Monday, February 28, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 10th Hour

About 24 Hours of Progress:

So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Tenth Hour:
Today's projects are less about getting your house clean, and more about getting your social calendar cleaned up. That's right, moving playdates and practices around and managing to squeeze in an hour or two for yourself. I personally feel like you should challenge yourself to do each of the three tasks below at least once every month. (Gasp. Shocking, I know. I didn't say it would be easy, but I can guarentee that it'll be worth it.)

Make Time for your Spouse: It should come to no surprise that married couples who regularly have a date night have much happier marriages than those who don't. Most relationship advisors say that date night should be happening at least once a week.

Rolls eyes. Yea right. My husband works full time, is working on getting his MBA at night, and somewhere in between helps me raise our 15 month old daughter. This is the attitude that I initially took on a month ago when the idea of a weekly date night came up. We have since though, decided that date night is not defined by getting all dressed up and going out somewhere. And we've instilled a Friday night movie date right at home. Each week we check out a movie that we want to see from Netflix, and come Friday after AJ is asleep, we crack open a bottle of wine and settle in on the couch. Afterwards we take the time to talk to each other. It's become such a blessing to our marriage. And we've decided that once a month is a more practical length of time for us to go out and have a real date night. This past Friday we sprang for a babysitter and went out for some amazing Thai food.

Make Time for your Friends: Moms have got to be the worst about making time with their friends. Simply put, the kids are always an excuse. The kids have this going on. The kids need to be to bed by a certain time. The baby has a cold so I can't go out. Girl talk is an important part of keeping your sanity, mom! Once a month, try to get out for a girl's night out dinner at a local restaurant or at someone's home. It'll give you an energy boost and spark your social spirits.

Make Time for Yourself: This one should be easy enough. Make time for yourself. Take a nap. Read a book. Rent a chick flick. Get a manicure. Do something for yourself just because you can. And because you should! You know the old sayings.... "Happy Wife, Happy Life" and "If mama isn't happy, nobody is happy."

Friday, February 25, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 9th Hour

About 24 Hours of Progress:
So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Ninth Hour:
 
Clean Out Your Lotions & Potions: Most women (and quite a few men) have quite the assortments of lotions, perfumes, body sprays, and other body indulgence items. Why? For one, they are easy to give as gifts. We receive them in a stocking, or with a birthday card, or as a thank you for helping out a friend. And when we happen to find ourselves in those body shops, there is pretty much always a sale going on. Buy 6 get 3 Free! I'm gonna have to stock up! This is a great deal!
 
I remember in high school and college my collection of body lotions took up the entire top of my dresser. It was a little bit overboard. Not to mention that I didn't use certain lotions because I was "saving them for later." Um, why? Saving them to turn all old and crusty and gross? I guess so. Back then the vanity of having a full bottle of lotion seemed like a good thing. These days, I'm more of the old saying Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it do, Or do without! The answer is usually do without. Really? Am I ever going to want to smell like Orange Ginger for a reason?
 
My stash is currently down to a couple items that my sister-in-law gave me that I use regularly.
 
Clear Out Your Inbox: Between the blog and my "regular life" I currently have 154 unread messages. No, they aren't all important... many of them are just pointing to weekend sales and such. However they are still there, and they are still a distraction. I recently found this article on how to be "Email Zen." It's well worth the read. The number one rule they mention is avoiding keeping your email up all day, which is probably my worst habit. I keep Gmail up throughout the day so that I can chat with my husband at work ("Can you pick up dinner on your way home?") Generally every time I see a new email it immediately distracts me from what I'm doing and I'm sucked in.
 
While you're at it, take the time to open all those SALE! emails and unsubscribe. It'll help you save loads of cash. The fact of the matter is, if you're LOOKING for something you can find it on sale. If a sale randomly finds YOU, you're spending well earned money on things you don't need.
 
Change Your Passwords: It's good practice and common sense to change your passwords every so often, to protect your identity. You can check to see how strong your passwords are at Microsoft's Safety & Security Center.

Have a great weekend!!

Don't forget to enter to win a Year Supply of Dog or Cat food from Purina OM!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 8th Hour - Featuring Identity Theft Solutions

About 24 Hours of Progress:

So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Eighth Hour:

Shred Old, Unnecessary Documents: Old mail, credit card statements, shopping receipts and private documents build up on our desks, countertops and kitchen tables like weeds. Not only will cleaning out these old useless papers and filing away the important ones make you feel productive during your Spring Cleaning trials, but it can also help protect you from identity theft. Especially if you're using a Fellowes P-12C paper shredder.

