Keep Your Kids Busy For Less: Pretend it’s Summer and Hit the Tub

If your kids are longing for summer fun, why not grab some of the summer items- the pails, shovels, and goggles and have a swim party in your tub? Since you haven’t used these items in months, they will seem like new toys to the kids.  For those of you who have kids who hate taking a bath, you might be surprised to find that you won’t be able to get them out of the tub.

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Tipster Tuesday: Fool the Kids on April Fool’s

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We’ve found some really fun ways to fool the kids on April 1 and you can still pull them off in time for tomorrow:

1) Martha Stewart’s shrunken breakfast. You can get the quail’s eggs at Super Chicken of Hoboken at 4th and Harrison.

2) How about cake for dinner… Meatloaf cake! I’m thinking of altering the recipe a bit and making meatloaf cupcakes instead.

3) Fool them at lunch time by making a banana hot dog. Put peanut butter and jelly in a ziplock bag and cut off a bit of the corner to get the fake ketchup and mustard look.

4) Serve up deceptive jello drinks instead of juice. Add a straw for a special touch. Will they notice?

Do you have anything planned for April Fools?  If so, we’d love to hear about your plans!

Tipster Tuesday: Cleaning the Bathroom

One thing that some of you may be doing in this recession is cutting back on your cleaning service.   It’s not mentioned in this article on CNN.com, Thrift-conscious say goodbye to cars, cell phones, other luxuries but, what used to be seen as an essential, might now be seen as a luxury.  If you are deciding to do some DIY in the home cleaning department, here are some tips to help you boost your efficiency cleaning the toughest room- the bathroom.

1) Cleaning Bathrooms – Time Management:
One of our biggest inspirations when it comes to cleaning your home is Flylady. Her advice is that instead of cleaning the whole house in one day (because who has the time for that, especially when you have kids!), just do 15 minutes once or twice a day in different areas of the house. We’ve found a good time to do the 15 minutes in the bathroom is when you are stuck there watching/helping the kids take a bath. While they wallow in the tub, clean the toilet, wipe down the sink and mirrors and surfaces. After their bath, take their used towels to clean the wet floor and then put everything in the washing machine. If you do a little bit each time they take a bath, your bathroom will always be presentable.

2) Cleaning Bathrooms – Shortcuts:
Spray the shower and sink and toilet with product and let it sit for a while. Allow the product to do some of the work, before you start scrubbing. I usually do not mix smells- so I don’t pass out- so I may clean the inside of the toilet last after the smell of the shower cleaner has dissipated. Keep a brush in the shower and before you turn the shower off, just brush with some warm water. A few seconds of work will make it much easier when you have to do your big cleaning.

3) Cleaning Bathrooms – Techniques:
When you clean think top to bottom.  Really- this works. Remember to clean mirrors in the bathroom and the sink before you start to clean the floor as you may get drips. Don’t vacuum then decide to dust. Dust first!!

Keep Your Kids Busy For Less: Indoor Hopscotch on the Carpet

hop scotchIt’s not quite park weather yet and my kids miss playing outside.  Recently, during a playdate, my kids found some chalk and decided they wanted to go outside and play Hopscotch.  We decided to improvise and made a Hopscotch board on my carpeted floor with painters tape.

It kept the kids happy and occupied for hours- well, at least 15 minutes.  But it felt like hours.  Days later, it is still on my floor as the kids have begged me not to remove it just yet. 

Indoor Hopscotch: why don’t you give it a try?

Keep Your Kids Busy For Less- Target Dollar Bins

images-1Target has a section where you can get cute little things for approx $1.00 (sometimes a litle more) I call it the dollar bin section. It is generally in the front of the store. I always like to check out these bins, because you never know what you will find and you can sometimes get fantastic toys for the kids for very cheap in these bins. However, you have to grab the items when you find them, because the best items get snatched up in the blink of an eye.

At the Target in Jersey City they have pink and blue plastic rolling pins for $1.00 each. Today, as a treat I got 2 packages of Play-Doh for the kids and two rolling pins. Total spent: $6.26 and both kids are happy, because they each have the same items to play with. Now they will be playing with the Play-Doh for hours. That’s money well spent- and I can catch up on some housework.

Run, don’t walk over to Target and buy yourself a little peace of mind this Thursday!