband for a night or two. Have your older children help with dishes and after dinner clean up. 

Give yourself grace. 

This sort of goes along with the last one. You are human. Things come up, unexpected things. Maybe the kids are sick. It is more important to nurse them back to health, than driving yourself crazy trying to take care of sick kids and make sure everything gets done. 

Let them be little.

Take a break and have a lazy day. Spend the entire day pouring into your kids. Everyone deserves a break, and they grow up so fast. Enjoy these years while you can. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to deal with interruptions when you're on the phone

"Mom, mom". My son called as I was chatting away on the phone.  "One minute love." I said, as I was trying to finish my conversation. Waiting as patiently as he could for a 3 Year old, a few minutes later I hear again.... "Mom, mom look at this." He kept repeating and repeating louder and louder until I could no longer hear the person I was talking to. I was getting frustrated. All of the sudden I yelled "shut up. Can't you see that I'm on the phone?" I watched my little boys excitement and smiling face fade into a frown, as he bowed his head and walked away.

It broke my heart. Immediately I finished my conversation and went to apologize for my behavior.  Of course I want my kids to learn to not interrupt.  Of course I want them to be respectful. However my behavior was only teaching him that I didn't have time and I was angry. I was also not being very respectful. 

When I asked what he needed, he simply wanted to show me a Lego creation he was so proud of. Somehow now it didn't seem that great to him anymore because I had already broken his spirit.
Our kids will only be kids for a short while. These are precious years that we will never get back.

Since this happened I have tried to think of different ways to not only be courteous to my caller, but also let my child know I have not forgotten them. Then I remembered something. In high school I went to a trade school and took care and guidance of children, we had an instructor who, if she was talking and a child would interrupt she would place her hand on the child's shoulder or back to let them know she heard them, and she would finish what she was saying, then turn her attention to the child. Genius! Will this always work? No. However with practice your child will learn not to interrupt. 

You could also talk to your child and let them know that in an emergency situation it is okay to interrupt but teach them the correct way to go about it. Excuse me......, Sorry to interrupt........ etc.

 Today I encourage you to spend a little bit of extra time with your child. Have a little more patience with your child, especially when it's hard to. Talk to your child about interrupting and how to interrupt politely. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Homemade Bread Day

I recently read that November 17th is homemade bread day. Now I don't know if this is really a thing or if someone just made it up because they like bread. I love homemade bread.

Last night I made cinnamon swirl bread with my kids. This will be our breakfast today. They love helping mommy cook and bake. I love keeping them busy it keeps them out of trouble. I also love watching them learn and enjoy learning. Besides what better way to teach them then by letting them get some hands on experience?

We normally make banana bread because it's easy to make and everyone in our house loves it. Banana bread also freezes well. When we're ready for another loaf we just thaw it on the counter and about an hour or so later it's ready.

We recently discovered a recipe for homemade bread sticks that we absolutely love. They are AMAZING!!!

What are some of your favorite bread recipes? Will you be celebrating homemade bread day by baking some of your favorite bread today?

Friday, November 13, 2015

World Kindness Day

It is be something as simple as holding the door for someone. Smiling at a stranger who might be having a bad day. When was the last time you did a random act of kindness? I recently learned that there is an actual holiday celebrating world kindness. World Kindness Day November 13. Here is a list of free or cheap ways you can share some kindness with others today.

