Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

A common problem with dishwashers is that they form rust stains on the inside. This happens because the iron in the water is reacting to the oxygen in the dishwasher and the air moisture. If you have city water (like me) the stains probably won't be that bad, but over time it really gives the interior of your dishwasher that dingy and "old" look. Here's a super quick fix!

You may not care about what the inside of your dishwasher looks like, as long as it's getting the dishes clean. But if you're a little picky like me, or especially if you're selling your home, you want the inside to sparkle just as much as your dishes. It's the little things that buyers are looking for, and a clean dishwasher can make the appliance look newer and seem more efficient. Not to mention, any cleaning tips that require very little effort on my part are definitely worth it.

I got this tip from the television show Get It Sold, but homeowners (and mothers!) have been doing this for decades.

Lemonade! When life gives you rust stains... use lemonade! All you have to do is empty a packet (about 2-3 tablespoons) of lemonade mix into the soap dispenser, and run the empty dishwasher on a regular cycle. And there you have it. I used a Kool-Aid packet of lemonade mix myself.

It's the citric acid that does the work. In fact, you can find at your local hardware and appliance store a packet of "special" citric acid dishwasher cleaner for about $12. Completely unnecessary. Use the Kool-Aid! It's only $0.25 and you probably already have it in your cupboard.

Here are my before and after photos. The rust didn't completely disappear with just the wash, but the wash did loosen it enough to where I could simply wipe it off with a rag.

BEFORE:



AFTER:


This will also work if you have well water that is turning the entire interior of your dishwasher orange, but you may have to run a few cycles instead of just the one.

Not to mention it'll make your kitchen smell lemony fresh!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Upcycled Baby Food Jars (A Craft Project!)

It is currently 94 degrees at my sunny Virginia home, and I am inside wearing long sleeves and long pants, socks and shoes, because it is all I can do to keep from scratching at the excessive amount of mosquito bites I received over the weekend. Ahhhhh nature. Have any anti-itch remedies? I've heard that toothpaste works well, but you don't necessarily want to use it because of the flouride content getting into your bloodstream(which is the same reason you spit it out instead of swallowing it). I'm really looking forward to my husband coming home with some Benadryl. Thank God for modern medicine, and for not placing me on this earth 100+ years ago.

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling slightly more motivated than usual and decided to upcycle some baby food jars. Upcycling is a type of recycling that consists of turning something disposable (like used baby food jars) into something of higher value. I'm a huge fan of recycling and keeping the world a greener place, so most of our jars end up at the local recycling center, but baby food jars can be used for so many things! Yesterday I decided to upcycle and repurpose a few. Here's a fun and super easy project that can be done in minutes with a few simple items. A great project to do with kids, too!




The supply list:
  1. Mod Podge = the world's greatest all-in-one crafting glue. This stuff is genius and can be used for almost anything. The term "Mod Podge" stands for "Modern Decoupage" and this item should be an item on every crafter's list. I have used it on everything from wooden decoupage to sealing fully finished puzzles to be framed. A good sized jar retails for about $6-$8 and can be found most craft stores like Michael's.
  2. Baby food jars. Any jar will work really, depending on what size you like!
  3. A single piece of tissue paper. Any tissue paper will work. You can cut clean lines or, as I prefer, just rip random pieces and use whatever abstract pieces you come up with.
  4. Paintbrush for Mod Podge
  5. Curious kitty not required.
Basically all you do is paint some Mod Podge on the jar, lay down your tissue, and paint some Mod Podge over top! It's not rocket science so I can hardly take credit for this project.

Here are how mine turned out. Great for pens, pencils, spoons, buttons, paper clips, anything you want! Keep the lids and create a bank for your child, or fill with beans to create a musical shaker.




Friday, August 27, 2010

Haircut for a Princess

Happy Friday!

