Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Tackle Some of Your Summer Goals

Author: Whitney Hollingshead

summer, swimming

Are you ready for summer? As spring draws to a close, your mind may be racing about all of your summer hopes and goals. Odds are that your summer to do list includes at least one of the five activities listed below. Just follow these helpful hints and get ready to kick back and enjoy the coming season:

I want to plant a vegetable garden.

  • Survey your plot and determine how much space you have and figure out how much of that area gets direct sun. This will help you determine what will grow best in your garden.
  • Practice watering the plot before you start planting. You can easily pinpoint areas that are not getting enough water and adjust your setup before planting.
  • Utilize your local gardening center. Ask the experts about which plants grow best in your area and find out how soon you need to get each vegetable planted.
  • Buy your seeds early. You may need to plant earlier than expected and popular varieties may sell out quickly.
  • Only plant what your family is going to eat. This applies to not only what to plant, but also how much to plant.

I want to fix up my home/yard.

  • Carefully survey your home and yard. What areas need the most attention? Focus on any potential safety hazards first.
  • Plan a budget for your projects. Fixing things up always costs more than you expect. Make sure you have more than enough money set aside to see the project through.
  • Start watching for sales on tools and supplies you will need. You can also scope out yard sales and secondhand stores. Ask family members, friends, and neighbors if you can borrow a needed tool for a weekend.
  • If you are hiring someone to help with your hard or home projects make sure you hire someone reputable. These important tips will help you determine if the person or company you are considering is a safe bet.

I want to have some fun in the sun.

gardening, yard work

  • Stock up now on sunscreen. Make sure you have sweat-proof/waterproof sunscreen available for every member of the family. Put a bottle in the trunk or glove compartment of each car and put a smaller bottle in your purse or diaper bag.
  • Review water safety with each family member. Contact your local pool now to enroll children in age appropriate swim lessons. The earlier lessons are completed in the season, the better.
  • Make a list of fun outdoor summer activities now. Put your list in a place where you can see it often and start crossing things off.
  • Ask family members and friends to share their favorite summer activities and places to visit for additional ideas to add to your list.
  • Start planning simple summer meals now. After a day in the sun, the last thing you will want to think about is making dinner. Compile shopping lists to stock up on items for delicious sandwiches, salads, and smoothies.

I want to explore the great outdoors.

camping, summer vacation, goals

  • Plan a camping trip that suits your style. Whether it’s a long backpacking trip, a weekend in the mountains, a night at a nearby campground, or sleeping under the stars in your own backyard, put camping on your summer calendar now.
  • Research the best local hikes. Choose a few you’d like to complete and add them to your summer calendar.
  • Put some scenic drives on your calendar for Sunday afternoons.
  • Create a nature photo scavenger hunt for your family to complete. Compile a list of items found in nature in your area and award family members points for taking a picture with each item. This activity can last all summer and the points can be used toward a fun activity at the end of the summer.

I want to go on a summer vacation.

  • Book your vacation now. Hotels, flights, and campgrounds can fill up quickly.
  • Research your destination and the surrounding areas well ahead of time. This will help you prioritize your itinerary. You can also search for tips and deals that relate specifically to where you are headed.  
  • Ask a neighbor in advance to keep an eye on your home while you are gone.
  • Start setting aside a small amount of spending money for each family member. When you leave on your trip, give each family member spending cash and tell them they can spend it as they wish. This will help cut down on family members asking for souvenirs or extra treats along the way and can even help children learn how to budget their funds. Ice cream now may mean no t-shirt later.
  • Do not post anything on social media about the trip before or during your trip. Wait until you are home to post pictures and updates. This will help keep your family, home, and belongings safe.

Whatever you have your heart set on for this summer, make sure you start getting ready now so you can more fully enjoy this summer season!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning: How to Make Your House Sparkle from Top to Bottom

Author: Alyssa Craig

spring cleaning

After a fall and winter of being cooped up in the house and tracking all sorts of dirt and grime inside, spring is here and it is time to do some cleaning! While some live for this time of year, others find it overwhelming as they look to tackle some deep cleaning. Regardless of your mindset, you will need some great tips on how to make your house sparkle, from top to bottom.
Light Fixtures

cleaning

Before you get started cleaning all the different light fixtures in your home, be sure to turn off the electricity in whichever room you are in. You can even consider turning off the breaker to ensure safety. While microfiber cloths are mentioned in these tips, dryer sheets are a fantastic alternative.

