My Super Simplified Weekly Cleaning Routine

Have you searched Pinterest for all the cute little weekly cleaning checklists? Or maybe you jumped on board with a program like Flylady?  I’ve been there, tried that.  You know what?   It didn’t quite fit in my real life.  I was either always cleaning instead of enjoying my family and downtime, or I felt lots of guilt whenever I couldn’t keep up with the “prescribed list.”  Life is too short!  I’ve finally found what works for me, at this particular phase of life.  Read More »

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Our Little Life Hack #7: Make Your Calendar Last

September is here, and so is the new school year.  For our family, that means our calendar is now filled with activities and events almost every evening.  In order to keep ourselves organized so as not to miss anything, I use a dry-erase calendar on our upright freezer, located in our family room / den. (More of an app person? We also use the Cozi app on our phones, but that’s another post…)Read More »

Our Little Life Hack #6: Organize Your Kids’ School Papers, Projects, and Art

The school year has begun for us and this year I decided I would implement something that I have been meaning to do the last few years since my oldest began preschool.  When our children are little, we, as parents, want to keep every single thing they do (so many firsts!) to show their progression, or simply to remember these days.  However, it all adds up so quickly, and if you keep too many things, you never do take the time to look through it and stroll down memory lane.Read More »

DIY Chocolate Covered Strawberries

For Mother’s Day this year, my husband surprised me with an order of the yummiest, most beautiful chocolate covered strawberries.  My two little ones noticed what I received, and since they love chocolate and strawberries, they each asked for one.  I did share a bite with each of them, but I ultimately told them these were Mommy’s strawberries.  This lead to my five year old immediately asking if we could make some of our own with the strawberries that I had in the fridge.  I agreed, and here we are with a new blog post for you. 🙂

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Dollar DIY Birthday Party Favors – Minnie Mouse and Knights

April is always a eventful month for our family with Easter, our son’s birthday, and our daughter’s birthday.  This year we combined their birthday parties, but we still let each child choose their theme.  While I did scale back on the amount of decorations I had this year, I still had theme-related party favors for our guests.  Since I purchased party favors for each child’s birthday party theme, I wanted to make sure I kept the cost low.  In the past, I’ve ordered from Oriental Trading, but the party was a little last-minute this year, so I had to find the items in my budget from our local stores.  We do have a few Dollar Tree stores in the area, so there’s always that option, but we ultimately found the favors we chose at Target.Read More »

Organizing 101: Declutter, Containerize, and Create a System

We have had our home listed for a few months and are actively looking for a new home in a different community, so I have been very motivated to get my home organized.  In fact, over the past year or so, I’ve probably gone through my entire house 2 – 3 times, decluttering, organizing, etc.  And to be honest, it’s probably time to do so again.  Why? Because I really like the results of decluttering.  I end up with more room for the things I truly do love and use, which also means that I end up using them more!  Did I mention it is much easier to find things now that there is less “stuff” to look through?  Decluttering also makes the rooms of my home easier to keep clean and organized after I’ve gone through them and put a system into place.  Once things have a home, it’s easier to put them away when we are done with them.  Hence, a cleaner home.  Win-win!

So where do you begin?  First, get prepared for decluttering and organizing (find out how to here).  Once you are ready to get started, there are a few things I suggest:Read More »

Organizing 101: How to Prepare for and Get Started Organizing Your Home

Hi all!  You may be thinking that this post is a little late, seeing as it is February and this type of post is typical for January with the start of the new year, but I believe that there is no better time to start organizing than now (whatever part of the year that ends up being for you).

I know that the idea of organizing a home can be overwhelming for most people, so I want to give you some Little Ways to prepare and then get started.   This is something that can be done quickly and all-at-once if you have the time (stay-at-home-mom with the kids back at school) and/or the motivation (like when you are moving to a new home), but if you are like most of us, you are super busy and have only a few minutes here or there.  If that’s you, complete one step at a time anytime you have a few extra minutes in your schedule.  If you have lots of time available, you may be able to do multiple steps all at once.

Read More »

How to Organize Your Kids’ Toys Without Them Taking Over Your Home

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and was able to visit with family and friends! The days right after Christmas day always leave me antsy to go through my children’s toys, get rid of the things they rarely play with and organize all the new toys they’ve received. If you have little ones, you know that their toys take up lots of room since they can’t have many little pieces.  I have one child who is old enough to handle toys with little pieces and one child who needs to be kept away from small pieces, so we are in an interesting middle ground.  After a few years of trying various organizing strategies for their toys, the following setup is working really well for us and wasn’t hard to incorporate the new toys received at Christmas into the mix.

