Being Brickner : March 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Eight Cleaning Tips for the Working Mom

Happy Tuesday, friends!!  I'm super excited to be teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you a spring cleaning round-up, some tips, tutorials & ideas on cleaning and organization.  All perfect for this time of year!


At the risk of sounding old, & totally like a mom, I LOVE cleaning.  Way too much.  One of my "de-stressors" during downtime while the girls nap is to turn on music, pour a huge cup of coffee, and to just get down with some major deep cleaning.  It's therapeutic for me and weirdly enough, it's relaxing.  Even if the reality is that two little sets of hands are going to come through and destroy it within minutes.

I thought I would share some ways that I keep a clean house as a working mom, though these could probably just be considered cleaning tips in general because I know as moms we all share the same challenges.  Mainly, time.  There is never enough of it, no matter what your situation, even though I'm part-time now I still forever think about wanting to add a couple hours on to each day.  Yet somehow, we all manage to make it work, and even if we don't, we do a pretty damn good job of making it look like we do.  Right?!

1 - One Load of Laundry A Day.  Once upon a time, I used to have a laundry day once or twice a week.  And then I had kids.  I make it part of my morning routine to put a load of laundry in and to put the clothes from the day before away.  If I miss a day or even worse, two, I'm seriously screwed.  I feel like I'm drowning in clothes & I'm never going to get out.  I am convinced one of the biggest changes from growing to a family of four is the amount of dirty clothes.

2 - A Cleaning Schedule.  I include this because I love the idea of it, but it's definitely one of the "do what I say, not what I do" kind of things.  Sometimes I get in a roll & am really good at this, and then others I just can't make it happen.  But if you are into that sort of thing, here is one I love.  Breaking it up can just be way less intimidating, but of course, it can also make you feel like you are cleaning forever.

3 - Less is more.   The older I get, the more I want to purge everything, all the time.  I'm the opposite of the show hoarders, sometimes I get rid of things & regret it later, but for the most part, living with less "things" around just makes it easier to keep things clean.  I have a bin for each of the girls, I keep all their special things (pictures of each of them, memorable outfits, favorite little stuffed animals that they outgrew, esc,), but I'm definitely selective with what we keep.  At one point I had 400 pictures that Waverly drew and then I realized that choosing just a few favorites was probably more than enough. ;)  Of course - I keep allllllll the pictures I take, saved on folders on my computer & backed up on a hard drive.

4 - Divide & Conquer.  Thankfully, my husband is amazing, and he does his part.  He has things he likes to do more than others & so do I, so we tend to do each of those things so the other doesn't have to.  Like I hate taking the trash out (anyone else?!), so he tries to do that each morning before he leaves.  I actually love deep cleaning the kitchen so that's my jam, he knows not to even touch it because I will redo it. ;)

5 - Baskets.  Yall, I have a major basket addiction.  The other day we counted & I think we had fourteen.  Downstairs.  They are just the best for organization, especially for containing the clutter that can take over from kids toys.  I try to keep one in each room for both the girls toys & that way, they (or at least Waverly for now!), can  just help me throw everything in there when we are done playing.  It's amazing how much random crap you can make look pretty in one cute basket!

6 - Teach your kids to clean with you.  Waverly loves this.  Sometimes.  Of course we teach her to put away her toys when she is done with them (in a basket!!), but I will also involve her in putting away dishes or wiping the windows and try to make a game of it.  I definitely want to raise children who appreciate a clean house and who want to take part in making it that way.

7 - Walk through at night (or the morning) and put everything away.  I am more of a morning person so my husband is the absolute best at doing this at night, but starting the day off free of "stuff" does wonders for a fresh, energized mindset.  If we are both just too tired at night, I'll get up early before the troops get going and just do a quick clean.

8 - Clean some throughout the day.  So I know the whole "the kids won't remember if the house was clean" idea, and I agree with it, to a degree.  For me, I am just a happier, less-stressed mom in general when the house doesn't look like a giant tornado just went through it.  That doesn't mean that I ignore the girls for hours while I clean, but I do clean up the kitchen after breakfast while they play on the floor or I will wipe down counters while we are having some downtime in the afternoon.  I used to regret even not playing with them for every second of their awake times, but I've learned that stepping back sometimes is actually really good for all three of us.

