Parenting Link Up #37

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Welcome to the How Do You Do It? parenting link up party. Here, you have an opportunity to share your posts with other parent bloggers and the followers of How Do You Do It? and What’s up Fagans?.

How do you do it? is a community of mothers of multiples that believes in supporting each other, in sharing our experiences and questions, in friendship, and in encouragement. The link up is open to all of our readers, whether you have multiples or not, where you can share your wisdom, your favorite posts, your insights, with our online community here at HDYDI and What’s up Fagans?.

Each week, we pick some of our favorite posts and feature them the following week on our site! Plus, we pin them on Pinterest, tweet them on Twitter, and share them on Google+ and Facebook! Get some more exposure for your great content, and don’t forget to check out the featured posts from last week’s link up!

Plus, ldskatelyn of What’s up Fagans? is co-hosting our link party on her blog as well. One party on two blogs means double the exposure and community.

Each HDYDI parenting link up party accepts new links from Monday morning through Friday at noon.

So tell us: How do you handle conception, pregnancy, prematurity, birth, and postpartum recovery? How do you handle tantrums, diapering bills, stress, and potty training? How do you handle education and special needs? How do you balance the needs of several children with a marriage? How do you manage being a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a single parent? And how do you find time for yourself?

How do you do it?!


This week’s featured posts:

Thanks to everyone who is linking up each week! This week’s most clicked post was from Misty Leask of Beautiful Ashes on being overwhelmed. Apparently a lot of you moms and dads were feeling that way this week too! See how she connects and understands, but encourages you too. overwhelmedThere were some great twin-specific posts linked up last week and I especially liked new linker Jen of Being Confident of This: Grace for the work-in-progress woman. Her b/g twins are now four and she’s sharing 12 Twin Survival Tips, all of which I heartily agree with!twins collageI loved Kimber of Kimber’s Navy Family‘s post this week called “All We Are Saying….” We need to stop with the loaded phrases. We just don’t know what someone else is dealing with. I know I’m guilty of saying dumb things sometimes, too. Great reminder!
If you were featured above make sure to grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog! How Do You Do It? Featured Post

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Parenting Link Up PartyRules for the How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party:

  1. Follow and connect with HDYDI on the social media platforms that you use. Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin
  2. Follow and connect with What’s up Fagans? on the social media platforms you use: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin’
  3. Follow the How do you do it? Parenting Link Up Board on Pinterest where we pin every link shared!
  4. Link up to 3 great parenting posts below! Please, no recipes posts! Of course, link directly to a post, not your main page. Also, under “name” put the title of your post.
  5. Check out at least 3 other links! This is a party, so mingle!
  6. Leave an awesome comment for those you visit and tell them you found them at the HDYDI link party! And pin them/share the posts that you really like.
  7. Tweet: Add YOUR #parenting #advice to @hdydi's #linkup! Tell everyone #howdoyoudoit! http://ctt.ec/LRfWz+ #motherhood #momwisdomTweet about the link party, pin our link party badge, share it on Facebook, or otherwise promote this party! The more the party grows, the more exposure your posts will receive, the more fun you’ll have, and the more encouragement and ideas we’ll all receive!
  8. HDYDI Parenting Link Up PartyPut How Do You Do It?‘s Parenting Link Up badge on your site! Put it in your side bar, at the bottom of the post you shared, or on a party page!
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Make-It Monday: Photo Birthday Cards for Relatives

Between my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family, we are heading right into big time birthday season. August thru December are birthday after birthday after birthday within our extended family.

I made a goal to be better about remembering birthdays, so this is what I came up with to help me keep on top of it.

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The top and bottom got a little bit cropped off in the printing process, but I just went with it! Having three wee babes has demolished what little bit of perfectionism I had.

Here’s how:

1. Take pictures of your smooshy, gooshy, pinchable cherubs that would look like they were holding something. I had to dangle leaves over my 15-month-olds heads to get them to reach and look up.

