Its a Party!

ImageAnother helpful hint Tuesday, and its for a party too! As you may or may not know, I am the mother of twin, 6 year old boys. These not-so-little bundles of joy definitely keep me on my toes! Between their antics, work and regular chore type things that have to be done, we are a very busy family. I am also a contributor to the 30 Second Mom group. This is a great group of women who have tips and ideas to help simplify your life. There is an iPhone and Droid app, so you can get your feed of helpful ideas and hints wherever you are in your day. These little nuggets of wisdom have been helpful to me and I am sure they will be to you too. 

Here is your helpful hint:

  1. Wednesdays at 6pm Pacific Time, follow the twitter hashtag #30SecondMom and follow along with this great group of women as I lead a discussion of all things TWINS!
  2. Register here: http://ow.ly/i3YYd to win prizes during the chat
  3. Download the app! Continue the great discovery of all the useful ideas these wonderful women come up with! You won’t be sorry. 
  4. Enjoy. Sit back, relax and enjoy the extra 10 minutes a day you might gain from all the useful knowledge. 

They say it takes a village. Well, sometimes that village is virtual, but nonetheless it is a great village to be a part of. Join me! (#30SecondMom) (@TacomaLynette)

The Right Place, at the Right Time with the Right Tools

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We have all been here:

Trying to wrangle the kids in the car for whatever event you need to get to and trying to remember all the things you need for the errands you will attempt to do on the way home.

If you are anything like me, if it isn’t written on a list, I quickly forget what I need to do. And, in situations like the above, I inevitably forget my list. When I have forgotten my list of errands to run, groceries or other things to buy, I spend more money and end up having to make a second trip anyway.

In an effort to streamline my life I have come up with the following ideas to help me stay on track. Hopefully they will help you too!

1) White board: We put one in the kitchen, where everyone can add food or other items for purchase. Before I leave for the day, I take a quick picture of the list on my smartphone. This lets me reference the list as we shop. It also lists the daily chores. Without it, I would be so tempted to clean the bathrooms everyday and ignore vacuuming.

2) I have started to migrate my recipes into an electronic format. Using an app on my iPhone and iPad (I wish they had a computer app, they keep saying its on its way) I keep losing my hand written and torn out of magazine recipes. The best thing is I can plan my menu based on the recipe, build a shopping list inside the app, that I can email, text or print! (I use Recipe Box – but there are TONS to choose from.)

3) Task list: The task list function in my email/calendar option – we share a family Yahoo calendar. The To Do function lets both my husband and I add to each others as well as our own ‘HoneyDo’ list. This has cleared the fog between us about what we can accomplish in the time we give ourselves.

4) Calendar: The family shares an electronic calendar. It is so easy to get an email from the kids teacher about a field trip or a special event. If we set an electronic reminder, the night before – while we are making lunches – we can make sure to pack the appropriate lunch and other supplies. Both the husband and myself can add events to the calendar.

5) Text Messaging: When I am in a meeting at work, or my husband is in school, a text message is a great tool for communication. Sometimes, its hard to remember who is picking the kids up, or who is taking the baby to the doctor. A quick text message, to touch base or to remind the other person, is a great way to keep the home ship pointed in the right direction.

These are some of my favorite things to keep us all working together in the same direction and on the same page. What are some of the tools you use?

Tip for Eggshells in a Bowl

This is great! I had Archie, the king destroyer of all things, cracking eggs for scrambled eggs for Saturdays breakfast. Egg shells, no sweat! This trick worked perfectly! Thanks Mrs. Here’s A Tip!

Mrs. Heres A. Tip

If you make scrambled eggs, a piece of shell must have made its way into your mixing bowl. Next time, don’t get your fingers dirty trying to get the shell out. Leave it! That’s right, just give your eggs a really good scramble and slowly pour them out. The broken pieces will stick to the side of the bowl. Go ahead…break a few eggs;)

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Fun dates for the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Yep, I am from Tacoma.  And if you follow me on twitter: @tacomalynette, you can see that right away.  I love the South-end and all it has to offer.  The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is a particular favorite.  Whenever I am at a loss for things to do, rain or shine, it is always there.  In fact, I prefer the zoo in the rain.  Its quieter, and with a rain slicker and boots (in true northwest style) its a fun time.  The staff are friendly, and here is the best thing of all: the Point Defiance Zoo is small enough that kids as young as 2 can do the whole zoo without stopping for a nap.

