Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Best Diaper Bag for Twins

Looking for a diaper bag for twins? There are so many beautiful, yet pricey, diaper bags out there. Unfortunately, most of them were made for singletons. There are a few diaper bags that are specifically designed for twins, but they're just not as attractive, and they tend to be even more expensive. So, what's a twin parent to do?

Use a backpack! 

True, it's not as attractive as some of the cute diaper bags on the market, but it gets the job done

Here are some of the top advantages of using a backpack as a diaper bag:

1. It has built in compartments. If your backpack was built to hold a laptop, that laptop area is a great place to stash your actual diapers.

2. It keeps your hands free. You're trying to carry/hold hands with two little ones. Having your hands free makes a huge difference.

3. It's gender-neutral. Unless your backpack is pink or ultra-feminine, it's gender neutral. That means the men in your life shouldn't have a huge issue with carrying it for you.

If you already have a backpack, check it out and see what kinds of compartments it has. If not, I'd recommend looking for a backpack with a lot of different compartments. We bought our backpacks at Sam's Club for $19.99 a few years ago, and they've worked out great.

My backpack has little mesh compartments on the outside that are made for holding water bottles. That's a great place to stash bottles or sippy cups for easy access. I store our snacks in the front compartment so they're also easy to get to in times of crisis.

What do you use to haul around your diapers and baby gear?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tips for Going Gray

Are you ready to go gray? Are you tired of constantly coloring your hair? Here are some things you can do to ease your transition from dyed hair, to naturally silver hair:

1. Find a hairdresser who will help you. Even if you don't plan to color or highlight your hair ever again, having a hairdresser who is supportive is super important. You don't want someone who's going to try to talk you into coloring your hair again, or who clearly thinks your idea of going gray is lame. You need a cheerleader. A cheerleader who can give you a great haircut and a self-esteem boost.

2. Be prepared for the looks. Especially during the first few months of going gray, you will get a lot of stares from people. Mostly from women who clearly dye their hair. They're trying to figure out what the heck is going on with your hair. Or they're being rude. Or they're a little bit of both. This is really tough to deal with, but it will end. Try to have a thick skin, and get support. The Cafe Gray forum is a wonderful, supportive resource for women who are going gray.

3. Take care of your hair. Get a great deep conditioner. Get frequent haircuts. Do your hair every day, and make it look fabulous. This will help you when you feel less than thrilled about your new silver streaks.

4. Experiment with new makeup. Having gray hair effects your coloring. Many women find that they need to wear bolder colors. I used to look okay without lipstick, and now I look really washed out unless I'm wearing it. Sort of a bummer, but it makes me look more put together.

5. Be a great mother - to yourself. This is the time to cook healthy meals for yourself, exercise, enjoy friends and family, and build yourself up. Think of what you would do for yourself if you were your mother (provided your mother is awesome), and then do it. Take care of yourself.

6. If you want to drop a few pounds, now's the time to do it. When you feel less than stellar about your hair, knowing that you are taking care of your health can be a great confidence booster.

7. Buy yourself a great hat. Sometimes you just don't want to have to deal with the stares and the questions. Put on a hat. Deal with the questions tomorrow.

Are you planning on going gray soon? Do you have any tips to share? Please leave a comment below. And, if you're looking for more inspiration, visit my Going Gray Tips & Tricks Pinterest Board.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on them, you'll be supporting this site!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beat Stress Eating

Food can serve as an escape or an outlet for frustration when times are tough. Though I try my best to use willpower to overcome cravings, there are times when it's just too difficult for me not to turn to food. Criticize as you may, I know that it's going to happen, and I need to be prepared to deal with it.

If junk food is available, I will eat it. No question about it. I love chips, bread, cheese, and anything else that's going to cause all kinds of weight issues for me. And when I'm stressed, I will NOT eat in moderation. I will eat like a college football player after a six-hour long practice.

That's why I had to revamp my stress eating regimen. First, I had to get all of the junk food out of my house. This is tough, because my husband tries to sneak in bags of chips and hide them. But, I always find them. Also, if I'm desperate, I will turn to the Goldfish crackers and vanilla wafers that my kids love so much. But, if I am going to make my stress eating more healthy, it all has to go.

