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Archive for the ‘Kim Ross’ tag

March 21st, 2014 at 8:00 am

Tackling Spring Cleaning with a Checklist

Spring Cleaning Checklist

The is no better feeling then going through spring and starting summer with a clean, organized and simplified home. My first act of business is making a list. Lucky for you, I have a printable for you that contains a checklist of all the important items to tackle when doing spring cleaning.

How do I use the checklist to tackle my spring cleaning?

First, I gather all my cleaning supplies. Whether you use a tote, bucket or basket, gather all the needed supplies together and you are ready to go. Yesterday Liz wrote a great post that details recipes to make your own cleaning supplies. I also like to gather microfiber cloths for dusting, a wet rag, and paper toweling. Remember to also print out your checklist and have a writing utensil ready to go.

I then work my way down the list room by room. As I go through each room I like to note of details – do the walls need painting, does something need replacing, or do we maybe need to change up some decor? This is a great place to keep track of the items as you notice them. Also, I like to carry two boxes with me. One is to put things I need to get rid of and the other is for things that belong elsewhere. Some people like to sort the “get rid of” box into donate or trash right away, but I usually wait till I finish each room. As I finish each room I empty my boxes and exchange any cleaning supplies that are needed.

Some people tackle spring cleaning in a weekend, but that is way too much cleaning for me to do all at the same time, as it is not my favorite chore. I usually tackle a of couple areas a week and complete my entire home over the period of a month.

How do you tackle your Spring Cleaning?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

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March 17th, 2014 at 6:44 am

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

stpattysdayKnock Knock
Who’s There?
Irish!
Irish Who!
Irish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Has the leprechaun been tricky and visited your home yet today? Our leprechaun does some tricky things like turning our milk green! He’s a sneaky little fellow! He can show up any time so if he hasn’t appeared yet, be aware!

In our house we will be eating lots of green foods today! Think kale, sugar snap peas, green M&M’s, spinach, and more! We also like to make some foods green that aren’t usually green. Ever have green pancakes or green floats?  Check out this rainbow treat with gold at the bottom of it. An adorable treat for the kids or a great item to send to friends! I also think this rainbow of fruit may have to make its way to our dinner table.

As my boys get older, it might be more fun to do a treasure hunt for the leprechauns gold. Check out some of these great ideas:

Lucky the Leprechaun Treasure Hunt

St. Patricks Day Limerick Scavenger Hunt

St. Patricks Day Hunt for the Gold

Remember to leave a little treat from the Leprechaun like a lucky penny, some chocolate gold coins or a box of Lucky Charms cereal.

Here’s a few more sprinkles of laughter to bring fun to St. Patricks Day.

What is Irish and left out on the lawn all summer?
Paddy O’Furniture

What happens when a leprechaun falls into a river?
He gets wet!

Why do frogs like St. Patrick’s Day?
Because they’re already wearing green!

Why can’t you iron a four-leaf clover?
Because you shouldn’t press you luck!

I’ll send you off with an irish blessing:

Here’s to me, and here’s to you. And here’s to love and laughter.
I’ll be true as long as you. And not one moment after.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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March 14th, 2014 at 9:55 am

The Best Times to Buy Things

MONEYSAVINGSAs I’ve said before, saving money is all about planning. To buy big items, a lot of the planning is when to buy. The following list shares when to buy what to get the best deal.

January

  • Clothing
  • Carpeting
  • Furniture
  • Office supplies
  • Fitness equipment
  • White sales of linens, towels, etc.
  • HDTV’s

February

  • Cell phones
  • Furniture
  • Fragrances
  • Electronics
  • Furniture

March

  • Chocolate
  • Luggage
  • Golf clubs
  • Gardening Tools
  • Winter gear
  • Televisions

April

  • Sneakers
  • Digital cameras
  • Warm weather clothes
  • Laptops

May

  • Party Supplies
  • Refrigerators
  • Mattresses
  • Cookware
  • Sneakers & athletic apparel
  • Mattresses
  • Outdoor furniture

