Tips for Staying Healthy As The Kids Head Back to School This Fall

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Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or work full time, back to school can be a challenge for every type of family. So when someone in your family gets sick, it makes it hard to stick to a routine that works. Following is my collection of tips for staying healthy (and organized!) as the kids head back to school this fall. So you, and your kids, can stay on top of your game.

Tips for Staying Healthy (And Organized!) As The Kids Head Back to School This Fall. Whether you're a stay-at-home parent or work full time, back to school can be a challenge for every type of family. So when someone in your family gets sick, it makes it hard to stick to a routine that works. Discover my collection of tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall. So you and your kids can stay on top of your game. #backtoschool

Last week I mentioned that my son is starting his senior year of college. So back to school is extra exciting for me this year. Even more exciting is that Cody (my son) is going to the first person on my side of the family to ever go to grad school. However, if your son or daughter isn’t quite there yet, I still wanted to share some great back to school ideas for you as well.

I remember when my son was in elementary school. Every single viral infection or stomach bug that made rounds at school, made its way back into our home. And it never failed, the sound of him puking would wake me up from a dead sleep every single time.

Even after Cody graduated high school there were still back to school germs to contend with. My coworkers at the time had school aged kids. And from time to time they would find their way into the office – especially during summer or sick days. I like to think they contributed to the mighty immune system I seem have now.

Of course, if you’re working full time and you have kids in school, you can’t really afford to get sick. So I’ve pulled together a few tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall. After all, you have enough to worry about when school starts. With all the after school activities, packing lunches, and helping with homework, the last thing you need to worry about is the next virus squirming its way into your home.

Tips for Staying Healthy this Fall

Tips for Staying Healthy (And Organized!) As The Kids Head Back to School This Fall. Whether you're a stay-at-home parent or work full time, back to school can be a challenge for every type of family. So when someone in your family gets sick, it makes it hard to stick to a routine that works. Discover my collection of tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall. So you and your kids can stay on top of your game. #backtoschool

This amazing hand sanitizer is Queen.

Because back to school means lots of germs, hand sanitizer is a great way to keep dirty hands germ free. I know as well as you do that kids hate to wash their hands. Which is one of the reasons I love the Grove Collaborative hydrating hand sanitizer spray.

This hand sanitizing spray makes disinfecting hands seem like less work. It also won’t dry out your kids hands with excess use like drugstore brand gel hand sanitizers. This awesome spray has coconut oil (for those of you who are a fan!) for extra hydration. And it’s scented with natural essential oils, not a synthetic fragrance. (Keep reading to learn how you can get Grove’s hand sanitizing spray free!)

Simply toss a bottle of hand sanitizing spray into your kids’ backpacks so they can clean up before lunch or snack time. And be sure to keep one in the car, too. It’s a great way to disinfect their hands after school or after sports practice. If time is of the essence, you can worry about one less thing by setting up disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to autoship monthly from Grove Collaborative. That way you never run out and you save a trip to the store.

Encourage hand washing with this simple idea.

Of course, sometimes, kids HAVE to wash their hands. With younger kids especially, this can be a struggle. The solution? Let them pick their favorite scent to keep by the sink! Kids especially love Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap in lavender and lemon. And, they can make their soap even more special by decorating the bottle with their favorite stickers.

Tips for Staying Healthy (And Organized!) As The Kids Head Back to School This Fall. Whether you're a stay-at-home parent or work full time, back to school can be a challenge for every type of family. So when someone in your family gets sick, it makes it hard to stick to a routine that works. Discover my collection of tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall. So you and your kids can stay on top of your game. #backtoschool

Don’t forget the teachers!

Teachers spend a lot of money out-of-pocket on classroom supplies. So donations of disinfecting wipes and tissues are always appreciated. You can help give back to your child’s teacher for all their hard work by gifting a few containers of Seventh Generation disinfecting multi-surface wipes. They’ll also appreciate receiving several boxes of Grove’s new paperless Seedling tissues for your kid’s classroom. These products are great at preventing kids from passing around the same germs over and over.

If you haven’t heard of Seedling by Grove, it’s a fantastic new brand of tree-free products that includes tissues, paper towels, toilet paper and napkins. Unlike other green brands of toilet paper and paper towels, Seeding products aren’t rough or scratchy. Rather than using recycled paper, Seedling products are made from a renewable proprietary blend of bamboo and sugarcane that creates a soft, luxurious product.

Tips for Staying Healthy As The Kids Head Back to School This Fall

Feed your kids healthy snacks.

One of the first questions kids ask when they get home from school is, “Hey mom, what’s for snack?” While you may be tempted to treat them to sugary snacks or potato chips, try giving them healthier options instead. Healthy snacks aren’t just a better food choice. Natural foods like veggies and fruits contain extra vitamins and minerals that also help to boost those budding immune systems.

