Second Chances Girl - a Miami family and lifestyle blog!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

So We Moved....Again!

This post has been compensated by Acorn Influence. All opinions are mine alone. 

So we moved.....again! I know we moved last year but our landlord sold our apartment back in April and the new owners were kind enough to extend our lease until June 30th. School ended here in early June and I was able to find a new apartment, this time in a rental community (whew!) by mid-June. This pretty  much explains why I haven't posted much lately, but if you follow us on Instagram you already knew about all this crazy! Moving is stressful enough, but add in three kids that are on summer break and a partner who is injured, and I thought I wasn't going to make it! Thankfully, through all our past moves, I have learned some tips and tricks that have helped make moving a little easier!

OK, my first tip is to take this time to really get rid of stuff and clothing you don't use/wear. In this move, I donated 11 bags of toys, household supplies and clothes to charity. It's crazy how much stuff I was keeping and the kids have pretty much grown out of everything! Moving is a great time to declutter!

After packing up storage closets and lightly-used items, I pack up the kitchen cabinets. I know some people might think this is crazy, but I feel like our kitchen has the most stuff. It is such a relief to see it all packed up. I do this about 1 week prior to moving. I pack up all plates, utensils, cups and items I rarely use. I leave out 2-3 pots and pans and I set out disposable everything. I am packing, I definitely don't have time to wash dishes. 

Since I had to be out of our old apartment by June 30, I made sure to ask for an early move-in date at our new place. This is ideal so there is plenty of time to get things out and the old place cleaned up. Since I rent, it is super important to me to get my full deposit back, so I make sure to turn in our apartments super clean. Our kids are super excited about the new place. 

One big thing for me is to keep life as normal as possible for my family during a move. We continued all our lessons (even on moving day!) and I explain to them what we are doing and where their things are going. I involve them in the packing and in the cleaning. My next tip is to take full advantage of an empty place to clean. Sure, the apartment was clean when I received my keys but it didn't smell like us. I made sure to bring our products in and do a quick clean of the place, that way when we moved in the next day, it would smell like home! 

Our Swiffer® Wet Jet was the first item in our new home! I have way too much fun cleaning with this thing!

Moving day............

After the movers brought everything over to the new place, we worked on getting settled in. TIP: Get the kids room set up first! Once again, I want the kids to feel at home as soon as possible, even is that means, letting them stay up late while we assemble their beds. Oh, another TIP: set your cable/internet service to transfer over on moving day so the kids are entertained while you set up their things! 

On moving day, I also bring in a 1st day essentials box. This box includes everything we might need for our first day at our new place (disposable plates, cups, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc...) You better believe my 1st day essentials box includes laundry detergent. I have a big thing for smells and I make sure to wash all our bedding and curtains with laundry detergent as soon as we move in. The kids carry their bedding with them during the move and it can get dirty. No one wants dirty, stinky bedding! Moving can be a stressful time, but quality brands like Bounty®, Swiffer®, Tide®, Unstopables™ and Charmin® make your move clean and simple!  

The next day, we were ready to tackle all the crazy. A couple of hours and 2 dozen boxes later, we had most of the rooms set up (more or less) and we were enjoying our new home. 

One day, I will get to my gallery wall behind the sofa and maybe to this storage closet.........

Maybe! At least the rest of our home looks decent and hey, I can always close the door to that storage closet!!! No one will ever know!

When you are ready to stock your moving supplies, remember that Walmart has everything your need for moving, for less! After all, moving is expensive enough already! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Road Trip Tips & Tricks (Free Printables!)

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

Road trips are a family staple. They used to be the bane of my existence as a child, only because I get terrible motion sickness, but now as a mother, I insist we go on road trips often. Not only is a road trip less expensive for our family, we also get to explore our state and country in ways you just can't on a plane. I love having the whole family together for days at a time. The only way it works though is if I am fully prepared when we set on the road.

Here's a list of road trip tips and tricks that work for our family, along with free road trip printables for kids of all ages!! #GetPackin #ad @Walmart

Before we get to the planning tips and tricks that have worked for our family, I have something fun for you! Enter the Mondelez Summer Road trip Sweepstakes below to win road trip weekly prizes and a grand prize. Sweepstakes runs from 6/27 to 7/24.

Tip # 1

Get packing on your family's favorite snacks. There is no way we can be in our car for more than 2 hours without any snacks. For our upcoming road trip, I picked up all the following:

SWEDISH FISH Soft & Chewy Candy (mostly for me, I love these!), TRIDENT Unwrapped Gum, HONEY MAID Dippers, Single serve NUTTER BUTTER cookies, CHIPS AHOY cookies, OREO minis and some fruit. My kids and I need our snacks and I make sure to pack them together in a box (with a lid). I keep this box up front with me so I can keep track of snack consumption. 

