5 Ways to Tame Your Kid Clutter, While Teaching Them Valuable Lessons

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest areas of clutter to tame in my house has to do with the tiny dictator that runs our house. Our almost two year old somehow has more stuff than my husband and I combined! Her birthday is coming up soon, so I know that will bring even more stuff. I decided to do a major overhaul of her things recently, and here are some tips that not only helped me, but I’m hoping are teaching her some valuable life lessons as well.

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1.) Get rid of a toy before bringing a new one in: We have a rule where if we buy our daughter a bigger toy (not talking about Happy Meal toys here), that she has to get rid of something before the new toy comes in the house. Right now she is too young to understand, so I just pick something for her. Luckily since she is changing so quickly right now, she “outgrows” a lot of her toys so it’s easy to choose something that needs to go. As she gets older I plan to let her do the picking.

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2.) Don’t buy toys every time you go in the store: I know a lot of parents use toys as a reward for good behavior while shopping, or to keep a kid quiet in the cart for a few minutes. However, in my opinion, this is a bad habit that leads to an expectation every time you go into a store. Sure, there are times Emma Kate gets a special toy or treat, but certainly not every time. We avoid the toy aisle, and I make sure she has things that she already owns to keep her occupied while I shop. Not only does this teach a good lesson, but it keeps random toys you weren’t expecting on having from popping up all over your house from impulse buys.

3.) Find a cause and donate: There are some great organizations out there that will take gently used toys, furniture, books, etc. There may be a family in need in your community that would love to have your child’s toys. Check with a local church or daycare, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this is a great way to teach your kids about families less fortunate than yours, and also get rid of some of the toys they no longer play with.

4.) Have a home for everything: This applies for everything in my house and I discuss it in my book, but I have found when I don’t have a specific “home” for something, I end up just throwing it wherever and that leads to clutter. We use lots of bins and baskets as well as shelves for Emma Kate’s toys. If something doesn’t fit or have a home, we either get rid of things to make room, or create another bin/basket so the toy doesn’t just get lumped in with random things.

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5.) Teach you kids to enjoy experiences and not things: Emma Kate is still a little young to understand this concept, but we would much rather do something fun with her than buy her things. She loves simple things like the splash pad and the playground at Chick-fil-A. These things are entertaining for hours and don’t clutter up your house. Our kids really just want our time and attention anyway, so save yourself some money as well as space in your home, and expose your kids to new experiences. Those memories will last forever!

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QOTD: What is your best tip for taming kid clutter?

runDisney Star Wars Runners!

Guess what? Yesterday, I registered myself, Bobby AND Emma Kate for the runDisney Star Wars races! Yes, we haven’t even taken Emma Kate yet to Disney (she is going in October) and we are already planning a trip back in April for Star Wars!

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Bobby and I decided to just run the half marathon (my parents will be there to watch EK) and then she will do the kids race on Saturday. We have had our fill of challenges from Goofy to Dopey and me doing Glass Slipper, that we are fine just doing one race this time so we have more time (an sleep! and money!) on this trip.

I will say, I had quite the scare yesterday when I was trying to register the family. I registered myself just fine, but when I went to register EK and Bobby, it said they were already registered! I panicked, but after being reassured by some folks on Facebook, was told to wait a few minutes and try again in a different browser. I did, and was finally able to get all three conformations.

I have done many, many runDisney races, and offer lots of advice in my runDisney section, but the kids races will be a FIRST for me. So, I need all your best tips to make this the best possible experience for Emma Kate. Fire away, I need your help!

QOTD: Are you doing Star Wars? Any kids races advice for me?

August 2016 Goals

I can’t believe it. I actually have a monthly goals list ready to go on the first of the month! Hooray! I have been a few days behind lately, so I was determined to be on time for August. Before we see what my August plans are, let’s see how I did in July:

1.) Clean out my work closet: C+ I did half of this, but there is just so much to do I didn’t get to finish. It’s carrying over again for the third month. I’m determined!

