Back to School Organization Tips

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Let’s face it, going back to school is stressful.  Getting ready for back to school time can be quite a challenge.  There are so many things that we have to remember as parents and so many challenges that present themselves on a daily basis.  Well one of the biggest challenges for my family is keeping organized.  So we have a back to school organization plan that we follow to help keep things in order.

Back to School Organization Tips

1.  Lay Out Things the Night Before

Each night I go through everything that is in my kids’ bookbags. I make sure that papers are signed and that everyone has everything that they need.  I check homework, make sure that it is put back in their bags, and make sure that they have money and everything else that they need.  Doing this really helps us to plan for our exciting mornings and keep things well organized.

2.  Keep Cars Organized

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I will admit that I STRUGGLE when it comes to keeping my car organized.  One thing is for certain,  I am willing to check out any products that are going to make this easier for me.  This is where Bubble Bum‘s new and exciting product, Junkie, comes into play.  Junkie is the single best organizer that I have ever found.

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This organizer has it all…a garbage bag, trays that fold out for kids to eat and write on, an iPad (or other tablet holder), cup holders, and a toy box.  That’s right, it has all of the things that you need to keep your car picked up and organized.  Plus it is made out of a high quality plastic that is not going to easily be torn up when kids are abusing it in the car.

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3.  Let Kids Be Kids

I used to fret over everything…what my kids were eating, what they were packing in their lunch, and what they were wearing.  I finally gave up and let them be kids.  If they pick out an outfit that does not match, I might suggest that they consider something else but I am not going to fight with them.  Instead I just smile and go on with my day.  Doing this allows for them to be read for school and me to have my sanity.

Getting back in the school routine is hard.  Being able to find the things that you need to help you stay on track is easy and something that is possible even for an unorganized mess of a person like myself.

Tough Parenting Decisions, How Do You Know What to Do

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Since I am just a normal mom I will admit that from time to time I really struggle with how to handle something.  I am eager to do what is right for my children but I will admit that in the last few years I have gotten a bit lazy and have not been doing all that I should for them.  So I want to make the changes that are necessarily in 2015.  I am working hard to really focus on the things that matter most in life and those things are my children.  I am trying to be a good mom and to be the mom that I feel that I have been called to be.

Parenting is different for everyone which makes it so much harder to do it “right.”  I sometimes feel overwhelmed like I do not know what type of parent I want to be, what is right for myself or what is right for them.  When people said that parenting was tough, they were not joking.  I also know that parenting is the most rewarding thing that I will do in my entire life and I feel truly blessed to be able to have four amazing children…even on the hardest days.

I am not a religious person but I do believe in spirituality.  I am not a judgmental person and I believe that each person should choose the religion that they believe to be right for their family.  In my home I do practice mostly Christianity but I try to instill some of the virtues form other religions like teaching my children to focus more on giving and in taking care of those who can not care for themselves which I pull a lot from Buddhism.  I have studied multiple religions, read religious texts, and honestly tried to find my own way towards a more enlightened lifestyle.

I will admit that I have FAILED.  I have let so many things get in the way of where I should be and what I should be doing in the past few years.  I know that the only way to change these things is to start today and to really dig deep in trying to better the lives of my children and myself.  So this year I am going to be making some big changes and I thought that some of you might enjoy coming along on this journey with me.  I want to have open minded accepting children and the way to have that is to start with the things that are important at home first.  There are some changes that I need to make in my home and I know that these changes are going to have to start with me.

10 Things I Will Work on For My Children in 2015

**I will spend more time working on the things that are important.

I will admit that I get caught up in the world of social media.  I spend too much time on these things that in the grand scheme of life do not matter much.  Instead of being caught up in all of that I would like to take the time that is necessary to doing important things with my children.  Today I sat down and came up with a plan to help the younger three little ones learn 12 Bible verses in the next year.  Yes this is not a lot but it is something that I can stick to.  I also came up with 26 verses that Andrew will work on learning.

