Monday, April 22, 2013

Let's Talk- Survival Gear

I had a hunch that you all would love an inspirational story!  My last post about Chris Niles shot right up to the top 4 most viewed blog posts I have written.  I am not surprised in the least- they are an incredible family and I was honored to write about them.

This past weekend I was feeling really wiped- more so than usual.   Everything hurts, I was having chills and fevers, and my throat was killing me!  Went to the doctor and it turns out I have strep.  I am not surprised- I have become very aware of my body over the years, and I knew something was wrong.  Common sicknesses tend to be a little more intense for me than for some others, mainly because my body and immune system is very weak to being with, so what little strength I have left just disappears.  But Jeff has taken off of work and is helping me with the kids until I regain some strength.

I decided to do something fun today to take my mind off of feeling yucky!  I get a lot of questions asking what things I "cannot live without".  There are some things that really make my life a lot easier, and I have decided to share some of those things with you.  I think next week I am going to do the opposite of this post, and make a list of things that have not really been a necessity for me.  (Maybe I can save some of you the time and money of buying things you may never use!)

So for are some things that help me keep my crazy life somewhat in line:

My quad stroller.  I realize many of you do not need this, but it has been a Godsend for me!  I found this on craig's list and paid about half the retail value.  It is the only way I can go out with all the kids- whether it's grocery shopping or to the doctor.  When you have several little ones, it is imperative that you are able to keep them "contained" when you go out.

Found this little gem at Walmart one day and snatched it right up!  It is a toothpaste dispenser- no batteries needed, you simply stick your toothbrush in and it hits a little button and squeezes a small blob of toothpaste out.  Perfect for kids- no more toothpaste covered counters!

"Life Skills" charts- Believe it or not the kids actually look forward to getting one of these on their 3rd birthday.  No, I am not trying to trick them by calling it Life Skills instead of chores- I am calling it what it is.  Making your bed, putting away your laundry- those are all things they need to learn to do for themselves.  The ones who cannot read have little pictures drawn next to them- it's just a great reminder for them about what they need to get done.  I don't have to nag them, they just know that after breakfast and dinner they have things to do.  This will definitly evolve and change as they grow, but for now at their ages it's where we start.  And remember parent's, chores are a great thing for kids!  Teaches them ownership of their home and things, teaches them responsibility, and teaches them the importance of contribution (and it helps you out as well!))

My beloved menu!  Keeps me sane and keeps me from stressing out over what's for dinner (and breakfast, snack, etc.)...also helps the older kids know what to expect.  

Special, no-spill cups for the older kids.  My older ones are too old for sippy cups, but the little ones would always grab and spill a normal cup.  So I found older kid type cups that do not easily spill, and each kid has their own.  No forgetting whose cup is whose, or wasting drinks.  They are responsible for their cups- no cup, no drink.  We have a spot on the counter for them to put the cups.

Mason jars!  I just love mason jars or other cute glass jars.  They are so pretty and make storing things so much cuter!  I keep candy on mason jars, and I also keep recipe ingredients in mason jars.  For example, the jar on the left is scones- I take a bunch of mason jars and put in all the dry ingredients, then I write on top what wet ingredients need to be added- poof! Quick, easy, ready to go homemade pancakes, scones, cookies- whatever.

Bliss!  Love my stand mixer.  I have wanted one for so long, and now that I have one it did not disappoint!  Makes baking SO much easier!  Just keep adding ingredients while it mixes it all up for me.  It kneads bread dough which is really annoying to do by hand.  A little tip- buy used.  I know the new colored ones are pretty, but of you don't have a left arm to give up to buy one, then check out Craig's list or e-bay.  I got this bad boy for less than $100 on ebay- and it's one of the old models with a large bowl, all metal parts and crazy strong motor.  Well worth the money I spent on it!

We call these "cubbies" in our house.  Once you turn 4, you get to have your own cubby.  This is good for people with several little kids, or if your kids do not have their own rooms.  It is their own personal space that nobody is allowed to enter.  It is kept in a room that little ones cannot go (for us it is the school room, and it used to be our room).  This gives the kids a place to keep their special papers or toys- really anything they don't want to share or have other's hands' on.  I promote a lot of sharing and a lot of being together with my kids, but I do feel it is important for each child to have their own personal space that they can call their own and do not have to share.

This is in our mud room, but it used to just be in the house- each kid gets their own shoe cubby.  I got so sick of shoes being all over the place or lost, that they each have their own cubby and all shoes must be kept there.  No more lost shoes. 

I'm sure you all have seen this before- it's an apple corer and cutter.  Takes an apple and removes the core and cuts it into 8 pieces, all with one quick motion.  Brilliant.

Yea, I know this is a pizza cutter- but I use it for cutting a lot of things.  Waffles, pancakes, sandwiches, quesadillas- whatever.  For some reason I find it faster and easier than a knife for most things.

This is kind of hard to see, but it is a kid proof latch for glass sliding doors.  It has a really strong adhesive, and you stick it way up high right where the door is about to slide open- when the flap it up, the door cannot move or it hits the flap.  When you push the flap down, it is flush against the glass and the door can slide right over it.  I am terrified of the thought that one of my little ones will open the door and walk out, so this is a must for me.  Those wooden posts you stick in the bottom on the runner are no good ebcause the kids can just pick them right up- and even locks on the handle can be figured out.  This gives me peace of mind- I found it online.

My handy dandy marker board.  I love this thing- I keep it right in the most central location in our house, which is the dining room.  I use it for lessons, Bible time, or if the kids need to share something and I need to write their names in a list so they know what order to go in, lol.  It's just great to have where everyone can see it.  Good for messages, displaying artwork- really anything.  I love my board.

This is right up there with the apple cutter- it is a hot dog cutter!  Put the hot dog in the bottom part, then press the dog piece on top and push down- and there you have a bunch of little hot dog pieces.  Yes, I realize it is not that hard to cut up a hot dog- but seriously, I have 5 kids who eat table food and it gets really tedious and time consuming to cut up 10 hot dogs!

This is where I keep toys organized that have a lot of pieces.  I do have a toy bin, but that is only for large toys that are only one piece.  Each color bin is for a different category (brown is for balls and mitts, purple is for people and army men, blue is for baby toys, etc.)  I really hate little pieces of toys all over the place or worse, at the bottom of the toy bin never to be played with because the kids can never find all the pieces!  Trust me when I say you can train your kids to clean up according to category- my 3 year old knows exactly what toys go in which bins.

Hope this helps a little!  Bottom line is that you need to find your groove and what works best for you.  Not all things work for everyone, so you need to try things out and see what you like and what you don't like- and remember the ultimate goal is making your life work for YOU.  If your life works great with no schedules, menus, or toy organizers, then please don't feel like you have to fit into some kind of "this is what mommies do" role.  I do these things because it keeps me sane, not because I feel like I "should".  It's your life and family...find out what works for you!  

Be blessed!  See you Friday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment