Life

Spring Cleaning Series – Organizing the Bathroom

By on May 8, 2017

It’s been a couple weeks since I tackled my Spring Cleaning Series.  We last conquered Cleaning Out the Bathroom, which is a guest post published over at Namaste and Eat Cupcakes.  This time we will focus on organizing the bathroom.

I have tiny bathrooms in my home so organizing the bathroom takes a lot more work because you need to fit your items into a small, confined space.  From my experience, I have some tips that will help keep your bathroom organized and clean.  If you haven’t yet, please take a look at my 5 Simple Rules for a Clean Home which establishes the foundation for this entire Spring Cleaning Series.

Keep Things Out of Sight

clear-counters-bathroom

The biggest key factor to organizing the bathroom is keeping the bathroom clear of clutter.  Try to keep as much of your bathroom stuff out of sight as possible.  Keep your counters clear and only place the minimal essentials like your toothbrushes, soap, and hand lotion.

Inside your bathing area, you should only have one of each item you use during your shower routine.  Optional items like bubble baths and pumice stone should be stored out of sight.  Having less in plain sight helps your bathroom look well-kept and clean.

Store Only What You Need

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Now, I recommend keeping things out of sight, but that does not mean you should stuff your storage bins, drawers, and cabinet with everything else.  Everything that is stored in the bathroom should be things you actually use in the bathroom and they should never be stacked on top of each other.  The only exception to this would be towels, if you store them in the bathroom.

I highly recommend NOT storing in bulk because it’s a habit that will keep you from easily maintaining your bathroom.  If you come across a sale on hand soaps and stock up on them, storing them in your bathroom means having less room for other necessities.  Limit yourself to storing up to one or two extras of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hand soap, and toilet paper.

Towels and Other Extras

organizing-towels

Towels are the exception to the no stacking storage rule as long as they are stacked so that you can immediately see each individual towel in one glance.  Interestingly, I find we end up with a lot more towels than we actually use before laundry day so I really condone cleaning out your stash of towels.  You probably have more than you actually need, too.

If you store cleaners in the bathroom, be sure that the space they are stored in is roomy enough so that you are able to see the labels of the cleaners and remove them easily.  Making your cleaners accessible will make it easier to motivate yourself to clean the bathroom often, as well.  Organizing the bathroom cleaners is easy when you take advantage of multi-purpose cleaners.

organizing-the-bathroom-spring-cleaning-series

What are some tips you have for organizing the bathroom?  Please comment and share this post!

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Life

Spring Cleaning Series – Organizing the Bedroom

By on April 17, 2017
Spring-Cleaning-Organizing-the-Bedroom

This past weekend was busy and blessed.  I celebrated my birthday with family and friends, plus there were Easter festivities at church and we had a family dinner with my brother-in-law’s side of the family, as well.  My daughter needed to pee at the restaurant, but being newly potty trained, she didn’t take well to sitting on an adult toilet while other people were using the loud hand dryers by the sink.  Thankfully, she held it until we got home!  Now, I’m excited to present to you the next step in my Spring Cleaning Series, which is organizing the bedroom!

In order to properly organize the bedroom, you need to have completed cleaning out the bedroom.  If you haven’t already, please take a look at the 5 Simple Rules for a Clean House post in order to have a good foundation for this post as well as the rest of this series.

Organizing the Closet

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Organize by length and type of clothing

My husband and I share two small closet space.  I designated one for outerwear because some of those can get bulky and take up a lot of space.  Our other closet space holds the clothes that we have chosen to hang.  The rest go into our dresser drawers (we each get three).  Your bedroom probably has a different setup, so adjust my advice as needed.

I have seen some people suggest organizing the closet by color and while it looks nice, I don’t find it particularly easy to use.  I organize by the type of clothes and length.  Since I share closet space with my husband, I chose to use the left side and hung my husband’s clothes on the right.  It’s not exactly half.  I definitely have more clothes to hang.  Here’s how we do it.

  • Outerwear:  Simply organize by length.  I hang the longest ones (trench coats) to the left and they get shorter as you go to the right (cropped jean jacket).  Same goes for my husband’s side.  It just looks nice to open the closet door and see a gradient according to size.
  • Order of the Clothes You Hang:  Again, organizing by length, but this time, also organizing by type.  Each type of clothing will all be hanging from longest to shortest in the closet.  First, I hang my pajama dresses and slips.  Next, dresses.  I hang cardigans and vests after the dresses, the clothes that you wear over other clothes.  Finally, knitwear, button up shirts, and other tops that I need to hang.  I hang knitwear because it gets bulky if I try to roll it up and place it in a drawer.  If tops have embellishments or other features that make it difficult to roll up into a small bundle, I hang them up instead.
  • The Order of my Husband’s Side:  I hang his dress pants folded over the bottom part of a clothes hanger and keep this on the left side so that it is easy for him to find what he needs each morning.  Next, I hang his sweatshirt hoodies and jackets.  Then, I hang his knitwear because these get too bulky when rolled up.  Finally, I hang his button up shirts.

Organizing the Dresser Drawers

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Rolling up clothes items helps you fit more in drawers

My husband and I each have three dresser drawers to use, so I made the first drawer for socks and underwear, the second for tops, and the third for bottoms.  His first drawer also includes neckties, mine includes bras.  You do not want to fold and stack clothes because it is difficult to see what you have at a single glance.  If you can’t see it, you most likely won’t wear it and it will become forgotten.  We are trying to avoid that.

Rolling all the clothes that go in your dresser drawers help confine each article of clothing to a small space and allow you to see all that you have in one glance.  The only exception is bras because you don’t want to lose the shape.  You want to roll everything into a set width and as tightly as possible.  Here’s an image of my first dresser drawer.  I have a lot of socks so I hold one layer within the lid of a shoe box.  I can easily take out the lid and see what I have underneath.  This does not count as stacking, since I can take the lid out and see everything I have with one glance.

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Quick and easy way to roll your underwear
  • Underwear:  I learned this method of folding underwear from my aunt while I was living abroad and loved it.  You want to place the underwear down so that the back is facing up.  Fold the sides to the center in thirds.  Take the bottom part up and push it into the opening at the top made from the front and the two folded sides.
  • Socks:  I used to fold the ankle part of the socks over the rest and called it a day, but one day, I unfolded my socks to find that one elastic was stretched out, while the other sock still fit tightly around my ankle.  I realized I was wearing down my socks just by storing them in the drawer.  Rolling them up together kept this from becoming an issue and it was easy to store in my drawer and find the one I wanted to wear for the day.  I only wear cute socks and no two are the same!
  • Neckties:  Roll up like socks starting from the bottom.
  • Bras:  Don’t roll these up.  You don’t want to mess with the shape and wiring.  Instead, lay it out so that you only see the cups and order by color gradient.  I have my lightest ones in front and black ones in the back.
  • Tops: Everything is rolled, but I order by sleeve length. Sleeveless tops are on the left, short sleeve tops in the middle, and long sleeve tops in the right part of the drawer.
  • Bottoms:  Everything is rolled and organized within the drawer based on length and type (if you have skirts).  Shorts are on the left, jeans and long pants in the middle, and skirts and leggings to the right.
how-to-roll-socks
How you should be rolling up socks

I’ve only focused on organizing the clothes in the bedroom because this tends to be the tricky part of organizing the bedroom.  Everything else you need to organize in the bedroom should follow the 5 Simple Rules for a Clean House.  Later this week, we will be moving on to cleaning out the bathroom so I recommend subscribing to our newsletter in order to keep up with the latest updates as well as additional tips and ideas that I like to share outside of the blog.

Spring-Cleaning-Organizing-the-Bedroom

How is the setup in your bedroom?  What non-clothes category are you having trouble organizing?  Let me know in the comments and I will include some tips in the next post.

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Life

Spring Cleaning Series – Cleaning Out the Bedroom

By on April 13, 2017
spring-cleaning-the-bedroom

The long awaited Spring Cleaning Series is here and the first step is cleaning out the bedroom.  I find that the bedroom is easiest to start with.  If you recall my 5 simple steps for a clean home, you will remember that every object needs to have a home of its own.  I recommend you take a look at that post before we start cleaning out the bedroom.

