Putting Life Hacks To The Test (2)

As a married mom I am all for finding things that I can do that makes life easier and my growing list of things to do shorter! So this week I put a few “life hacks” from Pinterest to the test!!

Make box cakes bakery good

For all my fellow penny pinchers box cakes for birthdays and family gatherings are a must! Well this week I found a life back that is supposed to make a box of cake mix taste like a cake you can buy from a bakery! I was skeptical but for sake of my baking skills I gave it a chance.

  1. Follow directions on package
  2. Add one more egg (or two for a richer taste)
  3. Replace oil with melted butter and double the amount
  4. Replace water with equal amount of milk
  5. Mix and bake according to the package

OMG! Y’all I don’t call myself the CHUBBY ninja mom for nothing. I was in fluffy girl heaven! This cake came out fluffy, rich and so tasty! I highly suggest you try it and I think you will be asked to make cakes for every occasion. Works great!!

Febreze Those Ants

Like all kids, my daughter has this habit of hiding or dropping candy. Which as we all know if left undiscovered for a couple days will draw ants. So this hack states that febreze kills ants on contact without making your house smell like chemicals and without being harmful to kids. Luckily this week there were no ants to be found inside so I put a candy wrapper in my yard and it does work! Febreze really does kill ants and obviously smells great! So fellow parents, febreze away those ants and freshen rooms at the same time!

4-7-8 Technique

The 4-7-8 technique is for those who have trouble sleeping. You inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8 seconds. I tried this two nights in a row and I don’t think it worked. Maybe I didn’t try long enough… my husband actually asked me what was wrong because I was “breathing funny.” This didn’t work for me but you might try it the next time you are having trouble, it might work for you.

I will continue on my search for life hacks that actually work! If you have one that you would like me to try please add it to the comments. Please try that cake recipe you will be so happy you did! More life hacks to come! Thank you for reading!

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Yearly Bucket List!

Every year on New Years Day people make resolutions. They swear this will be the year they stop smoking, or to drop the weight, etc… While this is fine in 2015 I decided to do a yearly bucket list! I make a list of things I want to complete in that year. I chose 15 things in 2015, now it is 2019 so I will be making a list of 19 things to complete this year. I would like to encourage everyone to give it a try!

Making Your List

Don’t put a bunch of things you know you cannot complete! This is not your life’s bucket list, this is a years list! If you know you don’t have the finances for a trip to Hawaii for a week, don’t add it! Put trip to the beach, then if finances for Hawaii come in June, awesome, but if not you can take a trip to a closer beach. I personally like to choose a couple family activities, “go to a museum,” “go to a theme park,” “take family to the zoo,” etc. Also add something for you and your spouse! “Date night,” “Romantic weekend,” etc. These things will remind you all year to make time for family and your partner! Being a busy family sometimes these things get forgotten in the hustle! The final thing I like to add and recommend that you do as well is to learn something new. Whether it is a recipe or a skill, take the time to help you grow as a person! Pinterest and YouTube are filled with DIY projects, take the time to use them!

Completing Your List

I admit there has been years that I don’t complete everything on my list and that’s okay! I think of the list as a reminder through the year to slow down and take time to make memories! I use the calendar app on my phone to remind me to look at my list and choose something to complete during the month. While going to a theme park in February isn’t always doable it is a great month to have that date night. June won’t work for seeing snow for the first time but it would be good for taking the family to the zoo. Just remind yourself to take a look and not everything on your list has to cost money. A picnic in the park is free and a great chance for family time!

I hope you will join me in the 2019 bucket list! Take the time to make a list for yourself or make a list for the whole family, letting your kids add some things they would like to do or try!! Resolutions are great, though most are forgotten. I will add my list below as an example and I will post throughout the year of the things I actually get to mark off the list. Have a great New Year and I hope you have many great adventures in 2019!

🥳🥳 My List 🥳🥳

  1. Go to the Houston zoo
  2. Teach the puppy a new trick
  3. Start my Etsy shop
  4. Dye my hair
  5. Teach niece to sew
  6. Surprise Spouse
  7. Learn a new recipe
  8. Read Year one by Nora Roberts
  9. Volunteer
  10. Mommy/daughter day
  11. Try a new food
  12. Family picnic
  13. Date Night
  14. Spend time with sister
  15. Movie night with family
  16. Go to aquarium in Corpus
  17. Family photos
  18. Spend a day fishing
  19. Update wardrobe

Making your family traditions

My childhood was filled with fun, family filled traditions. On birthdays we would get to choose our favorite foods to be made for dinner, followed by cake and presents. Halloween was homemade costumes and a trick or treating hay ride. Thanks giving was 30 to 40 family members eating all day and napping after the football game. Christmas was a crazy time. We did love action Christmas displays in our front yard! We would dress up in costumes, dance and sing in our front yard with Santa at the road handing out candy canes to anyone who stopped. Our church would go Christmas caroling and hand out gifts at our local nursing home. Then of course Christmas morning we would open gifts youngest to oldest, (I was in the middle) and have a buffet style Christmas breakfast!! It was such a great time of year.