Once it's gone, I replace the junk foods with the following healthier alternatives:

1. Baby carrots and hummus. Crunch and a salty-ish flavor. Very satisfying.

2. Jicama. Crunchy yet sweet.

3. Avocado. Full of good fats, filling.

4. An apple and an orange. I make myself eat these things, especially if I've already been eating some of the other items on my list. They fill me up, and make sure I'm getting lots of good fiber and vitamins. If I'm tired of apples and oranges, I'll swap them for pears and kiwis.

5. Pepitas and sunflower seeds. Salty and crunchy.

6. Plain greek yogurt with honey on top. Sweet and filling.

7. Hard boiled eggs. Just one or two. Filling.

8. Unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon on top. Sweet and somewhat cookie-ish.

9. Oatmeal with raisins and almond slivers. Great comfort food. A good alternative to cookies or bread. Quite filling.

10. Lots of water. Always lot of water. It also fills me up, calms me down, and frankly, flushes out all of the yuckies.

To be clear, I don't eat ALL of these foods in one sitting. I find that it's good to have them all around as options, so I have choices. I also use them for snacks when I'm not in stress-eating mode. Also, if I'm super stressed, I try to eat salmon for a meal, with a side of greens. Of course, going for a walk, talking to a friend, etc. would be great too, but that's not always possible. 

By planning ahead for stress eating, I'm able to avoid gorging on junk food and I can force myself to make healthier choices. I truly believe that by eating healthier food, I'm able to overcome my stress more quickly too.

How do you deal with stress eating?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Give Yourself a Boost: Be an Early Bird

If you're exhausted, waking up early doesn't sound like a great idea at all. In fact, if you are a mom of newborns or kiddos who aren't sleeping through the night, I want you to skip this post. Go get yourself a drink of water, put your feet up, and relax.

For everyone else, getting up early can be a great way to help you recharge your batteries. It seems counterintuitive, but by creating time for yourself, you'll feel better about yourself and feel more energetic. Here are some things you could do if you wake up early:

  1. You'll be able to enjoy quiet in your home. If no one else is up, you get to be by yourself and do what you want.
  2. You can work on projects that you would put off during the day. 
  3. You can eat breakfast in peace.
  4. You can take a shower.
  5. You can exercise.
  6. You can enjoy a beverage without having to hide it or use a cup with a top so it doesn't spill.
  7. You'll be able to accomplish something before the craziness of the day begins.
  8. You may end up sleeping better at night!
Waking up early is all about carving out time for you. A lot of people prefer to have time to themselves late in the evening. That's great if you're a night owl, but there's something to be said for getting a jump start on the day - on your own terms!

My family wakes around seven, so my favorite time to wake up is five. That way I can get ready for the day, do a little exercising, and enjoy some time doing something I'd like to do before the day begins. I usually make that morning time "me" time. If I don't carve out the morning hours for myself, it doesn't end up happening.

For more information on the benefits of waking up early, visit my Become an Early Bird Pinterest board

photo from

How to Give Yourself a Boost: Start a Water Drinking Habit

You probably already know that water is awesome for you. You probably also have a million excuses for why you're not drinking water. "It's boring. I don't like it. I like my soda." Blah, blah, blah.

The truth is, drinking water will give you a major energy boost, on top of being great for your health. And if you're reading this post, you need a boost. So, suck it up, and suck down the water!

Make a goal to drink at least four water bottles full of water each day. Does the exact amount of fluid ounces matter? Probably, but who cares. Right now, you need a boost, and any additional water is going to help. You don't need to drink four gallons, but four 12 oz. bottles would be a good start.

If you have a water bottle somewhere, get it out and fill it up. If it helps, you can add ice cubes or lemon, or whatever makes you happy. Bring that water bottle around with you all day, and make a goal to drink it and fill it up four times. Know that you will be going to the bathroom more often. That's a good thing.

Drinking more water will do all sorts of wonderful things for your digestive system, energy levels, skin, weight loss goals, etc.