2. Crop the pictures and put them side by side and save them as a jpeg image. I was just going to put them together in Word, but then I decided to get a little fancier and use photoshop. If you don’t have photoshop, put them in word and crop them how you want them. You can then probably just print them at home on some photo paper.

3. Make the things you want them to hold. I thought it would be cute to do little hearts made out of their thumb prints. This worked well for my three-year-old, but my twins were done after the first thumb print, so we had to speedily get as many thumb prints onto their papers as we could and hope for the best!

I was going to use paint, but at the last minute I had the brilliant idea to just color their thumbs with marker and get their prints that way. Way less stressful than having to contain the paint!

They each had their own paper so that I wouldn’t mix up thumb prints.

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4. Next is assembling the card. I first used a pin to poke the holes that I needed by their fists, so that I could get the toothpicks in easier.

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Then I put the toothpicks in. I had to snap off the bottom end because they were too long, but it was pretty easy. I then trimmed off any splintery edges and taped the thumb prints onto the toothpicks.

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Ta-da!!

They do bow a bit, so if you can think of something thinner than toothpicks that would probably work slightly better. They still lay flat in the envelopes though, so it’s not a big deal.

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5. My oldest had fun decorating envelopes for us to use too.

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We decided to be really classy and use Wal Mart stickers. We have a plethora of these now because a merciful WM cashier took pity on me when the boys were acting up in the check-out line and cut off a big old chunk of them for the boys.

One of the best parts was sitting at the counter with Cameron and talking. He practiced his cutting on scraps of paper from the thumb prints while I put the cards together. It was worth letting him stay up passed bed time.

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Now we have 10 cards ready to go and it won’t be a huge hassle to make more when we need them. Before I was always scrambling the week of to throw something together and pulling my hair out trying to force the kids to paint on this, or scribble on that. This was nice and easy and we are set for the first couple of months of birthday chaos.

Plus, you can do this type of thing for so many other occasions like Father’s/Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Valentine’s, get well cards, thank you notes. You can change it up by having them “hold” different things like lollipops, “lightsabers”, chocolates on sticks, flags, whatever works for the occasion.

Happy I’m-all-set-and-ready-for-family-birthday’s, Mom!

 How do you acknowledge the birthdays of your kid’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents?

Thoughts on Working Part-time

School started two weeks ago, and I’m ready to reflect on getting back to work part-time.

The first week was a little sketchy. I started getting random headaches, my eyes were irritated and red, and I was still pretty exhausted. I was worried that this part-time decision wasn’t going to help anything. But now that I have another week down, I’m feeling like I’m back in the groove. In fact, I’m extremely happy with my new schedule.

I’m up and in the shower at about 6am, out the door by 6:45, twins dropped off at my mom’s around 7am, and at school by 7:10. Not much different from our summer schedule, except I have to actually get dressed instead of wearing tank tops and shorts, and I don’t do breakfast for the kids. Two classes and three hours later, I pick up the twins, give them their snack in the car, and we go home to nap for two hours. This is when I get some downtime, do some of my own things, or take a nap myself. Big Sis sometimes gets picked up from preschool after lunch (I’ve been trying out continuing with a half-day for her), and we go on an afternoon outing, again no different from our summer schedule.

The BIG difference is that I am not so exhausted that I can’t enjoy being with my kids. It used to be that I was completely drained after a whole day of work, but now I get a little break while the twins nap, so I have time to recharge. I now have the time and patience to listen to 4yo stories, soothe 21mo boo-boos, and generally be present and engaged.

