We Became A Shoe Free Home and It Has Nothing To Do With Cleaning

My children live on the floor. It doesn’t matter if we are in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom they are constantly stretching out on the floor to play, read, or watch tv. That has always bothered me and forced me to constantly say, “get up off that nasty floor!” mostly after they had already had their nightly baths and pj’s on. Technically the floors were never “nasty” because I try to stick to a reasonable cleaning routine that I’ve done for years, but it still bothered me to see them all stretched out on the floors that had just acquired the same germs from the shoes that we had just worn into the pee-pee filled floor from some public restroom. I know that I can’t protect them from all of the germs, but we can live comfortably in our own home right?shoe-free-home-the-mommy-365

My husband is a General Contractor and he goes into some really yucky places with his work boots most of the time. It always bothered me knowing that those places were coming into our home via the bottom of his boots. He finally stopped wearing them in the house after I pointed out his daily dirt trails in our bedroom carpet and other places. Yuck! I made the suggestion for us to try going shoeless for a weekend just to see how it worked for our lifestyle. This meant that we would only put on our shoes at the door and remove them once we entered back in.

the-mommy-365.jpg
Product and Image Courtesy of Pixie Dust Louisville

It took some getting used to and of course, we forgot a few times. I did purchase a shoe tray for each door in our home so that we wouldn’t have to take our shoes to our closet immediately and to keep the doorway from looking cluttered. We were already familiar with removing our shoes on rainy days, so now it was just getting into the routine of doing it on other days. My son was the first to say that he loved the “no shoes” life in our home. That made me happy! After a few days of going shoeless in our home, it was time to clean the carpets and floors once over to make sure that we had a fresh start. I decided to add a basket with socks and shoe covers just in case visitors didn’t feel comfortable removing their shoes. So far, I’ve only had a few eye rolls and you already know that I don’t care. It’s our home and we have a right to live how we want inside of our home.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out from a few people that visited our home that they know lots of people that have the same “no shoe” rule in their own homes, so they were more than comfortable with respecting our request in our home. I was told by a few of our visitors that the people that they know that live shoe-free at home was because they wanted to keep their floors and carpets pristine and for others, it’s because of issues with their immune system. I never even knew that wearing shoes in your own home could negatively affect your health or immune system. I always believed and kind of still do, that a few germs are necessary to build up a healthy immune system. However, I was not shocked when this clip from The Today Show revealed just how nasty our shoes are and reasons that support my family’s efforts for going shoe-free.

Shortly after we became a shoe-free home we were invited to one of my daughter’s friends house for a birthday party. Surprisingly this home was also shoe-free and of course, we were no strangers to this way of living. I’ll admit that it kind of reassured me that I was still a normal mom and wife with just a preference on how I wanted things in my home. I could care less about cleaning. I am not against that, it actually is kind of therapeutic at times. Laundry is the monster that I hate in my home. I know that we have made the right choice for now. Going shoeless in your home may not be the right choice for you, but if you are considering it here are a few ways to get started today.

6 ways to become a shoe free home

 Carmen

Advertisements

Oh Toodles! My Toddler Turned 3!

Time is moving so fast with my daughter. I don’t remember her sitting on our laps for a long time. We didn’t rush her to grow up, but she was just too determined to be held back for our cuddles and babying behaviors.

I know that it’s because she has an older brother and desperately wants to do what he does, but someone should have told her that I needed her to stay smaller for just a little bit longer. She’s my grace baby and yes, I cry a little inside when I say that and think of her like that.