So instead of buying those cookie or cracker snack packs when you’re at the grocery store, opt for grab-and-go snacks like cut up fruit, hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and veggies & hummus instead. Grove’s reusable storage bags are a great way to store individual snack-sized portions. Not only are they durable and easy to clean, they also won’t leak in your refrigerator.

Natural ways to fight back to school colds or flu.

Let’s face it. Even if you do take all of the preventative measures to prevent an illness, your kids are still bound to catch a cold at some point. However, with the overuse of antibiotics (especially in cases of viral illnesses in which they have no effect on) sometimes it’s better to try a natural remedy first. Natural remedies not only help to relieve cold symptoms, they can also aid in strengthening your child’s immune system. From soothing medicinal teas to immune boosting syrups, you can find my favorite ways to naturally fight off colds here.

Tips for Staying Healthy (And Organized!) As The Kids Head Back to School This Fall. Whether you're a stay-at-home parent or work full time, back to school can be a challenge for every type of family. So when someone in your family gets sick, it makes it hard to stick to a routine that works. Discover my collection of tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall. So you and your kids can stay on top of your game. #backtoschool

Manage stress better as a mom with natural supplements.

It’s not just the kids dealing with a lot of anxiety and stress as they head back to school. We moms can get overwhelmed too. It can be a real challenge fighting with your kids to get them out of bed in the morning. (I was a holy terror in the mornings growing up.) Or trying to figure out how to drop off and pick multiple kids up from sports or dance practice – when they all have to be there at the same time!

Unfortunately, not only is stress mentally exhausting, it can take a toll on your physical health as well. This in turn makes you more vulnerable to getting sick. So I help my body better manage stress with herbal supplements like ashwagandha root. I also take a daily probiotic which helps to improve my overall health. Probiotics also naturally help to boost immunity. Therefore, by adding probiotics to your daily routine, your body is better able to fight off nasty germs you may come into contact with throughout the school year.

Grove sells my favorite brand of probiotics from Lovebug at 10% off. While I take Lovebug’s Here’s the Skinny daily probiotic, they also offer an immunity probiotic for little ones and a daily immunity probiotic for adults.

Another great way to reduce stress is by staying organized. So you’ll find some great tips to help you stay organized for back to school and keep up with household chores below!

Homemaking & Organizing Tips for Back to School

Homemaking & Organizing Tips for Back to School. #BacktoSchool can be a challenge for families. So when someone gets sick, it makes sticking to routine even harder. Discover my tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall so you & your kids can stay on top of your game.

Clean your kid-friendly spaces with non-toxic all-in-one products.

When things get hectic, multi-tasking cleaning supplies are a must. I love Mrs. Meyer’s multi-surface spray because I can walk around the entire house and clean everything. It’s perfect for cleaning countertops, floors, toys, and even sticky lunchboxes with just one bottle.

If you’ve never tried Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products before, back to school is the perfect time to give these cleaning products a test run! First time Grove customers will receive a free Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning kit with an order of just $20 or more. This amazing cleaning kit contains one each of Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap, dish soap and multi-surface spray PLUS a Grove hand sanitizing spray and my favorite Grove walnut scrubber sponges.

If you’re ready to get ALL of the shopping for your household down in one fell swoop, you’ll also get a free Grove cleaning caddy IN ADDITION TO your free Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning kit when you spend just $39. Sign up here.

Create a homework station.

Getting kids to sit down and focus on homework is hard enough without having to rummage through the junk drawer for a pencil sharpener. To streamline homework time, create a “homework station” by filling a caddy with supplies like pencils, sharpeners, tape, glue, crayons, colored pencils, and a stapler.

Homemaking & Organizing Tips for Back to School. #BacktoSchool can be a challenge for families. So when someone gets sick, it makes sticking to routine even harder. Discover my tips for staying healthy as the kids head back to school this fall so you & your kids can stay on top of your game.

Keep kids busy while you make dinner.

One of the biggest challenges as a mom is keeping the kids busy while you cook dinner. So how do you this without plopping them in front of a screen? Lately, I’ve discovered that kids LOVE dry erase markers and whiteboards. So have your kids write a pretend shopping list, draw, or practice spelling words or math facts while you’re in the kitchen. When they’re done, they can clean the boards with Grove all-purpose concentrate and a microfiber!

Choose the right tools for cleaning your dirty dinner dishes.

Kids or not, if your house is like mine, dishes seem to multiply when you’re not looking. Fortunately, Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap and Grove walnut scrubber sponges make quick work of greasy pans, crockpots, and lunch containers.

