How To Get Your Bathroom Ready For Holiday Guests

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetUnderTheRim #CollectiveBias 

The holidays are coming and, for many, that means entertaining friends and family. We started a new tradition last year of having family over on Christmas Eve so, being the Type A person that I am, I’ve already started planning for it. I generally have always decorated my home for Christmas before the holiday chaos begins anyways, but I’ve also started planning the menu we will have and deep cleaning our home. I also like to get ready for any overnight guests I may have, like my younger siblings who need a place to stay when they come to town.

One room on the list to tackle is the guest bathroom. Since we live in a small home, we only have two bathrooms and our “guest” bathroom is also the bathroom that everyone in our home uses. Living with three males I’m sure you can imagine the mess I have to deal with in there. Generally Sinisa cleans the bathroom but when we are going to have guests over I like to clean it so I know everything is completely clean.

When getting the bathroom ready for guests I have a three step process. The first thing I have to do is clear the clutter. Even though the bathroom has plenty of storage, there always seem to be things left on the counter that don’t belong there.

Once the bathroom is picked up it’s time for some deep cleaning. I take down the shower curtain and put that, along with the bath rugs, in the washer. I then clean the sink and counter and shine the faucet. I scrub the tub, wipe down the walls and mirror and then move on to my least favorite part of cleaning the bathroom- the toilet.

After I clean the outside of the toilet I have to tackle the inside of it. Thankfully I’ve discovered the perfect tool for the job. The new Scotch-Brite® Disposable Toilet Scrubber is uniquely designed to reach messes under the rim that competing products miss. It also has a built-in bleach alternative cleaner with pumice that scrubs away rust & hard water stains. When I’m done cleaning the toilet I simply press the button on the handle to dispose of the scrubber and then set the handle into the holder until the next time I need it.

Once my toilet bowl is sparkly clean, I sweep and mop the floor, take out the trash, wipe down the trash can, hang the shower curtain up, put the rugs back on the floor, fill the soap dispenser and stock the toilet paper. I also make sure I have clean towels ready for our guests.

It’s then time for the fun part- decorating! Our guest bathroom has red walls so the room is already festive to begin with. I chose to add some cream, green and gold accents to the room.

I wanted to do something special for overnight guests and set out some toiletries for them in case they’d forgotten anything they needed. I had a glass hurricane to use for this project but you can use a large jar or any glass canister you have. The only other thing you’ll need to make the container is letter stickers. I used some gold ones since they would coordinate with my holiday decor but also look nice in the bathroom throughout the year.

I used the letter stickers to spell out “be our guest” on the glass. (To make sure the letters were being put on the glass in a straight line, I used a piece of paper edge to make myself a line to follow.) I then filled the glass hurricane with travel sized toiletries I had collected while traveling including shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap. I travel often so I have tons of hotel toiletries but you could also buy travel sized toiletries at Target to fill your container.

Speaking of Target, that’s where I bought the Scotch-Brite Disposable Toilet Scrubber and Scotch-Brite® Disposable Toilet Scrubber Refills (along with a number of holiday decorations and some cute holiday pjs!). I found them in the cleaning aisle with the toilet brushes, in between the trash cans and the sponges. Right now there are some great deals on these products at Target. Look for a “Try Me Now!” Instant Redeemable Coupon on each product to save $2. There is also a Cartwheel offer to save 15% off these new products (11/6-11/12).

Now I’m ready for the holidays and for my guests! Want to see how other bloggers are getting ready for the holidays? Check out their posts here. How do you prepare your home for holiday visitors?

More Time To Make Memories

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.)

Food is a big part of the holidays and usually what I’m still needing to shop for the couple days before Christmas. Creating delicious meals and party favorites brings joy to many but unfortunately, shopping and preparing foods during the holidays can get hectic and add more stress to an already busy season. I love grocery shopping and sometimes lose myself while walking down the aisles looking for ideas and foods to inspire me but sometimes that leads to me spending too much time in stores which is not something I have an abundance of this time of year.

