Make Mom Life Easier

Busy Mom? 5 Ways to Make Life Easier

Welcome back to The Better Mom Tuesdays! Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or working mom, life gets hectic! And since you’re probably short on time, I’ll spare you the intro and get straight to the point. Here are five things I’ve been practicing to make my life easier. Hopefully, these tips will work for you, too!

1.    Design a uniform.

One of My "Mom Uniforms"
One of my “mom uniforms.” I can do pretty much anything in black trousers and a solid blouse. It looks put together and pretty much camouflages the unpredictable mishaps of motherhood.

Yes! It sounds strange, I know. But I pretty much wear the same style every day in a different color. Here’s the deal; once I find something that’s flattering, stylish, and comfortable, I don’t stray too far from that style. At this point in my life, I don’t have time to hop on trends, so I stick to classic pieces that can work for most occasions. An example of my mom uniform is pictured above. I’ve played with many looks, but I keep going back to the high-waist trousers, solid blouse, and (sometimes) a cardigan. You can also catch me in high-waist jeans, a solid camisole, and my favorite button-down flannel.

My secret is adding accessories! Eye-catching shoes, scarves, handbags and jackets can really dress up my uniform and create different looks. But, honestly, most days I don’t bother to accessorize. I can tell you that shopping is easier and less expensive. A few classic, well-made pieces that will last a few years is a much better investment than a bunch of trendy items that will be a thing of the past next Fall.  Even better? I know exactly what I’m wearing on those days I’m crunched for time.

2.    Eat the same thing.

Sounds boring, I know. But trust me on this one. Having set meals for each day of the week can save you a headache. Not only will you know exactly what your shopping list will look like each week, but you can also predict how much you’re going to spend.  On shopping days I can literally just cruise into the grocery store with the same list, throw what I need into the cart, and stay in budget because I know how much everything is going to cost (unless there’s a sale!).

So yea, I may not want to eat spaghetti every Monday or chicken and broccoli every Wednesday, but on those days when my head is in a fog, I’m grateful for the routine. Even better? Cooking in bulk so that the meal stretches two or three days. Every few months I challenge myself and try new recipes (when I have extra time!). If my family likes the new recipe, it goes into rotation with the others.

3.    Pull your hair up.

Updos on Natural Hair
Updos like this sleek, low bun on my natural hair make mom-life less complicated. It takes less than ten minutes to do and will stay in place even during the most challenging mom moments.

Wearing my hair loose takes way too much time in the morning. I’m constantly fussing with it to make it behave. That’s why I’m the self-proclaimed mother of updos. Top knots, military buns, sleek ponytails, classic pinups—they all take less than ten minutes of my time in the morning. Even better? They look chic and sophisticated and can be dressed up or down.

4.    Put your kids to work.

My boys have reached an age where they can be of some real use around the house. Lucky for them, they have an outstanding dad who shares in household responsibilities to model after. My eight-year-old loves to help vacuum, sweep, wash dishes, and wipe down the tables. My four-year-old loves to put the wet clothes into the dryer, help load the dishwasher (safe items only), and clean up his toys when he’s done (okay, so he doesn’t like cleaning up his toys).

I placed this tip on the list for those of you who have young ones and have not thought about delegating chores. Every little bit counts. You’d be surprised by how much having your kids clear the kitchen table, bring in the groceries, and load the dishwasher can shave time off your cleaning schedule. Make it a family thing!

5.    Plan the night before.

Home Management Binder
My Home Management Binder helps me keep my home (and thoughts) in order. It contains my daily to-do list, meal plans, events calendar, and schedules, among other things.

Spending just ten minutes each night to write down my goals makes a huge impact on my productivity, gives me peace of mind, and helps me rest better. I like to write my goals down in my home management binder. This includes things I’d like to accomplish the next day, month, and year. Give it a try!

To make your mornings run even more efficiently, take time the night before to prepare everything you’ll need to make getting ready a breeze. Clothes. Shoes. Accessories. Coupons. Backpacks. Lunches. You name it! Don’t forget to also lay out clothes and accessories for your children. Older children can be encouraged to do this on their own. There’s nothing like waking up and already having things together.


As a disclaimer, I am not perfect. I’m still learning to stick to some of these habits. Likewise, it’s important to remember that we are all different, so what I find easy may seem challenging for the next person, and vice versa. The important thing is that you find what works best for you. And when you’ve found your groove, share the wealth with others—it may help someone else!

So what are your mom shortcuts? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned for more posts on “The Better Mom Tuesdays” series! Every Tuesday this month I’ll be sharing mom tips! 
 

Preschool Math Facts

Tot-School Tuesdays | Preschool Addition Facts

Welcome to Totschool Tuesday! If you’re new to this series, join me every Tuesday this month as I share what types of activities I do to prepare my three-year-old for the next phase in his education. Last week, I shared my “Number Matching” preschool busy box. This week, I want to share my “Preschool Math Facts” busy box.

