Preparing Food for Maternity Leave

Back in December, Elizabeth Ree, my fourth child was born via c-section with my older three all being under 5 and 1/2 years old. I knew my church family was planning to try and help with meals during this time of recovery and transition in our home but with it being directly between two major holidays, I didn't want feeding my family to be the responsibility of anyone else.

Preparing Food for Maternity LeavePreparing Food for Maternity Leave

{or any other cooking hiatus like Summer Time!}

I decided to spend about two days cooking, cooking, and cooking some more. After friends brought us some meals, and the freezer was empty, it was March. That's right, other than weekly milk runs, we didn't have to grocery shop or do major meal prep for two and a half months.

I'm sharing how I prepared food for my "maternity leave" over at the Homemaker's Challenge today is ya wanna read. :D

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Easter Neighbor Gifts {Thoughtful Thursday}

Thoughtful Thursdays on as Jules is going

If you've been here any time at all, you know we LOVE a good excuse to do something fun for our neighbors.

Bucket-O-Summer

This week, my kids were wanting to make "Easter baskets". I'd already been considering making something to celebrate summer for the neighbor kids around us who are almost out for break. With summer for school-aged kids still over a month away, we thought we'd try to do both mixed together.

Bucket-O-Summer contents bucket, shovel, bubbles, sunglasses, jumprope, germX, chalk

Buckets-O-Summer

Contents we used:

from the Dollar Tree

  • bucket and shovel
  • germX {pack of 3 Christmas themed- I pulled off the winter-esk sticker}
  • jump rope
  • sunglasses

from home {originally mostly from Wal-Mart}

  • sidewalk chalk in a large box
  • little bubbles that came in a pack of 8
  • assorted Easter grass
  • See Jane Work labels {on wicked sale at Office Depot}
  • blank note cards
  • post card invites to your Church's Easter service
  • pipe cleaners and rubber bands {we used the rubber bands to told the 7 pieces of chalk together in the shape of a flower and then made lil leaves around it}

How-to Make:

  1. collect bucket and gift items
  2. add grass to the bottom making it about 1/2 full
  3. place larger items in 1st
  4. mix in smaller items {dividing like colors from one another}
  5. *we color coordinated each bucket using ~2 colors for fun
    green and pink and purple and yellow for the neighbor girls and orange/red and blue for the boy
  6. create label {print our FREE LABEL here} using Avery Label Template 5450 in Word
    Bucket-O-Summer Label
  7. color in lettering for extra fun {sharpies worked the best without smearing the print}
  8. cover original cheap sticker on the bucket that wouldn't com off with new label
  9. write a cute little note about Easter linking items in the bucket {or print our cheesy FREE NOTE here}
    Easter Bucket-o-Summer
    I wrote out the note in yellow marker in a card and let my almost 6-year-old trace it {so it would all fit in the little cards we had}
  10. throw in a postcard invite to your church's Easter service hand-deliver with smiles :D

Delivering Neighbor Gifts

Happy Easter!!!

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Double Your Juice and Prevent Cavities {Thoughtful Thursday}

I have always heard you should dilute your kids juice to reduce the amount of sugar they're getting. Even all natural 100% fruit juice has lots of natural sugar that isn't good for their diet or their teeth. Since the first time my oldest had juice, we always done 50/50 water and juice. Starting them this way has always guaranteed they didn't know the difference. When my daughter had non-diluted juice for the first time she hated it and told me it was "spicy". On the other hand, the first time my niece had our diluted juice she was concerned and told me "Uhh, Aunt Julie. You juice has lost its flavor." LOL

Not only is this healthier for them but it double the juice and saves money! I use the large jugs to fill 1/2 way with water and then, most of the time, I combine different flavor juices to fill it the rest of the way. Turn

Double Your Juice and Prevent Cavities

Having always done this as well as fed them healthy diets and assisted them in brushing their teeth daily, I took my kids' for their first dentist visit feeling pretty confident about the condition of their teeth. Boy did I leave mortified. After the dentist let me know my 1st and 3rd had an embarrassing number of cavities and my 2nd had none, I talked with the dental hygienist for a long time trying to determine what made the difference. The conclusion?

Chugger vs Sippers

Yep, I always thought it was a good thing that my 1st and 3rd would slowly sip their drink throughout the day and it drove me nuts that my 2nd would chug the beverage like it was going out of style. Now, if you already knew this, please don't leave "duh" comments. I had never been told this and maybe someone else hasn't either.

Sipping on {even diluted} juice slowly throughout the day keeps a constant film of sugar on your teeth. Chugging it allows your natural saliva to "wash" off that film even if you're not brushing after each drink.

The new rule in our house is: the kids are allowed Milk and Juice at meal timeĀ only and they can drink as much Water as they want the rest of the day from the fridge door and are allowed to get themselves in their cool new {dollar spot} water bottles.

