Thursday, 22 August 2013

Ready, set............jump in! No more excuses! Become a do-er.

Now when I say 'Supermom' I mean mom-that-can-do-just-about-anything-in-the that she puts her mind to mom. I don't mean Olympic skier or race-car drive. But I do mean...attempter, doer, and practicer.

My definition of Supermom is: Amazing Woman!

You have to become a baker, a laundry artist, a proficient cleaner, a gardener, an artist, an organizer, a referee, a decorator, a therapist, a doctor.........

Okay okay. The list goes on and never stops. Let's focus on the easy things. The doing part. I am not saying you have to be the best in everything but the closer that you want to become to Supermom status...the more stuff you need to TRY TRY TRY and DO DO DO! No excuses! Why not you?

These days you can do anything that you want to. You can learn about anything that you want to. I am going to admit, I find myself on Google, Pinterest, and you tube A LOT! But how else are you going to find out what you want?

How to make fondant?
How to make modge podge?
How to hem curtains?
How do I know when radishes are ready to harvest?
How to cut your own hair?
How to make natural cleaners?
....................................................................................and so much more. If you don't have a list...applause to you, you are amazing already BUT for most of us, our brains are over-racked with questions on 'How do I do that?" questions every time we see something that takes our interest.

About a month ago I wanted to start a garden. Between Pinterest and Google searches starting with 'how to' and you tube videos, I had my questions answered. Now when it comes to harvesting and storing, I can find my answers just a click away. I had the basic knowledge from my child-hood, but never had attempted this before on my own. I needed help!

After awhile I will be adding my own videos and posts as a Do-er to help out newbies like me. And I can add gardener to my list of Supermom skills!

I always keep a list of things that I want to make, do, accomplish soon. Among the items I have several craft ideas, recipes, or things that I want to do around the house. By starting your list you can start researching. Once you do it, even if you don't have 100% success, you learnt a lesson for next time and with practice comes superpowers!

When they say "How do you do that?" Or "How did you know what to do?" You can smile and say use my favorite sarcastic and humorous response '"It's because I am freaking awesome!" followed by, of course, "and it came with practice." This is where you can add in your 'wink' and they can stare at you in disbelief.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Travelling With Kids. Sigh.

PLANNING A TRIP can be so exciting. You think about all the things you are going to do, make plans with friends and family, and daydream about the places you are going to visit. Everything is so exciting that sometimes you can't even find sleep....that is until you have to start packing. Then the headache starts.

Travelling with kids can be difficult but there are definitely some tricks to helping you maintain some of your sanity. It all has to do with being calm. Breathe! And planning ahead.

This week we are making the 14 hour drive to visit family in our home town. We make the trip at least 2-3x a year, and with 3 small children it sometimes can be a long one. With every trip things get a little easier, from hard learnt lessons and experience. We have become seasoned road-trip-with-kids travellers.
You need to learn how to become a over-packer. By over-packer, I don't necessarily mean 'pack a lot of stuff', but be conscious about what and how you are packing. You will need to not only pack all the essentials for your whole family, including your husband ( kudos for you if you have one that is a capable packer), but you need to pack smartly. I am not talking about the massive amount of clothing and toiletries for your vacation, but packing for the trip there.

Here are a few things that might help you from banging your head on the dashboard during your trip, or screaming out into the wilderness at a pullover.

1) Pack a DAY BAG

Anything can happen on a long drive. The worst are among car-sickness, bathroom accidents, and changes in weather, and did I mention car-sickness? I ALWAYS pack a full day bag for long trips. It saves me from pulling my hair out on the side of the road, and everything that is neatly packed in the back, to find something that I need in an emergency.

And it includes:

Wipes and diapers ( if needed)
Band aids
Face/Hand Wipes
A full change of clothes for each child ( in case of vomiting/ bathroom accidents)
A few plastic bags ( for diapers/ soiled clothes)
A few receiving blankets (great for wiping or to place on top of the wet seat that was once covered in vomit) or small towels.
A face cloth and a bottle of water ( to help cleaning up vomit)
A roll of toilet paper

As you probably noticed, my list has a lot to do with the probability of vomit. Let's face it, it doesn't take a mathematician to realize that kid + car = vomit. Be prepared!
* Be sure to put this bag directly behind the passenger side seat, you may need to get into it from the side of the road as you strip off vomit covered clothes.......
AND a nice addition to the back seat is a large plastic bowl or ice cream bucket....and you can probably guess what it is for.

