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We Moved!

For all of you loyal followers, we’ve moved for (hopefully) the last time. We now have our own domain: mancubmamas.com! All of our posts have been republished there and we look forward to bringing you all more great content.

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Meet the Mamas

Welcome!

Welcome to Man-Cub Mamas! We hope you’ll join us on our journey in parenting man-cubs. Our site has three mama authors: Mama R, Mama M, and Mama T. Together we span the length of the US, living on the East Coast, Mid United States, and West Coast respectively. We look forward to sharing advice, DIY crafts, and book reviews with you.

Home, Printables

An Easy Way to Keep a Clean House

an easy way to keep a clean house

 

As a busy mom of two, I’m always trying to improve on my organizational skills! Sometimes I straight-up just don’t want to clean my house! My husband and I work together to keep our home organized and clean, so it isn’t just on me, but I am kind of the one in charge of how it all works.

Over the last few years, I’ve figured out a system that helps me stay on top of things. I don’t always follow it… But I try! I’ve found that if I divide things up by daily chores, weekly chores, and monthly chores, then the cleaning is easier to manage. Here’s how I divide it up in my house:

Household Cleaning List

Daily

  • Make beds
  • Do dishes
  • Clean kitchen counters and table
  • Sweep kitchen and dining room
  • Pick up living room(s)

Weekly

  • Vacuum
  • Mop
  • Wipe down bathroom(s) (disinfecting wipes, clean toilets)                  
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Pick up bedrooms

Every Two Weeks

  • Deep clean bathroom(s) (clean/disinfect toilets, counters, tubs, faucets, floors)

Monthly

  • Dust
  • Declutter household papers
  • Declutter bedrooms
  • Declutter toys (throw away ones that are broken; give to friends or charities ones your kids don’t play with anymore; put in keepsake boxes toys you want to keep as memories)

 

I have two printables for you! If you want this list as a reference to keep on your fridge, you can get it here!

And if you want a checklist version of the list, where you can check chores off as you go, get it here!

Happy cleaning! 😉

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Uncategorized

Simple Chore Chart {Free Printable}

My Chore Chart

It seemed like every morning was a battle with our son. It would easily take over an hour to convince him to get ready for the day. Even getting him to eat breakfast was difficult. He just wanted to wake up and play. After a particularly difficult morning, I realized something had to change. Enter our chore chart.

I know this may have seemed like an obvious solution for some parents, but sticker charts can be hit and miss with some kids. Especially since our son is only two, I wanted to make sure that the chore chart I made wasn’t too overwhelming. I tried to find some templates online, but honestly most of them included things that I didn’t need my toddler to do yet.

So I decided to make my own. It would only include the very basic things he needed to do in the morning. This is what we narrowed it down to: a fresh diaper, eating breakfast, and changing into clothes for the day. That’s it. These were things that we argued about on a daily basis. Three things that could be completed in less than 15 minutes if our son was focused. Once he finished his chores, he could play as much as he wanted.

I started out with a hand drawn chart to make sure this idea would work, and it did! Then I upgraded and made my own printable which you can view here: My Chore Chart. It’s in Word so you can either print it or adjust it to your child’s needs!

Our mornings are so much smoother now. We still argue over getting his chores done, but because he can see the visual and physically “check off” items, it makes things so easier.

Do you use a chore chart? What chores do you expect your toddlers to complete?

Why I Needed a Mom Vacation

Tips

Keeping Photo and Journal Records for My Kids

keeping photo and journal records for my kids

Journals: Writing

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I knew that I wanted to start some sort of tradition with journal keeping, as a way to remember the important things about my pregnancy, his birth, and his life in the early years. I got this idea from different family members who have kept journals for their children. I bought myself a little journal, and I started writing. I called my BABY JOURNAL, and I wrote it in often. I wrote down the milestones of the pregnancy, feelings I had throughout, and my baby’s birth story. But after he was born, I didn’t feel I should stop! This baby is no longer a baby, but I continue to write in his baby journal. I don’t write in it as often as I used to, but I try to write the big things down, and still my feelings about him and the things that happen in his/our life.