About the Fellowes P-12C:
The Fellowes P-12C paper shredder is a durable, innovative and affordable machine. With Fellowes’ industry-leading technologies, the P-12C provides high-security and is safe for family environments.
* To ensure high-security against identity thieves, the P-12C features Cross-Cut technology, which destroys a single sheet of paper into nearly 399 particles.

* The P-12C also includes Fellowes’ patented SafeSense technology, which disables the shredder when it senses hands or large pets come too close to the paper opening.
* The P-12C can also shred staples, credit cards and paper clips to help speed up your spring cleaning process.
* Its slim profile design allows the P-12C to fit in any office environment, including under desks or in kitchens and other rooms.

The P-12C has a suggested retail price of $89.99 and is available at Target Stores nationwide.

Refresh Your Home Office: The home office collects clutter just like the garbage collector collects garbage - consistently. Here are 5 tips on how to freshen up your office this Spring from the Identity Theft Resource Center:
  • Go through all the papers on your desk and in your drawers and sort into two basic piles: "Save It" or "Shred It."
  • Organize the "save" pile into labeled folders and be sure to put anything confidential into a fire-proof lock box. The "shred" pile should be properly disposed of with a Cross-Cut shredder, such as a Fellowes P-12C.
    Cross-Cut technology is an important feature for a shredder because it provides high security, destroying confidential information into unidentifiable pieces. Equally important are enhanced safety features, such as Fellowes' SafeSense technology, which shuts the machine down when hands come too close to the paper opening, which is so important if you have children.
  • Refresh your home office computer by deleting files you no longer use and backing-up important data onto an external hard drive. Clean out your inbox and change all passwords. Refreshing your computer is a good practice to follow throughout the year as well.
  • Plan ahead by purchasing organizational tools for your desk, such as computer risers or file folder holders. This will help clear clutter from your desk top while keeping things within arms reach.
  • Get rid of dust and germs that easily build up on office equipment such as keyboards, telephones and cabinets. You'll feel instantly more productive with a clean workspace.
Bust the Dust: A normal dusting routine probably includes the television, computers, the mantel around the little knick-knacks... etc. Spring is a great time to dust it ALL. Open the windows and let that dust know that it's winter welcome has worn out. Dust baseboards, banisters, ceiling lights, ceiling fans, door frames, hanging art frames, the top of the fridge, any space above the cupboards, etc. No speck is safe!



Disclaimer: I have worked with the One2One Network and Fellowes to bring you today's post. The opinions stated are my own. I was in no way compensated for this post. I will be entered to win a Fellowes P-12C.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hey, Nick Jr. - Where's The Fresh Beat Band Merchandise?

ADDITION 1/13/12 - I found a similar jacket to the ones everyone has been purchasing from KMart (that are currently sold out online) from Amazon.com. It's a little pricier at $64, but I'm guessing it's also of a higher quality as it's actually meant for outerwear. Click the picture below for more information. Available in GIRLS sizes 4, 5/6 and 6X.

Another option for a baseline rock star jacket has been spotted at CWDkids.com. This jacket is currently on sale for $39 (regular $64) and is ONLY available in Size 4, so if you want one you'd better hurry! Click here for more information.

The jacket that has been selling at KMart (click here for details) is temporarily unavailable online, but you may be able to find it in your local store. I'll post as soon as I see it up again.

There is a comment to this post about a person who is making the jackets for the hefty price of $80 also. Too much for my tastes, but if you have the money, go for it!

ADDITION 12/21/2011 - Alright...it's official that an audio CD WILL be available on January 31st, 2012. You can use the link below to pre-order your copy for $9.00 (price guaranteed) from Amazon.com.  

                                                                

Also... for those of you (the MANY OF YOU!) looking for Rockstar Jackets, I've heard that the closest match is at KMart under the brand Route 66 (without stars, of course). Click here for details!

The Fresh Beat Band is also featured in the recent Nickelodeon Dance game for the Wii.




ADDITION 4/21/2011 - It should be noted that since writing this post two months ago, at least 7 visitors have come to this page per day by googling the words, "Fresh Beat Band Merchandise." We are not alone! Comment below on what products you'd love to see.

Nick Jr. used to just be a couple hours of preschool based programming on Nickelodeon in the morning hours. With shows like Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer, the company has built an entire franchise (and channel) around toddler shows, including an entire preschool curriculum that parents can follow online. Not to mention the kid-friendly recipes, print-outs, games and activities that keep the kiddos riveted even when the TV isn't on.

