Super Easy Halloween Crafts

supersimple

Hello!

Halloween is almost here and my boys couldn’t be more excited! They have been wearing their costumes since we got them for them and have been busy creating some of their own.  We have also been doing my favorite thing…getting crafty! Yep, you can never have too many crafts! Here a few super simple crafts and ideas for your last minute Halloween fix.  

Paper Skeleton Costume

My oldest wanted to be a skeleton one day, so I searched on Pintrest for an easy to make costume and came across a million ideas, of course.  Here are a couple of super easy ideas for the skull and another for the rest of the skeleton.

Skull from Red Ted Arts

What you need:

  • Paper Plate
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • hole punch
  • Pipe cleaners or something to tie with
  1. Follow the middle circle on a paper plate with your marker to make a horseshoe shape. 
  2. Draw two half circles on both sided of the horseshoe
  3. Draw lines on the grooves at the bottom of the plate for teeth
  4. Draw circles for eyes and an upside down heart for the nose.

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5. Punch holes on both sides and tie a pipe cleaner or string through it. 

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Body

For the body I found a printable template on Poofy Cheeks that was perfect.

What you need:

  • printer
  • paper
  • scissors
  • black marker
  • tape
  • kids in dark clothing 

I just printed two for both of my boys and cut out the shapes.  I wasn’t about to cut each individual bone, so I just colored in the blank spaces with a black marker. Perfect for people that want to be a little crafty but don’t have a lot of time.

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I hand drew the arm and leg bones myself so I could make them the right size for my littles.

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Finally I taped them to some dark clothing, added the mask and the skeletons were complete!

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SPIDERS!

I wanted some spiders to hang on our fake spider web, but I wanted them to be extra special. I solicited the help of three very talented artist (aka the fam) and a spider family was born.

What you need:

  • pipe cleaners
  • pom poms
  • googly eyes
  • glue gun (with glue sticks) or regular glue
  • scissors
  1. Cut and shape the piper cleaner to the sizes you want the legs to be.
  2. Let your imagination run wild. Glue the legs to the pom poms and add eyes.DONE! 

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Paper Plate Ghosts

This one is fun for little hands, too!

What you need

  • white paper
  • white paper plates
  • tape
  • white party streamer
  • markers, crayons or paints
  1. Trace your little ones hands or have them do it on a white piece of paper
  2. Cut out hands
  3. Tape the cut outs to the back of the plate where you want the ghosts hands to be
  4. Make the ghosts face with whatever you fancy
  5. Add streamers to the bottom of the plate. Tape to the back of the plate.
  6. Say boo!

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Here are some easy food decorating ideas.

Quesamummy! 

What you need:

Tortillas

  • cheese
  • olives
  • any other filling you would like on your quesadilla
  • edible marker (optional)
  • a stove or microwave
  1. Warm up one tortilla for each person being served
  2. Flip to warm both sides
  3. Remove from heat and cut into strips
  4. Warm up another tortilla for each person being served
  5. Flip
  6. Add your filling. We did ham and cheese.
  7. Let cheese melt and then remove from heat.
  8. Add your strips of tortilla on top leaving enough space to see through and leaving the smallest strip out. 
  9. Cut round pieces of cheese and place where eyes would be
  10. Cut olives in half to make eyes and place on top of round cheese
  11. Draw a smile on the little strip you didn’t use and add as mouth.  Easy peezy! I added tomatoes and cucumbers to the plate just to make it a bit healthier.

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Sandwich Art

I am that cheesy mom that send decorated sandwiches to school.  Although my art skills could you some work, the boys really enjoy them.  I’ll keep on doing it until they tell me to stop or I don’t find it fun any more, whichever comes first.

What you need

  • A sandwich (duh)
  • edible markers
  1. Draw to your hearts content.  Just remember your canvas is pretty small so don’t try to get to detailed unless you are crazy talented. It’s not easy to show too much on bread. Here are a couple of examples.

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There you have it.  This is how I’ve been keeping busy these days.  What crafty things are you up to?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Goodnight Around the World!

