Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April's mom panel (part 1)

Our April meeting was a huge hit... we had four of our own MOPS mamas take the "hot seat" as our speaker panel! A huge thanks to Meagan, Margaret, Bekah & Sonia for sharing your tips & tricks with us! Because these moms gave so much great info, I'm doing this meeting recap in two posts. Be sure to check back for Part 2!

Managing your Photos (by Margaret)

As moms, most of us snap pictures. LOTS of pictures. But sometimes, that's as far as it goes... our pictures end up living forever on our phones, our cameras or our laptops. Margaret gave out a fabulous handout full of great tips, but I'll share a great idea that I plan to implement myself!

  • Try to make an annual yearbook for your family highlighting events & activities you enjoyed together! January is a great time to compile last year's photos & put them in chronological order... but since it's not January, April is also a great month to start! :)
  • Start with the most recent year, then try to stay current while catching up... start with 2014 & work your way back. If you go back to 2009, you'll get overwhelmed REALLY quickly!
  • Create digital photo books online... it's super-easy to upload your pics & most of these companies will automatically put your photos in chronological order. You can stick with just one company or jump around to get the best deals.... all of them offer discount codes & sales! If you "like" their Facebook pages, you'll be notified of discounts & specials.
    A few sites that Margaret recommended are:
  • Margaret has an entire shelf of these books where photos & memories are easily available to her family.... what a great idea!!
  • If you don't want to go the digital route, you can also make mini-scrapbooks using brag books from the Dollar Store, journaling cards or printing your pictures with the free deals that stores (like Walgreens & CVS) often run on 4x6 prints. Use an acid-free pen to record memories.

Managing your Household (by Meagan)

Meagan shared the motto for her household: if  you don't USE it or LOVE it, get rid of it! Less clutter equals less chaos. As a mom, I tend to hoard things "just in case".... but all that stuff piles up & creates messes that quickly feel overwhelming. During her talk, Meagan touched on several areas that are often the most difficult to stay on top of... here are a few notes!

LAUNDRY... what works in Meagan's house?

  • divided clothes hamper so that the clothes are already separated into lights & darks
  • Teaching the kids to put their clothes directly into the hamper when they take them off
  • Putting the hamper in the laundry room...this eliminates the weekly or daily search through each room for dirty clothes
  • Once the kids are old enough to dress themselves, have them help put away their own laundry. 
  • Use a hanging closet organizer or a drawer unit to label Monday through Friday for each child. At the beginning of the week, have your kiddos pick out their outfits for the entire week. This eliminates fights & scrambling for clean clothes during the week.... yay! This idea is pictured to the right.
  • Lower your standards. Does your family's underwear REALLY need to be folded neatly? Do your kids dig through their drawers & unfold all your precisely folded play clothes? What if you stopped folding? I know, crazy talk!! I love it!

TAMING the CHAOS... what works in Meagan's house?

  • Again, just in case you missed it the first time... if  you don't USE it or LOVE it, get rid of it! Less clutter equals less chaos. 
  • Clearly explain the expectations to your kids for cleaning the rooms. They can't do it right if they don't know what "right" is. 
  • Implement quiet time every day. When kids get too old to nap, give them a quiet box for an hour a day. What is a quiet box, you ask?
    It's a box that is ONLY for quiet time. Collect those little toys with a million pieces, or the little kits & games that never get played with because they're buried in the bottom of the toy bin, & make a quiet box! It gives you an hour of time-out & it gives them a chance to play with toys that they had forgotten all about. 
  • Use a picture chart to help with daily routines. Click here for a printable idea.
  • Designate an area by the door for items that you always need... diapers, bookbags, jackets, wipes, keys, etc. If the coat closet is on the other side of the house, the kids probably aren't going to hang up their coats. Just saying. 
  • Instead of trying to clean the entire house at once, give yourself small manageable tasks each day. If you've never checked out FlyLady, you should!
  • Each day, spend 10 minutes of designated one-on-one time with each of your kids! The day can get away from you, but setting a timer helps.

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