Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yard Sale Finds-Easter Shopping Edition

I know I have said this in the past, but I am trying hard to stick to the things that we need and use as I shop at yard sales now.  The fact that we will be having our fourth girl very soon has also changed the way I shop.

Back when I had just 1 child, I used to buy clothes as an actual investment!  Seriously.  I could find some super cheap high end clothes in the area I lived.  So, I would buy them, let Mustang wear them once (praying the whole time she didn't mess them up) and then sell them for a profit-sometimes a substantial one.  

Because of this, I didn't need to add money from our budget for MANY years.  The profits I had made kept me running through about 3 kids.

But, as I have had more children, less time to sell stuff, less time to work on removing stains, less time to pray they didn't ruin the 'valuable' clothing, and really, just less time to care that they were or weren't wearing the 'high end' view on clothes shopping has really changed.

Now, when I yard sale shop I think 1) does it fit now?  2) will said child wear it (I ask them now and listen, when they say no it really does mean it will just sit in the closet) and 3) will it last through THREE kids????  I still am debating on keeping Mustang's clothes for Mini Cooper (I didn't in the past and there is a huge size difference), so I re-buy for Mini Cooper and then just move her stuff directly into Explorer's closet, which will pretty much move directly into baby girl's closet, and if it survives moves into the donate pile, because it's not (generally) worth selling after 3 (or maybe 4 or 5 if I bought it used) girls have worn it.  But, someone might like it as free play clothes :).

With all that in mind, my yard shopping has become much more streamlined.  With 5 kids it's still a HUGE necessity as I can't afford to clothe 5 kids with new clothing.  But, I'm at least trying to be sure it doesn't add to my clutter issue!!

Huh, that was long winded!!

On to the finds!

First up, the Easter finds (like the title says).  Nope, no Easter eggs or cheesy decor.  Easter CLOTHES.  One week away from Easter is the PERFECT time to start looking for Easter attire, right?  Um, well, yeah.  I was thrilled to find Charger's Easter shirt and shoes!.

The shirt was a little pricey at $5.00, but for a like new Ralph Lauren shirt, I was okay with that.  The shoes are also like new and were $3.00.  I already have his jeans (also Polo), so he is set!

Mustang has been growing like a weed-especially her feet.  Of course, nothing from last spring fits.  So, finding these hardly worn shoes for $1.00 that match her dress perfectly made me very happy!

I don't often shop for DH, but at $2.00 a piece, these will be great for summer.  They are like new.

More for Charger.  2 pair of like new Adidas shorts for $3.00 each (very happy with that find!).  2 Gymboree shirts for $2.00 each.

Always exciting to find NICE clothes for 50 cents a piece!!  Mustang and I went through the VERY large pile and chose clothes we could both agree on.  It's all Justice, Old Navy and Children's Place, and in great shape.  The one pair of jeans are for next fall (a bit too big now, but at 50 cents they ARE worth storing).

This last item kinda goes against the grain of my intro rant, but was cute enough I had to get it anyways.  It's a size 3, which is the size that Explorer is wearing right now.  Will it still be her size in the fall?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But, it's super duper cute, and if she DOESN'T get to wear it, baby girl will, so for just $1.50 for a Gymboree dress, I'll give it a shot.  Especially since I already have the matching tights ;).

A couple things that didn't make the photo shoot-a really nice sweater vest for Charger (not sure how I missed it) $3.00, a pair of baseball pants that Charger really needs, but are just a *smidge* too small $2.00, and a wicker chair that Mustang picked out for her American Girl doll $1.50.  

Grand total spent:  $35.50.  Not bad considering the original retail price of the last dress was around $36.00.  Hence the reason I shop at yard sales :).

Did you find anything good this week?  I'd love to hear about!  Feel free to leave links to posts in the comments.

Hope you have a wonderful and blessed Easter!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On to the Dining Room

I decided to drop the 'Cleaning the House After an Illness' part.  It was getting redundant to me, lol!  

After finishing with both the master bedroom and the master bathroom, I moved on to dining room which is directly out of my bedroom.  It was the natural place to tackle next.  

I was excited about working on the dining area because it is a high traffic area, and my family uses it all the time.  So, it was going to be noticeable that I was doing something!

I was also dreading working on the dining area because it is a high traffic area, and my family uses it all the time.  So, it was not going to stay clean for very long.

To be fair, the dining room had been somewhat maintained over the time I was ill.  My mother had given it a good clean and even mopped it each time she came to help.  The kids had cleared the dishes and wiped it down (sorta) at least once a day.  And, Charger had been pretty good about sweeping up the floors every few days.  

There wasn't, however, any consistency to keeping it clean, and certainly no routine.  So, this is where I came in.  

As with all the other days of cleaning, I found the most important thing to keep the house under control was to ALWAYS start at the very same place with the very same task.  So, I...