My Black Bean Stuffed Peppers were a huge hit at dinner last night. 1/30 recipes tried for my Day Zero Project. Have a recipe you'd like me to try? I'd love to hear from you! Please email me at hollyatnaptime@gmail.com for a chance to have your recipe featured on my blog! And make sure to read my full review of the Black Bean Stuffed Peppers here.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we booked our 2011 family vacation to Walt Disney World. I couldn't be more excited! Here is your second Disney Secret: Harmony Barber Shop.

OK... so maybe Harmony Barber Shop isn't a secret, but if you're not paying attention while walking down Main Street USA you just might miss it. They offer haircuts for all ages, but their real specialty is first haircuts. For just $16, a first haircut comes with special things like Mickey stickers, bubbles, a little magic pixie dust, special "First Haircut" mouse ears, a certificate, and a lock of hair for mom and dad to treasure forever.

You'd better believe that my daughter is getting her first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop in Disney's Magic Kingdom! Read more about it on their blog, here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

One of my biggest weaknesses is that I am a creature of habit. Often when I go to a restaurant for the first time, I will order something I've had before somewhere else. And... rest assured I will probably order the same thing every other time I go to that restaurant for the rest of my life.

Ok - maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but  my habitualness is pretty bad. So when it comes to cooking dinner for my family, I pretty much rotate among the same 10 dishes that I know and love. If we try anything new, it's almost certain that my husband made it. He's good at creating new concoctions and thinking outside the box. I'm hardly willing to try new recipes let alone create my own. And this really irritates me. I especially want my daughter to grow up trying a variety of different things, because there are so many kids out there that just eat nothing but junk, and of course those bad habits don't suddenly change during adulthood. It's time to get those good eating habits into her now.

Speaking of which, we just tried the YoBaby Meals for the first time today at lunch, and they were a huge hit! Organic yogurt + organic fruit + organic veggies all mixed into one! Now that's a balanced meal. We tried the Peach & Squash variety. What I'm really interested in trying though is the Pears & Greenbeans. I couldn't find them at the store on my last visit, but I'm going to keep my eyes peeled!

Anyways... back to my lack of creativity in the kitchen. One of my tasks for my Day Zero Project is to expand my recipe collection with 30 new dinners. Today I am trying my first *new* creation:

Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

The recipe I found is from Crock Pot. I received a pretty premium Crock Pot when we got married, and it's unfortunate that I've only used it a handful of times. Last year I bought a Crock Pot cook book and realized that you could pretty much cook dinner in your Crock Pot every single night if you wanted to. You can find the recipe online here, or I've also posted it below. Yum! Here's a picture of my peppers just starting to cook. As you can see, I only used 4 peppers instead of 6 because the ones that the grocery store had were enormous! The ideal sized pepper for this recipe is probably about the size of your fist.


You don't want to fill the peppers all the way, because as cook they shrink down a bit (and this way it makes less mess).

And of course the best part is that the total prep time was only about 15 minutes, and my house gets to smell like yummy food all day while the Crock Pot does all the work!

Ingredients

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
30 ounces black beans, canned, rinsed and drained
6 green bell peppers, seeded and cored
1 cup reduced-fat Jack cheese, grated
1 cup tomato salsa
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Directions

1.In a medium skillet, saute the onion until golden. Season with the cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder.
2.In a medium mixing bowl, mash half of the black beans with sauteed onions.
3.Mix in the remaining beans.
4.Place the bell peppers in the slow cooker, and spoon the black bean mixture into the bell peppers. Pour the salsa over the cheese.
5.Cover; cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours.
6.Serve each pepper with a dollop of sour cream.

Update on Friday, August 27th: Yummy!!! This dish went over incredibly well at our household. In fact, my husband said that they were the BEST stuffed peppers that he's ever had.  No, I cannot verify how many times he's had stuffed peppers, but I know how to take a compliment when I get one! Once out of the Crock Pot, this is quite a messy dish, but served in a shallow bowl serves well as a Mexican style stew. I served it with tortilla chips, and ate most of it with a fork, but scooped up every last piece with the chips. Very, very good. Holly rating: 10 out of 10.

I should point out that I also left out the cumin, only because I realized I didn't have any until too late. I did not feel like the dish was missing anything.