**I will start a routine at bedtime.

Bedtime at our home is often times chaotic and terrible.  In 2015 I want this to be something that I change.  So I am going to be working on being more consistent with a routine.  Doing baths after dinner, getting in their pjs, not watching TV, and picking out books.  We will also go over their Bible verse.

**I will be more organized.

Each evening while I am preparing dinner the kids will be responsible for picking up their toys and straightening their room.  I will make sure that this done before they head to bed.  I am also going to pick out clothes with them for the next day, have preparations made for lunches, and will know what is expected from school the following day and if there is anything that I need to do differently.

**I will be a more calm mom.

I am a bit crazy thanks to my severe ADHD.  In 2015 I want to try and calm down more because I know that when I stay calm with the kids better things happen.

**I will clean more.

I found a great chore chart that helps you stay on top of chores without being overwhelmed.  I am going to try and follow this chart for 2015 and see how much easier my life becomes.

**I will have reasonable expectations for the children.

I am going to sit down with my husband and come up with one weekly chore for the youngest and a couple for the middle two.  I will have a daily chore for the oldest.  I am going to work on sticking to this to try and keep our house in a more organized state so that I am not embarrassed when people drop by for a visit or someone wants to come over.

**I will de-clutter our lives.

Let’s face it when the kids have too much it is impossible for them to have fun.  I want to de-clutter our lives so that we can play more games and enjoy our time together more.

**I will have more fun.

I want to have more fun memories with my children.  I want to play more games and spend more time having fun with them all.

**I will be more consistent.

Consistency is a hard one for me and I am going to try my hardest in 2015 to be more consistent in all that I do.

**I will show more love and grace.

I feel that so much love and grace is given to me in many different directions of life.  I will start to show more love and grace to my children.  I will be more clear in directions and really work on teaching them their responsibility to our family.

While I know that I am not going to nail all of these.  They are all things that I am really going to make a conscious effort to do better with.  I am going to try and work to create a much better and happier home for all of us.

Getting Organized in 2015 — Pet Organization Made Easy

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I will admit that I never thought that I would be one to write about or share tips on organization but with 2015 has come great strides in my journey and in my goals and pursuits to do better.  I am eager to share with you all of the great things that I have been teaching myself about getting organized.  One area where I see a lot of people struggle with organization is with their pets.  Personally I am not a pet owner but that does not mean that there is not a special pet in my life.

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I have the world’s greatest nephew dog, Dexter.  I noticed recently that my brother always had a ton of Dexter’s stuff thrown around his car because they are always on the go together.  My brother is not like me and he actually is usually really organized where as I am not.  So this made me question if there was a way in which he could be organized with this pet.  What I found was that Solvit Products offers some great pet products that will help you stay organized with your pet when you are on the on the go.

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As a mom I have always loved diaper bags.  Even now that I do not have children in diapers I still use a diaper bag with our essentials in the car when we are traveling or on the go.  I just find that it is easier to take care of things when I have everything organized for easy access.  Well I thought that it was really cool that Solvit Products offers the Travel Organizer Kit which is kind of like a diaper bag for dogs.

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What I thought was so great about this kit is that it really offers you everything that you need to get organized with your pet and to have everything on the go.  I wanted to share with you some tips to be more organized with your pet well telling you more about this great product.

Tips to Be More Organized with Your Pet

Tip 1 — Keep a Go Bag by the Door or Even in the Car

I love that my brother can keep the Travel Organizer Bag in his car ready to go.  Obviously in the winter time when water can freeze it might be best for him to keep the bag by the back door.  Either way he is able to have everything that he needs for Dexter and he doesn’t have to worry about forgetting something because he can leave it packed and ready.

Tip 2 — Always Take Water

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One of the biggest mistakes that I think that pet owners make is that they do not prepare well when they are taking their pet somewhere.  One thing is for certain if you are going to be headed somewhere with your dog, you always want to make sure that you have water with you.  The Travel Organizer Bag comes with a water bottle and a portable dish where your dog can drink the water from.  Both of these are essential to making sure that your dog always has something to drink.