By no means is it easy though. The twins are only getting more active each day, and one of my children is a climber. I had never experienced this before (Big Sis is much more low key), so it is completely shocking to me. My boy, at 19m, vaulted his crib rails, landed on his feet, and took off running. He is climbing everything climbable: shelves, beds, TV stands, dollhouses, play kitchens, you name it. We don’t go to the library anymore because he will scale the shelves there. And not only is he interested in the climbing, he also likes to jump on the surfaces on which he’s climbed. So I will come out of the shower to see him balanced on his tiptoes at the edge of the armchair in the playroom, bouncing up and down with a big grin on his face. And when he sees me he’ll say, “Ta-Da!” (Don’t have a clue where he gets that from…) His twin isn’t so much into climbing, but she will find and eat any and all little bits off the floor. I’ve got to keep my eyes on her at all times to make sure she’s not ingesting nasty stuff. These kids sure know how to keep me on my toes. Therefore, I am much more convinced now that my mom would not be capable of entertaining and chasing them all day every day.

Another bonus to this part-time schedule? Surprisingly, I’ve gotten even more efficient. I thought that with three kids I was already very efficient. And I am– consolidated errands, organized outings, great time management skills. I routinely do all 3 baths and bedtimes in 30 minutes. But now that I’m only at work for less than 3 hours a day, I find myself planning even further ahead, making lists and crossing things out right away, not procrastinating on any work stuff. My lessons are prepared days in advance, and I have calendars marked for the entire school year for holidays and days that we’re on a different school schedule. I don’t dread going to work anymore; on the contrary, I think I’ve actually fallen back in love with my profession.

I’ve been feeling happier and more productive. I’ve had interest in reading again, and even planned the kids’ Halloween costumes already. I have energy to think ahead, and I look forward to weekends not just for no work, but to actively plan activities that include Daddy.

Even considering the financial sacrifice we’re making, I don’t see how there could be any better alternative to this. It’s like the other shoe has dropped, after so long of such conflicted emotions about doing this. I’m elated that I made the leap on this decision.

lunchldyd is a part-time teacher and full-time mother to 21mo b/g twins and their 4yo sister.

Foodie Friday: Vanilla-Date Smoothie

This foodie post is centered around a nutritious, filling smoothie recipe that a three year-old can make – and drink – on the porch.

The days I am able to pick up Mister and Missy early from daycare, we try to do something fun. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that we’d make smoothies with the Magic Bullet once we reached home. We’ve done it before, and they love to throw ingredients in the mini-blender which is perfect for little hands, and help to mix it under close supervision.

Well this fine day M&M asked if they could play outside. Not wanting to leave them unattended while I made the smoothies myself, an idea struck. Why not bring the smoothie ingredients, which were already set aside, and the Magic Bullet onto the porch and make it out there? Sure the neighbours may think I was bonkers but then again they may just think the sound of the blender is a lawnmower or something.

So in the time it took M&M to choose their sidewalk chalk colours for drawing on the driveway, I was able to bring out all the ingredients. We were making 2 smoothies today based on ripening fruit in the fridge: one strawberry-vanilla and one vanilla-date using those sweet treats left over from a month of fasting in Ramadan. I combined two recipes for date smoothies from the Internet: Creamy Date Shake and Vanilla-Date Breakfast Smoothie to make this recipe.

Keep in mind the vanilla-date smoothie may need a stronger blender to mix than the Magic Bullet. Since we were on the porch, I used the Bullet for portability. Below is a picture of the ingredients for the date smoothie, which included honey, vanilla, yoghurt, milk and pitted dates. Luckily all the ingredients (minus the dates) were also used in the strawberry vanilla smoothie.

Vanilla-Date Smoothie
½ cup dates (pitted) – I used the big, juicy kind that originate from Iran or Saudi Arabia, found at specialty Middle Eastern supermarkets
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
½ cup whole milk
1 cup crushed ice (use more for desired smoothness)
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Missy was in charge of the vanilla-date smoothie. Here is how it went down:

Step 1 – Set out all ingredients and plug in blender

Ingredients

Ingredients

Step 2 – Place pitted dates in blender cup

What do we put next?

What do we put next?

Step 3 – Pour milky into blender cup, add honey and other ingredients as per recipe

Pouring milky

Pouring milky

Step 4 – Blend, shake, blend, and enjoy!