2) Pack SNACKS
Kids are ALWAYS hungry during travelling and always at the worst times. There are many long sections of highway that don't have anywhere to stop to eat, let alone anywhere for bathroom breaks. Even when you do find a small town, finding somewhere to eat is next to impossible if you are there too late in the day or don't want to go too far off route. When you do find a restaurant you have to weigh driving by or taking grumpy car-sick or jet lagged kids inside or driving on. Only the very brave stop with a pack of tired and bored kids at a restaurant. Drive through is usually a big head-ache with the potential mess, and gas stations - well they boast a large array of sugary snacks. Don't get me wrong, If you are OK with feeding your kids beef jerky and chips for supper....don't pack snacks.

You don't need to go crazy when you are packing a lunch. Of course you want to stay away from things that will go bad like mayo, or milk products. Of course, if you pack a cooler with ice can definitely bring a broader spectrum of foods.

I would suggest the following:

Fruit ( halved strawberries, oranges, apples, bananas....basically any type of fruit)
Granola Bars
Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches
Dried fruit
Trail mix
Buttered buns
A previously cooled rotisserie chicken ( keep cold in your cooler)
Cheese slices

For the kids I like to have one Gatorade bottle each 1/2 filled with water and frozen and then topped up with cold water before we leave. Not only does it stay cold for all or most of the trip, but the way that the top of the bottle is designed will help decrease spills. It's a good idea to fill a cooler with cold waters, juices or pop as well. Don't forget to use the washroom when you can!


These are a definite must for long trips. Depending on how you position them, it helps to take the stress off of the kids necks when they are asleep. No one likes to see their babes with kinked necks and heads bobbling in their car seats. A lap blanket can me great for adding comfort to them and keeping them warm as they sleep. PLUS usually during long trips I don't like to have the heat beating on me as we drive, and knowing that I can stay cool in the front while the kids are warm in the back, is a nice comfort.


We have found that starting our drive very early morning or late evening has worked best. You can pack the kids right into the car while they are still wearing their comfy jammies, you already have clothes packed in the day bag, and you can stow their shoes in the back seat under their feet. It seems like the most comfortable way for them to travel, you can avoid heavy traffic, and you can let them sleep their normal hours of sleep. The last thing you want to do is to have kids sleeping all day in the car, and then be wide awake and tired upon destination. Just don't forget to get enough sleep for yourself.

Good luck and happy travels! :)

Friday, 16 August 2013

Moving with kids!

Wow! Moving can really sock up your time, especially with 3 little ones running around you.
My last post seems like ages ago but can finally take a breath of relief....we are done moving in and organized..mostly.

How did we do it? Not quite sure. The house that we moved into was in drastic need of cleaning and cleaning. What I mean was filthy. Turns out that before we moved in, and during the time the house sat on the market, a small group of 'squatters' decided that it would be great to move in and take advantage of the unoccupied space. Lovely! Grime and who knows what else lined the floors and the walls, and so many things that could have maybe been salvaged...well we just through them out at arms length.

But that was the easy part. Moving with kids, who can't stay off the floor, is not so easily accomplished.

Then I had a sudden light-bulb moment.

Cleaning like a mad woman I scrubbed and disinfected the entire living room area. Thank goodness there was no carpet! And then I proceeded to block it off from the rest of the house with a baby gate, playpen, and chairs. At first the kids cried and screamed at this arrangement but I was too stubborn to let them potentially be bombarded by some gross germs on every surface outside their new bubble.

We didn't have any internet yet, and the tv wasn't hooked up. What to do? The toys inside the bubble were being discarded in the corner and the lack of interest was increasing. I grabbed a few dvds and set them up to play in my laptop on a box. A blow up mattress with their pillows and a blanket became their couch. When they finally fell asleep from exhaustion on their new bed ( into the wee hours of the night as my husband and I cleaned and painted) I attacked the room they slept in with paint. It is amazing what we got accomplished.

So my advice to you. When you are moving, make a bubble. Put your kids in it, don't forget to always have food made/snacks or they will rebel, and label your boxes well. In the time of need, kids toys and movies ( for the move) can be a serious emergency kit to help you steer away from insanity!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Self Time.....Yes there is such a thing

Something that I realized early on, after becoming a mom, is that time for yourself is crucial in being successful. And by successful, I mean, not going crazy.