  • Send someone a card in the mail. Even if it's not their birthday. It's always nice to know that someone was thinking of you, or better yet, let them know you have been praying for them.
  • Pay for someones order who is behind you in a drive through line. Pay it forward. 
  • Bake your neighbor cookies, or a pie. Everyone loves a sweet treat!
  • If you see a homeless person, buy them a meal. Or better yet you could put together zip-lock bags of water, non-perishable foods, and personal hygiene items (gender specific) to pass out when you see a homeless person. You might also write a card with encouragement to put inside. Bible verses, etc. Everyone needs hope. Dollar tree sells bibles and new testaments for $1.00.
  • Donate any unwanted gently used items to a homeless shelter. 
  • If you coupon and get items for free you could get a few extras to donate.
  • Also if you coupon and something that you normally don't use is going to be free or almost free, you could get it and donate it as well.
  • Leave a note of encouragement on someones car in a parking lot. (bible verse, or inspirational quote) You never know what someone may be going through, and we can all use some encouragement every now and then. 
  • Help someone carry a load. A mother with her hands full, or an elderly person who deserves a break.
  • Offer your seat to someone else.
  • Offer someone a hug. 
  • Compliment someone. So many times we go through the day and no one says anything about how we look, or how well of a job we did. Mom's you know what I'm talking about. Have you ever gone out of your way to look nice and it seemed if no one noticed? It stings a little bit right? Give someone a compliment. It might just change their day. 
  • Visit someone who might be lonely in a nursing home. My mom works in a nursing home. We used to go there often when my grandma was there before she passed away. You would not believe the amount of people who are forgotten. Their family puts them in a nursing home because they can't take care of them, then life gets busy and they barely come to visit. Some of them don't have any family left. Some nursing homes will let you volunteer in the activity rooms and visit residents. 
  • Volunteer. There are many opportunities. Just like a nursing home, you can volunteer to help a neighbor or friend in need. You can volunteer in an animal shelter, a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen. Some churches have volunteer programs. If you can't find a program, create one! My church does missions in Haiti. Our women's sewing class got together to make draw string back packs for the children in an orphanage we help support.  Food pantries are also looking for volunteers. Another church we went to a while back had a food pantry we volunteered at. I will never forget the feeling of packing each grocery bag for someone in need. The feeling of delivering each bag was amazing. 

There are so many more ways you can be kind to others. These are just a few ways. What are some ways you can think of, or even ways you have been kind and helped others? I can't wait to hear your stories.
My challenge to you is do one random act of kindness. Watch how others react. Pay attention to how it makes you feel.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day

To any and all veterans today I would like to take a moment and express my deepest gratitude. Thank you! It's because of your bravery and your sacrifice that we live free today. I also want to thank the military families. I've been there and had my loved ones deployed and it's HARD! Thank you for your sacrifice as well. You too play a very important roll, for it is you who keeps things running back home while your loved one is deployed. It is you who takes the time to put together care packages, and write letters, and pray for the safety of your loved one.
To the veteran who is reading this, or to the loved one of a veteran who laid down their life protecting our country THANK YOU!
I am proud to be an American. Our country may have it's fair share of issues, but we live FREE! Let those words sink in. We have the freedoms that many do not. We have so many freedoms that we take for granted each and every day. So I urge you, not only today but anytime you see a soldier, Thank them for their service. Because freedom isn't free!
Some gave all and laid down their lives, freedom has costs many precious time with their families, missed birthdays, graduations, and some even miss the birth of their children. Long after they come home they deal with the effects of how war has changed them. Some are lucky to be able to put it behind them, but most come back with nightmares, mood swings, and so much more. They have to learn to live their lives with P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Some are never the same again. They may have physical injuries that prevent them from walking, using both arms, talking, hearing, or even seeing. Take the time to say thank you and say it like you really mean it. Unless you've lived through it yourself, you really have no idea what it's like.

I'd like to introduce someone very special to me. My father retired Sargent First Class Shannon Gilley.
In the picture below he was only a Staff Sargent. This was taken during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
My dad served 26 1/2 years in the United States Army. His career began in the Army Reserves and National Guard, then transferred to active duty status. Some of his tours include:
  • Operation New Horizons
  • Task Force Bravo
  • Several Humanitarian Missions in Central America.
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003-2005.  
He served under the command of the 1st Infantry Division while in Iraq. He retired from Fort Knox, Kentucky June 12, 2006 Mike Co. 1st Cav. Armored Div.
Thank you for your service to our country dad. You make me very proud! Happy Veteran's Day!