Some tips and tricks Ive learned toting 2 year old twin boys (without strollers) and now the When my twins were little, we would hit the zoo as soon as they opened, finish looking at everything, have a nice picnic lunch – 15 minutes on the toys, then off for home.  It made for a later nap than usual, about 1pm, but they were so worn out they slept the whole way home and didn’t fuss before bedtime.  Yes, sometimes it is about the simple pleasures.  🙂

baby to make your trip pleasant:

  1. Pack a picnic lunch and snacks! Food and snacks like ice cream and cotton candy are expensive, brightly coloured and will catch their eye. Don’t be afraid to say “No, we have apple slices”
  2. Prepare the children if you usually buy food that you will not be buying food this time. “You got to pick the snacks you wanted from the store” is usually enough to give my boys ownership of their food, so they settle down.
  3. If they are still learning the rules about how to act in public, go over them AGAIN, and again, and again.  As you are driving, as you are unloading and stop, just inside the gate to do it again.  Children need reinforcement to remember.
  4. Keep the rules simple! My top three: 1) STAY CLOSE, 2) Listening ears are on, 3) Tell me when you have to go pee,
  5. Ask what they want to see FIRST, or give two choices over the NEXT exhibit, or else you will be walking all over the zoo and can cover the ground multiple times.
  6. Bring a water cup, when its warm and you are walking, you definitely want to stay hydrated.

May 12th – Mothers get in for 1/2 priceSome fun/inexpensive days to visit the zoo!

  • May 15th – Free Day for Seniors (have the grandparents take the kids!)
  • June 19th – Free Day for Seniors (have the grandparents take the kids!)
  • July 17th – Free Day for Seniors
  • August 21st – Free Day for Seniors
  • September 18th – Free Day for Seniors
  • September 19th – FREE day for TACOMA city residents (show ID or mail for address)
  • October 9th – FREE day for TACOMA city residents
  • October 16th – Free day for Seniors
  • October 20/21st – ZOO BOO (come dressed in costume and get $2 off admission + Special events!)
  • October 30th – FREE day for TACOMA city residents
  • November 8th – FREE day for TACOMA city residents
  • November 10th – CAREER day (Register herefor a chance to learn about the back-end operations of the zoo! Great Program!!)
  • November 23rd through Jan 1st – ZOOLIGHTS!
  • December 6th – FREE day for TACOMA city residents

Spring Fair in Puyallup

The Spring fair is awesome! Especially for younger children.  The venue is MUCH smaller than the Western Washington aka: Puyallup fair in the fall and is a great idea for a mini excursion with the littles.  My favorite part is always the animals, they are included in the cost of admission.  While fair food is fun (who DOESN’T like fried food on a stick??) it can be costly.  So here are my tips for having a great time, for less money:

First – Safety

  1. Go early – The later you go, the more crowds and its easier to lose track of children
  2. For younger kids – get them a “lost” bracelet which lets you put parent name and phone number.  Kids can’t get it off and if you DO get separated, teach them to go to a UNIFORMED officer.  You can be reunited that way.
  3. For older kids – consider the bracelet if they don’t have the phone number memorized, and show them where the kids lost and found is, or pick another spot and agree to meet there if separated.
  4. Take a picture – before you go in, take a picture of everyone, at least 3/4ths body to get clothing, hair style but close enough to the face so its recognizable, if someone says “describe what your child was wearing”

This might be a bit overkill, but simple steps – in addition to plain keeping an eye out, can make the whole experience even more fun!  For cheaper entry, plan ahead:

  • Thursday April 19th (TOMORROW) is Kids get in FREE day from 2pm to 10pm
  • Friday is Military FREE appreciation day
  • Discount passes are available at FredMeyer, Safeway and South Hill Mall. Remember, kids 5 and Under are FREE
  • When buying your discount tickets, ask if they have any Ride Saver Pack Coupons left – That will get you 6 rides for $16.  This is a HUGE savings because it is per-ride, NOT per-ticket! On THURSDAY, you can buy the discount tickets inside the fair.

Fun events:

  • Fiesta Mexicana – You can see dancing horses, listen to music and eat wonderful food – absorbing a different, but warm and inviting culture
  • KidZone – Has FREE face painting (again go early cause lines are usually long) and FREE Rock U interactive exhibit which allows you to play and experience different types of instruments. Don’t forget to hit the gardening activities before you go home to plan a pumpkin or sunflower seed to take home.
  • Creative Kids – If your child is an artist, you can enter them in a 4H style contest.
  • Puyallup School District Science Fair: On Thursday and Sunday you can watch students perform wonderful feats of science. If your child is science minded, take a stroll through there, looking at all the projects and explaining the topics.  Its a great learning opportunity, for everyone! Ever see ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

The Fair website has a complete planner tool so you can add events and print out an itinerary if you are a planner like myself.  But, just go out and HAVE FUN!