Nick Jr. has recently become a staple in our home. Since our daughter turned one, we started letting her watch a show on Nick Jr. before bedtime (prior to this she'd only watched shows on PBS Kids). She fell in love with The Fresh Beat Band.

* * * * * * * * * *

From the Nick Jr. website:

The Fresh Beat Band is a live-action preschool musical sitcom set to original pop songs with preschool-friendly lyrics. Marina, Kiki, Twist, and Shout are the Fresh Beats--four best friends in a band who go to music school together and love to sing and dance.

For the Fresh Beats, just about any situation can lead to a full-blown song-and-dance performance. From the moment they wake up, everything that the Fresh Beats do is infused with musical fun. All songs embody an upbeat, contemporary format with preschool-friendly lyrics that the whole family will enjoy.

In Every Episode:


-There are four upbeat, kid-friendly songs in every Fresh Beat Band episode.

-Children will sing and dance along as they help the Fresh Beats solve a preschool-relatable problem.

-The Fresh Beat Band kicks off each episode with an energetic performance of one of their signature songs.

-When a preschool-appropriate problem arises, The Fresh Beat Band sings a song about how to confront it.


-When the problem is solved, The Fresh Beat Band performs their big number--with the solution incorporated into the lyrics.

-Each episode concludes with a version of The Fresh Beat Band's show-stopping "Great Day!" song.

-Incorporated into each episode is a musical curriculum and proper examples of pro-social behavior.


* * * * * * * * * *

As a parent, I also love The Fresh Beat Band. Why? Yes, they are talented young musicians/actors who are fun, optimistic, and always working together as a team - traits I'd love my toddler to pick up. But forget that. When The Fresh Beat Band is on I don't worry about what she is learning, simply because I cannot get past the immense joy that it brings her. When the show begins, she is up off her chair dancing and smiling, and it literally doesn't stop until the show is over and she exclaims, "all done!"

I never thought that I would be an advocate of children's television merchandise, but if I have to buy something I'd love to buy her something from her favorite show. On the market right now they have everything from Yo Gabba Gabba bath squirters to a Dora the Explorer Memory Game to Blue's Clues No. 2 pencils (seriously).

When AJ started exclaiming "Kiki!!" when The Fresh Beat Band came on I decided that I just had to get her their CD or DVD, or something! (I should mention that Kiki is on the list of her first 10 words... it's so incredibly sweet. This should be an easy task, right?

Wrong! Nick Jr. - seriously? Where is The Fresh Beat Band merchandise? Not even a CD? I mean... it'd be one thing if they were brand new, but they've been around since 2009. I worked for awhile in the children's merchandise industry, and I can tell you first hand that we probably would have started watching the show earlier had I not just randomly come across it one day while channel surfing.

I have searched high and low for CDs, DVDs, shirts, books, anything! I seriously cannot believe that the ONLY piece of Fresh Beat fan love that I found was this coloring book on Amazon.com, which itself doesn't even come out until May of this year. Yeesh - get on it Nick. Jr!


Monday, February 21, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 7th Hour

About 24 Hours of Progress:

So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Seventh Hour:

Move Out Old Media:  I'm the type of person who likes to own a copy of my favorite movies and television shows (noteably, every season of Dawson's Creek). My husband - not so much. He's the type of guy that likes to watch a movie once, form an opinion of it, and remember it that way only (with a few exceptions of course). So until our daughter was born, our DVD collection was pretty steady.
 
Now, though, our shelves are beginning to overflow with Disney movies, Sesame Street favorites, and learning programs. It's not a bad thing, but it was creating a little clutter. I was so glad when my husband and I went through all the DVDs and decided which ones we actually were going to watch again. We probably got rid of 30 of them. You know, over time they just lose their meaning, and of course in the day and age of Netflix there is no longer the irony of "oh, we might as well buy it because it's so expensive to rent it from the video store..."
 
While we were at it, we went through our old CDs as well. Save the good, out with the no longer sentimental. Sorry, Britney Spears. I can honestly say I'll never want to kick back and listen to the entire Baby One More Time CD, ever again.
 
Coat Closet Clutter: Coat closets are a great place for coats and clutter. Whenever I need to clean up in a flash, it seems that the odds and ends are always getting shoved into the coat closet. Beach chairs, broom, snow shovel, empty shoe boxes. You name it, it's probably there. Which might be why most of the time my coat never makes it past the banister... the coat closet is out of room!
 
Clean it out. If you're not a "cleaning type of person" this is a great place to start, because we often don't put little things (notes, pens, etc) into the coat closet.
 