Now that I am married and a mommy, I want to start my own traditions for my family. I do the same for my daughters and husbands birthdays. I like to watch her come up with a menu. She is 6 years old now and while pizza and hot dogs don’t go together for one day a year… let’s do it! Halloween is store bought costumes that she receives as a birthday present. The joys of having a birthday a week before Halloween. Thanksgiving is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with a platter for finger foods to keep us all day and dinner promptly at 6pm. Our Christmas traditions are far from what I grew up with but we do a Christmas movie every night up until Christmas Day. My daughter helps me decorate the whole house. Christmas morning is presents and French toast. Though now I have added Christmas dinner with family.

Traditions on holidays help to shape our childhood. It is fun to reminisce on holidays past and it is exciting to include a new family member (whether by birth or marriage). Traditions unite a family. Creating your own brings a new family together and makes a stressful holiday just that much more pleasant. I look forward to seeing what traditions my daughter will continue when she has her own family someday. What are your family traditions? How has your traditions morphed since you were a child??

Happy holidays from my family to yours!!

Don’t Forget About You

Once our children are born we spend all of our time taking care of them. This is good and natural. We are raising tiny humans, this takes up most of our time and ALL of our energy. But what would you think if I told you one of the best things we can do for our children is to take care of ourselves as well!

Making time for yourself may seem impossible! You are responsible for your child’s every need, you have a house to run, maintain, bills to pay and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. Trust me all parents know that struggle! A parent who doesn’t take care of their needs will become quickly frustrated, are more likely to develop depression and can end up resenting all the time you have to put into your family.

The most common responses when I ask people if they make time for themselves are: “I don’t have anyone to watch my child,” “I cannot afford to spend money on myself,” “I wouldn’t know what to do with time for myself.”

“I don’t have anyone to watch my child…”

I understand it is hard these days to to find trusted babysitters. There are so many stories filling up our newsfeeds about the dangers of child care and they are down right scary! Have you thought of relatives? The child’s other parent? A close friend? A trusted family member of that close friend? If all these don’t work I will say the best babysitter I have ever used was a 15 year old high school student. She wasn’t old enough for a “real” job but was ready to make her own money. She was great with my daughter and always went above and beyond when she came over!

“I cannot afford to spend money on myself”

My reply to this is always, then don’t. Pack a lunch and go for a walk. Go to a park or the library and read a book! When you kid(s) are asleep, instead of cleaning or stressing over to-do lists, soak in a hot bath. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Catch up on your TV shows, read, write, give yourself a spa night, call a friend you haven’t had the time to talk to, talk to your spouse. You need something that relaxes you and you will be ready to tackle the day tomorrow!

“I wouldn’t know what to do with time for myself”

Okay so Grandma (or whoever) took your child for the night… now what? First let me say this, you will miss your child(ren), every parent does. Now I have listed some things you could do but don’t worry I have a few more. When was your last date night? Go out with your spouse, Significant other, friends, or siblings! Enjoy a meal that you aren’t rushed through. Stay in and grab your favorite snacks (you won’t have to share) and watch your favorite movie! Be lazy! Parents never get the chance too!

Making time for yourself isn’t selfish. Just because your a parent doesn’t mean that you are YOU anymore. Once or twice a month having a time out for yourself will improve your mental health and that will result in a happier, healthier parent for the kids to enjoy! Plus on those rough days when you just don’t know how you’re going to get through, you will have something to look forward too. You are a great parent! Just don’t forget to be good to yourself as well!

Frilly Vs. Functional

Every new parent loves baby clothes. Getting everything prepared for your new bundle of joy is exciting and fun. Though I think mostly the ladies tend to get lost in the world of the frilly. Whether you are expecting a boy or a girl it is so easy to find clothing that would look great in pictures but wouldn’t really work for much else. My cousin sent me $120 worth a baby girl dresses before my daughter was born. I was so happy and excited that I didn’t even think about how babies really are.