First of all, our children do not have a “play room.”  I know many parents who do this and it works for them because all of the toys stay in one centralized location (and you can close the door when it gets too crazy in there haha).  I found that one room with all the toys was simply overwhelming for my children and they didn’t actually play with their toys much.  We also do not have the luxury of an extra room just for toys now that we have two children in a three bedroom home.  As with everything, find what works for you and go with it.

ikea-sofa-table

What has worked well for us is to rotate out toys.  Sometimes it is parent-led rotation, sometimes my son will ask to swap out toys.  By doing so, I find that my children feel like they’ve received new toys since they haven’t seen the stored ones in a while.  So how do I keep everything stored whether it’s being played with or put away? Ikea to the rescue! We purchased this awesome sofa table (IKEA Hemnes Console Table) and the boxes that go in it from Ikea and had it shipped to our home (along with various other furniture purchases to save on shipping) instead of driving 5+ hours to our closest store.

The baskets on the top shelf come from Homegoods (another one of my favorite stores).  They hold mostly books and puzzles, with a basket or two for the random little toys children acquire that don’t really fit into any other categories. The boxes, from Ikea, are perfect because they have lids (to contain and hide all the “mess” of toys) and can be taken out and brought to whichever room the kids are playing in at the time.  They also limit the amount of toys that can be kept – if it doesn’t fit in the container, it needs to go or something else needs to go to make room for it.  (This is a great opportunity to teach your child about donating to those who have less.)

As far as the toys that are out of rotation at the time, they are kept in clear plastic containers (that can easily be found at Walmart or Target) at the top of my son’s closet.  He also has a few bins at the bottom of his closet for some of the larger accessories.  For example, all the superhero action figures and their small accessories are kept in the box at the top of the closet (or the gray box in our living room if he’s chosen that set at the moment), but the bat cave, bat car, etc. are kept in the orange bin at the bottom of his closet because it just doesn’t fit in the clear container at the top.  If you have the room for it, you can simply buy larger containers to keep it all together, but we are working with the setup we have currently.

Another advantage to this system is that its easier to say “you have to pick up all the toys from this box before taking out another,” if you chose to do so.  I don’t usually, however, simply because I like the creativity that is encouraged by mixing the types of toys.  Maybe my son has chosen his box of Magna-tiles and his box of cars at the moment.  He may build a garage for all the cars with the Magna-tiles, for example.

toy-box

My daughter is still young, so she has less collections of toys (although they are growing), so she has a few toys in the gray boxes and then the rest are in a toy box (from when I was a child) that is in another room in the house.  I’m sure in the next year or so, I’ll begin to set up a system for her similar to the one I have for my son.

How do you organize your children’s toys? What works for you? Let us know in the comments below.

–Brandi

DIY Make-Up Remover Pads and Lavender Orange Bath Salts

Last week I gave you lots of information on Young Living Lavender essential oil.  While I did include a few ways to use it, and a few recipes, the following two are some of my favorites that include Lavender.  I recently went to a Make & Take where I made lots of various oily products in beautiful containers, including these two recipes.  I’ve been using most of my products almost daily, so it’s time to refill them.  Here are the step-by-step instructions so that you can make these for yourself also (or maybe even for a few Christmas gifts this year!).  Don’t have Young Living essential oils yet?  I can help you get started.  Click here, or email me at ourlittleways@outlook.com

Make-Up Remover Pads
Ingredients for a 6 oz jar:
*2 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil
*4 drops of Young Living Lavender essential oil
*2 teaspoons of witch hazel
*2 tablespoons of distilled water
*14 cotton rounds

  1. Pour coconut oil, lavender oil, witch hazel, and water into jar.
  2. Tighten lid and shake thoroughly.
  3. Open lid and place 14 cotton rounds in the glass container.
  4. Tighten lid and rotate until solution soaks into all the cotton rounds.
  5. Enjoy removing your makeup (or simply wiping your face down) at the end of a long day.

Lavender is great for your skin as well as such a calming, relaxing smell – perfect for preparing for bedtime.

Lavender-Orange Bath Salts
Ingredients:

*1 1/2 cups of Epsom salts
*1 cup of baking soda
*12 drops of Young Living Lavender essential oil
*12 drops of Young Living Orange essential oil

  1. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt and 1/3 cup of Baking soda
  2. Add 4 drops of Lavender and 4 drops of Orange, mix (or close lid and shake)
  3. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt and 1/3 cup of Baking soda
  4. Add 4 drops of Lavender and 4 drops of Orange, mix (or close lid and shake)
  5. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt and 1/3 cup of Baking soda
  6. Add 4 drops of Lavender and 4 drops of Orange, mix (or close lid and shake)
  7. Enjoy adding anywhere from a few tablespoons to a 1/2 cup of the bath salts mixture to a tub of hot water.  Soak and relax.

Check back here next Friday for information about a new oil with more recipes to follow!

–Brandi

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