 

What is a “busy box?” You may have heard of “busy bags”—that is, bags full of educational goodies designed to engage busy tots. My busy boxes are the same concept with a different storage solution. These 5×12 boxes are stored with activities that encourage fluency practice for everything from counting to phonics.

 Preschool Math

Last week, I shared that these boxes full of goodies make my preschooler feel like he’s receiving a gift each morning. And he is! The gift of learning, that is (*wink). However, another pro to these boxes is that they don’t have to be used for formal learning, per se. You can store them with loads of fun and interesting objects that encourage creative learning.

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So, what’s on the agenda for this week? Adding! We’ve reviewed counting, number recognition and matching, sequencing, and now it’s time to dabble with a little addition. We’ve reviewed addition many times before, but of course with young children, repetition is key to mastery.

 

This week’s busy box includes a Preschool Addition Facts worksheet, pony beads, fuzzy sticks, popsicle sticks, drawing paper, and three markers. All items can be purchased at Walmart or Dollar Tree. If you’re wondering why I only offer three markers at a time, it’s because my three-year-old is learning to place the caps back onto them. We’ve had one too many dried-out markers!

   Preschool Addition Facts

As always, we like to complete our worksheet first. I include worksheets in these boxes because I can save and keep records of them to track my three-year-old’s progress. This week, I’m offering these simple, yet fun, Preschool Addition Facts worksheets for FREE at Nike Anderson’s Classroom. Head on over to take advantage!

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Next, we have a little “adding” fun with our pony beads and fuzzy sticks. Using the worksheet as my guide, I prepared seven fuzzy sticks by adding the exact number of beads to match the number of crayons on the left side of the worksheet. My preschooler then adds more beads to the fuzzy sticks, matching the number of crayons on the right side of the worksheet. This illustration ensures he internalizes the concept that adding two numbers together means the total sum is “more.”

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We take the same concept of our pony beads illustration and apply it to the popsicle sticks. Using different manipulatives helps a child internalize that the sum of one set of numbers will be the same regardless of the objects used. Therefore, 3 popsicle sticks plus 2 popsicle sticks will equal 5 popsicle sticks, just as 3 beads plus 2 beads will equal 5 beads.

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Lastly, I must include markers and drawing paper for some freestyling fun. To make the most of this busy box, your preschooler can try categorizing the pony beads by color, count how many beads each color group has, and then determine which group has the greatest and least number of beads. Or, he can make a popsicle stick masterpiece (if you include Elmer’s glue in the box), make their own bracelets with the pony beads and fuzzy sticks, or simply decorate the popsicle sticks using markers. 

 Preschool Math Facts

Download your FREE Preschool Addition Facts worksheet, here!

 Preschool Math

Don’t forget to grab these latest FREEBIES at Nike Anderson’s Classroom!

I Can Count!

Number Matching and Sequencing

 

See you next week!

Preschool Number Matching

Tot-School Tuesdays | Number Matching & Sequencing

Welcome to Totschool Tuesday! If you’re new to this series, join me every Tuesday this month as I share what types of activities I do to prepare my three-year-old for the next phase in his education. Last week, I shared my “I Can Count” preschool busy box. This week, I want to share my “Number Matching and Sequencing” busy box.

 

What is a “busy box?” You may have heard of “busy bags”—that is, bags full of educational goodies designed to engage busy tots. My busy boxes are the same concept with a different storage solution. These 5×12 boxes are stored with activities that encourage fluency practice for everything from counting to phonics.

 

My reasoning for using boxes is simple: 1) I found them in the back of my closet, forgotten and unused. 2) My three-year-old thinks he’s receiving a “gift” every morning—which gets him super excited about learning. So there ya go! Feel free to use Ziplock bags, storage containers, or anything you’d like.

Preschool busy box for counting

Our “Number Matching and Sequencing” box includes a cut and paste worksheet, a glue stick, safety scissors, number flashcards, 10 fuzzy sticks, 165 pony beads (lots of counting involved!), twenty magnetic sticks, twenty magnetic balls, empty containers, extra paper, and three markers.

This box is designed to practice fluency in counting numbers 11-20. Here’s how we used the items listed above. Feel free to adjust the activities to suit the numbers your child/student is currently working with.

 

First, my preschooler-to-be works on his cut and paste worksheet. Cut and paste is one of his favorite activities. Cut and paste is also a great way for tots to develop and strengthen fine motor skills and bilateral coordination—that is, the act of using both sides of the body at the same time while each hand performs a different task. You can find this cut and paste worksheet available for FREE at Nike Anderson’s Classroom. This worksheet helps students visualize the correlation between a number and its quantity.

