Kid-friendly Ant Spot Killer

We have visitors again – those pesky tiny ants that collect around any drop of food in our kitchen (it doesn’t help that we live in a woodsy area and the kids eat right by the deck door).  Anyway, I have tried those little ant house trap things, not overly impressed, but I am sure it works.  But I wanted a way to exterminate them on the spot.  So, I poured plain, white vinegar into a small spray bottle and added about 10 drops of lavender essential oil (for a more pleasant smell) 🙂  IT WORKS AWESOME!

I don’t know if it works on every kind of ant, but it is worth a try since you probably already have vinegar in your pantry.  Good luck!

Before the Spray
After the spray – they all curled up and died…a bit sad.

 

Weekly Chore Chart Idea for Kids

This blog is NOT about perfection and this photo is a perfect example of that!  But the idea could be helpful for people, so I think it’s worth a post 🙂

I have looked at tons of charts for keeping track of chores for the kids.  Our kids are all pretty young still, but at least the 7, 5, and 3 year olds can start to have some duties in our home.  I will also add that my husband and I might have a different view on allowance than others…and I respect other people’s take.  Our hope is that the kids don’t just do their “chores” with the one sole purpose of making some money.  We try to emphasize that we are a team, we live in this home together, and we want to take care of it together.  Of course it is great to teach them how to “make an earning” as well.  But the little jobs we ask them to do expand beyond what is listed on their chore chart.

First, I created my own Word document with a table for each child old enough for chores.  You can put whatever you want on that.  But I liked the idea of keeping the rows empty so I could actually write in what the jobs were – some weeks are different AND each child has different chores.

Second, I found an 8X10 inch frame, an ugly one with paint chipping off currently, and put the paper inside.  The dry-erase markers are handy and whatever you write can be wiped off in a jiffy!

Third, I hung it in a random spot in our kitchen.  I actually am thinking of making each child their own now and hanging it in their rooms.  They really like to draw the little dot in when they complete a chore.

Let your creative juices flow with this – you could really make a nice frame with a shelf for the marker and everything!

Storing Christmas Lights & Decorations

It’s time for us to put away our Christmas lights and decorations – maybe you have a genius way of storing them so they are easy to find and don’t get tangled. Here’s my way…random but it’s worked great for the last few years so I thought I’d share it.  This year, I discovered a great item to recycle and use for decorations – plastic apple carton! 

For the Lights: Rip or cut off a medium to large piece of cardboard from the many boxes you may have from gift packages. Make two cuts – one on the left side and one of the right side. Insert the end of the string of lights in one of the slits, begin wrapping around the cardboard. Keep wrapping until the end of the string. Tuck the end into another slit at the top. I like to label what the lights were used for so we can just use the same ones again. Again, this is random and maybe you have a better way, but I just thought I’d share!

Multipurpose Scrub (“Coco-OO”)

There’s something magical about this solution…I mixed it up on a whim only about a week ago and I am shocked at the things it can do! So, coconut oil can do lots of things…I have only just begun to learn more about it and use it. I decided to make a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil and sugar to have around for various things. I call it “Coco-Oo” for fun (Coconut and Olive Oil). So far, here’s what I have used it for:

 
  • Hand scrub – grab a dollop, scrub your hands (over the sink) for a few minutes and the sugar acts as an exfoliator while the oils moisturize and soften your skin. Wash it off with a little bit of soap and enjoy the sensation of soft hands!
  • Remover – I say just “remover” because it has removed really weird things:
  1. The first example is when my almost-three-year-old son got a hold of super glue (this kid is kind of a mix between Curious George, Dennis the Menace and Albert Einstein…mainly because his curiosity leads him to do wacky experiments and his hair has resembled the latter two). Anyway, I caught him in the act of taking the cap off the super glue with his mouth – yes, I kind of freaked out when I saw this for many reasons! Anyway, just a drop got on the outside corner of his lips and I immediately grabbed this new coconut oil mixture and scrubbed some on the spot. It seriously removed the glue!
  2. The second instance of this being a “remover,” involved a hot burner on the stove and my husband making toast for the kids. He didn’t realize the burner was still warm and he put the bag of bread on that same spot. Well, the plastic obviously got melted onto the stovetop. This has happened before and I had a really tough time removing it – scrubbed and picked and washed and scrubbed some more. Well, not this time! Once it was completely cool, I grabbed a dollop of the “magic mix” and lightly scrubbed…it wiped right off, like magic!
  3. Third example was a bottle that had a sticky label that I wanted to remove…I don’t have any “goo-gone” so I used this and it was BETTER than “goo-gone!” Plus, no smell on your hands and way less greasy!
  4. One last example…my daughter was blowing giant bubbles with her bubble gum and alas, a blob got stuck in her eyebrow. I forgot to work on removing it for several days since it just looked darker blonde in that spot. Well, I finally remembered to work on that and used some of this and it was amazing!
 
