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Tackling the Grocery Store- With 4 Kids

While most of the time I go to the grocery store alone sometimes there is no way to make that happen. Most recently while my Fiance’ was gone for a week training for a new job. Four kids, no help, and no school. The grocery store would seem an impossible task but I have learned several tricks that I would love to share with you.

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7 Ideas for Tackling the Grocery Store with 4 Kids

  1. Park next to a cart return. Preferably one with a nice shopping cart in it. If there is a cart to load kids in then it is so much easier to get to the front door without chasing kids around a parking lot. Plus when you finish shopping you don’t have to walk away from the kids to drop off the cart. All in all it is much safer.
  2. Use the multi child carts. I wish stores had car carts that seated 4 but 3 is good too. I don’t even care that they are really hard to push and steer, the ability to strap the child in is well worth it. car-cart
  3. Go down every aisle. I always forget things and if I walk down all the aisles i will usually forget less (or buy more I don’t need but better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it or is that with weapons). Except any aisle with avoid even the sight of those.
  4. Stop at the Samples of food. Feed them all for free. Snacks make shopping ten times easier. If you can remember to bring snacks more power to you. I barely get mine out the door with shoes on the right feet half the time. Sometimes the cashiers will even give you lollipops.
  5. Go when no one else is there. This is not always possible but if you are planning a grocery trip go really early in the morning or super late so there isn’t as much crowd. Kroger and Wal-Mart are open 24 hours in most places and going in the middle of the night is by far the easiest. I have put a blanket in the bottom of the cart and laid sleeping kids in more times than I can count.
  6. Master the 2 cart method. I push one cart and pull another more than you know. Loading the kids into one and the groceries into the other is by far the easiest way to protect eggs, bread, and snacks from grabby hands. img_0835
  7. Baby Carrier is a must when they are young. I have worn e
    ach of my children and it makes life so much easier. Especially when breast-feeding. I would never want to try to breastfeed in a bathroom with 4 kids. I do like some privacy though and a carrier gives me that privacy. Plus it keeps little hands off stuff. img_0830

What tips do you have for the grocery store? Do you have pictures of your kids at the grocery store? Are they as crazy as mine?

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Time Management- How I Balance All I Do

Have you been overwhelmed? Felt like there just are not enough hours in the day to get it all done? Stressed over impending deadlines? I completely understand. Having a large family (4 children 5 and under) is a balancing act. I have to make sure to spend time with each of them individually so they don’t feel let out. I have to make sure to keep up with their Pre K schedule. Then I added in my soap making company. I wish I could make soap everyday. Then there is marketing, craft shows, updating the websites and this amazing blog. Now I even added in going back to college. Crazy I know. There is a way to spin all those plates though.

spinning-plates

Is multitasking a thing?

While some things are easily multitasked many can not. Listening to music while working out is symbiotic. Writing  research paper while kids jump on the couch is definitely not. You can not keep kids from getting hurt while doing a major assignment. That is not to say that there are not ways to do homework with kids around. I regularly practice speeches for my public speaking class in front of my kids. I have taught them the bones of the hand as practice for me for anatomy. (Teaching is the best form of learning.)

Yet when it comes to most assignments peace and quiet is essential. Focusing on one thing at a time allows me to do a better job. My thoughts are more coherent. When I make soap or write a post on this blog I usually have to break it up into multiple short tasks so that I can finish. Finding an hour of time without interruptions is difficult, but fifteen minutes is doable sometimes even thirty.

Eating the Frog

This is a saying from a popular book Eat That Frog: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time by Brian Tracy. Eating the frog pretty much means the most difficult task on your to do list and doing it first. Get it finished and you will have the momentum to tackle the rest of the day. Don’t keep putting it off or it will loom over your head. If you don’t like reading (that thing you are doing now) there is also a video that sums it up quite well. Eat that frog on YouTube.

The Dreaded List

While the list helps most people it does not help me. I will try to do wayyyyyyyy too much when I make myself a list. This makes me anxious and I end up getting nothing done. Having it all written tends to make me feel like I have to get the entire list done and Murphy’s Law (whatever can happen will) always intercedes, some huge event that demands my attention happens.

One of my twins slams the others finger in the door and breaks it……

Or my fiancé falls through a ceiling while installing insulation at his parents house…..