Preschool busy box for counting

Next, we have a little flashcard fun by matching the numbers on the flashcards to the number of beads on each fuzzy stick. There are ten fuzzy sticks. Each fuzzy stick comprises a quantity of numbers 11 thru 20, since those are the numbers we are working with this month. My three-year-old counts the beads on each stick and places the correct flashcard next to the fuzzy stick. Easy peasy!

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For more counting fun, I included some magnetic sticks and balls. I included an empty container that my tot can place the balls into as he counts, so that they don’t roll off the table. Afterwards, he can have a little magnetic fun with these items! For some reason, kids love putting things into empty containers and then taking them out again… (*shrugs).

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The very last thing I included was a blank sheet of paper and some markers for drawing. This is a “busy box” after all, and I wanted to make sure that if my three-year-old finished all the tasks quickly, he had something else to occupy him and engage his imagination. Although I work with him on the first portion of the busy box to make sure he’s understanding and progressing, my three-year-old typically completes the other tasks independently—allowing me a free moment to work with my first grader. To gain a few more moments, I always include extra paper and markers. It extends my three-year-old’s “busyness” an extra ten to fifteen minutes.

Preschool busy box for counting

I want to end this post by saying, please use discretion. Obviously small magnetic balls are not suitable for any child under the age of three. You can supplement with big wooden magnets or other items suitable for counting. Lastly, while these boxes are designed to teach they should also be fun! If your child/student is new to the concept of busy boxes/bags, allow them a time or two to play with the items before you introduce how the items can be used for learning. This will reduce any pressure they may feel and make them more willing to learn something new.

 

Don’t forget to download your FREE cut and paste worksheets at Nike Anderson’s Classroom! If you haven’t already, grab last week’s “I Can Count” freebies, here!

• Nike Anderson • (13)

Until next time, friend!

Tot-School Tuesdays | “I Can Count” Busy Box

Whether you’re a homeschool mom, a preschool teacher, or have a toddler at home preparing for pre-k, finding engaging activities to help your child learn can prove challenging. There are a ton of resources available for what I like to call “tot-school.” However, I wanted to share what I personally do with my three-year-old to keep his little hands “busy” while preparing him to move forward in his education.

 
You may have heard of “busy bags”—that is, bags full of educational goodies designed to engage busy tots. But, allow me to introduce you to my “busy boxes.” These boxes are simply 5×12 boxes stored with activities that encourage fluency practice for everything from counting to phonics. We even have some STEM activities and “just for fun” activities stored in these boxes.

 
This month, I’ll be sharing some of our busy boxes with you in a series called Tot-school Tuesdays! First up is our “I Can Count” busy box. This box includes a worksheet, a foam sheet, foam letters, three markers, pony beads, a fizzy stick, paint, a stamper, a stamper sheet, and an apron. Everything, except the apron, was purchased from Walmart. The apron is from Lowes and they offer them for free when your child attends a Build & Grow workshop.

 

Our box is designed to practice numbers 11-20 (he forgets numbers 14 and 16). Each day will have a target number. Today, we worked on number 11.


We like to work on the worksheet together, first. These worksheets are available for FREE at Nike Anderson’s Classroom. Print them in color or black and white. These worksheets help with practice in the following areas:

  • Number recognition (0-20).
  • Number name recognition (zero-twenty).
  • Handwriting (with tracing guides).
  • Counting (0-20).

Next, my three-year-old practices spelling out the number name using foam letters. He personally likes spelling the name on his worksheet first because it offers a guide on where each letter should go. He will then spell the number name on the foam pad. These letters do have adhesive on the back of them, but we chose not to peel the contact paper so that we can keep reusing the letters for future activities.

Placing pony breads on fuzzy sticks is probably one of his favorite activities, so I had to include it in this box. For this activity, my three-year-old will count out the pony beads per the number of the day. Today, he counted out 11 and is placing them onto the fuzzy stick. Of course, I include extra pony beads for him to enjoy after his counting assignment!

Fun Preschool Counting Activities

The very last activity is the messiest because it involves a paint stamper! If you don’t want things to get too messy, purchase an ink stamper. I also include some ideas in my FREE “I Can Count” resource. We use a paint stamper because my three-year-old typically likes to continue to paint after the assignment. And what’s the assignment? Today, he had to stamp his stamper 11 times on his “I Can Count” sheet. I also gave him extra paper for more painting fun!

Fun Activities for Preschool

On average, this busy box has a “busy average” in our home of approximately 1 hour (When the allotted paint has been all used up!). I want to mention that you don’t have to “oversee” your child, you can simply give it to them for fun if they are too young to really understand any of it. I hope this busy box has given you some great ideas for keeping your little one engaged! See you next Tuesday for some more totschooling ideas!

Get Your FREE “I Can Count” Preschool Prep Worksheet, Here!

I Can Count Worksheets

Looking for more resources? Visit me at Nike Anderson’s Classroom!

Nike Anderson's Classroom