No More Old Magazines!: I tend to hoard magazines. "I don't have time to read this right now, so I'll save it for later." "This has some really great articles that might come in handy later." It's a really, really bad habit. If you have any subscriptions (my husband and I have a combined 8) they tend to build up pretty quickly. Not with my new rule though. I am currently going through all my magazines... giving them a quick look-through, and unless it has something that I will come back to in the next couple weeks (like a blog topic, etc) it's going to be recycled. For magazines with last year's date, I took less time to flip and more time recycling. Getting this clutter out of my home makes me feel great!

Friday, February 18, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 6th Hour

About the 24 Hours of Progress:

So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!
Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Sixth Hour:
Clean Up Shop at Your Laundry Station: Laundry rooms are a natural place for clutter to build up, especially on top of the dryer. Socks without a match, pieces of string and dryer lint, loose change, receipts, gum wrappers, and anything else your little ones decide to stuff into their pockets (rocks and sticks, anyone?) Cleaning up this area always makes me feel better! While you're at it, clean out your washing machine. I know it's cliche because a washing machine washes things, but overtime it's also a place where germs and grime can build up. Add a half a cup to a cup of Clorox to your washing machine and set it for the longest and hottest cycle. When it's finished, run it again on a rinse only cycle to make sure all the bleach washes away. Ta-da!
 
Organize your Digital Photos:
I'll admit it, depending on how unorganized your computer files are, this task could take much longer than an hour (or much longer than days, if you're like me and like to reminisce about every photo). Organizing your photos has got to be one of the most satisfying tasks you can do. I like to organize mine by Month/Year.
 
De-hair your Stairs:
If you have pets, you know that no matter how many times or how thouroughly that you vacuum the stairs that there will still be traces of hair there. The people that lived in our home before us had two black labs whose hair was still showing up over a year later (gross, I know). Anyways... here's a trick that my mom taught me that will make your stairs spotless (though it will take you about an hour).
 
Put on clean, dry rubber dish gloves and scrape your fingers along the crevices of the carpet on the stairs. The rubber will help pick up all the hair and residue that is stuck in the carpet that your vacuum can't get. You'll be amazed at how much gunk you'll be able to get out! I recommend doing this every 2-3 months.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CleanFlame Firelogs - A Wonderful, GREEN Solution!! {Review}

CleanFlame™ Firelogs are a product that my husband and I have been looking for for a long time. Since about July 2009, in fact. When I was pregnant with our daughter I was craving real, roasted-over-an-open-fire smores. My husband and I have one of those mini fire pits in our backyard, but being that camping season was well underway there wasn't firewood anywhere in sight. Our only option was using firestarters, and time and time again we were turned away by the packaging, which stated that the logs contained chemicals that made using the fire to cook with unsafe. Great... it was going to be microwave smores for me.

Not anymore though!


From their Website:

CleanFlame Firelogs:
  • Made from 100% recycled materials
  • Saves trees and reduces landfill waste
  • Burns cleanly enough to cook over
  • Generates 86% less creosote, 80% less carbon monoxide, and 30% less particulate matter than natural wood
  • Easy to start in any weather; burns without tending
  • Single 5-pound log burns up to 3 hours
  • Won't spark, drip, or melt
  • Safe for stacking, poking, stirring, burning in woodstoves, burning in combination with natural wood
  • Free of post infestation
  • Approximate heat value: 13,000 BTUs (5-pound log)
  • Available in 3 and 5 pound sizes
  • Available in single units or 6 log cases
I received a sample box from CleanFlame and couldn't be more pleased. It is so great to see a company use innovative technology to recycle waxed cardboard boxes and create a green product that is good for our families and our environment.

CleanFlame™ is not a specialty product that can only be purchased online and will cost you an arm and a leg. They sell their products in thousands of stores nationwide. Their convenient store locater will help you locate CleanFlame™ products in your own town, so that you can try them for yourselves.  

Right now you can save $3.00 on any one case of six 5-pound CleanFlame™ Firelogs. Click here to print your coupon!

Please share the news of CleanFlame™ with everyone you know who has a fireplace, a woodburning stove, an open pit or who likes to go camping. CleanFlame™ is THE green solution for having a fire.

For more news and updates from CleanFlame™, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

In this YouTube video, CleanFlame™ CEO Kory Hammond talks about how CleanFlame™ delivers the best ultra-clean burning 100% recycled firelogs and firestarters.



Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with the CleanFlame company, other than a satisfied customer.  I received a free sample for writing this post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 5th Hour

About the 24 Hours of Progress:


So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Fifth Hour

Shoe Sorting:Most of us live by the rule of only getting a new car when we get rid of the old one, but there are probably very few women who could live by the rule to get rid of one pair of shoes every time they bought a new pair. Myself included. My husband often has to talk me into chucking my old shoes, because I'm known to wear them until they are literally falling apart. I'm a comfort kinda gal.

That doesn't mean though, that as women we need to hoard shoes. Take the time to go through your various closets and look at the collection of shoes that has built up over the years. There may be some that you forgot about and cannot wait to wear again! For others, decide if you can live without them, and if they are in good enough shape consider donating them to a local clothing drive.

Clean Out the Junk Drawer:
I'm not suggesting that any home should go without a junk drawer. In fact, I think they are necessary for the management of a house. If there were no junk drawers, after all, where would we put our batteries and birthday candles and twisty ties and rubberbands and Scotch tape?

My point exactly.

They do get cluttered sometimes, so take the time to clear out the clutter and make space for more useful junk.

Super Sanitizer:
Germs are everywhere, and as hard as we try to keep up with everything our kids touch, they can spread like wildfire and quickly infect an entire family. Take the time to super-sanitize your house. I suggest Clorox Disinfecting Wipes because they are also streak free. Make the rounds around your house and make sure to get all of the trouble spots:
  • doorknobs
  • remote controls
  • cell phones/cordless phones
  • baby gates
  • cupboard knobs
  • refrigerator handle/freezer handle
  • oven/microwave/toaster controls
  • toy box lid
  • toilet handle
  • sink/bathtub hardware
  • keyboard/mouse
  • stair rail
  • thermostat

Not Sure Where to Find Something? CSN Stores will have it!


I just love CSN Stores. Every time that I'm in need of something and I'm not sure where to find it, I can be certain that they'll have it. Their 200+ online stores have just about everything! From movie theater style popcorn boxes to heart shaped waffle makers to LCD TV Stands, they have just about everything you could possibly ever want or need.

I'm heading over there now to purchase a new stroller. With a selection of over 770 different strollers (did you know that many different styles existed?) I'm bound to find the one that will be just right for our Disney trip in March. That, and I'm so thrilled that I won't have to lug my daughter around from baby store to baby store dealing with crummy selections. Stay tuned!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Helping Our Toddler Sleep Away From Home

Sleeping away from home can be a pretty scary thing for a toddler. Toddlers crave routine, especially a bedtime routine in their own house, their own bed, with their own blankets and stuffed animals. Take that away and it can feel like the world is caving in around them.

For the better part of a year my husband and I were terrified of traveling with our daughter. She'd cry and cry away from home. We'd have to take turns rocking her to sleep and hoping we'd be able to put her down without her waking up, only to endure the same madness a couple hour later.

Our holiday trip this past year was the worst. We (unfortunately) live a 12 hour drive away from our families, and so we usually stop and stay overnight about halfway through. This time, on our way we got to the hotel and all of us went to bed at about 8pm (the only way AJ would go to sleep is if all the lights were out). I'm not going to lie, this part of traveling with a young child (the going to bed early part) is kind of refreshing. The bad news is that AJ woke up at 1am, terrified of her unfamiliar surroundings. Once we had calmed her down and she realized that her pack-n-play was only about 3 feet from the bed we were sleeping in, she decided that there was no way she was going back to sleep. My husband and I took turns watching PBS holiday specials with her, but since neither of us were getting any actual sleep, at 5am I said screw it, and we hit the road again.

This past weekend we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA (review coming soon). We wanted to have a good time, and not worry about our peanut having sleep troubles.

This is what I did to help her out. The week leading up to our trip, I put her down for her nap in the pack-n-play. The first day she went crazy, crying. After 30 minutes she had still not settled down, so I relented and put her in her own crib. The second day she went down without any fuss, and so on it went. For our trip I packed her pack-n-play with the same sheet that she had been sleeping on all week (smell of home). I packed her favorite stuffed animals, and her sound of crickets noisemaker machine.

Saturday night, after an amazing day of play at Great Wolf Lodge, I went to set up the pack-n-play, and AJ laid down on the mattress before I could even set it up. After pajamas and one of her favorite stories, she went right to sleep, and slept well the whole night. :) I had read online that this tactic of using a pack-n-play before travel works well, and I can verify that it did work for us.

I am a little bit nervous because we will be traveling to Disney World next month, and staying for longer than one night. I do plan on bringing AJ's own sheets and comforts of home, and we'll hope for the best!