In order to find homes for everything, we need to reduce what we have in the bedroom to only the stuff that will fit in the bedroom.  Are you ready to tackle cleaning out the bedroom?

Things You Need to Toss

Clothes are the easiest to sort through, but in order to do so properly, we need to take everything out into a huge pile.  For the sake of this post, I am assuming you have never done a proper clean out before, but this is vital to know exactly how much clothes you are hoarding and see how much space you have to work with.

I have three dresser drawers for my own use, plus two closet areas I share with my husband. The piles of all my clothes filled every inch of floor space in my living room.  I could not believe how much clothes I had stuffed away.  And everyday I struggled with the classic “I have nothing to wear” issue.

The issue wasn’t that I didn’t have anything appropriate to wear.  The issue was that I had so many clothes, I could never find anything to wear.  If you ever gave your toddler too many choices and saw her struggle, you understand.  Having too many choices is not always a good thing.

piles-of-clothing
Donate the clothes you will no longer wear.

Clothes (Including Socks, Underwear, Jewelry, Accessories)

  1. Toss out anything that is unwearable.  Clothes that show serious signs of wear like holes, tears, and rips should be tossed (or donated for fabric).  Take out any clothes that don’t fit you or things that are “out of style” such that you no longer wish to wear them.  I don’t believe in following trends, so I refer to “out of style” based on your feelings towards the item.
  2. Try to reduce multiples.  If you have four pairs of winter gloves, reduce down to one or two.  Have a ton of scarves or belts?  Reduce those to the ones you really love.  You don’t need 15 pairs of pants.  Reduce, reduce, reduce.  Remember, the less you have, the easier it is to maintain a clean room.
  3. Don’t accept hand-me-downs.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but even as an adult, my mom continues to try and give me clothes that she bought or received that don’t fit her right.  Her excuse, “Look, it looks so much better on you because you are tall,” while in reality these clothes are not my style.  Not something I’d wear.  Not what I want hanging around in my closet.  Save yourself the trouble and do not accept these clothes.  They will just sit and take up precious space in your closet.
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The books you planned on reading, but haven’t yet…will not get read. Donate them.

Books, DVDs, CDs

So, this category may be more relevant to your living room, but I actually have a closet full of shelves and I kept my collection of books, DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, and video tapes there.  This held everything that I collected since high school.  If you’re really motivated, you can find ways to transfer the data from DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes, and video tapes into digital media and store it on a cloud or hard disk drive.  Now, pick out the stuff you know you will never use again and recycle or donate them.

  1. For books, these would be textbooks and English literature.  Get rid of any magazines that you no longer look at.  From what you have left, keep only the ones that you really enjoy or hold good memories for you, because the books that you plan on reading someday will most likely not get read.  If you do need to read it, you can find a copy at your library or obtain an e-book version.
  2. For DVDs, keep only the ones that you really enjoy or have good memories of.  If you ever need to watch something again, it’s easy to find again through the library system or streaming contents.
  3. For CDs, keep the ones that still play well and you really can’t let go of.  Disc quality actually deteriorates so a CD is not forever.  Isn’t that sad?  Make digital back up copies as soon as you can.  Remember, your goal in all this cleaning out is to have as less stuff as possible.
makeup
Hoarding makeup is a bad idea. These expire after a set time.

Make Up

  1. Makeup has expiration dates that start from the day you first open and use a product.  Once expired, they should be tossed.  That said, I actually don’t do this.  Instead, I make sure to toss products that can’t be used anymore, like dried up mascara.
  2. Try not to hoard up a stash with makeup.  You don’t need four different mascaras.  Get rid of lipstick colors you never wear.  You don’t need all the different makeup brushes.  There’s about three or four kinds of brushes you really need and can use to apply all your products well.

