How to Declutter a Room in 4 Easy Steps

As each day goes on, mail, paperwork, dishes, boxes, toys, clothes, you name it is bound to pile up! No matter how organized you are, clutter is more than likely to creep at least one room in your home eventually, there’s no preventing it. Sometimes, life gets so busy, that we don’t actually realize we have clutter building up in the next room. We’ve all been there. 

  Clutter is one of my least favorite things ever. I can even remember as a child, I would take apart my room and declutter my toys and books at least once a year! It’s just always bugged me. As an adult, I’m realizing that yes, it gets harder to not build up clutter, but it doesn’t have to be hard to sort through it. I’m also finding ways to limit clutter each and every day. Here are my 4 tips when you have a clutter filled room: 

  1. Spread things out and sort through them. It’s so much easier when things are displayed right in front of you. If you can’t get to everything at once, work in sections. When you’re sorting, have 3 bins available: 1 for trash or donations, 1 to keep, and 1 to come back later. This way, at least you’ll get rid of all the trash first, leaving it easier to sort through the next round. My favorite affordable organizing bins are linked here – you can use them for practically anything
  2. When I’m deciding if I want to keep something, I like to use a little trick that I heard from a friend, “If it doesn’t bring you joy, toss it”. Say you have a sweater that you never wear because it doesn’t fit you exactly the way you’d like, but you keep it anyway because it’s your absolute favorite color. I would consider this a “toss” or “donate” item. When you wear that sweater, you won’t feel joy wearing it because you don’t exactly like the way it fits. This can go for non-clothes items also like statues, pictures, toys, books. If you’re keeping something that you’ll probably never use, display, or enjoy looking at then it’s simply taking up space!

3. Round 2 Sorting – First, start with your “keep” bin. If there’s too many items in there, go through them a second time and ask your self “When will I use this next?” If it isn’t in the next 6-12 months, I’d toss it!  Do the same with the “come back later” bin. 

4. Now that you have chosen the items that mean the most to you, it’s time to organize! Think about how the clutter got there in the first place. Was it mail piling up on the kitchen counter, or just toys and clothes piling up from the past year? Whatever it is, designate it to a new destination! For the mail, put a small basket on the side table near the front door, or hang a tiny shelf on the wall by the coat rack. Cubby or Drawer organizers work great for toys and clothes. Find what works best for your family and make it a habit to put things where they go.

One simple step each day can lead to a simpler (and not so cluttered) life, which leads to more family time and less stress for you!

Feeling Inspired? Check out these other posts!

10 FREE Activities You can do with Kids on any day

7 Road Trip Hacks to Save Money with Kids

Tips & Tricks for Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Terms of Use

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Last updated 10/16/2019
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You hereby waive any rights or requirements under any statutes, regulations, rules, ordinances, or other laws in any jurisdiction which require an original signature or delivery or retention of non-electronic records, or to payments or the granting of credits by any means other than electronic means.  CALIFORNIA USERS AND RESIDENTS If any complaint with us is not satisfactorily resolved, you can contact the Complaint Assistance Unit of the Division of Consumer Services of the California Department of Consumer Affairs in writing at 1625 North Market Blvd., Suite N 112, Sacramento, California 95834 or by telephone at (800) 952-5210 or (916) 445-1254. MISCELLANEOUS These Terms of Use and any policies or operating rules posted by us on the Site or in respect to the Site constitute the entire agreement and understanding between you and us. Our failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Terms of Use shall not operate as a waiver of such right or provision. 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Privacy Policy

PRIVACY POLICY    

Last updated October 16, 2019  

Thank you for choosing to be part of our community at Projectivity Mom (“Company”, “we”, “us”, or “our”). We are committed to protecting your personal information and your right to privacy. If you have any questions or concerns about our policy   , or our practices with regards to your personal information, please contact us at projectivitymom@yahoo.com. 

When you visit our website www.projectivitymom.com, and use our services, you trust us with your personal information. We take your privacy very seriously. In this privacy policy   , we seek to explain to you in the clearest way possible what information we collect, how we use it and what rights you have in relation to it. We hope you take some time to read through it carefully, as it is important. If there are any terms in this privacy policy   that you do not agree with, please discontinue use of our Sites and our services. 

This privacy policy   applies to all information collected through our website (such as www.projectivitymom.com), and/or any related services, sales, marketing or events (we refer to them collectively in this privacy policy   as the “Services“).  

