Fall Cleaning Checklist and Free Printable

it’s Fall!!!!  and what does that mean? the weather is changing and the holidays are coming up. it’s time to get the house ready for the holidays. there are sure to be visitors and you want the house to be nice and tidy. plus, with winter on it’s way, there are ways to make your home be it’s best during this time of year. so i have partnered with some great companies to share a Fall Cleaning Checklist along with their products that will help you best complete your Fall Cleaning Checklist.

this Fall Cleaning Checklist has a bit of deep cleaning, bit of weather proofing and your normal daily tasks. use this free printable Fall Cleaning Checklist to keep you on task!  Click here for FREE Printable Fall Cleaning Checklist.

with all this cleaning, your fall should be sparkly clean and you will be ready for the holidays without all the hassle!

you are going to want to start your cleaning with these happy little Scrub Daddy Scour Daddy pads. aren’t they cute! unlike traditional scour pads, these happy little Scour Daddy pads maintain their shape under pressure. they also have a convenient loop for storage and drying, multiple colors for organizing, won’t cause scratching or odors.

keep your sponges tucked away in the sink with the Scrub Daddy Caddy. it’s dual suction cups adhere securely to any clean smooth surface in your home, it’s dishwasher safe and drains into your sink. you can even use him in your shower!

 

the weather is nice an crisp right now…it doesn’t get too cold during the winter. but you can help make your home even more comfortable, while saving money on energy bills with Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Kits. these window insulation kits are so simple to install…with a pre-taped edge for simple roll-on application, that requires no measuring and fits snugly to indoor window frames to provide an airtight seal that keep drafts away. to learn more about Duck® brand Roll-On® Window Kits and how to install, click here.

now onto the laundry. besides the mounds of laundry every parent deals with, you also got to get those beds ready for visitors. why not clean the drapes and couch blankets while you’re at it. Molly’s Suds Laundry Products are formulated with a “no compromise” attitude and only use the purest of ingredients. their products and suppliers meet stringent guidelines which allow us to be Certified Cruelty Free by Leaping Bunny. i am happy to say that their products and ingredients are Certified Vegan. something that you can feel great about using in your home. use this promo code for Molly’s Suds – SANDYBABBLE for  25% OFF ORDER (EXP 10/31/17) *cannot be combined w/ any other offers.

 I love sparkling clean floors. once the kids go to bed, you will find me in the kitchen. i like to clean up all the footprints and food left behind from the day.

with a baby that is crawling all over the place, it’s important to keep them free of dirt and grime. but wood is not always easy to clean. the O-Cedar ProMist Max Spray Mop helps with this. its double-sided mop head flips 180° and has a reusable microfiber mop head that is washable up to 100 times! i love that it is co-friendly and that you can use your own cleaning solution. i am very picky when it comes to my cleaners.  and since its mop head can cover 2.5x more surface area….it is definitely a quick and efficient cleaning tool. click here for some special offers.

if you have pets or even smelly kids LOL, you’re going to want to check out the next product. there is nothing more embarrassing than a stinky home. PowerOE – Odor Eliminating Spray and Cleaner + Odor Eliminators work almost immediately. they can be sprayed on sports equipment, lockers, bathrooms, garbage cans, pet areas…and also be used to pre-treat smelly clothes

what i love most about these odor eliminators are that they are dye-free and available in scents using natural essential oils or fragrance-free. they smell FRESH not perfumy like other odor eliminators i have uses. the PowerOE Cleaner + Odor Eliminator is powered by Thymol, nature’s defender and an alternative to bleach. free of harsh chemicals and solvents. use them as odor eliminators…can you believe they can also get ride of skunk smell AND smoke smell?!!!  they can! use promo code STP17 to receive 25% off PowerOE products.

finally, the last thing you want guest to see is a dirty shower with moldy grout. after a summer of fun, a shower has seen a lot of grime. if you have tile, then a Grout Gator can help you get clean grout again. it can cleans 2 to 8 grout lines at once with adjustable brush heads. each one can fit over tile from sizes from 2″ to 13″. plus the brush heads can be replaced. use promo code BB17 for 15% off of your purchase of a Grout Gator. pretty cool huh?!

it’s always fun getting ready for the holidays…even f it does involve cleaning. i love a clean home. it makes the stress fade away and give me a piece-of-mind to relax with my family and enjoy the evenings cuddled up together. i also don’t have to scramble when those unexpected guest drop in during the holidays. i hope this Fall Cleaning Checklist come in handy for you as much as it has for me!

