Category Archives: Organization

Manic Monday – Traveling With Baby

Since we were traveling for the last week, the tips listed below made my week run a lot smoother, so I thought they’d make a good Manic Monday!

Air Travel has changed a lot in the last few years. With more rules, regulations, and restrictions, it feels like making traveling with baby, or kids, simple and easier is nigh impossible. So, below, I’ll share the things that make it easier for our family. And, I must say, we’ve made getting through security with a family of 5 run like a well oiled machine!

1. Check with your airline about food allowances for babies. I discovered that sterilized water for baby’s bottle IS allowed. You may be asked to taste it, and may be pulled aside for a deeper search, but you are allowed to take water in the baby’s bottle. Baby food is allowed, but I recommend brand new store bought jars or pouches. If they can’t identify this lump of goo in your Tupperware cube, they will most likely make you toss it.

2. Take enough food for the time of your travel plus 2-3 extra feeds. You never know when you are going to get delayed, something will spill, or baby will suddenly be extra hungry. If you breast feed, don’t worry about keeping baby to his normal schedule. I’ve found some element of demand feeding is usually needed. But, fight the temptation to over pack. Chances are you’re going somewhere that will have places you can buy food, formula, diapers, etc once you get there.

3. Take a change of clothes for baby and yourself in a carry on. It only took one time of baby’s diaper exploding poo all over me and baby to learn this one.

4. Wear slip on shoes. In the States, everyone is required to send their shoes through the scanner. Tying and untying is a waste of time. In Europe you only have to remove your shoes if you are wearing boots of any kind (including work boots for men) or thick heeled shoes.

5. Pack one or two new toys/books, or toys he hasn’t seen/played with for awhile to take on the plane so they will hold his interest. This trip, I hid his favorite 2 toys for a couple of days before we took off, so when he saw them on the plane he was super excited to play with them. For older kids, if they have handheld video games, or are watching a movie on a device, please make sur they wear headphones! You want to be respectful of those around you! The same goes for baby toys that play music. I save those for home, or pack them in the checked bags.

6. Take a stroller that collapses with one hand. You must remove baby from any apparatus (stroller, sling, carrier, car seat, etc) and send it through the scanner. It saves time and effort if you can do that with one hand (since you’ll be holding baby with the other). We have swapped strollers with friends several times in order to do this.

7. Take cash. If all else fails and baby is inconsolable, buy drinks for those around you. They’ll care a lot less about your crying baby. :)

8. Relax. take some deep breaths. Traveling stresses me out. Every time. But, as the thermostat of my family, the more relaxed I am, the more relaxed and happier they are.

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Manic Monday – The Shoe Rack

If you’ve spent anytime at all wandering around my little corner of Blogland, you’ve most likely found that organization is not my forte, and that I’m chronically lazy at heart, and I am not in any form or fashion a morning person. So, whatever I can do to make my days/weeks run more smoothly, without adding extra work, I do. I love the phrase work smarter, not harder.

Mornings are hard for me. Like, seriously. I hate them. And rushing in the morning is the bane of my existence. So, one thing we’ve adopted in our household is a shoe rack. We have 2 wooden shoe racks in our entry way. The first thing we all do upon entering the house is wipe our feet on the mat, and then religiously we take our shoes off and place them on the rack. The purpose of this is two-fold.

1. It keeps our floors cleaner. We’re not tracking mud, grass, dirt, and who-knows-what all over our floors.

2. Everyone always knows where their shoes are. There’s no mad panic in the morning flinging clothes around, digging under beds and behind dressers for the infamous other shoe.

It really has saved my sanity countless times. I really must make two dilclaimers here:

1. If you come to visit, we do not expect you to take your shoes off. If you want to, by all means. But the shoe rack really is more of a save-mom’s-sanity contraption more than a keep-this-house-spic-and-span contraption. So, you are under no pressure or obligation to add your shoes to our pile. :)

2. Just because we have the rack does not mean it stays tidy. I’d love to have ended this post after disclaimer #1 and let you live with the illusion that my entryway is a sparkling, tidy, obstacle free zone welcoming you with rows of tidy shoes. But, that’s just not me. :) Once a week or so we have to take a minute to re-rack the shoes. After a day or two the shoes end up in a pile next to the rack rather than on it. But, I have to choose my battles, and most days I’d rather do other things than harp on exact shoe placement. :)

Do you have a particular method of keeping shoes either tidy, or in a place where they can always be found? Please, share!

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Manic Monday – The Routine

One thing that makes my week run more smoothly is some element of routine and predictability. While our lifestyle warrants days full of fluidity (because flexible isn’t flexible enough), I (and particularly Flower Girl) thrive on routine. So, we have routines for all kinds of areas of our life. But today I want to focus on health/fitness.

