Toy Storage and Organization: Get Your Kids to Play More

Toy Storage and Organization: Get Your Kids to Play More

This post may contain affiliate links.

If you judged me by my desk at work or the inside of my car you’d think I may be a good candidate for an episode of hoarders, but my husband can attest when it comes to our home, if it doesn’t serve a purpose or isn’t put away I’ll throw it away. So much so that whenever we can’t find something we both assume I’ve probably thrown it away. I hate clutter.

Before I had children I swore I would never sit at the table and beg my kid to eat, and that I would never let toys take over my house (along with 500 of things I swore I’d never do). Also side note, after having two kids I’m going to definitely say “never say never,” but I do stick to those two goals.

My first attempt at containing the toy chaos was buying two large wicker baskets, similar to these, that fit the decor of our home.

These baskets fit underneath the end tables in our living room nicely, but I noticed they still weren’t solving my problem. Over time they began to overflow with toys, and at the end of each day I was left with a huge pile of toys to put back in them.

Another problem was that toys that had multiple parts were getting more and more mismatched. Pieces were missing and the toys were becoming useless because half the pieces were scattered all around.

One day I made a point to pay attention to exactly what toys my son was playing with, and you know what?! I couldn’t figure it out, he seemed to mostly be pulling all the toys out of the basket and then sporadically picking up and putting things down. He rarely seemed to engage with, and actually play with any of the toys.

I decided that we needed a new system. I’d seen several blog posts about rotating toys, but I wasn’t sure that would work, however the toys were becoming more overwhelming, and I needed to do something. I purchased 12 containers from Amazon to start my process, 6 short and wide and 6 tall and narrow.  (This is definitely doable with only 6 containers, instead of 12, but I wanted to make sure I could distribute my son, and (infant) daughter’s toys.)

I made a huge pile of all the toys in our living room and started sorting them into each of the boxes.

I did my best to make sure each box had a ball, toy car, musical toy, electronic toy, book, stuff animal, etc. I was very pleased with how much I could fit into each box, and glad I bought two different sizes because some toys would only fit in one type of box.

There were a few things that were too big for the containers. My plan for these toys is to keep them in the closet and bring them out occasionally, that way they maintain that “newness,” and are actually played with.

I placed all the boxes in a closet and only pulled out one a day. I noticed that my son is excited to see “new” toys each day, and he has started to actually play with them.

I’m now also able to keep toys and their parts together. And best of all is I have a lot less toys to clean up at the end of each day. I emptied 4 boxes to show how many toys I can fit in a box. Keep in mind my son still has access to his large toys, like his play kitchen and fire truck, and these are the only toys I have to clean up at the end of the day (I think I hear angels singing).

Thank you so much for reading my post. How do you handle toys in your house?

Toy Storage and Organization: Get Your Kids to Play More

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. This post may contain affiliate links. If you judged me by my desk at work or the inside of my car you’d think I may be a good candidate for an episode of hoarders, but my husband can attest...

read more

12 Things About My 12 Week Maternity Leave

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. 1. It was 13 weeks long. I’m a teacher so after 12 weeks I returned to work for two days, and then we had a week off for Spring Break. It really helped me ease back into working mom life. 2....

read more

A Teacher’s Plea to Parents

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. I’m not sure if it’s the mom in me or the teacher in me, but I absolutely cringe at the sound of baby talk. When I say “baby talk” I’m not referring to high-pitched...

read more

Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night, and a mom always.  I try not to take myself too seriously, and I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear.  Join me in balancing a career life, mom life, wife life, and staying true to yourself.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Follow Me on Social Media:

contact me:

12 Things About My 12 Week Maternity Leave

12 Things About My 12 Week Maternity Leave

This post may contain affiliate links.

1. It was 13 weeks long.

I’m a teacher so after 12 weeks I returned to work for two days, and then we had a week off for Spring Break. It really helped me ease back into working mom life.

2. We got Netflix.

We subscribed to Netflix a few days before our son was born. Best decision ever! I didn’t realize how much sitting around we’d do those first couple of weeks. During my maternity leave I watched so many shows! Orange is the New Black, Glee, Bob’s Burgers, Breaking Bad, Making a Murderer, and Parks and Recreation.

3. I Lost 30 pounds

With the help of breastfeeding and Myfitnesspal.com I was able to lose the majority of the weight I gained (40 pounds) over my pregnancy.

4. I Missed work

I didn’t necessarily want to return to work, but I missed feeling normal and put together. My days and nights ran together and sometimes I felt like I was playing house.

5. I got insomnia.

Somewhere along the way I picked up the baby’s sleep schedule. Together we held very wonky hours.

6. I started a blog.

I’ve always wanted to start a blog, and being a mother made me feel like I had so much to say.

7. I used all my sick days.

I took off 60 days from work, but I only had about 25 sick days. We took a major financial blow, but it was more than worth it.

8. Amazon primed my a$$ off.

I signed up for Amazon Prime over my maternity leave and almost everyday I was ordering something else for baby.