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One of the most beautiful moments of being a parent is being able to tuck your little ones in for the night.  Most parents I know have a set night time routine that helps get their babies to relax and to understand that the time for games is over for the day. Night time is also the best time for some one on one cuddles.  I don’t know what I will do when they outgrow them.

Our night time routine is pretty much set in stone.  My husband and I run around with them after bath time to let them get that last bit of energy out. Then when it is time to start winding down, we sing a song and say a poem.  The song I chose was one of my favorite songs from when I was growing up. It is a song by Topoyiyo called “A La Camita”.  This song has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  We watched the show of this little silly mouse when I was little. When I was in high school it was the last song the played at night clubs across the border as a way to let people know it was closing time.  I thought it was such a cute idea that we even chose it as the last song of our wedding reception. And now I am passing it on to my little ones.

After that, each child goes into his own room and my husband and I tag team. He goes into my oldest’s room first and I go in with my little one. We each read them stories and sing songs. I sing to them in Spanish while my husband sings in English. The songs I sing are a montage of songs from a cd that that mom gave us from a group called Grupo Tihui from the album Arrullos Tradicionales De México. It was a gift and I could not find a link to it, sorry.  I highly recommend it, however, if you can find it. It has magical powers.  I would play it for both boys when they were infants and it would instantly calm them down.

After we are done, we trade and do it all over again with the other child.  Well, my oldest and I do shadow puppets for a bit then have a question and answer session where he asks me anything he can think of and I try to answer it to the best of my ability.  (Thank goodness for google!) Last come our goodnight kisses for both and everyone goes to bed happy.

I thought it would be fun to see how the parents around the world on  say goodnight, so I reached out to my friends at Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Here is what they shared.  One thing is universal, songs and lullabies are one of the most beautiful way to cuddle with your little one and teach them a little music while you are at it. Hope you enjoy!

Galina Nikitina (Trilingual Children) shared her routine with us:

We read books and then kids go tho their beds, I tell them a story. They tell me who will be the story characters and I have to come up with the rest. If the kids are still up after the story, I sing to them.

Our family says “Good night!” in three languages: “Buona Notte!” in Italian, “Spokojnoj Nochi!” ( Спокойной Ночи!) in Russian and “Good Night! in English.

She also has a post about Russian lullabies (written in Russian) that you can find HERE.

Lana Jelenjev (Smart Tinker) from the Philippines shared a lullaby called Sa Ugoy ng Duyan

Audrey Kratovil (Españolita…¡Sobre La Marcha!even included a video from YouTube for us to take part in the lovely song Cinco Lobitos

From Morocco, Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki (Marrakech Food Tours) wrote:

We always read a book and say a prayer of protection, tuck them in and then recite a duaa from the Quran to protect the kids and keep bad dreams away. They actually recite it we just help them. (wink)

Rita Rosenback (Multilingual Parenting) added:

The last thing I have said every night to my girls is “Good night, sleep well, sweet dreams” (in Swedish: God natt, sov gott, fina drömmar). My girls are now 22 and 29 and we still do it.”

She even mentioned it on her post HERE. 

A lovely night time routine was shared by Marianna Hennig Du Bosq (Bilingual Avenue):

Both my husband and I put our little one to bed every night (she’s two). We take turns wishing her good night and sweet dreams in English and Spanish and she responds “I love you” to Daddy and “Te quiero mucho” to me. She puts her hands together (like in a prayer) … that’s our sign for “Bendicion” or bless me in Spanish and then I respond by saying “Dios te bendiga.” The last thing I say is what my mother always said to me “Que sueñes con los angelitos,” meaning “May you dream with the little angels.” I am from Venezuela and my husband is American, we live in Germany.

Maria Babin (Trilingual Mama) shared this sweet routine:

Sometimes a bath, then jammies on, brush teeth, a few books and sometimes family prayer. Into the turbulette (a kind of sleeping bag for babies), doudou (stuffed animal), two cars (for my 2 year old Rémy) and a kiss! Good night or buenas noches!

