mindful living, effortless style

Coloring is at the very top of my super-simple, go-to activities for keeping the kids happy and occupied. It’s a total classic, of course, and encourages all kinds of open-ended creativity.

So when my friends Holly and Rachel of Kids Activity Blog sent me their new book, I knew it was going to be well used in our house as soon as I saw this project.

Such a fun and easy technique for extending coloring time!

This is such a simple way to extend a basic coloring session. Can you guess what we’re using to make our crayon creations pop? Read More

I know, I know – August just began, don’t start the back to school stuff already! But it never hurts to plan ahead. Plus, a great breakfast is just as essential for fueling your kids for a day at the beach as a long day at school!

Here’s Natalie with her best breakfast ideas and why we should all be eating them. 

Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it really all that important?

I’m not here to guilt you into making a full breakfast spread every day before school; that’s definitely not realistic for most of us parents.

Still – I think it’s worth the time to explore why a quality breakfast can give our kids the best start to their school day (and any other day, really!).

What makes a “good” breakfast?

  • Protein. We’re talking about the building blocks of life, here! Protein aids in the growth of our bones, skin, muscles, cartilage, enzymes and hormones. Our kids are constantly growing, and protein is what makes that happen. Most proteins are sources of B vitamins, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and other vital nutrients. Try pastured or grass-fed beef, eggs, nuts and seafood (if you can handle it first thing in the morning!)
  • Healthy Fats. Fat used to be very taboo in American culture, but it’s becoming more mainstream to appreciate the benefits of fat for our health. Your brain is made of cholesterol and fat, and the essential fatty acids we eat help to improve brain function. Be careful choosing, though- stay away from manufactured or refined fats and vegetable oils. Try coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocado and nuts/nut butter.
  • Complex Carbs. Complex carbs are broken down slowly by our bodies, which helps keep us full. That means our kids won’t be bothered by a growling tummy during a mid-morning test. They are also a main source of fuel for our body and brain functions- that means no mid-morning energy slump, either. Try whole grains and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and other root vegetables.
  • Avoiding Sugar, Refined Carbs and Packaged Foods. These foods will drag you down. Sugar is your enemy when it comes to concentration- it’s known to cause brain-fog, hyperactivity and more. Combining sugar and refined carbs will ensure your kid is hungry before noon, can’t sit still or can’t concentrate. Let’s give our kids the best start we can and avoid these foods!
  • Veggies. It’s easy to focus on fruits for breakfast instead of veggies, but they are full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain function and energy. Bonus points for leafy greens! Try adding sliced tomatoes or cucumbers to any breakfast plate, make a veggie scramble or omelette or add veggies into your smoothies.

Why take the extra time? How will our kids benefit from this kind of meal?

  • Energy Boost. If your kids are not morning-people, a nutritious breakfast will help them to get the energy they need to start the day.
  • Better Concentration. Good fats (Omega-3s!) will help their brains to perform at the highest level they can.
  • Better Grades. Better concentration means more information is absorbed, and that can certainly transfer to better grades.
  • Healthy Weight Management. Struggles with body image can start at a young age. We can help our children to have a positive outlook on their bodies by treating and feeding them well.
  • Avoid Starvation Mode. Skipping breakfast after a night of sleep means their little bodies will really be running on empty until the next meal. Even a small breakfast will help keep starvation at bay.

How can we manage this when we’re running late or feeling tired?

  • Plan ahead. You can plan for a full week of breakfasts or plan the night before for the next day. With all the things that need to happen on a busy morning, having breakfast already planned is a smart move.
  • Grab-and-go. Eating on the bus or in the car isn’t the best for our bodies, but it’s better than eating nothing at all. When it’s possible, sit down to breakfast as a family, but if you can’t, then have some healthy grab-and-go options on hand.

Read More

Big, big, BIG news today guys!

For the past few months I’ve been quietly working on a new project for the MPMK shop that I am so incredibly excited to share with you guys. It’s a Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit.