2.) Finish boot camp strong with more muscle mass: A+ Yes! While I haven’t actually done my body fat test yet (I decided to wait and do it before we start our next round in a couple weeks) I KNOW I finished strong. I have more muscle in my legs and arms, and I weight less than I have in years. So gaining muscle AND losing weight is really all I can ask for. Happy with my progress.

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3.) Get my eBook launched on time: A+ This was a big one, and I am happy to say everything went really well! With the help of some amazing people, I was able to launch my book on time and get the word out. It’s so much fun to wake up in the morning and check my book sales. You can check it out for yourself here.

4.) Read my Bible every day: A- I read my Bible almost every day, except Saturday. Saturdays are just hard for me for some reason. I guess because I am not in my normal work week routine?

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August is going to be another crazy month around here for some reasons I am hoping I can share with you very soon, but I just can’t quite share yet. Because of that, I can’t share every single monthly goal I have, so my blog list will be a little shorter. Trust me when I say I’m bursting at the seems to share and will do so as soon as I can! Also remember, I will share my news first with my email subscriber VIP list. You can sign up for that here, as well as get free printables to help you track your monthly goals and fitness progress.

August Goals:

1.) Finish that darn upstairs closet: Carryover from the past two (sigh) months.

2.) Stick to my training schedule: I mentioned last week that I started training for fall and winter races. I will be honest and say the thought of running a half marathon right now is daunting because it’s just so hot, but I know I have to start training now in order to be ready in October/November/December. This is making it hard for me to want to get out and run and follow a training plan, but I really need to in order to stay on track.

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QOTD: What is a goal you have for August? Did you meet your July goals?

Excitement

Ok y’all, so there is a lot of negativity going around the social media world right now. I can barely stand to get on Facebook because it makes me so sad. Because of this, I felt like doing a fun not so serious post today to remind me of all the happy and excitement that is still going on. Maybe you can take a quick break from reality with me today. Get excited!

1.) Olympic Fever: I can’t even begin to put into words what a HUGE Olympics nerd I am. I will be glued to my TV the entire time. it really doesn’t matter what sport it is. I just can’t get enough! That being said the two I am most looing forward to are Women’s Gymnastics, and all the volleyball action. I have been deleting things from my DVR to make sure I have space to record all the things.

4.) Birthday girl: Recently my mom asked if I had started planning Emma Kate’s 2nd birthday party. Uhh….no? I can’t believe her birthday is in two months, so I need to get busy. What do you think would be a good theme for a 2 year old?

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Photo from her 1st birthday party

3.) News this week: I would really appreciate your prayers on Thursday. We are finding out some information that could be a huge deal for my little family on that evening. That’s all I can share right now, just know it could be really good, or really disappointing, so I’m going to think positive!

4.) 3 months until Disney: Three months from TODAY we will be checking into my happy place for five days of fun! This will be Emma Kate’s first visit, and I can’t wait to see Disney World through her eyes. So much planning still to be done! You can bet there will be some matching shirt action happening as well. Oh just wait my friends. We are so going to be “that family”.

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5.) Affiliate fun: The launch of my eBook is going well, and I would love to offer up something to anyone who is interested. I am opening up an affiliate program for my eBook, where you would earn 35% of every book sold through a unique link I would set up for you. If you are interested, please email me at heather@heatherslookingglass.com and put the word “affiliate” in the subject line. I would also provide you with some photos if you would like to set them up on your blog or use them in social media posts. Let me know!

QOTD: What Olympic event are you most looking forward to watching? Any party theme ideas? Anyone heading to Disney this fall?

4th of July Weekend 2016

I know it’s been almost a week, but I realized I never recapped my 4th of July weekend! We decided since we would be with family, to go ahead and celebrate my birthday early (it’s not until the13th). I picked up EK after lunch from daycare so she would nap in the car on the way to Louisiana. When we arrived, my parents had bought her a fun pool toy that also sprays water (it comes out of the top of the palm tree and comes down the “waterfall” where the blue streamers are). Sadly, the “slide” on the pool isn’t really something you can slide on, but she still had fun.