Or my sister goes into labor……

So many things can completely alter a To Do list. So I prefer to keep mine in my head so I can rework it and alter it as needed. Some important time sensitive things I will put in my phone or on my calendar, but the little things, like what needs cleaning or making soap I don’t schedule I just do. It helps that cleaning and soaping are relaxing to me. Flexibility is important. Lists may work for you and if so by all means use them. By all means organize everything. Channel your inner Sheldon Cooper but remember to be flexible. Life happens and sometimes (often for me) you have to just roll with it.

Prioritize

My most essential tool in my belt, when you figure out what you need  to do first everything just falls into place. There are a couple of questions to ask…..

Is this task time sensitive and if so how much so? Does it need to be done today or will tomorrow do, or can it wait a year?

Is this task important? Do you really NEED to do it?

I sort all these things into a table like the following. The urgent and important tasks get done first, then the urgent non-important ones, then the non-urgent but important ones, then lastly the non-urgent non-important ones. I do this in my head and very often switch the importance/ urgency of tasks but for some of you writing it down will help.

prioritization-table

If you want to see the article I got this graph from click here.

Ideas at the most inconvenient times

I have a very difficult time with recording all my ideas. Often,ideas start flowing and I am flooded with so many that I can not remember them all or even write them down fast enough. Ideas such as soaps I should make, or things I want to share with my readers, or answers to school problems that I struggle to save all of. A device to record thoughts would be the greatest invention ever, but alas it is not invented yet.

Voice to text and notes on my phone are very useful since I usually have my phone. I will jot down ideas (many of which I have no idea what they mean later) and work on them later when I have time. Many of the times when this happens I a driving or talking to someone. How rude would it be to stop a conversation to write something on my phone? The looks you get for doing so are only worth it if you are curing world hunger or the solving the grand unification theory. (I know too many big bang references)

I am sure there are many other ways all of you balance your spinning plates. What are they? I would love to hear your time management methods.

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New Year, New Workout

I will be thirty this year and maintaining my weight has been easy before now. Four kids and a sedentary lifestyle have taken their toll. I can not let it continue to. My once DD’s are now J. My once size 14 hips are now 22. So it is time. New year, New workout.

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I cut red meat and have eaten fish and chicken for a few weeks. I have started making salads daily. I also skipped the candy canes and chocolate for Christmas. About a week ago I started working out while watching tv instead of laying on the couch. Even now I am telling Siri to write this instead of sitting and typing.

My kids have even joined me. Squats, crunches, push-ups, running With 4 kids in tow has been difficult but determination will solve all problems.

Squats: while doing laundry, to the mailbox, my kids thought mommy was funny at first but now they are trying to do them too. Even the 2 yr old tries and mostly sits down (it’s super cute though).

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Crunches: while watching my grey’s anatomy or game of thrones, with baby while nursing(yes I nurse my two-year old).

Push-ups: this usually goes badly. My littlest climbs on my back every time he sees me get in pushup position, but the other three get right next to me and try.

Running: this one is the hardest. They don’t make 4 seat jogging strollers, so I pretty much jog (mostly in place) trying to get them to keep up. The boys are great but my daughter is very spoiled and always tells me how tired she is. Eventually she will run for a bit but then she starts the scream crying. I keep trying though the hope is eventually she will run with me.

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What does your workout look like? How do you overcome your hindrances? What’s your favorite healthy food?

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Leaving the Excuses Behind

Leave The Excuses Behind

How I am meeting my goals this year with the water challenge.

Since January 2nd I have done a water challenge with Raquel at  Real Change Fitness and it has amazed. Raquel is a great motivator and trainer. The goal is to drink a gallon of water a day. She gave us a picture of how to keep track on a gallon jug so we could stay motivated throughout the day. I even added reasons for doing the challenge on the sides like “to fit into those cute jeans”, “to keep up with my kids”, and “to like when I look in the mirror.”

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So far I am doing awesome all though my gallon sprang a leak (cheap plastic).

If you want to make your own it reads:
  • Water Challenge
  • 7am- Good Morning
  • 9am- You can do this
  • 11am- Remember your goals
  • 1pm- Keep Drinking
  • 3pm- Feeling Awesome
  • 5pm- No Excuses
  • 7pm- Resist Temptation
  • 9pm- Almost Done

She told us we could easily change the hours around for our normal day since some people work overnight or wake up earlier.