1. Made my bed
2. Got dressed (with shoes)
3. Started at the bedside and worked my way around the bedroom picking up clothes/trash/ and things that didn't belong there.
4.  Picked up the counters and floors in the bathroom.
5.  Changed the toilet paper roll if needed.
6.  Did my one bathroom task for the day.
7.  Started a load of laundry (came back later to put it in the drier/hang it up and fold a load).

Then, I was ready to start on the dining room.

My plan throughout the recovery was to add SLOWLY.  So, the first day I simply cleared off the table and wiped it off.  I also wiped down the benches and chair.  The end.  Could I have tackled more?  Maybe, but I certainly wasn't feeling it that day.

Day two was much like the first (I won't repeat the checklist, lol).  But, after I finished wiping down the table and and benches, I emptied the trash.  

Emptying the trash is seriously one of my least favorite jobs.  Well, okay, I can't imagine that it is the top of any one's list.  However, we keep our trash can in a cabinet.  Which is all well and good (actually super good when you live in the country and don't want any mice in your house), but my children believe that in order to throw something away you just have to get it in the CABINET, not necessarily in the trash CAN.  Grrrr.  

Believe it or not, since it hadn't been well maintained, I first emptied the trash can of the current bag.  I was then able to go back and fill a second bag with trash from the cabinet.  Yuck!!!!!

And, as you can imagine, therein ended day two.

Day three brought me to finally sweeping the floor.  Which, was the last of my daily routine items to tackle.

However, I did work on the room for a fourth day because I dusted the china cabinet, cleaned and cleaned the glass on it.  I also dusted the corners and the light fixture and the fan.  These are things I do very rarely (so rarely I'm pretty sure they need to be done again).

I realized when I was all 'done' that I really needed a new mop.  So, the next time I was at the store, I purchased a Swiffer Wet Jet.  It seems to do a good enough job.  The best part was that Mustang really thought it was cool and has volunteered to mop every day since!

Another room finally tackled.  The only major difference with the dining area is that it isn't something that I can ever cut short.  Other then maybe the sweeping for one day, it really all has to be done daily.  I have enlisted the kids' help on days where I was feeling really tired or run down, but overall I have been the one doing it.  Because of this, I didn't move right on to the next room. 

It was taking me between 30 and 40 minutes to do the entire checklist (not including the laundry folding).   And, I hadn't been used to working for quite as long and needed to build up my energy to do so.  So, I just worked on the three rooms for another couple days and decided what I wanted to do next.

The difference after the 'big cleanup' and after is that cleaning the dining room is already part of my routine, so I don't have to gear up to get it done.  I also know that it really is only going to take a few minutes of my time, and that helps with getting me motivated.

God Bless,

Monday, April 14, 2014

V-Tech Toy-Tastic Easter Basket Review and Giveaway!!

Pssst....I hate to tell you this, but Easter is just, ehem, 6 days away!  I know this is a good thing, and I'm very excited about it.  But, if you haven't started your Easter shopping yet {like I haven't}, it may send you a moment of panic.  If you are looking for some ideas for your little ones, I've got a few great suggestions!

V-Tech Toys offers a number of great gift ideas for children of all ages, and I'm going to highlight a few of them.

This basket (aimed more at the little girls) includes 2 Inno-Tab games: Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.  

A little from the company about each one:

InnoTab®Doc McStuffins software cartridge (Ages 4-7 years; MSRP: $24.99)

*Learn reading, vocabulary, observation, logic, memory, math, visual skills, creativity, healthy living and more! The Doc is in!
*Read a story about Lambie and Doc in an e-book, color in Doc's Big Book of Boo-Boos and play games with Doc and her friends.
*Works with ALL InnoTab systems

InnoTab Sofia the First software cartridge (Ages 3-6 years; MSRP: $24.99)

*Seven learning games and two creative activities teach counting, colors, patterns, problem solving and more! Join Sofia on this wild and thrilling day!
*Learn how Sofia becomes a princess in Story Mode with the interactive e-book. Take pictures with favorite characters and scenes (camera activity compatible with any InnoTab® system with a camera).
*Works with ALL InnoTab systems

Our Thoughts:

My two youngest have been spending a bunch of time trying out the cartridges!!  We have had to start setting time limits so that they can each have a turn.  It certainly brought a new excitement to an old favorite.  Doc McStuffins also came at the perfect time since we are currently learning about the human body, doctors, and all things medical.  To say they like the games would be an understatement!

There's also a decent amount of times throughout the Easter weekend where waiting happens.  The Innotab3S is a favorite to throw in my purse and pull it out and surprise the girls with to make the time go faster.  Having games with their favorite TV characters is an added bonus!

Our 'boy' themed basket has two cute toys that we have been having lots of fun trying out.  The first is a Switch & Go Dino Turbo.  The second is a  Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicle.