Prevent Cavities by giving littles their own water bottles and allowing them to get their own water

I am one of those parents who still has all of her children using sippy cups/lidded cups to cut down on the clean up during the day. I found these awesome water bottles in the Target dollar spot. I took Maggie to pick one as a reward for doing so well while they filled her first cavities and then Jamin. Izzie got to choose one as a reward for having NO cavities. Then the larger ones we got for my niece, nephew for a week with us during spring break.

The great thing about these water bottles are:

  • They are simple for them to pull the lid off to fill but easy to put back on to avoid spills.
  • They can tote them anywhere.
  • If they get left in get left in the car, there isn't soured juice or spoiled milk to stink up the car.
  • If they get messed up or lost, they only cost $1 each.
Do your kids love juice? Are they chuggers or sippers?
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Up-Cycled Wipe Containers {Thoughtful Thursday}

Drier Sheets Case

keep your drier sheets fresher in an up-cycled wipe box AND its cutera large box of drier sheets fits in this container, keeps them fresher, and is cuter than those lil cardboard ones

A large box of drier sheets fits in this container, keeps them fresher, and is cuter than those lil cardboard ones.

Keep Drier Sheets Fresher in an Up-Cycled Wipe Container

Travel Tissue Box

Travel Case of Kleenex made from an Up-Cycled Wipe Container

A small wipe case is the perfect size for a travel case of tissue and keeps it dry and clean.

Holds "Missing Pieces" for Board Games

Store Random Game Pieces in an Up-Cycled Wipe CaseStore random missing game pieces in an up-cycled wipe box

Its is nearly inevitable that kids will misplace a piece {or 8 aHem} to some board game. Rather than have them grouch and tear apart the game storage trying to return that piece when its finally found. This random game piece container allows them to store the piece by stuffing it in through the top or easy-open lid so the pieces are found quickly when playing a game with that missing piece.

Travel Crayon Case

You can fit a 24 package of crayons into 1 up-cycled wipe case for your traveling artist

You can fit a 24 package of crayons into 1 up-cycled wipe case for your traveling artist

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NEVER Fold You’re Littles Laundry Again

I have has some friends ask how I get certain things done while having 4 kids. One of those is laundry. I never cringe when I think about laundry and I think that is completely because of the system we have in place. It has kind of evolved over the years.

Littles Help with Shuffling the Laundry move to the drier or sort into clean baskets

Our Basic "System"

  • I start 1 load every night {unless there are random circumstances, night time wet sheets, sickness, extra guest, "washing day"- clean sheets or carseat covers} and some times move it to the drier.
  • The little on laundry that day "shuffles" the laundry- movies it to the drier and or sorts the laundry into the appropriate baskets.
  • Once {some times twice} a week, usually Saturday, we all put clothes away. Adults do their own {folding if necessary}, Jamin (3), Izzie (4), and Maggie (almost 6) all put away their own clothes.

At first I was a little embarrassed to confess my biggest secret in our system. I think my mom and mother-in-love are possibly discussed by this buuuut, it work for this season of life::

We NEVER fold laundry.

  1. Littles can Help
    I spend less than 7 minutes a day on laundry because I have my 3 oldest on a chore chart that includes laundry. They're current job is to shuffle the laundry. The awesome basket shelf my hubs made me is a vital part of our system but this could easily be done with baskets on the floor.
  2. Tiny Clothes Don't Stay Folded
    When my oldest girls were little, I loved organizing their clothes. {Attempting} to fold all those tiny items and get them to stack neatly in their drawers. I'm sure it would have been pretty comical for anyone watching. Since those days, I've designated drawers for specific items but never fold them.
  3. Littles clothes don't really wrinkle
    I have never observed someone snarling their nose up at the state of my kids clothes so why waste the time. They are so tiny, they don't look gross. {I also refuse to buy high-maintenance clothes for my kids and my husband and I for that mater}
  4. 1/2 our clothes are hung
    Since we have limited space in each bedroom {and I like to}, we hang all shirts, jackets, and skirts/dresses. This leaves very little to go into dressers and underwear, socks, leggings, PJs, and pants don't really matter if a little ruffled. Making sure it all fits also keeps us from having too much of something. If it doesn't fit it needs to get.
  5. Laundry Gets Done
    I have tons of friends who HATE laundry. It gets overwhelming and everyone in the house dreads it. This is no glamorous laundry life but it does get done!
  6. Sanity
    In this season of our family, we need as much sanity as possible. High-maintenance laundry is just not a priority. If it is to you, that's fine. But if you are overloaded, snapping at your family over clothing battles, and pressing preschool pants, you might need to try something else. Does laundry really matter in an eternal perspective? There's always time to teach folding before they leave the house {it is a good life skill to learn}.
kids closetsNote: they rarely look This clean ;)
girls' dresser boy's dresserbaby's dresser
While researching before I made my big confession, I found this awesome ladies laundry system and she too confessed to not folding kids laundry. I could hug this stranger for making me feel less skanky ;)
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