As the name implies, it includes all kinds of awesome printables to teach your kids how to be responsible and learn to manage money, from routine charts and chores lists to money ledgers and savings sheets and more.

It officially goes on sale August 25th – but here’s the really good news…

For 1 week only, I’m teaming up with some of my all time favorite bloggers (I Heart Organizing, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Tomkat Studio, and The Handmade Home just to name a few!) to offer a super amazing Back-to-School Printables Bundle!

THIS BUNDLE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE – LOOK FOR THE KIDS’ RESPONSIBILITY & MONEY MANAGEMENT KIT THE LAST WEEK OF AUGUST!

August 1st – 9th Only: Over 90 Printables to Get Organized Before School Starts at 78% Off!

Here’s everything you need to know…

It’s back to school month and time to get your house, kids, and schedule back in order.  This calls for another fabulous printable bundle!  Only this time, it’s going to be a little bit different. Our brand new printables are exclusive to this sale only.

These are brand new, never before seen creations designed from nine of the most talented bloggers online.

This bundle has everything you need to start the school year off right.  From menu planning, chores, and schedules, to first day of school pictures, labels and beyond.  It’s all included in this one of a kind bundle.

You will not see duplicate kits that have been featured in other bundle sales before. These are all brand new!

From August 1st to the 9th, you will have a chance to purchase this organizing back-to-school bundle.  You don’t want to miss out. It’s a good thing.

What’s included in the Back to School Printable Bundle?

You will receive 9 exclusive printable pdf kits (93 pages) in this fabulous bundle. The digital files can be printed out &  used in planners, home management binders or even placed on your fridge.

This exclusive bundle is 78% off the retail price!

  • A Bowl Full of Lemons –  First Day of School Signs
  • Clean Mama – School Information Kit
  • Organizing Homelife – Homeschool Planner
  • The Handmade Home – 25 Toy Organization Labels
  • iHeart Organizing – Menu Planning Kit
  • TomKat Studio – Lunch Box notes
  • Simplify 101 – Back-to-School Planning Kit
  • Modern Parents Messy Kids – Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit
  • Jones Design Company – K-12 School Memories Kit

 

$90 – Only $20 This Week Only!

 

That’s 78% Off Retail Price!

 

How much does the bundle cost?

The Back to School Printable Bundle is only $20. That’s an amazing 78% off the retail cost of the kits!

Buy Now

How long is the bundle for sale?

The bundle will be available from 8am EST on 8/1/14 through 11:59 pm EST on 8/9/14. There are no exceptions.

Listed below are the pictures, details, and links to the 9 exclusive kits within the Back to School Bundle. If you have any specific questions about a kit, please email the blog associated with the kit.

For general Bundle questions, you can contact the bundle hosts at back2schoolbundle at gmail.com. Please look at the FAQ page before emailing with questions.

All kits are pdf files and will be sent to you in a zip file, once payment has been made (instant download). All files are 8.5 x 11 inches unless stated in the description. Visit the FAQ page for details on how to resize the pages to fit into smaller planners.

_____________________________________________

Modern Parents Messy KidsMPMK

 

Stephanie Morgan is the founder and managing editor of Modern Parents Messy Kids (MPMK for Short).

From “Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life” to “The Make Play Vault”, her site provides thousands of parents with daily inspiration on kid-friendly food, play ideas, parenting topics, home organization and what to do with all those photos!  

 

Responsibility Printables MPMK

 

Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit (11 Pages)

A $7.99 Value

Teaching our kids to be contributing members of the family through routines, “family jobs” and “earning jobs” is one of our most important roles as parents.

 

Not only does it instill within them responsibility and self-reliance, when done right, it also serves to teach fundamental life skills including saving, budgeting and even giving back.