Save money on healthy & eco-friendly everyday products for your home.

School supplies can take a big chunk out of your budget. Grove Collaborative is a great way to save on back-to-school household and personal care products like tissues, hand sanitizer, and vitamins. I find that items are less expensive than our local grocery store, and you can often score free products with a minimum purchase. Plus, once you’ve submitted your first order, you’ll be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. For 60 days, you’ll save even more with free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service. Join Grove now and start saving.

Discover more back to school tips and ideas.

For more great tips for staying healthy and organized for back to school, be sure to follow my Back to School Pinterest board It’s filled with fun back to school supplies and office candy for the young and young at heart! Plus back to school DIY’s, teacher gifts ideas and printables.

Do you have great tips for staying healthy or keeping organized for back to school? I’d love to hear how you manage kids, housework and your day job without going nutty. So be sure to share your experiences and what’s worked for you in the comments! After all, coordinating with other moms and sharing ideas is another great way to not only save your sanity, but keep your household running smoothly as well.

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Weekly Wrap Up (Week of May 14th-May 20th)

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I got married!

Well, a LOT has happened since last week. This past Wednesday I got married! It was a super simple affair that took place in around 60 seconds in my living room, but it all also happened rather quickly. Rick, my new husband, was at one point my ex-fiance. But life sometimes pulls you in crazy directions for a reason and within a week we’d made the decision to get married. We mostly told everyone after the event, but we are planning a wedding reception a month or two down the road so friends and family can come celebrate. I’m super stoked though and crazy happy.

Outdoor patio dining furniture from Target! I love this new outdoor dining space!

My marriage came with stepkids who are pretty frickin’ awesome. Thursday Hannah (who’s 11) and Isaac (who’s 13) helped me pull together this awesome outdoor dining space for us to enjoy as a new family. (I bought the entire set at Target.)

Hannah painting a paper mache unicorn with materials from Target!

And today Hannah painted a kick ass paper mache unicorn from Target’s Kid Made Modern line. (There’s also a third, Abbie, who’s currently planning for college, but we only have every other weekend.)

Rose Gold Bar Cart

I also got my hands on a bar cart – finally! – that I’d been lusting after forever. It finally went on sale and once I bought it it promptly sold out. I splurged a little on a set of matching copper martini glasses and rose flowers also from Target and a really nice Prince of Scots Professional Serie Boston Style Cocktail Shaker Set from Amazon. I still have to dig through Pinterest for some ideas on styling a bar cart though. Currently the bottom shelf is completely empty.

Large Flower Temporary Tattoo from Siideways

Currently I’m crushing on this gorgeous large flower temporary tattoo from Siideways.

Pineapple Mango Unicorn Horn Bath Fizzie from Golden Sapphire Boutique

And these Pineapple Mango Unicorn Horn Bath Fizzies from Golden Sapphire Boutique. (You can also follow Golden Sapphire Boutique on Instagram so you don’t miss out on any of her awesome creations.)

DIY Unicorn Bath Bombs via A Pumpkin & A Princess Blog

If you have time to squeeze in yet another new DIY project on an upcoming weekend, A Pumpkin & A Princess blog has a new tutorial on how to make your own unicorn horn bath bombs. You just need to grab these ice pop molds from Amazon then check out the list of materials and the recipe here.

I’m looking forward to sharing lots of new bath and body recipes with you all this coming week! Also, if you’d like a chance to see your bath & body creations featured on my next weekly wrap up post, simply add the hashtag #soapdelishowoff to your instagram and twitter posts when you share them!

Also don’t forget you can find & follow me on Pinterest,  G+,  Tumblr,  Facebook,  Twitter,  Blog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or sign up to receive new posts from Soap Deli News blog to your email via FeedBurner so you never miss a post.

DIY Homemade Valentine’s Day Book Gift Idea + Artterro DIY Bookmaking Kit Giveaway

