Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Adding Soap Bubbles to the Water Table

How did I never think of this before? Complete genius!!

Not only does she want to play with it a lot longer, the bubbles camouflage any leftover sand/dirt/tree bits in the water.  And? Soap keeps away the mosquitoes.  Win-win, I say!

 Not to mention that the constant agitation of the water by the sifters and waterfalls and whatnot makes MORE BUBBLES.

What kid doesn't want more bubbles?

 (*now with bonus bubbles!)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Painting With a Toddler (without losing your mind)

 Zephyr loves to color and paint, so we try to do something artsy at least once a week.  Here are a few steps for painting with a toddler, without covering your entire house in paint.  (If you have older kids too, hopefully they need less supervision than this!)

Set up the table and let her pick out some colors.  (We usually do 4 or 5.)

I cover her with a bib and a small blanket (that usually stays on to cover her pants).
I also use washable paint, just in case it manages to get on her clothes.

 We pick our first color, and I dip it into paint for her (so she doesn't tip it over everywhere).  After she finishes that color, I clean the brush in a cup of water, and dry it off on a paper towel before using the next color.  

Sometimes, Dad helps a little.

After she adds in all of the colors we've picked, I see if she wants to add any more.  Usually we are done.  Sometimes she tastes the paint (ick), but I try not to freak out about it too much.  At some point in time, I know that she'll be able to do a lot more herself, but for now this is how it goes!  We both have fun, and our house stays relatively un-painted.
This week's masterpieces! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dismantle Laundry Mountain in Under 30 Minutes!

 In my house, we put away laundry once a week.  I have heard lamentations from my friends with kids for years about how hard it is to keep on top of laundry, but I really don't have a hard time with it.  (Dishes though? That's a horse of a different color.)  Here are a few tips that might help you dismantle Laundry Mountain faster than you would expect.  On this day, I had at least 6 loads of laundry to put away. (piles of towels for some reason...)
First: Sort laundry into piles by owner/place it lives.  I do: Mine, John's, Baby, Baby Supplies (this used to be diapers/bibs/burpclothes/blankets, now it's a bit less), Cloth Napkins, and Linen Closet.
It took me 5 minutes to make piles. (and you get to throw things, how fun is that?)
                                   Then each person's pile gets sorted into drawer or hang up piles.
 If you have older kids (i.e. older than mine) you can have them put away their pile on their own.  Less time and work for you! (also if you wanted to, each person could have a bin; I use the "clean laundry" bin for John's things.)

I try not to have an excessive pile of linens.  We have roughly two times the towels that each of us could be using at a time, i.e. I use two towels when I shower, therefore we have four towels for me. There are a couple more for guests, but I've pared down from a year ago for sure.  I also roll up the towels instead of folding them in the closet; so many more fit that way!
That's regular and swim towels underneath, and kitchen towels in the rack
We also have only one or two sets of sheets per bed in the house- two guest sets, one master set, and I think 3 for baby.  This way only one of them is ever in the wash at once; or you wash it and put it right back on the bed- no storage necessary!

Final Countdown: 
Sorting: 5 minutes
Put away my and husband's clothes, and linen closet: 13 minutes
Put away Z's clothes and supplies: about 10 minutes (got distracted so missed exact timing)