So there you have it, some things that work for me!  Of course some days I just want to throw it all out the window & hire a maid (because how amazing would that be?!!).  Be sure to check out the other blogs below for more cleaning & organizational ideas, and as an extra treat, we are giving away four Mrs. Meyer's variety gift buckets to help you with you own spring cleaning!  Enter at the bottom of the post & good luck. :)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS - I posted some fun pictures from our Easter yesterday afternoon if you missed it, hope you all had the most wonderful holiday! XO

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Easter

Hope you all had the very best Easter weekend with your sweet families!!  I'm so excited to share some pictures from our holiday, despite a few challenges, we had the sweetest Easter, having two little girls to celebrate with was truly twice the fun.

We ended up at urgent care with Avalon on Saturday, she spiked a really high fever & it turns out, one of her ears was badly infected.  This was her second ear infection in the last few weeks, we felt so bad for her, especially since she is such a happy baby regardless that it's hard to tell when she is sick.  Thankfully the medicine worked quickly, she was still congested Easter morning but her temperature was back to normal and she was excited as ever to see her Easter treats.  Waverly was so sweet with her, helping show her everything the bunny brought her and being extra gentle and caring.

Side note, did anyone else's toddler go to bed extra early Saturday night so that the Easter bunny would come?!  Waverly hadn't been to bed that early in months, she was very serious about it & insisted she go straight to bed.  I'm trying to think of a way we can make this work in our favor other nights too?! ;)


We did bring the bunny bagels back out this year, and Waverly loved them more than ever!!!  She is really into "boys & girls" right now, so she loved that we had both.  Making food fun just keeps getting better and better the older she gets.

Our weather was pretty much horrible, rain for most of the day & way too cold for our Easter standards, but we made the most of it!  We snuck outside when we were able to and opted for an egg hunt inside rather than out at our brother & sister in-laws.  We hosted my side of the family for a delicious dinner and a second round of Easter baskets.  Avalon was extra snuggly and Waverly just loved every little part of celebrating.  When I finally put her down at the end of the night she said, "Mommy, bunny days are the best.  When is the next holiday?".

My Dress Sold-Out (Similar Here & Here) - Green Grass Runner
And just for fun, a look back at last year's Easter.  I can't believe how much Waverly has grown or how much smaller I have gotten. ;)  Or how that was sweet little Avalon Elle in there.

Wishing you all a very happy week ahead! XO

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Easter Weekend!

Happy Good Friday to you all!!  I just wanted to stop in with a few highlights of our week, holiday weeks are always my favorite & this one was good.  So, so good!  Full of fun and lots of firsts for Miss Avalon Elle, including her first time sitting with the Easter bunny and her first time wearing bunny-print leggings.  Both obviously so very important.  We also had Waverly's party at school, Avalon & I got to join in on the fun and as always, it was so much fun to be able to see her in her element.  And following directions so well. ;)

THESE are the moments my friends, right?!


Yes, that is only one sister sitting on the bunny's lap.  Waverly was not having it, not even close to having it, so we let her stay in the stroller & watch from afar.  She literally pulled the top of the stroller over her and refused to even show her face.  I'm thinking she might sit on his lap once she hits middle school.  Maybe.

We also made treats this week!  Waverly & I made cupcakes while we let Avalon play with Easter eggs in her high chair, baking is one of my favorite things to do with her.  I put the finished product in my favorite ceramic egg carton, with edible green grass.  Have you guys seen it, it's adorable and of course, from Target! :)

 

Wishing you all the happiest, most beautiful weekend with your loved ones!!! XO

PS!  I posted some potty-training tips yesterday afternoon, if you are in need of something like that, here is the post.

PPS!  I got ready this morning & Waverly Maye said, "Omg!  Mom, you look FABULOUS!  Just like Anna & Elsa."  And I just had to document that, because I don't know if I have ever gotten a better compliment.  Ever.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Potty-Training Essentials

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanRippleStyle #CollectiveBias

I think most mamas would agree, the day your kid is officially potty-trained is one of the best ever.  Some milestones can make you a little emotional or nostalgic, saying goodbye to diapers is definitely not one of them.  Since the girls are three years apart, we had that process all behind us by the time Avalon was born, & oh, we were thankful for that!  I definitely was not prepared for how hard it would be and think I will do a much better job round two.  I thought I would share some of the things that we found most useful, things that we used during potty-training and still find essential now, almost two years later.  This is definitely more geared towards little girls, so please comment & share on what I missed for our boy friends, too! :)


A little background on our experience, we did the three-day method with Waverly right after she turned two and for the most part, it worked (you can read about it here).  I definitely wouldn't have called her 100% potty-trained at that point, but she understood the concept and would use the potty at home.  She still wore diapers when we went out for a couple months after, but then randomly one day we ran out of diapers so we ran up to the store to buy some (without one on), she asked to go to the potty there and it was done.  She has been diaper-free during the day ever since, and very proud of it!

