Showing posts with label Gift Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gift Ideas. Show all posts

Five Tips For Keeping A Clean Car With Kids


Don’t you sometimes wish as a mom that you could just keep your car clean?  What is it about carting around kids that gets the car so messy?  And if you are like me, it’s hard to find the time (or motivation) to do a full wash and wax, getting out the bucket and hose and big vacuum for a deep clean of the car. 

However, ever since we got our new car in December, I’ve been determined to keep it looking spiffy.





Isn’t it pretty?  This, my friends, is the newest vehicle I have ever owned.

Derek always teases me about my inability to keep a car clean with the kids, but I am happy to report that I have been doing a pretty good job with our new van!  I’ve come up with a few tips for keeping a car clean, on the inside and out, even as a busy mom with four (soon to be five) kids to drive around.

Don’t leave unnecessary items in the car.

This should be obvious, but if you are a mom of young kids you probably know that they tend to sneak toys, sippy cups, and books into the car without your noticing.  I like to do a quick sweep of the car every time we get home.  It’s much easier to bring in a few things each time than it is to let it go and have to haul out a trash bag to empty out the car later!

Minimize food eaten in the car (or be picky about the kinds of foods).

Some people don’t let their kids eat in the car, which is probably the only surefire way to avoid crumbs.  We are not those people.  We live in a rural area, so we spend a lot of time in our car, and my kids are hungry all the time (I don’t think my children are the only ones).  So instead of restricting all food consumption when in the vehicle, I just try to be aware of what kinds of foods I let them eat.  Small crackers (like goldfish) cause less mess than big crackers that you have to bite into to eat (graham).  Sandwiches and chicken nuggets are pretty clean-car-friendly.  Above all we avoid sticky substances and condiments in the car, because those will get ground into the carpet and take a lot more effort to clean.

Buy a handheld vacuum.

I used to drag our big floor vacuum out to the car each time I wanted to clean it - no wonder it happened so rarely!  My grandma gave us a handheld vacuum last year, and it has changed my car-cleaning life.  As I mentioned above, I don’t restrict all eating in the car, so there are often a fair amount of crumbs on the floor.  The handheld vacuum lets me do a quick cleaning job when the crumbs just get to be too much, and it works really well.

Keep a trash bag handy on the go.

Somehow we end up having a pile of trash in our car every time we go somewhere.  I’ve learned to keep a trash bag tucked into the back of the seats, so when we produce trash from food wrappers, etc, I can just gather them all up right there and through them away in the nearest trash can.  It’s less for me to do when I come home, and makes it nicer to ride around in the car all afternoon when there is no visible trash.

Find easy and convenient cleaning supplies for the outside of your car.

One thing I’ve realized is that the inside of a car can look great, but if the outside of the car looks like you’ve been four-wheeling it doesn’t really matter what the inside looks like.  I’m married to a man who really appreciates a well-washed car, and his appreciation has rubbed off on me.  However…we just don’t usually have that much time for a full bucket-and-sponge wash.  I was thrilled when I found out that the car can still look clean on the outside without all that effort.

I had used Armor All wipes previously for the interior of my car, and loved how convenient they were.  I was excited when I saw that Armor All had created wipes and tire sponges that bring that same convenience to cleaning the exterior of our cars.

The Armor All Ultra Shine Wash Wipes are pre-moistened and treated so all you need to remove grime is the wipes!  Then the Ultra Shine Wax Wipes can be used to add a protective layer once you get all the dirt off.  The Ultra Shine Tire And Trim Shine Sponges are especially convenient and are really the icing on the cake to make your car look freshly washed, without having to go through all the hassle of a bucket and hose!  











The bonus is that these wipes are perfect for handing to your kids as well - then they can be involved in keeping the car cleaned too!  And yes, I cleaned the car in my dress!  This was by car the easiest, least messy way that I've ever cleaned the outside of the car.

These wipes are so easy to use and the 3-step system covers every area of the exterior of your car.  I found all three products at Walmart in the automotive section, and I really recommend trying all three!  I even have a coupon for you - $2 off an one of the Armor All Ultra Shine Wipes line, while supplies last!  

I am so happy to have these on hand so I can quickly give the car some extra shine when it needs it.  Derek won’t be able to tease me anymore about how dirty the car gets, because these wipes will let me keep it cleaner with so much less effort!

