Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Little Ones

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show your little ones you love them and in turn show them how to share that love with others. With four kids running around our home, it can be difficult to make everyone feel special every day. Here are some ways that I have been intentional in loving my precious kiddos on Valentine’s Day. 

  1. Write Love Letters:

This can be done very simply, or feel free to dig into the craft cupboard. I chose to order this sweet candy heart Valentine paper to write my letters: https://amzn.to/2S5JEHk. For each one of my kids, I wrote a love letter highlighting one special moment I cherished with them, one character quality I feel they really exemplify, a compliment about something in which they really excel, and one way I have seen them love others well. It is so fun to see them read these notes (or watch their face as I read it to them.) They tend to keep my notes tucked away and I hope that it will continue to make them feel loved. 

  1. Bake Sugar Cookies Together:

Baking cookies together always seems to go much better in my head than when I am in the actual kitchen with my four kids. However, it is something they really enjoy doing and even though the results aren’t super beautiful, we are able to spend some quality time together! I have found a cookie and frosting recipe that turns out so well; soft and sweet. The full recipe can be found here: www.theyummylife.com/Sour_Cream_Sugar_Cookies. After we finish decorating the cookies, we slip them (well, the ones that look decent or that we didn’t eat) into cute bags from Hobby Lobby and deliver them to neighbors. It is a great way to stay in touch through these cold winter months and teaches our kids to introduce themselves, answer simple questions, and think of others. 

  1. Create a Compliment Box:

These boxes are typically used for classroom valentines, but I figured we could extend their use by calling them “compliment boxes.” Dig out the stickers, glitter, and paint pens and let the kid’s express their creativity! Our boxes came from Hobby Lobby, as did some of our decorations, others are from the Dollar Tree. The paint pens are a must have! The fun of paint, but lacking in the mess department. They can be purchased from Amazon (https://amzn.to/2S4ubHv). The kids can use these boxes in their classrooms, but then we leave them out for the remainder of the month. Both parents and siblings can write down compliments on an index card (we use these red ones https://amzn.to/37JUitK) and place them in the box. At the end of the month, we open the boxes and read each of the compliments that have been written. It is fun to see what the kids come up with and wonderful to see the excitement when they are read! 

Copy Me That- A Time Saving, Meal Planning App

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My family likes to eat dinner every single night. Does that sound like your house? I’m guessing it does. We have a few go-to recipes that I can count on for almost the entire family to eat, but I am always looking for new ideas to keep us from getting stuck in a dinner rut. I have been a long time fan of Pinterest, so many new ideas, but getting to the recipe when I was ready to create my shopping list or make dinner became somewhat cumbersome. I would either try and print out the recipes and end up losing them or just trashing them week after week and would always forget to add some tiny ingredient to the shopping list by mistake and have to make an extra trip to the store or our fail-proof fall back… just order pizza!

Enter “Copy Me That.” This all in one app is an organizational dream! There are three main components to the app. Saving and organizing recipes, meal planning, and creating your shopping list.

First, you can save recipes in one spot. Like Pinterest, you can categorize your recipes as well; simply give them a tag. Every word in your recipe is searchable too, so if you don’t want to spend time tagging recipes, simply search “chicken” and the recipe for those tasty shredded chicken tacos will pop right up! To save a recipe, the first step is to open the app and go to the “more” drop-down menu. Click “add button/copy recipe.” This will add a button to your web browser with the Copy Me That icon. When you are on a webpage with a recipe you would like to copy, click the button, and that recipe will be imported to your app! I use the app primarily on my iPhone and iPad. To save on one of those two platforms, use the icon in the upper right that looks like a box with an arrow, the Copy Me That icon will now be one of your choices! Once the recipe has successfully been loaded in your app, you can review it for accuracy and move on to the next step!