Tips on Raising Boys

This is a sponsored post.for the past 14 years, i’ve been a boy mom. i have three boys who have given me a lot of experience in this department. i wasn’t sure until this year, if were any differences between raising boys and raising girls. and since my little girl is only nine months, i still am not 100% sure. but, i did get the privileged of speaking to Dr. Eric Troyan, a pediatrian at Kaiser Permanente in Mission Viejo. he and i got to chat about the differences between raising boys and girls.

as i expected, there are some major differences. of course these are just generalizations, and there can and are similarities in all children, but during Dr. Eric Troyan’s 17 years of practice, he has learned that there are definite differences in how boys and girls learn, behave, and of course grow. he gave me some great advice to share with parents of boys that may help things run smoother at home.

Boys Have Higher Amount of Energy

this is probably a given. many boys have higher energy levels. they tend to do things before thinking it through, which is different than girls. girls tend to observe and are better at reading expressions and surveying the scene. boys don’t do that. boys exhibit higher risk behaviors. they are more active in their behaviors – skateboarding, pranks, messing around with their friends. you may feel that your son breaks everything, gets hurt all the time, and takes risks that he shouldn’t. that’s because they don’t think before they do. it is important to make sure their environments are safe, that they wear helmets, and not play with objects that can cause harm.

Boys Need Consistent Discipline

constant discipline is important for all children, but it is even more so for boys. the reason is – girls tend to pick up patterns and can figure out by observation what is right and wrong. but boys tend to learn by doing and experimenting. even if they know something is wrong, many times they will try it anyways to see what happens. only then will they understand the consequences and then learn what happens when they do certain behaviors.

so, it is important when boys do something wrong for the first time, not to overreact and give harsh discipline. when they do something new…a bad behavior that is, it is important for parents to sit down and talk to their sons about what just happened. then talk about what will happen in the future if they do this behavior again. once their son knows a certain behavior is wrong through experience, then it is important to follow up with the consequence that was discussed the first time he did it.

Dr. Troyan couldn’t stress it enough how boys need CONSISTENT discipline. knowing what to expect is very important. believe it or not, taking away screen time is a very effective form of discipline for all ages. time outs work too, but are only recommended for ages below seven years of age. after age seven, having the child go to his room or being away from family or friends also works.

it is also important to reinforce the good behaviors. whenever they do something well or being good….tell them. let them know what behaviors get rewarded. and don’t forget to hug your boys…they need just as much love and attention as girls do!

As Boys Grow

you will find that in boys, the bulk of teaching and learning happens around 3-5 years. then, there will be a period of time where life gets much easier. however, when the teen years arrive – you will see some regression. especially around the ages of 13-14 and the beginning of high school.  parents may see their teen boys act like they are 3 years old again. they start being more impulsive, and more aggressive. parents….try to stay calm! take it down to a lower level and re-teach your son how to behave again. if you go back to basics and re-teach them what is right and wrong, by 16-17, boys will again show more positive behaviors.

as boys get older, they may express that they’d prefer a male doctor. that’s fine. let them have that preference. make sure they are comfortable with their doctor and other important figures in their lives. they need to feel comfortable coming to them with problems and questions they have.

as mentioned before, girls are better at expressing themselves. where boys struggle to express how they feel. this is why it is important to screen boys for depression. talk to them and talk things out, try to help them tell you their feelings. and when it comes to sexual behavior, make sure boys understand the risks associated. have a male figure in their life talk to them as well. boys may worry a lot during puberty. this is because girls reach puberty earlier and start acting older and maturer earlier than boys. boys don’t know how to act around them. boys have their rapid growth later – at around 11-14 years…or beyond. this is when they start exhibiting more explosive behavior and reactions.