Tip 3 — Pack a Snack

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I also notice that many times dogs seem to be very hungry when they are out with their owners.  The Travel Organizer Bag has a convenient food bowl.

Tip 4 — Take Along the Treats

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Dexter loves his treats and I am sure that most other dogs do too.  There is a small bag that comes with the Travel Organizer Bag that you can carry food or treats in.  This bag is perfect for making sure that your pet always has the treats that they want when you are out and about.

Tip 5 — Take What You Need to Clean Up Messes

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Finally make sure that you always have what you need to clean up messes.  The Travel Organizer Bag comes with a small dog bone shaped container that carries empty poo bags so that you never have to leave a mess behind.

The Solvit Products Travel Organizer Bag is a must have product for anyone with a pet who is looking to be just a bit more organized this year.

Getting Organized in 2015 — Organizing Your Family Planner with momAgenda

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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MomAgenda planners are amazing and a must have for any parent.  I am so happy that I was given momAgenda Desktop Planner ($42) because it is the planner that I need to organize everything for my entire family.  I love that it has my name on it and that there is a space for my stuff as well as one for each of the four kids’.

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I thought that I would share with you tips for be a well organized mom and how to organize your family planner just in time for the new year.

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Organizing Your Family Planner

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Step 1 — Put in the Mandatory Stuff First

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So the first thing that I did when I was organizing my family planner was go through and add in all of our mandatory things.  This included all of the stuff from the school calendar and the times when my son is with his dad per court order.  Once these were on my calendar I knew that I was ready to start writing down the others.

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Step 2 — Add in the Sports and Activities Next

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The next step for me was to add in all of our sporting and extra curricular activities for the kids.  This also included adding in my civic commitments and groups that I am a part of like the school’s parent group and the junior women club that I volunteer through.

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Step 3 — Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Special Dates

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I then chose to add in all of the special dates for the loved ones in my family.  We added in birthdays, holiday schedules with my son, and anniversaries.  This was important to me because I also work hard to celebrate holiday times when my son is with me rather than when he is at his dad’s.  This takes some creative planning on the part of myself and my family as well.

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Step 4 — Jot Down the Day to Day

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If there are goals that you have make sure that you write them on the calendar.  These can be anything from working out to having a specific room in your house organized or re-painted.  Doing this is going to really help you to plan things and make sure that your life is better organized for the new year.

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Having a creative family planner can really help you to know how to keep your family organized.  I love the momAgenda Day Planner that I received and think that it is a great tool for being able to stay organized with my family.  I really love all of the great things about the planner and how they are able to use the spaces to organize all of the different areas of your life.  It has areas that I had not previously thought about having organized in a planner and it makes it convenient and easy to have it all easily accessible in one place.

Getting Organized in 2015 — The Perfect Planner for Work and Tips to Organize Your Blog

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Dot Mine Day Planners are a great high quality planner.  I struggled with finding the right planner for years and tried to organize everything for the blog, my work, and my family in the same place.  Well that did not work.  What I have concluded is that I need a great planner separate from my family one for work.  The Leather Dot Mine Day Planner ($32.99) is my choice of work planner for 2015 and I have to admit that I love the one that I received.  I love that I can organize all of the companies that I need to contact, when I need to post my blogs, and when I receive products for review.  This is going to be one tool that I do not want to be without in 2015.

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As part of me sharing with you my personal getting organized in 2015 series, I am going to give you some tips to organize your blog.

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Tips to Organize Your Blog

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Tip 1 — Be Adamant About Organization

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When it comes to my life I am terrible with organization.  In the past year this has ended up with me messing up a few times and owning up with some big apologies.  Thankfully everyone that I have worked with has been nothing but wonderful but I know for 2015 that my goal is to no longer have this type of problem.  So I wanted to be able to offer something completely different for the clients that I work with.  I also want to do some series, work on some challenges, and the biggest one for me is getting organized.

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Tip 2 — Keep Track of Important Dates

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A planner is a must for any blogger.  It is important that you be able to keep track of all of your important dates and keep things organized.  One of the things that I have found that is working well for me is keeping my Dot Mine Planner full of all of the important dates that I need to know for the blog.  This includes following up and ideas for future posts based on seasons/holidays and more.

