5 Ways to Tame Your Kid Clutter, While Teaching Them Valuable Lessons

Update: this post was updated November 2018.

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our four year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! She just had a birthday, which brought even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.

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1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. She is finally getting to the age where she grasps this, and I can usually get her to get rid of a toy by saying it’s a “baby toy” because, hello, she is a BIG KID and doesn’t want baby toys. Ha. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go.

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Back when things were much more simple…and she was in a crib. ha.

2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys. Try to give incentives for good behavior that don’t revolve around toys…Like ice cream or a movie date or extra time at the playground.

3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I have definitely learned we don’t need “new” toys to have fun!

4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.

Related: 7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid’s Room. 

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5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad, zoo, and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!

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QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?

Weekend Happenings November 2018

Good morning! I haven’t really done a weekend wrap up in a while, so I thought it would be fun to do for a post. I don’t have a ton of photos, but will still tell you all about it!

Friday afternoon, Emma Kate was watching TV and I was in the other room working. I hear a BOOM and then crying. She had walked into the corner of a wall watching TV and walking at the same time. Bless it. It turned into a bruise and of course, I had to document it.

But seriously, how does my just turned 4-year-old look about 7 here? I got her this adorable unicorn football outfit from Snotty Tots (facebook group) they have the cutest cheap kids clothes, be sure to check them out! She was obsessed with the scarf.

Saturday morning was a gorgeous cool day, so we watched College Gameday since they were in Baton Rouge for the LSU/Bama game, then we headed to lunch at McAlister’s. It was national sandwich day so they have $4 clubs plus a free 32 oz drink. Score! (anyone who knows me well knows that the way to my heart is through McAlister’s.)

How cute is my little cheerleader?

Bella, on the other hand, did not appreciate the cold weather. I also managed to pull the right side of my back picking up my 42 pound four-year-old. So no workout for me. We came back home and watched football all day. (Sadly, LSU decided not to show up for the game and got spanked.)

The next day I could hardly move my back hurt so bad, and I slept horribly, thanks so much daylight savings time! Emma Kate was with Bobby’s mom for the day, so Bobby and I hung out and made chili for lunch. It was cold and rainy so perfect chili weather!

The Saints played the late afternoon game and beat the undefeated Rams in a nail-biter. At least one of my teams showed up to play this weekend. We had more chili for dinner and watched more football (anyone seeing a weekend trend here?)

It was great to have a weekend with nothing we HAD to do, I just wish I hadn’t hurt my back! Two days of no exercise made me stir crazy, and I was only able to walk Monday. Hopefully today I can run again.

Now to get used to it looking like midnight at 5:20 in the afternoon. Who else is ready to get rid of this stupid time change? (EK was up at 4:40 Sunday morning). Happy Tuesday all! Drink lots of coffee!

Halloween 2018 Recap

Happy November my friends!

I can’t believe there are only 2 months left in 2018. Weren’t we just taking down the tree and setting goals? Not that I’m complaining, because these next two months are my favorite time of year. But before we start singing Jingle Bells and trimming the tree (do people actually trim trees? IDK. Ours is fake) let’s look back at our Halloween with Emma Kate:

We attended a trunk or treat at a local park on Monday night. Some people were really creative with their setup which made it fun! EK decided to go as Rapunzel for this one.

She was just a tad excited.

The line moved pretty fast, but a few people did start running out of candy!

This was my favorite one of the night. She had to “walk the plank” to get her candy.

The poor fireman ran out of candy, I think Emma Kate got the last piece!

We are visiting family in Mississippi, so my parents sent Emma Kate a card and stickers.

We let her watch Hocus Pocus this year, and she literally watched it every day, multiple times a day, for 3 weeks. So, of course, she was pumped to wear her Hocus Pocus dress all month. She also painted a pumpkin (see below) and she chose this “pose” all on her own haha.

Halloween night was a bit confusing. It was supposed to rain, so some neighborhoods decided to trick-or-treat the night before. We didn’t know this, so on Halloween night we kept an eye on the street as it got dark…there were no trick-or-treaters. It was 6:45, so I panicked and we threw EK in the car and started driving. We went to two neighborhoods…no kids. FINALLY, we made it to a 3rd one that had tons of lights on and tons of trick or treaters and ended up meeting some of the sweetest people. I’m so glad it worked out this way, it was a great, low key night and we only got rained on a little bit for a few minutes.