For over a decade I have enjoyed shopping at Sam’s Club to save time and money around the holidays. I can find a great variety of quality foods and save even more time this year with their new Club Pickup. Their Club Pickup is a free, “personal shopper” service that is focused on making shopping more convenient for members. Club Pickup provides an easy and quick pickup option through seamless ordering online at SamsClub.com from any computer or mobile device. The service is available at all 653 Sam’s Club locations. I love how this is done. In this tech-savvy world we all use apps and online shopping so Club Pickup is something that is very simple to do. I can place the order on my phone while waiting for the kids in the car pick up lane at school. During very hectic times (like this week!) there is also an easy reorder feature as well which is a great tool that lets me order go-to items quickly by creating a list of my past purchases.

One thing about Christmas that rings true is the plentiful parties and meals. Fantastic desserts and treats and great recipes that bring smiles to all.  That is one of the biggest reasons I shop at Sam’s Club around the holidays. I can stock up on all kinds of party favorites and new side dishes that also guarantee I will have leftovers (which is one of my favorite things about hosting).

This year we tried some new side dishes like sweet potatoes with pecan butter and marshmallows. We also bought the staples like scalloped potatoes. Sam’s Club has something for everyone.

The 200% satisfaction guarantee on high-quality produce, meat and baked goods is the number one reason I keep going back and why I am always eager to try new offerings at Sams club.

We also purchased Holiday decor from Sam’s Club including Christmas plates and a festive, fresh wreath for the front door. Being able to check one thing off the to-do list without leaving the couch gives me more time to make memories with my kids.

Play-Doh’s Holiday Craft Fun

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(Disclosure: I received books from Play-Doh to review but thoughts are my own.)

My boys love playing with Play-Doh’s “Let’s Create” series books that we reviewed back in August so we were excited to learn about their new Holiday Craft Fun Series. Both books in this brand new series combine tactile, interactive play with learning to not only help children retain basic concepts taught at the preschool level but also to make the learning experience enlightening and entertaining by bringing in 15 inventive craft projects that tie in the spirit of Halloween and Christmas.

In PLAY-DOH: Halloween Craft Fun, Groovy Ghost invites kids to an evening of crafty creations. With the projects in this kit, children will help Groovy bring the Halloween party to life with the turn of every page and step-by-step guides to molding spooky PLAY-DOH sculpts. By the end of the book, children, from ages 3 and up, will know how to craft jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts, witches, spiders, candies, and other ghoulish goodies. Learning takes shape within the book and activities that combine reading, written and verbal directions, and hands-on projects. Complete with a book of instructions, four cans of PLAY-DOH compound, a roller, and a plastic knife, PLAY-DOH, Halloween Craft Fun is a thrilling adventure that invites youngsters to be bold and mold.

Lucas loved creating spooky figures with his daddy.It was a great way for Sinisa (who hates crafts) to do something creative and not too messy with the boys and he seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids did. I liked how the book gave step-by-step directions for those who can’t just look at a picture and copy what they see.

The other book is PLAY-DOH: Christmas Craft Fun which introduces young readers to Holiday Hound, who acts as their guide in this holiday crafting extravaganza. In no time at all, kids will be as equally enchanted by the Christmas-themed story that unfolds as they will by the snowmen, candy canes, bows, and drums that they will learn to make under Holiday Hound’s tutelage. This kit also comes with 4 cans of PLAY-DOH compound and two sculpting tools. Recommended for ages 3 and up, PLAY-DOH: Christmas Craft Fun is a great way to kick off the holiday season and it makes a great gift for school gift exchanges and a project to keep kids occupied during holiday parties and gatherings.

If you are looking for something to keep the kid’s busy as it gets colder outside these are perfect for indoor fun. They’d make great gifts, too!

My Little Santa Claus {Wordless Wednesday}

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I was going through pictures from past years and came upon this one from 2009. My youngest, Lucas, is Santa Claus and my brother’s youngest, Madelyn, is Frosty! Aren’t they adorable!?

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

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The holidays are just around the corner, so you know what that means….time for the Melissa & Doug “Terrific Twenty” list! This list compiles the “best of the best” holiday gifts for the 2012 holiday season, and I’m excited to share it here with you!

To celebrate, Melissa & Doug are having a “20 Days of Terrific Twenty” Giveaway on their Facebook page! Every day they’ll be giving away one item from their Terrific Twenty list to at least one of their lucky Facebook fans!