Olga Sokolik (Milk, Crafts and Honesty) shared this Polish night time saying “Dobranoc, pchly na noc, karaluchy do poduchy a szczypawki do zabawki” (Goodnight, fleas for the night, cockcroaches to the pillow and earwigs to the toys)

Haboona Abdullah Hussein (The Ramblings of a Saudi Wife) included that in Arabic people say in the evening “mesa el khair” (evening of good) and the reply is “mesa el noor” (evening of light).

Anna Watt (Russian Step by Step) shared this fun nighttime routine:

(In Russia, you say) Спокойной ночи (spokOJnoj nochi) which literally translates as have a calm night. Some kids love watching a kid tv show that runs right before the bedtime and has the same name. We live in the US now and will do shower/books/lie down in bed together/kisses and hugs and then goodnight in both English and Russian.

Charu Chhitwal (Ketchup Moms) let us into this traditional routine:

In India of most us say Good night to kids after maybe reading their favorite book to them. But when my twins were 8 months old, I had started singing the Gayatri mantra for them. It is a chant that is considered very powerful, protecting and Peaceful. (Find link HERE) Although I had stopped, will start now.  Good night in literal Hindi translation means- Shub Ratri.

Eolia Scarlett Disler (La Cité des Vents) shared this sweet good night:

Personaly, I do this routine: we read them a book/story, pray together, kiss them good night and some evenings I sing a song or two. In French: “Bonne nuit! A demain matin. Dormez-bien mes chéris.” (Good night, see you tomorrow. Sleep well my darlings.)

Tamania Jaffri Naqi (UrduMom.com) added:

In urdu we say ‘shab-be-khair’ that means good/peaceful night. The lullabies sung at night are called ‘looris’.

These are some great examples of how similar we all are no matter where we are from. Our babies are our lives, our hearts and souls. We will sing, read, and be silly for them for as long as they let us. Be free, and be happy and be as childlike as you can be. Enjoy every moment you can with those sweet little ones. My hope is that they will remember the silly times. Hopefully we will have the ability to carry it on for generations to come. I would love to hear your routines.

How do you say goodnight?

Check out these goodnights from around the world (as shared by our Multicultural Kids Blog Family)

Thank you Multicultural Kids Blog families for letting me see into your traditions. I love learning from you all. 

Language is a Bond

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Did you hear the news?  The US has more Spanish speakers than Spain.  This shouldn’t really come as a surprise due to the size and population differences between the two.  What is amazing to see (for me at least) is how many Spanish speakers there actually are in the United States. A recent study conducted by Instituto Cervantes* found that there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus 11.6 million others who are bilingual.  How awesome is that? 
For me this means that I am not alone in wanting to teach my kids to speak, understand and love Spanish. There is an awesome community right outside my door. Thanks to someone special, we were able to put both boys in Spanish summer camp this year. M went last year on his own because T was too little. We thought T was ready this year. That is still up for debate. M loves school, comes home excited about the new words he learned that day, knows a lot of new songs and has made new friends. T cries every time we drop him off and on and off throughout the day. He hasn’t even bonded with his teacher or his classmates. I’m hoping this changes as they have 4 weeks to go. I really don’t like having him be so sad and would pull him if we didn’t think it may just be the terrible twos taking effect for not getting his way. What would you do? 
Once he gets past the tears, however, he does throw out some Spanish words without being asked. He also gets excited when we read books in Spanish at home and when we sing our songs. That makes me happy. We will keep trying with the summer program this coming week and revaluate at the end of it.  
But I digress. As far as Spanish always being a part of their lives, the new study gives me great hope.  Also, with all of the attention being brought to our language and culture in the news today, it makes me proud to see how we have come together as a community no matter what part of the world we are come from. Spanish is our bond, family is our heart and pride is our power. All of these are great lessons for my boys in the long run. Let’s keep our love for languages alive! 

What languages do you speak with your kids?