Even the easiest of babies are going to spit up. It is a fact of life. While they look super cute in there lacy dress and silk bloomers once they spit up or have the dreaded “blow out” those expensive outfits are no longer any good.  My daughter took pictures in all the dresses but they were only worn once and I felt awful that my cousin had spent so much for them to sit in the closet. It is your job as parents to let your family members know that while frilly is okay and well adorable, they are better off spending their money on clothing that would work daily rather than things that just wouldn’t hold up to daily use. My daughter lived in onesies and creepers (footed pajamas onesies) that wouldn’t hinder her from moving around. These don’t restrict movement and are cheaper.

Babies move!! While newborns lay around and sleep, once your baby finds their arms and feet they are never still again, ever.  They wiggle, roll, eventually crawl, pull up on furniture and before you are ready, walk. Dresses can be downright dangerous when your baby is scooting around the floor. They don’t always learn to move forward first and their dress can move up around their arms and face. They can be crawling correctly and get under their knees and cause a nose dive. I am not saying they can’t ever wear them, just keep in mind what it is your child will be doing that day and dress them accordingly. This is also true of the baby boy ties. I know that they are mostly clip-ons but they can still get in the way of your moving child.

Clothes aren’t the only thing you have to be aware of as a parent. Lots of people like to add filly touches in their child crib or around their bassinets. Babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths!!! The pads you put around your child’s crib are great to make sure they don’t get between the bars but please make sure that they are tied tight. Babies will use these to pull on and they will roll to them and try to get them in their mouths. Just check these regularly that your child cant pull anything off or that they aren’t too loose and completely defeating the purpose of having them. Also look for loose threads and things regularly.

I am not trying to stop you from having pretty or frilly things. I just learned the hard way (a blowout in a store) that just because it is pretty doesn’t mean it will stand up to daily use on an active baby. I also had to learn (my child choking on a string in her crib) that just because it is pretty doesn’t mean it is something I need to not pay close attention too. I want you and your child to be happy and healthy. Please pay close attention and enjoy buying all the things you will need for your new little one.

Advice for First Time Moms

Finding out you are having your first child can be thrilling and terrifying.  Hormones are out of control and emotions are raw. Trust me I have been there. Well my friend just told me that her and her boyfriend were expecting their child. She loved the advice I gave her, so I thought I would share it with you. She said everyone has been giving her advice, but mine was empowering. With the hope that this will help you, here is the advice I gave her.

You ARE Doing Everything Right

If you are want to have a Star Wars themed nursery but your mom thought it was to dark for the baby, HAVE a Star Wars nursery! As long as there is nothing close to the baby that could cause him/her harm. DO IT! If you don’t want to breast feed for person reasons, DON’T. Lots of kids were formula fed and turned out just fine… as long as your child is eating do what you think is best! Basically moms and dads as long as that baby is safe, fed and loved do what you is right for you and your family.

Don’t Be Bullied

Grandparents, friends, siblings, co-workers will give you their input on any situation. Well grandparents are wonderful for help and support just because they give their advice it doesn’t mean you have to take their advice. While their input can be helpful please remember the decision is yours to make.  Your choice of discipline, bedtimes, food, etc… if you say no candy don’t let someone talk you into it! Make your decisions and stick together as a team.

Your Best Is Good Enough

As long as your child is healthy, looked after and loved, you are doing a great job! I have spent days taking care of my daughter and neglecting house work. More than once I have felt like a horrible parent for losing my cool and sending my daughter to her room. My daughter has eaten ramen for dinner because by the end of the day I was to tired to cook a meal. You have to learn not to be to hard on yourself. I am not saying it is okay to completely let everything go, but it is okay if the day get long and some things have to wait until tomorrow.

You Will Know What To Do

New moms are terrified that their babies will need or want something and they wont know what to do. Moms, the first time you hold your child you will get your mommy super powers. I didn’t believe it but it’s true. Within a few days of having my daughter I could tell if she was sleepy, hungry, need to burp or was gassy by her cry. You will just know if it is an I need attention cry or I need you now. I know before you get the super powers it’s hard to believe but I can prove it. Go to a friends house that’s a mom with more than one kid for coffee. One of her kids starts crying she can tell which one and if it’s real from two rooms away! This is sometimes followed by her telling another child to stop what they are doing without seeing the child do anything.

DON’T Ask About Other Moms Birth Experience

Chances are moms will offer them whether you ask or not, but every situation is different. If you are nervous talk with your doctor about what to expect and measures that will be taken to ensure a safe delivery for you and your little one.  Their are a lot of horror stories out there, these will not prepare you for anything, these stores will only cause you anxiety and nightmares.