9. I didn’t get baby on any type of schedule or crib trained.

I had a goal to have baby on a schedule by the time I returned to work. In no way, shape, or form, did I succeed. (*Update, he actually didn’t start sleeping in his crib until he was 14 months old, whoops.)

10. I tried to figure out how to be a SAHM

I spent a lot of time on the internet trying to figure out if I could bring in a decent income from home with a Education Degree. I was unsuccessful in my search.

11. It went by really fast and really slow.

The days were really long, but my maternity leave was short.

12. I became a mother

Somewhere along the way I became a mother and never looked back.

Thank you so much for reading my post. How long was your maternity leave?

12 Things About My 12 Week Maternity Leave

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. 1. It was 13 weeks long. I’m a teacher so after 12 weeks I returned to work for two days, and then we had a week off for Spring Break. It really helped me ease back into working mom life. 2....

read more

Baby Boy Nursery

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to...

read more

Top 6 Gender Neutral Toys for My 1 Year Old

I'm a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. It can be so frustrating when you buy toys for your...

read more

Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night, and a mom always.  I try not to take myself too seriously, and I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear.  Join me in balancing a career life, mom life, wife life, and staying true to yourself.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Follow Me on Social Media:

contact me:

A Teacher’s Plea to Parents

A Teacher’s Plea to Parents

This post may contain affiliate links.

I’m not sure if it’s the mom in me or the teacher in me, but I absolutely cringe at the sound of baby talk.

When I say “baby talk” I’m not referring to high-pitched sweet tones we use when talking to a baby or toddler. I’m talking about purposely using wrong sounds and pronouns because we think it is cute…because there is absolutely nothing cute about teaching a child how to speak incorrectly.

As an early childhood teacher, I’ve seen time and time again, students that are so confused because what they learned at home, and what they are learning in school contradict each other.

One may think it’s cute to count “one, two, free, four” when talking to a child, but I promise, it is not cute in a first grade classroom. Children learn to speak by listening to the people that interact with them. So why in the world would we speak incorrectly, on purpose, it absolutely blows my mind.

I’ve even noticed on some shows my toddler has watched that characters may use the “ur” sound for the “ir” sound, such as saying furst instead of first; or Heaven help me, using “w’s” instead of “r’s” such as “The wed wacecar was fast.” Maybe people think that babies and toddlers grow out of this type of speech long before they start school, but I promise they don’t, and then they are starting school behind and confused.

I don’t believe any parent has purposely tried to sabotage their child’s language development, but I do believe that many parents are doing just that. I even catch myself sometimes; just today I asked my little boy if he was excited to go “simmin.” I’m not really sure what “simmin” is, so I repeated myself and asked him if he was excited to go swimming instead.

The proper form of baby talk is highly encouraged, especially in birth to 12 months. By adding emotion, tone, and exaggerated vowel sounds to our speech around babies, they are better able to learn the language.

But in no way, shape, or form should we be speaking incorrectly to the little ones that are soaking up everything we say.




 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Thank you so much for reading my post. How do you feel about “baby talk?”

Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night, and a mom always.  I try not to take myself too seriously, and I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear.  Join me in balancing a career life, mom life, wife life, and staying true to yourself.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Follow Me on Social Media:

contact me:

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mother: 11 Not So Warm and Fuzzy Truths

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mother: 11 Not So Warm and Fuzzy Truths

This is not a pro or con breastfeeding post.  It is a reflection of nursing my first child for 15 months.

1. I thought about quitting all the time.

For the first four months of breastfeeding I had to talk myself into not quitting almost everyday. I felt like my baby nursed all day long, he wasn’t on any type of schedule, I never knew when he was actually hungry or full, and it drove me bananas.

2. The older my baby got the more uncomfortable I was nursing in front of others.

It felt awkward to me if my baby would bury his face in my chest or pull on my top because he wanted to nurse. After my baby turned about 7 months old I stop nursing him in front of others which wasn’t that complicated because he was also eating foods at that age.

3. It made me lazy.

I nursed my baby to feed him, comfort him, and put him to sleep. Its just so easy.

4. Formula, cereal, and baby food were my biggest enemies.

From my family to the doctors I really didn’t want to hear about feeding my baby anything but breastmilk especially since I was really relying on breastfeeding to help me lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy.  I always felt pushed to give him other foods even though I didn’t think it was time.

5. I felt unsupported by everyone.

When I was pregnant I assumed I’d be glorified for breastfeeding my baby, but I always felt like my family was trying to talk me into quitting or questioning whether or not baby was getting enough to eat. Even the doctor told me to quit after baby developed a milk protein allergy, like there were no other options at hand. I didn’t quit, I ate an extremely dairy free diet and kept right on nursing.

6. I found support on the internet.

There are a lot of Facebook groups and websites with tons of support out their for breastfeeding mothers. I visited sites like these often especially when I wanted to stop nursing.

