Tuesday, March 4, 2014

And twins makes 5....

I haven't updated in months. Like months and months and months. I take a step back from every thing here and there and the blog was included in that. Needless to say, things get a little hectic around here with three kids who are all mobile and crazy!

When my 5 year old got settled into school and that whole routine and a new baby girl was introduced into our family (I'm an aunt now!), baby fever kicked in. This tends to happen when my "baby" becomes a toddler, hence the reason I have had babies so close together. Once they're getting potty trained and running around talking, I start missing having a teeny tiny baby that lets me hold it and I start nagging my man for a little one.

So, here we are. We "tried" for a bit over a month before I finally missed a period. TMI but I'm very regular as far as my cycle goes so when that week rolled around and I wasn't feeling like I was about to start, I pretty much knew it was coming. Sure enough I woke up the day I would usually start and took a pregnancy test, and it already read positive. I know now looking back that this was a very strong sign that I was carrying twins, but I didn't know that then. I start on the 15th every month and its always in the morning and I woke up on the 15th and took a test and it was positive so technically I hadn't even missed my period yet and it was already picking up on a very cheap, generic pregnancy test.

I didn't get to a doctor for my actual pregnancy confirmation until I was 9 weeks. By that 9th week, I had already experienced almost crippling exhaustion. I was having a hard time doing anything whatsoever. I had a hard time convincing myself to even get up and brush my teeth. Pretty much within seconds of my first ultrasound, twins showed. Evidently its not very common for twins to be evident at 9 weeks, but there was no denying these two.


I'm 16 weeks at the moment and not many of those early pregnancy symptoms have diminished. The fatigue has been the hardest thing to deal with. I had a lot of nausea but no vomiting and it was never to the point that I couldn't function. However, that fatigue... it got me. It got me bad. I felt like the worst mom in the world because I was having such a hard time even getting up and getting my son ready for school in the mornings because I was so sleepy. I have overslept, caused him to miss the bus, and once even flat out let him skip school that day because he said he was sleepy and, well, so was I. I've had some pretty severe headaches, extreme aches and pains, and might I add the most uncomfortable hunger ever.

I say its uncomfortable because...well... it is. I'm not hungry. I don't want to eat. I have no appetite. But my babies... they're aching for some food. The first 12 weeks I can honestly say absolutely the only thing that eased my nausea was eating. At least every hour, but preferably every half hour, I needed to eat. Even if I only took a bite or two out of whatever was there, I at least had to consume something. I also had the most severe dry mouth I think I've ever experienced in my lifetime. That's another thing that hasn't quite worked itself out yet. Despite eating all the time, I've actually lost weight rather than gaining it. My belly has gotten very prominent, so I'm assuming that every thing I am eating is going straight to the babies and I'm just getting left out. I can't complain. As long as they're healthy, I'm okay.

I look pretty horrible just to be honest. I know, I know- I'm not supposed to be vain. Vanity while pregnant is just... pointless... but I can't escape it. I look in the mirror and I look like a zombie. A bloated, starving zombie. It takes twice as much concealer as usual to cover my dark under eye circles, my body stays covered in bruises (I'm assuming this is just a low iron issue or something), my hair is dry and brittle and I never feel like fixing it. My skin goes back and forth between clear and glowing and looking like a 16 year old. I've lost weight as well as a pants size so all of my clothes kind of hang off of me, yet they don't cover my belly. Thanks to my pregnancy clumsiness, I've also got myself a sprained ankle and foot, so I get to hobble around as well. But hey--- all is well!

I've been really frustrated with the lack of twin pregnancy blogs. It seems all of the ones I find are a bit too... medical for me. No real experience, just what-to-expect-when-you're-expecting type of things. Also, I've noticed most of them are results of fertility treatments rather than just an OMG situation. When you're expecting one baby, especially in a planned pregnancy, and you see two, its definitely a lot to take it. There's almost this reaction to scream because its so overwhelming. On the way home from the doctor that morning I remember all I could think was "I'm going to be HUGE!" Again, vanity, but I can't stop myself. I work really hard to get my body back after my babies so knowing I'm carrying two is a lot to take in. There's also a lot of fear which I don't feel like any blogs have referenced very much.

