Posts Tagged: mabels labels

Getting Your Play Room Organized for 2015!

It’s January and we’ve probably all pledged to be more organized in 2015.  My best advice to get you off to a great start is to tackle the kids play room.   After all, it’s the mass amount of toys we trip over that makes us feel like our whole house is messy! Check out these helpful toy storage ideas and playroom ideas.

1.  DOWNSIZE

The rule of thumb is that kids should be able to clean up the entire playroom independently (yes – I know, we’ll get to that issue in a minute) in about 5 minutes.    Most playrooms simply have too much stuff.  It’s an overwhelming task for a preschooler.

It’s time to cull the toy herd and find room for the new Christmas toys.  This does not mean running around with a green garbage bag threatening to give your kids’ toys to children who DO care about their toys.  (Haven’t we all had that parental fit?) Instead, it’s a group project to help create a new kids playroom environment that is more user-friendly.

2. PITCH / DONATE / STORE/ CREATE LIBRARY

Have the kids help you decide what needs to be thrown out (i.e. dried out markers) and what needs to be donated to goodwill. Some dolls and toys may no longer be played with, but they might be sentimental – those can be kept in a keepsake box.   That leaves the rest of the toys that are still in current use.  But here is the kicker – I’m betting dollars to donuts it’s STILL more than kids can clean in 5 minutes.  So here is my idea: create your own “toy lending library” or storage space.

Populate the kids toy room with a selection of toys:

    •             2 puzzles
    •             8 books
    •             1 connector set
    •             4 costumes
    •             1 riding toy
    •             etc…

You get the basic idea.  Have the kids pick what they would like to have out this week and then place the rest away in storage. Let them know that next week they can return the 8 books and pick 8 new ones from storage.  Refresh and circulate the toys weekly. This way they will be excited to see their old toys again! Even toys that were sitting out but ignored previously will create excitement again.

3.  EVERYTHING HAS A HOME

Make the playroom organized with toy storage solutions, like shelves and bins and baskets so your children know where every toy goes to “sleep” at the end of the day.   Make sure your toy storage is kid-friendly and easy to reach.

4.  CLEAN UP EVERY DAY

If you want your child to learn to be responsible, they need to understand the basic idea of cleaning up after themselves. It begins with playroom clean up and is an essential life lesson to teach children. To do this, explain to your child that it’s their job to clean up after they play with house cleaning tips. Help them in the beginning by giving instructions:  “Can you put the ball in the basket? Can you put the doll back in her crib?” Even a 16-month old can follow these simple instructions.

5. BE CONSISTENT

Make sure you are consistent in making clean up the child’s job.  If you sometimes do the clean up, or tidy up MORE after they are done, they won’t believe it’s really their job. Consistency is a key ingredient in any learning model.  It’s easier to learn if 2+3 always adds up to 5.

6.  ROUTINES

You will also find it’s easier to teach a child about cleaning up if you make it part of the family routine so it needs to happen at a regular time in the family schedule.  If you always clean up before dinner or bedtime snack, you reinforce the schedule. Say “FIRST we clean and THEN we eat”.   If they play or goof off, ignore them until they ask for dinner or a snack and then simply remind them of the family routine: “Yes, you may have a snack, but FIRST we clean up and THEN we have snack”.   After a few nights they will put it together and start cleaning up before dinner without fights or reminders.

[CONTEST ALERT]

Don’t forget to label all those toy bins and storage containers!  Need a bit of help organizing? Get 25% off all Household Labels at www.mabelslabels.com

Win a prize pack of Household Labels! Head on over to Instagram and post a photo of the messy room you need help organizing with #HelpMeMabel and tag @MabelsLabels and you could win!

Contest is open from 9:00am January 13, 2015 to 11:59pm January 15, 2015. Good luck!

 

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

 

Retiring the title of PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids)

Remember that time I wrote the blog post about The Great Baby Dilemma? Well, just 4 short weeks after that post was written, I found out I was pregnant.

For months prior to finding out, I felt disappointment whenever my period arrived. That was a sign that either my clock was ticking louder that I would allow it, or that I secretly did want to become a Mom. Having always been on the fence about children, my parents were surprised, but obviously happy to hear the news. In fact, so was I. The moment I saw that blue plus-sign on that pregnancy test, aka magical stick was the day I knew my life would be changed forever.