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Tip 3 — Find a System that Works for You

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I have tried spreadsheets, email folders, and more but there has not been a system that I have used that has really worked well for me.  The system that I like the best is a good old fashioned pen and paper and a planner is a great way for me to have that system.  So I am using the Dot Mine Planner because it is what matches my needs the best.

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When it comes to getting organized this is something that is very hard for me.  It is something that I have to try and put a lot of effort into.  I have been living in a cluttered, messy world for far too long and in 2015 one of my biggest goals is to be organized for the blog and for my house.  Stay tuned as I am going to be posting about my journey to organization throughout the year.

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New Year’s Resolutions…A Do or Don’t?

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you make resolutions every year only to fail before January is over?  Well this year I am scrapping the idea of resolutions, getting real, and working on me.  I want to be a better person, better mom, and nicer all the way around so I am making 2015 the year of me and working to get more organized and be better for myself.  What does this mean for all of you?  Well it means that I am going to be offering you some amazing series about all of the areas of my life that I need to work on.  I am going to get real and be held accountable.

Changes for Me in 2015

**Keeping a Clean House

I got an amazing chart today that goes every 30 days where you have a few things to do in order to have a really deep clean house.  The first 30 days are going to be the hardest.  I know this and therefore I will be blogging my way through my cleaning schedule and keeping a cleaning journal where I write about the things that I do each day.  I am going to be publishing this journal monthly so that you can read it if you are interested and not be overwhelmed if you are not.

**Getting Organized

I am a chaotic mess most of the time so I am really doing things differently.  The first step for me is well organized calendars.  There will be a cleaning calendar for me and one for my oldest son.  I have 2 planners that I will be using..one for the blog and one for our family.  I am hopeful in getting caught up before then but who knows as there is still so much to get done with my writing!  Be on the lookout for a new series on “Getting Organized in 2015” where I will share my secrets, tips, and maybe even accept some sponsored challenges along the way!

**More Content

I am going to be working to post more content on the blog!

**Creative Outlet in Journaling

I LOVE to journal and I need a creative outlet.  This year I am challenging myself to journal each and every day.  In the end I hope to have beautiful memories and keepsakes preserved that our children are going to be able to enjoy in the future.  I am hopeful that this will also encourage them to want to journal and write more which is a great skill to have in life.

**Finish a Book

I have been working on a “book” for the past six years.  Let’s face it at this rate I will never have one written.  I have decided to focus on my strengths for my first attempts at being published and I will be writing a book of poetry.  My goal is to write at least 5 pages per day so that I can reach my goal of 500-700 pages so that I can send in a collection of poems to publishers.  I’m crossing my finger that I will have a poetry book published in 2015.

**Lose The Weight

I have been struggling with my weight and been fat for far too long already.  I want to be able to lose the weight and seriously get into the best shape of my life.  I am determined to have a workout calendar and to actually follow it since I NEVER work out these days.  Even doing a few minutes of a workout video is better than nothing!

 **Getting Our House Repaired

We also have a TON of work that needs to be done on our house.  With us both being so busy, traveling all of the time, and trying to be great parents to our four kids it does not leave much time for working on the house.  This is the year that is going to change.  We are really going to be working hard to get the house in tip top shape and I have a schedule where we tackle one room or one area of our house at a time.  There is not a TON of work in any one area and it seems much less intimidating to have one area that needs to be worked on opposed to having to try and look at the whole picture of what all needs done.

**Learn to Save a Little More

Since we run out of our savings account each year around October or November (mostly due to unseen circumstances and things like loss of work for me or unexpected medical/dental bills for the kids) I want to make sure that we start to become a little more stable and financially secure.  This is probably going to be the hardest one for me because I LOVE to shop and spending money is my favorite.  I do know though if I follow this that I am going to see a lot of improvements in more than just the figures on my back account…it will be less stressful and easier for me to deal with as well.