With that being said. I hope each and everyone of you have a Happy Veterans Day! Show some respect and remember freedom isn't free. I am sharing a youtube video in honor of all the veterans. I do not own any rights to this song or video. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Some of my favorite books that I highly recommend


I love to read. I don't have as much time to read now that I'm a mom of 3 very busy boys, so I have to pick my books wisely. While I definitely read more than this short list of books, I thought I would put together a list of books that I highly recommend.

  • Organize Now   A week by week guide to simplifying your space and your life. By: Jennifer Ford Berry. This book has helped me so much. I love the way it breaks each room/ task down. It even gives you tips to help keep you organized. You can buy the book here
  • Creative Correction    By: Lisa Whelchel  A guide to disciplining your children with a twist, I've used a few of these on my kids. Get the book here
  • The Love Dare  Based on the movie Fire Proof. A day by day guide. By: Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough. Get your copy of the Love Dare and other resources here
  • Say Goodbye to survival mode  A wonderful book that I am very thankful to own. By: Crystal Paine  Crystal will show you tips and tricks to change your routines and make your daily schedule simple, help you achieve your goals, and show to how to say goodbye to just surviving every day. Buy the book here
  • The power of a praying wife By: Stormie Omartian It is very important to cover your husband in prayer daily. Get your copy
  • The power of a praying parent By Stormie Omartian Don't forget to cover your children in prayer daily as well. Get it here
  • Jesus Calling Enjoying Peace in His Presence 365 Day Devotional By: Sarah Young  While it should never replace you actually reading your bible, there are some days that are so busy I feel like I can't fit anything else into my schedule. That is why I love this devotional. It's perfect for busy moms on the go who will want to get into God's word. Order your copy today
  • Laughing in the Dark A comedian's journey through depression By Chonda Pierce   Chonda shares her very personal real life story with her journey through her depression. She shows a great example of how to hold onto God even in the darkest places and lowest valleys in life. You can order your copy here
What are some of your favorite books? I can't wait to hear all about them and how they have helped change your life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Airheads candy fun and review

As you may already know, I am a smiley360 Agent. Recently I received and got to try for free the airheads crafting kit. Basically we get free candy and tools and all we have to do is play with our food and show step by step how we made what ever we crated. Easy right? My kids and I had so much fun and honestly we ate way too much candy. However it's good to have fun and indulge once in a while. So as you can see in the pictures below these were our creations. I hope you enjoy!
The pumpkin sucker 
Cyclopes man with rainbow scarf on a stick
Christmas tree with gifts 
Pot of gold and rainbow 

I would totally do this campaign again. My kids and I had so much fun. We laughed at our silly creations, and spent some wonderful family time together and made some great memories. Thank you Smiley360 and airheads. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

My favorite things about Fall

First and foremost I do realize that the correct name for the season is Autumn. However it will always be fall to me, because the leaves fall off the trees. It just makes sense. Fall was my great grandmother's favorite season. One reason I like fall is because it reminds me of her. There is something so beautiful about the leaves changing colors. I love to see the many colors on the trees. 
(Picture taken at a rest area) 
I love taking walks in the fall. The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the cool crisp air on your face. The fact that I can wear scarves, my Ugg boots, a sweater, or a hoodie. I love the fall smells. When the stores put out fall scented candles, my kids and I have to smell everyone of them. 
Each year I look forward to picking a pumpkin with each child, then carving them, and watching their faces light up when we light the pumpkins and turn out all of the lights. 
(This was our middle child's very first pumpkin)
Roasting marshmallows and making smores by the fire. 
Collecting leaves for craft projects with the kids.
Watching the kids look at each leaf and realize they are all different, yet all beautiful at the same time. (There's a life lesson to teach them. We are all different, yet we all are beautiful!)
Raking the leaves into a pile and jumping in.
(Fun in the leaves)
(Fall Sunset)
I look forward to pumpkin pies, and being with family and friends. Getting up early to start the turkey on Thanksgiving day, so there is enough time to do a ham as well. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade playing on T.V. and the kids getting excited over each balloon. Cooking and baking for two days, just to be able to sit down and enjoy a wonderful feast with loved ones. Then having left overs for a week. 
What are some of your favorite things about Fall?