More Crock Pot Recipes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby in the Sky

It's Wednesday, but it sure does feel like Monday. I just got home last night from a whirlwind weekend trip to see family and go to a wedding. Special shout out to Continental Airlines for making the travel a little less complicated. It was our first time traveling with baby, and my husband and I are generally not happy travelers. You know that couple you see arguing over the stupidest things like where to grab lunch or who carries what bag? Yea... that's us. In fact, our first fight happened in an airport. We laugh about it now, and I think both he and I know that what is said in the airport can not be held against us. Somehow though, baby made everything easier. People are nicer, they help you through security, crew members offer to carry your bags, flight attendants asked us if we wanted to board and get comfortable before they let anyone else on. Wow! If you haven't flown with your baby, I highly recommend it. Our daughter was a little fussy, but she didn't cry or anything. The only bump we had in our entire flying experience this weekend was her not-so-gracefully kicking my husband's tray and dumping Mr. Pibb all over his lap. But, we learned to laugh and shrug it off. After all, it's only this short time that we have to hold her on our laps and have people goo-and-ga over her. She even received her very own wings, which I will nostalgically display in her baby book. Happy baby = happy mom.

What are your baby/child travel tips?

Thank you for all the feedback on the Day Zero Project. I'm very excited, and my 1,001 days officially started today. Should definitely keep me on my toes! If you missed my list, check it out here! If you've started your own list, please share it with me. I love to find inspiration in other people's ideas.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day Zero Project - The List

Phew! I'm exhausted! I feel like my brain is on overdrive after the last few days, as I have prepared my list for the Day Zero Project.

One of the great things about blogging is that it helps me keep up with what my friends are doing in various locations and stages of life. I first read about the Day Zero Project over at my dear friend Lauren's personal blog -  Laurenchanting. Basically, the task at hand is to create a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1,001 days. The website is designed to help you keep progress of how you're doing, as well as to find inspiration for things to add to your list. This unique idea started in New Zealand by a guy named Michael Green, and it has traveled it's way around the world pretty rapidly.

First of all, thanks to Lauren for blogging about this awesome idea! Creating my list has really motivated me to expand my horizons, and the 1,001 days is a good (and fair) benchmark for many of the "To-Dos" I've had on my list for far too long.

As a stay-at-home-mom, 101 in 1,001 really appeals to me because it is a way to make sure that even though I am doting on my daughter, that I keep a true focus on my own life as well. I also have this hope that it will give me long term productivity in all areas of my life. We'll see! Coming up with a list itself was a task! I had to really tinker with my thinker to come up with 101 tasks that were big enough to be included but not so big that I wouldn't be able to accomplish them.

In the meantime I'll be posting updates to how my list is going on this blog, and if you're inspired feel free to create your own Day Zero Project!
My list can be found on the Day Zero Project site under the username hcinvirginia. I have set my 1,001 days to begin next Wednesday, August 25th, and to end on May 23rd, 2013. (In the meantime, I'm traveling out of town for a wedding, so I guess you could say I'm "giving myself a few days.")

A few of my favorite items include feed a giraffe, no fast food for 40 days, and make homemade truffles.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I love Diapers.com

Last night my 9 month old daughter did the cutest thing in the entire world! My husband was laying on the floor playing with her, and she crawled over, lifted his shirt up and blew a raspberry on his tummy! It was the sweetest thing in the world, and both of us were so shocked that she put all those steps together, but she totally knew what she wanted to do and she set out to do it.

Parenthood is awesome.

One of the things that makes it even more awesome is the website Diapers.com. They literally carry everything baby, from the (obvious) diapers, to the food, toys, books, blankets, safety products and more! What's even better is the free overnight shipping on all orders of $50 or more. I absolutely love logging in to purchase my mega cases of diapers and wipes, and having them magically appear on my doorstep the following morning. Talk about convenience! They take coupons, too!

I usually don't gloat about businesses. This is my personal opinion, and I assure you I have no affiliation with the aforementioned Diapers.com other than being a satisfied customer.