Tips to be Successful

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you want success? Are you trying to break through in your career? Do you still have dreams and aspirations even though you are an “adult?” Well recently I was having a conversation with someone and it was pointed out that I am never “completely happy” and always wanting more out of life. This got me to thinking about why I want more and what things this will get me. The answer that I came up with is that if I want to be successful I can never allow myself to stop dreaming or to stop desiring more success.
I also realized that I am not unhappy in my current life. I am very happy. We have mostly good days. I wake up with a smile on my face and smile 90% of the day. However the things that I do not have are the specific level of success that I wanted out of life. I wanted to be able to do all of the things that I have dreamed of. I want to be able to provide certain things for my children (like college!!) and with four children this means that I have to be able to attain some level of success.
Here are 8 Tips for Being Successful

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Tip # 1 – Learn How to Be Organized with Your Work
As a blogger and freelance writer staying organized can be hard. I have to remember when I received items and organize how I am going to post so that things are never too similar in a short period of time. Thanks to Bubble Planner I get the help that I need. (I am not normally good about keeping organized or using a planner but I love how fun this one is to fill out. It is also cute which helps because I do love cute things!!)

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Tip # 2 – Never Have a Back Up Plan
Do not look at things with the attitude that you will fail. I do not have a back up plan. I have a goal to write a novel and a book on the sociological impact of Phish. While it might take longer than I like, eventually I will be able to have all of these things.
Tip # 3 – Work Hard All of the Time
The biggest lesson that I have learned is that successful people never really stop working. You check emails when you are out and are constantly looking for the next big thing that is going to improve what you do. You just never stop.
Tip # 4 – Avoid What Everyone Else is Doing
I have never been one to do the thing that everyone else has done. The biggest problem that I have with this is that I am often bored. I do have a great time though.
Tip # 5 – Start at the End
Learning how to start at the end instead of the beginning is one way of truly being able to make it. It is a fake it to make it type of thing and it really does work.
Tip # 6 – Never Stop
If you give up or stop you will not be successful. So you can never really stop. For my goals this has been a long time. I have stopped in the middle of writing novels before and they have not been finished. Now I remember that this is something that I have to do each and every day.
Tip # 7 – Sell, Sell, and Sell Some More
Being willing to sell everything to have success is what it takes for a lot of people. Never be afraid of what you might lose and go after those dreams with your own whole heart.
Tip # 8 – Be Proud, but Not Too Proud
Being proud is a great. The problem is when you are too proud. Never be too proud of your accomplishment and always realize that there is someone out there who is better than you. This will keep your ego in check which will make you stay on top of things.

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Of course getting organized to find your own success is simple when you have Bubble Planner. The pages are designed where you can have bubble charts of the things that you need to get done in a day. There is also a full calendar in the back so you are really able to focus and stay on top of everything.

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GEARing Up for Festivals with Kids

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Gearing Up for Festivals with Kids
I love festivals. One of the things that I have always done is just take my children along with me. I do not party much and I do not drink at all when the kids are with me because I want to be 100% focused on them each and every second that we are there. That being said, festivals are still one of my favorite summertime activities and this summer we have plans to go to a few of them.

So I thought in celebration of the upcoming festival season that I would share some of my favorite gear for festival season with the kids.

Packing It All In

The worst part about going to a festival with children is when you have to lug all of your camping gear and stuff to a campsite. I am completely willing, if the kids are going with us, to pay more to be able to camp with our car. However at some festivals now you can not purchase RV passes to camp with your vehicle so we will still be stuck lugging it all in. There is definitely some gear that can help you if you are lugging everything in.

MAC Sport

One of these is a foldable wagon. We have a MAC Sport one like this picture shows. It works great because when folded up it can easily fit into the car and when unfolded it can help lug in all of the gear that we need to camp.

Have Gear to Help with the Kids

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Our kiddos are spoiled and they do not always like to walk all day long. We generally have a stroller with us and the Britax B Agile (we got ours from Kohls) is a great one. It pushes with ease through different land and terrain types making it great for the festival environment.

