8 Tips to Help Manage the Chaos of Living in a Small Home

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Who else has had the luxury of living in a small home? My home is not small enough to be considered a “tiny home”, especially when it was just the 2 older girls and myself in the past. I mean with 1100 square feet we had plenty of room for all of our things. Now that the family has grown from 3 people to 5 people (6 including my step-daughter, when she visits), things are cramped, to say the least. Especially for those of us who really do need more privacy and space than others! Today in this post, I am providing you with some tips that I have learned over the years to make things a little easier on everyone!

ORGANIZATION : First and foremost, organization is key. Without this, you will he loving in an anxiety induced chaotic mess!! Everything you own must have a “home”.

DECLUTTER : Do not fill spaces with random things. Yes they look nice and that little nic-nac is too cute for words, but come on. Do you REALLY need it on your life? Take a look around, if you have things that do not serve a purpose, most likely, it needs to go. It’s nice having collections, and presenting things that are adorable and what not, but when you live in a small home, it’s honestly just wasted space. Be sure to keep on top of this. In my home, things seem to pop up and “appear” haha (I mean yes I do have those weaknesses in the store of “I gotta have that” (doesn’t everyone???). So, to keep things from piling up and creating a mass amount of clutter, you must DEclutter in this manner, regularly.

CLOSET ORGANIZATION : This one is rough for me sometimes. I am super busy ALL. THE. TIME. so keeping the house clean is one thing, but the closets, that’s another. I mean, when you are in a hurry and cleaning it’s so simple to just shove stuff in the top of your closet or the back of it or the corner. Or let the top of your pantry build up with things you are ‘storing’ up there for that ONE time you will maybe need to use it. Well, most likely, those things you may use just once every other year, not worth keeping. So, get rid of it…..sell it…..try to make some money off of these things you no longer need in your life.

INVEST IN STORAGE : speaking of wasted space, when you are purchasing your furniture, opt for the ottoman that has inside storage, or the coffee table that has storage. Ok you get the point, when shopping for furniture, always think -STORAGE.

KEEP THINGS SIMPLE : Speaking of furniture, another thing to keep in mind is the patterns. Try to not go for that crazy, busy print. Lean more towards simple and light looking furniture. You do not want things looking so busy in a small home, that screams chaos. The more simple, calm places your eyes have to rest from the busy world, the better. ☺

MIRRORS : Beleive it or not, adding MIRRORS to your wall space helps in multiple ways. It creates an illusion your place is a bit bigger. It lightens up the room, especially, if placed near a window where it can bounce the light into your home. Try this trick out, I just love it!

TAKING THE SMALLER ROOM : If you have children, you know, they take up a lot of space with their mass amount of toys, and messes galore! They have a lot of stuff right? So this only makes sense, plus they need this extra room to play 💕 I have found that giving my children the master bedroom, really minimizes the toys that pile up in the living room.

GO EASY ON BIRTHDAYS AND HOLIDAYS: Instead of buying a mass amount if toys on Birthdays and Holidays, opt for other choices. These toys will only pile up after being played with for a few weeks, most likely. Purchase only the toys you know will get the most love for the longest period of time.

Choose to have a birthday bash at their favorite place- and ask your guests to give money instead of presents 🙂 (this year we did this for our girls, and now they have a bulk amount saved to spend on fun activities for themselves over our Holiday vacation!) This also helps teach responsibility in the long run when handling money. On holidays choose to take a vacation! (This is our plan this year) Instead of spending so much on presents, spend that money on making me.ories instead- Take a vacation!

Alright there it is! There are definitely more than 8 tips to help, but these are the simplest that I have found to help with my own personal experience 😉

Until next time…..Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this post, as always, I ask that you take a second to share it, tweet it, stumble it, pin it, etc….. Thanks!

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How to find that “Home school Community”

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So today let’s talk about that home school community. I don’t know about you other home school mama’s, but when we decided to home school, that community was nowhere to be found. It was unheard of. I read in so many places about the bigger cities having home school groups that are massive and it’s just “known” where to go to be a part of it all. Let me tell ya, where we live….no.such.thing.

I did so much research before we actually began our homeschooling journey, hoping to be prepared, but nothing had prepared me for the loneliness of it all.

Let me give you a little background on myself…..I grew up going to public and private schools. My mom is a school teacher, and I didn’t know anyone who had been homeschooled or who was homeschooling their own child/children, other than some distant cousins. I have no background or involvement in the home school community what.so.ever guys.

