Car Hacks to make Life Easier

How much time do you spend in your car each week?  If the answer is too many than you’re like me.  Moving kids from school to sports and activities, as well as normal household duties and my own work; my car is my office.   Below are some tricks I use in my car to keep it clean, organized and functioning.

 

I have a mini carabiner on my keys and it is so helpful to just hook them on a buckle of my purse or to the outside strap of a bag.  It is time consuming if you’re always digging to the bottom of your bag to unlock the car.  I also love my pink key chain that holds all of my mini business cards thanks to moo.com.

 

Next time you’re out grab a few plastic straws and toss them in the glove box.  These come in handy as not to spill on your commute.  Never-mind being able to keep visual contact with the road instead of tipping one back to get the last sip.  If you want to go green feel free to join me in the straw free movement by using dishwasher safe reuse-able straws.  My Etsy store will soon carry adorable cases with some funky straws.

 

This one evolved over time.  I took a key ring and just leave my mostly highly used cards in the center console.  I don’t keep more than $20 on these gift cards, in case they were to be stollen, but it’s enough for munchkins for my munchkins and a coffee.  It also makes it easy to get my gas rewards without remembering my phone all the time.

 

Keeping it clean is hard with muddy feet in the backseat.  I found this awesome plastic protector to do just the trick.  Now they, won’t last forever but hopefully long enough for their legs to grow and not have their muddy little feet stick strait out.

I also use clothes pins to attach a small plastic bag for the little wrappers and trash that would otherwise get tossed around and end up in the impossible spots for retrieval.

 

Love this one.  Bought a car hook off Amazon for under $10. It was advertised to go on the back seats and hold your grocery bags up right. I use it in the front seat to keep my purse off the seat and eliminate the, ding, ding, ding put your seat belt on warning; because lets be honest I carry a BAB.   Don’t know what a BAB is ask any mom of small kids it’s a Big Ass Bag!

I will say it is super handy too when I have to reach for something in my BAB it’s much easier than reaching down.  When I do my craft deliveries I know the pretty packaging and product won’t get crushed by all of the other stuff I have.

 

This one came later as well.  I use to just toss a small fleece blanket in my trunk. Later I realized that too often I’d have to shake it out, and twice a year I’d be so grossed out I would have to wash it just to get the beach sand or winter dirt out.  I re-purposes a clear zipper plastic bag that originally contained a bed skirt. Plastic storage bags for blankets are now the way to go.  There is always a clean warm cozy blanks for our kids and it is quick to find in the trunk or under the seat.

 

Now those up north think it’s a bit overkill and those in the south think it’s a must have.  Honestly they are pretty cool and nice to have.  It totally does keep the car cooler.  It also saves the interior especially the dash from cracking , splitting and getting gross.  Think about how many hours your car sits in the beating heat. It is also nice with leather seats not to burn your buns or scald yourself with the hot buckle.

 

I also have small kids toys stashed in each of their doors with things that would keep them busy if we’ll be on the road a bit. It has saved me from WWIII in the back seat.

 

What tricks or hacks do you have in your car?  Summer beach season car hacks post will follow soon.  Drive friendly.

 

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You’ve waited long enough…

My dear sweet friends and family, students and parents; You’ve waiting a long time for a good laugh and who am I to disappoint.   May is National Water Safety Month and all month long my little swimmers, during their classes, have been learning about ways to be safe, smart and a friend to mother nature when it comes to time around the water.

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Below is my 2005 attempt at poolside education with Gus & Goldie the spokes fish for the National Spa and Pool Institute.  That’s right I’m Goldie and my assistant was Gus.  We spent the morning on the pool deck passing out coloring books, stickers and posing for pictures.  Totally smiled for my first few photos.  We spent the afternoon curb side waving to honking cars.  Not a typical day in the office but where we spent the day laughing and not doing budgets and reports.  Gus & Goldie

After the success of Gus & Goldie; Josh the Baby Otter came into my life in 2008.  I got to rock this costume at a local safety event.  If you’re ever going to be a costume character make sure you have an “escort” so you’re not stuck in the costume the whole time.   Your escort can get you away when you’re melting on the inside.  Sometime being the escort is harder, you have to be the one talking, smiling and dealing the kids that freak out around costume characters.

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There is no shortage of kid friendly curriculums out there to help you broach the subject with your kids or students.  Some of my favorites include.

Josh the Baby Otter Click Here

American Red Cross’s Longfellow’s Whales Tales American Red Cross’s A Whales Tail

Gus & Goldie Gus and Goldie thanks to the El Paso, Texas Parks and Rec Dept.