I myself am preparing for my fourth cesarean section. This was scary to me when I thought about twins. My doctor told me after my last surgery that he would be comfortable doing one more but that was probably it. So of course when I heard there were two babies, it was scary.
I'll be totally honest and say that we even warned every one not to get too excited about the prospect of twins until I got the okay from my doctor to carry them. I'll get a lot of hate for this but I couldn't bring myself to get attached to them because my husband and I had already decided if we were told it was too high risk for me to carry them and deliver them, that I might have to terminate the pregnancy because I wouldn't leave my three children I already have without a mother just so I could move forward with this. Of course I know all pregnancies are risky but its really scary when you get high up there with the C-sections and get the news that you're having twins.

Anyway, here we are at 16 weeks and all has went smoothly. My next appointment is in exactly a week and I'm hoping we can get more detailed answers then. I really want to try to keep every one updated on every thing because I have just searched and searched for more twin pregnancy info and came up empty handed or at least disappointed. I still look every week for someone I can connect with, someone who is dealing with what I am, and I never find anything. I'm so tired and exhausted that it honestly depresses me, and every thing is so different this time around. My skin itches all over and its dry. These kids are literally draining the life out of me, but its okay. My emotions have been up and down; sometimes I've had such a hard time with the hunger that I've actually cried because I just want to eat. I wake up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs. A lot of mornings I can't even sit up until I have food BROUGHT to me and I then eat it laying down. Its been a huge change for me. Of course the lack of bladder control has been an issue too.... between that and the hunger I don't get much rest at all.

I'm adding a few progress pictures here because I don't find many of those either. Keep in mind this is my fourth pregnancy so don't be too hard on me :) There's a short little "stat" survey at the end as well.

First "belly shot" at 9 weeks
13 weeks
16 weeks
How Far Along? 16 weeks and 2 days
Symptoms: Sleepy all the time, no energy. "I'm-going-to-rip-someone's-head-off-if-I-don't-eat" hunger, very tight & crowded feeling in stomach.
Total Weight Gain/Loss:  I lost a total of 15 lbs the first trimester. Thankfully I've gained 2 this week.
Sleep: I want to sleep all the time but have a really hard time getting there. I fall asleep out of no where but the slightest things wake me up and once I'm awake I have a hard time getting back to sleep. Very vivid dreams and having a super hard time breathing out of my nose so I'm "mouth breathing" and snoring so loud I wake myself up.
Food Cravings: PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! This is a constant in my life and I'm loving it. I also want condiments... mayonnaise, sweet and sour sauce, and BBQ sauce. Jalapeno peppers and tomatoes. And gummy worms.
Best Moment This Week: Feeling super strong movement from both babies rather than just one.
Movement: Neither baby moves a lot, but when they move they are both so strong. It feels almost like they get stuck when I move because the times I feel them the most are when I move in an awkward position, like bending down to get something at an angle or leaning up from a flat position, and I always feel them right under my rib cage.
Labor Signs: None
Gender: Hopefully we'll find out next week! Everyone says boy and a girl, but I have a gut feeling its two girls. My daughter says B&G (boy on the left, girl on the right) and my oldest son says its two girls.
Belly Button In Or Out? All in!
What I Miss: Energy. Energy drinks. Smaller boobs (I hate these huge things)
What I Am Looking Forward To: Seeing them in the next ultrasound now that they'll really look like babies!
Milestones: Feeling baby #2 move (the one on the right)
Weekly Wisdom: When all else fails, eat some pizza.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FINALLY... a (relatively) easy at-home wax kit that WORKS!

So... real mom life truth... most moms don't have the time, or extra funds... to go get a bikini wax. Even if they do, it isn't always worth the effort for something that maybe they don't feel comfortable having a stranger do.