 Obviously choosing a potty is the first step, we use one that actually sits on the floor but have used the seat covers at friends houses & they work just as well.  She might even like them more because it makes her feel like more of a big girl, I find that lately she likes to just use the big potty anyways.


We also have a portable potty, which we got during potty-training for when we were out (if the big potty scared her), and have used it some, but not a lot.  I'm not sure if it's worth the money but it did save us in the parking lot when we were out for errands a couple weeks back & Waverly couldn't make it inside, so there's that. ;)

Of course, we read books on books on books about little girls going to the potty, which were so helpful.  We still read them now, Waverly knows the words for the most part and will read them to her babies or to Avalon.  We also had babies with potties, as well as potty DVDs.  For incentives, we used stickers & then a big reward after a couple days of successes, Waverly has always loved stuffed animals (that she makes go to the potty!), so that has always worked for her.  And of course, the big girl panties!!!  We let her pick them out & BY FAR, her favorite are the days of the week panties.  She has loved them for at least a year now (it's hard to get her to wear anything else), she wants to know what day it is everyday before she gets dressed!


Another essential, then & now, the Cottonelle® Fresh Care Cleansing Cloths, we really couldn't live without them.  They are the only cloths we let Waverly use, since they help get everything cleaned up down there, but also break up after flushing, so we never have issues.  They are also alcohol-free and super convenient, with a one-touch dispensing tub.  You can get these cloths at your local Sam's Club.  This megapack is great so you can keep refilling, they are so versatile that we keep a pack in our diaper bag and both upstairs & downstairs at our house!



I hope this is helpful to other mamas, or future mamas!  For those who have a little one who has already been through this, what are some of your essentials for potty-training?!  Did you find the experience challenging, or easier than you thought it would be?  Please share!

Happy Friday Eve, friends! XO

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ten Thoughts

It's halfway through the week (a holiday week!!) & it seems like the perfect time for a completely random post.  So here goes, ten things on my mind!

1 - Target does it again.  Damn it.  Is it just me, or do they just keep getting better & better?  I went yesterday for a couple last-minute things for the girls Easter baskets and came out with let's just say, way too much.  I was scrolling through IG recently and came across my favorite post ever, click here and tell me that this has happened to you.

2 - Speaking of Instagram, I am running a fun giveaway for the girl moms right now if you want to pop over!  The post is here, it's to win a $20 store credit to Blooming Addi and it runs until tonight at 12pm.  We love these precious bunny bows and there is so much other cute stuff to wear all year long.


3 - Swimsuit season.  Yall, I just don't know that I am ready.  Two babies later & there is just no part of me that is ready to show my show my stuff to the world in just a couple short months. So I'm totally on the hunt for something that I'll feel good in, I never ever thought I would wear a tankini (my younger sister is totally going to get me for this one), but how cute is this?!  I also am obsessed with this one-piece, I think an entire post of fun one-pieces is totally in order.

4 - Cue the haters, because I know this is going to sound horrible, but I am just a little over breastfeeding.  Hear me out though!  Avalon's teeth are seriously killing me.  I know Waverly had teeth by this point too, I don't know if Avalon is just a little more fierce or what, but it sometimes feels like I am in a wrestling match.  She's also gotten really distracted, even at night, so I feel like I have to work hard to calm her down and then it never fails, once I do Waverly comes running in yelling "Avalon ELLLLLIE, it's your sissy!!!!".  And I'm back to where I started.  My goal is still one year, and I do love it when it works, so I'm hoping we can hang on for a few more months.

5 - Birthday party planning!!  Avalon turns the big ONE (say what?!) at the beginning of June and Waverly turns four at the end of July, and we've definitely started thinking about how to celebrate!  Avalon will have the big traditional party at our house, and then I'm going to try to go way more low key for Waverly this year.  Her biggest request is for her friends from school to come and for donuts, so I'm thinking a small brunch with close friends, family, and a few four-year olds!

6 - My husband & I have a wedding next weekend and I'm so excited.  So, so freaking excited!  Is that crazy or what?!  We haven't had a date night since Valentine's Day and even then we stayed home while the girls went out (and they brought back Avalon early), so this pretty much feels like Christmas.  And I'm going to wear heels.  This is BIG-time. ;)

7 - I recently was sent the cutest leggings & dress for Waverly from Liz at LulaRoe, we love them!  The leggings are the most comfy ever, and you know we like that.  Waverly's dress is so cute, the print is perfect and even better, it's a twirling dress!  Her fave.  You can find Liz's shop here.

 

8 - We are so excited to celebrate Easter this weekend!!!  So far this week we have been to the Easter bunny & made treats for family, we can't want to host our family for an early Easter dinner on Sunday.  How amazing does this mashed potato casserole look as a side?  Both girls would be all about it.

9 - I'm really sad that The Bachelor is over.  What am I supposed to look forward to every week?  Any suggestions on mindless yet fascinating shows to replace it?!

10 - I've started a running note on my phone of some of my favorite things Waverly says lately, this has got to be the best age for funny little statements.  Some recent favorites, we were driving and the car next to us pulled out in front of us & she says "SLOW DOWN LADY".  A couple days ago she looks up at me completely randomly and says "Mom, I had so much fun when I was in your belly".  And maybe my favorite (or not?),  "Umm, why are your boobies so flat?".  I asked her what she meant and she said "like, there are none".  Apparently the days of the big pregnancy/breastfeeding boobs are officially behind me.

Happy hump day, friends!  XO

Monday, March 21, 2016

Nine Month Favorites

Some of my favorite blog posts to read are about the baby or kid things that other people love the most, if there's one thing I've learned over the past few years, it's that a good product can seriously be a life-changer.  We've grown to love so many things, there are just so many well-designed products out there (mostly my moms!), that have made parenting that much easier.  And cuter. :)

I thought I would share some of our favorites for the nine-month old age range, since that's where we are at with Avalon.  Many of the things that she uses were passed down by big sister, but we've also found some new faves as well!


Most of Avalon's toys were also of favorites of Waverly's, but what we have found different is how much Avalon prefers teethers or just anything soft that she can put her mouth on.  She is into everything and will suck on anything she can find, so we've found it super important to keep so.many.teethers around.  I keep some in her room, in the playroom, downstairs, in the diaper bag, in the car ... just everywhere.  She is not much into a pacifier, but likes to play with one so we use it more as a toy, and love paci clips so that we don't risk losing it on a walk or Target aisle one day. 

I didn't take pictures of any food favorites, but mentioned before that for the most part, we have done baby-led weaning this time around.  Avalon eats most of what we do, just cut up in small pieces, and she loves it.  It's made going out to eat or dinner time in general just so much easier for everyone.  She still eats pouches mixed with yogurt, as well as puffs or yogurt bites, but loves waffles, toast, and peas.

With the beautiful weather lately, I've realized how important a good playmat is.  I bring ours everywhere, the park, the beach, or even just to the backyard.  And of course, we love a good headband and literally couldn't live without a good swaddle blanket.  Even though Avalon was never really into being swaddled, both girls still use swaddle blankets ALL the time.  We use them to sit on, to wipe up runny noses or dirty cheeks, or just to cuddle with.  There are so many fun ones out with the absolute cutest prints, they also make a fun decoration in their rooms!


And diapers.  I know all the other mamas can relate, finding a good diaper is essential, and we've certainly found ones that we like more than others.  We are currently using the Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers for Avalon, and they work so well.  They provide up to 12 hour protection, which is even more important as your babe grows since (fingers crossed!) they are sleeping in longer stretches at night.  The triple layer protection helps prevent leaks and therefore keeps our sweet babies dry.

I'm sure you will love them as much as we do, we are fully stocked with Huggies diapers in both our diaper bag & Avalon's nursery.


You can find Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers at your local Kroger.  Shop at Kroger during the "Baby Me" event going on between 3/20/16 - 4/2/16 and spend $40 on participating baby items so you can receive a $10 off coupon good towards anything at Kroger, while supplies last!