Well I hope this advice helps. Please don’t let yourself get to wrapped up in the worry to not let yourself see the beauty you are creating. You are this child’s parent and I know you have what it takes if you just let yourself be happy. Congratulations on baby number 1, I wish you both good health!

Please comment if you have any questions or advice you would like to give other moms!

Putting Life Hacks to the Test

In my first post I promised to test products and things that would make a parents life easier. This week I went on to pinterest and choose a few that I wanted to give the old college try.  I choose taking a fitted sheet to the beach for a baby, making unpoppable bubbles, tested a site for easier meal options, shoe hack and more… it was an interesting time I can assure you but here is what I found.

 

First, taking a fitted sheet to the beach using coolers and other needed items as weights. Well I will say with the wind here in south Texas just set up was no easy feat, but once it was up and weighed down properly I could see just how amazing this idea would be if you had a baby that wasn’t walking yet.  I, however, have a five year old and she was determined to bring the beach onto the sheet with her. So if you do use this hack for a small child I would suggest letting older children know not to be climbing in and out. This would also be a better idea in my opinion for a romantic picnic on the beach, it gives you a barrier between the wind, sand and your food.  Be sure to bring four heavier items for your four corners and enjoy a day at the beach!

 

Next I tried to make unpoppable bubbles, the recipe is as follows: 6 cups of water, 1 cup of corn syrup and 2 cups of dish soap (this suggested joy but I used dawn). With this hack they didn’t give a lot of information, so I wasn’t sure if my batch came out correctly. I got two small bubbles that did pop in the bushes in my front yard, it was more of a mess to clean off my daughter as well. Something fun to try if you are in the mood for a craft/activity but I personally think it was just a was of dish soap. Think I will stick to the slip-n-slide for my yard dish soap needs.

 

Okay how many of you parents out there absolutely feel like a chicken with you head cut off in the evening and dinner is just one of those last minute decisions. Trust me you aren’t alone! Seems like school and sports just sap all the time you would be spending sitting around the dinner table for a family meal. Well let me introduce you to something I found this week. http://www.supercook.com This is an awesome site where you can put in all the ingredients that you know you have in your kitchen and it will give you ideas and recipes on things you can make for dinner!! You no longer have to ask your spouse what they would like to have and get the “I don’t know” response. Just ask supercook! I say it’s worth it!

 

This next life hack I will admit let me a bit skeptical.  So according to this hack you teach your child to put their shoes on the correct feet but cutting a sticker in half and adding it to the insides of their shoes. Now my daughter is 6… it is hit or miss if she will get her shoes on the right feet. I have tried telling her the designs go on the outside or if they don’t feel right they probably aren’t.  Well we tried this for a week, when I reminded her to take her time and look at the stickers she did pretty well. So it was pretty much just like normal, plus more than once the sticker got stuck to her sock during the day and would require a new one. It was a great thought but I don’t think it helped to much. Though that could just be my stubborn daughter, try it with your children and let me know in the comments if it works for you.

 

Well once again it is cold and flu season, yay.  This next hack might help your little one sleep a little easier (or your spouse or other family members…). This hack is putting Vicks on the bottom of your feet, then put on socks to prevent coughing in the night. Luckily it was the right time of year and I did get to try this out! It works. Though I cannot sleep in socks, so if you don’t mind sleeping in socks you should be good to go. If you are like me and the thought of sleeping with anything on your feet is a nightmare, just apply about 30 to 40 minutes before bed and you will be right as rain!

 

Now my final trial, I have heard of this before but I had never tried it myself. It said that if you throw a dry towel in with your wet clothes it will make your clothes dry in half the time. Being the trooper of testing that I claim to be I did get to try this hack this week (okay so I fell asleep with the clothes in the washer and it was a load of ALL of my husbands jeans). Well I picked out two pairs, threw in the towel and set the washer for 20 minutes. IT WORKED!! Trust me I was shocked and it saved me from being late to pick up our daughter for her birthday party. So I am not sure it would cut the time in half for a full load of laundry but I know it will save you in a pinch with a couple articles of clothing.

 

Okay here is my testing blog, I hope it was helpful! I will say it was a crazy crazy week and I am very happy to learn a few new tricks to add to my ninja book of tricks. Thank you are for reading and if you have any questions, comments, or other hacks you would like for me to try please leave them in the comments!  Have a great rest of your week!