For more information on the awesomeness of water as a beverage, check out my Start a Water Drinking Habit Pinterest page

Good luck, and enjoy your boost!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Best Free Podcasts for Moms

If you're at all like me, you're wishing for some adult conversation during the day. Talking on the phone with two potty-training toddlers is pretty much impossible, so I've resorted to listening to free podcasts online to pass the time. There are actually a lot of really great podcasts out there, and listening to "Mom-ish" podcasts gives me the feeling of almost talking to a friend. So sad, I know...

Anyway, enough of the sob story. Here are some of my favorite, online, free, fabulous podcasts for madres:

1. Inspired to Action Podcast. Kat Lee interviews inspiring moms about all of the things moms care about. Weekly podcasts are archived and free! Kat also has a lot of free e-books on her site.

2. The Simple Mom Podcast. This podcast cracks me up. If you've ever seen the "Delicious Dish" skit on Saturday Night Live, you will hear the similarities when you listen to the podcast. Really, though, this is just like sitting around with a bunch of ladies talking. You can leave the room for a bit, and you won't miss much, but it's pretty entertaining. And, they talk about personality types a lot, which is really interesting.

3. The Jillian Michaels Show Podcast - Best. Podcast. Ever. It's got a ton of motivational and fitness tips, and it's always funny. Jillian and her producer, Janice, talk about it all. Most shows include some type of bathroom humor as well. Not to be missed!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Best Books for Introverts

Are you an introvert? Do you want to learn more about how introverts think? These books are great resources for living a happy life as an introvert, and will help explain how introverts approach everyday situations.

4. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to Get Your Mac to Read a Webpage to You

Would you like to read through a webpage, but don't have the time? Are you more of an auditory learner? If you are, this tip is for you!

If you use Safari, you can get your computer to read a webpage to you. Here's what you need to do:

1. Open up a webpage using the Safari browser.

2. Highlight the text you'd like to hear.

3. Right-click on the highlighted text. A menu will pop up. Select "Speech" and then "Start Speaking."

4. Your computer will start reading to you! If you need it to stop, select "Stop Speaking."

There you have it - a way for your Mac to read webpages to you. I've been using this while I've been working on packing for our upcoming move, and it's really helped to keep me entertained. Hope this tip helps you too.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to Get Yucky White Residue Out of Your Dishwasher

Is there a white film all over the surfaces in your dishwasher. Are your glasses consistently coming out cloudy? You may need to clean out the dishwasher and switch up your dishwashing products in order to remove the residue.

Two years ago, we had to buy a new dishwasher. Our old one had kicked the bucket, so it was time for us to replace it. Unfortunately, the dishwasher we had was a European model, and it was just slightly less wide than most dishwashers built in the United States. We were forced to replace the dishwasher with a more expensive European model because the less expensive US models simply would not fit.

After clunking down over $1,000 for this tricked out dishwasher we didn't need, I started to notice that it wasn't getting our dishes clean. Everything was coming out with a yucky white residue on it, so I called the company we purchased our "superior" dishwasher from, Abt.

The technician came to our home, and told us the reason our dishwasher wasn't working was because we were using Cascade. Apparently, many dishwasher detergent companies changed up their formulas a few years ago, and it caused residue in some of the newer, European dishwashers.

I was ticked. First, I had to buy an uber-expensive dishwasher, and now I was going to have to buy uber-expensive detergent too?

Fortunately, the solution was simple and inexpensive. This is what we had to do to get the gunk out of our dishwasher.

1. Empty all dishes from the dishwasher.

2. Start the dishwasher on a regular cycle. About half way through the cycle, open the dishwasher to see if the little detergent tray has popped open. 

3. If the little door is still closed, close the dishwasher back up and check again in a few minutes. Once the detergent compartment has opened, pour two cups of vinegar directly into the dishwasher, close the door, and let the dishwasher continue through the cycle.

4. Repeat Step 3 until your are satisfied with the un-disgustingness of your dishwasher.

5. Give your Cascade (or whatever detergent you're using) to a good person who has a lovely, US-model dishwasher.

6. Purchase Finish detergent. It doesn't leave residue behind. I was skeptical about using Finish, because I thought it seemed like an off-brand that wouldn't work well, but it's been great for us!