Please read this privacy policy   carefully as it will help you make informed decisions about sharing your personal information with us.   

1. WHAT INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?  

Personal information you disclose to us 

In Short: We collect personal information that you provide to us such as name, address, contact information, passwords and security data, and payment information.  

We collect personal information that you voluntarily provide to us when expressing an interest in obtaining information about us or our products and services, when participating in activities on the Services (such as posting messages in our online forums or entering competitions, contests or giveaways) or otherwise contacting us.

The personal information that we collect depends on the context of your interactions with us and the Services, the choices you make and the products and features you use. The personal information we collect can include the following:

Name and Contact Data. We collect your first and last name, email address, postal address, phone number, and other similar contact data.

Credentials. We collect passwords, password hints, and similar security information used for authentication and account access.   

All personal information that you provide to us must be true, complete and accurate, and you must notify us of any changes to such personal information.  

2. HOW DO WE USE YOUR INFORMATION?  

In Short:  We process your information for purposes based on legitimate business interests, the fulfillment of our contract with you, compliance with our legal obligations, and/or your consent.  

We use personal information collected via our Services for a variety of business purposes described below. We process your personal information for these purposes in reliance on our legitimate business interests, in order to enter into or perform a contract with you, with your consent, and/or for compliance with our legal obligations. We indicate the specific processing grounds we rely on next to each purpose listed below. 

We use the information we collect or receive:   

To send you marketing and promotional communications. We and/or our third party marketing partners may use the personal information you send to us for our marketing purposes, if this is in accordance with your marketing preferences. You can opt-out of our marketing emails at any time (see the ” WHAT ARE YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS  ” below).                                                                                                                                                                                                              

3. WILL YOUR INFORMATION BE SHARED WITH ANYONE?  

In Short:  We only share information with your consent, to comply with laws, to provide you with services, to protect your rights, or to fulfill business obligations.   
We may process or share data based on the following legal basis:

  • Consent: We may process your data if you have given us specific consent to use your personal information in a specific purpose. 

  • Legitimate Interests: We may process your data when it is reasonably necessary to achieve our legitimate business interests. 

  • Performance of a Contract: Where we have entered into a contract with you, we may process your personal information to fulfill the terms of our contract. 

  • Legal Obligations: We may disclose your information where we are legally required to do so in order to comply with applicable law, governmental requests, a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process, such as in response to a court order or a subpoena (including in response to public authorities to meet national security or law enforcement requirements). 

  • Vital Interests: We may disclose your information where we believe it is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding potential violations of our policies, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the safety of any person and illegal activities, or as evidence in litigation in which we are involved.

More specifically, we may need to process your data or share your personal information in the following situations:   

  • Vendors, Consultants and Other Third-Party Service Providers. We may share your data with third party vendors, service providers, contractors or agents who perform services for us or on our behalf and require access to such information to do that work. Examples include: payment processing, data analysis, email delivery, hosting services, customer service and marketing efforts. We may allow selected third parties to use tracking technology on the Services, which will enable them to collect data about how you interact with the Services over time. This information may be used to, among other things, analyze and track data, determine the popularity of certain content and better understand online activity. Unless described in this Policy, we do not share, sell, rent or trade any of your information with third parties for their promotional purposes.       

  • Business Transfers. We may share or transfer your information in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing, or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company. 

  • Third-Party Advertisers. We may use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit the Services. These companies may use information about your visits to our Website(s) and other websites that are contained in web cookies and other tracking technologies in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you.         

  • Other Users. When you share personal information (for example, by posting comments, contributions or other content to the Services) or otherwise interact with public areas of the Services, such personal information may be viewed by all users and may be publicly distributed outside the Services in perpetuity. Similarly, other users will be able to view descriptions of your activity, communicate with you within our Services, and view your profile.  

4. HOW LONG DO WE KEEP YOUR INFORMATION?  

In Short:  We keep your information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this privacy policy   unless otherwise required by law.   

We will only keep your personal information for as long as it is necessary for the purposes set out in this privacy policy   , unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law (such as tax, accounting or other legal requirements). No purpose in this policy will require us keeping your personal information for longer than 2 years .  

When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.    

5. DO WE COLLECT INFORMATION FROM MINORS?  

In Short:  We do not knowingly collect data from or market to children under 18 years of age.  