June

  • Swimsuits
  • Lingerie
  • Dishware & cookware
  • Tools

July

  • Power tools
  • Furniture
  • Home decor
  • Paint

August

  • Kids clothing
  • School supplies
  • Computeres
  • Fall fashions
  • Swimwear
  • Yard equipment
  • Camping supplies

September

  • Lawnmowers
  • Cars
  • Bikes
  • Shrubs & trees

October

  • Jeans
  • Grills
  • Appliances
  • Vacuums
  • Winter gear
  • Auto supplies

November

  • Candy
  • Televisions
  • Wedding dresses
  • Everything (Black Friday)

December

  • Champagne
  • Pools
  • Toys & electronics
  • New model cars
  • Outerwear

Sometimes, waiting a little while until an item goes on sale can yield big results! What do you like to wait for to get the best price?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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March 10th, 2014 at 5:00 am

Breakfast for Dinner – A Waffle Bar

plainwaffleMy kids could eat breakfast for every meal of the day, so a couple of times a month we have breakfast for dinner! It definitely is right up there with taco night at our house. We rotate french toast, pancakes and everyone’s favorite – waffles. Our waffle maker is one of our most used appliances because of this. Here is our family’s easy recipe, but sometimes we just buy an easy box mix to use.

Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1/3 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add milk, butter and vanilla to the egg mixture. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and beat until blended.

Once waffle iron is preheated, ladle in batter. Cook the waffles until golden and crispy. Serve immediately or place on cookie sheet in warm oven.

Once cooled, place in freezer bags and keep in freezer up to 3 months. Place in toaster to reheat.

wafflebar

Using these waffles you can create a waffle bar using any of the following favorite toppings:

Fruits
Raspberries
Blueberries
Strawberries
Blackberries
Cherries
Bananas
Pineapple

Syrups and other Sauces
Maple Syrup
Flavored Syrup
Butter
Warm Honey
Salted Caramel sauce
Apple Butter
Peanut Butter
Nutella
Strawberry Jam

The Final Touch
Powdered Sugar
Whipped Cream
Yogurt

A Sprinkle on Top
Granola
Nuts
Bacon

Waffle

You can use whatever combinations interest you. Try to mix the healthy choices in with the fun ones. Feel free to get creative. Or make waffles your dessert with these great ideas:

S’mores – Waffle with nutella spread, marshmallow fluff and a little sprinkle of crushed graham crackers
Banana Split –Waffles with a scoop of ice cream, bananas, pineapple chunks, strawberries and some chocolate sauce with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry!
Apple Lovers –Waffle covered with apple crisp and a dollop of whipped cream and a little bit of caramel sauce.
Stuffed Waffle – Use flavored cream cheese in between two waffles with fruit for a “stuffed” variety.

We also use our waffle iron to make other things from paninis to eggs. One of our other favorite things is to put refrigerated cinnamon rolls in the waffle iron to cook and spread on the yummy frosting when it is done. We have also used it to make hash browns by putting frozen hash brown scoops in.

I think I might need to make some waffles now.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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March 7th, 2014 at 7:41 am

25 Easy Ways to Save Money

Image-1We all love saving money, but sometimes it feels like it is so much harder than it really is. Here are 25 quick and easy ways to save money that will really show a difference over an extended amount of time!

  1. Set a budget
  2. Never be afraid to ask if you can get a better price
  3. Write a list before you go to the store
  4. Shop for presents all year long
  5. Cut back on convenience foods and plan ahead for meals
  6. Sign up for customer rewards programs, especially at places you frequent
  7. Shop for school supplies all year long
  8. Make your own cleaning supplies
  9. Buy holiday decorations a year early when they are discounted
  10. Make coffee at home instead of picking it up at the coffee shop
  11. Change the temperature on your thermostat a degree or two
  12. Have dinner at home instead of eating out by freezing meals ahead of time
  13. Prepare for travel by using deals online
  14. Visit the library instead of the book store
  15. Buy clothes at thrift stores or yard sales
  16. Make homemade gifts
  17. Instead of going to the movies wait till it is out on DVD and rent it
  18. Plan a weekly menu
  19. Get organized and cut clutter
  20. Swap items with friends – toys, movies, books
  21. Look over your insurance policies
  22. Price match at stores
  23. Shop Online
  24. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
  25. Use Coupons

Have you read my Beginners Guide to Couponing Series?