Be on the lookout for a giveaway here at Making Time For Mommy because I’m giving one of these terrific items away soon! :)

(Disclosure: I received an item from this list for posting this information.)

Creative Opportunities for Reading with Children During the Busy Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching. Families and friends will come together for food, fun, and festivities. The kids will be excited to have time off from school, and parents will hopefully be able to spend a little more quality time with their children. Somewhere in between all the shopping, sledding, cookie baking, and house preparation for the incoming friends and family, the bookshelf calls.

Reading can be a positive and relaxing outlet, especially in these busy times. You can help create special times with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives whom they may not see often. One great way is by suggesting that the relatives read with the children (either reading to them, have the child read to them, or taking turns). Books can help open up dialogue and sharing that straight questioning never can. New books for this time can be very special. Or have the relative or friend bring along THEIR favorite book.
Setting up a reading corner for quiet time may also be a good idea when the holidays become hectic. Kids can escape all the noise and chaos, and so can the adults. After a while BOTH might grow weary of adult conversation.
Also during the holidays, we seem to become more thankful and aware of the things we have and the people who are in our lives. Just ten minutes of reading a book or two with your child in front of the fireplace or any other cozy spot can become a memory that lasts a lifetime. It could also become a tradition to read a book in that same spot each night.

Reading with your child means so much more to them than the book itself. They see their parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle/cousin taking the time to sit down with them, showing them that they care and want to be there. As each page is turned, a stronger bond forms and memories are made as giggles, jokes, and discussions transpire. Who knows? You may even come up with your own stories to share. So, this holiday season, make sure to take the time to read with the youngest members of the family and build that bond and tradition. Both you and your children/grandchildren will be glad you did.
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Thomas Weck is the author/creator of the Lima Bear Stories. Originally made-up bedtime stories he told his four children, the Lima Bear tales resurfaced when Weck’s son Peter had children. Peter remembered the stories and wanted to have his father write them down so that he could share them with his children. Father and son took it one step further and created Lima Bear Press to produce the stories as books that children (and parents) everywhere can enjoy. The first 4 titles in the planned 12-book series are currently available: The Megasaurus, How Back-Back Got His Name, The Cave Monster, and The Labyrinth. The 5th title, Bully Bean, will be released in April 2013. The books are not only fun and funny with great illustrations; they also have an underlying message such as such as tolerance, honesty, courage, etc.

Handmade Gift Ideas {For Women}

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A great way to save money on gifts is to make them. I wanted to share a few tutorials for some wonderful handmade gift ideas for women that I found around the web this week {click on the pictures to be taken to the posts}:

Jersey Knit Bracelets

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Makeup Roll

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Custom Silhouette Pillow

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Homemade Sugar Scrub

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Gathered Clutch

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Beaded Bracelet

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Dollar Store Gloves With Buttons

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Decorative Candles

10 Holiday Planning Tips

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The Holidays are just around the corner so I wanted to share some ways that you can start planning now for a less stressful Christmas season. Here are my top 10 tips:

1) Start now! Once the Holiday season gets going you are going to have tons of events to go to and things to do.

2) Look through your Holiday items and take stock of what you have. I have found in years past that I have bought items I already had because I thought I ran out the year previously or needed more. I think I have enough gift wrap for the next 3 years now!

3) Consider making Christmas gifts this year. Everyone loves handmade gifts and it saves you money! Look through magazines or search Pinterest for great ideas and buy the supplies you will need to make them.

4) If you will be making Christmas dinner or having family over start planning your meals and send a “save the date” email to family so they can put it on their calendars now.

5) Plan and schedule family Holiday pictures. Figure out what your family will be wearing and what you will need to purchase. Does anyone need haircuts before the appointment?

6) Prepare to send Holiday Christmas cards. Do you have everyone’s address that you need? You can send out store bought ones or create something special by going online to a place like Storkie.com and personalizing cards.

7) Create a budget. I know how easy it is to head out shopping on Black Friday and spend way more than you planned on so I suggest making a budget for your Holiday shopping before you go out to the stores.