7. I had mixed feelings throughout my entire breastfeeding journey.

I could never figure out if I loved breastfeeding more than I hated it or hated it more than I loved it but I know I loved and hated it. If that makes any sense at all, to summarize I had an intense love hate relationship with breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is tough, but formula feeding comes with its own bag of issues, and its an expensive bag.




8. I dreaded weaning.

Nursing is just so easy, once you get the hang of it. My goal was to nurse for a year, but once a year came and went the thought of weaning daunted me to no end. I didn’t know where to start. I really just didn’t want to deal with the “drama” of cutting my baby off, and I was still using nursing to put him to sleep. Eventually though, around 15 months, he lost interest and over about two weeks he completely stop nursing.

9. Breastfeeding can make you feel chained to your baby.

Any time I was away from my baby I turned into a mathematician trying to figure out how long I’d been gone compared to the last time baby had nursed. I never really could let go or feel free.

10. Breastfeeding can be so awkward.

When I would nurse my baby he was make these sounds, like sounds you make when your eating really good dessert. It was so cute and funny, but in front of people it was enough to make me want to crawl under a rock.

11. It made me snobby.

I really grew to dislike mothers that turned their noses up to breastfeeding, never at least giving it a chance, but I liked them more than the mothers that harped on their “exclusively breastfed baby.” My baby was never exclusively breastfed because the NICU fed him formula without running it by me. We had to use formula quite a bit in our breastfeeding journey.

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night, and a mom always.  I try not to take myself too seriously, and I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear.  Join me in balancing a career life, mom life, wife life, and staying true to yourself.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Follow Me on Social Media:

contact me:

Baby Boy Nursery

Baby Boy Nursery

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This post may contain affiliate links.

I’m in love with my son’s nursery. It is actually his third nursery, smh, we’ve moved twice since he was born. Each time his room was a little different due to the size and layout of his bedroom. This one is by far my favorite!  

When I was pregnant with my son, I was asked several times what theme his nursery was going to be. I would always answer shrugging my shoulders that the theme would be “boy.” I didn’t really like the idea of tying myself down to a theme.  His bedroom decor includes hunting, fishing, cars, and trucks. I enjoyed putting my son’s nursery together more than planning my wedding! Hobby Lobby and Etsy were my go to places for decor.

My son is named after his maternal and paternal grandfather and great grandfathers.  Above his crib I have a picture of me with my late grandfather, and a picture of my husband with his late grandfather, along with items that represent them.  My husbands grandfather loved Ford Mustangs, and I found the Mustang hook at Hobby Lobby.  The hat hanging from the hook belonged to my grandfather. My dad put the pallet together for me with wood I found at Hobby Lobby, and I purchased the wooden monogram from an Etsy shop. I also got the key pieces of his bedding from babybedding.com.

Instead of buying the exact curtain that came with his crib bedding, I found some matching light blocking curtains at Bed Bath and Beyond.  These curtains truly make his room dark when needed.  I highly recommend light blocking curtains.  They have been a life saver, especially for nap time, and after day lights saving kicks in! Another must have piece is my son’s glider and ottoman. You cannot beat the price and its great quality. Our glider is part of our nighttime routine. I love rocking my son at the end of the day.

I love my son's hand made book shelves. I convinced my dad to build them and they are perfect for his reading corner.  I filled them with all the books I received from my baby showers.  Whenever someone gives my child a book I always ask that they write a little note on the inside.  It so fun to look back over time and see the little notes left for my son. And my son loves his little recliner, I suppose he thinks he's grown when he sits in it.

The ClosetMaid shelf and cubes are perfect for blankets, extra crib sheets, toys, and board books.  Babies have a lot of stuff and this piece has been perfect for organizing all of it without the clutter. 

*Update*

Now my baby boy is a toddler and I've made a few changes to his bedroom.  He loves to sit at this table and play with cars or his play pots and pans, sometimes he even just points out the pictures on the table.

*Update*

This busy board is my new favorite part of my son's room, I think he'd agree.  I used some left over peg board and different types of things he'd be able to manipulate.  He really enjoys the steering wheel and light switch.

Thank you so much for reading my post.  How did you decorate your child's nursery?

Toy Storage and Organization: Get Your Kids to Play More

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. This post may contain affiliate links. If you judged me by my desk at work or the inside of my car you’d think I may be a good candidate for an episode of hoarders, but my husband can attest...

read more

12 Things About My 12 Week Maternity Leave

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. 1. It was 13 weeks long. I’m a teacher so after 12 weeks I returned to work for two days, and then we had a week off for Spring Break. It really helped me ease back into working mom life. 2....

read more

A Teacher’s Plea to Parents

Subscribe to danacarolyn.com to have new post sent straight to your e-mail. I’m not sure if it’s the mom in me or the teacher in me, but I absolutely cringe at the sound of baby talk. When I say “baby talk” I’m not referring to high-pitched...

read more

Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a teacher by day, blogger by night, and a mom always.  I try not to take myself too seriously, and I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear.  Join me in balancing a career life, mom life, wife life, and staying true to yourself.  Thank you for visiting my blog.

Follow Me on Social Media:

contact me: