Summertime is winding down and my mind is already thinking about fall. It’s my favorite season to decorate, so I’ve been browsing the web, looking for fall farmhouse decor ideas to inspire me!(more…)
I love watching nursery trends, because a baby’s room is my favorite space to put together. Going into 2020, we’re seeing statement walls make a huge appearance.(more…)
I’m currently knee-deep (literally) in decluttering and trying to minimize our playroom. I’m looking for playroom ideas that will inspire my kids to learn through play.
I’m determined to create an organized space for my little ones to play creatively and learn about the world in the process.
I’ll be writing several posts about this process, because it has been quite the undertaking. I’ve been clearing out old toys, organizing a toy rotation system, setting up an arts and crafts station, and creating a space that emphasizes creative play and learning.
Like any modern mama, I hit Pinterest to find playrooms that inspired our space at home. I’ve found some really great ideas from other bloggers that I’m featuring today.
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While searching for playroom ideas, this was the first one that I fell in love with. I love the big chalkboard wall with the beautiful, colorful mural.
This RUG. It makes this playroom pop. I also love that kids’ artwork is framed and placed on the wall.
Related: 12 Genius Kids’ Artwork Display Ideas
I love cubby bookshelves and I have a smaller version in our current playroom. I really love this large one in the above playroom. I’d imagine it would be hard for kids to get into the top cubbies.. but perhaps that is their genius point?
This playroom features another cubby shelve with totes placed in the two bottom rows for grouping and storing toys.
What I love about this playroom is the seating. I’d love to have a cozy couch for my kids to curl up on in their playroom as well.
I also love the “play” sign as a focal point in the room.
Organization BLISS. This is one of the most organized playrooms I have come across. Using plastic tubs and labeling them using chalkboard stickers keeps all the small toys sorted and organized.
I really like the idea of having a magnetic wall for educational magnets. We like these alphabet letters and these shapes.
I absolutely love this playroom. She uses a giant pegboard (you can find one at your local home improvement store) to display and store arts and crafts.
She also uses photo ledges to store books for easy access and display.
My daughter loves playing house and kitchen games. I’m working on finding a space to add a playhouse for her. I came across this canvas play house that would work perfectly and is easy to pack up and move if needed.
Our playroom walls are full of alphabet and number artwork to inspire a little bit of learning throughout the day. I love this whimsical world map artwork for kids.
A reading nook is essential for our playroom. Instilling a love for reading is an important value I want my kids to have. I love this space in the above playroom. She uses a beautiful canopy hanging over a cozy beanbag.
Do you ever wonder what to do with the space below stairs? I love this cozy reading nook – especially that awesome wallpaper.
More organization bliss! Again we’re seeing chalkboard label stickers, because it’s so easy and inexpensive!
I love all the totes in this cubby shelf – all labeled and organized with hanging chalkboard labels.
Summer is full of long days of play and activities and often time routine goes out the window. Back to school time means bringing order back to our days, which I secretly love.
There is a way to make back to school organization easier. These are my 8 must-do tips.
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1. Master the Back to School Morning Routine
I’ve found that if my morning goes smoothly, the rest of the day follows suit. Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, but I’ve found a solid morning routine helps make it happen more often than not.
The habits of a morning routine take a bit of time for the family to follow through with, but with practice it eventually becomes second nature
The biggest two tips I have for morning routines are:
- Create a morning schedule
- Prep all you can the night & week before (we’ll discuss in the next section)
The Morning Schedule
The morning schedule has been the most important part of our day. If we don’t follow through with it, everything else sort of goes downhill for us.
The most important part of the morning schedule is to continuously verbalize the expectations of the morning, until they become habit.
Once they become habit, you’ll see that easy flow more mornings than not.
For little ones, a visual schedule and checklist works wonders!
2. Prep the Night Before
Things you can prep the night (or even week) before:
A quick and healthy breakfast is my jam for my little ones, but busy mornings make eating healthy a challenge.
Prepping a few healthy breakfast options a couple times per week has solved this problem for me.
Here are a few ideas you can use:
- Quick Oats
- Oatmeal cups
- Pre-made whole grain pancakes
Create a weekly routine, where every Sunday night you have your kids pick out the clothes they’ll wear for the week. You can check the weather prior to get a better idea of what type of clothes to choose.
Use a labeled clothing organizer to separate the outfits by day.
One of my absolute favorite tips is from Eazy Peazy Mealz (pictured above). She has bins of food from each food group for her kids to pick out their own lunches.
This fosters a sense of independence in our little ones and gives them the power of choice as well.
Have them choose their options and pack their own lunch boxes the night before.
4. Backpacks Packed
Give each little one the responsibility of packing their own backpack the evening before.
Completed homework, gym shoes, whatever they’ll need at school the next day should go in their bags.
4. The Command Center
The command center is your family’s hub where you keep your entire lives organized. It can be used to house:
- System for incoming and outgoing paperwork
- Monthly and weekly calendar
- Meal planning
- & More!
Having everything in one place and organized like this will make your day-to-day much smoother.
6. Create a Solid After School Routine
Just like the morning routine is essential to a smooth sailing day, the after school routine is important as well.
This will look different for each family, depending on the ages of your kids and the type of extracurricular activities you have.
Create a scheduled routine that become habit for your kids, regardless of the activities.
It could look as simple as something like this:
- Quiet Time/Personal Time
- Get Dressed for Soccer
- Soccer Practice
Visual schedules for little ones work great for afternoon and evening activities as well!
I came across this routine clock by Kids Activities Blog and I think it’s genius. Lucy continuously asks, “What is the clock going to say?” in her sweet 4 year old voice. This is her way of asking how long an activity is going to take, so I think she’ll really take to a routine clock.
7. Homework Station
Creating a homework station (like this one by Fireflies and Mud Pies) can be a solution to keep your little one’s organized, so when they sit down to complete homework their minds are free to focus on the task at hand.
Keep the space free from clutter and add their essential supplies they need to complete homework.
I’ve seen people use the infamous rolling cart to add supplies, as well as lazy susans, bookcases and drawer units.
What back to school organization tips do you implement in your home?
I’ve been trying to find new ways to add protein to my kids meals and snacks. My daughter loves fruit, so I figured a great way to incorporate protein with her favorite snack was with a yummy dip! This is so good and it’s easy to create dairy-free as well (my kids have a dairy allergy).
If you need a dairy-free version, we really love coconut yogurt!
The best part about this dip is that it’s incredibly simple to make – only 3 ingredients. You can add extra dashes of vanilla, cinnamon or anything else that strikes your fancy, but the core recipes only needs these three ingredients:
1. Peanut Butter (or any nut butter)
2. Plain or Vanilla Yogurt (we use coconut yogurt for a dairy-free version)
3. Honey (we love raw honey)
I remember reading everything I could get my hands on how to get a newborn to sleep at night when my first child was born. There is so much information out there about how to get your baby to sleep through the night, so it can be really overwhelming.
Then you have advice that conflicts with another “sleep experts” advice.
On top of that, you have advice that goes against your mama instincts.
So what are we suppose to do? How can we get baby to sleep through the night or at least sleep better at night (because by the way, not all babies are going to sleep through the night, regardless of what other people tell you).
How to Get a Newborn to Sleep at Night (9 Baby Sleep Tips):
Here are a few baby sleep tips that generally all parties can agree with:
In those first few months, swaddling your baby is one of the best baby sleep tips that I have received. Swaddles give baby a sense of comfort and security.
Over the years I have tried many swaddles and here are a few of my favorites.
- The Nested Bean Swaddles have become my absolute favorite, because it has a weighted bean bag that feels like a parent’s gentle touch. We used these swaddles with my son and he has now upgraded to their sleep sack.
- We’ve used these SwaddleMe sleep swaddles pretty soon after bringing both babies home from the hospital. They were my favorite for my daughter.
- My son absolutely wanted his hands free, so before we changed him over to the Nested Bean sleep sack (after transitioning from his swaddle), we swore by the Love to Dream Swaddle! It allows their hands to be up by their head and parents rave about it.
Transitioning From Swaddle
Eventually you’ll want to transition baby to swaddle and that’s where a lot of parents have issues with their baby sleeping.
Typically you’ll transition them once they can start rolling. We transitioned our youngest to the Nested Bean sleep sack, but my daughter absolutely LOVED the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit after her swaddle (bonus: your baby will look like an adorable, giant marshmallow peep in this)!
2. White Noise
White noise is usually recommended by most parents and baby sleep experts, because it just works.
Not only does white noise block out noise from the rest of the house, but it’s calming and soothing to babies.
There are many white noise machines on the market. The main thing you want to find in a good white noise machine is one that is loud. I’ve gone through several machines and most of them just aren’t loud enough.
I highly recommend this one.
It has different sound options, including white noise, but the main thing I love about it is that it can turned up to a super loud level if need be. We use this for our son currently, and we don’t even have the volume turned up all the way.
Extra bonus, when the UPS driver makes our dog bark, he sleeps right through it!
3. Aromatherapy (Safely)
Aromatherapy is a huge topic, but many studies show that essential oils like lavender, cedarwood, frankincense and more are soothing and calming to the nervous system.
For young babies, I like making a simple pillow spray or I add just a couple drops to a diffuser.
This also becomes part of the sleep time routine, so baby will know that it’s time to sleep when he or she smells the scent.
I am in love with this sleepy blend.
4. Warm Bath
A nice, warm bath is very relaxing for baby, especially right before bed at night. I even add a bit of epsom salts in the bath, because the extra magnesium is calming.
5. Dark Room
Creating a super dark room is a way to signal to baby that it’s time to sleep. It eliminates anything that’s stimulating and be part of the sleep time routine.
We’ve tried many black out curtains in the past and we found these curtains are the BEST panels to make the room super dark. They also come in different colors and designs to match any nursery.
One of the best ways to get baby to sleep better at night is creating a bedtime routine. It could be as simple as giving baby a warm bath, diffusing a soothing essential oil like lavender and then singing a sweet lullaby.
All these activities are soothing, but when you begin doing them every night before bed, baby will know it’s time to sleep.
7. Dream Feed
The dream feed. This is important during the newborn stages when baby is simply not ready to sleep through the night without nursing or bottle feeding every few hours.
While baby is sleeping, simply nurse or bottle feed and gently put baby back in the bassinet or crib. Ideally you want to this right before you go to bed, so you can get a bit more sleep before it’s time for the next feeding.
8. Teach to Fall Asleep on Own
One of the biggest mistakes I made (twice) was not teaching my first two babies how to fall asleep on their own. I became addicted to rocking them into a deep slumber and then gently putting them down in their cribs.
This resulted in them not knowing how to self-soothe. I can’t recommend this enough – put baby in the crib drowsy, but awake as often as possible.
In the long-run, this will allow your little one to learn how to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own.
9. Eliminate Stimulation 30 Minutes Prior
Sometimes baby won’t sleep because there was too much stimulation right before bedtime.
Try turning off the TV if you tend to have it on right before baby’s bedtime. Dim the lights and start winding down the day before the bedtime routine.