I’d love to learn more about your love for languages!
Also, if you haven’t done so, please send a family pic. You do not have to include faces if you don’t want to…shadows, backs to the camera, hands held together, etc) for a fabulous future post. Thanks and have an amazing weekend. 
*The Guardian

Colorful Life

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I love the colors in my life. I especially love all the colors in my own family. From my baby’s almost porcelain skin to my oldest olive tone. From my husband’s light skin to my own dark skin. We are not a cookie cutter family, but I know we are not the only ones. I love the fact that the world around us is full of color as well.

We are unique to us, though. Our tones reflect our personalities. We are each our own person and you can’t mistake one of us for the other. We are a family full of passion, emotion, strength and weakness with a little bit of crazy on the side. Most of all, we are full of love. Sure, some people do a double take when they see us as if unsure if I am actually my boys’ mother. I still wouldn’t change us for the world.

I am trying to teach my kids that is not right to judge people by how they look. I am trying to show them that all people are essentially the same on the inside. Most importantly, I am trying to teach them that neither a person’s appearance or where they are from defines who they are. It is their character that defines them. How they act and treat others is what everyone should concentrate on. Those who judge are showing their true character and that is on them. I want my boys to be proud of who they are and where they came from. I want them to respect others and where they came from as well. That is why I am trying to get them to love the colors they see around them as well.

Life is full of color, we just need to open our hearts to see the beauty. Our family tones may not be that different from other families after all, but they are still our own. I will keep my eyes and my heart open and dance to the colorful melody the colors make for as long as I can. Won’t you join me in celebrating a world full of color?

I’d love for you to share your colors with me. Let’s share our family’s lovely tones together. Please post and tag me #bilinguazo or on instagram @bilingualeyes. Please also tag #mkbkids so we can share with the world. Let’s see how beautiful our world full of color really is! Can’t wait to see you!

Here is my pic for you!

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Global Pick of the Day

Your Family Can Help Boost Bilingualism
As part of my Global Pick of the Day and the mark of my one year anniversary as a blogger last week, I picked one of the first posts I did. I had started doing research on all things bilingual and came across some awesome articles. They have given me some great ideas about how to help my children become bilingual. We still use these tips today as well as so many others I have found along the way through the Multicultural Kid Blogs. It’s fun to look back and see where we are now. It also makes me want to try to remember what the baby photo project I mentioned was. I should write things down more often, (words no blogger should say, ha)…
Enjoy!
Please Click here: Your Family can Help Boost Bilingualism

My Global Pick of the Day!!

Global Pick Image for 4.27.15 Final (2) (600x503)

It is my turn to share one of my first posts with you and the Multicultural Kid Blogs readers.  So I thought I would share with you one of my firsts post dealing with my greatest fear.  It’s not snakes, dark spaces or even heights. I’m pretty good with all of these. What is it then? Public Speaking. Can’t do it, even at my age. What’s a mama to do?

Public Speaking: Not in English or in Spanish, Please.

I hope you enjoy my take on it and I would love suggestions on how to help my little ones avoid this challenge.

Thank you!

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Dear Southwest: A Reply

Dear Southwest Airlines,

Thank you for responding to my letter. I appreciate you trying to explain why such a mess happened in the first place.  I must state, however, that you have left us with more questions than answers. In two separate correspondences from two different people at your company you give different reasons for the poorly made decisions of our return trip:

  1. “Because we had to bring in another aircraft from another city, we had passengers in ATL that we needed to drop off or pick up as well; hence, the reason for the stop in ATL.” (-Maddie)

  2. “The decision was made to operate your flight to Atlanta in order to clear Customs and accommodate you to Austin the following morning. “ (Adrienne Yurdyga)

Neither of these reasons sounds like a good explanation why this decision was even thought to be a good business decision. Neither does this:

“We carefully evaluate every available option to minimize delays and serve the greatest number of Customers while inconveniencing the least.”

What delay did you manage to minimize exactly? And who did you inconvenience the least?  Did anyone benefit from this?  As far as I could tell, everyone was inconvenienced including your staff in Mexico and Atlanta. I do not think this excuse holds much water.