She has also shared a workout routine with us to gauge where we are that totally rocked. I have done the routine everyday and participating in a squats and abs challenge and ab and butt challenge with http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com

It has been a challenge

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After my first workout.

The best part of it all is that I can work out from home. So I don’t have to pay for child care, or a gym membership, and I don’t have to work out in front of people. I know I am not alone in being nervous about people seeing me sweat my tookus off. Being able to focus on the workout at hand is more important than what the people around me think and if they are calling me fat. I get enough comments already about “you have your hands full”(in reference to my 4 kids) or “pajamas are not acceptable outer attire” (look I get the kids dressed and out the door that’s all that matters to me).

Since starting this challenge I have even been eating better, I cut processed sugar out of my diet (fruit is my sweet treat now) and have eaten more salads. I didn’t used to like salad but recently my taste buds have been weird and I actually find all the greens tasty.

Now its your turn

If you are thinking about getting in shape please don’t keep putting it off. Leave the excuses behind you. The longer you wait to start the harder it gets. Ask me how I know. I used to be in the military and wear a size 3, and am now a size 18-20. If you miss a day don’t give up. “It is better to try and fail than to have never tried” (William F. O’Brien)

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I am on the left and on the right is my sister. That was over 7 years and 50 lbs ago. 

It is past time to start working on getting in shape and I am well on my way. Raquel has virtual fitness classes as well as in-person fitness classes. So even if you are not local feel free to contact her. She is great at making working out fun and challenging at the same time. She has a Facebook too Real Change Fitness.

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Potty Training Tips and Tricks

I am potty training yet another child (number 4) and this time it is going better than the last few times around. I attribute it to experience mostly but also to the older kids assistance. The twins have even volunteered to “show” him how to pee in the potty. They proceeded to do this by crossing streams. (“don’t cross the streams” Ghostbusters)

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  1. Cloth Diapers make potty training so much easier.

    I am not saying you have to use diaper pins because cloth diapers have come a long way from then. I love my pockets they are simple to wash and easy to adjust absorbance (so you can throw in extra absorbance overnight). There are also all in ones and hybrids. Using cloth lets the child know when they have pee’d themselves they can feel it. With disposable diapers they are made to mask that the child has pee’d. They cover up scent and feel. While you will have to change them more often you won’t have to buy as many diapers and there is no midnight run to the store for diapers.

  2. Are they ready? 

    Look for clues that they are ready. Too often my friends have tried potty training too early. If they aren’t ready then you will end up struggling a lot more than you need to. If they are trying to take their diaper off, or playing in the potty, playing with their private parts, or communicating that they pee’d or have to pee (this may not be words it may be pointing or trying to climb on the potty) those are all clues.

  3. It isn’t a competition.

    Your child may train quickly or it may take a lot of time. Do not expect them to be pros overnight or even after a week or a month. Each child is different. One of my kids is 5 and still has accidents sometimes. Usually when he is in a new and exciting environment he either forgets or is stressed and can’t control it.  Children cannot be expected to be perfect.

  4. Never get mad. 

    This is by far the hardest one, but the most important. You don’t want to yell or punish them for an accident. Take your time and show them how to clean themselves. Be patient and kind. Even when there is poop everywhere be patient. If you do yell or get upset be patient with yourself as well. Apologize and do better next time, because you aren’t perfect either.

  5. No Candy Rewards. 

    Sugar is the first thing I have been told to cut from my kids diet every time they are struggling with wetting themselves. “no juice, no sweets” the pediatrician always says so why would i reward potty training with sweets.Stickers have worked well. I even created a separate chart for each kid and let them pick stickers to put on the charts. I let them put the stickers on themselves. Here is a printable Potty Chart just for you. 000011

  6. Make it a routine.

    Have them try when they wake up, before bed, and at regular intervals during the day. The closest you can get to having them go the same time every day the easier it will be. They will understand what is expected better. (if you can keep up a routine with all things they will do better with all things.

Are you ready for the gross naked baby running around your house? I wasn’t the first time. Or the second. Or the third. This time I believed I was ready but I still get frustrated when he pees on the floor. I still hold on though for I know it will eventually be over and y baby will be a boy. Do you have any fun stories? Any tips and tricks you want to share?

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My 2017 Goals

Since today is New Year’s Day I thought it would be fitting to share my goals for the year both personal and business/ blog related. Many people make new year’s resolutions and don’t follow through or slowly slack off. This may be because their goals are too extreme or they have life get in the way. I like the term goals instead of resolutions. Goals for me gives more of a sense of achievability then resolution.