When I became pregnant with my second baby, I knew that I wanted to keep up the journal tradition. How could I do it for my first baby but not my others??? I HAD to keep it up! I was nervous though, because life was busier than when I was pregnant the first time. I wrote down the milestones and some feelings in my second baby’s journal during the pregnancy, but not as often as with my first baby’s journal. Interestingly, I think I write in my second baby’s journal more often now, even though he’s a toddler now! Maybe it’s because I have more time now that my two boys are a little older, or maybe it’s because he’s learning so much and so fun that there’s a ton to write about!

I highly recommend keeping a baby journal for your children. Even if you didn’t keep one when you were pregnant or when your baby first came home, you can start now! And this journaling can be in the form of a baby book! From what I’ve seen, most baby books have plenty of room and prompts for parents to write down their feelings about their child’s milestones.

I strongly believe that it benefits children to read for themselves how their parents think of them. My hope is that my sons will be able to turn to the things I wrote for them in times of need, to remind them that they are loved and cherished.

 

Journals: Photos

I am OBSESSED with photos. I am in love with every single picture that I take of my children, because each one captures a moment in time that will never again pass by. Kids grow so fast; I wish I could remember every moment. I desperately try to keep photo records of my sweet littles. Here’s what I do:

Instagram

This is the easiest way to keep photo journals, especially now that Chatbooks is around! You can have all of your Instagram photos in hard copy for your family.

Photo Books

I put a photo book together for each of my kids every year around their birthday. It takes a lot of time and work, but I absolutely love having these personalized memories of their year! Walmart.com is usually where I get these. I’ve never been disappointed by them!

 

I would love to hear what other parents do to keep record of their kids’ important milestones! What has worked for you??

 

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Tips, toddlers

What to Do When Your Child Plays With Poop

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Our son went through a poop playing stage a back in May and we thought we were in the clear after two months of no incidents. But this week he did it again. You may pooh-pooh our predicament, but this is a serious issue. My husband is pretty sure this was premeditated. Although our son usually goes to his room to have some privacy when he poops, this time he brought a bunch of construction vehicles and shut the door. As you can see from the picture above, he had a great time using his construction vehicles to move loads of “dirt” like they would in real life. If it weren’t so disgusting, I would be more impressed with his creativity—like how he used his “dump” truck.

It is normal and natural for a toddler to play with their poop as part of the “Anal Stage.”   With all of the incidents we’ve had, I never worried about the obsession as much as the mess that I have to clean up every time. So what can you do about it in the meantime? Here are some recommendations we received and how they turned out:

  • Constant Vigilance. We would carefully monitor our toddler during the day, but the times he would get us were when he was supposed to be sleeping. He would be stealthily quiet. He would wait until he had ultimate privacy and knew we wouldn’t be checking on him. Because guys, I just don’t have the time to check on my son every 10 minutes to see if he’s asleep. I have things to do during nap time. Like clean up poop.
  • Time outs while we clean up his mess. This gave him yet another opportunity to poop and play with it, since he was supposed to be in solitary confinement. As you can see, there’s a reason this suggestion is Number 2.  bowels comic
  • Making him clean it up. Our son was thrilled when he found out it was his “duty” to spray cleaning solution on his poop and wipe it up. We then tried just making him watch us, but I felt like if he was going to go to all the effort of “decorating” (his words) the windows, then he should clean it up. Now we make him clean up his messes, but we realize that he doesn’t see this as a punishment.
  • Sensory play. Literally less than an hour after playing in the mud, our son pooped and played with it. I tried pulling out the play dough more often, but I’m pretty sure it just gave him more ideas of what he could do with his doodoo. We basically just increased his sensory play time.
  • Reprimands. Yeah, those didn’t really stink sink in. As much as we told him that it was “yucky to play with poop” and “we don’t play with poop,” I’m pretty sure all he heard was “blah blah play with poop, blah blah blah play with poop.”
  • Potty training. If you read Mama T’s post on Potty Training, you’ll know that it may take several tries. We had already tried potty training before our son’s poop playing stage and we gave up after three weeks. Nevertheless, we made renewed efforts to invite him to poop on the potty. I even left a little potty in his room so that if he needed to pull of his diaper, he could poop there instead. The next morning we woke up and he had smeared poop everywhere…except the potty.