I feel like these three areas cover the majority of stuff in the bedroom, but I don’t claim that it’s a comprehensive list.  What other category of stuff do you need help sorting through?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to include them in addition to the list for the next room, the bathroom.

spring-cleaning-the-bedroom

The next post in the Spring Cleaning Series will be tackling organization of the bedroom.  Once you’ve reduced the number of stuff in the bedroom, I will give you tips on how to organize everything so that each item has its own home within the confines of your bedroom.  It will feel overwhelming at first, but it is satisfying when you reach the end.  Sign up for Her Life Is Love newsletter to stay up to date with each post as well as receive my personal themed newsletter that includes more fabulous ideas and information.

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Life

Spring Cleaning Series – 5 Simple Rules for a Clean Home

By on April 6, 2017
spring-cleaning

By the time April hits, Spring cleaning is inevitably on everyone’s minds.  Some may have it as a passing thought that is quickly forgotten, but I am starting a Spring cleaning series for those who are serious about doing a Spring cleaning.  This series will focus on the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen.  We’ll go through the process of cleaning out the stuff you don’t need and how to organize the stuff you are keeping

Her Life Is Love is always a discussion-friendly zone and would love to have your input on what ideas you’ve tried, what worked, and questions you may have.  Feel free to leave comments and I will do my best to get back to you.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning the whole house.  We’re going to take one room at a time!

5 Simple Rules for a Clean Home

      1. Every object must have a designated home – When every object in your home has a home of its own, you can find what you need easily and know where to return it after each use.  This is important because it helps keep you from creating clutter by developing a good habit of putting things back.
      2. Keep only what you have room for – This is key to keeping your home manageable.  If you only keep the items you have space for, you won’t end up hoarding objects.  Once you manage to find the right balance, you need to donate or toss something whenever you buy or receive another.  I find that having this mindset also helps keep your wallet in check.  You’ll ask yourself if you really need something and if the answer is yes, do you have something you can rid yourself of in order to take the new object in?

        A post shared by Paula (@jintoki) on

      3. Use what you have to display stuff – Try not to purchase storage and organization products.  These encourage shoving stuff into bins and forgetting about them.  I use the lids and bottoms of pretty shoe boxes to help contain and display my stuff. Also, avoid stacking objects.  You will forget what is at the bottom and it will fall out of use.  Worse, you’ll purchase a product, add to your possessions, and then find you have two of the same thing.  At one time, I had three regular scissors and two kitchen scissors.  Instead, try to display everything you own as if it’s a display case at a department store (lay things out).  For example, your drawer of lingerie can have your bras ordered by gradation of color.  If your a dude, do this with your rolled up neckties.  This is an automatic mood booster whenever you need to go through your stuff to find something.
      4. All counters should be clear of stuff – I confess that this is tricky for me.  If I don’t put things back to their home after use, clutter starts to pile up on counters, tables, and dresser tops.  This is a big no.  When counters are clear, it is that much easier to clean house because it’s a lot faster to wipe down counter tops when there’s fewer objects to remove.
      5. Keep up with cleaning a little bit everyday – Dust settles everyday.  Women…our hair collects noticeably on floors everyday.  If you tackle cleaning the floor and dusting a new room each day, your overall home will always be clean.

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If you can master each of these rules, you WILL have a clean home that you can handle…toddlers and all.  In fact, my toddler has picked up my habit of putting things back where they belong.  Continue to keep these rules in mind as we focus on each room individually in the upcoming posts for this series.  Please join our newsletter to keep up with this series and follow me on social media.

Leave a comment and let me know which is your biggest challenge when it comes down to cleaning your house!


Ready to Tackle Spring Cleaning Your Rooms?

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Family | Life | Personal

This Week We Celebrate

By on March 25, 2017

Thinking back on this week, I realize there is much to celebrate.