I still use Pinterest for discovering new recipes but also use popular food blogs and even cooking magazine websites. One of my favorites is the Pioneer Woman’s Blog. Her food is great and as an added bonus, she is really funny! Her witty comments on processed cheese have me cracking up! There is also a community feature on the app that lets you search recipes that others have loaded on to their app.

When you are ready to start meal planning for the week, open your app and select a recipe. You can now add it to your meal plan. Select the date on which you would like to make the meal and view your calendar to see your whole week’s worth of choices. I love to get my actual calendar out during this time and look to see what activities we have going on during the evenings and try to plan meals around those. Soup in the crockpot is my go-to when the kids have sports practices! If you are a next-level planner, add breakfast and lunch to your meal plan as well, you can have multiple recipes for the same day! You can add side dishes and notes here too.

The last step is your shopping list. Each recipe you add to your meal planner has the option of being added to your shopping list. After I have added each recipe to my shopping list, I go through its entirety while standing in my kitchen to check off any items I may already have. And then, honestly, I head right over to the grocery store’s website, still using my iPad, and order groceries to be picked up the next day. With four kids, ages 7 and under, I will do just about anything to avoid an actual trip into the grocery store! Isn’t technology amazing!

Cleaning House

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Have you ever thought something was such a good idea on Pinterest that when you go to pin it, a little message pops up saying, “Psst… You have already pinned this.”? One of those pins for me has been a cleaning schedule. With two full blown toddlers in the home, my house could use a regular scrubbing. My home is generally picked up, but I feel like I never get to those really deep down, scrubbing on my hands and knees, kind of tasks. Or at least not as often as I should. Often, when I get started cleaning it goes something like this:

Pull out the old cardboard wipe box that is falling apart from the top shelf of the coat closet, have several items fall on my head, reach inside and find some random cleaning supplies. Realize that before I can scrub, I must pick up. Pick up a toy in the living room and take it to Max’s room, only to find an unmade bed, make bed and find a sock, go to put the sock in the laundry hamper and realize the nearby trash can needs emptied, go to find a new trash bag in the kitchen and see all the dirty dishes waiting to be washed. Wash some dishes and when I need more soap, look under the sink for more soap only to realize I am out. Pull out notepad and start a shopping list. And it goes on and on.

All this running around leads to very little cleaning and an overwhelming sense of failure when I put that old cardboard box back in the coat closet accomplishing only a made bed and some wet dishes.

Deciding something needed to change, I decided to create a schedule. One room a day, or one section of the house, and that is it. I scoured Pinterest for the best schedule, coming to the conclusion that in order for it to fit my house, I was going to have to create one on my own.

I began by taking a paper and pencil and walking through my entire house, room by room. I wrote down everything that needed to be done (as I resisted the strong urge to do it all!) I typed up my list and put it in a sheet protector so that I can use a dry erase marker to check off each item when I am done!

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My cleaning schedule. Very simple.

After making the list, I made another list of cleaning supplies that I would need for my house, checked my coupons, and headed to Target! Purchasing two different caddys seemed like the best option because I could keep one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. I filled them both with:

  • Microfiber Cloths (Up and Up at Target has a great multipack!)
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Dusters (I like the Swiffer kind)
  • Windex TouchUp (So simple to use and have out!)
  • Paper Towels
  • Magic Erasers (I got the Up and Up brand, why has no one told me about these before?? They are awesome!!)
  • Furniture Polish
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Carpet Cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Odor Eliminator
  • Empty Grocery Sacks for Garbage
  • Gloves
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Small Dustpan

There are many other items that might be home specific and I look forward to making some of those “make your own cleaners” I have pinned… someday!

I am almost two weeks into this and I love it! It is so nice to focus on one space per day and have a super clean house by the end of the week! Sometimes, I have Jason guess which day’s room it was when he gets home from work. 🙂 I feel very accomplished and know that at some point during the week, things will get done and I don’t have to race around my home or try and remember what still needs to be done.

Hope this inspires you to create something that will work for your home! 🙂