Nutrition and Sleep in Boys

as you know, it is important that all kids get the proper nutrition. it’s common with boys to eat more junk and lack balanced nutrition. it is really important the they don’t skip breakfast. drinking enough water is especially important, especially with non-athletes. it has been found that boy athletes often drink the necessary amounts of water.

staying up late is common for teens. kids have sports, homework, and lots of extracurricular activities which lead to them staying up late. it is important for teens to get 8-10 hours of sleep if possible. but, girls tend to be able to deal with less sleep than boys, who just can’t handle it as much. you may notice more explosive behavior, grumpiness, and anger when your son is sleep deprived.

see….an angry teenager who needs more sleep LOL!!!!!

wow! it was a great refresher course talking to Dr. Troyan about raising boys. he confirmed a lot of my thoughts and feelings on raising boys and also helped better explain how my boys brains and bodies work. even after three boys, i am always looking for advise on how to raise them up right. Kaiser Permanente Orange County has a great team of doctors that have made me feel very comfortable as a parent.

the great thing about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, is everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. plus, there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. wow…this is the kind of service i look for in my healthcare.

if you have missed the posts i have written about them, here they are:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones

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Do’s and Don’ts for Keeping Your Teen Son Fresh for Back to School

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AXE®. All opinions are my own.

yikes! i can’t believe that this week, i am officially a mom of a highschooler. my oldest son is heading off for the ninth grade. he is no longer my little boy, he’s a full fledged teenager. which of course comes with all the challenges that high school has. homework, friends, teachers, popularity, insecurity, fun and not-so-fun. so i have partnered with AXE to share some ideas on how to keep your teens high school experience fresh all day.

Do’s and Don’ts for Keeping Your Teen Son Fresh for Back-to School

Don’t: kiss and hug your son in front of his friends when you drop him off at school.

Do: let your son know that you are always there for him, but also give him the space he needs. this has nothing to do with how much he loves you. it’s just part of growing up. (hug him before you leave the house)

 

Don’t: let your son wear a hat instead of brushing his hair.

Do: remind him to brush it before he puts his hat on. a fresh ‘do every morning will make sure he’s looking fly. he will thank you once his first period teacher makes him take that hat off during class.

Don’t: pick out your son’s clothes; he and dad don’t need to be matching. that’s definitely too much plaid and too much neck tie.

Do: let him wear what makes him feel good about himself and gives him self-confidence….no matter how awful you may think it looks.

 

Don’t: don’t pack your son’s lunch with cute little stickers and notes. don’t put milk in a thermos. don’t use that lunchbox from grade school. don’t pack leftovers…unless they are yummy.

Do: keep that lunch pail fresh. pack him an extra snack and a variety of fresh fruits, veggies and proteins. and nothing says “I Love You” more than a yummy treat to end the meal. (tip: freeze water bottles the night before, so by lunchtime, he’ll have a cold fresh bottle of water to enjoy.)

 

Don’t: let your son skip on washing his school gym clothes…there’s nothing fresh about that. stinkpot central.

Do: make sure your son’s gym bag is prepared for his sport. a clean uniform, the right shoes, socks, a water bottle, and don’t forget antiperspirant such as AXE dry spray antiperspirant

i totally lucked out in the non-stinky sports department. my son plays water polo…so yeah, less stinkiness there!

Don’t: make your son use dirty folders and broken pencils from the year before.

Do: send your son to school with fresh school supplies for new school year. new notebooks, pens and pencils always ease the pain of doing homework a little bit less.

 

Don’t: let your son smell. you never want to let your teen walk around with body odor or sweaty underarms all day.

Do: have your teen son use AXE YOU Body Spray to stay fresh all-day long, and use AXE Signature Gold Dry Spray or AXE Signature Night Dry Spray to stay dry for up to 48 hours. my son especially loves the AXE Signature Gold Dry Spray.

hey moms (and dads)!!!! now here’s where you come in. if you’re like me, in the past you probably bought your son deodorant and just handed it to him. have you ever….actually ever…showed him how to use it???!!! it’s never dawned on me that i needed to teach my son how to use it. and apparently, most guys don’t know how or when to use AXE body and dry sprays. did you know that 64% of young guys think body spray and dry spray are the same thing?!!!!! and 1 in 2 guys think that they should apply body spray to their underarms!

*Ipsos Body Spray Drivers and Barriers, 2017 or Ipsos, 2017

Don’t: let your teen over-spray AXE YOU Body Spray – creating “a cloud.” clouds belong in the sky.