Alternative: If you're in a bigger hurry, you could try purchasing a dishwasher cleaner like Affresh. It may clean our your dishwasher more quickly than using vinegar. But, you'll still have to change detergents for everyday use.

So, that yucky residue in your dishwasher can be removed! It will just take vinegar, Finish detergent, and a whole lot of patience! Good luck with getting your dishwasher back to normal.

(Note: This post may contain affiliate links.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How Connect Directly to Someone's Voicemail

Need to return a call? Don't want to? Wish you could just leave a message and not have to talk to the person? Now you can!

Slydial is a service that you can use to be connected directly to someone's cell phone voicemail. As far as I can tell, it doesn't work for regular landlines. The service is free, but you do have to listen to a short advertisement before your call goes through. In my mind, it's well worth it to listen to the advertisement to be able to save time by just leaving a message.

I used Slydial the other day to leave a message for my friend while she was in a meeting. I didn't want to disturb her, but I wanted to give her specific information about where we were going to meet for dinner. I actually told her that I used Slydial so I wouldn't embarass her during her meeting, and she was very appreciative.

Others use Slydial to avoid making calls that might be awkward, long, or difficult. Whether this is ethical is up for debate. It's up to you to decide how you want to use this free tool.

To use Slydial, do the following:

1. Call 267-SLYDIAL (267-759-3425) from a cell phone or a landline.

2. One you are connected, you'll hear a short ad and then a voice prompt. When you hear the voice prompt, enter the phone number of the person you want to "slydial."

3. As your call is connecting, you will hear another short advertisement. It's about 10 seconds long.

4. Your call will be connected directly to the person's voicemail.

5. Leave a voicemail, and hang up. You're done!

Slydial also offers a premium service for $2.95/month that doesn't have any advertising. Personally, I don't use Slydial enough to make it worth the expense, and I don't mind the advertisements.

There you have it! You can use Slydial to call someone's cell phone voicemail directly. It saves time, and could potentially get you out of some awkward situations.

What do you think about using Slydial?

(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By using them, you will be supporting this site. Thank you!)

Monday, January 13, 2014

How to Unclog a Spray Bottle

Spray bottle clogged? Hoping to get a little more life out of it? I depend on spray bottles for little cleanups throughout the day, so when a sprayer malfunctions, I'm so disappointed. If you're in the same predicament,  try these steps:

1. Soak the part of the sprayer that you think is clogged in a bowl of hot water. After about 10 minutes, check to see if it's fixed. If it's not,

2. Soak the part of the sprayer that's clogged in a solution of vinegar and water for about 30 minutes. Check to see if it's fixed. If it's not,

3. Use a can of compressed air (the stuff you use to clean computer keyboards is perfect), to spray the part that's clogged.

Hopefully one of these solutions will work for you! Do you have any suggestions for fixing clogged spray bottles? Leave your ideas and links in the comments below.

(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them, you will be supporting this site. Thank you!)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How to Cure Cracked Heels

Ugh. Cracked heels are a huge bummer. This year I've been battling dry skin even more than usual, and my heels have been a mess. I finally found this regimen that helped to reduce the dry skin build up and cracking on my heels. Here it is:

1. Wipe feet with Stridex Pads. This helps to break down some of the dry skin already on your feet.

2. Apply petroleum jelly to heels and rest of feet.

3. Immediately put on socks.

4. Leave socks on overnight while petroleum jelly moisturizes your heels.

That's it!

What do you do to get rid of cracked heels? 

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this site!)

Remove Salt Stains from Hardwood Floors

If you live in a part of the country that gets a lot of snow, you are probably constantly cleaning up salt stains from when people enter your home. Even if visitors have the best of intentions, and take their shoes off before entering your home, salt stains are pretty much inevitable. Keeping up with cleaning the salt stains is a huge pain.

One strategy for making cleanup easier is to prepare a solution of 1/2 gallon of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Put the solution into a spray bottle so you'll have it handy for frequent cleanups. When you see a salt stain on your floor, spray it with the solution, and then use a wet sponge to wipe up the mess. Dry off the floor and check to see if the stain is gone. Repeat as needed.

What tips do you have for getting salt off of hardwood floors? Leave your tips and/or links in the comments.

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Thank you for supporting this site!)