What really makes their service supreme is their customer service. A few months ago my husband and I were going to be traveling across country and wanted to purchase a collapsible stroller for the trip. I immediately found this stroller that I loved, and the next day it was waiting at my door. One problem; one of the wheel shafts was completely broken, and we were leaving on our trip the next afternoon. I called the customer service line at Diapers.com and within the hour a representative had shipped out a replacement stroller due to arrive Saturday morning before we left, and had emailed me a return shipping label to put over the old stroller (which would be picked up for return). I was extremely pleased. The new stroller showed up in tip top condition and we were on our way!

Diapers.com has also expanded and has recently teamed up with Soap.com, a website for literally all of your household needs from toilet paper to laundry detergent to makeup. I haven't used the Soap.com website yet, but I'm sure it's not too far off. They also offer free two day shipping on orders over $49, but have a current promotion for free shipping on orders of $25 - promo code SHIP25 at checkout.

Now... if only I could order my groceries online like my husband and I were so spoiled to be able to do in New York City.....


Get 15% off
your first order
use code HXLL591158
shop for all your baby needs: body pillows, good start formula, swaddle pod
check out baby registry
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Goals

Today, for the first time in a long time, I woke up thinking "Today is going to be a great Monday." I'm not even sure such a thing exists, but I could just tell that today was going to be close. My daughter only woke briefly once in the night, after a stint of about a week where she was suddenly wake 4-5 times/night. Also, I woke up before her this morning, and was able to get dressed and prepare for the day in total peace. That never happens!

It was an eventful weekend in parenting. Friday night we made our first late night run to the store for needed supplies. In this case, an infant suppository. Our poor peanut was tossing in turning in bed and completely uncomfortable, crying out in pain. I'm usually not a fan of messing with our bodies natural processes, so I was a little weary of trying the suppository, but it worked like magic. Within four, no, three and a half minutes our daughter had relieved herself and was ready to comfortably go to sleep. Thank you Pedia-Lax! (Just remember, if you're child is under 2 you should consult with your pediatrician before using this product.)

Awesome. I just wrote an entire paragraph like poop like it was the most commonly discussed thing in the world. Welcome to motherhood, Holly.

Also, yesterday we booked our family vacation for 2011 to Walt Disney World in Florida!! I am so excited. I had been waiting for about two months for the 2011 vacation package dates to be released on the website, and now our vacation just seems so official. Woohoo! I haven't been since 1995, and that is just entirely too long ago! Over the next several months you can follow me in my vacation planning magic. My husband is a little skeptical, but I am out to prove that Disney World really is the happiest place on earth.

There are so many secrets within Disney World that can thrill even the annual visitor. Here is your first Disney secret: Outside Tony's Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom there is a bench with a Goofy statue sitting on it. If you sit on Goofy, he will laugh. Great spot for a photo op and to crack up your kiddos!

So last night as I was laying in bed I was thinking about my first few weeks back in the blogging world and began asking myself what I really want out of this experience. What are my goals? This is what I came up with.

Holly at Nap Time. Home. Life. Love. Faith & Mommyhood. The complete woman and everyday best friend taking back nap time and enjoying the ride.

More than anything, I want my readers to know that I'm an average mom living the average life, but living every moment to the fullest. I've learned to fall down, get up and laugh at myself. I've learned money and time saving tips. I've learned how to cook, clean, and make messes disappear. And I'm learning more everyday! I want Holly at Nap Time to be a comfortable place to come and read, and to feel like you're visiting with an old friend.

Our readership is growing steadily by the day! Please leave comments, and I'll try my best to do the same.

Friday, August 13, 2010

TGIF

Thank Goodness It's Friday!

I'm so ready for the weekend, phew! Two weeks ago my daughter started crawling, and because our house has a pretty open floor plan we needed to order our baby gates online instead of purchasing the regular doorway sized gates. I really love shopping with One Step Ahead. They have so many unique children's items! But come on already! I'm going to go bananas if those baby gates don't get here soon. I feel like all week I've been chasing our daughter around saying "No, no, sweetie.... nope... honey don't do that.... not the cat's water .... no. No. No. NO!" Not to say that I'm not happy that she is mobile. I'm thrilled! We were just a little unprepared at how quickly it would happen.