24 Hours of Progress: The 4th Hour

About the 24 Hours of Progress:

So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Fourth Hour

Clean Your Window Treatments:
A lot of people tend to forget that their curtains and blinds are a part of the home that needs to be cleaned every once in awhile too. Over time they collect dust as they hang there, and if you have kids there is almost no questioning that they are also collecting other various types of grime.

- Curtains: Remove carefully and take outside to shake. If you're not a fan of dust, consider wearing a surgical mask for this part. Wash and iron the curtains according to the manufacterer's instructions, and hang back in place.

- Mini-Blinds: There's a lot of different ways to clean mini-blinds. However, unless you want to spread dust everywhere, I suggest taking them down and washing them in the bathtub. You'll be glad that you did! Check out this article with a step-by-step tutorial on washing your blinds in the tub.

-Wooden Blinds: It's really important NOT to use water on your wooden blinds. Over time, this will ruin them, and even cause the wood to warp or become moldy. Yuck! For information on how to best clean your wooden blinds, visit this eHow article.

Vaccum Entire Living Room:
Probably for every six times that I vacuum, I only vacuum under the couch once. Mostly because I don't feel like moving the heavy furniture around. The satisfaction I get from seeing zero dust bunnies under the couch though is always worth it.

Inventory in the Pantry:
Every couple of months I completely organize the pantry into like categories: breakfast items, canned soup, snacks, condiments, etc. It certainly doesn't last long though, because constantly hands are reaching in there to grab items quickly, or new items are being added into the wrong categories (i.e. I let my husband help put groceries away.) Go through your pantry, making sure to throw out any expired items, and making a separate stash to donate to a local food bank. (Do we really need 13 cans of tomato soup right now? Probably not.) Make a list of the items you're missing, and pick them up on your next trip to the grocery store. (You'll get bonus points if you come home with nothing more than the items on your list!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Get the Dirt, But Keep it Clean! {Win a trip to Hollywood!}

This Valentine’s Day, a new mobile campaign from Clorox® Regular-Bleach helps women clean up their own dirt while they enjoy their Hollywood news. When you sign up for helpful cleaning tips and gossip, you'll automatically be entered to win a trip for 2 to Hollywood, California. That's right, the land of sunshine, shopping and celebrities.

Do you know how many things you can do with Clorox bleach? It's really an amazing product. From keeping my flowers fresh longer (really! just had 1/4 teaspoon to each quart of water in vase) to disinfecting the inside of my washing machine from flu viruses, Clorox can pretty much do it all. You don't want to miss out on these tips.

To sign up and enter to win, visit www.clorox.com/GetTheDirt.

Disclosure: The Clorox Company sent me information about the Get the Dirt, but Keep it Clean program not intended to solicit product claims. I am in no way affiliated with Clorox nor do I endorse their products. This post was made in part with my membership to the One2One Network.

Friday, February 11, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The Third Hour

About the 24 Hours of Progress:


So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Third Hour:

Clean Out Your Book Cases
For quite awhile I felt like I had to keep every book that I'd read, regardless of whether I liked it or if I planned on reading it ever again. I'd write my name and the month/year that I read it inside the front cover, and over the years I watched the collection grow. What was I thinking? Maybe it's the mountains on toys that have taken over my house, but these days I'm not very big on clutter. If I read a book, I simply post my review on GoodReads so that I can go online and remember it that way. (Of course, if I really love a book, it's a keeper!) For this challenge, go through your bookshelves and take out any books that you can bear parting with. I myself am hosting a "Book Swapping" party at the end of March.

What's a book swapping party? Well, it's pretty simple, really. You invite a number of guests (I'm having 12) to bring their old books over (I'm limiting my guests to bringing 10 books to keep it simple). All the books are put out on a table (or two or three), and after everyone has arrived, each person can take as many "new" books as they brought. (Which means you can trade your stash for some new reads, or just ditch your stash so your friends can have some new reads). At the end of the night, any leftover books can be donated to the local library. (And of course, the party in a book swapping party comes with the wine and appetizers you serve while everyone is making their selections!)

Go Through Your Fridge
The depth of a fridge sure comes in handy when you're storing a pizza or birthday cake, but boy has it gotten me in trouble when it comes to yogurt, milk products and fruit. Take the time to go through your fridge and discard the things that have expired or that you're just not going to use. Culprits to clutter in my fridge? Five (I know, 5??) open bottles of BBQ sauce, expired products, mushy fruit... yuck. And embarrassing, too! While you're at it, change out your box of baking soda (did you know it's recommended you swap out your baking soda every MONTH!?) and use sanitizing wipes to freshen things up.