Chandeliers: If it is small enough, take it down and lay it on a towel. If not, get a secure step ladder to help you reach. Take a picture of the chandelier before you begin so you can replace crystals you may remove. Use a solution made of 1 ounce mild dish soap, ¼ cup white vinegar, and 3 cups of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spritz each crystal. Let dry and polish with microfiber cloth.

Light bulbs: Wipe down each light bulb with a dry cloth. Do not spray anything on it or use a damp cloth, as it can damage the electronics.

Ceiling Fixture: Take down the fixture and put in a sink full of soapy water. Wash, dry and shine with microfiber cloth. Do NOT put in dishwasher, as the glass can break.

Recessed Lights: Wipe down the outside and inside of the canister with a microfiber cloth or slightly damp rag.

Walls
Before you clean your walls, push your furniture out of the way and put down drop cloths or old sheets to catch soapy drips. Avoid plastic as it becomes slippery and can lead to injury.

Painted Walls
  • Use a lamb’s wool duster to remove dust from the walls first. You can also use a broom or vacuum.
  • Wash walls from the bottom up to avoid dirt streaks from drying on the walls.
  • Dip a sponge into a cleaning solution and use a clean cloth to blot excess liquid.
  • Clean the walls from side to side. Be sure to do the whole wall in one session to avoid weird drying streaks.

Wallpaper
  • Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you don’t use anything that may damage that particular wallpaper. Be gentle.
  • First dust with lamb’s wool and a dry sponge.
  • Use a lightly dampened sponge of cleaner to clean the walls.

Doors
  • General Tips: Dust first so you do not just move dirt around. Use heavy duty paper towels or a sponge.
  • Painted or Stained Doors (such as a front door): Use a furniture wax or polish. Use a diluted solution so it will not strip the paint.
  • Indoor Doors: Use a diluted water and dish soap solution to clean these doors.
  • Glass Doors: Household glass cleaner can be used in addition to a water and a dish soap cleaning solution.

Windows

chores

  • Outside
    • Use a long cloth head of a strip applicator.
    • Add dishwashing liquid to a bucket of warm water, the less suds the better.
    • Clean with a squeegee in a reverse S pattern, wiping the squeegee clean after each stroke on a clean rag.
    • Dry off remaining drips with a rag. Wipe down windowsill with a different rag.
    • For multi pane windows, a handheld sponge or hog-bristle brush works best. You can also cut squeegees to fit the size of the window panes on your home.
  • Inside
    • Put down a towel to catch dripping.
    • Dust off windows first with a duster or dry cloth.
    • Fill a bucket with warm water and small amount of detergent.
    • Clean the frames with a sponge, using the cleaning solution in the bucket.
    • Drag the sponge of cleaner down and follow it with a squeegee.
    • Dry window with a dry cloth.

Baseboards
The should be done last, as dirt and solution from walls and windows could drip on the baseboards. First vacuum them down to remove excess dust. Use either a Magic Eraser, soap and water, or an all purpose cleaner to clean them. For tricky and hard to reach corners, try using cotton swabs.

As you start cleaning each room in your home, this is also a great time to notice when items in the house are broken and may need to be replaced. Replace light bulbs that have gone out, patch nail holes that are no longer in use, and replace broken blinds with great new window coverings like these. Soon, your house will shine and feel like a breath of fresh air.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What I Was Born to Do #Imbornto

This post was sponsored by The Motherhood in partnership with the March of Dimes.  I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.

march of dimes

Have you ever thought about what you were born to do?  I feel like there are certain events and thoughts and desires that have happened throughout my life that have given me hopes and dreams and helped me understand what I was born to do.

The very first thing I was born to do was to be a mom.  I've always wanted a family.  A big family.  I had a few friends growing up with 5+ children and I loved that and wanted that!  I have never been one of those girls who just goes gaga when I see a little baby or loved babysitting.  But I knew that I wanted to be a mom and that I had a natural desire to be one.  I think most women have this.  

Being a mom can be hard and definitely comes with its challenges, but it's the best job.  Ever.  There's nothing better than my daughters running over to me, giving me a huge hug, and saying "I love you mom!  You're my best friend!"  Or my sweet boy seeing me across the room, smiling, and walking over to me to give me slobbery kisses.  And boy are they slobbery!  I think my biggest accomplishment will to see my children learn, grow, develop, accomplish, and learn for themselves what they are born to do.



I was also born to be a business woman.  I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I have also had this desire to have my own business.  I'm not sure why, that desire has just always been there.  So I started this blog, I've had lots of dreams of starting Etsy shops, and finally began Mommy Admin with my husband this February.  The reality is, it's a hard time to do that with having 3 kids under 5, so it's a slow start, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to try and to build on my dreams when I have some spare time when my kids are in bed.  :-) But I'm doing it.  And I love it!