  1. I managed to put up three posts this week, including a recipe for some spicy Korean food.  I decided to share another blog tip on writing a perfect post.  My daughter’s favorite books from last year also finally made an appearance.  I’ve been thinking about that last one for many months now, so let’s celebrate its completion!
  2. Her Life Is Love turned one month old this week.  I’ve always thought about returning back to blogging for seven years before I finally just went for it.  During this past month, I’ve been learning a lot and it has been so much fun!  I love having this space to socialize with other parent bloggers and am still hoping this will lead to some wonderful friendships.
  3. My husband got laid off two weeks ago due to a back injury, but he found a new and better job this week.  My biggest reason to celebrate this week!  He’ll start working tomorrow by going away on a business trip.  It feels rather sudden, but he is looking forward to it.  I think staying home, recuperating, and being out of work was pretty tough on him even though I cooked one of his favorites.
  4. It’s also my husband’s birthday this week.  We will celebrate with a small birthday party at home today.  My daughter and I plan on baking him a lemon cake.  Hopefully, it’ll turn out well.  She’s only two.  Maybe I will have her make a birthday card, too.  What do you think?

week-celebrate

How was your week?  Do you have anything to celebrate?  Share with us!

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Family | Life | Personal

Never Skip a Nap

By on March 11, 2017
weekend-time-relax-baby-nap

Or let your toddler fall asleep in the car. Especially when you are down to one nap a day. She’ll wake as soon as you park at home (I blame the auto unlocking function in my car as soon as I shift gear to P) and napping while in movement is not restful at all.

She won’t fall back asleep at home and she’ll get super cranky much earlier before her bedtime. She will also be tired and forget she is under the piano…standing up too quickly and cutting her head open.

 

Plus, dealing with daylight savings time wreaks havoc on a toddler sleep schedule.

Do you also deal with DST?  Have you ever regretted skipping a nap? What ointment would you recommend for open cuts?

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Eats | Life

Peanut Chocolate Pear

By on March 9, 2017
peanut-chocolate-pear-recipe

I shared with you an easy recipe to make over the weekend.  Here is another one for you!  This is a little recipe I made and I’m so bad at coming up with names so…here is Peanut Chocolate Pear.  It’s a nice way to dress up Asian pears for a quick snack.  My daughter loves it and I enjoy eating it, too.  I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you will also enjoy this dish with your loved ones.

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Peanut Chocolate Pear Recipe

Ingredients

  • One spoonful of peanut butter
  • One spoonful of milk chocolate chips
  • One Asian pear
  • Dried blueberries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Assorted nuts
  1. Wash, cut, and peel one Asian pear into slices.  This time around, I used the Chinese Yali pear, but you can use any variety of Asian pear, like the round Korean pear.  Place on a plate.
  2. Put one spoonful of peanut butter and one spoonful of milk chocolate chips into a microwave-safe measuring cup.  Microwave for one minute so everything melts and pours easily.  Drizzle over cut pears.
  3. Top with some dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and assorted nuts.  Don’t feed nuts to your toddler if she is unable to chew and swallow them safely.  Otherwise, enjoy!

Allergy Note:  Be aware that this recipe uses peanut butter and nuts.  If you or your child has a nut allergy, you could replace peanut butter with nut-free butter and do not top with additional nuts.

Let me know what you think of this little dish in the comments below!

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Life

7 Ways to Secretly Pamper Yourself

By on

My toddler is blessed to have me around all the time. This probably translates to her being extra clingy and unable to handle time away from me well.  Since we are together all the time, my idea of “me time” had to change to include my daughter while still treating myself.

 

Let Me Count the Ways!

  1. Play the music you enjoy and dance with your toddler. Put away the nursery rhymes and kid’s songs for a bit. I’m sure that was getting to be repetitive.
  2. Go out for a walk while keeping your toddler in a stroller. My daughter won’t stay seated for very long, but if you go somewhere new and change up the scenery often, both of you will enjoy it. We like the mall, neighborhood parks, and even just around the block.
  3. Tweeze your brows. Have your toddler hold a handheld mirror up for you. Challenge your toddler to see how long she can hold it still. Count aloud and tweeze away. I always feel better when my eyebrows are on fleek.
  4. Receive a massage from your toddler using lotion in your favorite scent. Your toddler will like rubbing the lotion onto your arms or legs. Your back, too, if you’re adventurous.
  5. Get some exercise in at the park. Put your toddler in the swing and push away! While that’s happening, there are a variety of exercises you can do in between each push. Easiest idea? Kegel exercises. The ones you probably practiced during pregnancy.
  6. Go to the pool with your toddler. You probably won’t be swimming as you keep a close watch on your child. Rub your feet across the cement floor of the pool (assuming it’s the slightly bumpy textured floor here) like a pumice stone. It’ll help improve your circulation. Think of it as a self-initiated foot massage!
  7. Find other moms. When you’re towing a toddler around everywhere you go, it actually brings you many chances to connect with other moms who are in the same boat and want mom friends to connect with, too. Connecting with other people face to face is such a great way to pamper yourself.

