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A ‘HappilyEvaAfter’ Halloween

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Halloween is right around the corner! In our house we like to get ready extra early, and to really squeeze as much fun as we can out of the season.  My kids love Halloween as much as I do! Fall can be a kind of hectic time of year, though, and getting organized for Halloween is often at the back of Moms’ minds.  This year I thought I would share a few of my favorite hacks for the Halloween season– hopefully they’ll inspire you and make your celebrations extra festive!

But first, allow me to share my biggest face palm Mom Fail moment from last Halloween.  First of all: my kids got LICE the day before Halloween from school.  Yep.  So Halloween proper we spent the entire day in a lice-removal salon.  We rushed home to get the kids’ costumes on, headed out, and Yours Truly didn’t make sure that my two little dragons had eaten something before we headed out.  I figured we would Trick-Or-Treat and then eat after.  Well those kids just kept poppin’ candy as they gathered it, and forty five minutes in to the evening my kids were in a full blown sugar meltdown.  Then they wouldn’t eat dinner, AND they wouldn’t sleep.  Best night ever! LOL. Take it from me, and take my advice for my very first Mom Hack I’ll share with you: feed your kids a simple & delicious meal before you head out on Halloween! My go-to for delicious mealtime simplicity is Red Baron Pizza.

I’ve spoken about it here before, but I keep Red Baron Pizza in my freezer for easy mealtimes when I’m stressed or pressed for time– or when I need my kids to actually eat the food I’m serving them! Red Baron offers three multi serve options: Classic Crust, Brick Oven, and Thin & Crispy– and it’s located in the freezer aisle of grocery stores nationwide.  I’m going to make Marlowe and Major a Red Baron Pizza before Trick-Or-Treating this year for sure.  Red Baron Pizza can also be such a great party hack. I like to slice it with a pizza wheel in to strips, and then I serve it with a trio of dipping sauces: Ranch, Honey Mustard, and Barbecue Sauce.  Add a couple of spooky figurines to the plate and you have the perfect Halloween party snack! Here are a few other hacks I love for the Halloween season…

 

Make It A Pizza Night

Avoid a sugar meltdown: feed your kids a simple and delicious meal before you head out for trick-or-treating on Halloween. My go-to for delicious mealtime simplicity is Red Baron Pizza. I like to slice it with a pizza wheel in to strips, and then I serve it with a trio of dipping sauces: Ranch, Honey Mustard, and Barbecue Sauce. Add a couple of spooky figurines to the plate and you have the perfect Halloween party snack!

 

Clementine Pumpkins

Another fun Halloween hack is to make clementine pumpkins! It’s such a simple and cute snack idea, and it can be the perfect, festive addition to a child’s lunch box! Simply peel the clementine or orange, cut a small piece of celery, and insert it in to the top of the fruit to create your pumpkin.  I love serving these as a healthy treat at Halloween parties as well.

 

Spooky Ice Cubes

Spruce up kids drinks or cocktails with fun and festive ice cubes! I always take an ice cube tray, pop some plastic spiders in to each cube, fill with water, and then freeze.  Add grape juice or sparkling water for a kid-friendly refresher.

Easy Mermaid Makeup

This hack always impresses Marlowe, and with her Four-nado years in full swing, I’ll take as much street cred as I can get! All you need is some eyeshadow in aquatic colors, a fluffy eyeshadow brush, scissors, and a mesh bag from a sack of potatoes or clementines– or even garlic! Cut a square from the mesh bag. Hold it firmly against the skin. I like to start at the temples and move down to the cheekbones for a nice mermaid look! While holding the mesh to the skin, take the fluffy brush and swirl it a few times in the eyeshadow.  Pat it over the mesh on the areas you’d like scales.  Repeat on both sides of the face.  If desired, take a shimmery highlighting powder and brush it over the forehead, down the bridge of the nose, on the eyelids, and on the lips.  Top with gloss on the lips and swim away! This is such an easy costume choice for parents that don’t want to go all out, or as the face makeup for a full-on mermaid costume extravaganza.

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes – Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

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Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes | Brittany Bullen | Chaos & Kiddos
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A big welcome to guest blogger, awesome mama and social media extraordinaire, Brittany Bullen! She’s with us today sharing some great tips and tricks to keeping those kiddo closets in order. And once your hand-me-downs are ready for sale, be sure to check out Using Your Resources: How to Resell Your Used Items and Buy Second Hand and How to Store and Prepare Your Used Items for Resale for the next steps to the craze that is kiddo wardrobes.
 
Looking for the easy button for how to organize hand-me-down clothes for multiple kids– without pulling your hair out? Look no further, people!
 
How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes - Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

Now that we’re on our third boy, we’ve finally got this clothes organization thing down to a science. Here are some easy steps you can follow to set up a storage system you’ll love to use for years to come.

 

1. Invest in a fabric box storage system. Mine is from ikea and I can’t say enough how much I love it! More on that later.

 

2. When you can afford it, buy more of the same kind of storage system. I know this might sound like a lot, but we currently have 20 separate boxes of clothes in the rotation.

 

3. Choose your “current size” box placement for the kids’ room. Our 8-box shelf is organized as follows: Top Row– underwear, 5T shirts, 18m shirts, dress clothes. Bottom Row– socks, 5T pants, 18m pants, Jammies.

 

4. When the kids outgrow a size, squeeze all of the outgrown clothes into the same kind of fabric box. I have a rule that we don’t keep any more clothes than we can fit into one box, the ikea fabric boxes are the perfect size for this. Put an index card with the size on top of the clothes so you can identify it quickly.