How do you keep your car clean, especially with young kids?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Armor All, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #LessTimeMoreShine http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV




If Sisters Were Flowers, I'd Pick You



Did you know that last Thursday was Random Acts Of Kindness Day?  I didn't know there was a such a day, but I think it's a fun idea.  It's nice to get something special on special days, but there's something different and maybe even better about getting something special on a day you didn't expect it at all.

Proflowers offered me a free bouquet to send someone a bouquet of flowers in honor of Random Acts Of Kindness Day, and when I thought about who I wanted to send them to, I decided on my sister!









I am so proud to call this sweet girl my sis!  She inspires me in many ways.  She is so thoughtful and loving toward her family, including me!  She is the kind of person you can always count on, and she always does what she says she will do.  There are not as many people like that as you might think, and I'm lucky to have someone so reliable as my sister.  She also is so good at standing up for herself and what she believes in - I've occasionally recruited her to make a phone call for me to a difficult company, and she knows how to get things done (a relic of her office manager days collecting payments when we used to work at the same dental office!).  I want to be more like her in all these ways!  I'm so lucky to have not just a sister, but a best friend.

I think sometimes we don't take the time to really tell those closest to us how much we appreciate them and what we love about them, and I'm guilty of this too.  That's why I wanted to send the flowers, because I don't tell her enough how glad I am that we're sisters!




I'd encourage you, in honor of the month which holds Random Acts Of Kindness Day, to do something special for someone in your life too - just for no reason!  And if you do, here are a couple ideas:

1. Send flowers.  You can do what I did here and have a bouquet sent!  Proflowers was so easy to order from, had a great variety of flowers, and even delivered to my sister's rural address, so I'd recommend checking them out if you want a swift and easy way to deliver some botanical happiness!

2. Mail a card.  People don't send enough snail mail anymore, and there's something so nice about getting a non-bill piece of mail - especially when you put some thought into telling your friend or family member what is special about them!  We all need some encouragement sometimes.

3. Stop by with coffee.  Especially if you are surprising a mom with young kids, but really, who would turn down coffee?  Except those crazy people who don't drink caffeine, by whom I am continually puzzled.

Have you ever done anything for Random Acts Of Kindness Day?





How My Parents Made Valentine's Day Special (Even When I Was Single)




I have many great Valentine's memories from when I was growing up...and the thing is, almost none of my memories have to do with actually having a Valentine.  I never had a boyfriend until I met Derek, and I met him when I was eighteen years old, so there are a lot of years in there that could have been lonely or depressing, especially when other girls my age started dating.

My parents are the biggest reason why Valentine's Day was never depressing.  There are three things we did as a family that made it fun:

1) We ate an excessive amount of candy hearts (a tradition I continue today).

2) We all broke out the construction paper and made paper valentines for each other every year.

3) My parents gave each other sweet Valentine's Day cards (it's good for a child's heart to see their parents loving each other).

4) My parents always got us a little gift that would be waiting on the table on Valentine's Day morning.

That was enough, even during those tumultuous teenage years.  I think we underestimate the impact of the love of a parent on Valentine's Day.  It doesn't have to be anything big and flashy, just something small to remind your kids that no matter their relationship status, they are seen and loved by you.

I plan to do these things with my kids, and I also am hoping to spread the valentine joy outside of our immediate family to our cousins and friends as well!  I think I have a subconscious goal to not let any children in my kids' circles to feel forgotten on Valentine's Day.

If you are of a mind to join me...I have a long list of Valentine's Day gift ideas for kids on Tommy Nelson this week! Ideas for classroom valentines, and Valentine's Day gift ideas for your own kids too!  Read all my ideas here, then come back and tell me if I missed anything, por favor!

And Happy (early) Valentine's Day to you!








Our Valentine Gifts For 2017 (And 10 More Card/Gift Pairings)



I never really considered myself a "people pleaser".  I fancy myself one of those people who wouldn't change my own opinions or convictions just to please someone else, and I always thought I had pretty good boundaries.

But I realized last year that no, I am kind of a people pleaser.  The way it manifests itself for me is a difficulty in saying "no".  This really became a problem this last fall.  All of a sudden I had several writing commitments and other commitments at church, and barely time to breathe!  