And I was born to be a teacher.  I love teaching!  I earned my degree in Elementary Education and I've had lots of opportunities to teach in my church and to teach my children.  It feels natural to me and I love the ideas that flow when I create new lesson plans.  I feel confident when I teach and I love helping others learn.  I've wanted to be a teacher since the 5th grade and started tutoring as a teenager.  And I haven't stopped teaching since.  It's one of my greatest passions.



What were you born to be?  What dreams and desires have you had?

What do you think your children are born to be?

I'm grateful that my children have the opportunity to be whatever they want to be. Through things I've learned over the years to help me have healthy pregnancies, vaccinations, and infancy testing,
March of Dimes have given my family a chance to be healthy and to have the strength for my children to live their dreams.

You can help every family have healthy babies too!  There are lots of ways to help!

Especially with Father's Day around the corner, give something to dad that also gives to an excellent cause.  The March of Dimes has partnered with companies who are donating to the March of Dimes with your purchases!

father's day


They are:

Martha Stewart - Celebrate dad online! Join the #THX2U movement and share your appreciation of Dad with the world. Upload a baby picture of your child, grandchild, or yourself using the hashtag #THX2U, and $10 of the Emeril/MSLO/Meredith donation will be recognized for each uploaded photo in support of the imbornto campaign.  How cool and easy is that?

Bon Ton - Purchase a fragrance for dad for Father's day.

Mud Pie - Purchase adorable headbands or socks for your baby with your dad's favorite sport.

Blue Rhino - They are supporting the March of Dimes.  Show your support of America's #1 propane tank brand and get grilling this Father's Day!

As well as A&E Jewelers, Alex and Ani, and Kmart. And of course you can always just donate to the March of Dimes. All of these sponsors and their campaigns can be found at Imbornto.

pregnancy, vaccinations


The March of Dimes has been focusing on families for over 75 years and was founded by FDR to eradicate polio.  And it did!  Now they focus on preventing birth defects and infant mortality. They want to help you and your family have healthy, full term pregnancies. The money they receive from your donations and the donations of these partners help the March of Dimes fund important research and programs that help all babies begin healthy lives.

Did you know that March of Dimes has helped you and your family if you have received the polio vaccine, taken a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, received an APGAR score immediately following birth, or if you or your child was born prematurely?  Amazing!

I love their theme that
every baby is born to do something special and unique.

But they know they can't do it alone.  The #imbornto campaign is to celebrate the moms and dads who keep their babies healthy and safe before and after birth.  So, if you can, donate to the March of Dimes directly or through one of their partners and help fund the research to help babies start with a healthy life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lion Handprint

When Mother's Day comes and I have a child who's one years old, I give my mom a cute animal handprint to put in the kids room in their home.  So this year Nate is 1 so I wanted to keep my tradition.

handprints, zoo animals

Here the ones we've done in the past:

For Kami we did an elephant.

kid art

For Chloe we did a giraffe.

Mother's Day

And now for Nathan we did a lion.

zoo animal art

I thought it turned out so cute!  It's so simple and a fun keepsake to have.  The hardest part was getting Nate to open his hands to make the handprint.  I think he liked the feeling of the paint and kept making a fist.  I needed Alan for a little team work to make it happen. :)

All you do is paint your child's hand yellow and have them press their hand on paper.  I like to use cardstock so it will hold up a little better.  Then I painted a circle with yellow for the head, added eyes and a nose with black, and then painted orange lines for the mane.  So easy right?  And so cute!  I've kept with the off white theme of frames and buy a new one to go with the handprint.

The room in the my parent's house for the kids is jungle themed so these handprints go perfect with the decor!  It's going to be so fun for the kids to be able to look at their handprints when they're older.  Hopefully my sisters jump in the tradition with their kids too. :-)


Monday, May 4, 2015

Baby Animal Days Family Passes Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by the USU Extension.  I was compensated for the post, but all opinions are my own.  We love Baby Animal Days!

Baby Animal Days


If you live near Kaysville, UT or don't mind a little bit of a drive for some fun, you need to go to Baby Animal Days!  
Hosted by the USU Extension at the Kaysville Botanical Center, Baby Animal Days will be on May 8 - May 9 (Yes! This weekend!) and is fun for the whole family! We've gone the last 2 years and my kids have a blast!  We are so excited to go again this year!

There's so much to do!