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We BBQ’ed and then had cake and ice cream. Check out my cake with LSU colors! I had my favorite of course, chocolate doberge cake (it’s a New Orleans thing, Google it. It’s delicious.)

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Saturday my dad and I went to buy Emma Kate a small slide so she could slide into the pool. We ran a couple other errands and visited their neighbors dog. Look how sweet she is holding his hand!

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My parents have a nest of babies, well, one baby and two eggs, right outside their house that we visited as well.

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Then that afternoon it was more pool fun, this time with an actual slide. She must have gone down it 100 times and she slept 13 hours that night!

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Sunday morning I decided to go for a 6 mile run. Little did I know the “feels like” temperature was 108! I didn’t know this until I was done. I just thought I was out of running shape because I haven’t been doing it much lately. it was brutal and I had to take it slow the last two miles in particular. Of course I wore my red white and blue stars running skirt.

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In the afternoon we went and got snowballs which was perfect for such a hot day. I had wedding cake cream of course.

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That evening, my buddy Jen and her family came over to eat with us and play in the water. The kids played outside for a long time! Look how adorable these friends are. They were holding hands and hugging!

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It was great to see them as always. We realized after that we didn’t take a picture together! Next time.

Monday morning we played at the house, ran a couple errands, and then loaded up the car to head home after lunch. One of these days we will be able to get everyone in a photo, but here are the Montgomery girls!

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We got home and we needed to water the grass. Of course Emma Kate used the opportunity to play in the water…again. As if she hadn’t had enough of that over the weekend.

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I think we were all wiped out after such a fun weekend. Can’t wait for the next one!

QOTD: What was your favorite part of the 4th of July?

Emma Kate: Month 21

I can’t believe it. Emma Kate is officially 3 months shy of turning 2 years old! As I stated when she turned one, I would do quarterly updates on how she is doing, and it’s time for another one.

Things have changed quite a bit since EK was 18 months old. She now says tons of words, and has started putting short phrases together like “mama sit down” or “bye bye dada”. She still babbles a lot and I have no idea what she is saying, but communication is getting better which is so helpful in the tantrum department. Even if she can’t say it, she can point or show me what she wants or is trying to do.

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She wears size 5 diapers, 2T clothing (about to get 3T sleepers because she is so long!) and a size 6 shoe. In May I bought her size 5 sandals and she outgrew them in a month! We went to the ear doctor for a follow up on her tubes, and she weighed 29.8 pounds!

She has gotten better about actually helping me put her clothes on and wants so badly to be able to put on her shoes and socks by herself. She doesn’t fuss much anymore when I change her diaper or clothes which is a nice change. She even likes wearing her bows now and doesn’t usually pull them out.

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Emma Kate is still our fearless climber and I have caught her on the table more than once. She will push a basket to the back of the couch and flip over onto the other side. She can run really fast and likes to be chased around.

We have also had to introduce time out in the past couple months but she does well with it and apologizes and hugs us when she comes out. She has gotten better at listening and is starting to understand consequences. This absolutely doesn’t mean she is a perfect angel—she is quite strong willed, but I think she has a better understanding of rules now. 13533354_982465235164272_8865568365717421639_n

We bought her a water table and some water toys and girlfriend loves playing outside. It’s so hot though that the only time we can go outside IS to play in the water. When she is done playing and ready to go inside she says “bye bye wa wa” and waves and goes to the door. She cracks me up!

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EK also loves books, she drinks a ton of water, she loves farm animals, and as of late has loved watching YouTube videos of dogs, people, and America’s Funniest Home Videos. I have had to be strict about watching things on my phone because she would do it all day long.