Well for one thing, I am all for bikini waxing. In my opinion, the slight discomfort of bikini waxing is worth it because I don't like shaving. Its a pain in the ass. I can deal with my legs but man... as a mom, I just don't have time for worrying about such a sensitive area becoming irritated, never being smooth, etc. So for me, waxing is worth it.

I have tried lots of different products for this. I've used the strips, the foams, the creams, regular waxes... all of it. The regular was for me sucked because I had such a hard time actually removing it. It hardened up too quickly and didn't remove all the hair I wanted. So I was on a mission to find a product I could use that I wouldn't hate, and I finally stumbled upon Moom sugar based hair remover.

Before I continue with this post, I want to mention this is not a sponsored review. I personally found and purchased this product with no influence from anyone else (with the exception of a few reviews from Amazon.com when I was placing my order there.) 

So this easy little nifty kit comes with the wax (which is sugar based), some popsicle sticks to apply it with (a couple of different sizes), REUSABLE cloth strips in various sizes, and of course your instruction booklet.

The stuff is really affordable (I think it was like $12 the day I ordered it) and it pays for itself even if you're just using it for your eyebrows or any small area.

I was brave and decided to use this all by myself, with no help from my hubby. He was at work, the kids were in bed, so it was mommy pampering time, if you can call it that. I warmed the wax up (about 30 seconds was enough- though I still had to let it cool off after so it wouldn't burn me) and I was set. I had absolutely no problems applying it. Its sticky so if it comes off of the stick it'll leave you sticky wherever it drips, but its super easy to remove with some water or even a baby wipe. 

Of course I was terrified to do this but I was shocked at how easy it was. I can't really provide before and after pictures of course but I will say that I did as the instructions say and skipped shaving all together for 2 weeks so that there was actually enough hair to remove. I applied the wax, laid the strip on, rubbed it 3 or 4 times, and then pulled the skin VERY taut and pulled the strip in the opposite direction of the hair growth. 

It was SO easy. I can't even say that enough. So easy and really not even much worse than waxing my eyebrows! It was honestly pretty painless. A quick pull and it was done. The best part was, I didn't have to go back over it. It missed no hair, every piece that had the sugar wax applied and the strip pressed over was removed. It was great. It only took me about 15 minutes to go completely "hair free", and there was no discomfort afterwards. There were tiny little dots of blood in some spots, which is very normal because you're literally removing the entire piece of hair so quickly. I had no negative reactions to it, even with my sensitive skin, and I am still SO smooth 2 weeks later! I am amazed!

My husband was so pleased with the results (TMI right?) and how well I reacted to it, he trusted me to do his eyebrows and they turned out great too! I've used it on my eyebrows as well, but as of now, bikini area and brows are all I've tried it on, and based on just that, I would recommend it to ANY one who asked, especially if you haven't had the best results with other at home methods!

Now, of course.... I'm curious about those Pinterest "DIY" sugar wax hair removal posts haha. Go figure!

Anyway... two big thumbs up for this one!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Maybelline The Colossal Volum Express Review

Alright ladies, here's a touchy subject for you:

Drugstore mascaras.

I've heard so many different sides of this debate. A lot of people will say that drugstore mascaras are the same, sometimes even better, than higher end mascaras.

Some people will say they are so much cheaper because they aren't high quality and even downright dangerous.

Apparently I am one of the few people in the world who just cannot wear these cheap mascaras. They always make my eyes itch and I always get infections from them.

None have been as bad as this one though.

Maybelline The Colossal Volum Express

I had nothing going on with my eyes when I first used it. I received it brand new from Amazon, and when I applied it, I loved it. It made my lashes SO long. However, it clumps. A LOT. I get those dreaded tarantula lashes with this.  My lashes are really long but they're so clumpy I have to take a brush and separate them.

Despite the clumps, I kept giving this brand a shot. I've heard so many other bloggers rave about it, I just thought there had to be something I was missing. Apparently all I was missing was the styes that were about to pop up. 