After reading some tips on multiple sites recommending library trips during the middle of the day, we decided to make it a weekly trip. I mean stepping out of my comfort zone to talk to random families in the hopes of making some connections to the home school community, is worth the risk at this point. But guess what? Not once did I run into a family with kids at the library in the middle of the day…so we tried different days…still no luck…..ugh this was getting so frustrating. Were we ever going to meet any LOCAL home school families?

Continuing my search I was finally coming to some promising answers. Who had these answers? Facebook. Yup. I had finally come across some LOCAL home school groups on Facebook. How exciting!! Unfortunately most everyone involved with these groups were strictly social media…..no meet ups with families. In the midst of all this frustration, a new group was formed IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD! woo hoo……we were so excited. Couldn’t wait. The plan was to meet once a week, and how convenient the location was literally a few roads down from our house 🙂 We went and had fun. Unfortunately it was only a few families meeting at first…and that slowly dwindled down to us and another family….BUMMER! This group still meets a couple of times a month ♡

I FINALLY found 4-h. I hadn’t even given 4-h a thought to be honest. Growing up, I personally was never involved, and thought it was only revolving around farming topics. Boy was I wrong!! There are so many niches you can be apart of!! We attended a couple of 4-h groups trying to figure out which we preferred. Come to find out, a lot of the kids involved with 4-h were actually homeschooled!

We finally found the group we preferred ♡ The girls loved it. We were becoming involved with a horse enthusiast group, believe it or not! This was awesome for the girls. They love horses, but unfortunately, most groups require you to have your own animals if you want to be involved with any animal based group. We found this one, which was run by a veteran homeschooling mama who has her own farm, and is so generous to have the meetings on her farm with her own horses and ponies ♡♡

A little time had passed, I had still been researching home school activities and meet ups. I was beginning to learn and hear through the grape-vine of so many businesses becoming more and more involved with the home school community. Before long….there was even a local home school 4-h group formed!! This actually is now one of the biggest 4-h groups in our area!

Believe it or not, the following year, the home school community in our area had quadrupled (according to our local school board). This is not only happening in my area, but all over! The bigger the demand, the more opportunities there are. Local businesses have been offering more and more opportunities 🙂

If you are worrying about finding the home school community, let me tell you, don’t. It’s out there. You just need to work hard sometimes to find a handful of families. Most businesses are willing to be involved with the home school community. All they need to get started is a small group of committed families to be involved, and a voice for the home school community. So if you have time, don’t be afraid to be that voice!

Well that’s all for today. Do you have any tips to help find that home school community??

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Our Toddler’s CURRENT Favorite Meals

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Parents, how hard is it to keep up with your toddler’s preferred taste in food? It seems that our little miss’ preferred taste changes constantly. One week she will eat green beans….the next, she refuses. She has always refused to eat eggs…but likes a good quiche. So in an effort to help provide fresh ideas for all you toddler parents on the hunt, here is a list of our toddler’s top current favorite foods.

1. EGG MUFFINS

This is not only the little lady’s favorite but our entire family loves them! Also this is THM (Trim Healthy Mama) friendly!! #momwin. So, these are super easy to make and very versatile. She loves to help out in the kitchen ♡

You start with mixing up some eggs with milk and cheese in a bowl, set it aside. Dice up about 5-7 pieces of turkey bacon and fry it up…..add the fried bacon to the egg mixture. Saute up a few handfuls of spinach…..again, add this to the egg mixture. Season it up with your preference, salt&pepper or Mrs dash, or Italian seasoning. Spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray and spoon the egg mixture out. Cook at 375 for 25-30 min.

I am a chef at heart so measuring is always eyeballed by me (unless I am baking). Play around with the measurements and find your preference.

Like I said this is versatile, feel free to add or sub with other ingredients. Sometimes we even change it up and make mini muffins (toddler sized), or double the usual batch and make a big family sized sausage crusted quiche dinner ♡ It’s delish guys!!

2. PANCAKE MUFFIN VARIETIES

This is pretty self explanatory….it is literally pancake batter cooked in a muffin tin. I typically make a big batch of these in the mini muffin tin. After spooning the batter into the pan, I add different ingredients for variety. These are perfect for little miss to grasp with those toddler hands. I always make a big enough batch so the bigger kiddos can have them as pancake poppers and dip in their syrup 🙂 mmm mmm Good!!