Tip #2
Make sure there is space for every passenger, comfortable space. We have a minivan that can seat 7 but on road trips we do a max of 6. The last thing I want to hear is complaining because someone is in someone else's personal space. It drove me insane as a kid and I wouldn't do it to my own kids.

Tip #3
Each person packs an entertainment bag that they are responsible for. This bag contains electronics, chargers, books, playing cards, etc... 
Tip #4:
Print some free printable (like the ones below) ad create a road trip binder for each child. My kids are 10, 9 ad 8 so I make them word searches, mad libs and a vacation journal. I include markers, color pencils and drawing paper also. They love these binders and they are great entertainment for when "I'm bored" starts kicking in.

Right click to download

Right click to download

Tip #5
Include your children in the planning. I usually like to surprise my children with vacations and activities but not on a road trip. I like for them to be part of the planning process. With their help, we plan activities, stops and they learn about the states we are going to along the way. It is beneficial to all. This also gets them really excited to get to the activities they suggested.

Road trips are a great experience for the whole family. Nothing like getting in a car and setting off on adventure with your family but please, make sure to plan accordingly. No one wants to hear "I'm bored" and "Are we there yet" for days on end!

All our snack box products are available at Walmart. Make sure to check out the seasonal section for all your favorite family snacks, along with a coupon book for extra savings on Walmart's already low prices!

For more summer road trip tips and tricks, along with printables and tutorials, click here!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Ways To Thrive As a Mom

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I
was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about OxiClean™, all opinions are my own.

Motherhood is hard. Harder than anything else I have ever done. Throw in step-kids and a career change
and I honestly don’t know how I have made it this far. I’m tough and I work hard, but motherhood can
really take its toll on you. Thankfully, I am at a point where I feel I am thriving at this thing called
motherhood. I can manage my days without feeling like a sinking ship and I am really enjoying life with
three kids!

In my opinion, once you pass the toddler stage, parenting is actually fun. Kids become a little more
independent and they are eager to explore the world. This is the stage where I feel secure as a mother.
My kids are 10, 9, and 8 years old. We talk about school and friends. We crack jokes. We can hang out
together. It’s a great age. Once again, I am thriving and feeling amazing about motherhood. It has taken
me a while and I have learned a lot along the way. Knowledge I wish to share with you!

5 Ways To Thrive As A Mom

Be Confident In Your Decisions!

As a new mom, you question everything and everyone. You listen to all the advice and overwhelm
yourself with information. It’s completely understandable. Once you get through the newborn/infant
phase, the rebellious toddler stage, and have gotten through a few fevers and colds, you know what you
can and cannot handle. You raise your kids the way you want. You are the parent. Be confident in your
decisions. Know that you are trying your best and making the best decisions you feel are right for your
family. Be proud of your accomplishments. This is the most incredible feeling in the world.

Be Involved!

Being super involved in my kids’ lives right now is really helping me thrive. I am taking advantage of the
fact that they aren’t teenagers yet and they actually want me around. I am on the PTA board; I am on
the booster board. I have made friends with their classmates’ moms’. I attend all lessons and practices. I
know what is going on in their lives. I feel important.

Make sure everyone looks their best.

One thing I am a stickler for is that everyone must look their best at all times. I’m not talking about fancy
clothes, but clean, non-wrinkled clothes that match. We are a family of five so there is lots of laundry,
but I thrive on making sure everyone is always clean and presentable. I take pride in how my family
looks and make the extra effort to make sure everyone always looks amazing!

See this basket of clothes? There are 3 more in our home and they are always this full!!

I make sure to use a good laundry detergent, like OxiClean™ HD™ Laundry Detergent to make our
clothes nice and bright. OxiClean™ is America’s #1 stain-fighting brand and has been a staple in our
laundry room for years. I can always count on it to help us look our best! OxiClean™ HD™ Laundry
Detergent really keeps clothes looking like new and removes stains like nothing I've ever used
before! It really is like looking at your clothes in HD! I feel super accomplished as a mom when I can
keep clothes looking like new!

Take time for you.

This is probably the hardest thing for moms to do. We are so caught up in our family lives that we put
ourselves on the back burner. Well, not anymore. Want to thrive as a mom? Take time for you, even if
it’s 30 minutes a week. You need to start somewhere. Those 30 minutes a week will help you start to
phase out that mom guilt we all get when leaving our children in the care of others. Go for a walk, get a
manicure, join a class, do some yoga, read a book-- anything!

Be kind to those moms just starting out.

Be kind to others, especially other moms just starting out. It wasn’t that long ago that you were in the
same position. Have a friend that just had a baby? Send her a text letting you know that you think she is
doing a great job. Make time for your friends and show the new moms that it is possible to come out of
the fog and live a normal life. She will be there soon. You are a beacon of information. Help others and
you will thrive!


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