By the end of the first weekend I wore this, my left eye had a huge painful sty on the top lash line and one in the corner just beside my tear duct. The right eye had another painful sty that was much larger on the inside top corner! My poor eyes are KILLING me. My actual eyeballs are red and itchy and my eyelids are so sore I can't even attempt to apply any makeup at all. I've tossed this tube and for the safety of my eyes, I will not be trying it again.

Am I the only one who has ever experienced this? Its happened with a few other "cheap" mascaras but never to this extent. I am miserable!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Via PINKY Cherry-04 Review

Via PINKY Cherry-04 Review

As a blogger, its a dreadful and sad day when you actually have to present your readers with a bad review. It honestly is. One of the coolest things about a blog is being able to tells hundreds of thousands of people about brands that you love and getting the personal satisfaction of knowing you influenced someone to support a brand you believe in. I took a chance a couple of months ago and ordered a pair of shoes from eBay. They weren't used, they were brand new and came straight from a boutique. They were not shipped from China or anything, so I had high hopes that they would be good shoes.

When I first opened the shoes, I admit, I was impressed. The material is great. They're really soft inside and out and super stretchy without being tight. The bow quality was just okay, I won't say I hated it, but I won't say it was the best I've seen either. They were really unevenly tied (one side bigger than the other) and they felt kind of loose.

I loved the shoes when I put them on. They felt so good on my feet and didn't leave any blisters, so I thought for sure I had found my new favorite flats. I even posted this picture on my IG to show everyone my new favorites!

So Whitney... what was so bad? They're cute, comfy, and great material... where are you going with this?

Well here's the deal. I paid $31.99 for the shoes. I don't think thats a bad price, especially not for the material. However, I got three wears out of these before they fell to pieces, literally.

When I say wear, please know that I mean light wear. As in I slipped them on before I walked out of the door, rode in our car for 30 minutes to our destination, got out, went in and sat down, and got up and walked back to our car and rode back to our house and took them off. THREE wears. I didn't wear this for an 8-hour shopping trip. No dancing. No running. Hell, I barely even walked. I literally wore them and that is it.

And here were the after results:

The thing that bothers me most about this is I really loved these shoes. Its not like I got them and was like, oh damn, they don't even look as good as they did in the pictures. No, not at all. I got them and was so excited! What a let down! The skull and bow came off of both of the shoes, and I didn't even notice the one came off until I got home and now its no where to be found so I can't even glue it on. The insoles are ripping right out and the shoes can't even be salvaged as plain flats because of that tacky hot glue mark on the top. If you look closely at the picture of the bow, you'll actually see that they are literally just glued on with a hot glue gun! Such poor quality for a $30 pair of shoes!v

Sorry Via, you did not gain a new fan here!

If by some chance any of my readers have ordered these and had a good experience, please let me know! Maybe I just got a bad pair? Who knows. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reversing hair damage

I could have been the poster child for damaged hair.
After being a blonde all my life, I went dark and it dried my hair out. The ends were horrible, so I had to chop over an inch off. 
Then came a Kardashian marathon that had me determined to get healthy, shiny black hair.
So, being the product junkie I am, I hoarded every hair repair product I could find. My bathroom looked like a hair salon.
I have oils, lotions, 3 day treatments, masks, shampoos, conditioners,  styling products, all of it! All in hopes that I would repair the damage and get shine.
These are the products I've narrowed it down to, as well as a before and after picture in a time span of 3 months!

The Products:

Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Binding Conditioner
Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo
Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil
Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir
Natrol Biotin 10,000mcg Max Strength
(and Nestle Pure Life!)
and (optional) The "Wet" Brush

The Routine:
Alright...Here we go.
I actually prefer "no-poo", but because I wanted something extremely moisturizing, I wanted to add some actual shampoos.
I don't wash my hair much, nor do I blow dry it or straighten it.
Since I'm a stay at home, I don't worry too much about it looking dirty or whatever, but if I do have to go somewhere I just pull it into a messy bun and spray a bit if dry shampoo on it before hand so it has some volume.
I only wash my hair 3 times a week, sometimes only 2.
I take my Biotin every morning and I chug two bottles of water after I take it. I drink water all day and I'm convinced it truly helps with the growth, and I know the Biotin does. My nails look AMAZING!
I brush my hair with my Wet brush all the time, not just when wet. It is amazing. It doesn't break my hair and it gets tangles out so easily.
Keeping the hair smooth and tangle free will really help your hair out.