We do not knowingly solicit data from or market to children under 18 years of age. By using the Services, you represent that you are at least 18 or that you are the parent or guardian of such a minor and consent to such minor dependent’s use of the Services. If we learn that personal information from users less than 18 years of age has been collected, we will deactivate the account and take reasonable measures to promptly delete such data from our records. If you become aware of any data we have collected from children under age 18, please contact us at projectivitymom@yahoo.com.  

6. WHAT ARE YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS?  

In Short:  You may review, change, or terminate your account at any time.    

If you are resident in the European Economic Area and you believe we are unlawfully processing your personal information, you also have the right to complain to your local data protection supervisory authority. You can find their contact details here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/bodies/authorities/index_en.htm.       

7. CONTROLS FOR DO-NOT-TRACK FEATURES  

Most web browsers and some mobile operating systems and mobile applications include a Do-Not-Track (“DNT”) feature or setting you can activate to signal your privacy preference not to have data about your online browsing activities monitored and collected. No uniform technology standard for recognizing and implementing DNT signals has been finalized. As such, we do not currently respond to DNT browser signals or any other mechanism that automatically communicates your choice not to be tracked online. If a standard for online tracking is adopted that we must follow in the future, we will inform you about that practice in a revised version of this privacy policy   .  

8. DO CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS HAVE SPECIFIC PRIVACY RIGHTS?  

In Short:  Yes, if you are a resident of California, you are granted specific rights regarding access to your personal information.   

California Civil Code Section 1798.83, also known as the “Shine The Light” law, permits our users who are California residents to request and obtain from us, once a year and free of charge, information about categories of personal information (if any) we disclosed to third parties for direct marketing purposes and the names and addresses of all third parties with which we shared personal information in the immediately preceding calendar year. If you are a California resident and would like to make such a request, please submit your request in writing to us using the contact information provided below. 

If you are under 18 years of age, reside in California, and have a registered account with the Services, you have the right to request removal of unwanted data that you publicly post on the Services. To request removal of such data, please contact us using the contact information provided below, and include the email address associated with your account and a statement that you reside in California. We will make sure the data is not publicly displayed on the Services, but please be aware that the data may not be completely or comprehensively removed from our systems.

9. DO WE MAKE UPDATES TO THIS POLICY?  

In Short:  Yes, we will update this policy as necessary to stay compliant with relevant laws.  

We may update this privacy policy   from time to time. The updated version will be indicated by an updated “Revised” date and the updated version will be effective as soon as it is accessible. If we make material changes to this privacy policy   , we may notify you either by prominently posting a notice of such changes or by directly sending you a notification. We encourage you to review this privacy policy   frequently to be informed of how we are protecting your information.  

10. HOW CAN YOU CONTACT US ABOUT THIS POLICY?  

If you have questions or comments about this policy, you may email us at projectivitymom@yahoo.com

Projectivity Mom Exclusive Discounts + Promo Codes

Looking to save $$ on Christmas gifts? You’ve come to the right place!

Below is a list of coupon codes and discounts available exclusively through Projectivity Mom. You can access each store’s website by clicking on the link in the title or description.

Baby Tula#1 Chosen Baby Carriers, baby blankets, bags & more. – USE CODE: PJMOM5 for $5 off your order.

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Chicken Broccoli + Cauliflower Rice Casserole *Healthy*


This Chicken, Broccoli & Cauliflower Rice Casserole was an accidental discovery for me and I’m so glad it happened!
Recently, I’ve cut back on actual rice and have been cooking with Cauliflower rice as a replacement. It’s a personal decision for my health as I’ve noticed rice became a trigger to my thyroid issue.. which is a totally different story that I will be sharing all the details about soon enough. 

Either way, cauliflower rice is a wonderful replacement if you’re looking to add more vegetables into your diet. I was very skeptical at first because I’ve never really been a fan of cauliflower since I was a child, but if you cook it right, and add the right ingredients you can hardly tell the difference! I was first hooked when my husband made the Cauliflower Fried Rice for our family for lunch one day. 

If you’re not familiar with cauliflower rice, it’s basically just cauliflower chopped up into rice like pieces. I’ve chosen not to purchase whole cauliflower and chop it up myself because I’ve found that Costco sells bulk bags of Cauliflower Rice for about the same price as it would be whole! Win Win – No extra dishes for me!