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Another thing that I love is a good baby carrier. I really love the Rockin Baby Sling (especially since they give back to mamas in Haiti that are in need) and the Boba Air. Let’s face it babywearing is just more comfortable, cooler, and frankly a heck of a lot easier than having to carry the kiddos around.

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Have Proper Seating

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Having a place for the kids to sit down is also important. I love my Initals Inc picnic blanket that is waterproof and perfect for us to all sit on together. In fact I loved mine so much that I purchased a second one for us to be able to fit our entire family of 6 on the blankets.

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Another great option for seating is the Kelty Camp Chair. This amazing chair is small and can be worn like a backpack but will fold out into a comfortable chair.

Have a Way to Carry Their Stuff

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Sadly kids can get bored anywhere. Even if they are listening to the best music in the world, our kiddos are sometimes bored. So we give them each their own backpack (we like Kelty for this too since they have the Minnow and the Grommet which are perfect for little ones). They get to put a few toys, books, notebooks, coloring books, and crayons and such in their bag to keep them entertained when we are enjoying some music.

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Keep Water Handy

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Our favorite way to keep water handy is with our Camelbak backpacks. These are big enough to hold everything that we need during the day and to hold our water too. They are perfect for when the kids are constantly thirsty and you don’t want to have to carry around additional bulk like water bottles.

Have a Way to Get Wet

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I have used many different things at festivals so that my children could get wet. We have used blow up pools, buckets, water guns, and misters. However our favorite by far is the Stokke Flexi Bath because it is small and folds flat.

Have Everyone Wear the Right Shoes

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In our house the right shoes means comfortable sandals. For me this most generally means Keens but lately I have become a huge fan of Ahnu and their amazing sandals as well.

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Keep Ways to Stay Clean

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I am paranoid of my children picking up some type of germ so I carry a number of special products with me to keep them clean. I take a foldable potty seat (that I sanitize after each and every use), Dr Bronners Organic Fair Trade Lavender Hand Sanitizer, and baby wipes.

Stay Protected

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I also focus on keeping my kids protected from the sun. We like Aveeno Suncare products for the kids and SuperGoop Suncare products for the adults. We also have to keep allergy medicines and inhalers on hand for Huxley as his allergies and breathing can be terrible from time to time when we are outside. Sunglasses (like those from Julbo for the kids) are great as are hats to keep their heads covered. We also use small shade tents like the Cabana from Kelty and umbrellas for additional shade.

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Have the Perfect Way to Keep Food and Drinks Cold

travel gear Kelty coolers

Obviously we are huge Kelty fans because our favorite way to keep foods cold is with Kelty foldable coolers.  These are perfect because you can fold them up when empty making them easier to haul back to the car.

You really can have a great time at a festival with your children as long as you remember to GEAR up in the right way so that they are as comfortable as possible.

Getting Your Car Organized for Kids, Once and for All

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Kohls logo

If you are like me your car always looks like a small war zone. Sometimes I am honestly scare of what I am going to find when I decide to clean it out. In fact I sometimes secretly hope that my oldest misbehaves when the car needs cleaned out because that is one of my favorite punishments.

Well I decided that I needed to be able to find something to be able to get my car in order and to help me keep it in order. I have tried a number of products in the past and well it never worked for me. Well I decided that this time was going to be different and I will report that while right now our car is a bit wrecked following our vacation, it is not nearly as bad as what I would have normally been dealing with.

Thanks to Kohls I have been able to get my car in order and keep it that way for the most part. That’s right Kohls has everything that you need to get your car organized. I know that this might be surprising for you because it was for me but I have learned over the past few months that Kohls really is the only place that I ever need to shop again.

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Learn How to Organize Small Items

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One of the best things that I have found for small toy or item organization in the car is a backseat organizer. The Munchkin Backseat Organizer ($15.00) is by far the favorite backseat organizer that I have had. It has several pockets and is perfect for organizing toys or gear that you want to keep in your car like bug spray, sunscreen, diapers and wipes. I love mine and happy to use it for many years to come.