The grace baby that we also like to refer to as ladybug, mook-mook, and sour patch kid turned 3 on May 29. She literally told us that her birthday was coming every day up until her actual birthday. She was just super excited! She told us that she wanted a Spiderman party and then a Peppa Pig party, and she finally settled with a Minnie Mouse theme party. On her actual birthday, we kept things simple with pizza for dinner and cupcakes. She knew that she was having a birthday party with her family and kept telling me that she wanted to jump outside in the tent like the last time. That meant that she wanted a bounce house. That also meant a hot outdoor party which I wasn’t looking forward to having. Because of the 98 degree temps that we are having every day, I decided to schedule her party for 10-12 a.m. That gave us 80-degree temps with a little breeze. Considering that it was rather early for a birthday party I didn’t want to serve pizza or barbeque like last year, so I turned to my favorite Pinterest boards to find some brunch ideas. I could not find any good ideas that would allow me to not have to be concerned about safe food temps, so I gave up in a little frustration and decided to leave it in Gods hands. My husband was settled that he would pick up kids meals from anywhere we wanted the next morning if we didn’t come up with something. I figured that whatever God decided to tell us to buy or prepare that morning was what it would be even if it was pizza. I kid you not, but at about 2 a.m. that morning the holy spirit told me to prepare a variety of sliders. I was like okay Jesus, help me make this taste good now! I got a few ideas of what meat to use from Pinterest and a few techniques to make them taste extra delicious. It worked perfectly for the time of day. I decided on Ham and Cheddar, Beef and Mozzarella, Turkey and Cheddar, and Turkey Sausage and Cheddar Cheese Eggs all on Hawaiian Sweet Bread.

20190601_120636_HDR-01~2.jpeg

We also served strawberries, grapes, and bananas and cake. Our beverages were orange juice, water, 100% fruit juice boxes for the kids, and of course soda. My momma, you all, oh goodness! She is the real MVP! She got in the kitchen without a blink and made those sliders like it was nothing. To top it all off she helped me finish the edible desserts which were Oreo cookie Minnie Mouse ears on a stick. My husband’s sweet cousin bagged them up into treat bags with the little twist ties.

I think everyone was happy with the food and that was my goal! Minnie Mouse decorations are one of the easiest party decorations that you can buy or make. I pulled party decor that I used from previous parties that included mason jars, tulle, and felt fabric.

I’ve realized that it’s much prettier and cheaper to buy a few yards of fabric as table covers versus the plastic table covers. You have fewer wrinkles and if you purchase a neutral color you can use them for years to come. Walmart had precut 1-yard fabric in just the colors that I needed. I used them to cover our tables and once I was done with them I just placed them into the washing machine to store away for future use. I knew that I wanted Minnie Mouse ears on everything, so I turned to one of my favorite websites, Canva. I love that you can create any type of design that you normally would have to pay for on Etsy.

Now, don’t get me wrong Etsy is still a great site because there are a few party products that you can find that save you time from creating and that Canva may not be able to reproduce, mostly the vinyl products. However, for the most part, you can DIY your own decor if you have time and only plan to use cardstock. I decided to make a happy birthday board that just says “happy birthday Mariyah” for the gift area. I always use our fireplace as the gift area to save space from a traditional gift table. To make the birthday board and other printables for the party, I switched between the Gochi Hand and Brusher font on Canva. To finish the birthday board I cut streamer paper into circles and my sweet son helped me glue them to the board. I also added some Minnie Mouse ears with a bow.

I love the party frame that allows guest to take fun pics, so I had to make one of those as well. I used pink paint, glitter, and my husband hand drew Minnie Mouse ears with bows. The glitter hearts where leftover from previous party decor and the Minnie Mouse hands were from a free printable clip art site. The old mason jars worked perfectly for a table centerpiece and the different shades of old tulle worked as a table runner. I didn’t place any of the pink plates on the table as decor because of sanitary reasons and kids. I also decided to use plain pink plates because I think Minnie Mouse plates would have been too overwhelming on a table along with all of the Minnie Mouse decors in the room. I had Minnie Mouse ears on the wall, on the doors of our dining room, and on napkins. My daughter also wore cute Minnie Mouse ears that she refused to keep on the entire time of the party. Oh well! The tags that I created to place into the mason jars were made from Canva and it was a card with my daughter’s birthdate and initial, a Minnie Mouse quote, and Minnie Ears.

You can find the craft sticks at hobby lobby or you can use kabob sticks for a sharp point to press through the tulle. My mother-n-law added the balloons to the jar as a special touch.