I hope this post is helpful to any first time moms, moms who are looking for something new to love, or even to those in need of a fun gift for someone special who is expecting!  I would love to hear other favorites if you have them, hope you all had the most lovely weekend! XO

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HuggiesatKroger  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Friday, March 18, 2016

Our Week & Favorites

What a week!!  We started out with a little Easter festiveness & ended celebrating St. Patrick's Day, plus tried to fit in as much outside time as we could along the way.  Someone please tell me how it's already time for all of this, because I am pretty sure we were just ringing in 2016 last week.
Right?

 A couple things before I share way too many photos, which for the record are only a fraction of what I took this week.  One, that little smile of Avalon's may just be the reason that I have one million babies.  That and how she loves peek-a-boo lately, how she claps her hands when we do, and even how she is copying everything big sister does (the good & the bad).  Two, which may just make me sound crazy for saying number one, the girls have been less than stellar sleepers lately & we are tired.  So tired.  Waverly is still up and ready to party every night until at least nine, which just so happens to be the same time frame that Avalon sleeps her best.  The rest of the night she has been restless, which is rare for her, she's always been an amazing sleeper.  I blame the time change.

And three, pinterest.  Gave me one win & one loss this week.  The win, the whisk egg dying idea for kids, I found it a couple years back and it's still working like a charm.  The loss, rainbow pancakes, which turned out ok but I'm just not sure they were worth the one million bowls I had out or the giant mess that resulted from them.  Isn't that they way they often work?!


A few favorites!!!  One, these wedges are everything.  Just everything.  I love a good pair of wedges, they are so comfy but still so fun, and these would literally go with everything all spring and summer.  Two, girl mamas, two of my favorite pieces ever for baby girls are back at Gap for the spring.  These denim bloomers & this denim top.  Both are so versatile, Avalon has had them in every size so far and now I'm stocking up for next year!  And my absolute favorite, this dress!!!!  It reminds me of the one Lauren wore on The Bachelor After the Rose Monday night, so you know, that kind of seals the deal. ;)

Wishing you all a very happy weekend!
XO

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Breakfast in Bed

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnuggleUpMoments #CollectiveBias

Without a doubt, one of the greatest parts of my new part-time schedule this year is being able to spend the mornings with my family.  As much as we love to get out, to be outdoors & to experience new things together, we love being home just as much.  Probably even more.  It's been so nice to be able to slow down some, to enjoy each other, and to soak in all the girls' sweetness that comes with the mornings.  It's definitely the happiest part of their day.

Over the weekend, we treated them with a surprise breakfast in bed, just the four of us.  And they loved it!


It's crazy how changing things up just a little bit can mean so much to them, Waverly thought eating in bed was just so amazing & Avalon's down with anything that involves food, so of course she was happy as ever.  These are exactly the kinds of memories that I love making with them, I never want to forget how Waverly insisted on a tutu (in purple, because that's her favorite color in the world), or how she wanted nothing more than to "help Avalon. because I am her mommy and she needs my help eating".  And of course, how Avalon could have cared less who was helping her, she was just going to town on the bagel, sucking away like it was the greatest thing that ever happened to her.


Of course nothing makes snuggles in bed better than a set of soft, comfy sheets, & ours have been better than ever lately thanks to Snuggle® Ultra Blue Sparkle Fabric Conditioner and Blue Iris Bliss®
Snuggle Scent Boosters®.  Before finding these, we had never used fabric softeners and they truly have made the biggest difference, I have been consistently using them since.  It's one extra step to make your laundry softer and to make for more snuggable moment like our breakfast in bed!  Both the Blue Iris Bliss® and the Snuggle Scent Boosters® are such a good value and are best paired together.  Even better, the Snuggle Scent Boosters® are super convenient in a single use pack, something I love so much!  Be sure to follow the directions on the package and loosely pack your laundry in the washer to maximize your benefits.

You can get these at your local Sam's Club, which has been out go-to lately since growing our family!  During the month of March be sure to check the Instant Savings Book for discounts on these Snuggle® laundry conditioners.  And to share your own "snuggle moments" with others, check out the Bear Den for more opportunities to interact with the brand and to start your first mission! :)


Please share, do you use fabric softeners?!  And if so, are they making for special moments like breakfast in bed with your loved ones?  XO