What are your secret methods of pampering yourself? Have you tried some of these yourself?

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Life | Personal

3 Goals for March

By on March 1, 2017
chicago-botanic-garden-3

I love the beginning of a new month for the same reason why I love the beginning of anything.  There’s so much optimism and hope bundled together when starting something new.  In particular, today is the day I “officially” open this website of mine (aka I tell all my Facebook friends about it…so watch out, friends!).  Aside from that, I came up with three goals I plan on working on this month (and maybe I chose three because it is the third month of the year or maybe not).

Trying an Instagram Photo Challenge

I mentioned how I am pretty much just starting out with using social media to connect with people.  Now, I didn’t realize this was a thing, but apparently some users on Instagram make these photo challenges where you take a photo each day representing a particular theme.  Or, at least, that’s the gist of what I’m understanding.  I have been avidly reading different blogs these days and came across a post from Scoutie Girl listing a photo challenge she made for January of 2015.  I know, it’s expired, but my goal for this month is to try it out this entire month of March (both months have 31 days, so this is a perfect time to start!).  Scoutie Girl used the tag #createyourlife, but maybe I should add #januaryformarch and see if anyone else decides to participate in this belated photo challenge with me this month.  I’ve already put up my first photo for the theme family.

Potty Training

No, not for me.  I have attempted potty training my daughter two separate times already and she’s a pretty smart kid, so I believe she can do it…but she has a lot of fear and I feel like it’s that fear that is keeping her from succeeding.  Has anyone dealt with this as well?  This may be TMI for my non-parent readers, but…she knows when she has to go, but she won’t stay seated on her potty for the release.  I think she has a fear of release and frankly, I don’t know what to do.  Give her more time?  I’m in no rush to rush her, but she is starting to dislike poopy diapers so I know it’s going to happen soon.  I will hope that it will happen this month!

What Was My Third Goal?

I’ll blame it on my mommy brain and forgetting to write my ideas down as soon as they pop into my head.  I swear, I had a third goal all thought out for this month.  So, let’s backtrack and see if I can find my train of thought again.

I was thinking about how it finally felt like winter again today, here in Chicago.  I am pretty sure I saw snow flurries outside my window a couple times during the day.  I dislike having to go out on cold or rainy days, but Wednesday is the one day of the week where I take my daughter to mom-and-me school.  We had a fun time today, although the topic was Bugs and that is the one thing that strikes fear down to the bottom of my heart.  My favorite part of going to this class is that there is arts and crafts time…and my daughter gets to be creative and messy and I don’t have to prepare any of it or clean up everything afterwards.

  1. First craft was placing colorful dot stickers on a printed image of a red ladybug that is missing all its spots.  My daughter loves stickers and this was a cute idea, but I would recommend using larger dot stickers for toddler fingers.  Also, preferably stickers that stay stuck to the page, because most of the little stickers have now fallen off her ladybug (at the end of the day).
  2. Second craft was making a paint splatter butterfly and this turned out a lot better than I expected.  Using popsicle sticks, my daughter put splashes of paint on paper. Fold in half and press down so the paint imprints on both halves.  There you have a butterfly, just draw on antennae with a black marker.

And I still can’t remember my original third goal, so let me make a different one.  Don’t let my excitement for this website and reading other blogs take away from quality time with my daughter. On that note, I will continue to read and write during her nap and after bedtime.  At least, that’s my goal!

Do you like to make monthly goals for yourself, too? Any advice for me regarding potty training? 

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