Let’s talk about balloons. I purchased two jumbo balloons from Winn-Dixie and for whatever reason that were deflated within an hour after the party started. I purchased them specifically for the cake table which meant that there was now no decor available for the cake table. Thank goodness my mother-n-law had already bought a ton of Minnie Mouse balloons, so we were able to use a few of those. I already struggle with decorating cake tables, so I definitely did not like that my $20 for two balloons was gone. Yes, I got my money back on Sunday. Now, you all should know me by now! Frugal….frugal!

IMG_6002.jpg

The bounce house was fun for the kids and everyone was happy. The cake was delicious as expected because the baker is so gifted with her hands. Mariyah has told me several times that she had fun at her party and that she loved her party and that was my ultimate goal, but next year I will let a party place do the work. I’m over this, but I do believe birthdays are important enough to be celebrated every single year. She’s three and I’m thankful that she’s thriving and healthy.

Did any of you celebrate your birthday in May like my daughter and me? Let me know in the comments below!

Simple and Safe Chores for Children That Just Want to Help

As a parent, it’s instinctual to want to do everything for our children. Especially our sweet toddlers. What I’ve noticed about my daughter in comparison to my son is that she is more eager to do things on her own. This may also be because she wants to be like her big brother or that she is just a naturally independent girl. She has asked to help me do a variety of things as early as age one and she hasn’t stopped just yet. If your little one is like mine and begs to help when you are cleaning, these chores are simple, safe, and will definitely help your young learner feel independent.

Putting away the dishes is a simple task that most children really enjoy doing. They can help by setting the table, cleaning the table, unloading the dishwasher, and putting a few dishes away. As always it’s important to make sure that you put away the fragile dishes and sharp cutlery such as knives. In keeping things fun, most children will definitely want to play with the pots and pans when they help put them away.

At this age, laundry hasn’t become a headache to children. As a matter of fact, most kids think its pretty fun. I think that we just get caught up in the correct way to do laundry, so if you’re like me in this aspect leave the folding for yourself. The goal is to make sure that they are having fun.

Children under the age of 5 that are asking to help out with laundry can do so by gathering laundry from hampers, placing and removing laundry in the machines, and if they are becoming skilled in sorting they can even help to match socks. Matching socks can be made into a game that also helps them learn an important skill. If you have laundry that is slightly more germy such as underwear or bath towels I would recommend that you have your little one clean their hands immediately after handling.

Putting away toys, crayons, and books, and personal items are just a few things that children under 5 are skilled at doing, but may not necessarily enjoy doing. When we ask them to begin to clean up there own things they suddenly become sleepy, tired, hungry, or confused. It’s mostly funny to see their expressions and ability to wiggle out of helping.

Teach them the designated areas that things must be returned to after play if they intend to play with them the next day. This chore will also help children that attend preschool learn how to be a team player and keep their classroom tidy. Trust me when I say that their teachers will expect them to do their part in helping. Why not begin at home? Children between the ages of 14- 24 months will require a little more patience from us as they learn to help put away their toys.

Dusting furniture is another chore that we may find absolutely boring but can be made into a fun game if young children want to help. Especially if you use a Swiffer to get the job done. Young children can imagine that they have a magic wand or sword. If certain areas are extremely dusty skip from allowing the kids to help. You wouldn’t want to run the risk of an allergy flare up or skin irritation.

Putting away the groceries is really fun for young children. They see it as a huge responsibility that only the grown-ups take care of, but are wowed that you are allowing them to help. They can help by putting bottled water into the fridge, snacks in the pantry basket, or fruit in the crisper drawer. It doesn’t last long, so if they are asking to help you’d better enjoy the help that you are getting right now.

When children ages 5 and under ask to help out they can do so by keeping their bedrooms tidy which also includes them making their own bed. Now it will not be perfect and the comforter will not be smooth, but they can easily learn how to fold the covers back and how to place their pillow upright. This is especially easy if they have a montessori/toddler style bed.

Putting away shoes or clothes in a drawer, clothes basket, or hamper is another chore that young children who want to help out can do fairly simple with maybe a few directions. Once the laundry is folded children can help out by putting reachable things away.