A little info about them from the Vtech company:

Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Vehicles (Ages 1-5 years; MSRP: $7.99)

*These electronic play vehicles are perfectly sized for little hands and entertain children with a light-up button that activates music and sounds.
*Little ones will also learn about different letters and vehicle names through pretend play. 

Switch & Go Dinos®Turbo Assortment (Ages 3-8 years; MSRP: $9.99)

*Kids can rev up the action with flywheels that let the dinos race and roar across the floor. Each dino also emits realistic vehicle and dinosaur sounds and phrases that teach fun facts about each dino.
*The range features six new dinos, including Dart the Triceratops, Zipp the T-Rex, Spur the Stegosaurus, Fray the Ankylosaurus, Cruz the Spinosaurus and Spinner the Stygimoloch.

Our Thoughts:

Charger has been having a lot of fun reviewing his basket, especially since the Switch and Go Dinos were on his WISH LIST.  He was thrilled!!  We received Fray the Ankylosaurus, and he has been playing with Fray NON STOP since it was placed in his hand.  

It is right in his age range, and believe me Vtech got this one right.  He's not only playing with it by itself, but also using it to interact with other toys.  He's asking questions about dinosaurs, and having fun making lots of noise as he zooms it through the house.  Certainly a new favorite toy in our house.  I suspect that his collection of Switch and Go Dinos will grow soon ;)!

The Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicle wasn't quite as big of a hit.  We received a cute little ATV that plays music and lights up.  But, I will be honest, that with all the other new items, this one has pretty much just sat not played with.  When they do, it is played with for a few moments and then left for the Innotab 3S or the Switch & Go Dino.  It appears that it can be combined with a much larger playset (which we don't have), which may make it more appealing.  

V-Tech has lots of fun Easter gift ideas for the little people on your list in all different price ranges, and are sold in many local stores.  You can also purchase them online at the V-Tech store!

You can also enter to WIN a gift pack of V-Tech Toys!!  V-Tech has been super awesome and allowed me to give away to one of YOU all of the toys that we reviewed!! 

The Easter Pack includes:  

  • Sophia the First InnoTab Cartridge
  • Doc McStuffins InnoTab Cartidge
  • One Switch and Go Dino Turbo (random)
  • One Go! Go! Smart Wheels Vehicle
Retail value is approx $67.96.  Open to US addresses only (no PO Box).   The prize pack is provided by V-Tech and Coyne Promotions.  

Giveaway will end Monday May 12th, 2014 at midnight.  Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  

Good Luck and Happy Easter!!


**We were provided with all the toys seen above for the purpose of review.  All opinions are our own.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Montessori Preschool Human Body Week (Part 1)

I like to use the same theme for my little girls as the big kids, if I can.  This week, we were all learning about the human body book.  Our big kids' wrap up is here. 

One of our books this week was a cute little board book that Explorer found at the library book sale last week.

Then we found our toes :).

At Christmas time, I picked up this super cute puzzle from Discoveroo.  It has five different layers-clothed, skin, muscles, organs, and then skeleton.  It is a little challenging for little ones at first, but they really enjoyed the challenge.  Great way to learn about the body systems at a young age!

We used toilet paper tubes to listen to each other's hearts-it really does work!

I picked up this super cool Anatomy Apron used from one of our local Facebook swap sites for $3.00.  It's awesome!

We talked about our heart and added it to the apron.  We will be working through the other organs after Easter.

It seemed like a good week to also read about our emotions.  Miss Spider was often sad and then very happy, and the other bugs were scared.  Of course, it was the favorite book of the week as well.  

Last up, we tried something new from our local library-A Tag reading system.  We've never had one of these, but our library has 4 that you can check out and use at home.  The girls have LOVED it...until it ran out of batteries of course.  I need to get some more.

We're planning a crazy week this week, so I hope you have a good one!!

God Bless,

Tot School Montessori Monday

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up 2014 Week 15

This whole week was all about the human body.  We started our study last week and will finish it in 2 weeks (after Easter).  I'm loving this unit.  Everyone is interested and learning a lot.  

We are using all the resources we can.  We have quite a few for the human body.

We are continuing on with our My Body book.  Adding to our cut-outs every day or two.

This week we added our muscles, heart, and brain.

We learned about the skin by making a strange eatable skin mold.  A little too much sugar and red dye for my taste buds, but it was a lot of fun.  I found the recipe at Oklahoma After School Network.  

We also read Your Skin and Mine by Paul Showers.

We read a number of books this week.  Muscles by Seymour Simon.

Hear Your Heart by Paul Showers.  GREAT book.

We also read  A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers.  Equally as great.  I love the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science books.  

We tried to put together this cool 'Visible Man.'

That is, until I realized it was a TRUE model and needed cement and everything!  

We still had fun looking at all the body parts, but we are going to have to put the model together sometime in the future (it's a bit above us now).

