I may not be the most fastidious housekeeper, but I could never be accused of being a pack rat. I don’t mind Legos strewn about if the kids are playing and having fun or laundry that needs to be folded and put away, but I am not a fan of closets that throw up upon opening or cabinets chocked full of stuff I don’t use.
Thus is born: “The Donations Box”Here are a few tips for keeping your house as clutter-free as possible:
Keep a donations box handy. Label a large box “Donations” for depositing items you wish to get rid of. Clip a piece of paper and a pen to the box so that you can itemize the loot you are donating. This makes tax time easier.
Go through one room a day until you have uncluttered your whole home.
If you don’t wear it, get rid of it.
If they don’t play with it, chuck it.
If it is trash, just throw is away. This is a big one. Really, just throw it out.
I love the combination of sweetness and saltiness and that is why I am capable (and guilty) of making myself sick with this toffee recipe. There are different versions of this type of dessert, but this in mine.Ingredients:
- 1 sleeve of saltines (or however many saltines you need to cover your cookie sheet
- 2 sticks of butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 12 oz chocolate chips
Line 9×13 cookie sheet with saltines. Bring butter and brown sugar to a full boil and boil for 5 minutes. Pour boiling mixture over crackers and bake in oven for 7 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove cookie sheet from oven and pour chocolate chips on top. Spread evenly as the chips melt. After toffee cools a bit, break into pieces.Enjoy!
If you are like us, you may be at a different field, studio, or gym every night of the week for assorted practices with your children. While you may want to watch your child hone his skills, his siblings may not be as interested. While a ball of some sort and an open field are always a good option, we also always have a few games that fit in our purses to keep them busy. Some of these games require a little space to spread out, and some can be played in your lap! Ditch the screen time, and play something that doesn’t require an outlet, charger, or Wi-fi.
Some of our favorites:
- Math Dice and Math Dice Jr.
- Pairs in Pears
- Skip-bo Junior
- Monopoly Deal and Monopoly Millionaire Deal
Read Across America Day is a nationally recognized “holiday” to inspire reading. The holiday coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday each year, which is March 2nd. Because it falls on a Saturday this year, your children may be doing some Seuss-related activities at school on March 1st. Regardless of when it is, we think we should celebrate reading every day!
Here are our top five favorites from Dr. Seuss.
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
- Horton Hears a Who
- Green Eggs and Ham
- The Lorax
- Happy Birthday to You!
We would love to know about your favorite Dr. Seuss classics.
You can visit www.nea.org for events and more information about Read Across America Day or www.seussville.com for Seuss-centered games and activities that you can do with your kiddos.
Here’s a super easy dessert to celebrate Dr. Seuss. Getting your kids to help out is fun and educational, which is what the famous author was all about.
I used the Jell-O Jiggler recipe, which calls for 4 small boxes of Jell-O. Have your kiddos help you follow the directions on the box.
Layer jelled dessert with whipped topping to make your own Cat in the Hat inspired treat. For a healthier option, use sliced strawberries instead of Jell-O.
Our families love to read and therefore consider “Read Across America Day” a worthwhile holiday. So, like any other holiday, we wanted to make something fun and yummy to eat.
This cake in honor of the Lorax was super easy and my son, Grant (The Lorax is his FAVORITE book!) said it was perfect!!I made a 9″ round layer cake and frosted it with pale green frosting. I used Teddy Grahams for the brown barbaloots. For the Lorax himself, well I really out did myself. Just kidding. He is nothing more than computer clip art printed on cardstock, cut out, glued to a popsicle stick and stuck into the cake. Now the famed truffula trees were fun. I used black and white striped paper straws and haphazardly wrapped cotton candy around the tops and stuck them in the cake.
Shelves, piles and even baskets of books like this one exist in just about every room in each of our houses. Our motto: “If there are books, they will read.”
For the Mommies:
By now, you know that we are HUGE fans of reading. We definitely read our fair share of children’s books. We are members of a book club, but don’t always stay on schedule with that! But we don’t get down on ourselves, and neither should you. Read what you can, when you can. A magazine article counts as reading, our blog counts as reading, shoot…even a movie with subtitles counts as reading! But if, by chance, you want to crack open a new novel, here are a few suggestions. So go be a reader!
Our book bucket list:
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
- The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- South of Broad by Pat Conroy
- Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
For the Kiddos:
We LOVE reading with our kids. But as they get older and become more independent readers, that doesn’t happen as much. Don’t let them fool you. They still love for you to read to them. Holly’s fondest memory of our most recent Christmas break was when, unsolicited, all of her children (even the big ones) climbed into her bed to hear her read The Polar Express aloud. This week, as our county celebrates the life of Dr. Seuss, we will both be volunteering as guest readers in all of our children’s classrooms. Even big kids need a good story book every now and then.
Here’s a few of our favorite read-aloud titles for all ages.
- Born to Read by Judy Sierra
- Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna
- Somebody and the Three Blairs by Marilyn Tolhurst
- My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
- Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick
- Officer Buckle and Gloria Peggy Rathmann
- How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
- Roasted Peanuts by Tim Egan
- The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning
- Mrs. Toggle’s Zipper by Robin Pulver
- The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli
Some of these books are funny, some are feel-good, and some teach a lesson. But they are all good for all ages, even yours!
I love snow as much as the next guy, but even I am getting a little weary of this loonngg snowy winter. This snack includes all the fixin’s to make a snowman with no snow required!
- popped popcorn (for the snow)
- mini marshmallows (more snow)
- pretzel sticks (for the arms)
- goldfish crackers (for the carrot nose)
- chocolate chips (for the eyes and mouth)
- pull-apart licorice (for the snowman’s scarf)
The exact amounts are really up to you. We used mostly popcorn with varying amounts of the other ingredients. Just mix it up and, voila! You’ve got the perfect snowman…any time of year!
With 100th day approaching (and getting there was no easy feat with all the snow days we have had) I decided to have a little lesson in measuring volume. It was super easy and super quick. BONUS: Any lesson that ends with a snack gets rave reviews!My boys (kindergarten and 1st grade) counted out 2 groups of 100 popcorn kernels. We popped one group of 100 kernels and compared the volume to the second group of 100 kernels. The difference in volume was easy to see and the snack was yummy!
A new era has begun in late night television. The hilarious Jimmy Fallon has taken the reigns of The Tonight Show. If this clip of the Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing is any indication of subsequent shows, we will definitely be setting the DVR (because we can’t be expected to stay awake that late!). Enjoy a good laugh, and dance a little. You know you want to!