If you did have passengers on the flight that were trying to get to Atlanta, did you take them all the way to Mexico and then back to Atlanta? How is that fair to those customers? Would it not make more sense to send in an empty flight? This is what I mean by having a backup plan. It just makes good business sense to be prepared for the unavoidable.

I completely understand the maintenance issue, as I stated in my previous letter. That was never the problem.  The “solution” to the problem is my issue. The fact that YOU HAD NO BACKUP PLAN is all I want you to consider for future flights. Bringing in another aircraft from such a long way and so late in the game just showed that your company had to scramble to avoid a major meltdown from over 100 people.  You must set up better policies to avoid such horrible conditions for the customers you claim to value so much.

Also, there are other issues that you did not even bother to address from my letter. Mainly, why sell tickets with flight times to choose from if you do not have the ability to keep those times. There should be some sort of warning that flight times are not guaranteed. This would make the fact that you can’t control your schedules clear to customers BEFORE they purchase a ticket and make their arrangements to fit those schedules.

Your apology email ended like this:

“We want you to have a better experience when you travel with us; and in this spirit, I’m sending a LUV Voucher* (in a separate e-mail) as a gesture of goodwill that we invite you to apply toward a new Southwest reservation.”

A little discount is what that means, right? Unfortunately that won’t entice my family back especially if it’s like the meal voucher you gave at the airport instead of finding accommodations for everyone you inconvenienced from children to elderly, from pregnant to those with medical issues and everyone in between. I’m afraid that for the rest of us, no “discount” will make up for the horrible experience.

I hope you do review this situation as well as every bad experience that keeps getting posted in your Facebook page and make the necessary changes.

Thank you for your time. Good luck in the future.

Sincerely,

Still a disappointed mama

www.bilinguazo.com

To see my original letter to Southwest, please see link below

Dear Southwest: A Mother’s Rant

Walking Tall

Walking Tall white

When I think of raising world citizens, I think of raising children that are open to all that they see and respect anyone they meet. I think of children as being an extension of their parents and caregivers. Parents that do not appreciate the beauty of the world, the amazing traditions and cultures of others and the wonderful people all around may not teach their children about them either. If they are not exposed to the world (be it at home or in a classroom), how can they learn to live in harmony with it?

With that in mind I truly believe that some of the bullies of the world have just never had the opportunity to learn from the differences around them. Children who are not exposed to other cultures and traditions may see others as different from them. They may not understand the world that anyone else lives in.

So far, in my kids’ young lives, they had yet to encounter the infamous bully.  The other day at the park, however, we came across our first bully in the making. We went to play as we usually do when the weather is nice. The park we like has a playground for big kids and another for toddlers.  We always go to the toddler side so they don’t have to worry about the big kids. Also, that park is usually empty which is even better for me.

Enjoying a typical day at the park

My boys were minding their own business, singing and dancing and just being silly.  There is a large raised walkway at the park that kids sometimes use to draw with chalk or parents sit on.  This is both boys’ favorite spot because it looks like a raised stage. They love to march back and forth on it and sing songs from “The Music Man”.  This time only T was marching when a boy that was definitely older than both of them decided to stand in his way, legs and arms stretched out to make sure T couldn’t get through. Here is how I saw it happen…

“Maybe he just wants to play,” I thought granting him the benefit of the doubt as he stood there with a very determined look.

“Excuse me,” said T (proud mama that he was so polite)

“No!” replied the kid.

M sees what is going on, runs over to them and says, “Please move, we are trying to perform.” (Yep, that’s how we roll.)

He still wouldn’t move. M tried everything from asking nicely to asking him if he wanted to play a game.  He told the kid that he could be the gate and they would push a button on the boys belly to see if that would open the door.  I found this hysterical myself since we play that at home sometimes. I guess I have to think about how our silly games translate into the real world.

The boy still didn’t move so M sighed and said, “Come on T, let’s just go this way.” They happily went around the boy, but the boy followed!

The boy went back up to Mario and said, “Wanna fight?” At this point I gasped and was ready to pounce. I told myself to wait to see what happened and stay calm (easier said than done).

