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Getting Organized

There are a lot of things in life we cannot control and you just have to roll with it. With a full-time job for both parents, 2 kids under 5, and someone who likes to do too much, there just isn’t a lot of time.

Life is fast and as a vegetarian, I feel bad if I have a meal without a veggie or a week that went by without exercising. Same goes for my home. My home is a place for family, the people I love the most. I want them to love being home and find pride in taking care of what we have, being grateful and keeping it nice.

This year I dedicated each day of the week to one of my top 7 priorities. One of them is my home. I carve out a little time that day of the week and get my physical space organized. It feels great to dedicate some time to being organized and it’s nice to have a task done that has instant results.

Dare I say it, cleaning and organizing make me happy. Here are some of my tips and reasons why you might also love to organize.

Tip #1 Always take a before photo. Even if you aren’t a blogger and don’t plan to share the photo with anyone, you will love the reward of seeing what you have done even if you think your 10 minutes won’t make a big impact. Most of the time it does, and if you have that photo to compare to, it will be an awesome reward for a job well done. Plus, why not share it!!!

kitchen cupboard

Tip #2 Pick something small. Even if you have all day pick something small and do it. You can always pick another small thing after that. Getting something done and checked off will make you feel great and will motivate you to tackle the next little thing. This will also prevent you from getting pulled away and leaving your kitchen in such a mess you can’t cook dinner.

porch

Tip #3 Don’t Over Think It. Who hasn’t read the “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and now we all think things have to sing to us, make us happy, or find time to organize without a glass of wine or fun music. This doesn’t have to be a punishment and can actually be a fun time to be alone. As a busy person, it is nice having alone time and ask hubby to watch the kids while I do this. Or have them help and feeling good by being productive and getting something done. If all you have time for is to grab everything and shove it into a bag or box and toss that in the garage or storage space to deal with later you still have done it! When the time comes go back to that box and you will be surprised how well you have done without all that stuff. Sometimes I just toss the whole box without even looking! (Crazy, I know).

Desk

Tip #4 Make it a Game. Everyone loves a game, or a challenge to make it fun. Keep what you are doing a surprise and see if your partner notices. Get your kids involved and see how many toys you can donate. Be competitive with yourself and see if you can find a whole shelf to free up in the freezer for something yummy to take up the space.

freezer

Tip #5 Be Green. One of the hardest parts of getting organized for me is letting go of something I could use. That cute jar or ribbon will be perfect for that one craft project I will think up one day. Or that broken chair, table, cup, toy, can be the new DIY project I find on Pinterest. One thing that helps me say goodbye is giving life to something I may never end up using. I love my local Facebook ‘Buy Nothing’ Group for sharing what I no longer need with my community for free. I also donate things to some local nonprofits in the area and try to get my kids involved so it becomes a learning experience about compassion.

hallway closet

Bonus Tip: If you want to keep motivated and help each other stay organized follow Two Working Moms #2WM on Instagram or on our Two Working Moms Facebook page.

What are your tips for staying organized? * L


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The City of Dublin

Ireland wasn’t on my list but I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to go twice in the last year and wanted to share a slice of the Irish I was able to savor while there. I also talked to a few people and picked what to see and what to skip based on some tips they gave me. Hopefully, these tips help you or inspire you if your luck takes you to Dublin.

dublin

 

The Guinness Factory is a big deal in Ireland and it is almost like an amusement park. There are interactive smelling games, tastings, videos, history, and a fancy shop. I do not like beer, (I know, I’m crazy, right?)  and the cost to get in is about $30 so I passed and just got a photo outside. There are tons of places to get Guinness souvenirs so don’t be sad to miss the shop inside. (You can’t go into it without a ticket).

Guinness

If you have a morning to do something get up early and be the first person to get a ticket to see the Long Room at Trinity College. I did and I didn’t have to wait in a long line and got to see this amazing library and the Book of Kells. It wasn’t much for a ticket but I did pass on the tour since I didn’t have a lot of time.

If you have time do check out the rest of Trinity College, the Globe art piece is amazing and the campus overall is just beautiful.

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If you don’t feel like walking they have these bike peddlers who can tow you around the city. Comes in handy at the end of the night when you just want to get home or to your hotel.

Ride

All of the walking around can also make you hungry and something that Dublin does really well, (perhaps better than anyone,) are tasty donuts. It would be a shame to not have one of these from The Rolling Donut while visiting.

Another favorite food place to try if you want a nicer dinner that is memorable is Fire. I would suggest making a reservation if it is on the weekend. Another super yummy place was Rustic Stone.

If you are looking for something more traditional I would recommend The Church. They have Irish Dancers and it is a  very cool location; you guessed it, it’s an at old church. Or you can hit up The Bank for something local with less dancing, (and yes, it is in an old bank!)

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StephensGreensSt Stephen’s Green is a city center public park in Dublin, Ireland. If you have time this is a great park to run and just people watch.

There is also a big shopping center near this gate and a nice hotel I stayed at called the Fitzwilliam. The nice thing about this hotel is it feels more classical. It used to be an old movie theater and the staff was super friendly.