Minnie Mixer

Minnie Mixer


Smoothie on the porch

Smoothie on the porch

Tips: With the dates being naturally sweet, you don’t need very much honey. For a low-fat version, substitute whole milk and yoghurt for skim, or use almond milk.

Potty Training: A Boot Camp Diary

Our daycare has a fee structure that dictates that if your child is potty trained when they are in the pre-school room your monthly cost goes down by around $200 a month. When you have two children in daycare this is more than a big deal. In the beginning of July we received the potty discount for Molly and crossed our fingers that Jack would get there shortly after – he did not. After several conversations with other parents of boys one recommendation for getting Jack toilet trained kept on coming up: The Potty Training Weekend (AKA 3 Day Potty Training Boot camp). Our goal: to have two day-time potty trained toddlers.

Essentially: you take off the “training wheels” or diapers and put them into underwear and pants as if they were potty trained, ask them if they have to go every hour or two and by the end of the weekend….they SHOULD be potty trained. Some people recommend having the child wear no pants all weekend, we did not go that route. We put on diapers for nap and bed time, handed out stickers and a lot of congratulations for any successful trips to the potty. We fed both kids a lot of water, watered down juice, freezies and watermelon to keep their bladders full and had purchased boys underwear in bulk from Target to ensure that we didn’t run out.

 

Here’s a summary of how it went:

Day 1
There have been nine costume changes today for Jack and three for mom because of what I like to call “pee and sit” which is when he pees and then sits in my lap. There has been absolutely no success. In fact, Molly, who is jealous of all the attention Jack is getting, has backslid and had three accidents today. She hasn’t had as many accidents as she’s had this afternoon in ages. This evening I will scour the internet to find out if this level of failure is normal, result: definitive yes, sometimes. Sigh.

Day 2
We now have a toilet or potty on each floor of our house including a Winnie the Pooh potty sitting on the tile floor of our front hallway. In the morning we have a 50% success rate for Jack. We hand out stickers to both Molly and Jack whenever anyone has any success on the potty. As recommended we let the children carry their chamber pots to the toilet to flush. In the afternoon Jack has three accidents at Nana and Papa’s house. By the time we leave he’s wearing a skintight pair of Molly’s purple floral leggings because we’ve run out of clothes for him. At nap time we hear a commotion in the nursery. I go upstairs to investigate and find both children completely buck naked. The only thing that Jack is wearing is a pair of snow boots on the wrong feet.  Later, both minions are so excited about the front hall potty that they routinely run to the front of the house to pee and chat with our evening company while they drop trou. Molly has no accidents.

Day 3
Jack has a 75% success rate this morning and tells me mid-poop that he has to poop. Albeit incredibly disgusting I consider this a major victory. This afternoon we head to an outdoor market in the distillery district where both children will be strapped to our chests. We opt to utilize diapers for those few hours to avoid spreading E. Coli around the city and all over our torsos. Nap time ends yet again with buck naked Jack parading around the nursery, only without the boots. He has peed all over the “Quiet Town” road carpet and terrorized toys everywhere. That evening we have a 50% success rate for Jack before we call it a day.

QuiettownQuiet Town Pre-Pree Destruction
RESULTS:
Jack is by no means potty trained and I will wholeheartedly admit that the weekend was exhausting, frustrating and pretty darn gross: but this is the most success we’ve seen from him in potty training to date.  Previously we’d be lucky to get one successful trip to the potty an evening with a handful during the day at daycare.  Last night he asked and successfully used the potty twice, with minimal coaxing from Chris or I.  As thrilled as I am about the temporary piece of furniture on the main floor of our house and two toddlers bent on carrying a little bucket of pee through the house to dump, It’s going to stay in the front hall a while longer.  We are going to do some diaper free evenings and days in the coming weeks and put Jack in Pull Up diapers more often to help him with his Independence.  We will be providing a new meaning to the Labour Day Weekend as we embark on the Three day Potty Boot camp number two next week…stay tuned.
This post originally appeared on my blog Multiple Momstrosity but I thought I would share it as a part of HDYDI’s Toddler Thursday Series.