Remember as we all gear up for a summer season of splashing poolside, at the beach or on the family boat, even the littlest swimmer can help in an emergency.  Ask your swim instructor to include some safety lessons and topics during class time.

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Some additional resources, and groups to help you prepare for a busy May.

National Water Safety Month Organization

World’s Largest Swim Lesson

 

Cookies on the Move. 

Looking for some ideas as you look to off load some Girl Scout cookies this season?  My daughter and I painted her lemonade stand changing it into a cookie booth for the season.  We had fun getting it ready and it was super cute when stocked with piles of cookies and adorable Girl Scouts from her troop outside the local markets. In addition to the cookie booths that she hosted with her troop we loaded our wagon and headed out to the streets to finish off the last of our stash.  Remember don’t underestimate the power of pig tails.  Cute scouts sell cookies!

 

For more posts about Girl Scout Cookies click below

The New Season

A Girl Scout Cookie Thank You

For how to build your own cookie booth click here

Visiting the Mouse – Part 4

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

You probaly have most of these items around your house already so there is no need to spend an additional small fortune on these items.  The key is to find them and set them aside in a designated place so you don’t forget them when it times to pack your bags.

You’ll need a good backpack (our son’s small LLBean one was good enough for the 4 of us.   We had to pull it out at every bus stop and bag check so pick a durable one.)

Large carabiner clip, like really large, mine is called Mommy’s helper it held 2 adult water bottles.

2 regular (2in) carabiner clips for attaching hats, hand sanitizer and kids water bottles to the stroller.

Mickey & Minnie ears (previously purchased).  I will say looking back the ears with the pretty veil was kinda cumbersome as they would blow around and get heavy on her little head and get in the way of certain rides.  Also you’re never to old for mouse ears so pack yours too.

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Time to have some fun pulling out any Disney themed jewelry you owned. It worked well because than my daughter was hunting for a new charm as her self-purchased souvenir.IMG_5556

Glow sticks, are super helpful for parade events, not getting your stroller tripped over as everyone leaves the fireworks display.

Water bottles for each person that could be clipped to stroller.  We used Nalgine as they did get bumped around every time we closed the stroller.  Make sure they are strong and close tightly.  You don’t want it to spill all over your autograph book.

Extra charger for cell phones and cameras.  Disney offers free wifi but, you use a lot of battery power snapping all those pictures and referencing the Disney App.

Pennies to toss in fountains- Disney than collects the pennies and gives them to a charity of the Cast’s choosing.  Don’t need a ton just a few.

Magnet to stick to hotel room door so we could quickly find ours and others traveling in our group.  Our dog passed away just a little bit ago so he’s become the private family signal.  I ordered this free from Shutterfly with a coupon.  Please don’t put a family photo on your door or pictures of your kids for safety reasons.  img_1017

Cup holder/sling came with stroller was very handy.  I also brought our own attachable one which was nice for the extra storage.IMG_5787

There are of course tons of other things that you can toss in your pile, just keep your eyes pealed as you move about your house.  I also use this method for my kids birthday parties.  Make a note to yourself to remember where you have hidden your stash.  🙂

 

Additional blog posts and more coming soon…

Part 1: Research & Booking 

Part 2: Time to Plan & Book your Fun

Special Adventures

Part 3: Time to Shop things I purchased ahead of time…

Part 4 Time to pack/hunt; things I brought from home…

Part 5: Final Countdown

Part 6: Here We GO!

Part 7: Playing in the Park 

Part 8: Memories & Lessons Learned

Mantel Montage 

2017 mantels

Another year and more mantle attempts. I will say I loved some of these, and other… well you’ll see.

January was fun with sparkle, white and blue. The details make it special, the more glitter the better.  

Sweet and pink rolled in February.

Festive and fun rung in March. Featuring hand print shamrocks made by my kids.IMG_7053

April was a color burst of bright flowers. I wanted the big mirror to bounce as much light as possible around the room, especially after a long grey winter.

May the 4th be with you for all the Star Wars fans at our house.

June easy breezy blue and white. I love this handblown glass wave by Anchor Bend Glassworks it had to be my centerpiece.  It is actually my business card holder when I go to craft fairs.  

July is my favorite and therefore I have lots to pull from.

And than there was August.  I took down July and didn’t get any father. We were too busy living life and enjoying summer that it never was done but it wasn’t missed we were home for a total of 6 days this month. 