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  1. Getting in shape. Since I gave birth to my last baby I have been the heaviest in my life. I became a stay at home mom and have been more sedentary than in the past. So I am going to be exercising at least half an hour a day for the next month. My main areas are my belly and my thighs. At the end of the month I want to share with my readers how I have done. Do you have any weight loss or exercising goals for the new year? I don’t care too much about my weight as it changes over the course of the month anyways with my hormone levels. I like to focus on clothing size. Right now I am a 2xl. My goal is to get to a medium eventually (like I was before 4 kids) but to a large by the end of 2017.
  2. Posting more regularly. There has been a lot of interest in my bath bomb post so I would like to write more bath bomb posts. Different kinds of bath bombs and other fizzy bath products. My goal is 3 posts a week with at least one of those img_0302being a tutorial. If there are any ideas you want to see let me know? Or questions on the process. I also want to do posts on frequent questions I have seen and different ingredients.
  3. Doing more regular craft shows. I have some ideas for branching out my sales base which includes more regular craft shows. There is one in my area that happens every saturday. I plan to attend every saturday to make a name for myself in my community. I have done five craft shows so far and I think doing a regular show will help me reach more people locally. Pursuing wholesale buyers is also on the to do list.
  4. Maintaining Honor Roll status. School is very important to me and last semester I img_0822earned a 4.0 GPA. While 4.0 is probably not going to be a maintainable goal I would like to stay above a 3.0. Next semester I am taking Chemistry (fits in with all I do right?), spanish (because my kids are mexican and I want them to learn it too), critical thinking and human communication. This is a full course load and I am looking forward to the experience and knowledge I stand to gain.

While this is only four goals it is a lot to balance  especially with four children. My fiancé earned a more lucrative position and we can finally afford daycare. So monday thru friday I now have 8 hours without my babies. They get to learn and play with other kids their age and I get time to myself. Which after this christmas vacation with all 4 home for two weeks straight now I could really use. I love my babies but I get over touched and like the peace and quiet to clean and create beautiful things at least for part of the day. I will be in school myself most of the time they are in day care so the child free time to catch up on stuff will be invaluable.

What are your goals this year?

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Merry Christmas

We have four children, and I refuse to buy them a ton of stuff for Christmas. This is what they got for Christmas and it is more than last year. There is one really nice present per child and accompanying toys. Like the workbench and toy screwdriver, drill, screws, bolts, and hand saw. They always tell me a bunch of things they want but there is always that one thing they want more than the rest. I do everything to get it for them. This Christmas we were blessed with extra funds and decided an experience is better then toys. So vacation it is. I want my children to value experience and family time more than stuff. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Momma in College

Are you tired of not making enough money? Do you want to set a better example for your kids? I did. So I went back to school. I spent 5 years making pizzas before becoming a stay at home mom. Now that most of the kids are in school themselves it’s time for me to do something. I started school Monday. I have put in applications for over a hundred scholarships. Here are a few….

Scholarships

You can also get student loans. Please think about a few things first. What can you accurately expect to make after finishing school. You do not want to accrue $100,000 in student loans only to make $35,000 a year. Also beware unsubsidized loans. You will have to start paying them back immediately. If you are not working while in college to pay back the unsubsidized loans then you are setting yourself up for failure. I got subsidized loans. I will have to pay them back if I drop out or about 6 months after I finish school. By then my research says I will be making about 50 thousand a year and my loans should only total 10 thousand.comic-book-table-1

I started my first class Monday and was so nervous I packed my backpack Sunday night and laid out my clothes. I tried to pack everything I might need and deeply regretted it. My back and legs were so sore carrying it all around.

Word of advice …..do not buy the book before the first day of class. Out of four classes I only need one book. The others are available online for free or cheaper then the book store. Also the financial aid I received will be refunded to me if not used in the book store.

Resources for books

  • Chegg (rent or buy the book ore book)
  • Amazon (also has a rental program and ended up being the cheapest for my book)
  • Cheapest Textbooks (you can buy, sell or rent books)
  •  Textbooks (new, used and e-books)

Lastly stay on top of things. If you are not ready to put college in a priority position in your life then you are not ready to go to college. It is a huge commitment. I spend at least 20 hours a week on classwork, homework,research and essays. That is not multitasking time, TV time, or Facebook time. That is dedicated school time. I plan to do this right. College is not a thing you do just cause you finished high school. It is a thing you do to pursue a passion. I strongly recommend doing life for a bit after high school. Those months or years are where most of the people I know have really figured out who they are and what they want out of life.