Do: have your teen spray AXE body spray, like AXE YOU, in the shape of a “7” across his chest and mid-section, and only spray for only as long as it takes to say the word “AXE.”

Don’t: use body spray as a deodorant. sweat and cologne mixed together isn’t fresh at all.

Do: use AXE Signature Dry Sprays to stay dry for up to 48 hours. simply apply AXE dry spray antiperspirant under your arms for sweat protection (in place of an antiperspirant stick). and watch this video to help your son learn to use the products, too.

i want to make sure Jackson fits right in with all his high school friends. there is no way my son is going to be known as the smelly one, or the kid who wears too much cologne. and with these tips, i don’t have to worry about this. to learn more about AXE and its proper usage, visit axe.com.

and most of all…

 

Don’t: nag your son.

Do: be his biggest fan. believe in him with all your heart, and tell him that you love him EVERY DAY. regardless of what he does or does not accomplish, if he knows that you are there for him, things will stay fresh between you.

Now it’s time for school!

every year of school brings a fresh start. exciting and new and just waiting to unlock the potential and amazingness of your wonderful teen. good luck son…i know you’ll be great.

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AXE.

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Every Car Has a Personality: How to Choose the Best One for Your Family

This is a sponsored post.

this weekend, the boys and i finally got to see Cars 3 in the theater…yay! we’ve been waiting months for it to finally come to theaters. little miss Dani also tagged along…it was her first time ever at a movie theater. of course, we all loved Cars 3, and enjoyed watching it complete with popcorn and drinks. the movie had a great message and the ending of the movie was perfect. the new characters in the film were also awesome, we especially loved Cruz Ramirez – she rocks! the newer, more cutting-edge race cars were cool as well with their different personalities and specialty functions that made winning races for older cars much more difficult.

check out some of photos from our Cars 3 movie adventures….

wouldn’t it be fun if the cars we drove, were like the ones on the movie?!!! my boys sure think so! a car with personality?!!! well,  Autotrader, the most visited third-party car-shopping site, thinks every car has a personality. and they encourage people to find the car that best fits their own unique lifestyle, by using their online Car Match Tool. it can help narrow your car buying choices based on the selections you make.

Autotrader Car Match Tool

with the Autotrader Car Match Tool, you can choose body style, price range, power efficiency, features and technology, even the color! once you make your choices, you then get a list of all the cars that fit that criteria. it’s so helpful. and if you’ve narrowed down your car options, but need a bit more information, Autotrader allows you to compare cars and features. this provides you with valuable information to make a final, smart choice. you definitely don’t want to get stuck only on a vehicle’s “reputation.” rest assured, Autotrader helps you do your due diligence to research specific models.

in the spirit of Cars 3, Autotrader has made this great little commercial highlighting some of the favorite characters from Cars 3 and their unique personalities. o ver here, we’re more of a “Mater” family, and tend to buy the more reliable cars. more times than not, it’s a used one that’s not flashy and not going to go out of style for a while.

it was fun checking out the “Car Matching Tool” on Autotrader’s website. i would have thought we’d be a minivan family all the way. however, since we need a little more power and a toe-hitch to pull our travel trailer, we actually were matched with a handful of SUV’s. surprising…especially since i never thought we would need a large SUV. i don’t even think i can park one…hee hee.

do you know what car you really need? next time you are going to go car shopping…head over to Autotrader and try the  Car Match Tool for yourself and see which is best for your personality. you may be surprise with a perfect match you’d never considered. “Every car has a personality. Find the one that fits yours at Autotrader.” 

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Autotrader. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

6 Tips to Manage a Household as a Busy Parent

This is a sponsored post.

now that we are a family of six, i have to admit, life has gotten a whole lot harder. it’s mostly when it comes to juggling everyone’s schedules and keeping up with all their needs. i have been doing my best to organize the house and simplify everything to help make life a little easier for us. i also am learning to let things go…life doesn’t always need to be perfect. i used to think i could do it all, but i’m finally realizing that YES, i do need help. and now that i have realized this, things are going much smoother for my family.

so, how am i managing our busy family now? it may not be perfect, but the house is picked up for the most part, the kids have their needs met, and even get a shower most days. that’s definitely a win. so yeah…things are moving along. and i thought that i would share with you some of the ways i’ve adjusted our lives to make managing life as a busy parent easier.