At every house, Emma Kate asked to pet the owner’s dog…and we were even invited in a couple times. I love the south! She was more excited about the dogs than the candy!

That night well really the next morning at 3:00, the rain DID come, int he form of tornado warnings. Sirens going off, etc. We got up and watched the weather for over an hour until we felt it was safe to go to bed (after it was downgraded to a watch). Not my favorite way to wake up at 3:00 am, but we are safe and still had a wonderful holiday!

7 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

When my mom was about to turn 60, her one wish was to have a fun girls trip in Walt Disney World. Since her birthday falls on Christmas day, she has NEVER gotten a lot of ”hoopla” for her birthday. Sure we know better than to wrap her birthday gifts in Christmas paper, and not get her a red and green cake, but let’s face it, everyone is so busy with the holidays it’s hard to focus on a birthday other than that of baby Jesus!

Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

When she told me she really wanted a quick girls trip to Disney to celebrate her birthday, I sprang into action to plan for the most FUN birthday bash ever. After all, she totally deserves it as the most selfless giving person ever. When I started making our October plans and doing some research, I got frustrated trying to think of things and having to hop all over the internet to find different things, so I thought I would come up with a list of fun birthday things to do in Walt Disney World for adults (kids at heart, right?) Hopefully this list will be helpful to some people looking for fun ways to celebrate!

 

7 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World:

1.) Mark your reservations: Be sure when you book your vacation that you mention there is a celebration going on. That way, it can be marked on your resort reservation and your dining reservations. There is no guarantee, but resorts and restaurants have been known to sprinkle a little pixie dust for birthday guests. When I check in I also make sure it was noted properly on the reservation. We have gotten balloons and cards in our room, chocolate, cupcakes at lunch, free dessert at dinner, and more. (Please please remember this is NOT something Disney has to do, it’s just “extra” so try not to expect it so you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.)

grand floridian birthday

2.) Birthday button (and hat, shirt, etc): Grab a birthday button at your resort or at the theme parks. Wear it with pride and watch the magic happen! Cast members and guests alike will tell you happy birthday and make you feel extra special. The button is a freebie, but if you want to pay for a little something extra, you can purchase a birthday ear hat or have a shirt made at Downtown Disney letting everyone know it is your birthday.

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3.) Cake: Let me tell you, Disney makes some AMAZING cakes. You can call the cake hotline and have a customized cake made and delivered to your resort or at certain restaurants around the property. I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of several cakes throughout the years. Thanks to my fellow cake fiend Jen, and they are so worth it, and such a fun surprise!

 

4.) Spa treatment: There is a spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort, and also at Saratoga Springs resort. Jen and I actually had pedicures done on my birthday one year, and it was so fun! They have a full spa menu if you are looking for some extra pampering with friends or family.

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5.) Fireworks dessert party: Disney knows how to light up the night sky, and they have been wise enough to pair their amazing fireworks with dessert parties, fireworks cruises, and the most recent addition, the Ferrytale Fireworks dessert cruise during the nightly fireworks. So many fun things to choose from (book well in advance for these events!)

6.) Guided Tour: There are a plethora of tours around Disney property, ranging from a behind the scenes Magic Kingdom tour, to a wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think most people would be plenty excited to get to take part in a special tour on their special day.

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7.) Recreation: A lot of people don’t realize there is so much more to do at Walt Disney World than go to the parks. A birthday is a perfect occasion to do something special. Some examples are: play a round of golf, rent a boat at one of the many marinas, parasail, rent a surrey bike, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Thanks for reading my tips on how to celebrate your birthday in Walt Disney World

QOTD: Have you ever celebrated your birthday in Walt Disney World? What did you do?

7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid’s Room

Emma Kate just had a birthday, and she obtained a lot more, well…stuff. We also got rid of some things, but it just seems to keep growing, yall! I was on the hunt for some great ways to organize her things, and I thought since I was having this issue, some other people may be having it as well, so I thought I would turn it into a post and share.