3. HOMEMADE LUNCHABLES

Yes buying the prepackaged lunchables are so much more convenient, I know. The bigger girls of the house love lunchables, and the little lady gets so mad if she isnt included. But as of right now the littlest one refuses to eat lunch meat. So to save on her being wasteful, I began creating my OWN version for her,that way she is able to be included with her big sisters, while not wasting a big chunk of her meal.

So in the toddlers lunchable, I always include some form of “crunch” whether it be crackers, veggie straws, or goldfish. She also gets a fruit. Maybe grapes cut into quarters (to prevent choking), bananas cut in slices with the peeling still intact (she enjoys peeling of the outside before eating her slice of banana), sliced strawberries, grapefruit, or mandarin oranges. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese…..Our toddler LOVES cheese…..so of course cheese is included in her toddler lunchable.

4. HOMEMADE PIZZA

As a momma who homeschools, part of our weekly routine includes a cooking activity with multiple recipes. Once a month we make a big batch of pizza dough and separate it to freeze only to be pulled out in small batches for our weekly homemade pizza dinner. We also make our own homemade pizza sauce as well 🙂 We add the toppings we like to each of our pizzas ♡ The littlest miss loves this part!

5. FRUIT SALAD

Who doesn’t love a good fruit salad?? Here is a picture of her peeling her banana slices before eating them– she thinks this is so fun, plus it helps with her motor skills!

Her fruit salad favorites are, grapes (cut into quarters), strawberry slices, kiwi, watermelon, mandarin oranges, and bananas. Yum!!

6. OATMEAL

It has taken a long time to get her to actually like oatmeal. This is actually the most recent change of her tastebuds. I always try to get her to try foods when I make them even if she didn’t like them last time. Their taste buds are constantly changing at this age, so you never know when they might end up liking something soon after refusing it. She prefer hers with a few 65% cocoa dark chocolate chips in it.

7. SANDWICHES

Peanut butter sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, mac and cheese sandwich, hazelnut spread sanwich, or even a spaghetti sandwich…..she isn’t picky when it comes to her sandwiches. I do find they giving her a sandwich is like an invitation for her to disassemble the whole thing and play with it. I have learned that if I take our miniature cookie cutters, and cut up her sandwiches into fun bite size shapes using those, she is more likely to eat it and not play with it….Haha!!

8. SPAGHETTI

Speaking of spaghetti, I just love this picture of her using her spoon like a master!! She absolutely loves spaghetti!! Who doesn’t?!?

Alrighty! There it is!! I hope you enjoyed this post ♡♡ If so be sure to share it,pin it, tweet it,etc…

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Until next time my lovelies ⛰

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7 Things Our Homeschool Cant Live Without

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Hey guys! Ok, so officially we haven’t even been homeschooling an entire year yet, but it didn’t take too long to realize what we couldn’t live without!

Let me just start by saying, where we live, homeschooling seems to not be talked about much at all. So around here, when you make the transition from public school to homeschooling, and have no background or history with homeschooling yourself…let me tell ya, you are in it alone. We live in a rural area 30 mins from the nearby town. I searched and searched and read SO MUCH info, just looking for some sort of direction……

So listed below, in no particular order, are 7 things we have found, so far, that we absolutely need in our lives.

1. OUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Until we were able to ease our way into some local homeschool groups, we started off with being regulars at our local library. Every visit we arrived in the middle of the school day, with fingers crossed, hoping we would meet another local homeschool family. no.such.luck. Regardless, we kept going for our own benefit, new resources, and just plain ole’ we-need-to-get-out-of-this-house!

We may not live in a big city, but are SUPER lucky to be able to have a choice of 3 local libraries to choose from! Can we say #bookworms ?? We visited all of them before quickly realizing which is our favorite! The library we settled on being regulars at, has SO MANY activities available both during the day and in the evening….and get this ——> ALL FREE!! Definitely a major bonus in my book!!

2. COFFEE

After not needing to work so many crazy hours every day, my coffee habit seemed to diminish for the most part and had gotton replaced with calming hot teas (which, by the way, I still consume regularly before bedtime). After almost a solid year of homeschooling, it seems that coffee has crept its way back into my life. What had begun with one cup of coffee has quickly turned into at least a half of a pot! Each delicious mug of hot creamy smooth goodness, brings me closer to a focused mind for the day!! After beginning my THM (Trim Healthy Mama) journey, I realized that I needed to adjust my sugar intake through my morning Joe’s. Finally, I have adjusted my taste buds and am able to enjoy my ‘go juice’ sugar free. YAY!!