The best part about this casserole recipe is IT’S KID APPROVED! My kids went crazy over it, (they are the pickiest eaters) I ended up making an extra one to pop in the freezer for another night. 

Chicken Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Casserole

What you need:

1 ½ cup of diced pre-cooked chicken

2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup

½ bag of Cauliflower RIce

½ bag of Broccoli (about 1-2 inch pieces are fine)

1 can of cheese dip or cheese sauce

½ cup of shredded cheese

Olive oil Spray

  1. Boil the cauliflower rice and broccoli together on medium for 10-15 minutes or until they are soft. Strain from all water and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350℉.
  2. Spray casserole dish with olive oil spray just enough to lightly coat the dish.
  3. Dump strained broccoli and cauliflower rice into a bowl along with cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, cheese dip, and shredded cheese. Mix until everything is combined well.
  4. Dump in casserole dish. Bake on 350℉ for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted to your desire. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. It’s super hot! 

Enjoy!

If you tried this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below & let us know how you liked it!

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The Most Effective Way to Meal Plan / How to Grocery Shop

The Most Effective Way to Meal Plan / How to Grocery Shop

To those new at this thing we call “adulting”, even just the thought of meal planning can be hard. I mean come on, nothing could ever prepare us for the fact that we would have to come up with, plan and cook 3 meals a day for ourselves (and our families) for the rest of eternity! There are two rules I go by when planning meals. 1. They have to be nutritious, nourishing meals. (Our bodies need to survive, so we can’t just eat junk all day) 2. My wallet shouldn’t suffer. Always be frugal! The key is to find balance between the two. It’s not a simple task and it takes experience and time to gain the knowledge to be successful at this. 

Why should I meal plan and what difference does it make?

A good portion of the beginning of my adult life I didn’t exactly know what meal planning was or how I would even accomplish it. Due to a demanding job and fast-paced lifestyle, most of my meals were fast food. Any attempt at a homemade meal were just a basic meatloaf and maybe a side of boxed mashed potatoes. Oh, and the way my husband and I would grocery shop… Every week, we would spend $200- $300 on things we thought were essential for dinners, like pre-made dinner kits, hamburger helpers, or canned veggies (which we never used). We had so much clutter in our cabinets, but never had any idea what to make for dinner. What were we doing?  We weren’t getting any nutrients and it was hurting our health more than anything in the long run. Yes, I got most of my food for free, but was it actually worth not being organized at home and feeling like total junk all the time? So I stepped it up and started my search for better options.

It’s been about 4 years since I’ve joined the meal prepping club (not an actual club BTW), so yes, it has taken some trying and many failings along the way. But it truly is all about balance and what works for you and your family. The way we shop and eat now is C O M P L E T E L Y different from the way we used to back then. Yes, I still occasionally buy pre-made dinner kits, and I haven’t given up my love for chili cheese fries. But, I’ve incorporated so much more nutritious value into our meals by adding vegetables and fruit AND now we’re only spending around $75/week on groceries! 

Where do I start?

There is A TON of information out there on meal planning and meal prepping. Between Google and Pinterest, you’ll be stuck reading countless posts and leading to a never ending road. The madness stops here! I’m excited to share my tips on what I’ve done to improve and my experience in what has failed me along the way. 

#1 Identify your essentials. Start with the basics. What are some things that you keep handy and / or use on a daily basis? Items like ketchup, BBQ sauce, chopped garlic, flour, and sugar are essentials in our household. These are things that you should try to stay stocked up on all the time. We like to stock up on these items when they go on sale and keep them in our pantry! 

#2 Check your cabinets. TAKE INVENTORY! Now make a list of E V E R Y T H I N G in your cabinets, fridge, freezer, and pantry. These will be your base items for meal planning! If you have something that is going to expire soon, or looks like it just needs to be used up, be sure to put a star next to it so you know to add it to your plan first.

#3 Come up with a base plan or goal. What are your nutrition goals? Whether you want to cut back on pasta, or just simply add more veggies to your meals, it’s always best to have this decided before you start meal planning, that way you stay focused along the way.