7 amazon finds to organize your kids room

Here are 7 Amazon finds to organize your kid’s room:

1.) Delta Children Deluxe Multi-Bin Toy Organizer with Storage Bins

Little things. Little people. Little Pieces. Little parts. They are everywhere and drive me bonkers. The idea of having bins we can take out and put back in is super appealing, and we can organize them in each bin. Plus it’s pretty compact and Emma Kate can help clean up with this one.
7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid's Room


2.) ClosetMaid 1499 KidSpace Open Storage Locker, 49-Inch Height

I wish I had known about this in our first house that didn’t have a mud room! This would be perfect for a hallway, or even inside the closet for your kids to hang up their coats and bookbags when they come home. Plus, it’s super cute!


3.) Goldenvalueable Hanging Mesh Space Saver Bags Organizer 3 Compartments Toy Storage Basket for Kids Room organization mesh hanging bag 2 Pcs
Set , Pink and Purple

How fun are these? I like that you can see through them so you don’t have to try and remember what you put in each one! Would be fun for stuffed animals or dolls.

4.) Naomi Home Kids Toy Sling Book Rack, Primary Colors/Natural
I don’t know about you, but we are drowning in books. Emma Kate has a ton, and then I saved a bunch of mine from my childhood and we add them into the mix. I feel like when they are in stacks we end up reading the same ones over and over, but this would help us to see more of them at once.

5.) Bath Toy Organizer -The Original Tub Cubby – Large 14×20” Quick Dry Bathtub Mesh Net

EK is at this stage where she wants to put all her toys in the bathtub and have a “pool party” with them. Which is fine until it’s time to get out and then they are just all over the tub, some with sitting water in them, and that’s just not super sanitary. I love the idea of this net so they toys can drain, and also it’s a place to store soap and shampoo bottles.



6.) Weekly Dry Erase Board Calendar Stain Resistant Technology Magnetic Whiteboard Planner for Refrigerator

My child thrives on a schedule, so knowing what is going on the next day is important to her. She can’t read yet, but I think creating picture magnets and putting them on the days of the week would be a great way for us to all stay organized.


7.) Bean Bag Stuffed Animal Storage

Yall. I wish these were around when I was a kid. I had a million stuffed animals and it would have been great! Instead, we had real bean bag chairs, and they would get a hole in them and little white balls would spill all over the room, and then we had to patch them up repeatedly with duct tape. Ah, the good ole days. This is a great way to have a cute place to sit and keep all the furry friends out of sight. Love!

7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid's Room

As a part of the Amazon affiliate program, if you purchase a product through one of my links, I receive a small commission. Thanks for checking out these 7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid’s Room!

Related: How to tame your kid clutter while teaching them valuable lessons.

 

8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, which can leave many of us panicking about where that “extra” money is going to come from for buying decorations, gifts, attending dinners, and the like. October is the perfect time to plan because believe it or not, there are a lot of ways you can save money in the next 30 days that can help you breathe a little easier knowing the holidays are coming.

8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

Dave Ramsey, the king of getting out of debt and saving money, has LOADS of tips and tricks that are great ideas for life in general, but I decided to compile eight of them because not only do we want to save money, but we still want to be able to shop and have fun right? You can indeed have both! Here’s 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

1.) Visit the library: Did you know that part of your tax money goes to fund your local library? When my mom recently found out that FOUR HUNDRED dollars a year of her taxes were going to the library, she decided it was high time to make some use of it. She rents books, DVD’s, CD’s, and more. Emma Kate loves going to the children’s story time and we get lots of books and DVD’s. Her interests change so quickly it’s way better than buying all of that stuff anyway!

2.) Consignment shops: Not only do I sell Emma Kate’s olf clothes and toys at the local consignment shop, but I buy from there, too! I also am a huge fan of thredUP* and have gotten some amazing deals on brand new clothing!

3.) Cut cable: This one took me a while to consider because I was worried about my beloved football games, but now there are SO MANY other options for watching TV! netflix! Amazon Prime! Sling TV! Hulu! Cable has gotten so outrageous and cutting the cord can save you a ton. If you go to the Hulu website through this link, you can get a free trial, so be sure to check it out!*

4.) Check the sale papers: I feel like this is something people don’t do a lot anymore, but a lot of stores and grocery stores have weekly or monthly sale papers with the hottest deals. We use this for BOGO’s and certain days of the week that more expensive items like chicken or meats are on sale. I also use Cartwheel for Target and digital coupons for other stores. You don’t even have to go extreme couponing to save money. It adds up fast!

