It’s Summer… Almost!

Get ready fo summer. And summer bugs with Bug Guard.

It’s Summer… Almost! According to my calendar just 2 more weeks until Sunny days and beach trips.. Late nights and bonfires.. Boat time on the lake! Yep.. It’s almost Summer. 

Me and the boys are already enjoying some summer time. We been hanging at the park and preparing for some grass cutting (one of my favorite things!!). And looking forward to flip flop tans and swimsuits. 

We have lots to look forward to!! Something we normally don’t look forward to are bugs. Sand fleas and mosquitoes. Ticks. Although we don’t look forward to bugs we are always (& I mean ALWAYS) prepared for bugs. Lol

We, seriously, keep a bottle of Bug Guard in both trucks, as well as in the beach bag. 

The thing I love the most about Bug Guard is that it is DEET-free. Everybody loves bug repellants with deet… until they realize how harmful DEET is!

Now I’m on the “other side” of most of the warning labels these days. I like to keep my feet firmly on the ground. You can’t go anywhere or talk to anyone nowadays without hearing how bad EVERYTHING is for you. Seriously… everything is bad. Sugar is bad for you… but so is aspartame (fake sugar). Sunburn is bad for you.. but so is spray and lotion sunscreen. Again, everything is bad and it will drive you crazy trying to keep up with warnings!

Luckily, we all get to choose what we give or don’t give and use or don’t use with our families. I like to think of myself as a smart person. I do my research before banning an item from our lives. I like to read up before deciding what’s best (or worst) for my family. I suggest everyone do the same. 

With that being said, I do try not to use DEET anymore. My children and I suffer from breathing problems and asthma. So that is one of the main reasons I choose DEET-free. If you do research on deet you will find that it can cause rash and skin irritation, as well as nausea, headaches, and dizziness just to name a few. 

This is an actual bottle of Off! I have in my home. The most concerning warning cautions that sprayed clothing needs to be removed and washed immediately when returning indoors.

Bug Guard uses a DEET alternative called Picaridin. Picaridin has been around since the 1980’s and is most popular for being lighter than DEET (not as greasy) and less harsh. Some plaatics and synthetics can actually be dissolved by DEET. Picaridin doesn’t have this effect. Let me also say that Bug Guard is safe for pets, when used properly of course.

Also… might I add that Bug Guard is available with sunscreen? And Bug Guard has a line of actual sunscreen products, as well. 

I like this one pictured. The lotion goes on blue and disappears once rubbed in. This is HUGE for allowing my boys to be more independent and also to free up some of my time, of course while they apply their own sunscreen. One of the many things I do  the boys.. & for me. Sadly, they must learn to take care of things.

So, in short, my family has officially switched. Click here to see all of the Bug Guard products and read tons of reviews! I don’t think Skin So Soft itself has as many reviews as the Bug Guard line! 

The Bug Guard line is a little pricey so be sure to catch them on sale! Right now the whole line is on sale- Buy one, get one free. Sales usually happen pretty often but BOGO is pretty rare. So shop now 🙂

I almost forgot one of my favoritr Buv Guard products. 

The anti itch spray. I published my blog while I was out with the guys for a short drive. As soon as I got home (9:00 p.m.) and got into the house I went to medicine cabinet for this little gem. & then a lightbulb went off! I just posted about Bug Guard and I left this out. Whaaat?? Lol

 We use this almost daily! I’ve been using this anti itch for bug bites so long that I’m not even sure what other Mom’s are using these days? This takes the itch out of bites almost immediately! The hydrocortisone is pretty much obsolete around my house. 

DIY Like A Boss!

My latest obsession is DIY.

So even at 34 years old I’m still a cool mom. I still want more tattoos and I have a few piercings. But I got to be honest with you- my latest obsession is DIY! It’s like a disease. Lol Once you get started you just want more!

So I’ve been making our laundry soap for about 2 years now. It is tough enough to clean my boys’ clothes and it smells great. When I first started making it my husband actually had some comments from work about how great his uniforms smelled and inquiries about what his wife was using. I was impressed. So 2 years later- I’m still making our laundry soap and I have tweaked it a bit each time I make it (I’m sorta professional laundry soap preparer). Lol 

Collapsible Box Grater Essential for grating up the Fels Naptha soap bar for making laundry soap. 

So a few weeks ago I got into some more DIY. I tried DIY shampoo (twice), DIY shaving cream (fail), and DIY dishwashing liquid (that didn’t work). Lol It’s been a process. Word of advice to anyone thinking about any kind of DIY products for home: it’s going to be a process- Don’t give up! There are tons (& I mean TONS) of articles and recipes. I’ve found a bunch on Pinterest, of course, and a bunch just by Googling. 

It’s a nice thought to to “all natural”; however, my all natural coconut milk shampoo is just No. I’ve tried it several times and it’s just not going to work out. Lol Same with my first batch of dishwashing gel. I did all natural… ran the dishwasher about 3 times… and then finally put a dishwasher tablet in to get them clean. Lol That’s been about 3 weeks ago. I put the concoction under the sink and haven’t messed with it too much since, until today. It was time for some laundry soap.. so I busted out all my boxes and bags and got on Google. I used this gel and added some additional ingredients and I now have tablets drying in the Sunshine. Recipe and feedback to follow in the next couple of days. I’m feeling good about it, though. Below, a helpful kitchen gadget that helped me get the mixed up product into ice trays to “set”:

Batter Dispenser Yes, this is actually a 4-cup batter dispenser; however, you can see how it was perfect this job! 