Now if you are anything like me, you may find that it is hard to simply leave your kids with a mother in law over night, once or twice a week, and just take the day off. In my books, it's just not how it works, at least not when my kids are at this young age.
I need to know that I can make it through, the thick and the thin, and the everyday grind of being a mom, 100% of the time. With that being said, I don't think that you should never take breaks. But there is a difference between a break and a vacation a few times a week. Like I said, through the thick and thin. I need to know that no matter what happens, I WILL pull through and survive the day. I chose to be a mom, and to my kids I plan on giving it my all.

There are other ways to make time for yourself though and things you can do to stay 'sane' in the midst of all the chaotic potty training, messes, tantrums, and melt downs. I found that finding something for 'me' was the best plan of action. Once you figure out how to manage your time, you can find slots of time....yes, that you can have to yourself.

1) Find something that you like to do.

Hobbies are great because they are usually things that you can spent little bits of time on and the outcome isn't going to change much. No time limits. No guidelines. No rules. Basically you can fit your hobby in those magical time slots that WILL appear as you get organized and learn tricks on how to manage your time.

A hobby might be: scrapbooking, learning to sew, painting/ drawing, writing, reading, crafting, knitting/crocheting, or even baking. It just simply needs to be something that you love, are interested in, or that you look forward to doing. Who knows what it will turn into? Sometimes hobbies even turn into businesses!

Now don't be discouraged by thoughts like 'I am not crafty enough to do that' or 'to get started it would be too expensive'. There is always a way and like anything else, getting good at something sometimes takes practice and building yourself and your tools/supplies up as you go. You aren't going to necessarily become a world class sewer overnight but you can start out with a simple machine and use used fabrics to learn on. You Tube is FULL of videos on how to make simple projects and training. Dollar stores often have large amounts of crafting materials, scrapbooking items, and even painting supplies and you never know what you might even find around the house. When you start looking for things that you want to make, I am sure that a few minutes on will give you more ideas than you can work with all at once.

Unfortunately, something really bad can happen on the road to finding your hobby. You might be like me and find that you want to dabble in SO MANY different things. BUT that is why it is called a hobby. Some days I really just want to sit down and write, while others I feel like putting together an amazing wreath that I saw on Pinterest. I have a stack of fabric waiting for a night where the stars align and the kids are all tucked in early, and the house has remained relatively clean....and yes these times do happen. Other times I paint while the kids are painting during our weekly craft times or knit a small project while watching tv at the end of the day.

Look for a hobby and keep on looking. You will find something that you like, even if not right away. And you will surprise yourself with your talents. If you saw my first scrap booking page you would cringe, but years later others who see my scrapbooks wonder in amazement where I got my talent..........lots and lots of practice. I don't show them my first scrabooking pages...

2) Find something to do outside of the house.
This can be something like joining a club, a sports team or even running a home based business out of your home. The point of this is to find something to do that doesn't necessarily evolve around your kids or your husband. This can be the one thing that you do for yourself.

I strongly believe that having a home based business when you are a stay-at-home supermom-in-training can be an absolutely empowering thing to do. Now not all home based businesses are right for everyone, and some are definitely not ones that I would even consider. They need to have a good compensation plan, not cost you money every month to make your commission, have low start up costs, fit your lifestyle, and be something that you are interested in.

I decided to start with Avon Canada two years ago and LOVE it. I have something now that I can do that is my own, and that gives me a goal and people outside the house to talk to and get to know. I have built skills that I don't know if I would have otherwise acquired at this time, among them is time management and scheduling my days, talking on the phone, doing presentations and webinars, and keeping myself updated with new technology. I can now make a regular income by working from home and may not even have to consider going back to work full time when all my kids are in school. How great will that be when I am able to coach soccer every year, attend school functions and fundraisers, and be part of committees and clubs in the kids school and sports events? I am super excited! Not to mention, if I do go back to work then I will have acquired some really great skills to help me get back into the game, and even not go stale within the technology world. Twitter? What is that?

