Monday, January 27, 2014

How a family of 5 can live in a 2 bedroom home: Part One

I think there are too many posts out there with pictures of large, beautiful kids rooms. Magazine, quality clean with expensive decor of the parents choice.

Well, here in the real world it's not like that...

My husband and I bought this house a couple months after our daughter was born. Our son was just over a year old and the house was "perfect" for our pocket book. A small, 800 square foot (living space), 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom home with a nice, fenced back yard; perfect for the kids to play and the dogs bathroom breaks. The house was built in the 1940's and apparently back then there was no such thing as a master bedroom or a spacious bathroom. We had to get rid of a lot because there was no room.

This is how I have adjusted for our tight living conditions through the years.

Sense we've moved in we had an addition to our family, my baby Sam (he'll be 2 soon...*screams*). So that is a family of 5, plus a dog, living in 800 square feet. How do I do it.... Most of the time, I don't even know. But over time I have developed some tips and tricks to my living in such tight surroundings.


Part One: Kids room

I'll start with the dresser.
Their dresser has 6 drawers! So each kid gets 3 drawers: one for socks and underwear, one for bottoms (pants and skirts) and one for pajamas. This was a great find for my family! If your kids share a room and they each have a dresser, save some space and donate (or sell) the multiple dressers and buy a big one they can share! Keep an eye out at secondhand stores for older, larger dressers! That is a great place to start or online yard sales!

Next, we do not have a toy chest.
The main reason we don't have one is because we've never bought one. Instead we have a small "dresser" and storage bins. If you notice the books in bins on top of the dresser, so we have no need for a book shelf. All the favorite, smaller and go-to toys are in the bins. Where as the bigger, "in the way" toys are in the dresser.

I love hooks!

Hooks are a great way for things to have a "place". I put a hook up just for my daughters dress-up dresses and another coat rack for jackets and backpacks.

Another great place for storing "in the way" items are on the clothes dresser. This last Christmas we got the kids foam chairs, the dresser is the perfect place for storing them sense they can grab them when they want them.


Sam is still young and using a crib. The other 2 are sleeping in the bottom 2 beds of a triple bunk bed. We found the bunk bed on Craigslist. GREAT FIND! And something we needed!

One more tip I've done is when they get a new toy, old ones go in the donate box. That is the that fastest way to loose your space! Having too many toys! So get rid of toys! Some say have your kid help you but in my opinion that's not very wise... Your kid will just fight to keep everything. And that is not the point of down sizing. So to avoid a fight with your kids, when they are  gone, go through their toys! You know their favorites and the ones they haven't played with in months, or the ones that are no longer age appropriate. Donate!

So that's it! That's how I have survived 3 kids sharing the same room. When the time does come to selling our home and buying a bigger one I'm not sure how easy it will be to separate them...

Until then, this is what works for us.

Blessings and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Counting Beans!

This is a great activity for preschool age kids! It introduces a new, fun, hands-on way to count. It gets the brain going and helps with fine motor skills!

What you'll need:
Empty, clean egg carton
Dry Beans

First, cut off the lid and side of the egg carton.
Now, write numbers 1-12 so your child can easily read it
Next, put about 2 handfuls of beans into a bowl.

Last, show your curious preschooler the numbers, the beans and how to put one bean in the carton at a time, counting them, and to do their best to put the correct amount of beans under the number. Then let them have fun!

Michael very carefully counts out every bean.

Emily has fun using every last bean to fill up the carton to the top
If your child is anything like my kids, be prepared for a bean mess. Beans all over the floor?! NNNNOOOOOO!!! Don't let that frighten you. Have them help with the clean up, make a game out of it. My kids love to help and also love to have a bean fight while picking them up. When it's all said and done the beans are back in the bag safe from the baby.

I hope you enjoy this fun, learning activity! My kids sure do!

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Don't Say Nothing...

Every mother has had that moment in the grocery store when your toddler melts down in a pile of tears and fit throwing.