 

How to Organize Hand-Me-Down Clothes - Guest Blogger: Brittany Bullen

 

5. Put the boxes not currently in use in a place other than the kids’ room, but preferably not too far away or you’ll never want to rotate them. Ours are in the hall closet next to the boys’ room. That way, when we need a new size, we just switch out the boxes. Easy as that!

 

It’s taken us 6 years to figure it out, but I can definitely say that this is the best, easiest, most efficient system we’ve used and we’ll be sticking with it.

 

What tips do you have for keeping your kids’ clothes organized? Leave them in the comments!


headshot.jpgBrittany lives with her husband and three sons in Utah. She is a playwright, composer, actress, singer, thrift shop lover, Mormon and aspiring vegan. She is the founder of the International Bloggers Association, is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and the Cognitive Behavioral Society (’cause why not). Brittany has a B.A. in English-Writing from Denison University and has an imaginary Ph.d. in Googling stuff she wants to know. You can keep up with her at BrittanyBullen.com.

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Going After The Job You Really Want

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In the years that my children were in grade school, I enjoyed getting to know the support people in their buildings – the custodial staff, the secretaries, the para-professionals – and it never ceased to amaze me how the two latter groups consisted, in large part, of former lawyers, accountants, and business executives.

Similarly, many of the women stacking shelves at our local Gap store and manning the counter at the spin and barre studios were former accomplished professionals, too.

The pull of a low-stress job and a school-hours or flexible schedule must be strong, I used to assume.

But I was wrong.

True, working the same hours as your children is convenient, and having a job that you don’t ‘take home’ with you at night and over weekends, has its advantages. However, I learned through two decades of coaching and placing these women that it wasn’t the schedule or the workload that drew them to these positions. It was the safety.

Most of the aspiring women-returners I’ve met in the last 20+ years arrived at my office already defeated. When, after having a child, they were faced with the “all or nothing” choice to work 60 hours a week, or quit and stay home, they chose the latter, leaving behind careers that they loved and becoming part of the female brain drain that plagued (and still plagues) the U.S. Then, when they’re ready to opt back into the workplace, résumé gaps and related biases have made it difficult for these women to land.

By the time they come to me – a kindred spirit, having been one of them myself – they are discouraged and fully expect rejection as ‘punishment’ for taking years off to raise their children. Which, of course, is ludicrous, and I get right to work helping them erase that narrative from their heads.

But in the heads of the ones who don’t come to me, that narrative is on a continuous loop. Many of them are now helping our kids in the classroom and signing us in to spin class because they settled for ‘safer’ jobs.

A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women derail themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them with the intention of returning. These women should be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck. They don’t know how to properly prepare for their career re-launches and they get quickly discouraged by early rejections.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women-returners are unquestionably employable. Employers my partners and I polled consider them the best hiring demographic. I’ve personally witnessed hundreds – probably over 1,000 – of them find fulfilling work in my small corner of the world (Connecticut).

Some things make it easier, of course, like keeping up with industry trends, staying current with certifications and licensure, and maintaining relationships with old clients and co-workers. But even women with significant skill deficiencies and long-lapsed credentials can return to work successfully if they have these five things:

1 – realistic expectations based on thorough research and honest self-assessment

2 – a compelling résumé that meaningfully accounts for her opt-out years

3 – a commitment to remediating skill gaps on the job or through inexpensive means like online classes or local continuing education courses

4 – aggressive (not a popular word among women, but spot-on here) networking to get in front of connectors and hiring managers

5 – flexibility and the willingness to consider unconventional offerings like temporary projects or low-paying internships as a way to get a foot in the door.

The economy is improving. The labor market is tight. The voluntary quit rate is at a 17-year high. Employers are competing to hire good people. And, these days, you don’t have to be perfect to be ‘good people’.

Your gapped résumé, your ‘not entirely perfect’ experience, your application that meets only 60% of the job criteria, are all plenty good enough now.

So, if you are wistful for more challenge (and money) than your current job can provide; if you want to get back on the corporate track, but are playing it safe working for minimum wage; listen up. Your time at home was valuable; its impact will be long-lasting, but you have an opportunity now to take advantage of favorable economic timing and get back to the work that you really want to do. Go for it.

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FREE Online Conference Alert! A Don’t Miss Opp for Small Biz Owners

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Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women
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I made the announcement last week to mark your calendars for May 12-14, 2016 for Modern Femme Movement (Seriously, do NOT miss this!!). More coming on that front (Stay tuned!), and a teeny, tiny reminder that subscribers to this blog (Fill me out over there!! —–>) and members of the Facebook community will get the first shot at early registration. I have a few other surprises in the works, but I wanted to take a quick moment to share a fabulous free online conference opportunity for busy women.

Next week, Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women, will kick off with an honest look from top women in health, wellness, and fitness as we all aim for a more balanced, fulfilled life. This free online conference is packed with insight, wisdom and takeaways from 20 of the busiest women on this planet! And I’m thrilled to say, quite honored actually, that I’m included in this bunch of fabulous ladies.

FitFocused

Bryn from coachbryn.com interviewed me several weeks ago for this summit, and I can’t wait for my own podcast to run for a 48 hour stretch beginning May 29. We may have run down a few rabbit trails talking about my tattoos and why they are therapy for me, and I finish off with the one question you should be asking yourself every, single day as a small business owner and busy working woman.

There are very few free online conference opportunities that offer such rich insight to attendees. These ladies are not “phoning it in.” There is a real heart passion for women finding peace and contentment in good health, good business and great family. The podcasts allow you the flexibility to tune in when is best for you. I hope you’ll join us!

Fit, Focused & Effective: Health Summit for Busy Women

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