Twinfant Tuesday: Separation Decisions For Multiples

“Are you going to separate them?”

“When are you going to separate them?”

Those are 2 questions that parents of multiples will have to answer over and over again as their multiples go through the different stages of childhood. The first time that question has to be answered is when you’re going home with twinfants in tow. Should they share a room? Should they share a bed?

For me the answers were fairly straightforward. Should they share a room? Absolutely! No way I’m going to manage night feedings in 2 different locations.

Should they share a bed? As long as it’s safe to do so was the consensus. What’s safe? As long as they do not have the ability to move or roll over each other, twins can share a crib. With this, my twins did share a crib for the first couple of months until they started wiggling to the middle of the crib to share body warmth. imageCute as it was, it wasn’t safe and that signified it was time for them to move into separate cribs. And so the first of many separation decisions was made based on safety and convenience.image

I wish all the other separation decisions would be as easy as the ones in the infant stage but no such luck. My babies are now pre-schoolers and I’ll soon have to face the question of separating them in school. As with the first decision that was made, the  answer will be a combination of what’s best for the family – convenient for the parents and in the best and safest interest of the kids.

If you’re a parent or caretaker of multiples, how do you do it? The separation decisions that is. What are the driving factors for determining when and how to physically separate your multiples?

Yetunde is the proud mom of twin girls, affectionately nicknamed Sugar and Spice and she blogs about the twin parenting life at www.mytwintopia.com

Make-It Monday: Canvas Collage from the Kiddos’ Artwork

I’ve considered myself a crafter for as long as I can remember…but somehow I just recently discovered Mod Podge.

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve done two projects, and I think I am hooked!  For both, I used my girls’ watercolor designs to create a collage on canvas.  I just love the way they turned out!

collage1My girls love to paint with watercolors.  For the first canvas, I let them do their thing, with no input from me.  When everything was dry, they helped me cut their creations into different pieces.  My favorite is the striped page that my A painted.  We cut it into strips, and we used Mod Podge to adhere it to the canvas.  (I will say that A was a little apprehensive when I suggested we slice and dice her artwork…but she loves the final product now, too.)

The next project I directed a little more.  We were invited to a “Very Hungry Caterpillar” birthday party, and I had the idea to create a small canvas for the birthday girl.  Referencing our copy of the book, the girls did a big patch of watercolors in green and blue, along with some red and yellow to one side.

Once the paint dried, the girls used my paper punches to cut out the segments for the caterpillar.  We also stamped the birthday girl’s name on some extra watercolor pieces to add to the canvas.

We adhered everything with Mod Podge, and I painted the few last details (the legs and antennae).  I love the way this turned out, too!

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At 5 1/2, my girls were very active in all stages of this project.  Mod Podge is water-based, so they were able to play a big part in putting the canvases together.

My mind is spinning with what I want to do next.  Among many other ideas, I see lots of new uses for the girls’ watercolor creations.  For one, I can’t wait to create a Christmas tree collage this winter!

Do you Mod Podge?  And Mod Podge or no, do you “upcycle” any of your kiddos’ artwork?

(I have to credit this great blog I found, Mod Podge Rocks, with getting me started.  There are some wonderful tutorials on the blog, along with so many fun ideas.)

MandyE is mom to 5 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Parenting Link Up #36

Skip to this week’s links | Skip to featured posts | Skip to linkup rules

Welcome to the How Do You Do It? parenting link up party. Here, you have an opportunity to share your posts with other parent bloggers and the followers of How Do You Do It? and What’s up Fagans?.

How do you do it? is a community of mothers of multiples that believes in supporting each other, in sharing our experiences and questions, in friendship, and in encouragement. The link up is open to all of our readers, whether you have multiples or not, where you can share your wisdom, your favorite posts, your insights, with our online community here at HDYDI and What’s up Fagans?.