#4 Find your happy! It’s okay if your little one doesn’t like cauliflower, or if you can’t stand the thought of sweet potatoes. First, think about what veggies you want to incorporate that you’ve never tried before, or that you’d like to try again. If you have a picky eater , doll veggies up with cheese or simply add them to your spaghetti or chili sauce. (It works!) My favorite thing to do is look up “kid-friendly” recipes online – there’s SO much out there. Find your balance in what makes you and your family enjoy the meals together! 

#5 Make your Grocery and Meal List Now that have an idea of where you need to be, it’s time to make your grocery list! Now this is the step where most people go wrong. Most people look up recipes first, then shop the items on the recipe list! That’s just adding MORE groceries to your pantry and not using up what you already have! Instead, start with the ingredients you have on hand FIRST. Go back to your inventory list and use up what needs to go. This week, I had a huge jar of hummus and some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge. So, I based my first meal around the hummus – hummus taco bowls, and the second meal was a chicken broccoli casserole – which I also had broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce on hand so win-win! Use what meat you have on hand as a base for your meal, then start building the extras with your pantry or fridge items like pasta, veggies, or even cream cheese, this helps you easily come up with a theme for each dinner. Now, say you have everything you’d like for taco night except guacamole or tortillas. Add them to your list! It’s saves so much money only having to fork out money for 20% of the meal vs. 80%!

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

#6 Shop Last – This is my favorite part! Yes, I love shopping, but that’s not why. Usually, by the time my list is made, I only have a small handful of items AND I know exactly what I’m going for and where I’m going. Before meal planning, I’ve spent countless hours in the store, going up and down each aisle, trying to find specific items and hunting for the best deal. Of course it’s always great to find a deal, but I’d end up buying something that I didn’t use in time or even like anyway. So, essentially I’m saving more money in the long run even if I do pay full price for those tortillas I needed for taco night, because I had a plan for them.

What are some tips you have for meal planning?

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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Chicken Broccoli + Cauliflower Rice Casserole *Healthy*

10 Activities FREE for Kids on Any Day

 

ProjectivityMom

 

We’ve all been there. Kids have a day off of school but on a tight budget? Between zoo trips, movie theatres, and arcades, expenses add up quick! I’ve had a lot of “boring” days just sitting around the house because we couldn’t imagine going out and fishing money out on these things. So, I’ve done some research and found there’s actually quite many FREE activities many do as a whole family, so we don’t have to break our wallet.

  • Library- Libraries aren’t just for books! You can also find movies, board games, magazines, local yearbooks and many other fun things at the Library. Many Libraries also offer free Story Time for little ones! For the older kids, they may have simple art activities or reading contests to participate in. Check with your local library to see what kind of Free Fun they offer!
  • Scavenger Hunt – These are all the trends on local deal sites nowadays. Why pay someone to supply you with a popularized scavenger hunt when you can make one with your own twist? Take it to the park, or even around town. Make a list of things you might see out of the ordinary like a squirrel digging in the ground, and things that are ordinary like pinecones, or people bike riding! Make it fun and like a contest. “Whoever wins, gets to choose what we do next”. Kids love these type of activities and it gets them out of the house and into the outdoors.
  • Go to the Park – And not just the park down the street that you’re familiar with! Be a tourist in your own town, explore new parks, city monuments, trails or statues. Not all parks are created equal. Some parks have more new and unique playground equipment than others, so the kids get excited to be playing on new things! Some parks even have read along, or exercising trails to keep kids occupied while you’re out for a stroll.
  • Free “Zoo” or Aquarium – Check the nearest cities near you, one of them (usually the largest) is likely to have a small free “zoo” or aquarium where they have animals like birds, turtles or fish on display. Some of these facilities may also offer free education areas where children can participate in hands-on activities and learn all about animals and the environment around them.
  • Splash Pad – What kid doesn’t love playing in the water?! “Splash pads” are basically water playgrounds! They consist of all kinds of sprinkler-like equipment designed for kids to have fun and stay cool during the summer. Bonus, YOU can also join in on the fun. No shame in our game here.. We’ve done it! 
  • Free days at the Zoo – Our local zoo offers “free days” every once in a while. Admission is usually no charge AND they offer discounted boat or train tours. When the zoo announces which day they are offering these free admission days, we check our calendars and write it in if we are free that day! It’s so worth it if you only end up going to the zoo once or twice a year anyway. Why not go on a free day?
  • Recreation Center – This is an option that is usually overlooked by most parents. Check with your local recreation center, they may offer free admission for kids! This is great because recreation centers are perfect places for kids to interact and get exercise. They can play basketball, walk around the track, and even play in the designated kids area which usually has some type of arcade games.
  • Bowling – Free Bowling all summer long? YES, Please. Kids get free admission to bowl any day of the summer when you sign up at kidsbowlfree.com. Our kids love the bowling alley because it provides a low-key environment where they can let off some steam. Plus, it’s indoors so you stay cool! The only downfall is you have to bring your own bowling shoes.
  • Movie Days – I’m not talking about the movie theatre here. Some parks, libraries, even local businesses sometimes offer free outdoor or even indoor movie days. Our local humane society does this at least once a month! It’s a great way for kids to get out and socialize and maybe see a movie they’ve never thought of watching.
  • Concert in the Park- Do you ever drive past a crowd of people downtown  and say “I wonder what’s going on there?” Check it out, it’s probably a free event! Car shows, festivals, and farmers markets are always free to walk around, get out and meet new people. You get to take in the fresh air and experience things you don’t typically see at home. Farmers markets are great for getting children’s brains going! My son got the idea to set up his own stand after seeing that kids can do it too at the farmer’s market!