Horse back rides.
USU Extension

Face painting.
Chloe really wanted a piggy.  It was so cute!
baby animals


Baby bunnies and chicks to hold (a favorite of ours).
Kaysville Botanical Center

Lots of baby animals to see.
Look at these cute little piggies!
Giveaway

Sheep sheering demonstrations. Food. Miniature train rides. Climbing walls. Bouncy Houses.
Baby Animal Days


We even bring the grandparents along and they love it too!  There's so much to see and do and who doesn't like seeing baby animals?  We look forward to it every year.  The kids love all the activities and getting to pet and hold some of the animals.  Then you can eat dinner or lunch (depending on which day you go) from some yummy food vendors.  It's a great way to enjoy Spring with your kids.

You can find more info at the Baby Animal Days Website.

And you can enter my giveaway!  
I'm giving away Family Passes (worth $25) to 2 of my readers!  
This includes 6 related individuals (so it can be extended family) ages 3 and up.  

So make sure you enter below and tell your friends and family to enter too! I'll announce the winner Thursday and you can choose whether you want to attend Friday or Saturday.  Good luck! And see you there!
And if you don't win, but would still like a family pass, here's a referral code for $5 off!
Just use the code blogger15.  Good luck!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

You Can Help Support Healthy Babies with #Imbornto

This is sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood and The March of Dimes #Imbornto campaign. I was compensated for the post, but all opinions are my own.

I've been really fortunate to have had 3 babies that have been born full term. Of course, sometimes when you are pregnant, you think you want your baby to come early because it would be nice to just be done being pregnant and to get that adorable baby here, but when all is said and done, I'm glad my babies have come on time and even overdue. Babies who are born at full term typically eat and sleep better and their lungs and brains have a better chance to develop fully.

I was also born full term. In fact I was born very overdue. My original due date was December 17th and I wasn't born until February 9th! Obviously there was some miscalculation there. But regardless they let my mom go way overdue. Aren't you glad they don't do that anymore? I sure am!

Every baby is born to do something great - March of Dimes

I was born to live life to the fullest. Here are a couple of fun pictures of me as a kid! (So the pics of me as a kid are at my parents house, so these are #tbt people have done on Facebook. I really need to get those albums from my parents...)

Here's me at Girl Scouts. I'm the tall one in the middle.

And here's me with some childhood friends and my sister. I'm the second from the right.

This is my family probably around 2000.

And this is me at 14 years old. 

My parents allowed us to have a lot of opportunities as children even though we didn't always have the means to do so. My mom cleaned a house so we could do dance. We went camping every year and went on lots of family trips. My parents were really good at letting me do things that I wanted to try whether that was soccer, volleyball, water polo, piano, rock climbing with friends, traveling to Europe in college, etc. I felt really involved and that I could try anything I wanted to - that was reasonably safe of course.  And I knew I may not be great at it, but I could at least try it. As a mom I have kept that spontaneous and adventurous spirit. I hope to pass that on to my children.

The March of Dimes has been helping families for more than 75 years! Do you want to know the great impact they've made already? Here are some of the contributions to helping babies be healthy:

- Newborn screenings from just a few drops of blood from their heel.
- Fighting premature birth so the brain can fully develop - babies need 39 weeks.
- They've identified a gene responsible for oral cleft and are researching ways to prevent it. 
- Folic acid education which means fewer babies are born with neural tube defects.
- They're developing treatments to cure vision defects.
- Overcame threat of polio.

Did you know that a baby is born prematurely every minute in the US? And 72 babies die each day before they reach their first birthday.

The March of Dimes has done some pretty amazing things to help keep our babies healthy. And they need your help to continue research and education so that every family can have a healthy baby.



I'm on a team of 39 moms who are trying to get the word out about how you can help the March of Dimes with their research and education efforts. The March of Dimes has partnered with a few businesses that are donating funds from your purchases to the Imbornto Campaign. 

Make sure to check out the Imbornto Campaign to see what each partner is doing to raise money for the March of Dimes so you can participate or you can just donate!  The partnered companies are:

- Martha Stewart
- Bon Ton
- Mudpie
- A&E Jewelers
- ebay
- Alex and Ani
-Kmart

Thanks for helping all of us have healthy babies!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ultimate Cash Giveaway!

Hey friends!
I'm involved in an awesome giveaway that I can't wait to share with you!

My favorite giveaways are always those that have to do with cash because then you can spend the money however you want!

So here's a chance to win $500 cash via PayPal.  
Just enter the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Ultimate Cash April.jpg
GIVEAWAY DETAILS
Prize: $500 Cash (via Paypal)
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 5/18 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!