Mario’s response was classic, “Fight? No way! Only mean people fight and mean people are yucky!” Proud mama moment again, even if calling people yucky is not so good either.  I knew he was just stating the obvious, though.  Loved it!

The kid then tried to take M’s toy horse away and that is when the (who I assume to be the baby sitter due to her age and lack of attentiveness throughout all of this) finally ran over and took the boy away. She’s lucky she did, or else that kid may have gotten an earful from this mama.

Way too cute to pick on, I say!

Way too cute to pick on, I say!

Point of the story is that if that boy had been exposed to more people and more situations, he may have had a little more respect for my boys and maybe even played with them instead of trying to cause a fight with someone so much smaller. He saw easy targets (smaller children) that were different from him (not just physically but because they were singing show tunes) and decided he would teach them a lesson. Something I’m sure he didn’t learn on his own.  This is a child imitating something that he has seen before.  I only hope that his parents or caregivers become more open and respectful so that this child and any other kid can do the same.

I am proud that my kids weren’t intimidated and stood their ground. I’m also proud that their first response wasn’t that the kid was threatening but maybe wanted to play. I am proud that they acted with respect, didn’t let them affect them and went on playing as if nothing had happened when it was over. Yes, I am a proud mama. I hope I can teach them to keep the respect and the patience they showed that day for always.
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Be proud, my love, you and your brother will reach great heights.

Wednesday is Orange Day!

#orangeurhood Laos

Every month on the 25th day of the month the world unites to End Violence Against Women! The campaign is UNiTe to End Violence against Women Campaign is managed by UN Women to raise awareness and to help in the prevention of violence against women and girls. This is a very important campaign that I feel more people need to be aware of.  Please check the link for all of the information as well as a schedule of events you can participate in. Please let everyone know about it, support it and wear some orange to promote it.

Launch of UNiTE campaign Call for Action for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, ‘Orange your world: Make a dent’

According to their website:

The year 2015 marks the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive road map to gender equality. World leaders will meet in March at the United Nations 59th Commission on the Status of Women to take stock of the progress made and commit to take actions to close the gaps that are holding women and girls back. This is also the year when a new development framework will come in to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The elimination of violence against women and girls must be a centerpiece of the new development agenda. – See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action#sthash.OGkrtvTI.dpuf

Help launch the UNiTE campaign with their call of action by checking out their website where you can donate and learn more about this great campaign.  I think it’s an awesome cause.  Here is to hoping more people become aware of this campaign and all that it represent.  I hope we can stop it before our children have to see any of these terrible things happen.  The only way we can do that is to work together and learn from each other. This is a very important campaign that I feel more people need to be aware of.  Please let everyone know about it, support it and wear some orange to promote it. Link your pics with your orange love on Twitter to #bilinguazo and #UN_Women or on Instagram at Bilingualeyes and UNWomen. Looking forward to seeing your pics!

UT

Managing My Time

Managing My Time

So my posts have been dwindling a bit, not from lack of enthusiasm or ideas, but simply from poor time management. Right now it’s Spring Break, so my days are full of kid activities. Before that the kids were sick (nothing to worry about just winters germs) then I was sick then they were sick again and then again me.  I was just tired. We are all on the mend (for good I hope)

There has also been something else occupying my time:  writing books…children’s books. I don’t know if they are any good.  I would like to think they have promise, though.  I even attended a very inspiring conference that gave me a little more courage to get out there and try a little harder. I had one of my stories critiqued by an editor which gave me the fire I needed to get moving on these.  I know what I need to do. I just have to find the time to do it.

That brings me right back to my poor time management dilemma.  I need to find a way to fit everything into my schedule and not completely ignore my children. I mean they are the reason I am doing all of this, right? So this is what I need to fit in every week on the few hours the kids are asleep or in those days they go to school for 4 hours.