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A Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule – How to Manage Your Time


Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of disorganization. I mean, who actually is anyway? Life can get out of order quick between work, sports, cooking, and cleaning, especially if you’re not able to grasp a hold of the basics. Implementing a daily routine and schedule has sort of been a life saver for my family. If you haven’t read my blog about the block schedule we follow, you can check it out here.

Not only do we go by a schedule, but we implement small things that help us keep the disorder a tad more together throughout the entire day. 

Things that you can easily apply to your everyday tasks to help you get things done faster, and more efficient! (Heck Yes!) Here’s a simplified version of my daily routine and how things usually go in our household.

  • Wake Up on Time – And don’t, I repeat, DON’T hit snooze. Giving yourself an extra 5 minutes of sleep will only make you more tired than you were the first time your alarm went off. To help ease into full awakeness, I try turning on some uplifting music, or a favorite podcast on the Alexa Echo Show.
  • Before I Get out the Door – Take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, brew some tea, take vitamins. Not only do I do those basic to-dos, but this is also the time where I like to make sure I have everything set out or thawed for dinner that night and a load of laundry and dishes done. I have a blog post that goes into depth on how to keep the chaos out of mornings! You’ll find many helpful tips to keep this idea into rhythm. Check it out here!
  • Work Mode – This is the time that I call my “free” time, now that I am a stay at home mom. The kids are off to school and I have a few hours to myself. During this period, I put anything related to work as a first priority, then answer to any phone calls, emails, and social media, and lastly house work. I usually do either 2 or 3 loads of laundry a day, so this would be the time that the second gets done, and then I would focus on preparing lunch and preparing dinner items. (It’s usually about 2 or 3 in the afternoon when I start dinner) Trust me, it eliminates a TON of clutter! Oh, and I try to get a load of dishes going in the dish washer.
  • Family Time– Everyone is getting home from school and work. We sit down and empty our backpacks, lunch boxes, and workloads.  This would also be the time that we participate in any sports activities, school events, etc. (if there’s any going on that night). This is the second most hectic part of the day, which is why I use my own time to prepare for dinner when I can.
  • Prep for the Night + Dinner – We start preparing for tomorrow, lunches planned and made, backpacks ready to grab, and last load of dishes and laundry done. We try to sit at the table and eat together as a family each night. Sometimes sports run late and do not allow this, so some of us may start to wind down, while the others are just getting home. After dinner is all said and done, we clean up the kitchen as a family. I believe if we all eat, we all should chip in! Not just the person who cooks because that would just make the workload bigger for them. The kids help us with wiping the table and sweeping, while we do dishes and clean the counters.
  • Wind Down –  After dinner is the time we start to wind down. Anything that we haven’t gotten accomplished previously that needs attention like homework or packing lunches, we do it now. Showers and bath time. If we have any free time before bedtime comes, we allow the kids to have electronic time, TV or Tablet.
  • Bedtime – We brush our teeth, read stories and tuck in time. Before I go to bed, I like to grab my notepad and write down anything that’s on my mind that I would want to get done the next day. It’s a trick I learned from an old friend, it helps you de-stress and be one step ahead!