8) Think about traditions. Pull out a piece of paper and a pen or your ipad and make a list of all the traditions you enjoyed as a child, have enjoyed with your family in the past, or want to do with your family this year. Add any to your calendar that need to be scheduled ahead of time. Keep the list with you to refer to during the Holiday season to make sure that you don’t forget any of the important traditions you want to continue or start.

9) Along with all of the the things you feel you have to do, make sure that you plan in some time to relax with your family.

10) Start early! Yes, I already said this one but when this Christmas is over start preparing for next year. Buy toys, gift wrap, and decor on sale so you don’t have to pay full price for anything next season.

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I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tiny Prints Christmas Cards

I like this one. At the bottom I'd put a picture of each boy and then one of them together. I like that they have the ages of the children listed.

I know! I know! It’s not even Halloween yet and I am talking about Christmas but this year I am going to give myself at least 2 whole months to order, address, and send out my cards. Hopefully this way I’ll get them sent out before the start of the new year!

Tiny Prints has a great selection of Holiday cards (436 to be exact!) and I’m trying to figure out which one to order. I’ve narrowed it down to the following cards:

I like this one. At the bottom I’d put a picture of each boy and then one of them together. I like that they have the ages of the children listed.

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I like that this one can be hung on a tree like an ornament.

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I like that this card reminds us of our blessings in life :)

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The picture in the middle flips…how fun!

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Which one would you choose??

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Want to order some for yourself but not sure which one you like best?

Enjoy Five Holiday Card Samples Absolutely Free

Code: 5HOLIDAY | Offer expires 10/5/11 at 11:59 pm (PT)

Find out more here.

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(Disclosure: I am receiving Christmas cards from Tiny Prints in exchange for posting about their Holiday cards but all thoughts are my own.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Christmas Morning

My mom and I

Sinisa and I

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Jacob and Lucas in their Toy Story chairs

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Lucas

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Jacob and Lucas looking at their presents

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Lucas relaxing

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Lucas and Daddy

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Jacob peeking at the gift

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My mom and I

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Jacob reading his new book

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Who needs new toys?

Mommy and Me Monday: Christmas Morning

Our family in our Christmas pajamas

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious? Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Our family in our Christmas pajamas

More Christmas pictures to come Tuesday! :)

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Christmas Shopping at Family Dollar

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Recently I was invited to a Family Dollar Holiday event. We entered a hotel suite with lots of beautiful decorations.

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We were then told that all the decorations there had been bought at Family Dollar.

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After listening to people from the corporate office speak we all went to a local Family Dollar and did some shopping. I could not believe all of the great Christmas toys that Family Dollar had at such great prices. Here are some of the toys they carry:

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I had never considered doing my Holiday shopping at a “dollar” store. I always just assumed the only things I would find would be cheap little nick-nacks for a dollar. I was pleasantly surprised to see good quality, brand name items, and toys my children would actually want to play with.

Want to check out Family Dollar for yourself? Make sure to grab this coupon for 10% off your toy purchase of $100 or more!

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Here’s a video from the event.

For more event coverage check out these links:

Toni @ The Shopping Adventures of Cheapo McFrugalPants

Kim @ Hormone-Colored Days

Paula @ Frosted Fingers

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(Disclosure: I was invited to this event and received car pickup, appetizers, and a small shopping spree for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

 

Wordless Wednesday: Advent Calendar

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Jacob helping Lucas open his advent calendar :)

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I have linked this post to: Wordless Wednesday Home

5 Minutes for Mom ~ Go Graham Go! ~ Jolly Mom

Mom of 3 Girls ~MomStart ~ Two of a Kind…

Momma Findings ~ Mom Knows It All

Frosted Fingers ~ A Daily Dose of Toni

The Divine Miss Mommy

Grammy Mouse Tails

Toddler Gift Ideas (Learning Toys)

After reading this post at 1plus1plus1equals1 where Carisa gives Christmas gift ideas for toddlers, I put a list together for Jacob and Lucas and here are ten of the items on it:

Also, I love this Melissa and Doug Shopping cart and it’s available in my Open Sky shop!!!

This post is linked up to Oh Amanda’s Top 10 Tuesday post.

(Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.)