Where to Find your Coupons

Organizing Your Coupons

Maximizing your Coupon Use

Surviving the Checkout Lane

Creating and Maintaining your Stockpile

And there you have it, some quick and easy ideas that you can save money!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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March 3rd, 2014 at 9:28 am

Storing all your Children’s Books

Do you struggle with where to put all your kids books? We have bookshelves filled and then another paper book order comes and we struggle with where to fit them once the order comes in. I want to share some of my favorite ways to store our kids books.

box

Cereal Box Holder

I love all the inexpensive paperback books that we get from the order forms at school, but they are so hard to store. Make a holder out of a cereal box to keep them contained. Just cut diagonally once you remove the top and decorate however you want. This is an extremely cheap way to tackle the book clutter.

Shelf

Picture Shelf or Rain Gutter Shelving

We use a ledge type of shelf for frames to display books for my sons top bunk. You could also use several vertically to make a wall of easy to grab bookshelves. This can also be done using rain gutters from your local home improvement store.

basket

Baskets

Use all kinds of baskets and containers to hold books. I love to pick up inexpensive baskets to use on shelves to organize a little better. I also keep a basket by my sons bed so he can put his favorites there each night.

Credit: readingconfetti.com

Credit: readingconfetti.com

Storage Bins

Use regular totes and decorate to hold books or even use crates that you have decorated like these.

I believe you can never have enough books, but containing them is the key! How do you organize your books?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 28th, 2014 at 5:00 am

Quick Tips to Lose the Mommy Weight

photoAre you dealing with losing that last 10-15 lbs that you gained while you were pregnant? Here are some tips your can use to help lose the mommy weight.

Portion Size – Think about the actual portions of food you are eating. Make sure the plate you are filling has the correct proportions according to the food pyramid plate. Also, while you are filling that plate be sure to look at the size of the plate you are using. A regular dinner plate is a lot bigger than what you should be using. I like to use a salad plate because it looks like it is overflowing when I fill it up.

Snacks – One of my biggest downfalls is snacking throughout the day. Part of the downfall is the portion of the snack I am eating. Do you ever eat your child’s snacks and end up eating a lot more than you should? Think about pre-bagging your snack selections. Always have a snack in your purse or diaper bag to grab on the go when you are hungry.

Breakfast – You’ve heard that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. This is so true! It starts your day off right and sets your hunger for the rest of the day.

Water – Drinking water will help curb your appetite. While you are eating be sure to sip some water between your bites. This will help you feel fuller faster!

Exercise –  Exercise isn’t easy when you are a mom, especially a new one.  Try to get some exercise in while you are going about your day. Check out this Pinterest board for ways to exercise with baby.

Planning – If you schedule your meals, snacks and exercise then you have less decisions that are made with your stomach instead of your head. Also, try to eat at the table when you are hungry. Distracted eating makes you eat more than you planned on or need to!

Hope these tips help you to lose that last chunk of baby weight! What are some of your tried and true ways to shed the pounds?

 

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 24th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Keeping Your Kids Active When Stuck Inside

IMG_2211

This winter has been an extremely long one for my family.  Living in Wisconsin, most days the temperatures aren’t even hitting zero, so playing outside isn’t always an option and we have had to get inventive to help rid the boys of their never-ending energy.  I want to share some ideas with you to get some physical activity into your children’s day when you are stuck inside.