Not every day is the same, and of course weekends are totally different! Some nights we will go out to eat, which will eliminate the cooking part(s) of the day. But for the most part, this is a good outline on an average day for us! 

What steps do you take in your daily routine to get ready for tomorrow?

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10 Tips to Make your Morning Easier

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of waking up late, accidentally skipping breakfast, and rushing out the door. Countless times I’ve felt like I just simply couldn’t handle mornings… or maybe I just wasn’t a morning person. That wasn’t the case, I’ve grown to like mornings now. Yes, mornings are always going to be crazy, we have to accept that as parents. BUT, they don’t have to be hectic. Simple steps you can take TODAY will help you a great deal tomorrow morning! 

  • Think about Breakfast – In our house, breakfast was usually the messiest and indecisive part of the morning. It would take our kids at least 5 minutes to decide what they actually wanted, and usually they would choose something that takes a lot of effort to cook, not to mention the dishes afterwards! Instead, conversate with them about what’s going to be available for breakfast the next day. Make sure you have at least 2-3 options available for grabs without any necessity of cooking in the morning. Each week, I like to add at least 1 breakfast item like burritos or egg roll ups to my meal prep, it keeps mornings simple and takes a load off on dishes!
  • Set your Clothes out – Ever sat in front of your closet and couldn’t decide what to wear? Yep! On average, it takes us 10 minutes longer to get dressed and ready for the day if we don’t already have our clothes picked out.  Before you go to bed, try to go through everything you’ll wear the next day, including socks, shoes, and any accessories, then set them aside near where you normally get dressed. You’ll have everything right there in one spot instead of going back and forth to different drawers. 
  • Pack Bags and Backpacks – Kids have homework last night and leave everything scattered all over the table? Can’t find your wallet or forgot where you put your keys? You definitely don’t want to risk being late in the morning because you were searching for these items. Instead, pack your purse, backpacks, or any bag you’ll need the next day and set them by the door. You’ll be so thankful the next morning when you remember your keys are where you actually intended to put them!
  • Clean – Think about all the morning motions you go through that involve cleaning. The dirty clothes, laundry, dishes, picking up here and there. Before bedtime, try to pick items off the floor, unload the dishwasher, or start a new load of laundry in the washer. It’ll put you one extra step ahead of the game tomorrow.
  • Set your Alarm – Yes, yes, it’s a given. But I’m not talking about your average wake up call. I have 3 alarms set in the morning. 1. To wake up (of course) 2. Time to eat breakfast and 3. To start heading out the door. When the second alarm goes off, we know we should be dressed and in the kitchen. By the third alarm, we’re all ready to head out. Planning what you’ll have accomplished in between alarms is key. It’s helped us to wake up and be dressed before breakfast time, then after breakfast, finish up hair and anything that needs attention before we leave.
  • Eliminate TV Time – It’s so easy to get sucked into electronics, and so hard to pull yourself (and kids) out of them! Skip the hassle and opt into an electronic free morning. Instead, if you have free time, make it a habit to start up an interesting conversation together, study spelling words, or even do morning chores! 
  • Make a List – Many adults suffer from lack of sleep and much of it can be due to overthinking. Have a notebook and pen by your side at bedtime. Take 5 minutes and go through the motions of today and tomorrow and write down anything that you need to accomplish or what comes to mind. This will help empty your brain before bedtime, making you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Plus, when you wake up, you’ll have your goals set without having to think about it all over again!
  • Plan for Lunch the Day Before – This has been an absolute game changer in our house. Not only does it save time in the mornings, but it also saves us a ton of money in the long run. No more trying to throw a quick sandwich together or just giving up altogether and going out for lunch. This trick will save you from even going out AND save you money on groceries! The day before, start thinking about what you can make for lunch, think about things that are just sitting in your fridge waiting to be eaten. Maybe throw a chicken salad together, or a cheese quesadilla with salsa. Grab some fruit and a couple pieces of celery with peanut butter, it pays to get creative! Prepare all lunches while you’re making dinner the night before and have it ready to pack in the fridge.
  • Adopt a Ritual – Not a morning person? I feel you, I do! What helped me turn from night owl to morning rooster was a change in my pace and outlook on mornings. Turns out, I was staying up a little too late and not getting anything accomplished at night, which made me cranky in the morning. Try going to bed or settling down an hour or 2 earlier so you can get a little extra shut eye. Then, if you’re feeling spontaneous enough, start getting up a little earlier each day to maybe indulge in a cup of coffee or enjoy a few minutes to yourself. Make it a ritual to do something you enjoy in the mornings too! This will help your body kind of stress down and rev up for the day.
  • Leave Room for Mishaps – Of course you’re not going to be able to implicate every single one of these steps tomorrow morning. There will be days where you forget about your lunch, or your alarm doesn’t go off. Nobody and no day is ever perfect 100% of the time. It’s all about balance. Adding one simple step each day will help produce healthy and productive habits.