As much as I love being out and about on the town during the weekend, I'm really looking forward to a weekend at home to get some much needed cleaning and organizing done. My family is traveling to Michigan next weekend for a family wedding, and nothing would make me happier than coming back to a clean house.

Being that it's Friday, what family traditions do you have on the weekend? I am reminded of my childhood, and I used to love Fridays for the TV lineup on ABC that was so famously called TGIF. Remember that? Shows like Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Step by Step, Full House, Perfect Strangers & Mr. Belvedere occupied a 2 hour block of television from 8pm-10pm and it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. It also meant that my brother and I got to stay up late.

Gosh I miss that! I remember my mom used to go to Wendy's and bring us each home a Frosty and french fries. Yum! What I remember most though is the time my family spent together. It was something I could count on week after week, and it gave me lasting memories of childhood.

I wish that TGIF was still around. I know that with today's gazillion television channels that programming is pretty much on a demand basis, but I miss the feeling of knowing that there was something waiting for me on Friday nights.

What family traditions do you have? As our daughter gets older, my husband and I look forward to having a movie night at our house, as well as other traditions like Sunday Brunch!

Have a good weekend everyone. Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me. ;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Car Family

My husband and I both gave up our cars a few years ago when we moved to Manhattan. After all, most people don't drive in New York City. The parking alone was going to be $400/month, and with such easily accessible public transit, the transition from two cars to no car was really easy. In fact, as much as I dreaded my daily commute from the village to the Upper East Side, it's one of the things I miss most about the city.

Upon moving to Virginia suburbia, we knew that once again we were going to become car owners. Out here the public transportation is sparse, and cars are just how people get around! On the weekend we moved down, we purchased one brand new car. For the last 18 months we have shared that car, making us the definition of a "one car family."

Now, it really bothers me that there is such a stigma attached to being a one car family. Is it that we must be really environmentally conscious and doing our part to keep a greener planet? Nope. It's that we must really be hurting financially.

Quite the contrary, actually. I hate how quickly people are to judge. The truth is, when we moved here we really only needed one car. Ken was working and I was staying at home. At the time I was also pregnant, and after not driving at all for two years in the city, I was fearful of doing too much in a place I wasn't familiar with (for fetus sake!) I eventually overcame my fear of the road again, but the truth remains the same. We don't need a second car right now. I'm home with my daughter most days, and we also have the pleasure of watching a friend's little girl. On days that I need the car, I simply drive my husband to work or he carpools with coworkers. I am never trapped at home. Being a one car family is a choice, and it's one that works for us.

Having one car also really has its benefits. We aren't hurting financially, but we also save a ton of money by using only one car. Less car payments, less insurance, less gas! Oh... and I'm absolutely sure we spend less money in other areas too. I am a total shopper, and there are many days when I am bored and would love to just drive out to the mall and buy a bunch of new things that I don't really need. Luckily, planning ahead for when I'll need the car keeps my shopping habit at bay, and my wallet happy. :)

I guess the point I'm trying to make is how often do we think of our real needs? A roof over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, some sort of income. These are all things we need, but so often we associate needs with things that are really luxury items. A manicure. A new cell phone. A bigger house. A better TV. I think it's time for us to all reassess, people. This is America, and we are all spoiled rotten. Seriously.

I'm not saying that my family is better than any other family because we make do with one car. It is hard, and there are days/times when it angers me that we haven't just given in and purchased a second car yet. I'm sure we will in the next year or so. As our family grows our needs will too. I am just saying, don't assume that we are suffering financially because we share a car. There are many other reasons, the main one being that we just don't really need one right now. What things do you really need?