And because I have been so successful with my first home based business, I decided to start just one more. I fell in LOVE with Steeped Tea when I saw their catalogue and decided that I would take my love of tea and my huge list of contacts and start building a secondary 'social' business. Both companies have a great compensation plan and small start up costs. And the BEST thing is that they sell products that are consumable/used up over time so there is a large chance of repeat customers and orders AND now I have an excuse to have friends over more often. We usually have tea/ coffee and snacks anyways, why not let them try a cup of my new tea from my business?

Don't have time to work from home? I am sure that you will surprise yourself. Many home based businesses are built around the idea that you have a busy life and therefore the business 'plan' is flexible to help you work around your schedule. No set hours and no boss. Keep in mind though that you will get out what you put into it. I do very well with my business considering it is part time, and I am not taking much time away from my family.  I know that if I do it full time later I will do even better, but for right now I have found a good even balance.

3) Sign up for Google Calendar.

This is one of the best tools that I have found for trying to keep my life organized. I have my Google calendar synced with my phone so that I get a reminder before an appointment and can easily add and delete events, appointments, and meetings. I have gone so far as to schedule in friends for coffee or play dates. I use it to plan out the week so I don't miss potential play groups for the kids, forget to return library books, miss soccer registration night, or forget to phone family members. If it is on my schedule, it is happening. And seeing that Google Calendar is free, I SAVE MONEY. I don't have to purchase a day planner yearly, deal with scribbles and erasing, and try to fit all info into a small block on the page, or lose or forget my planner at home. Or better yet, forget to use my planner.  When you get busy, your planner definitely doesn't jingle at you 15 minutes before your scheduled calendar appointment either....

4) Realize time opportunities
Time management is usually a skill that is learned with trial and error. I , myself, am a terrible procrastinator. Through using my Google Calendar and 'scheduling' things, as well as making myself an ongoing and running list for to do's I am able to 'practice' time management skills. I am getting better at getting things done and with my new skills that I have learned with being more organized in the home, I am slowly getting better at NOT procrastinating as badly. I have found reward in 'time' for accomplishing tasks, and a definite decrease in stress when I see things dropping off the list.

Part of time management is 'realizing' time opportunities. Usually it is in moments where the kids are busy playing with playdough, watching morning cartoons, or playing quietly in their room, that you can realize a small slots of free time. These are moments in time when I can TRY to get into my hobby, my business, and maybe even catch a quick shower, or make a cup of tea and just sit. I believe that time management should really be called ' Realizing Opportunity' in supermom lingo.

Creating a schedule with your family can be the best tool to help time opportunities appear. A set bed time, supper started early enough or prepared the night before and timed for a certain time each night can be your best ammunition toward NOT losing free time at the end of the day. And even then free time might mean an early bedtime for yourself...but with practice it will work out more and more often. :)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Save time while staying clutter free!

Ok so I have continued with my organizing. I have now designated an area for each 'event'. Kitchen stuff in the kitchen, office items in the office space, crafts tucked neatly away in bins and 3 drawer tupper-ware get the picture.

1) The boys' room is clean and organized... their toys sorted in appropriate see-through tupperware bins. Trains. Cars and trucks. Blocks. Littlest can see where I am going with this.
*See-through bins are key so you can see exactly what is inside.

Everything else that doesn't have a spot goes into the massive Tupperware container I bought, lid removed. I figure the problem that we had before was that we didn't have enough space for the toys, but now I can see that the bins were too small. This way they can take 1 bin out ( already sorted and ready to play) and cleaning it up is seconds of refilling the bin. Each bin for each type of toy collection is big enough to hold all the items and the lid is closeable.

I have no eliminated over 90 % of a chance of a huge mess because the majority of the toys are stored away in closed bins. My 3 year old will have to now ask to get into these toys...which he can see is inside...and allows me to 'control' the toys.

Now they can be stacked neatly in the closet. I found that using the same bins, even if they were a little bit too big for the toy collection created a more uniform and stackable system. It looks neat and organized, and almost like I had to spend a lot of time making it look that way...I didn't.

I don't know about you but when I was a little it took hours of sorting through to find missing Barbie items, and when we got to finally playing, the day was almost over.

NEW HOUSEHOLD RULE: You want to take out a bin of toys, you have to pick up the bin of toys out and trade it. It has been working FABULOUS!