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DIY Bookmaking Kit - Homemade Valentine's Day Book DIY
I first discovered the collection of DIY Art Kits from Artterro back in April on Kanelstrand blog and fell in love with their eco-friendly bookmaking kit. Artterro was kind enough to offer me a bookmaking kit at no cost to review and I gladly accepted. This weekend my son, Cody, and I made homemade Valentine’s Day books using the kit. Not only did we have fun learning how to make our own handmade books, but we also learned some really cool things about the company itself.
DIY Bookmaking Kit from Artterro - Eco-friendly and Sustainable Art Kits
The Artterro Bookmaking Kit contains enough materials for making four small, handmade books and includes everything you need to make the books minus the scissors and glue. These kits include all natural and recycled materials, are made in the USA, use minimal and reusable packaging – the box can be turned into a frame for your artwork! – and they are assembled and shipped from Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee, WI. Following is how Cody and I used our kit to create handmade Valentine’s Day books filled with love quotes.
DIY Book Making Kit Materials - All Natural and Recycled Materials are Used in Artterro's Eco-friendly Art Kits
First we separated out the materials into small dishes so we could keep track of them. No sense in having beads and sequins flying everywhere. The decorative papers were so pretty I wanted to use them all!
How to Make A Handmade Book for Valentine's Day
We started by choosing the papers for the inside of the book and then a cover page. We used square pages we cut from the larger pages for the inside pages of our books and a larger sheet for the cover. Then we used the needles included in the kit to sew embroidery thread through the pages to hold the book together. Cody used the extra length from the thread to add some beads to his book that dangled from the bottom. He glued sequins and beads to the cover of his book.
Using Natural Beads to Decorate a Homemade Book
Unlike Cody, I strung beads along the spine of my homemade Valentine’s Day book.
How to Make a Homemade Valentine's Day Book to Gift to Someone You Love
I also used different sheets of decorative papers that I cut to my liking for the cover of my book and glued them to the cover. And I used decorative pages on the interior of my book and glued smaller squares of solid colored papers to these so I could write on them.
Writing Love Quotes Inside a DIY Handmade Valentine's Day Book
Once my book was completely assembled, I googled love quotes online and wrote these quotes on each page of my handmade book.
Writing heart and love inspired phrases inside a handmade book is a great Valentine's Day gift idea!
Cody, on the other hand, chose to wrote down his own love inspired thoughts and phrases.
DIY Handmade Valentine's Day Quote Book - Homemade Valentine's Day Gift Idea
Once we finished filling out books with words, they were complete and ready for gift giving to someone special!
So, why choose Artterro? Artterro is all about creativity! They design their eco art kits to offer an engaging experience with fresh fun projects and artist quality materials. They inspire and delight as you design beautiful jewelry, fanciful bubble wands, sophisticated storybooks and more. Helping people tap into their creativity with fun, affordable projects is at the core of Artterro’s mission, as is their commitment to sustainability.
Forrest Espinoza and Jennifer Conn of Madison, WI, are the two artists and mothers behind the scenes at Artterro. They founded Artterro because they believe everyone is born creative. Sometimes the pace of our modern lives keeps us from making time for art – and that’s where Artterro comes in! Their goal with every kit is to make them fun, easy and affordable for people to create art with family and friends.
If you’d like to purchase this bookmaking kit – or any other kit – from Artterro, use coupon code: SOAP20 through February 14th, 2013 and receive 20% off your purchase. You can also enter to win an Artterro Bookmaking Kit by entering via Rafflecopter below. This contest is open to USA residents through January 31st, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aqua Kitchen Craft Projects

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There’s just something about blue that I love. When I had my own house before the divorce, I made over every room in the place. The kitchen was probably the toughest. My ex-husband and I laid tile over the existing countertops, we painted all of the cabinets and gave them new hardware, we eventually had to replace all of the appliances and the sink, and my ex put down a laminate tile floor.
I also painted over the absolutely horrid wood paneling with a pale, pale lavender paint that was so light it almost looked white. The theme, however, was that retro 50s robin’s egg blue and a dark brown. I even painted the ceiling the same color as the pale blue kitchen cabinets. And I purchased retro 50s atomic dinner plates to go above the cabinet space.

While I no longer have my lovely kitchen, I haven’t lost my taste for retro shades of blue. One of those shades being aqua. So when I ran across this lovely aqua and red themed kitchen (above) featured on Kitchenisms, I was in heaven. (I highly encourage you to visit Kitchenisms in order to view photos of every inch of this marvelous kitchen.) But even the most perfect, colorful kitchen needs a few personal touches. So if you’re thinking of repainting your cooking space, consider the following craft projects to add a handmade touch. They’re not just pretty to look at, but functional too!

This bunting tea towel from A Scrappy Project adds just the perfect touch. Make several and keep them in daily use. It’s pretty enough to leave out for quick hand drying and clean ups and has beautiful aqua patterned fabrics for the bunting that make it a perfect match for an aqua themed kitchen!
Every kitchen needs a clock! I particularly love this diy clock from Landee see, Landee do. Not only is it painted aqua – of course you can make it any color you like – but it’s personalized with photos of family members. Since the kitchen is not traditionally a place you would see family photographs, I think this unique concept makes it extra special. Now, every time you glance at the clock to check the time, you’re reminded of those you love! (Or that you’re late picking up the kids from school. Wink.)
What about you? What are your favorite colors for kitchens and what color is your kitchen now?