One day, when our daughter turns 16 and tells us that she needs a car and that life isn't fair and that she never gets to go anywhere or do anything (I was a 16 year old girl once, after all...) her father and I will be happy to tell her of how for a period in our lives we shared a car, and how it helped us focus on different needs like making sure that she was able to take baby classes and have toys and go on vacations.

Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Sunday, August 8, 2010

10 Years Old Again

Happy Sunday, everyone. I hope the weekend has treated you well. It hasn't turned out the way I had planned for it to, but has been surprisingly delightful all the same. Last weekend my daughter started crawling, and now she is zoom, zoom, zoooooming all over the place! In a lot of ways it feels like she's an entirely new baby now, and lately my husband and I have just been having so much fun with her! She's been super smiley and social and every day we just love her more than the day before. It's amazing. Parenthood is absolutely the best. I mean, you know you're going to love your children before they arrive in the world, but I don't think anyone can describe the actual, true feelings. It's so beyond what I ever thought I could feel.

This morning my husband and I had nursery duty at church and were lucky enough to care for our friends' three month old son. He's absolutely perfect, and after holding him both my husband and I felt how much we missed that tiny baby feeling....

But let's not get ahead of ourselves!

Last Monday was my husband's birthday, and even though we are adults now (and have been for the better part of a decade) we seem to always get spoiled with the traditional "birthday money" that was so prized as a child. Well this year we were happy to spend it like a child too, and we purchased Mario Kart Wii. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so addicted! We were surprised to find out that you can play online with people from all over the world, and for the first couple nights we had it I don't think we could get our child to sleep fast enough in order to conquer Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road.

I know there is a lot of crap information out there about how video games are evil and stuff like that, but I really like sharing this time with my husband laughing and enjoying ourselves as we drive around little cars in hopes of not being struck by a red turtle shell. I feel like I'm 10 years old all over again, and that it can be quality time. I look forward to the day when our daughter can play right along with us! I think the real problem with video games is that so many parents just set their kids in front of them to occupy them so that they don't have to, instead of making it a family event. And that turns into kids playing on their own and often getting games that they shouldn't be doing. Maybe it's just me, but what is childhood without the Mario Brothers?

(If anyone wants to race us on Mario Kart Wii, let us know! Though... I should disclose that we are still not very good!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

The 2, 3, 4 Rule

It's almost the weekend! For some reason, I feel like this week has gone on forever. If you're in the Richmond, VA area this weekend make sure you check out the Carytown Watermelon Festival on Sunday. 2,500 watermelons have been donated by Martin's and the proceeds go to benefit Shriner's Children's Hospitals. (Plus there will be a ton of entertainment lined up and various other vendors and children's activities.)

Now, the main reason for my post.

As humans, most of us are creatures of habit and routine - I know I am. I am completely resistant to change and trying things in "new ways" but luckily I understand that for personal growth this is sometimes necessary. When it came to changing my daughter's schedule to be more flexible, I was even more resistant. Everything I've always heard from my child development classes to years of working in various daycares and child learning facilities is that "children crave routine and direction." Well, with this one little phrase I was becoming awfully stiff in my scheduling. Until I learned about the 2, 3, 4 Rule.

The 2, 3, 4 rule is a rule that applies to children that are still taking two naps a day (usually the 18 months and under set). It's incredibly easy, and the basic principle is this:

- Put baby down for her first nap 2 hours after she wakes up in the morning. (ie if she wakes up at 7am, put her down at 9am)
- Put baby down for her second nap 3 hours after she wakes up from her morning nap. (ie if she wakes up at 11am, put her down at 2pm)
- Put baby to bed 4 hours after she wakes up from her afternoon nap. (ie, if she wakes up at 4pm, put her to bed at 8pm)

I first read about the 2, 3, 4 Rule in Bedtiming: The Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep at Just the Right Age by Marc Lewis. And I'm happy to say that it's done wonders for our family. It's helped my daughter sleep longer stretches at night, cue in to when it is "sleepy time," and generally be in a better mood. Not to mention it has been a key tool in our family time planning. For example, our daughter usually wakes up for the day sometime in the 7:30am range. On Sundays though, we have church at 10:30am, which would usually fall right in the middle of her nap time. So to get around this, we wake her up a little early (usually around 7am) so that she can get a good nap in from 9am-10am or so. Learning to be flexible has been valuable to all of us.