Unfortunately because of this busyness, I decided I needed to let some things go, and one of those things was co-hosting the With Grit & Grace Linkup.  However, I don't see any reason why I can't still share what I want to work on each month!  As far as goal-setting goes, you all already know that I'm not a resolution-making, goal-setting kind of girl.  When I pick a goal for the month, it's one thing, and usually a bit vague at that.  Another blogger wrote recently about how she accomplishes more when her goals are vague - and even though all goal-setting experts say that vagueness is a no-no, I find the same thing is true of me. 

So here is my one, not-super-specific goal for February.

I want to give Valentines!  

To whom?  I don't fully know yet.  However, this goal fits in with my larger focus for the year, and it's also something I just want to do.  I have a hard time with the love languages concept, because I feel like I could claim all of them as a personal love language, but I do enjoy giving gifts, even small gifts.  I like to make my own gifts occasionally too, especially when they are simple.  It makes my non-crafty self feel like I'm not a complete failure in the DIY area!







(Affiliate links below.)



Especially every year around Valentine's Day, I get the urge to make something, which is convenient because Valentine's Day is a great creative outlet! This is one of the things I came up with for the kids to give their friends this year.  Did anyone have some of these crayon melts growing up?  I wrote a whole post once about my first-grade crayon melt wishes.  We have a bunch of broken crayons around, so I bought a heart mold, melted the crayons in the oven, and let them cool completely before I removed them!  

They turned out pretty well, and I am planning on making enough for all the kids' little friends.  I'm still looking for the perfect valentines to include with the crayon melts though!  I've had the opportunity to work with Minted in the past, and this year they gave me a chance to pick out some classroom valentines.  Oh my goodness.  The choices are endless because every single one is so cute!

To help you out in your valentine-giving efforts, I put together a few ideas for little gifts to include with some of Minted's classroom valentines.  But do yourself a favor and check out the entire collection, because there were so many cute ones I didn't have room to share here!  (Also, I'll take feedback on which one you think goes best with the crayon melts.  As I type this, I'm still not sure which ones to pick.)




Firefly Love Valentine - This is a great Valentine for glow sticks, or glow-in-the-dark anything, really.


Banner Takeoff Valentine - I have given airplane gliders as valentine gifts in the past, and this one is the perfect valentine for that!


Sharp Student Valentine - Cool pencils would go with this one.  You could even include a sharpener if you wanted to add something extra.



Bee My Valentine - Minted has a few adorable bee-themed valentines, and if it were me, I'd include a honey stick!


Precious Gems Valentine - So many possibilities with this one.  Ring pops, gem-shaped erasers, plastic jewelry.


Sweet Bubbly Valentine - A bubble gum valentine! Tuck a stick of gum in with it, and there you go!


You Rule Valentine - Colorful plastic rulers, obviously.


School Of Fish Valentine - You could go with gold fish (the crackers), or any sort of fish toy with this one.


Color In My World Valentine - Crayons, and the valentine recipient can finish coloring this one themselves!  Minted has a few valentines that are also activities, like this one.  This one might be a contender for our crayon melts.



Bugs And Kisses Valentine - I would go with inexpensive plastic bug toys or magnifying glasses with this one.  This is also a great example of one of the activity valentines!



Smart Cookie Valentine - Bake some cookies!



The bottom line is that you could choose almost any valentine treat or theme, and Minted probably has a classroom valentine choice that will go with it!  I seriously had a horrible time narrowing down which valentines to show you in this post - it's going to be even harder to pick the ones I want for my kids to hand out.  I'm still debating on whether I'll stick with the "melted" theme, or not!

Do you hand out Valentine's (for your child's class maybe?).  
Am I having a little too much fun with this?  I have this sneaky feeling that putting together Valentine's gifts for other people's kids is supposed to be burdensome, but I think it's so fun!

(And just as a little bonus - check out these Valentine-inspired prints!  Perfect for a gallery wall or as a Valentine's gift for a grown up.)

(I love a beautiful vow print - I have one on our wall!)

(You can customize this print with your own photo.)



Stay tuned and I'll update in a week or two on which valentines I picked to go along with the crayon melts!








Note: I will be receiving Valentine classroom cards to review in exchange for this post.  This is my honest opinion.





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