I rub a little of tropical traditions organic virgin coconut oil on my ends several times a day. It only takes a tiny bit to cover it all. My hair is dark so it doesn't look oily, but I'm sure it would require less on blonde since blonde will show more of the oil. After I apply it to my ends, I wipe my hands off a bit on a towel and then I use my finger tips and massage my scalp for approximately 1 minute.

Before I go to bed every night, I do a full coconut oil mask. I take a larger amount of the oil and saturate all of my hair, paying special attention to the ends and my layers. I use the Wet brush and brush it a lot to get the oil all over my hair and let it really absorb it. I usually just throw it in a loose bun or braid afterwards and put an elastic headband on to keep it off my face and sleep with it in my hair.
In the morning I just rinse it with cold water.

When I do wash it, I do it after washing the coconut oil out. I still use cold water and just easy gently and really only use the conditioner on my ends. I can't stress how great this coconut oil has been on my hair. Tropical Traditions was kind enough to send me a sample of the product to try out, and I really wanted to include the review in this post just to really make my readers understand that I had such great results with it that I actually made it a part of my daily routine. 

I towel dry and apply the Nexxus Elixir to the ends, and sometimes a tiny but more of the coconut oil.

I NEVER dry my hair on hot on the rare occasion I do dry it.
And I never straighten it afterwards! If I absolutely have to straighten it, I dry my hair at night and let it rest and straighten it the next day.

And here are my results:

The left side is in March, the other is from today (May).

And this is from before I started using the coconut oil and after! 

If you're interested in placing an order with Tropical Traditions and picking up the exact kind that I have used you can visit their website here:
If by some chance you don't love the results you get with your hair, you can reuse the product for hundreds of other purposes! I apply it all over my body as a moisturizer, I use it as an eye makeup remover, and it works great (for me) at treating acne. You can cook with it as well (it doesn't even store in your body as fat!) and it has so many medicinal purposes I can't even begin to list them all. Its a really great investment that I don't feel like any of you will regret!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reasons Why My Kids Don't Like Me...

Its been a bad week for my kids.
I don't know why. 
It doesn't apply to my youngest, but the two older monsters have been living up to their nicknames lately. They feed off of one another so if one is mad, so is the other. 
I'll be referring to them as #1, #2, and #3 in this entry, with 1 being the oldest and 3 the youngest of course. 

[[Disclaimer- This is a JOKE. My kids are just being brats. Don't get crazy on me as some of my readers like to do.]]

1. I moved #2's chair closer to the table so she could reach her cup.

2. I gave #3 a new crayon instead of the tiny broken one with no tip.

3. #2 wanted my bed sheets to be yellow instead of black and white.

4. After three bowls of cereal each, I said "That's enough."

5. Jesus and Juju aren't mean. I am. (Juju is my MIL)

6. I couldn't pick all of the leaves off the tree in the front yard.

7. I made the sun go away (it was nighttime)

8. There were no dirty dishes in the sink. (Apparently this really bothered #2. She had a major meltdown over it.)

9. I got a Mother's Day card and they didn't.

10. I wouldn't let #3 take his Huggies diaper off to look at Minnie.

11. Doritos turned their fingers orange. (all 3 cried over this)

12. I didn't have coffee in my new coffee cup.

13. My fingernails weren't "sprinkled" enough.

14. #1 put his shoes on the wrong feet.