I also found this super cool online website that helps with learning all about the skeleton.  Charger, especially, loved it!

This next week we are playing the game 'get ready for Easter.' And also 'look through what we have to do to finish our work by the end of April (last week of May at the latest).  So, I don't know if there will be a wrap up or not!

I hope you have had a great week!

God Bless,


Montessori Monday 

Second Daily Checklist (Master Bathroom Daily Checklist) Printable

Finishing the bathroom meant a longer checklist.  So, here is the new one.

Daily Checklist #2
(to be used once the master bedroom and bath have been completely picked up)

Master Bedroom
____Make the bed
____Get dressed
____Start at your bedside and walk around to the other side of the bed.  
__Pick up all trash, clothes, and things that should not be on the floor.  
__Clear surfaces of all items that don't belong.  
__Make anything that does belong look good.
____Close the closet doors
____Complete load of laundry per day (wash, dry/hang, fold)

Master Bathroom

____Clear counter tops of any items that do not belong there
____Pick up the bathroom floor
____Flush toilet if needed
____Replace roll of toilet paper if needed
____Do one weekly task
___Wipe down mirror and counter
___Wipe down toilet and scrub bowl
___Wipe down shower and or tub
___Sweep floors
___Empty trash

I made a printable version of this checklist available here: Daily Checklist #2

I also made a checklist for JUST the master bathroom in case you are going in a different order, or just looking for a bathroom checklist: Master Bathroom Daily Checklist

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cleaning the House After an Illness: The Master Bathroom

I finally had the master bedroom in an acceptable state, and it it only took me a week to get there.  As much as I knew I couldn't have gotten done any faster, I still knew that it seemed like it would take forever to get the house clean at the rate I was going.  I was very excited to be moving on to a second room.

In order to keep my master bedroom from returning to it's old messy ways, I continued to start my routine the same way I did the week before.

1.  Make the bed.
2.  Get dressed (shoes)
3.  Starting at the bedside and working around the room I looked for dirty and clean clothes, trash, and things that belonged in other rooms. 
4.  Put one load of laundry in.  Come back to put it in the drier/hang dry, then come back to fold it.  Have children put away.

Then, into the bathroom I went.  Now, unlike the rest of the house, the bathrooms had been *kinda* kept up.  I mean, going without cleaning the bathroom for 2 months would have been just gross, so the few times I felt good over those months I did at least a quick clean.  That said, it was still in desperate need of a good clean.

The first day, however, was not about cleaning.  It is a small room, so the first day was the pickup day.  

I cleared off the counter of all the random bottles that had gathered there. 
I picked up dirty clothes and towels off the floor.  
I also went ahead and emptied the trash-since it was overflowing.
Ooo and I put the roll of toilet paper ON THE ROLL.  I seems that I am the only one that is is able to do that at our house, and it had not been done in awhile!

Once again, since just picking up made it look SOOOO much better!  And, it took me 5 minutes-tops.

I divided the rest of the bathroom chores into four days.  

Day one-wipe down mirror, sink and counter.
Day two-wipe down toilet and scrub bowl.
Day three-wipe down tub and shower door.  

Notice I said *wipe down*.  Yes, it needed a full fledged bleach scrub down, maybe even find some sort of creative cleaning agent to get the grime out of the corners.  But, at this point, deep DEEP cleaning was not the point.  I was not doing spring cleaning.  I was recovering my house to 'live-able' state.

On day four I swept up the floor, mopped the floor, and put the bathroom rug in the washer.

Each day before I started working on the bathroom, I would do the bedroom checklist, and then pick up anything on the bathroom counter or floors.  By the end of the week I also emptied the trash can again.

One very major thing that I did not do was to open any cabinets or closets.  There are 2 full sized linen closets in there.  One we use for toiletries (and a number of things we probably need to get rid of) and the other is for towels and linens.  They both needed (and still need) a huge purge, but the goal was not to declutter, just recover.

I then created a daily checklist of things to do.

1. Check for counters and floors for clutter and trash.
2.  Replace toilet paper if needed.
3.  Flush toilet if needed. With 4 young children it sometimes doesn't get done.  Gross I know!
4.  Look to see if anything MAJORLY needs to be done-like toothpaste all over the sink or an obvious mess somewhere in the room.

I also decided to do one of the other clean-up items each day.  So I would rotate cleaning mirrors and sink, toilet, shower, floors, and trash once a week.  The trash I do go ahead and empty if it needs it more often (well okay if something else really needs done, I do that, too, lol).

I added this checklist to my daily bedroom checklist.

So, now almost 2 weeks had passed.  I did kinda wonder just how long it would take me to reclaim the entire house, but at least I could tell where I had been.  It also loved that the clean space was something I saw all the time and could use for motivation.  I just hoped I could keep it that way!

God Bless,