Each week, we pick some of our favorite posts and feature them the following week on our site! Plus, we pin them on Pinterest, tweet them on Twitter, and share them on Google+ and Facebook! Get some more exposure for your great content, and don’t forget to check out the featured posts from last week’s link up!

Plus, ldskatelyn of What’s up Fagans? is co-hosting our link party on her blog as well. One party on two blogs means double the exposure and community.

Each HDYDI parenting link up party accepts new links from Monday morning through Friday at noon.

So tell us: How do you handle conception, pregnancy, prematurity, birth, and postpartum recovery? How do you handle tantrums, diapering bills, stress, and potty training? How do you handle education and special needs? How do you balance the needs of several children with a marriage? How do you manage being a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a single parent? And how do you find time for yourself?

How do you do it?!


This week’s featured posts:

Thanks to everyone who is linking up each week! This week’s most clicked post was from Keitha of Bajan Texan. Her Flying with Twins (Infants/Toddlers) tips are so great! She flew to Barbados with her twins as lap babies.

I also loved Keitha’s Real Mom Series post where she interviews one of her best friends from college is who a mom to six kids, 8 years old and younger. She has some great advice on raising great kids.

Herchel of Scruggbug Corner is tackling Back to School with how to handle that first day of kindergarten jitters…. as the mom. I am sure many of you will relate and appreciate her advice for mom confidence as your child starts school for the first time.Mom Confidence on the first day of kindergartenAnd I loved Ann-Marie of Chaos is Bliss‘s post about how she “Fake” Camped with her kids because they just weren’t ready for the real thing… and it saved them some money and sanity too. Check out her tips for having a successful day “camping” without the tents. Fake Camping
If you were featured above make sure to grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog! How Do You Do It? Featured Post

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Parenting Link Up PartyRules for the How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up Party:

  1. Follow and connect with HDYDI on the social media platforms that you use. Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin
  2. Follow and connect with What’s up Fagans? on the social media platforms you use: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Blog Lovin’
  3. Follow the How do you do it? Parenting Link Up Board on Pinterest where we pin every link shared!
  4. Link up to 3 great parenting posts below! Please, no recipes posts! Of course, link directly to a post, not your main page. Also, under “name” put the title of your post.
  5. Check out at least 3 other links! This is a party, so mingle!
  6. Leave an awesome comment for those you visit and tell them you found them at the HDYDI link party! And pin them/share the posts that you really like.
  7. Tweet: Add YOUR #parenting #advice to @hdydi's #linkup! Tell everyone #howdoyoudoit! http://ctt.ec/LRfWz+ #motherhood #momwisdomTweet about the link party, pin our link party badge, share it on Facebook, or otherwise promote this party! The more the party grows, the more exposure your posts will receive, the more fun you’ll have, and the more encouragement and ideas we’ll all receive!
  8. HDYDI Parenting Link Up PartyPut How Do You Do It?‘s Parenting Link Up badge on your site! Put it in your side bar, at the bottom of the post you shared, or on a party page!
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6 Activities for the Last Month of Summer

Just in case you are running out of ideas for your last month of summer, here are some things that have been a success at our house.

1. Walks. So simple and so easy. Great for when you just need to get out of the house and breath fresh air. You determine how long you’re out there and the pace. You can let the kids get out to explore along the route, or you can just let them observe from the stroller.IMG_45272. Bubbles. My older son got a bubble machine for his third birthday and it has been a hit. I’m glad that we have it, because I kept getting light headed after bubble sessions. Now the machine does all the work and I can just sit and enjoy the fun.IMG_4579 IMG_4589

 

3. Plasma Cars. These are new to me, but the people we are renting from now left them here for us to use and the kids have really enjoyed them. They are ideal for toddlers and kids, but my 15 month old twins really like riding them with us. I like that they are low to the ground and don’t move too fast for safety reasons.

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4. Parades and other community activities. If you haven’t looked into what your community has to offer you as far as summer festivals, rodeos, parades, or markets go, I highly recommend googling it and seeing if there is anything left for August. We have really enjoyed participating in what the community has to offer. Plus, most of these things are free or take little money.