While I was in productive mode I whipped up some homemade all-purpose cleaner. This was an easy product using only distilled water, 2 tablespoons of castile soap, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and about 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. SCORE!! I tried it right away, of course. Seriously impressed. Unfortunately, I don’t see my family ever giving up Clorox Wipes. We use these in bathrooms where it really counts to get extra clean and get rid of germs. But I do see wherewe will be cutting back on money spend on Clorox Wipes. This all-purpose cleaner is awesome! 
So all this time spent in the kitchen DIY-ing let me share some other handy tools I use for storage and labeling:

Metal Canister with Chalkboard Front Blue Perfect for storing amd labeling my finished dishwasher tablets. See below also White canister. 

Metal Canister White

Color Labels For labeling boxes and containers. I can’t stress the importance of labeling. Especially if you have small children. These labels are perfect. And stylish. 

I’ll be posting a separate blog for How To’s on my laundry soap, my all-purpose cleaner, and (hopefully) my dishwasher tablets.

How To Efficiently Manage a Full-Time Household

Managing a crazy household? See my 3 biggest tips to keeping it together here.

Ever prepare for a trip? And you know how to get where you are going.. but you pull up the GPS anyway… Just for the added security? This post is mainly a GPS for somewhere I know how to get to.

Matter of fact I’m already halfway there. But things have changed and are changing and I don’t want to waste time on a U-Turn. So below are some of my tips to keep from going crazy when your the CEO of a large household. I would say that managing my household is 98% my job. Not that my husband doesn’t help (Bless his heart… he tries). But keeping up with appointments and school functions seems to be mainly my job. And I don’t mind. I personally feel like this is the only job I must do. Making money at my full-time job is great. But my sole purpose at this time is to raise our children & manage their schedules. I feel this way because they didn’t choose. We chose to have children. We chose each other. They didn’t have a choice. This is the hand they got. One day they will get to choose. Many choices. But right now, they are 9, 8, 8, & 7-year-old little boys. And I feel that they are my job.

That being said- it is a crazy job! It  hectic and chaotic. It’s a dirty job.. but somebody’s got to do it! Lol 

First of all, I recommend recruiting and delegating. Yes, I’m one of THOSE Mommy’s. My boys help me with tasks at home for 2 main reasons: For me and for them. Definitely I need the help. I cannot do it all by myself. And just as importantly, I want to raise good men. Men who can fend for themselves if they need to. Men that know how to do laundry and dishes (or, at least load the dishwasher.. Lol). This isn’t the 1930’s. It’s no longer a given that they will  find women that will SURELY take care of all these household chores for them. And if they do, it will be nice that they have a good understanding of what is required in the home and at the very least, will help out. Especially if they have big families like we do in our home now.

Next up- Calendar. 

Sadly, I’ve fallen into the category that smartphones have made me dumb… somewhat. We have a calendar on the wall at home. It’s cute. And pretty. Unfortunately, it’s useless. Mama phone calendar is the most important calendar in our lives! Recently, my phone crashed. I had cell phone issues for about a month. And although I missed some things like Pinterest (I love, LOVE Pinterest).. I didn’t miss anything more than my calendar. The same could be said for my Husband. He missed my calendar. We were all a little blind without it. Lol In light of this new information, I plan to use the pretty calendar on the wall much more. Additionally, I think instead of chore charts and behavior charts- I’m probably going to give each of my boys their own calendar. I’ll be sure to list what their monthly chores are, of course, as well as any upcoming appointments they have. Shouldn’t they be “in the know”? Lol This will hopefully (fingers crossed) eliminate about 10 questions per month. “Mom, when is my dentist appointment?” “Mom, when do I go to Grandma’s?” “Mom, when is my Birthday?” Yes.. I think this is a brilliant idea. It will also be used to track “good days and bad days”. Smiley faces and sad faces. Days that allowance is earned or lost. 
My last big tip for managing your household (this is for any parent that is trying to raise children): Meal Prepping.

I’m new to this concept and I am in Love with ideas I’ve found on Pinterest. I’m still getting into my groove, as I do have a full-time (or mostly part-time) job. But even as a stay-at-home parent- having your meals planned and prepped for dinner will save you tons of time! My first meal-prep happened about 2 weeks ago. I cooked and prepared my lunches for work, in addition to preparing healthy snacks and infused fruit water I like to drink after my coffee for a boost of energy to keep me going. This was amazing! Check out the flavor infuser pitcher here that is perfect for making fruit water. My husband was a little jealous that I didn’t prep his meals for the week. So I’ve got to get on a bigger scale next time I prep my lunches and begin my journey in dinner meal prepping. I started by purchasing some plastic containers that are microwave/dishwasher/freezer safe  (they sound amazing, right?) They aren’t hard to find. Then I baked seasoned chicken and vegetables, just like I would for dinner. Portion out and ready to go! Huge time-saver! Click here for some handy kitchen items that can help you meal prep like a boss!! And this Salad Container keeps you eating healthy on the go. 

My last thought for this post is probably the most important. There are days I’m sure I can’t do this job. I’m ready to throw in the towel and Fail. But I read something very inspiring about Thomas Edison. 1000 times he tried to create the light bulb. Who would have given up before 1000 tries? Meee! I would have! But what an inspiration. And when questioned about his failed attempts he made a correction to his interviewer. “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.” Not everything we try is going to fit our lives. And even when we do find something that works for our families- we are evolving and this is an ever-changing life we are living. Keep in mind that this is a 1000-step invention.