I don’t have a ton of toys visible in the living room.
I definitely prefer calm, organized spaces.
Thankfully, most of the more sustainable and safe toy brands fit with that preference in regard to color scheme and design. There is a little corner by the widow that we devote to two large toys in the living room. It’s a corner that is offset from the couch, so it was really a convenient space.
Next, I discovered that legos are best stored in an ottoman with a lid. Reason 1, they cannot be dumped all over the floor (it’s a heavy ottoman). Reason 2, they are hidden unless being enjoyed. Win, win!
I have also decided to give one of my lower kitchen cabinets to the kids for neat, covered book storage.
The other space is next to the couch, where I have a large bin that matches my decor. In it are a few things that do not fit in the other 3 areas, such as vehicles, a blanket, toy camera, etc.
Have you found any clever ways to store your kids toys in a shared environment? Comment below! :)
Open-ended playtime and the safe toys that facilitate that are such a joy to have around. The only noises they produce are generated from the child’s imagination.
We were clued in to this method of entertaining littles really early on, so we never bought the electronic toys that make such a racket (though they have their place on occasion). This has both saved some money as well as sanity.
We have also noted that these open-ended toys are of interest for much longer than the age bracket lists. Some of our favorites are from Hape (“ha-pay”), PlanToys, Green Toys, and Lego Duplo. We always opt for brands with excellent safety standards to be non toxic (yes, that is unfortunately something one needs to intentionally look for in a toy brand).
Rather than iPad apps, we opt for Super Simple Learning on YouTube. The content often fuels the open ended play narrative. Most of their content (especially all things Caitie’s Classroom), has a low-key vibe and is uber educational; all while being delightful and engaging.
Things are a bit different now in the world. Incorporating more of this kind of playtime and content can freshen up imagination as well as a routine!
Right now, you are probably hearing a lot about self care. It truly is important. It is a investment not only in yourself, but in those you love. Remember, an empty vessel cannot pour out.
So how does one achieve self care? Take time each day, even just a few minutes, to do something that fills up your cup. You can sit quietly while the kids nap, have a cup of coffee (the temperature you mean it to be), pray, practice mindful breathing, listen to a favorite song, take a relaxing bath, or even take an online class.
A while back, I was just browsing around and came across an app we had on Apple TV. As a photographer I was intrigued by some free tutorials I found by respected industry pros. This app was Creative Live. They offer a wide array of categories and classes within those categories. Some are free and some are paid. After a long day (or maybe even before you start your busy day), invest in you by learning more about a interest. Their websites says it well: "Master your craft, your passion, or something new."
es taught by the world’s best.
It took us TWO YEARS.
We were spending tons of money on a certain big brand sanitizing spray because it was the safest one I could find. Then the pandemic happened. So, not only was it very expensive, but I couldn't even find it anywhere.
How were we in a situation where we had to sanitize everything, but could hardly
(if at all) find the tools with which to do that???!
I couldn't even find the stuff that had horrible EWG scores.
That was the deciding point. We bought the Force of Nature cleaner!
It is fabulous. As I try to keep these blog posts as quick reads, I will point you to the link to read about the science and effectiveness. It is really easy to use (and fun for the kids to watch)! To make the "family-friendly, multi-purpose cleaner that replaces kitchen, bath, glass cleaners, disinfectants & deodorizers"*, you simply fill the base to the fill line with clean water, twist open and pour in the contents of a capsule, and push the start button. Once, I pushed start before I added the capsule and it actually knew and alerted me to that. That boosted my confidence even more.
I really enjoy not feeling like I am overpaying for a much-needed product and not having to worry about toxic chemicals in the house via "cleaning" supplies. "It’s on the EPA’s List N, the disinfectants approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19."*
The kits include everything you need. Note: each bottle of cleaner lasts for one week, so keep that in mind when deciding on capsule amount.
I cringe at the thought of going back to other cleaners. We hope you love it just as much for your home!
Check them out here: Force of Nature
*Quotes taken from the Force of Nature website.
I am a parent as well as a photographer, so you can probably imagine that I love products that are high quality, as durable as possible, and that I can customize with my photos. Enter, Pinhole Press.
They have tons of products and are continually innovating new ones. We have personally used their Memory Game (matching game), matte prints, greeting cards, albums, and Names and Faces Book (see some examples below). My kids really enjoy their products and use them daily.
For my business, I have used their perforated wall calendar, reusable wall stickers, and photo puzzles. Everything is beautiful and high quality. They also have excellent customer service, and we all know how important that is.
Check them out here: Pinhole Press
All views and opinions are strictly my own and can not/should not be considered nor confused with medical, personal, or any other kind of advice.
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