I also stayed at the Westin that wasn’t too far out of this area. They have a very nice restaurant in the hotel and bar called “The Mint” since, again, the building was once a bank.

Another hotel that was recommended is the Marker. It is a very nice, new hotel and it has a rooftop bar open most days of the week. At night you can see the installation by Martha Schwartz. Some call the Red Forest (art) from down below.  “Ireland’s first 21st Century destination square” only cost about 8 million.

RedForrest

I really love the Grand Canal Square in Dublin. The art, hotels, and architecture makes for a great area.  Dublin is an amazing city with so much culture, diversity, and lots to see and do.

Hope to return one day and see more of Dublin and Ireland. * L


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Sarah & Duck Birthday Party

If you do not know about Sarah & Duck and have kids under 5, you are missing out. We just love this cartoon done by BBC. Don’t worry, it is also on Netflix’s so you don’t need cable to get in on the fun.

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The main role is Sarah who is a fabulous little girl who is smart, kind, and curious. Her best friend is her pet duck and they go on adventure and explore the world together. The stories are sweet, the music is chill, and the visuals are calming.

RedUmWhen thinking about my daughter’s 2nd birthday we knew it had to have a Sarah & Duck theme, since it is the only cartoon she asks for. Plus it was going to be so much fun planning and getting crafty.

Thankful for a summer birthday and had the party at our home in the back yard. There we set up several activities for the kids who ranged from 1-5 years old.

We had the following:

  • Red Umbrella Bubble Station (love this guy in the cartoon)
  • Water-beads Sensory Table with Little Ducks
  • Chalk Area
  • Sensory Bottle-making Activity
  • Ball Pit
  • Crawl tunnel and Playhouse Area
  • Coloring Table with Sarah & Duck print outs

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The big winner for the big kids was the ball pit. I had it in the shade at the edge of our yard and they hung out and and had a lot of fun in there.

It was nice that so many of Elia’s friends have older siblings and Deklan had a bunch of kids to hang out with.

It was fun having such a rang of kids but it was a little more challenging to plan activities and age appropriate gift bags.

Sensory Bottle activity was also a big hit with the littles. I ended up hiring some local teen girls to help with the activity. BIG help since I didn’t have to worry about it at all and got to enjoy more of the party. The helpers did a great job and I like that we could involve the community around us. These days we all have professional grass cutters so it’s nice to find a job we can give to some local teens. I think they also had fun being teachers.

I found a few things and some different options for the kids. It included plastic gems, Lego, glitter, and other things that won’t soak up water.

Before the party I tried a few different sensory recipes to find the perfect one. The first one I tried was from a recipe that uses vegetable oil.

2optionsThe one they did looks great with the dark blue color; however, when you add a lot of glitter like I did, it doesn’t look so great. The green glitter clumped and it made it really hard to see. I was also not a big fan of the yellow coloring of the oil.

The other sensory bottle recipe I tried and loved (on the right) used baby oil and glitter glue. I modified the “Spring Sensory Bottle” recipe and I think it worked great.

Sensory Bottle Recipe

Step 1: Add 2 tbs of glue (clear or glitter).

Step 2: Add warm water all most all the way to the top.

Step 3: Add fun stuff, like buttons, plastic toys, food coloring, or more glitter.

Step 4: Add a small amount of baby oil all the way to the top.

Step 5: Add rubber cement glue and screw on the top and shake.

The little kids loved the sensory stuff. The water-beads were a huge hit and everyone wanted to know where I got them. The great news is they are non-toxic and can even help water your garden. I got them on Amazon. (Fair warning, although safe to leave in y our garden or grass, they do become VERY slippery. Be safe!)

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Scalotts

There is not a lot of Sarah & Duck merchandise in America so we had to be creative and make up some of our own. If you know the show you might recognize some of the characters, like the shallots.

My husband did a great job making Sarah and Duck out of white cardboard. Turned out so great and survived the party we used them to decorate my daughter’s room. SnD

He also made some low tables we used for the party. We covered the grass with blankets and covered the table with cloth and some small flowers pots. It worked out great so I didn’t have to worry about chairs and enough seating.

LittleTable

We had a lot of fun decorating and even made a “make your own goodie-bag” station with toys and treats that reminded us of events in the cartoon and would be a good mix of big and little kid items. From Etsy, I got personalized stickers saying thank you and pins to adorn the yellow reusable bags.

Also on Etsy, we got homemade fondant toppers. We had Sarah, Duck, and the Red Umbrella. Used some of them to decorate the cupcakes and the small lemon cake. We just loved the and they came on time and ready to go. Doing this again for sure!!!

CupcakesLemonCake

We got these small yellow cups with chalkboard area to write names on. It was a hot day so lots of water was on hand and  I was thankful we had a big pitcher for everyone to self-serve. These little cups are great so the kids could keep track of their cups.

Sad I didn’t get a great photo of the whole family, but there was just too much going on. Elia was ready for nap at the end and all in all it was a great party. I had so much fun putting it together and can’t wait for the next party. * L