I am so thrilled about this solution and I hope you find many great uses for it too 🙂
 
How to make it?
  • 1 part Olive Oil
  • 1 part Coconut Oil
  • 1 part sugar
Mix up and keep in an airtight container…let us know what amazing uses you find for it!

Chores for Kids

We value teaching our kids to take care of our homes. We are so thankful to have a place to live and we want to encourage thankfulness in them. When I ask for help around the house, I often remind them that our home is a blessing and a gift and we all need to help keep it nice for everyone. This usually encourages their ownership of the cleaning tasks.

My older two children (currently 6 and almost 4 years old) are the only two that I expect help from. My 2-year-old likes to get a rag and wipe things off for a few minutes. When we first started chores for the kids, we decorated a yogurt container (the large one with a lid) and inscribed “Chore Jar” on the front. I made slips of paper with chores written and drawn on them as well as printed ideas from Hannah Keeley’s website: www.hannahkeeley.com. Simple things like: dusting, washing the walls, sweeping the floor, putting away laundry, wiping the windows, cleaning door handles, setting the table, etc. The chore tupper has evolved into a drawer so the kids know where to pick out their cleaning assignments.
We also have a small collection of cleaning tools that are stored away but within the kids’ reach. For example, we have a spray bottle that is half water, half vinegar, and old socks that have become cleaning rags, a small hand-held broom and dust pan (Target dollar section!), sponges, duster. All of this is kept on a shelf in our linen closet. We also made our own labels for the kids’ clothes…little drawings and words that are color-coded and then attached to each drawer with velcro.

The most important factor is involving our kids and encouraging ownership of our many cleaning jobs. If they leave a bit of dust or grime or put away a t-shirt in their sock drawer–it makes no difference. We are not about perfection. Just about responsibility in this big cleaning process!

Please feel free to share any ways you have your kids help with chores at your house!

The Best Potty Seat Ever

You’re welcome, friends, for this picture.  I took it right after bath-time the other night…and while inching my way back to get a full view of this lovely shot…I may have fallen over backwards into a tub full of warm water.  My kids enjoyed that one.  Nothing like mommy making a big splash in the bathtub!

 
This is hands down our favorite potty seat.  And we’ve tried them all.  We’ve had the tiny little potty chair where you have to dump out a pail full of yuckies.  And we’ve had the little seat with handles that you keep beside the potty and have to position just right over the normal seat.   Keeping all those contraptions clean is a big pain!  I called our detachable seat “The Pee Sponge”. This built-in potty seat is definitely the easiest for cleaning purposes since there are no tiny crevices or porous surfaces.  Plus it’s easy for kids to use independently.  Mine have no trouble pulling down the smaller seat by themselves since it is magnetized to the top cover.  All you need is a little stool for the little feet, and you’ll never have to dump and wipe out a potty pail or tediously wipe up a detachable potty seat again!
When I first saw this at my friend Amy’s house, I was so enthralled I ordered mine from amazon the next day!  Then I noticed other friends have it too! Maybe I am the last mom to find out about “The Best Potty Seat Ever”, but just in case I’m not, here’s the link: Mayfair NextStep Built-In Potty Seat.  And it comes in different sizes too for different-sized potties.  
        As for potty-training advice, I cannot offer much wisdom.  I haven’t even read any books about it to recommend.  I have friends who are successful in training their 18-month-olds, and I think that is fantastic.  I take the lazy hands-off approach and let them BEG me to go potty…even if it’s not until they’re four.  So I’m definitely NOT writing my own book about potty training.  My only advice is: Don’t stress. The time will come.  And definitely throw away the poopy underwear every now and then. 🙂

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