15. Today isn't #2's birthday.

16. Bad guys are bad and its all my fault.

17. There isn't a pool under our coffee table.

18. I didn't let #3 jump on #1's head.

19. Daddy's shoes are big.

20. The flowers are crying.

21. The Mickey logo on the Disney Channel didn't make Mickey Mouse Clubhouse come on.

22. The lid on #2's pink sippy cup was pink.

23. Skinny stomachs mean your hungry.

24. The garbage truck didn't let #1 take it's picture.

25. The clouds looked like Spongebob but didn't look like Dora.

26. The couch didn't feel like popcorn.

27. Mud makes you dirty.

28. Bumblebees sting and hurt.

Yep.... thats been my week. And its not even Friday yet. The kids all contributed to this unknowingly. This is just a collection of the nice things they have yelled at ME for this week or thrown a tantrum on my feet about. They also added these things that they do like.

Things #1 Likes:
Santa Claus
Special things
Video games

Things #2 Likes:
Present bags
Maw Maw

Things #3 Likes (according to #1):

Just for the heck of it, here's some cute pictures from today, when I let them play outside until they couldn't stay awake anymore hoping to make them happy hahaha. It worked momentarily. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tips, tricks, and products that will make your (mommy) life a little easier.

With three little ones, I could have it a lot worse than what I do. I have a lot of people who come to me for advice on how to still manage a household while staying on a schedule and taking care of their kids. I can't count how many times I've sat and wondered why people ask me that, especially since I have so many days that I'm in tears once every one is in bed because the day has just been so insane. I've already done a bit on scheduling and I don't feel like that is something that really needs to be gone into in depth again, but I will touch on it. The following list is just some tips and tricks, plus a few products, that make my life a little easier and I think most moms will benefit from.

  • Sort and organize: Cleaning with kids around isn't easy. However, I'm the obnoxious mom who gets a little irritated with the moms who compare cleaning with kids to brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It shouldn't be that way. Kids react to the environment around them. Throw them into a room that has toys piled up where they can't even tell what they are, trash all over the floor, broken toys taking up space just because, and dirty clothes scattered about and kids will act NUTS. I mean they will tear more stuff up, they will climb on furniture, hit each other, and just act barbaric. This is because chaos is all around them so they act chaotic. The easiest way to prevent this and encourage independent PLAY and not just following mom around all day is to just organize things and help them learn to keep them that way. It doesn't take a big budget to do this, most of us have enough stuff around to do it spending nothing or very little. Don't just clean rooms when someone is coming over or when the mess is so much that you almost break your neck walking in. Instead, do a 15 minute clean every couple of hours. This prevents you from having to do a 1 hour clean later on. EVERY day, take a handful of Walmart or grocery store bags into your kids room and pick up trash. Involve them in this. Make it a fun thing to do and do it constantly, and they will eventually do it on their own. If a toy is broken, throw it away. Talk to them and let them know it serves no purpose now, it is broken. As parents we tend to hold onto our children's toys forever because of the attachment we have to them. What most people don't realize is you have an attachment to the memory, not to the toy. So let it go. Use clear organizers (I use Rubbermaid) and put them in an accessible spot. I line ours up. Each box has only certain toys in it. Using my boys' room as an example, we sort like this: Superheroes and action figures in one box. Cars and trucks in one box. Tools in a toolbox. Stuffed animals on the bed. Its simple and because the boxes are clear, they don't feel the need to dump a box out to get the toy they're looking for. They always know where they are and how to get to them. Buy a container with a lid attached and you can put these boxes up in the closet or somewhere they can't get into and if you don't want the toys out, they can't get to them. We also have one designated shelf for "big" toys that can't fit into boxes like our singing Mickeys, Spiderman and Batman town sets, and remote control cars. Another good idea for kids old enough to have things like this around without hurting themselves is to put figures in a sandwich bag and store them with the things they go with. My daughter has a Cinderella castle and it has lots of little add ons that don't have another place to go. So instead of putting them somewhere else and having them get lost, we take all of Cinderella's furniture and accessories and put them in a sandwich bag, and then we put the bag inside the castle. Same goes for Captain Hook's ship and all the pirates it came with, and Spiderman and the Bat Cave. This can be carried on into the family room or anywhere that toys are played with a lot, and here you can take it a step further. Get an organizer (or in my case, three) and put each child's picture on the front of the box. Because these don't have to be as durable, you can use a shoebox, a bucket, or even a large storage bag. I personally like to use the huge Ziploc bags and then stick them all into a clear organizer. Once the child has their picture on the container, place the toys that they play with the most in that area into it. When a guest announces an unexpected visit, all you have to do is have the child find all of their toys that are out and put them into the designated container. Easy! I could go on and on about this because it is truly a lifesaver. It can be done in every room of the house with various things (bath stuff, snacks, art stuff, etc). Just have a place that the child knows to use for their things, and it will be used. If you have a child that has an allergy or kids that always complain about wanting a different snack than the other child, you can make boxes or bags with the child's name or picture (just anything that lets them recognize that it belongs to them) and then place their favorite snacks in them. When they want a snack and have permission to get one, they can just go grab one and there is no worry on mom's end. 