 

Our new Kids’ Responsibility & Money Management Kit has everything you need to get kids of all ages started on the right track including:

 

  • Morning and evening routine charts (blanks and using images for pre-readers)
  • “Family Jobs” and “Earning Job” charts
  • A Kids’ budgeting Ledger
  • A Savings Goal Chart
  • Printable Spend/Save/Share piggy bank labels

 

Responsibility Printables MPMK

 

Responsibility Printables MPMK

 

Responsibility Printables MPMK

Read More

When I first checked out this video, I thought I knew what to expect. There seem to be a lot of campaigns about women and positive body image going around these days. But this is something different.

It goes so beyond our bodies. (Full disclosure, I lost it a bit right around the 1:46 mark.) You really need to watch the video to see what I mean, and I really hope that you’ll do just that.

Take 2 minutes to watch it, and then take another 20 seconds to share it with your mama friends, your sisters, your mothers, and also your daughters.

What did I tell you? Pretty great, right? All of the stories in the video touched me but the one with the attractive older lady with the grey hair – gah!! Read More

Having my kids home for the summer means constant grazing.  Sure we eat regular meals, but when the kids are swimming and playing hard they need an extra snack or two.

I like to cut up all my vegetables at the beginning of the week and then mix it up with a few dips.

Let’s face it, vegetables alone are a hard sell.  I’ve perfected three dips that I know my kids will enjoy.  And the more the dip, the more vegetables they eat!

The first is similar to ranch dip, but a little Read More

Have you guys checked out our new Photography & Memory Keeping category yet?

The plan is to fill it to the brim with usable ideas for busy parents on how to take great photos, how to organize them, and what to do with them once you actually print them! It’s one of the things I’m most excited about this year – can you tell?

Here’s Kristin with a quick and easy photo project that will make a big visual impact in a special nook or cranny in your home.

We already know the importance of taking photos, making sure we are in the photos and how to organize our photos, but let’s talk about upping our photo game with a little DIY.  Once you’ve printed your photos, think beyond framing and get out your craft supplies.

I love photos as gifts or as home decor.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a professional photographer or maybe it’s that I know walking by a hand-crafted photo just puts a smile on my face.

Today we’re going to take a photo print (mine is black and white, but color looks great too) and make a chalkboard-inspired frame.

I love the chalkboard trend, but today we’re not going to use chalk.  And trust me, it’s a lot easier!

Read More

We’ve got a new Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life installment today. This time we’re tackling just what to do with all those old (and sometimes broken) smart phones, tablets and MP3 players with the help of our newest sponsor, EcoATM.

Have you heard of them? I hadn’t but I was quite pleasantly surprised to hear I could make money AND safely recycle my old tech with a simple trip to the mall. (I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of money I could make!)

Here’s Kristen with her experience and how she used it to teach her kids about recycling, thrifty living, and helping others with what we have (did I mention, you can donate all or some of the proceeds to charity?!)

Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans have a cell phone or tablet at home that we don’t use?

It’s so easy to upgrade and the next thing we know, we have extra devices laying around.  These tend to clutter up junk drawers or hide in the back of the closet.  Selling an old device on Ebay or Craigslist is an intimidating process.  Throwing them in the trash just adds toxic e-waste to landfills. So, in the junk drawer they go.

What most people don’t know is that ecoATM has over 900 kiosks in malls across the nation, ready to pay cash (between $1 and $300)  for unused cell phones, tablets and MP3 players.  The process is so easy and so safe (no selling of stolen devices), there’s no reason not to try it! Read More

The hubby and I have been on a serious DIY kick around here lately and today I’m excited to share with you guys our latest home project.

True to form, it’s yet another way to promote open-ended creativity in the kids. (This time, outdoors – double score!)

Head over to eHow’s Mom channel to get the full DIY on how to make your own outdoor easel. Then stock up on squirt bottles, sponges, squegees, shaving cream, and pretty much anything else you can think of to let the kids have at it!

 

P.S. Did you know that facebook has recently drastically changed the way pages like MPMK can share with their followers? Even if you’re a fan of the MPMK facebook page, only a portion of our posts and updates are showing up in your feed these days.

So how do you continue to get all of our parenting, playtime, organization, and recipe ideas?  Sign up for the MPMK newsletter!