Have you ever found yourself making a pile of paper trash while decluttering the mail that is not worth shredding? This is a good time to allow your young child to learn how to recycle. If you cringe at the thought of your child going near your recycling bin simply take a bag and have them put the unwanted papers into the bag and you can recycle it at a later time. Disclaimer: Be careful and keep a watchful eye out if you decide to use a plastic bag. Plastic bags can cause suffocation in infants and children.

As the weather begins to get warmer children are much more anxious to spend time outdoors. It

is a very fun experience for them to learn to water plants or flowers. A child between the ages of 2.5 to 5 are more likely to be able to fill a cup or watering can with water to help out.

No matter what chore that you decide to allow your little one to help with, try and remember that they are learning and it will not be 100% perfect. They are mostly asking to help because it looks fun. Be sure to compliment their efforts or give them a small reward.

9 Solutions to Get Your Home Organized for The New Year

These Tips Will Give You More Peace and Appreciation for Your Home

Having an organized and clean living space is not only beautiful but can be extremely beneficial for your entire family’s well being. Providing spaces for everything that you and your family use daily will save you time and stress from searching for important items. Having a clean space also provides most people with a sense of peace and accomplishment. These 9 helpful tips will get your new year off to a productive one.

This post may contain affiliate links.
  1. Start Small and Declutter Your Immediate Living Areas.  If you have a sizeable living space don’t rush to declutter your living space in one day and at one time.  This can lead to overwhelming decisions that cause you to become frustrated and likely to just throw the entire process away. Prevent this by simply starting small and in the areas that you use most often such as your kitchen and bedroom.

  2. Plan Ahead and Decide Where You Want Items to Stay.  Take a look at your overall space and decide ahead of time where you may possibly want everything to go. You may even decide to use a mail holder, storage crates, or shelves that can help your space stay organized. I believe that everything should have a place in my home. However, because we’re not perfect staying totally organized all the time is something that we all have to work towards and let’s be honest, having children, and just being tired after work can also make being organized every single day impossible. Do what you can!

  3. Create a Cleaning Routine Ahead of Time.  This is so important if you work outside of your home or if you have children. It’s so easy to put a “to-do” list off for the next day, but eventually, everything will just pile up and turn into clutter all over again. Here is my real cleaning routine that I have done for about 7 or 8 years. You can print it hereARealistic Cleaning Guide for any adults It’s a realistic cleaning guide for busy adults. When my son was born I knew that I wanted to have a flexible cleaning routine that provided a safe and sanitized home for my baby. However, I didn’t want to spend hours before or after work cleaning my home. I found it to be much easier for me to dedicate about 30 minutes to 1 hour before or after work to quickly clean areas of my home. I also bend, stretch, and use this time as a slight workout. Especially with the mopping and vacuuming. Doing housework can easily burn 100 calories in one hour. 

  4. Live a Minimalistic Lifestyle.  This is difficult to adjust to in the beginning. This is a goal that I’ve been working towards in my home for a few months now. In my decluttering and organizing, I’ve discovered that we just have too many toys, papers, unworn clothes, and shoes; I could go on and on. Decluttering your home is a big task and truly requires time and patience. Once it’s done make a conscious effort to stick to not having too much. Teaching children to donate to those less fortunate actually builds character and teaches empathy as well. My motto has become if it doesn’t have a place, or if we haven’t used it in years, it has to go. This leads me to my next solution for having an organized home in the new year.

  5. Perform Detailed Cleaning Monthly.  Deep cleaning areas such as carpets, refrigerators, and baseboards can be done monthly. These tasks are time-consuming and can be overwhelming if you attempt to do them weekly.  Trust me I’ve tried! With a new year and new goals for my life and schedule, I’ve created a monthly cleaning guide that fits the areas and needs of maintaining my home. Some of these things on my list I do currently and other things will be new. You can print it here20190107_182607_0001.png

  6. Hire Help.  It’s perfectly fine to enlist the help of a professional cleaning service whether it is for weekly, monthly, or every 6 months of deep cleaning. If you don’t think it’s in your budget, think again! Cleaning services are much more affordable than most think. It depends on your service needs and the square footage of your space. Check services such as Groupon and Living Social for deals in your city.