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Grocery Shopping Hacks

7 Road Trip Hacks to Save Money with Kids

  Taking a road trip with your family is a great way to spend quality time together. You get to learn new things, see new places, and gain new experiences! Some of the most memorable times I have as a child are when we were on the road, our longest road trip was even 18 hours! Now as a parent, I know it can get expensive fast if you don’t have a plan in tact. Plus, when traveling with little ones and even the older kiddos they get bored SO easily. Last year, our family took a 3-day road trip (with 4 kids) and we learned quickly that we needed to implement some organization and budgeting into our vacation! So, I set out to find the best tricks, games and tips to keep the kids occupied and adults happy that they’re saving money while taking a road trip! 

Because.. WHO doesn’t like saving money? More vacations, right?

  • Make a Plan – Whether it’s a day trip or a week-long trip. Make. A. Plan. Write down every place you’re planning on going, and have it mapped out on paper so everyone is aware of what’s happening. If you have it all written and planned out, you’re more likely to stick to it. Make sure to include stops in between for gas, bathroom breaks, or even that gigantic taco museum on the way! Making a plan will eliminate any room for sudden splurges on food or events. We like to bring a pocket folder and include everything we plan on using the entire trip.. Coupons, tickets, gift cards, etc.

  • Never Pay for Breakfast – Breakfast is the cheapest and easiest meal of the day to supply. Whether you like eggs, cereal, bacon, granola bars, donuts, cinnamon rolls, or even breakfast burritos, you can prep all these things before hand and have them ready to grab for breakfast time! This also takes the hectic out of the morning if you’re planning on heading back out on the road. BONUS: Check with your hotel to see if they offer free breakfast! Most hotels offer cereal, bagels, and even sausage and eggs!
  • Keep the Kids Happy – Usually within 30 minutes of driving, our kids are known to get bored and start resorting to saying things like “Can we stop somewhere?” or “I’m hungry”. We like to create a personal bag and folder for each of the kids that include snacks, drinks, and activities throughout the trip. The activities range for each child as they are all different ages. The younger children have coloring pages and number sheets, while the older kids have scavenger hunts and wordsearches. When packing the snack bag, we lay out all the available snacks and drinks on the counter and let each kid pick 6 or 7 snacks and 2 or 3 drinks (depending on the duration of the trip) to fill up their bag. This way they get to choose something they know they won’t waste later and they take responsibility for their choices.

  • Combine your Expenses – Planning on going to a waterpark or an amusement park? Do some research on your destination to see if they offer discounts on hotels or dining. Some places usually have packages that include admission to their park AND nightly stays at a nearby hotel. You can save on gas, lodging, and fun!
  • Fill up – Before you leave for your trip, make sure your gas tank is filled up, or you’re planning to get gas first thing after you leave. Then, try only to refill when you’re almost on empty or getting close. This eliminates any extra gas station expenses such as drinks, snacks, or unwanted and overpriced gas station “souvenirs”. (You can purchase souvenirs on your time!)
  • Plan for error – Always have a tiny budget set aside for any surprises you may have along the way. This will help you budget in things that pop up along the way like a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try that you didn’t know was along the way or say there was an unexpected parking fee you had to pay. An extra $75-$100 does it for us. Considering admission to anywhere per person is usually at least $12, or the average meal per person could be anywhere from $7 to $20. Pick an amount that works for your family.
  • Have Fun – Literally! Don’t stress about everything going perfect the entire trip. Sure, maybe the hotel you choose may not be as “4 star” as the reviews stated, or you ended up making an extra stop for windshield fluid. You can always tailor your plans if you need to. The most important factor in road trips are quality time with the people you love! So, put on a show, throw in a sing-a-long CD, or even put together a road sign scavenger hunt. These are the memories that stick with your kids for their lifetime.

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