  • Stop being brand loyal: This is something I see people do too often and its just ridiculous. We associate being a good mom with using the most high end products on our children. That is just dumb. I'm sorry, but it is. An amazing mom can take the cheapest most useless products and make them something great that their children can benefit from. A few things I don't worry about "splurging on" include wipes (not for diaper changing but for clean up), disinfectant spray, shampoo, paper plates, and juice. I am brand loyal when it comes to wipes for changing my baby, but when it comes to wiping hands, faces, and bellies throughout the day, cheap wipes are the way to go. I can buy a refill pack of Huggies wipes to use for diaper changes and have it last me a month because I use cheaper wipes for clean up jobs. Parent's Choice, Dollar General, Up & Up... These wipes are all great. They don't always hold up as well on diaper changes (most people report having to use twice as many wipes to get the job done when they are using cheaper brands, which means you end up buying wipes MUCH quicker than usual which eventually defeats the purpose of buying the cheaper brand!), but when it comes to getting sticky hands clean again and getting spaghetti off faces, they work just fine. Because kids tend to get sick so often, most moms will keep disinfectant spray and wipes around at all times. Buying those cans of Lysol can get pretty expensive though, so I grab off brand disinfectant. I can get three cans of DG brand spray for the same price I can get one can of Lysol and it is just as effective and still has a great scent. Shampoo might have some readers going "WHHHHHAAAATTTT?" but let me explain. Kids get a lot of baths. And most of them don't do a hole heck of a lot. You just wash it to make it look pretty on most days and to make it smell nice. I mean, most of them don't even have much hair. So I don't always get Johnson & Johnson's or whatever else I might want to pick up because they go through it SO quickly. There are lots of less pricey versions of kid's shampoo that smell just as yummy and obviously clean their hair just as well. Paper plates and juice pretty much get the same explanation. They're both things we go through a ton of and buying the most expensive brand would just not be cost effective. My off brand juices contain less sugar than the more well known brands which is an added plus. Paper plates (if you use them) get really expensive especially considering you just trash them afterwards. Most of what my kids eat off of them are small light things like sandwiches or snacks, so even the less sturdy cheap plates can be used. Of course I wouldn't serve them pasta on them, but for most kid's meals, they're fine.

  • Meal plans: This is one of those things that if you don't do it, you're just going to slap yourself for not thinking of it. Make a meal plan every week and you'll never have to panic over what you're going to make for dinner and whether or not you have every thing you need to make it. Plan out every meal you'll make, not just dinner, and when you're done making the meal plan for the week, make a list beside each meal of the ingredients you need to make it. Then you can compile a grocery list and go to the store once a week and get EVERY thing you need. You can do this by the month, by the week, or bi-monthly; whatever works for you. Every night before you go to bed, check your meal plan and make sure you don't need to lay anything out to thaw for the next day. This will save you the midday panic tomorrow when you remember you were supposed to lay out those pork chops :)