Unclutter the Outside of Your Fridge:
Sometimes the outside is just as bad as the inside, if not worse!! Coupons, artwork, family photos, business cards, brochures, recies and kid's magnets take up a lot of space. And it's not secret... a cluttered fridge can make your whole kitchen seem smaller! Clear it off and take a picture... it's sure to be cluttered off again soon! You'll feel better that you did though.

Have a great weekend!

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I had my third trip to the endocrinologist today. I feel like things are steadily getting better, and it's a relief. I get to go back in 12 weeks now instead of 8, so I am thankful for that. Unfortunately though their practice is moving about 30 minutes away so the trips will now be longer. Oh well! God is good and I'm glad I'm getting better. I think it's absolutely incredible that a disease like Hashimoto's, in which my immune system is literally attacking my thyroid, can be so well balanced out with one daily pill. Modern medicine is amazing.

I missed posting a question for my Day Zero Project last week - oops. Here's today's question from the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind:

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
If you asked my husband this question about me, he would tell you that I must be more concerned with doing the right things over doing things right. That probably comes from my refusal to read directions (I know, what am I, a guy???) I'm constantly getting too far ahead of myself... starting a recipe before realizing it involves a main ingredient that I definitely don't have, or double booking play dates.

I am, however, always thinking about doing the right things. I shared a story a couple months back about my great dog rescue. It was around 8:30am on a rainy Thursday morning and I was about 2 minutes from home when I saw a little Pomeranian dodging in and out of traffic. Everyone was moving fairly slow, so as not to hit the dog, but as soon as I passed the little white ball of fur I burst into tears for some reason unbeknown to me. At that moment I felt God's power surge through me and I knew what I was supposed to do. I turned the car around, pulled over and put the pup in the front seat next to me. There's an animal shelter safehaven right around the corner so I brought the dog there.

This event encouraged me to start doing the right things in more situations. I currently make meals for people who are sick or too busy, visit the elderly, and fill in as a volunteer whenever possible. It's greatly improved my life satisfaction!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Check Out My Guest Post on Oh So Savvy Mom!

Oh So Savvy Mom


Amy over at Oh So Savvy Mom is currently running an amazing series on cloth diapering. If you're stuck on the basics, she's your girl! She explains the fundamentals as well as the benefits of using cloth diapers. I was so excited when she asked me to do a guest post! I didn't start using cloth diapers until my daughter was almost 10 months old. Go check out my post, "It's Never Too Late to Cloth Diaper."

Thank you for the opportunity, Amy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 2nd Hour

About the 24 Hours of Progress:


So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The Second Hour

Clean Out Your DishwasherThis task is practically cheating, because though your dishwasher may be working for an hour, your effort is only going to take about 60 seconds. You don't have to tell your husband that though. Just open your dishwasher door and show him the sparkling goodness you created. To get started, you'll need a packet of powdered lemonade (about $0.25 at the store) and to read this tutorial I posted.
 
Wash Your Windows
I don't know about you, but I am horrible about washing my windows and mirrors. Pretty much, if it doesn't look dirty, then it can't be that dirty, which means that cleaning on an absolute need-to basis. That also means that I rarely take the time to look at the bathroom windows or that of the guest bedroom. Take the time to make the rounds through each room in your house and wash the windows. It's a great way to freshen things up!
 
Organize the Toy Room
Those of of with children certainly know how disastrous a playroom can become over time. Though some children are good at "cleaning up" (my daughter just LOVES to help pick up), often when we open a toy chest we find puzzle pieces, game pawns, stuffed animal accessories, books, play food, dress-up clothes and other items that we just can't seem to place. Take the time to go through your children's toys and put everything back together as it should be. You'll be amazed at how receptive your kids will be to this easy task, and hey! -- With all the pieces together, they might actually take the time to do that puzzle again. This is also a great opportunity to weed out the toys that are no longer played with or age-appropriate.

Pre-Order Tangled and Get 50% Off on Amazon!!

I love a good pre-sale, especially on hot Disney items like last year's feature,Tangled.

Released on Blu-ray and DVD March 31st, Tangled will be a hi in Easter baskets all across America this year. Make sure to get your copy today for 50% of retail price at Amazon.com!

That's right, theTwo-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combois available for pre-order now for just $19.99 (original price $39.99) and theTangled DVD is available for just $16.99 (original price $29.99). If you're really looking to make an impression on the kids, there is a Special Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy available for pre-order as well for $29.99 (original price $49.99).