Do you have a room big enough to blow up that bouncy house inside? We move all our furniture out of the way and on our “cold” days when school was canceled we ran the house inside. The boys had hours of fun jumping up and down.

My parents have a heated sunroom that is covered with tile. When the kids were infants and toddlers we would sometimes blow up a baby pool on a sunny day and fill with some warm water. Stick on the boys swim trunks and its time to go swimming, or at least splash around.

If you have a basement in your house, there are so many great things you can do!  Hang some swings from the ceiling joists and bring outdoor fun inside. Also, if you have a lot of empty room in the basement bring in bikes, scooters, or even roller skates. I used to love roller skating through our basement growing up. The basement is a great place to practice dribbling a basketball and if you have decent ceiling height you may even be able to perfect your jump roping skills! Also, if you have a cement floor and accessible floor drain play with sidewalk chalk or even draw a hopscotch or foursquare area.

As moms, we like to limit our children’s electronics time. I don’t mind a little extra time though when they are playing active games. My kids love to use the WiiFit or play Just Dance. If you don’t have these it is just as easy to find some Just Dance videos on You Tube or run a family exercise class using online exercise videos. One night we had a competition to see who could plank the longest. Needless to say, I did not win.

Get inventive when trying to keep active and wear out some of that energy while the Polar Vortex takes over. We are in the home stretch; Spring is right around the corner.

How do you stay active inside?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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February 21st, 2014 at 8:35 am

Fun Apps to Encourage Reading

reading-appsMy boys are in love with their iPads, but they aren’t always being used for games; we like to use them for learning just as much. My youngest son is learning to read and loves the interactive reading apps that we have found for him. Many of these can be enjoyable for different ages.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This app!

This app lets you interact with a pigeon and create a story of your own.

The Cat in the Hat

Read along with this favorite Dr. Suess story word by word.

Little Bella’s – I Close My Eyes

This animated app is great for pre-readers and tells the story of Bella’s adventures.

Bob Books

One of our favorite book sets while learning to read are the Bob Books. These apps help to introduce new words and letter sounds to the beginning reader.

Pete the Cat

We love to jam out with Pete the Cat at our house and this app brings his story to life.

The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover!

This book was one of my favorites as a child and now my children enjoy it. We love to watch Grover try to stop us from getting to the end of the book. We also like the companion book with Another Monster!

Some other favorites include:

All By Myself – Little Critter

The Kissing Hand

Once Upon a Potty

Five Little Monkeys

The Berenstain Bears

Dr. Suess Books

What are your favorite reading apps?

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 17th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Making Lunchtime at Home Easier

Kids-lunchSometimes I feel like the greatest challenge of each day is meals. My family would love for me to be a short order cook, but I refuse. Instead I have to make sure that each meal has elements that each kid will eat. Lunchtime is definitely not an exception to this.

I’ve written previously about ways to make the lunchbox fun, but how do you break up the monotony of the everyday lunch at home.

If I have good leftovers I like to take advantage of those first. Mix things up to reinvent the leftovers if the kids don’t want the same thing again. My mom always took leftover sloppy joes and added in noodles. Another way to reuse leftovers is to make a smorgasbord of all the different things in the fridge and choose a little of each.

Pizza is another of my favorite lunch options. Make your own dough and freeze it so it is ready to go, buy pre-made dough, or pre-made crusts. You can also make pizza with english muffins, french bread or bagels. Plus each child can make the pizza to their liking.

The same can be done with Quesadillas. These are made quickly and can contain so many different things!

Have you ever thought of offering a salad to your kids? A salad seems like something for older kids, but  young kids love to eat salads. Top them with some cut up chicken for protein and you have a well balanced meal.

Ever think of making breakfast for lunch? We make breakfast for dinner all the time but don’t always think about it for lunch. That’s the key to lunch… it doesn’t have to always be sandwiches. Anything you eat at other times of day can apply. Sometimes lunch is when my boys are truly the hungriest so I’m fine with it being their biggest meal of the day!

What are some of your favorite lunchtime options?

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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