Keep Toys in Reach

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While I love my backseat organizer one of the problems that I have with these for the organization of toys is that my children can not reach them from their car seats. I really prefer the choices that will allow them to be able to reach their toys. Kohls has several options for these types of items. One of the items that I received was the Carters Travel Organization Box ($20.00). This is a great choice for being able to keep toys organized and close to your child. I also love that it has pockets that are perfect for snack and drink cups in the front as my middle two have a hard time reaching their drink holders and with this organizer strapped in between their seats they can easily reach the things that they need.

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Another great choice for a organizer box is the Diono Travel Pal ($15.99). This one features many of the same things but is a tad bit bigger than the Carters one. Both of these are great for being able to find toys and for keeping them where your toddler can easily access them.

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The Diono My Stuff Storage Bag ($7.99) is perfect for any mom who has a van. The bag can actually hang over a bucket seat’s chair arms so that your little one can get their toys out of it while you are going down the road. My two year old has found this to be fun since she can reach her toys without help.

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There is also the Munchkin Travel Tray ($25.00) which my two year old used constantly while we were recently traveling. She could play with wooden puzzles, small toys, and even color without dropping things which made it perfect for long car trips. I think that it will be especially helpful when I am traveling alone with the kids and do not have an extra set of hands to help me pick up toys.

Keep Your Car Clean and Comfortable

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If you want to have a car that provides a nice ride for your children then you want to keep it comfortable. The biggest complaint that we get from our children when we are driving is that the sun is shining in on them and hurting their eyes. So when I was given a chance to find items for travel for a car make over, I was happy to pick out some new sun shades. We got the DreamBaby 2 Pack Car Window Shades ($11.99). These are the standard car window shades and while they do come unstuck from time to time there is not much that I have to do besides stick them back on. They are the choice that we put in the middle row of our van and when we recently traveled on vacation I did not hear complaints once from the kids sitting in this row about the sun bothering them.

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We also received the Munchkin 2 Pack White Hot Sun Safety Shades ($15.00) and to be honest these are the best sun shades that we have ever owned. As a mom of four you can image that I have owned quite a few of these but never any that have worked this well. These shades are amazing and never come up or have problems where I have to worry about having to stick them back down. They have still not budged since I first put them on the windows.

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On top of being comfortable without the sun you know that you want your baby to be comfortable in a clean seat. I love the Diono Dry Seat ($10.99) and think that this is frankly one of the best purchases that you will ever make if you have a child in a car seat. If their diaper leaks or if they have an accident this is going to catch all of the mess so that the seat stays clean. It is also great at catching crumbs or spills so you will find that it is an awesome buy for long car trips. You can just pull it out and dumb out the mess and then their seat is still clean.

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Then to protect your seats of the vehicle there are great choices like the Carters Car Seat Protector which is just placed under the car seat prior to installation so that your car seat does not leave any marks on the seats and so that there are no leaks from spills.

Keep Electronics Protected

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My kids all have iPods, iPads, or Kindle Fires and one of the things that I am constantly worried about is whether or not they are going to be protected. So I am anxious when we are traveling with them. I love the Solo Luggage 13 inch iPad Sling Travel Bag ($32.99). This bag is made to hold one iPad but we can fit three iPad Minis, one iPad, one Kindle Fire, and one iPod touch as well as all of their charging cords in the bag so I feel like it is the perfect accessory to have if you are traveling with electronics.

Traveling and keeping your car organized can happen and thanks to Kohls you can pick up all of the items that you need to keep the car looking great.

Toxins in Your Cleaning Products; What to Avoid and What to Use Instead

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

As we have children, I think more and more of us become more conscious about the toxins we use in our homes and put on our bodies. There are some great cleaning products on the shelves that are much gentler on us than our counterparts, but when you hit those shopping aisles, it can really overwhelming to know what to buy and what to avoid.

Terms like ‘eco friendly’ and ‘green’ appear so often on bottles of cleaners and laundry detergent, it can be easy to believe it and throw it in your cart. There is a marketing term called ‘greenwashing’ which is the process by which companies label things non-toxic when in fact the product still contains toxins. You can read more about that here. [Read more…]