I would love to hear feedback. If you like this post please like, comment or even share by clicking the buttons below.

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6 Tips for Hyperactive Kids

6 Tips for Hyperactive Kids

My 4 year old was diagnosed with hyperactivity last year (when he was 3). We don’t do medications especially at his age. I have looked into many  natural methods to help him (and me) cope and adjust. Now I see no problem with kids being kids and running around. This is different. When he was diagnosed he could not sit still; he would literally vibrate. Teaching him numbers and letters or even just holding a crayon turned into this huge frustrating thing. I have found several methods that have worked for us and i wanted to share.

  1. Distraction: We put a bungee cord around the bottom of his chair so he can
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    My 3 oldest kids walking the trail at our park

    play with it with his feet while eating or coloring. The Starr Spangled Planner has some other ideas for movement based distractions that we have tried a couple of and found helpful.

  2. Essential Oils: We use a lot of different essential oils in a lot of different things around the house. This recipe from Early Bird Mom is my favorite for hyperactivity. I love using the roller and putting it on his hands. He loves to smell it when he get bored or antsy.
  3. Structure: The most helpful thing we did was to follow a routine. I found that if he knew what was happening next then he was better prepared. He seems to have an easier time finishing his breakfast when he knows we are going to walk the dog after he finishes. We can enjoy quiet coloring time when park time follows. We exercise before bed so that he can be tired enough to sleep.

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    My oldest with a female friend riding horses
  4. Extracurricular: getting involved in extra activities like sports, martial arts, gymnastics or track offers lessons in discipline and commitment with an added benefit of being fun. The trick is to keep it fun and not a chore. As soon as it becomes “you have to” it looses its charm. We were lucky enough to find a place that didn’t force us to come at certain times. Mr bouncing all over the place does have bad days and the flexibility was helpful.
  5. One Step at a Time: We made charts for brushing teeth, cleaning his room, going potty, and taking a bath. I used pictures and put it all in order so that he c
    cleaning the craft table
    Kids cleaning the craft table

    ould do each one at a time even without help. Being able to follow the steps helps him to not get distracted.

  6. PLAY: The most important. Incorporate games and fun in as much as possible. Sing songs and dance. Run, jump and climb. That ball of energy called a child needs all the positive reinforcement and fun they can possibly soak up. Be creative and have fun with them.

Another resource with some great info is Mom Junction.

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Beautiful Difference

I was not looking forward to potty training. I put it off way too long probably because I had no idea where to start. Since I had the twins first I knew I would probably be potty training at least two at once. The thought of all the pee scared me. On top of that I had been balancing work and raising them by myself. When I found out I was pregnant with number four I decided I was not going to be paying for diapers for 4 children. The boys had outgrown the cloth ones I had and it was just time.

So many cute children. Such good little helpers.

First we tried a reward system. I made little charts with three columns:

  • Tried to use potty
  • Number 1
  • Number 2

If they tried to use the potty they got to pick a sticker and put it in the column. If they also tinkled they got to put two stickers: one in the tried column one in the number 1 column. So on and so forth.

My oldest twin did really well with this sticker method. Once his sheet was completely full he was done. I think he has had one accident since and that was when he was sick.

My other two children still had a lot of problems. My little girl responded well when we stopped using diapers and got her regular underwear. She did not like the feeling of pee on her clothes. She picked out her own underwear and didn’t want to mess them up.

Now my other twin just figured out the potty training thing. We have been trying various different methods for two years now. He takes longer to figure out how to do many things, but what really worked for him was a routine. Ben has to try and potty at certain times. He has to sit down on try to number 2 at certain times and has to sit there for about 10 minutes. Ben also has a difficult time with generalized concepts. I have to use specific examples or explain even the small parts of instructions.

Not everyone learns the same.

We all need different things. I have four children who are all completely different in the ways they learn and the things that motivate them.

Don’t be discouraged by their differences. Each and every person on this planet has a gift. It is only a matter of finding it. Nurturing their gifts, and showing them through our own actions how to be good and just. There is beauty in their differences if only you can learn to see it as such.