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5. Treasure hunts. My in-laws have done several treasure hunts on the hiking trails by their house, and they are normally pretty fun for the kids. Someone just walks ahead of the group and plants some clues and some sort of “treasure” at the end.IMG_4894

6. Water play. This was an item I needed to check off of my list that ended up being a really entertaining activity for the kids. I wanted to wash off all of our magnetic letters that had been on the refrigerator before we moved. It just so happened that it was a day when my kids were not in the best of moods. I put a couple of buckets on the porch with a little soap and water in them and then dumped the letters in. I handed out wash cloths and just let them have at it and they loved it. It took up a good amount of time, it accomplished a small chore, and they had a lot of fun with it.

 IMG_4835 IMG_4836 IMG_4837

Summer on, Mom!

Twinfant Tuesday: Moving with Twins

Moving with a baby is tough. Moving with twins can be down right torture. Depending on their age, there is a pretty good chance they will be unpacking faster than you can pack.

We just got settled in after moving to another state and it has been a whirlwind. A “I think Mommy’s lost her marbles” whirlwind.

If you must face the feat, here are some of the things I did/learned in the process.

WHEN TO PACK: I think it’s really hard to balance packing enough in advance that you’re not a complete wreck the night before you move, while not packing so early that you find yourself needing a hundred things that you “just packed” for a month. This is especially true with all of the baby toys, clothes, and other items that you tend to need right up until the move.

I packed a few boxes here and there during nap times the month before our move, but really we saved the packing for the week of. This was stressful, but it was more preferable for our situation. We were in a two bedroom apartment and we don’t have an extraordinary amount of stuff. We really didn’t want the stress of the move to plague us for the 1-2 months preceding the move by being half in and half out of our place. Obviously moving from a larger home might necessitate a different plan.

I did pack the kid’s toys in phases and this worked out really well. I saved their favorite toys for last, hoping that they would be the ones that occupied their attention the longest. The really nice bonus was that once we got to our new home, unpacking the toys that were packed first was like Christmas and they were entertained for quite a while during the unpacking process.

BABYSITTERS: This is a big plug for babysitters. I wish I tried harder to arrange for someone to watch the boys for a while the week of our move.

We took breaks with the kids by taking them out to do fun things outside so that they could have our full focus, but they were still begging for our attention at home while we were trying to pack. As you probably well know, trying to accomplish something while your kids are competing for your attention can result in extremely high levels of frustration amazingly fast.

This is why I would highly recommend getting someone to watch your wee babes for at least a few hours so you can hammer out some major packing. It’s really hard when you are on a tight budget, but maybe you can work out some kind of trade with someone if you need to. It’s so worth it. They will have a happier few hours and you will be able to turn up the jams and pack like a boss.

I also highly recommend getting someone to watch the kids while you clean. If you have to choose between getting a sitter for cleaning or getting a sitter for packing, I would definitely recommend cleaning. I did not plan out the cleaning well. I thought I did, but the morning of the move 50 things I hadn’t thought of popped up singing, “clean me! clean me! clean me!” until my brain went numb.

I was stressed out, my husband was stressed out, and the kids were going crazy. Amidst the chaos, one of the twins managed to spill a puddle of liquid laundry detergent on the carpet. How do you clean up something that won’t stop bubbling and sudsing all over the carpet?

Lucky for me, a good friend saved me from losing my mind. She came over and helped with cleaning the kitchen and then after seeing the desperate situation I had created for myself she rescheduled her day so that she could take her kids and my kids to the park. She was Heaven sent that day. I was so grateful for that tender mercy since I obviously hadn’t planned well for that stressful morning. Learn from my mistake!

We still ended up leaving a few hours later than we were planning on, but we got it all done and here’s hoping we’ll get most of our deposit back!

Packing and moving are stressful. There’s really no way to completely avoid that, but you can at least heavily lighten the load. Hope these tips help.

Pack on, Mom.