2) All paper items that come in the mail go directly onto the kitchen table and are sorted immediately. Of course I want to see what we got in the mail but I also found that it was the fastest way to get through the clutter. Flyers get recycled along with the grocery flyers that I won't be using. If I don't shop there, or don't have the money or want for 'couches' it goes in the recycling pile. All bills are opened, and envelopes to the recycling pile. 

* One of my biggest pet peeves is my husband's need to slice the end of the envelope open and read his mail, only to replace it in the envelope and add it to a pile of clutter later. Of course it looks like we have a bunch of unopened mail and I have no idea what is inside.

Bills to be paid go on the fridge. Magazines in plastic wrap are opened. We have a vertical accordion file that paid bills go in by category. Genius! When it comes to tax season I can pull each category out and lump together in write-off categories for my tax report ( which I use against the income made with my home based businesses).

I don't know how we couldn't figure out that placing items in a horizontal pile was making more work for us. You have to literally flip through every piece of paper in the stack...only to usually not find what you are looking for. Vertical filing....amazing. Fast. Organized.

This has saved so much frustration for me, and so much time cleaning.

At the end of the day I go around to each area and remove all the items that don't belong and put them in a laundry basket that I am carrying. I start in the living room for kids toys, abandoned clothing articles, magazines/ books and then move through the house...ending in the rooms where most of this stuff goes. When you get there you take all the items that belong in that room, out of your basket, and put them away.

3 Reasons why this is an amazing idea?
1)No more clutter for the next morning and if someone stops by, your house is fairly clean

2)Cleaning literally takes only minutes because you cut down on the foot traffic. How many times in the past have I returned to the same room, over and over, to put away a bobby pin, a hair elastic, a crayon, a missing game piece.
3) You KNOW WHERE everything is!

I NOW UNDERSTAND that organization is not about looks or how many fancy bins you have, or waiting until you have the perfect organizing cupboard set up....but it is about the system in which you have in place. Routine cleaning. Creating systems that work and save time. When you are a busy mom, the last thing you have a lot of is TIME.

I was WASTING so much TIME going back and forth from room to room cleaning ( before using my basket trick) that before I knew it, the day was over, and the house still looked like a tornado hit it. Time management. Something that a Supermom must become a pro at!

Remove all items that don't belong and make sure that they go somewhere else that they do. If they don't...might be time to start looking to let them go :)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

1st Step: Organizing the house

1st Step in Training: Organizing the house!
Now this is something that I have always known was important, however now I understand it is absolutely necessary in order to not let our lives submit to chaos. So of course I headed down to the library in search of something that would help me along the way. I stumbled upon a book called "House Works" by Cynthia Townley Ewer of OrganizedHome.Com: Clean House, Cut Clutter and Get Organized at Home!

So far it has been a good read and the best thing about it is that I am actually already a very organized person, or have become one as a result of becoming a mom, who had no choice but to. But it has cleared some things up for me.

My husband has been labelling me as a 'hoarder' because of my love for keeping small keepsake items and items that I would rather give away than to throw in the trash. I have always argued the label but it still lingered in my mind. Hoarder. Hoarder. You know you are!

With this book, I have discovered a new label. As far as my habits go I have decided to comfortably call myself a 'Sentamentalist Perfectionist'. I need to be more selective about the memories that I am trying to keep in my home and pick the ones that are most important AND I can't stand to do a less than perfect job when organizing so it keeps me from getting the job started sometimes ( I need to have the perfect system in place).

As for holding onto the things that I just can't bear to throw in the trash, I am working on getting them to people that need them more. Handing them off to a thrift store is my next stop. I didn't say that I wasn't a procrastinator ;)

Starting Training

Where to start? I always thought that being a 'supermom' would be amazing. Thinking back to the images in magazines with pictures of stay at home moms, featured with perfect hair, dressed in beiges, and smiling in front of a spotless living rooms ( obviously perfect and professionally decorated),and playing with her three kids on the floor with learning and brain developing toys.........sigh. I wanted to be her. She made it look so easy, so inviting, so simple. How could I ever be that person in the picture? Would my house ever look so organized? Could I maintain that lifestyle and still be happy? I knew that I wanted it. And I am not going to lie, the jaw dropping " How does she do it?" 's from the other moms would definitely be a bonus. I have the kids, I have the energy, now to start training. I am a stay at home mom, I might as well be a great one. I might as well try and go to the top for that 'Supermom' status. Let the journey begin!