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Whenever she sees a phone or camera she says “cheese” and tries to take a selfie. She is a clown and likes to put blankets on her head, boxes, anything to make us laugh. She will get an “ouchie” or “bo bo” and want everyone to kiss it for her. She loves eating with a fork and spoon even though she’s not very good at it. She has also started doing this thing where she takes all her toys in her room and puts them in her crib, or takes all the toys in the living room and puts the on the sofa. No idea why!

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I can’t believe for my next update Emma Kate will be TWO YEARS OLD! Time sure does fly. We love our baby girl!

QOTD: When did your kids start REALLY talking a lot? Any other fans of America’s Funniest Home Videos?

Early Birthday Surprise

Last Tuesday, I came home from picking Emma Kate up at daycare, and there were a bunch of people in my house. Surprise! Happy early birthday to me!

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My sweet husband planned this all for me, and manned the grill cooking chicken, burgers, hot dogs, sausage, sweet potato fries, etc. My friends brought some delicious appetizers, and we had quite the feast! (and quite the leftovers)

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Even champagne. Cheers!

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It was so great to see my friends and their families all at my house for an early birthday surprise. (Of course Emma Kate is shoving food in her mouth).

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He even got me a cookie cake! Emma Kate was all about that.

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I love these girls so much and am so thankful they are in my life and came to celebrate me!

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Most everyone has little ones so the party was over by 7:30, but I had a blast with my gal pals. A huge thanks to my sweet husband for thinking of me! Does this mean I get to celebrate my birthday again in July?

QOTD: Have you ever had a surprise birthday party?

Father’s Day Weekend 2016

Oh what a weekend! This one was one for the books my friends. We went to my parents house for Father’s Day plus my cousin was having her 50th birthday party at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans on Friday night. Of course we weren’t going to miss that! It was adults only so we left little miss thing with Bobby’s mom at our house and headed south around lunchtime Friday.

We made it to my parents, unloaded, and got all gussied up before heading into the French Quarter.

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My poor dad had foot surgery and can’t fit his swollen foot into a dress shoe yet. He doesn’t normally wear sneakers to fancy occasions. Smile

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Ya’’ll, I’ve had this dress since college. I think I got it on clearance at Dillards. Sshhh don’t tell.

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Hello Mr. Streetcar, please don’t hit us, k thanks.

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We got to the Ritz early. We weren’t sure what kind of traffic we would run into heading downtown, so we killed some time checking out the beautiful hotel and hanging out on some couches near a gorgeous courtyard.

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There were so many flowers, I felt like I was in Disney World at the Grand Floridian.

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It was finally 7:30 and time for the party! My cousin rented out a private room and the decorations were amazing. We were given special drinks when we walked in the door with sugar around the rim (I may or may not have had two.)

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There was food everywhere, great music playing, and gorgeous flowers.

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But the coolest thing by far was the cake! Check out how amazing this is. I’m pretty sure my cousin designed it. (It was delicious, too!)

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We grabbed a table and headed over to the wonderful smelling food. My sweet Bobby who loves to eat was in heaven. They had shrimp, raw oysters, crab claws, beef, pork, three kinds of risotto, burgers, and so much more.

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After we ate and more guests arrived, it was time to dance! Get a couple drinks in me and I’m always ready to hit the dance floor. 9caf0bd1-5f4a-4512-9bce-1403131da815

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Mom and I dancing with the birthday girl!

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Clearly I was enjoying my drink while dancing.

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Later in the night, a New Orleans brass band came in to play for us, and gumbo was served. We started up a second line dance, and danced some more! (I was sore the next morning).

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A little after 11:00 after singing to the birthday girl and eating some cake, we were starting to fade fast and I realized I am way too much of an old lady to be out that late dancing and such. We said our goodbyes to family, friends, the Ritz, and Canal street as we headed back to my parents’ house. We had SO MUCH FUN and I am glad we came into town for the party!