5.) Be electricity mindful: I was raised that when you leave a room, you turn off a light. I feel like more and more kids are not being taught to conserve these days, and it does drive me a little batty. Simple things like turning off lights, closing curtains and blinds and raising the air conditioning when you leave the house can save you a few dollars every month, which can really add up over the course of a year.

6.) Search for free activities: I know not all towns have a lot of free activities, but do some digging and you may be surprised. In Tampa, I’m subscribed to a weekly email for fun things for kids to do over the weekend in my city. Some have small costs, but most are free and there is never a shortage of things to do especially if we are willing to drive a little bit. Your kids don’t have to have the most expensive toys to have fun and make memories!

7.) Pack your lunch: The amount that this one adds up to is truly shocking. I know people who eat out for lunch at work every. single. day. That’s on average $50 a week, or $200+ A MONTH! Add on those who go to Starbucks daily and we are talking a pretty penny my friends. Sure I love a special treat or lunch on occasionally just like everyone else, but I have learned that not only is it better for my wallet to pack a lunch, but it’s better for my waistline, too! This one can be a hard habit to break especially for those who do this socially. Maybe try to go to just once a week, or when there is a special celebration. You could even try to get your coworkers to help hold you accountable and you all pack a lunch and go eat at a park one day together.

8.) Ask for discounts: There are so many places that offer discounts that just don’t advertise them (think AAA, senior discounts, kids eat free, etc.) My rule of thumb is always to ask! The worst they can say is no. You can also do an internet search, there are a lot of websites that list out stores and restaurants that offer discounts, free birthday rewards, or nights of the week for kids to eat free.

I hope you enjoyed these 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month!

*If you sign up for Hulu or purchase form ThredUP with my link, I receive a small affiliate commission.

Related: Top 10 tips for saving money on your Disney World vacation

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018

Hola friends! Some of you may have seen the video recap of our media event with Disney. After the event was over, we extended our trip by a few days. I had a friend in town that let us stay with her for a bit, then we got a room at Port Orleans Riverside for a couple of days to make it an almost week-long trip. We ate at some of our favorites and really enjoyed just being together and taking our time. Check out some of the fun in the video below.

Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss any future videos!

Thanks for watching y’all!

#DisneyKids Media Event Video Recap

Disclosure: We attended a media event at Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own. 

In September, we had the privilege of attending a #DisneyKids media event at Walt Disney World centered around preschoolers and Toy Story Land. We also got to eat at Homecomin’, Hollywood and Vine, the Grand Floridian, and also enjoyed Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Check out this recap video we made of our amazing experience! Parents of preschoolers, these activities are a must with your kiddos! so much fun! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel after watching. 🙂

 

What is your favorite thing about Toy Story Land? Have you been to the Halloween party or any of the restaurants we dined at?

#disneykids

Related: Toy Story Land with a preschooler

Related again: Art of Animation Cars family suite

Toy Story Land Disney World with a Preschooler

Disclosure: We attended a #DisneyKids media event at Toy Story land Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

Disney's toy story land with a preschooler

When I first heard that Walt Disney World was creating Toy Story Land, I was pumped. Not only would I get to experience the nostalgia of a favorite movie series I grew up with, but I just couldn’t wait to see what Disney was going to DO with it. You know, how they always go above and beyond with every little detail? Well, I can tell you that it does not disappoint, and it was amazing getting to experience Toy Story land with a preschooler who loves the films as much as I do.

Pro tip: Go early before the crowds so you can see all the fun details!

Life-size characters, bright colors, and an amazing “backyard” to explore as one of Andy’s toys. It’s so exciting as you turn the corner and see Woody waiting to tip his hat and greet you as you enter the land. My four year old LOVED all the fun “toy”, details, and seeing her favorites everywhere she turned.

Toy Story Land with a Preschooler

Pro tip: The sun is blinding at this photopass spot, so maybe come back later in the day for a pic!

There are tons more “toy-sized” characters to discover, including meet and greets with some of the stars. Emma Kate even found fun characters to pose with as we waited for our breakfast at the new quick service dining location. This dining location, Woody’s Lunchbox, has some great food options not found at other locations.

Pro tip: Woody’s Lunchbox has breakfast! We had a delicious yogurt parfait that hit the spot!

Of course, We loved taking photos in front of several of the famous “walls.”