Being pregnant has presented many challenges; 12 weeks of morning sickness, pain and numbness in my left thigh followed more recently by both of my hands, dry skin, stretch marks, insomnia and the standard worries that come from carrying a baby. But, I keep telling myself that the payoff will be well worth it, but also that the challenges will continue to come. Parenting isn’t easy, but I’m ready for it.

In just three short weeks my boyfriend and I will welcome our baby boy and my nephews will get their first cousin. I will still be a wicked awesome Aunt, but my role will change as I will now fully understand the trials and tribulations of being a parent. I will see the world differently. In fact, I’ve already seen myself differently; I’m stronger than I thought I was, feeling vulnerable isn’t a bad thing, and my body is capable of housing a miracle.

To all the PANKS out there; keep up the great work. You’re impacting the life of your nieces and nephews just as they have and will continue to impact yours.

To all the Moms; I feel honored to be joining your ‘club.’ Wish me luck!

About the Author:

Diane Morris is (no longer) a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

Why did the Chicken Last a Week? Because it wanted to make life easy for you

By Theresa Albert www.myfriendinfood.com

Many of us are trying to get more high protein foods in our diet. Chicken is a great way to get it. It’s a family favourite that lends itself to all ethnic dishes, provides lean quality protein and with a little planning, easy weeknight meals.

With some simple planning you can take one whole chicken, prep it on Sunday and enjoy it all week long with leftover chicken recipes.  All you need for a family of four is two whole chickens, cut into pieces, (or for a few extra pennies, you can buy the cut pieces and save on time) then creatively prep everything on the weekend. It should take under an hour, and if you can coerce the family into helping, even less. You will find everything you need for the easy chicken recipes listed below. Get ready to be organized, well fed and serene beyond your imagination.

Step 1: Getting prepared-Sunday

Cut a whole chicken into pieces and divide into breasts, tenders, legs, drums and wings.

Step 2: Recipe #1: Marinated Chicken Breasts

Place four breasts in freezer bag #1 and add marinade.  There are some fabulous chicken breast recipes on www.chicken.ca or you can use a bottled sauce to add some flavour to the meal.  Be sure to use a no sugar sauce if you intend to barbeque as the sugar will burn.  If you are going to bake, simply empty the contents of the bag into a baking dish and pop it into the oven. Serve with steamed broccoli.

Step 3: Recipe #2 Chicken Prima Vera

Place eight chicken tenders in freezer bag #2 and add 1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning and ½ tsp garlic powder. This can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to three weeks. When ready to cook, simply thaw in the microwave (if necessary) and place chicken and red peppers in a large pan. Simmer in your favourite bottled tomato sauce until chicken is cooked through.  Serve over whole grain pasta and dinner’s ready in 15 minutes!

Step 4: Recipe #3 Mango Thai Chicken Legs

Peel the skin off of four chicken legs and place into freezer bag #3.  Add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger and one minced clove of garlic and place bag in either fridge for three days or freezer for three weeks (thaw in fridge before using).

On the night of…feel free to use a tinned or jarred Thai chicken sauce or gather together a few basics:

1 mango, 2 orange peppers (or sliced zucchini), 14 oz coconut milk, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp hot-garlic chili sauce and one bunch of fresh basil cleaned and chopped.

Mix together everything except the fresh basil and pour over thawed chicken, bake for 45 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 F. Stir in basil.

Serve over brown rice with a crisp salad.

Step 5: Recipe #4 Shaked and Baked  

Place all four drums and wings into freezer bag #4. Add ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs, ¼ cup cornmeal, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.  Shake. Pour off any mixture that did not stick and store chicken, as is, in the fridge for three days or freezer for three weeks (thaw in fridge before proceeding).  Preheat oven to 375 F. Oil a baking sheet and pull chicken pieces from bag. (Do not dump out as crumbs will burn.) Bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked through.  Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks and dip.

Step 6: Recipe #5 Chicken soup

Place carcass in freezer bag #5 along with: 2 chopped sticks of celery, 1 onion (quartered, skin on), 1 carrot, cut into 6 pieces, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp of white vinegar.  Place in the freezer for up to three weeks.  Empty this entire bag, frozen into a slow cooker filled with 8-12 cups of boiling water.  Cook on high for 8 hours then strain the broth and discard the scraps.  (If you are really keen, you can pick through the bones to find some nice pieces of chicken!) Add some frozen peas and corn and a nice baguette.  Here’s a video to give you step by step help. http://chicken.ca/cooking-tips/videos/slow_comfort/

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

 

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