Now if I could just convince our lawn care company to stop trimming the hedges at 2pm so as to wake her!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Box Tops for Education

I'm a huge fan of Box Tops for Education. In a world where public schools already receive too little funding, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't collect their box tops. Huge companies like Cheerios, Pillsbury & Ziploc all proudly include the 10 cent Box Tops for Education logo on their products, giving us 10 cents for our children's schools. I know that 10 cents might not seem like a lot, but it is 10 cents that the school didn't have before.

Collecting box tops can also be fun for your kids, and a positive example of how to help out the community. When you sign up online, you can also follow your school's progress. Most schools are already registered, but if your school isn't, please consider leading the cause! My daughter will not be attending Kindergarten for another 4 years, and we may even move before then, but in the meantime there is no reason for us not to support our local elementary school. During the 2009-2010 school year my local school collected $803 earnings in box tops. That's 800 boxes of brand new crayons, a new set of encyclopedias, or a new classroom computer. It's a small thing we can all do to make a big difference in our community.

And for Bonus Box Tops, the website hosts a "Marketplace" in which you can link to your favorite shopping sites, shop online the way you normally do, and earn extra money for your school at the same time! Throughout the rest of the summer, they are teaming up with Barnes & Noble. Each order over $40 placed through the Marketplace will receive a bonus of 5 Box Tops (50 cents) plus 6% of their total order (a minimum of an additional $2.40).

So if you don't already collect Box Tops, please start! If you don't know where you would send them, send them to me and I'll be happy to take care of them for you.

Think you don't buy any products that have Box Tops? Check the total list here, with new products coming all the time!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Sleeping Retreat

Monday, Monday, Monday. I'm happy to say that for the first time in a long time, I woke up feeling refreshed. Probably mostly because my 8 month old daughter only got up one time in the night, but also in part because I was waking up with brand new 100% organic cotton sheets. Aaaahhhhh.

Not long ago my husband asked me when we were going to make any progress on our master bedroom. It is by far the saddest room in the house, but only by default I'm afraid. When we learned that we were expecting last year and had just purchased a new home, all of our priorities shifted. Our backyard needed to be seeded, needed flower beds, needed flowers, needed a fence (still working on that one), and the babies room needed all the things a baby's room needs (plus some, of course). We needed to purchase a car, after living in NYC for two and a half years without one. And we needed appliances. Back then, the look of our bedroom was extremely far down on the list of important things.

When my husband posed the question about when we were going to do anything about our room, I was at first a little puzzled. How much really needed to be done?

I must really be a mom now, to be blinded by all the love I have for my daughter and think very little of what I myself have and want.

I took a long look at our bedroom. It really is pitiful. We never have had a real bed frame, for one - just the standard metal on wheels frame, because it was all we were willing to drag around the city with us. Our current nightstands are, shamefully, Rubbermaid tubs covered by decorative quilts. An old coffee table serves as an entertainment stand, and the ceiling fan has been missing since we moved in. How on earth did we let it get this bad?

We decided it was time to work on our space. My husband thought that a good place to start would be our bed. Our current sheets and comforters were going on 3 years and their age was starting to show. A trip to Target was in our future. Over the weekend we bought a set of organic cotton sheets and a new reversible comforter. This is a good start. Heck, I even made the bed this morning. I may be inspired to make it every morning!



I never realized how important it was for us to have a comfortable, relaxing space to sleep in. Our bedrom has been on the backburner for so long that it's just cluttered with all the items that really don't have another place in the house, when truthfully those items don't belong in the bedroom either.

On another note, the whole weekend was amazing. Today is my husband's birthday (I love you sweetie!) and since Monday birthdays pretty much stink, we decided to celebrate all weekend long. We'll be capping it off tonight with dinner and Cold Stone ice cream cake. Yumm!



Genevieve likes the new bedding.