Oh how quickly some of us forget…

We get rude looks and mean comments from complete strangers. Most of which are women… More than likely a mother herself. Like I said, how quickly some of us forget. (Parents with a “perfect” kid(s) are almost the meanest)

In this post are a few real stories that happened to me with my kids, or should I say with my Emily. (If you have not read my post about Emily, click here to get to know her better)

If you know Emily you know she is dramatic, passionate, loud and a little on the wild side. To clarify – This is her personality and I love it! She will do great things. She is just young and needs guidance. My husband and I are doing our best to guide and raise her to be the best she can be. People don’t understand this. All they see is an “out of control” child. They don’t stop to think ‘maybe they are having a bad day’ or ‘maybe they have a disability’ or even ‘kids will be kids’… Instead they make rude side comments like “man, she’s difficult” or “Glad she’s not my kid” or “You sure do have your hands full” or “I can’t believe you let your kid scream like that” Yes someone confronted me in the store about my daughter screaming. Emily was crying because I wouldn’t give her what she wanted (crackers), so she threw a fit. That women who said to my face that I was a bad mother for letting my kid scream like that, made me cry. I know what I was doing was right (not giving in) but I didn’t understand how someone could be so mean to a complete stranger. As I was checking out the cashier saw my tears and asked what was wrong. I said a lady just yelled at me because my daughter was crying. She was shocked and gave me a tissue. She told me I was a good mom. This girl couldn’t have been more than 18 years old and more than likely not a mother, but she was my savior that day.

Another time we were checking out and a cashier rudely raised her voice at Emily to get off the cart. Emily was hanging on the side of the cart. This shocked me. My jaw dropped and I had no words. Luckily I did not have to check out. My husband did not hear her over the craziness of the store. I should have complained to a manager but I was still in shock and didn’t think of it until the next day.

Unfortunately I have even had family make rude comments about my daughter. Even they don’t fully understand her... That is the hardest on me. When people I love and care about say something not only about my mothering ability but my daughter as well, it hurts. I am not made of stone. I have emotions and I know how to use them and I use them well (too well sometimes). Most of the time I bite my tongue but my face will tell you everything you need to know. I don’t believe in hiding my emotions but on the other hand I don’t like to be mean, so I keep silent. This has causes others to walk on me.

I can honestly say I am doing the best I can at being a mom. I love my kids, I don’t spoil them, I play with them, I teach them things, I sacrifice extra money (and my sanity) and stay home to be with them, I let them be kids (before I know it they will be grown up), I encourage imagination, I let them help in the kitchen and I read to them. I do lose my temper at times and raise my voice, but I don’t let my anger control me or my actions. I don’t party, I don’t beg for a babysitter to go have drinks with friends, I don’t give them soda or coffee, I don’t spend hours on my phone/computer ignoring them, the TV is not on all day and I set a timer for video games. So when my parenting style gets looked down upon, it hurts. It hurts a lot. And I’m sure I’m not the only mom out there that feels this way.

I know very well that I am not (nor are my children) perfect. In fact I am far from it. Sometimes the TV gets left on for hours… I am not a healthy eating mom and I occasionally feel like locking myself the bathroom just to escape from the madness. My house is NEVER clean and most of the time the clean clothes stay in baskets for over a week… My kids are loud and do a lot of running around. I can’t even tell you how many people (even other moms) hate this about my kids. Forgive me for letting my kids be kids! At least I’m teaching them when it’s ok to be loud and when we need to be quiet.

Sorry… I had a mom-rage moment… Ha!

Ok, where was I.

Oh yeah! I’m not perfect.

I’ll end with this:
It’s hard being a mom. We have enough guilt with feeding them greasy fish sticks for lunch, scrabbling out the door and forgetting one kids coat and another kids shoes and the other kid just ate an old chicken nugget they found under the car seat, and you realize you forgot to put a bra on once you pull into the parking spot… The last thing we need is a stranger giving us a hard time. So before you send off judgmental looks or rude ‘keep it to yourself’ comments maybe you could instead shoot a smile their way or give a look of empathy. Words can hurt. Even words with good intentions, like “she sure is a little firecracker” can come across as hurtful. So be careful.

Like a cute little bunny once said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Blessings to you and thanks for reading!