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Oh, did I mention there was a photo booth, and my cousin had her own personalized backdrop? So so fun! Obviously we hated the party, right? haha. I love my crazy family.

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The hard reality of a night out on the town hit me Saturday morning and I felt like I had been hit by a bus! We normally eat pretty healthy and I think all the rich food plus sugary drinks, dancing, and being up late just got to me. Sadly I can’t keep up like the cool kids. We spent the day relaxing, recovering, and I even took a nap.

Later that afternoon my mom and I went shopping and then we came home and grilled for dinner. I was so lazy on Saturday I didn’t even take any pictures. Sunday morning I got up and decided to run a 5k. I hadn’t worked out in two days and was feeling pretty sluggish. It was super warm and humid but I’m glad I got it done.

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We ate lunch with my parents for Father’s Day, packed up the car and headed back to Mississippi. It was good to see baby girl yesterday afternoon and get back into a routine last night. The great weekends always go by so fast, but I will certainly always remember this one.

QOTD: Do you like to stay out late or are you an old person at heart like I am? Anyone run or race this weekend?

5 Things Friday XVIII

Happy Fri-yay! It’s a hot one here. Going to get up to 94! Lots to do today, but I wanted to pop in and share a few pieces of information with you. Have a great weekend!

1.) A Disney Day: As of Tuesday, June 21, I will be able to price out and book your 2017 Walt Disney World vacation for you! Prices are finally being released and I would love to help you plan a magical trip for your family. Just email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote (remember it’s FREE to use a travel agent, you don’t pay me anything extra for my work!)

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2.) Dessert or protein shake?: I found an amazing recipe on Pinterest for a delicious protein shake/smoothie that, I confess, I have been drinking 4-5 times a week for the past three weeks. It’s that good. It’s super easy to make (did anyone else know butter extract was a thing?) and it tastes delicious!

3.) Relight: I like nice and bright photos, but sometimes my iPhone pictures come out less than desirable, and some of the filters that look brighter also distort color in a way I don’t like, so I started using a free app called Relight and have had great results! Of course using my “big girl” camera would be better, but this is the next best thing for a quick touch up.

4.) WOW week: I’m old school and still call it VBS (vacation Bible school), but our church is hosting over 1200 kids this week and I have been volunteering some and having a blast! I’m so happy to be a part of a special church with an amazing children’s program. Emma Kate has been enjoying it too (she gets to come since I am a volunteer) and I can’t wait for her to be old enough to attend the “real thing”.

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5.) Bible Study: My small group at church will be doing a women’s Bible study in July and I have been trying to figure out what book we should use. I have a few that seem good I have been looking at but thought I would ask y’all if you have done anything lately you really liked? Looking for something a little on the short/light side for summer. Thanks for any suggestions you have!

QOTD: Did you attend VBS/WOW week as a kid? Any Bible study book ideas?

Birthday Weekend Recap

Today is Bobby’s 33rd birthday! We spent the weekend at my parents house and surprised him with a cake and some family and friends came over to BBQ, too.

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Saturday morning I went with my mom to visit a friend of hers in the hospital, and we grabbed coffee together while the boys watched Emma Kate. We BBQ’ed that late afternoon, but sadly it ended up raining then as well as most of the weekend so I didn’t get a chance to run.

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How cute is EK’s Finding Nemo/Dory outfit? Love it! Sunday morning I had one more surprise for Bobby. Our friends Jen and Jeff couldn’t eat with us Saturday night but they met us for breakfast Sunday morning and Bobby had no idea. Surprise! Mom and dad watched Emma Kate while we went to eat.

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On our way out of town Sunday, I grabbed a wedding cake cream snowball. Yum!

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I tried to disconnect a bit so I didn’t post on social media a ton over the weekend, and it was great to spend time with family and friends. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOBBY I hope you have a great birthday today!

QOTD: Favorite snowball flavor? Are you excited for Finding Dory?