  • Stay consistent with your timing: Obviously, schedules aren't necessary for every household, nor do all moms like to have them. Of course I love schedules but I know they're hard to stick to, especially if you work outside of the home. If there is any consistency that will help a household out though, it is having a set time that eating and sleeping are done. If you eat at the same time every day, it actually signals to your body when it is and isn't time to eat. Not only does this make it easier for you, but its HEALTHY. It is a great way to protect your kids against obesity. If you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day, and have snacks at the same time, kids will eventually begin to eat only at those times and they will adjust to it and won't do so much nagging because they'll already know when it is going to be time to eat. If your child gets sleepy every day around the same time, use that as a way to gauge when nap time should be and stick to it. I know that my youngest will always go right to sleep so he can be laid down at 10:50 for his 11:00 nap. My 3 year old will fight sleep and has to play for a bit before she will actually fall asleep, so for her 2:00 nap, I send her to her room a little after 1:00 and tell her to go play and wind down. They all go to bed at the same time every night, so I can usually tell just by their behavior when its 9:00! And an added benefit to knowing when every one will be in bed is knowing when to make time for myself. Because there isn't a fight over what time to be in bed, I know I can workout, clean up, take a bath, or watch something on TV without being interrupted. It makes for a little less stress because I know I have ME time coming EVERY day, not just sometimes!

  • Invest in a plethora of do-it-all products: I'm not personally a fan of 2-n-1 shampoo and conditioners, but when it comes to other things, I'm completely onboard. Rather than having 10 cleaning products for every room in the house, I use vinegar and water, sometimes with added baking soda. It costs nearly nothing and cleans better than any of the chemical heavy crap they sell in stores. Beauty products that do it all are a mom's best friend. Almost all cosmetic companies have beauty sticks that function as shadow, cheek color, lip color, and highlighter. Great for on the go glam looks. Tinted moisturizers with SPF= MUST HAVE! I just discovered coconut oil and I am SO thankful I have. There are hundreds of uses for it and I intend to take advantage of them. Use it as lotion, eye makeup remover, diaper rash cream, conditioner, hair treatments, anti itch cream, and of course cooking. There is almost nothing you can't do with the stuff! Shampoos and body washes all in one for kids are awesome and a huge time saver. 

  • If its in your budget, get a water table: This is something I don't even know how I have gone this long without having. We don't have a pool, but even if we did, that would be a huge supervising job. A water table provides the same outdoor fun without all that worry. We got one at Toys-R-Us that is by Little Tikes. It cost $45 and we got our money's worth out of it in one day, no kidding. All three of the kids love it and they will stay outside all day playing in it. My kids are NOT easily entertained, so finding something that occupied all of them that had enough for each of them to do was a miracle in itself.

  • Make some meals ahead of time: A lot of meals can be made ahead of time which will inevitably cause you less stress. You can brown some ground beef (or ground turkey in my case) all at once and pack it into freezer bags to be used through the week. This will turn what would have been 20 minute meal prep into 10 minutes and its super easy. You can use the ground meat for whatever meals you want: chili, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper, soups, tacos, etc. You can also grill chicken and freeze it in storage bags so it will just have to be heated back up and thrown into a salad or in some veggies. Vegetables can be sliced and frozen too, making it a no-excuse way to always work veggies into your meal.

  • Set up certain days of the week to do household tasks: There are some household chores that don't have to be done daily. To stay on top of these tasks so they don't all end up taking an entire weekend to finish up, just set designated days for each chore. If you change sheets every weekend, start doing that one day during the week. Same for scrubbing the baseboards, dusting the ceiling fans. Here's an example:
      • Monday- Change sheets
      • Tuesday- Dust fans & dust catching areas above doors and in corners
      • Wednesday- Clean tubs
      • Thursday- Clean outside area, driveway, etc.
      • Friday- Clean windows
      • Saturday- Clean out car
      • Sunday- Steam clean carpets
    • Take it one step further and do a monthly chore list
      • First Monday- Purge toys no longer played with
      • Second Monday- Donate or pack up clothes that kids outgrow or do not wear
      • Third Monday- Clean doors, spots accumulated on walls
      • Fourth Monday- Clean out the refrigerator
      • Fifth Monday- Clean out cabinets, clean inside of oven, dishwasher, washing machine.
None of these things will completely make your life chaos free, but these are at least a few of the ways that I make it through the day without completely losing my mind :)