What recommendation did end up working for us? Duct taping his diapers shut. This gem came from my mom, who apparently had to do this with all three of her children (including me). We duct taped his diapers before every nap time and every bed time. After a month, we stopped using tape just to see if he had noticed. He didn’t.

So what led to the incident this week? He was in a pull-up. I know this sounds like I’m a dumb parent, but hear me out: Up until today, our son hasn’t figured out how to get a pull-up off. It was actually easier for him to take off a diaper than a pull-up. So after lunch today I slapped one on him since we were running low on diapers. And that, my friends, was my mistake.

If you need me, I’ll be stocking up on duct tape.

Why I Needed a Mom Vacation

toddlers

You Know You’re the Mom of a Toddler When…

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Everyone knows that toddlers are crazy. Bipolar, erratic, defiant, hyper, wild animals… But they are also oh-so-sweet and oh-so-entertaining! It is so rewarding as a parent to watch your little person grow and develop into his/her own personality, and to see him/her absorb new things every single day, all day long! At this age, kids’ brains are sponges!!

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A TODDLER WHEN…

1) You all of the sudden have a second shadow.

2) You realize one day that you’ve allowed yourself to become a garbage disposal.

*”Oh, you don’t want your chicken nuggets? I’ll just finish them for you…”

3) Getting yourself ready for the day before 3:00 pm is a tremendous victory.

4) If a stranger were to listen in on your conversations, it would sound like you are fluent in several different languages.

*Toddler: “Daddy agoo baja ROAR aba daba owtside bash coookie!”

Dad: “Ok buddy, you can have a cookie.”

5) Sometimes, the word “Mommy” makes you shudder and twitch (it’s the screaming that’ll do it…)

*Of course, the same word, said sweetly, makes your heart melt.

Your-Real-name-is-not-mom

6) Snuggles in the morning are the best part about waking up at the crack of dawn.

7) You’ve memorized several books, such as “Goodnight Moon”, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”, “The Foot Book”, and “Elmo’s Night Before Christmas”.

8) You have been hit, kicked, pinched, and have had your hair pulled out on occasion.

9) You have a new-found taste for foods such as PB&J, string cheese, animal crackers, and apple juice.

10) You swell with pride whenever your son or daughter learns a new word, makes a good decision over a bad one, or hugs you for no reason except that they love you.

Yes, being the parent of a toddler makes life exciting, tiring, funny, crazy, and interesting. But one thing’s for sure:

www.pinterest.com

I wouldn’t choose to have any other life than the one I have as a mommy! Having and raising my little boys has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

And one more for all the dads:

parenting reality

 

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Reading, Tips

Teaching Kids the Alphabet

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It’s never too early to teach your child the alphabet. We started when D was 1! Even though progress was slow, we kept at it. Now, over a year later, D can recognize all of the uppercase letters of the alphabet. Whatever your child’s age, here are some tips for getting started:

Read with your kids. Read all kinds of books, but alphabet books can be especially helpful. Some of our favorites are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Hooper Humperdink..? Not Him, and My Foodie ABC. I also love Greg Paprocki’s illustrated historical ABC books.

Songs. Besides the traditional ABC song, there are a lot of other versions out there! Whether “Cookie Starts with C” or Usher’s ABC remix, you are sure to find something your kid will like to sing.

Reinforce one letter at a time. The first letter our son identified was the letter O. So we made an effort to point out all the different O’s we saw throughout the day. This was an especially easy letter, since it came up a lot through shapes.

Physical versions of letters. Help your kids learn the alphabet kinesthetically through alphabet magnets or blocks! Since it’s back to school season, I’ve noticed that letter and number magnets are a easier to find. We picked up a lowercased set at Target last week in their dollar section.

Letter games. We have a letter and number monster that can eat our plastic alphabet magnets after our son identifies each one. We also have rounded up a lot of fun letter games on our Pinterest board here.

Tracing/writing letters. Whether you’re using a plain piece of paper or a book where your child can follow the lines, it helps to learn your ABC’s by drawing them. We picked up this awesome Write-On, Wipe-Off ABC book at the Dollar Tree. Usborne also sells wipe-clean books that come with a dry erase marker.

Why I Needed a Mom Vacation