Related: The Walls of Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land with a Preschooler

Emma Kate was a little scared to ride Slinky Dog Dash (her mom and dad loved it!) But she ADORES Alien Swirling Saucers and it is her new favorite Disney ride. She also still has a huge love for Toy Story Mania. I can’t blame her, I do too! Even the exit queue of Toy Story Mania is a blast

Pro Tip: The exit queue is also where two of the fun walls are located as well.

Adding Toy Story Land  Disney World to Hollywood Studios is a huge plus in our book. We already love the fun and shows at this park, (not to mention character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine), so now it’s even more valuable to us as a family with a small child. One thing we have yet to do is go at night. I guess we need to make another trip back!

Toy Story Land Disney World

Emma Kate: Four Years Old

We have a four-year-old! Emma Kate had been asking and asking when her birthday was for the past three or four months, so you can imagine how pumped she was when it finally happened. Not to mention, she looks five and most people think she is five so it was nice for her to finally be four as to not confuse so many people!

We had a low key day since it was a Monday and I had to work, but we went to dinner that night with my parents to Applebees and then had cake, ice cream, and gifts at home. My mom made the cake and I decorated it, which is a feat considering I have terrible handwriting. She has been into Shimmer and Shine lately so that was our “theme.”

Let’s take a look at how our girl has changed since my last update 6 months ago. She is 43 inches tall and weighs 41 pounds. (85% weight and 96% height).

Our girl is super silly and I think is going to be a class clown. She has a very strong will but is also very sensitive especially when it comes to injustice.

She says the funniest things and it’s hilarious and frightening to never know what is going to come out of her mouth.

Eating: She is a pretty good eater, but it takes her FOREVER to eat a meal which drives me crazy. I’m constantly saying “please eat another bite” or starting a timer telling her she only has five minutes left. She gets so distracted! She still loves to eat things like yogurt, fruit (grapes, apples, bananas), cheese, and of course candy. For meals, she will usually always try something one time even if she hasn’t had it before which I’m thankful for. She still drinks a ton of water and loves milk.

Sleeping: Emma Kate has done great in her big girl bed but started getting up a lot so we had to start trying different tactics to get her to stay in bed. I bought an ok to wake clock (this one, we love it!) and she knows she has to stay in bed until the light turns green. At night she was getting up a lot before she fell asleep, so we started telling her she could have 4 M&M’s in the morning if she didn’t get out of bed, but every time she did we would take one away, and for the most part, it has worked well. Naps don’t really happen a whole lot anymore, maybe twice a week. She isn’t tired until after 2:00 despite waking up at 6:15 most mornings, and if we let her sleep too late in the afternoon she won’t go to bed at night so that means she is super cranky in the evenings a lot of times.

Clothing: She is in 5T and 6, and wears a size 11 shoe. I have been buying things a size big so she can wear it longer (the outfit above is a shirt and short set but I bought it big so it’s like a dress) and this tactic has been working well for us. She still loves wearing bows and likes me to do her hair in an “Elsa braid” or “Anna braids” most days.

Potty: EK hasn’t had an accident at naptime in over a year, but still wears pull ups at night as she occasionally has a wet one and I’m not really to let go of it yet and have middle of the night bed changes haha.

She still loves to watch movies and the iPad, and she will watch one movie then want to watch it 100 times before she gets hooked on another one. Right now she is loving Land Before Time, Aladdin, and the Toy Story movies. 

She loves to go swimming and recently started swimming under water by herself. She got to go to the ebach a couple of times this summer and loved jumping in the waves and building sand castles.

She thankfully loves Disney like her parents and dressed up as Belle for Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party. She loves riding Dumbo, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Alien Swirlinig Saucers, Toy Story Manina, and the Peoplemover. She loves meeting characters and and getting ehr picture taken with them. 

Emma Kate loves babies and puppies, and playing at the palyground.

She is the cutest little Saints and LSU fan, and will say “Go Tigers” and “Who Dat” on command (I’m so proud.)

She is really into watching other kids open toys on YouTube kids and was super happy to get her own blind bags for her birthday this year.

Some days we fight and struggle, but at the end of the day I love her tenacious spirit and know it will serve her well later in life. She is strong, brave, and independent. We love our sweet four year old and know this will be an awesome year!

You can see her other updates on this page.

PS: Emma Kate has her own Instagram account! Follow her here.