You’ll get all of our best stuff plus exclusive content just for our subscribers, including a Free 6 week meal plan.

It is better to give than to receive.  And there’s no time like the present!  Even young children can learn the joy of giving.  Why is this important?

It’s important because we are raising our kids in a me-me-me culture.  Kids are bombarded with messages about satisfying our own needs and getting what we want.  Immediately.

Slowing down to focus on others balances all of the ‘me’ messages.  Sometimes, we put off the idea of service or giving because it just seems so overwhelming.  I don’t have time to go to a soup kitchen this afternoon and I have a feeling you don’t either.

Instead of thinking about grandiose ideas of giving, start small.  Start with ideas that even a two year old can do.  We like to think about it as an acronym, SALT Read More

We’ve got yet another resource for you to use with our free B.O.R.E.D. printable today. Our children’s librarian, Janssen, has rounded up the best audiobooks for calming active (aka hyper) kids. Read on for her picture book, easy reader and early chapter book recommendations!

I’ve long been a big fan of audiobooks, so it’s no surprise that they’ve become an integral part of my parenting too.

My four-year-old daughter has caught the bug too, and she listens to lots of audiobooks during her quiet time each afternoon or when we’re in the car.

I’ve discovered that I can’t let her listen to them when she’s in bed – she’ll keep herself awake for HOURS listening, no matter how exhausted she is. I love that it keeps her entertained, helps develop her listening skills, and improves her literacy and vocabulary. Read More

Nearly a year later, and my family is still FROZEN obsessed. It’s pretty ridiculous, actually.

I’ll take it, though. With a family of boys, after all, this may be the the closest to a “princess movie” I’ll ever get.

My boys adore Olaf. So I decided to put together a “Do You Want to Build a Snowman Busy Box” to set aside for rainy days. Read More

The kids and I take the summer sun as a direct challenge to come up with new and innovative ways to play outside and today I’m sharing one of our absolute favorites.

Try this colorful car wash idea once and you’ll be hooked – I swear. My kids really do engage in this one for hours at a time and yours just might too!

P.S. Did you know that facebook has recently drastically changed the way pages like MPMK can share with their followers? Even if you’re a fan of the MPMK facebook page, only a portion of our posts and updates are showing up in your feed these days.

So how do you continue to get all of our parenting, playtime, organization, and recipe ideas?  Sign up for the MPMK newsletter!

You’ll get all of our best stuff plus exclusive content just for our subscribers, including a Free 6 week meal plan.

I was looking through our archives recently and realized we have a whole bunch of really awesome recipes for homemade healthy kid snacks.

And what do we do when we have a plethora of something wonderful? We make a super helpful roundup so that you can access them all in one place (of course).

Today I present to you no less than 23 of our all-time favorite healthy snack ideas for kids. Enjoy!

Read More

Scavenger hunts and reading make the perfect pair. Discovering new stories, interesting characters, or a great series builds your child’s love for literature as well as her motivation to become an independent reader. As parents we want to grow our children’s interest in reading but sometimes feel like we’ve run out of ideas on how to do just that.

To help, we’ve created a fun and simple way to challenge your child to read and discover outside of their comfort zone.

It’s a free printable treasure map that’s sure to pique your child’s curiosity and love for reading! Read More

Did you guys know we’ve got a whole new category on MPMK this year? It’s called Photography & Memory Keeping and we’re stuffing it with tips busy parents can use to take great photos AND get those shots off our tech and into our lives.

Here’s Julee with our latest summer-themed post…

We just returned from our first family beach vacation. Our children absolutely loved the beach and haven’t stopped asking to go back.

For me, photography has become my way of remembering places I visit, experiences I have and sights I see. But my children enjoy much more tangible things. Everywhere we go they are collecting, touching and exploring – and this trip was no exception. We returned home with a large stash of seashells they collected throughout the trip.

As a more tangible reminder of the awesome time we had together at the beach – and as a way to store all of the seashells we accumulated – I decided to let Jason and Jenna make vacation memory jars. Read More