Don't hesitate! This pre-order price will be gone as soon as the movie is released!

Monday, February 7, 2011

24 Hours of Progress: The 1st Hour

About the 24 Hours of Progress:
So often, the only projects that get "done" around our homes is dinner (and no, takeout doesn't count) and the laundry. Out of necessity though. There are so many little nagging projects that linger for most of us. Yes, we can live with a little clutter here or there, but it sure feels good to get those little things out of the way!

Spring is a natural time of rebirth and shedding the layers that has descended upon our house over the winter. The Holly at Nap Time series 24 hours of Progress is designed of 72 household projects that will take on average about one hour to do. Pick one project each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work on from now until April 1st. By the end of the session, you will have made 24 Hours of Progress towards the home you deserve!

The First Hour:

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinets
After a minor muscle ache recently, my hubby dug out some BenGay for me. It wasn't three seconds later that he said, "Um... this expired in 2007. When did we buy this?" Medicine cabinets often have inventory that we've long forgotten about. We're unsure if we have something, so to be on the safe side we buy another one. And of course, whenever we have a terrible cold or other ailment, the medicines we need aren't there because we thought we had them but never double checked. Take the time to go through your medicine cabinet, throwing away expired items and ditching the ones you'll never need again. Make a list of the items that you should have on hand and pick them up during your next shopping trip. And while you're at it, if you have small children in the house you'll also want to consider safety locks for your cabinets. The medicine cabinet becomes an object of fascination at an early age. Make sure you keep your family safe!

Dig Out Under Your Bed
I've had a rule at our house since my husband and I first moved in together - nothing crammed under the bed. It comes from a horrible habit I had as a child. When "cleaning" my room I was always inclined to shove things under the bed. Toys and objects long forgotten would clutter the space down under for years, and on the few rare occasions I was made to clean out under my bed, I'd always spend the day discovering long-lost treasures that weren't any good to me now, but that I sure wished I'd had in the months and years prior. What is under your bed? In recent years, due to minimal storage at our current home, I've ammended this rule to allow small, contained items (like my scrapbook bag) reside under the bed. As long as it's organized I can go to sleep happy.

Clean Out Your Most Cluttered Kitchen Cupboard
Every kitchen has one of these. For our house, it seems to be the "baby cupboard" which is cluttered with never-used bottles (my daughter nursed for 14 months and always refused a bottle, so went straight to sippy. I do often find myself using them to measure liquids though!), baby food & snacks, an assortment of sippy cups, Pedialyte and our cat's medicine. Basically, it's a source of anxiety every time I go to open it. So today this will be my project to tackle and organize. (I should also mention that this isn't even the worst cupboard, but that I'm not touching the "hubby's cupboard." Because of our current lack-of-garage, we unfortunately have a kitchen cupboard cluttered with small tools, lightbulbs, etc. As soon as the weather warms up, this embarrassing collection will be finding a new home in the shed.)

I'd love for you to follow along! Cleaning your house is always so much better with support! Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cheers to the Single Parent

Every single day I thank the Good Lord that I am not a single parent, and that I have a wonderful husband to help me with the trials of raising our young daughter. Every single day.

There have been times when my husband has been away for a couple of days on business, and by the time he gets home I feel like I would have died had I been left alone for just a few more hours.

Single parents often have to get up early to get ready for work, get the kid(s) up and ready and chauffeured to daycare or school, work all day, and then have to worry about getting the kids home, fed, cleaned, homeworked, entertained and to bed. Not to mention bills and grocery shopping and cleaning.

The bottom line is that being a single parent is HARD work.

Single parents are often looked down on, as people who weren't able to keep their marriages together or who had babies out of wedlock. This kind of judgment is just so harsh. Being a single parent doesn't need to be a constant reminder of a person's faults and past mistakes. Moms and dads of two-parent families should look at these single parents as superheroes. They are doing it all on their own. Also, have you ever noticed that single parents are usually the last to complain about anything - including those 3am wakings?

Being a single parent is not a luxurious thing (unless you're a 40+ washed-up celebrity, then you're not really a single parent anyways because you have a trained staff....). Generally nobody chooses to be a single parent... we're all just dealing with the cards that God has dealt us.

My point remaining... I'm so thankful I don't have to do this parenting thing on my own. If you know a single parent (which chances are, you do) applaud them on the great job they are doing raising their kids. Do something friendly (like bring over dinner or offer to babysit) to take just the tiniest load off of them. And be thankful for what you have.