Simplify

time to get rid of the excess. too many toys. too many clothes. too much junk. there is just TOO MUCH STUFF everywhere. and this equals more messes. i’ve been learning that this kind of chaos really holds you back. especially when you’re constantly trying to clean up and organize around TOO MUCH STUFF. many trash bags of unwanted and necessary things have been leaving my house. what a relief!

Everything Has a Place

Tips to Manage a Household

once i simplified the amount of stuff i have in an area of my home, i make sure everything has a specific spot to live in. i have labeled every storage container and also the shelves in the cupboards so that everyone in the house knows what goes where. this has really cut down on finding things in the wrong places and has also saved a lot of time. we no longer are searching for lost stuff.

Get Outside Help

the fact is, there’s only one of you. sometimes it is physically impossible to get everything finished that you need to get done. this is when you get help from others. family and friends can’t always be there when you need them. i mean…sometime i just can’t keep up. YIKES!

so there are services like Care.com that can help you get the right people to do the jobs you need help with. it’s the world’s largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care – and includes services such as sitters, housekeepers, nannies, senior care, dog walkers and more.

did you know they even have a database of tutors? this is what really excited me….i could really use that kind of help.

using Care.com makes life simpler for families because you can go online and find the services you need at the click of a button. whether you need childcare while you’re at work or want to line up the occasional date night sitter, Care.com is there for you.

Shared Family Calendar

using a shared calendar is very helpful when it comes to keeping everyone in the family on the same page. there have been many times when i have just assumed that my husband knew of an event or appointment that was happening and vice versa, when in reality, i never told him. it’s really hard to keep track of everything happening at school, sports, extracurricular activities and in our personal lives. so writing it down is very helpful. a shared Google calendar or a large family calendar posted on a wall in your home is what i recommend. here are some tips to organize your family’s schedule.

Make a Routine but Allow Flexibility

i know this sounds like a contradiction, but really, it can work in your favor. when it comes to mornings or bedtimes, i like to make sure the family sticks to a routine. i need the kids to be ready for school, and in the evenings, i need them to go down for the night so i can unwind and set up the house for the next day.

making lunches the night before, packing bags and cleaning up the house from that day makes the next day run much better. at the same time, it’s good to allow flexibility in our schedules. sometimes there’s going to be a late night, sometimes you have take out instead of making dinner, maybe to kids skip a bath on those not-so-dirty day, sometimes the dishes aren’t going to get done till the next day. it’s okay. life can’t always be perfect.

finally,

Take Time to De-stress

when parents de-stress, we’re more at ease and more focused. a simple date night or some alone time can give you back the energy you need to survive parenthood. This is another way that Care.com can help. You can find a babysitter that fits your family’s needs

How Care.com works

you can quickly and easily sign up on Care.com for FREE as a Basic Member, which allows you to start searching for great local help, see their services and rates. if you choose to upgrade to a Premium Membership, you can reach out to the persons offering the services you need and are able to check their reviews and references. you are also allowed to schedule interviews and even book and pay for care online through the Care.com app. if you are looking for something specific, you can post a job and receive responses from caregivers in your area. You are allowed to view each caregiver’s profile and contact them for interviews or learn more about them. Care.com also provides access to a variety of background check options, so you can make the best hiring decision. wonder how much you should pay your sitter?

remember: it is your responsibility to make sure that the persons you hire on Care.com meet the criteria you are looking for. There are lots of details to remember and things to think about and agree on, so it’s a great idea to create a contract to make sure you both understand what to expect from each other.

Get 20% off – sign up now for Care.com, and you can save 20% off a Premium Membership! from now through September 30th, you can use the Care.com promo code SANDYTOES20 to save 20% off a Premium Membership by visiting this link http://bit.ly/2ta87Oo.

these 6 Tips to Manage a Household as a Busy Parent are simply things that have help our family tremendously when trying to manage our large family busy lives. hopefully some of them can help you as well. it’s piece of mind when you know your kids, parents, pets and home are well cared for. life can be tricky with kids…so we all need all the help we can get. happy parenting!

{Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Care.com and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.}