September; as I said last year it’s either back to school or football.  I figured I’d give football a try this year.  Remember re-purpose items you already have and you won’t break the bank.  The “field” is actually a table runner and the “flags” are kitchen hand towels with some “referee” tissue paper in a clear vase. 

We have decided to sell our house so off we went to stage and prepare our house for October.  It had to be seasonal but not overdone. Classic and simple was the goal.  I missed using all my kids cute scary art work but it was no longer our house and was now a show piece.  

I guess October seasonal and basic worked our house was under contract in November.  People were still coming and going a few replacements did just the trick to keep it fresh. 

December ended up being the gathering place for all of our house plants so the packers didn’t send them off to storage. It’s was a pretty spot despite the sad goodbye.  Seems like it is only appropriate as this was the starting point for all the house plants and my mantel montages.  Our packers were there December 2nd so there wasn’t much time or reason to really break out holiday decorations.  

This closes the chapter on mantle displays for now. Our new house does not have a mantel for me to get my creative on, but stay tuned I’m sure there will be something else to set those special items on.

 

Other mantel blog posts.

Mantle Mojo

Sprinkling Holiday Cheer 

Can you handle my mantel? 

 

The New Season-Cookies!

For those of you that aren’t aware, like I was last year. Once you become the parent of a Girl Scout you add a whole new season to the calendar.  Cookie season.  You have spring time, summer, the fall, the holiday season and than comes COOKIE SEASON.  Before the Christmas tree is even out the door your cutie is hustling your guests for pre-sales.

Now you probably think cool sell some boxes earn a patch.  If it was only that simple.  Now as a disclaimer; scouts are not required to participate in cookie sales nor do they have to sell tons of boxes.  This is the mindset I was going with.  This entire season is girl driven and my daughter’s initial goal was 30 boxes.  It snowballed from there.  She reached her goal by Christmas morning with just family.  She of course upped the goal and away we went.

Now for those of you that weren’t aware a percentage of each box sold goes to the girl in money that can be used to summer camps and outings. Another percentage goes to the girl’s troop to keep their dues low and pay for items like patches and craft supplies. I will say as the mom the camp credits was motivating to me to let the snowball keep rolling.

She had a fantastic summer at camp and made friends and lit her first match, she was SO excited. Those of you that embrace our cuties with their lists this season we thank you.

This post is purely from the perspective of a parent. Never mind those amazing parents that VOLUNTEER to be the troop or even biger Service Unit Cookie person. These people have begun their Cooke season well before we have. They have hearts of gold and way more storage space that I do.

 

 

More posts about Girl Scout Cookies…

Cookies on the Move

A Girl Scout Cookie Thank You

An Elephant and Purple Glitter Birthday Party

Sweet, simple and special. Using elephants, glitter and the color scheme purple and grey for my little lady who’s turning 3 this year.  My dear friend Julia at the blog A Little Bee Told Me helped me out with the invitations, decorations, some of the stickers and labels.

Let’s set up and decorate.  This has to be one of my favorite steps.  I spend weeks collecting and thinking thru each area so to see it come together is just the best moment for me.  I often try not to buy items and just collect items that are already around my house.  It doesn’t have to be expensive to be special.

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I went a bit nuts and yes taped purple labels on the waters and used a cookie cutter for the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  But I will say because they were cute they didn’t last and were gobbled up.  You can also get a glimpse of the birthday girl in her purple tutu.  To read about her love of tutus click here.  I used a roll of paper under all the serving dishes.  It was a super cute and easy way to label all the food without having to put much work into it, just a purple marker.

This year’s dessert was, the classic, cake and ice cream.  I pre-scooped black raspberry ice cream into cup cake wrappers so it was easy to serve and looked cute on the plate.  Audra at Mad Hatter Bakery worked her magic and mixed up this beautiful cake.

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We had to complement the cake with some sweet treats.  My mother-in-love’s first attempt at cake pops and my first attempt at frosted rice krispy treats.  They were yummy and we both have be perfected their look over time.

Party favors were small and simple.  I actually used white boxes that were left over from our wedding hotel welcome packages.  They were perfect.  Printed the elephants on sticker paper and a sharpie marker and they were all set.

 

We’ve been very lucky to have such beautiful weather during our children’s birthday parties.  Being outside is such a part of childhood that, we welcome.  We are blessed with lots of family and friends so to fit them in our small house would be so comical.

 

To see my son’s 3rd birthday party with a Firemen & Dalmatian theme click here.