  • Research and prepare fun learning activities for kids
  • Find ways to help them love the world and the people in it
  • Write 4 blogs a week (ideally) for the blogs I contribute to as well as my own in English and Spanish
  • Work on my books: edit and work on existing stories to submit
  • Develop new stories
  • Work on website
  • Cook and clean
  • Run errands
  • Exercise
  • Enjoy the quiet!

How in the world? Seems crazy, right? It may just be! I’m reading up on what may help and here are some things I found that I need to try:

Plan ahead!

This one is so important for success! Give yourself time to prepare all that you can at least one day a week.  My mom was a teacher and tells me stories of staying up late cuting up games and crafts for kids every night after we were in bed.  I do not have the patience she has, so I would like to find a way to do multiple days at once just so I had things prepared in advance.

Be flexible

Things come up and schedules get turned upside down. Don’t panic. Take it as light as possible, as hard as that is, and rework your schedule if only in your own mind. You may have to save the schedule you had planned for the next day, but at least you know you have a plan.

Post it!

Not necessarily for the world to see, but for your own peace of mind. Find a spot where you can have your very own chalkboard or dry erase board and write down a list of what you want to do during the week.  Having it in a place you always see without it being right in your face all of the time may help you not feel so overwhelmed.  I keep a little one I found at Target at the corner of my desk helps me glance over when I want to remind myself of what it was I was writing about without taunting me too much.

Here is my board that makes me smile. Sure the list is long, but at least is cute!

Here is my board that makes me smile. Sure the list is long, but at least is cute!

Organize, reorganize, and make it nice! 

Having a messy work space or living space can make you feel more scattered and uninspired. I had a crazy craft room/guest room happening for a while there. There were paints, glues, markers, crayons, construction paper, toys, craft ideas, stickers, yarn, and everything else you could think of in boxes and all over that room.  My Father in law built me a beautiful desk with room for bins and the room has opened up quite a bit.  This is what I now call my office and it makes me feel more centered. So find a place to keep the things you use the most like bins or pretty baskets to make your home feel more organized and put the rest away. Baskets are great for keeping those little toys and cars that end up following you around the house for some reason. Everything in its place may help you keep everything in your head in order, too. That’s the hope, anyways.

My desk.  May not be perfectly organized, but I have plenty of space to write.

My desk. May not be perfectly organized, but I have plenty of space to write.

Make extras

This is especially important in meal planning. Double up your recipes and freeze half. This way you can give yourself permission to do other things some days knowing that you have what you need in the freezer. Just don’t forget to thaw it!

Use the Internet

The internet is an amazing resource to find anything you need. You can find new recipes. You can find out what other cultures do with their kids for fun and try to replicate it if you can. You can learn how to make anything you want really.  I like to use it to find fun projects for the kids, get printouts for our learning times, find songs and games in Spanish and see what the rest of the world is up to. Google away!

Learn when to say no

You can’t be expected to do everything yourself.  Don’t take on too many projects at once or you will drive yourself insane. Make sure you take on only what you know you can easily handle. It’s good to challenge yourself from time to time, though. So if you must, make sure that you are not cutting into family time and it’s a project you really enjoy.

Fall in love with routines

This is good in all aspects of life.  Yes spontaneity is fabulous, but if you are trying to get your life in order it may not be the best way to go. Save those times for something more fun. Set up your days in advance so that you give yourself some time to work on as much as you can.  Don’t expect to do it all at once, though.  Be realistic about what you want to accomplish on a given day and how much time you want to spend on it.

Take care of YOU

Overworking yourself in order to get things done is not the answer. Also, it can be exhausting. If you find yourself a little overwhelmed and worn out, change your plan and try to add time to relax. If you think you may be coming down with something, stop and listen to your body, it may just need a break from running around.

Breathe

Nobody is perfect all of the time, not even you. Remember that your kids are only the age they are now once, you don’t want to miss the special moments each age has to offer just to have a perfectly clean home or three blog post a day in my case.  

Enjoy your days as much and as often as you can. All things will get done with time. Now, go play with your family!

Here are the articles on time management I found helpful.  What has worked for you?

Time Management Tips for Working Moms

Time Management Tips for Moms