It seems my entire adult life has been an off-again-on-again battle pursuit for fitness. I have struggled to continue healthy habits of eating well and getting adequate exercise. However, lately, I have been having some success. Thanks in great part to my awesome hubs. We have communicated a lot and have come up with a routine/schedule that works for us. I get my predictability as well as much needed exercise. He gets his time, and we are still able to maintain the fluid nature of our lifestyle. Basically, I have 4 days of the week with scheduled fitness times. I have running club Monday and Thursday nights, and fitness class Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Hubs has his fitness class Tuesday nights. The rest of the week we work out when we can each get out for other exercise activities. And if we need to tweak our scheduled times, we can. Since we only have one car, often times our scheduled classes must be missed so the other person can get to an appointment. But, that’s part of the fluidity.

For me, it’s vital to have something scheduled into the week that I can plan around. If I leave it entirely up to chance, it won’t get done. Even if I can’t get to my class, I know my exercise is scheduled, so I’m much more likely to do a video at home during the time my class is going.

Not only has this helped our days run more smoothly logistically, it’s also helped by allowing me time to feed my soul, get healthy, and have a better attitude. I’m better equipped to face all the other facets and roles of my life because I’ve been physically taken care of.

Do you have a health/fitness/wellness routine/schedule? How do you fit in your fitness goals each week?

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Manic Monday – The Chore Chart

Alternate title for this post: The Experiment

So, admittedly, I am not a naturally tidy/organized person. This isn’t for lack of trying on my mother’s part. She taught and trained us well. It’s just I let my lazy, selfish nature take over more often than not. That, however, is not what I want to teach my kids.

Also, we have a lot of people drop over unannounced. A lot. And I love it! Our open door policy with our friends and neighbors is something I relish. However, I have been embarrassed mortified on more than one occasion when a friend called over only to find my house in utter disarray.

So, in an effort to keep us all more organized, and to help us all get in the habit of keeping things tidy, I’ve made a chore chart. I’ve seen copious amounts and styles of chores charts all over the interwebs, but I decided to keep it as simple as possible.20110919-110618.jpg

I sat down with my girls and we talked about all that needs to get done around the house in a week, and how many times in the week it needs done. Then we picked what we each would be willing to do. Flower Girl (my 6 year old) wants to Hoover, clean the bathroom sinks, empty the bathroom trash and wipe down the kitchen counters. Butterfly Girl (age 4) wants to dust the windowsills and tv stand, wipe down the outside of the toilets, change the bathroom towels, and wipe the kitchen table. There are also daily tasks such as making beds and house check before bed.

I then printed up a page for each day, listing what needs to get done, with the name of the person responsible. So far, it’s working well. And Flower Girl, my uber type-A rule keeper, made sure mommy and daddy’s bed got made as well. :) This is only our first day, but i have high hopes for our little system, and hope that the idea of one or two tasks a day will be much less overwhelming for us all than long, massive, clean the chaos days every couple of weeks.

Do you use a chore system? What works for your family?

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Manic Monday: The Family Clothes Hamper {Guest Post}

Guest Post Written by Erin Odom of The Humbled Homemaker

Laundry has always been one of the areas of my home that always—literally—piles up on me. I try to do one load each day, but if I miss just one day, it seems I have a mountain of clothes and linens waiting for me the next morning.


I used to have a separate dirty clothes hamper for my girls’ clothes stored in their bedroom closet. At the time, it made sense. I would dress and undress them in their room, and I would just toss their clothes into their hamper.
But I found that if I got a day behind on laundry, I might get to the point where almost all their clothes were dirty.
My solution? I now have one set of family hampers in our master bedroom closet.
I store our dirty clothes in 3 separate hampers: one for whites, one for light colors and one for dark colors. I use a gentle, plant-based detergent (Sun Free—which is SUPER CHEAP at Big Lots!) on all our clothes, so there was really no reason to separate the girls’ laundry from ours anyway.
I’ve found we all have just what we need clean when we need it now. And I kind of like not having SO many of the girls’ clothes to put away at one time.
If we ever have a big enough closet to do it, I’d love to transition to a family closet.
How do you streamline your family’s laundry? Do you keep your kids’ clothes separate from yours, or do you mix everything together? Which do you think is easier?

Erin is a believer in Jesus Christ and stay-at-home wife and mom of two little redheaded girls. She loves mission work, speaking Spanish, breastfeeding, cloth diapering and researching how to live a healthier lifestyle. She blogs about parenting, natural living and homemaking at The Humbled Homemaker.

Image by 13dede

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