  7. Refresh Your Space.  Refreshing your space doesn’t have to cost you a dime.  Take decor from one room and move it into another room. Moving furniture around in rooms to create a new look, a fresh coat of paint, new pillows, and flowers can brighten any room.

  8. Make The Best of Unused Space.  I read something years ago on a lifestyle blog that highlighted ways to value your home. The author of the blog suggested that we learn to appreciate the home that we work hard to pay for and enjoy. If there are any areas of your home that you are not using how you would like to make this the year to use them.  

  9. Begin to Use a Planner or Calendar.  I’ll admit that I didn’t make good use of my planner in 2018. However, I did use my Google calendar very often. The difference in a planner and a calendar is that a planner allows you to write out goals and ideas with possible dates in mind.  A planner allows you to add in motivational quotes, doodles, pictures, and most of them come with very cute and inspiring designs.  I love things like this. Having a large scope of what’s to come can inspire you and drive you to set goals and accomplish them successfully.  Calendars have gotten a lot fancier than my college days, but most paper calendars don’t allow room for creativity.  Google calendar was helpful for me because it gave me helpful alerts on my phone, directions to where I needed to go, and allowed me to add my plans to other users calendars. However, I don’t crave that instant technology that Google calendar provides so, I will stick with my paper planner for 2019. There are a ton of designer planners in stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, but don’t be fooled you don’t have to spend a ton for a nice planner.  I have found that Target and even Aldi carries beautiful planners in January that is less than half of the cost of other well-known brands. This beautiful planner made my Mead can be found in Target for only $10.99. Mead PlannerI decided to use this beautiful planner that I found at Aldi for only $7.99.  It is made by the brand Pembrook and includes stickers and labels to organize my week/month.  I especially like the price.Pembrook Planner

Happy New Year and Many Blessings to You and Your Family!

20 Christmas Traditions to Begin With Your Family This Year

My husband and I try to make Christmas a memorable time for our children. We have great memories from our childhood Christmas’s not because of what was under our Christmas tree, but because of the memories that we made with our families. I want to share some of our new and old traditions with you today!  

  • Write out a Christmas wish list or a list of all of the things that you are thankful for this year. We constantly teach our son that Christmas is about Jesus Christ and being a blessing to others in the same ways that we have been blessed. 
  • Attend a worship service with your family. After all, the real reason behind the season of Christmas is Jesus Christ. We always attend a special worship service that reflects the love of Jesus through music or a play. Our church serves free cups of hot tea, chocolate, and coffee.
  • We enjoy going to our County’s Christmas parade every year. It’s always cold, so we make sure to bring something warm to drink and extra blankets to stay warm.
  • There are so many children in our County that will not have the same Christmas as my children. We always make sure to pull a name of a child from an Angel Tree in our local mall or from our church. Children need to see their parents giving back. It encourages them to do the same.
  • We bake Christmas cookies together as a family. The kids love to help and of course, we let them eat as many as they want on that day.
  • We listen to Motown Christmas while decorating the Christmas tree. My husband mostly watches my son and I decorate, but he’s always ready to place the tree topper on and go up and down the attic steps for more decorations as many times as we need him to. The toddler enjoys tangling up the lights and rolling the ornaments on the floor.
  • We take family pictures in our Christmas pajamas every year. One year we even used them as our Christmas card. 
  • We leave milk and cookies out for Santa. 
  • We mail out Christmas Cards that include a Happy New Year greeting.
  • We ride the Christmas train in every mall that we visit.
  • We watch a Christmas movie or cartoon every day.
  • We listen to Christmas music in the car.
  • We take a slow drive through various neighborhoods in our city to look at Christmas lights.
  • We enjoy the light festival in our city. 
  • We read Christmas books at home and online.
  • On Christmas morning we eat a huge breakfast.
  • The kids and I record ourselves singing Christmas song and send them to my husband or mom for fun.
  • We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus when we cut our cake on Christmas Day.
  • On Christmas day we make Cafe Du Monde Beignets from the mix that we purchase from World Market