3. TIME FOR ME (NOT EASILY OBTAINED)

Finding time for myself is EXTREMELY rare, yet VERY important. I definitely have always been someone who needs to recharge their battery with a little down time. Now that I am a homeschooling mama of 3, I am finding that having this special down time for myself has never been as important as it is now, yet at the same time, its harder than ever to fit into my schedule. Even if only for 30 mins, a few times a week, this is definitely a necessity.

My older 2 girlies are blessed with wonderful grandparents who take them for overnight visits at least once per month. When this happens, I definitely take advantage of the smallest girlie’s nap time 🙂

No matter how bad of a night I have had battling insomnia, I have found my day starts off so much better when my alarm is set promptly at 5:30 a.m. (I often sleep through my alarm a few times a week haha). This gives me plenty of time to spend the first 15 minutes of rolling out of bed and stumbling out to the coffee maker (yes 15 entire minutes, cut me some slack– our cosleeping toddler often keeps me locked in awkward positions most of the night….). So before our earliest riser sneaks out of her room in the morning, I have most likely had time to fully wake up, and a little time relaxing with 1 solid cup of coffee. My tone for the day is set 🙂 That spells success in my book!

4. SOME FORM OF PLANNER

I am a planoholic. Period. Our schedule is constantly changing from week to week, it is difficult to keep up with mentally. So on that note, I must have a planner…..or should I say multiple planners. As of now, I have not been able to find an all-in-one planner that fits my specific needs. So I have settled with one planner for homeschooling, one planner for bills/events/work/etc., and multiple pads of paper for my miscellaneous lists throughout each week. My goal is to obtain that one perfect dream planner, or create my own. I’ll keep ya posted!

5. HANDS ON ACTIVITIES

Who doesn’t learn better with hands on activities?? Honestly, I consider myself a pretty creative individual. However, there are those certain topics or just moments I need some inspiration. This is where Pinterest comes into play! I can’t even tell you how many pins I have pinned or boards I have created…..If you know nothing about Pinterest, I urge you to head over and check out the variety of ideas available. You will be hooked in no time! Feel free to follow me on there as well! ://www.pinterest.com/OurLilMtnTribe

Having hands on activities throughout the week really helps prevent what I call “burn-out”. The girls always appreciate any creative activity, and of course it also helps retain new information easily. #momwin

6. DAYS OFF

Speaking of “burn-out”…..Days off is a definite requirement in our homeschool, especially during the winter months. For the most part we have school year round. We have fallen into a plan of an average of ‘4-6 weeks on/1 week off’ schedule, with taking a month and a half off during the crazy holiday months and about a month off during summer time. This allows us to meet our requirement of 180 day school year. I absolutely love this schedule!! It allows us for so much flexibility and works well with our unit study curriculum 🙂 Of course, there are plenty of extra days worked in for flexibility when it comes to sick days, birthdays, and plain ole bad days.

7. PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Ahhh…..the mental break from such focused minds…..It’s a nice release! And let me tell ya, pre-teen girls need to have that escape. This keeps us all from going crazy, and being so irritable with each other. Of course “P.E” comes in so many forms, so the choices are endless, keeping everyone on their toes with excitement.

Well there it is. There are definitely more things we really enjoy having as a part of our homeschool, but to us, these are our top picks! So whether your a veteran at this homeschooling thing or a fresh newbie, I would love to hear what you consider to be on your list of top picks for your homeschool.

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And so it begins…..

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Ahoy! I have been considering starting a blog for some time now. Recently it just kind of presented itself to me…..so here we are.

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Ok, so let’s talk about the “whys”. After so many drastic changes that were made blindly despite how much research I had done……nothing is ever as it seems! Ok, so on that note, our homeschooling journey had began this past January, unexpectedly. It has been such a learning curve and huge adjustment for all of us. I live in a rural area 30 minutes from town (not a large city) so the homeschool resources are not advertised or even just spoken about at all, as it would seem, from an outsider. Finding the “homeschool community” has been a rough road! Finally, I think I’m to headed down the right path meeting all sorts of families, attending lots of local activities, and all of us making new friends. Hopefully, through this blog I can help give that new homeschool family, who feels swallowed by all the overwhelming feelings of being lost, some hope.

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Creating this blog also seemed to match up perfectly “time wise” with my new THM journey…..So not only will I hopefully keep myself accountable, but maybe link up with some fellow beginning THMers and swap some scrumptious recipes! Even if I just spark a bit of motivation for a healthier lifestyle in my readers, then I am satisfied!

I also plan on sharing all of our adventures and fun craftiness with all of you 🙂

Enjoy!!

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