12/1/16 - 1/1/17 | NESHEAHOLIC

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

4 Ways to Decrease Toy Clutter

If you have a child or children it is likely that a lot of new toys just came into your home over the holiday season. As I wrapped gifts the week before Christmas I began to feel anxious about the number of toys that were under the tree, and the number of toys already inhabiting the house. Most of them in both cases coming from loving family members. Because BabyCakes's room doubles as the guest room when needed, 95% of her toys reside in the living room. I could foresee the living room being engulfed in toys after the holidays even before the presents had been unwrapped.

A few days before Christmas I preemptively gathered toys to be donated to create space for the new items. I was able to consolidate two toys bins and two large bags of toys into just two bins of toys that would be staying with us. It was a bit hard to let things go, but here are my 4 tips for decreasing your toy clutter.

Leave feelings out of it. 

There were a number of toys that held sentimental value for Hubs and I that BabyCakes doesn't even play with any more. We have memories of her as a baby playing with them but they are really of no use any more. Separate sentimental value from actual value. With the exception of her very first toy that we put in her mementos box we got rid of many of her first toys that she doesn't care for anymore.

Consider age. 

If you are still holding on to toys that are far below the recommended age of your child get rid of them. If your child has figured out some new unintended use for the item you can keep it around, but most times when a child ages out of the recommended age for an item they lose interest in it and move on to more age appropriate things.

Consider quality. 

Toys that are damaged beyond repair should be tossed. This should be the easiest group of things to get rid of. You definitely don't want to keep items around whose damage may cause a risk to your child or which no longer function properly.

Stop toys from coming in. 

Stopping toy excess starts with lowering the number of toys that enter the home. I will never tell anyone to not buy BabyCakes a toy. I don't think it's fair to take their joy in buying her a toy away. I will however limit the number of toys I purchase her, and if someone asks what she may need ahead of time I'll offer non-toy suggestions like clothes, or toys that go with sets she already has, like Little People for her (affiliate link) Little People bus or trains/tracks for her (affiliate link) Thomas the Train TrackMaster set. 

Even with these techniques we have more toys than BabyCakes can possibly play with at one time so I like to swap toys in and out from our stash in the closet every few weeks or so to keep her interested in things. It's nice to see how she plays with things in different ways after she hasn't had them for a while.

How are you keeping your toy clutter under control?


Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Eve 2016 Vlog

Happy Holidays to all!

This was definitely one of my favorite Christmas Eves. Three traditions I want to keep are matching family Christmas pajamas, Jenga, and fried seafood dinner. Check out my vlog below.

How have your holidays been?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pinterest Recipes I've Actually Tried: Part 3

Soy Ginger Chicken - 3.5 Stars

While this was tasty, the marinade didn't really penetrate the chicken beyond the surface, and I let it marinate for a whole day. (If anyone knows and trick to make the marinade absorb better let me know!) Because of the sugar it also stuck on the grill, but it was good. 

Green Bean Fries - 5 stars

These are by no means a substitute for actual french fries, but these were DELICIOUS. The best green beans I've ever tasted. I actually went back for a second helping!

This was a 100% hit. Tim and Sage both loved it. It cooks in one pot, which means there is only one pot to wash. Win-win-win. 

Chia Pudding - 1 Star

This just didn't work for me. The texture and taste were a complete miss. Perhaps I'd like it better with less liquid so that it's a thicker pudding, and with more sweetness added in to flavor it. For now, I'll stick to getting my chia seeds in via my smoothies. 

I used to be afraid of chicken thighs because I didn't know what to do with them. This recipe has completely changed that. Baked crispy chicken thighs are now my go to chicken recipe. The chicken comes out crispy on the top and the bottom, without being fried, using just olive oil. It's amazing. 

What's the last great (or horrible) recipe you tried?


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 Highlights

We are half-way through December and that means the New Year is right around the corner. 2016 was REALLY good to me!

I started the year off with a new tradition that we are continuing this year, renting out a house with other couples with children. It’s an ideal setup. There’s a babysitter so the kids can play until they tire themselves out while the grownups enjoy food, drink and good times without having to be outside in the mayhem. We all spend the night so we don’t have to worry about travel plans after the ball drops, and we have breakfast in the morning. It’s a good time. I’m looking forward to it again this year.

New Year's Eve 2016

In January I had a lovely solo birthday excursion to see Hamilton the Musical! You can see that vlog HERE. I also got my driver's license, which was a big deal for me as I continue to get over my driving anxiety.

In May I had an awesome girl’s trip to San Diego. I also attended my friend Cheyenne’s Disney Themed birthday party as Ariel and it was a blast.

Ursula Stealing Ariel's Voice

In the summer we joined the local swim club which was a GREAT idea. We had some wonderful weekend time at the pool. You have to disconnect when you're at the pool (because who wants their electronics next to water?) so it offered me some well needed relaxing time. Well, as relaxed as you can get when you have a toddler in the water lol.

In June I saw the queen herself Beyonce live in concert. We also went on my favorite family trip to date, to Sesame Place.

In August I had a great run of the summer theater festival I produce, Theatre in the X.

In October I carved my first pumpkin since being an adult.

In 2016 I transitioned from powder to liquid foundation. I feel like a real adult make-up wearer now lol. I live by Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation and (affiliate linkSetting Spray.

I also started therapy in 2016 and that has been really good for me. I’ll be posting more about that in the coming weeks.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful holiday season and entering 2017 with positivity. I've decided to make my New Year's Resolution to stop living beyond my means financially. Onward and upward!

What are your 2016 highlights?


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Go outside and play!

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.

Everyone loves getting outside during the spring and summer months. We love to hit the swimming pool, the playground, and our back deck. There's usually a bit of lamentation as the warmer months come to an end as we feel it signifies the end of outdoor play. But it doesn't have the be that way! You can get outdoor play in all year round, and it's really important for kids to have that time outdoors.

The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) is currently running a campaign called Voice of Play encouraging parents to get their kids outdoors for play all year round. They share the scientifically proven physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits of play.

In the fall there is fun with playing in the leaves. You can also still hit the playgrounds you frequent in the warmer months.  In the winter there is fun times to be had with the snow. Cold weather doesn't mean you have to hibernate. Bundle up and get outdoors. With a very active toddler we'd lose our minds if we tried to stay inside all winter! And really it's important for both children and parents to spend time outdoors in play.

This is our first fall/winter where BabyCakes is completely mobile. She loves crunching in the leaves and I'm looking forward to building snowmen and making snow angels when the snow begins to fall.

Check out the Voice of Play website, Facebook, and Twitter for more encouragement to get outside for #YearRoundPlay.

How are you enjoying outdoor play?

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
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