Crafty Mamas, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

Achieving Super-Mom Status with a Busy Bag

This post contains affiliate links, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. You can read more at our Legal & Disclosures page. Thank you!

You know those times when your kids have to just sit quietly for a really long time, and you are out of data and/or don’t have enough phones to go around and/or they’ve already watched 75 hours of TV today? Like when the doctor is running behind, or if you’re flying to Hawaii, or when your husband sends you and your two children to stand in line for a few hours at a Best Buy for a video game system at 6 am on fifteen minutes notice?

No? Is that one just me?

Well at any rate, I don’t always feel like a super mom, but the thing that is sure to make me give myself some major kudos is my fully-stocked, always-so-ready-it-lives-in-the-trunk Busy Bag. My bag of choice is the Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote from Thirty One  (which I love because ALL THE POCKETS), but it can be done with any similar bag.

(Side Note: A fully loaded Busy Bag makes an INCREDIBLE family gift for Christmas, or when a new baby is on the way.  If you are giving this as a gift, I would definitely go with the Thirty-One Tote. It definitely gives it an extra polish, and can be embroidered. Yes, Christine sells Thirty-One. But I’m being completely objective here- it’s got Wow Factor.)

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The most crucial aspect of the Busy Bag, besides the bag, is the little tray that lives inside of it. It’s just a cheap cookie sheet from the Dollar Tree, but it operates as a desk, magnet board, flannel board, and snack tray when we are out and about. And as a bonus, it fits PERFECTLY across the armrests of my kids’ carseats during road trips.

So once you’ve got your bag and your tray ready, it is time to fill it with all sorts of cheap, won’t -break-my-heart-to-lose-it, engaging little activities for your youngsters. What’s in mine changes constantly, which is probably part of the allure of the bag for my kids. I am always on the hunt for little Dollar Bin finds to fill it with, and dollar stores are a surprisingly rich treasure trove of everything-included projects.

Here are a few of the items that make regular appearances or are permanent fixtures in our bag:

• Coloring Books and Crayons
Color Wonder Markers and Paper
• A PlayPack or Two
Playdough
• Magnet Letters and Numbers
• A few magnet puzzles, or small puzzles with magnets attached to the back.
• Beads and pipe cleaners for lacing
Sticker Mosaics
• Stickers and Blank Paper
• A Magna Doodle
Activity books
Water Wow Books
MagicInk Books 
• Non-Perishable Snacks
Laminated Eye Spy Pages, Connect-the-Dots, Finish-the-Picture Prompts, Tracing Pages, etc. with a dry erase marker
• Color By Number Pages
• A few pre-prepped craft activities and a glue stick
• Some of these Melissa and Doug “On the Go” sets
• Memory games
Magnetic tic-tac-toe
Paint-With-Water Books/Pages
• Duplo blocks for younger kids, or small bags of Legos for older kids

I’m telling you, this bag makes me look like I have my stuff together. And after the initial setup, it just takes a little refill here and there to keep it fresh and exciting. Beyond that, I am ready to look like one of THOSE moms at any time, in any place. Like while watching the sunrise in a Best Buy parking lot.

*****

Want to see the Busy Bag in action? Head over to Facebook to watch a video that shows the bag’s features and what I keep inside!

 

 

Looking for a gift for an entire family? This thoughtful gift will have you one and done. Read more at thesaltymamas.com. #familygift #christmasgift #giftideas
Road trips, appointments, flying with kids? We've got the perfect solution to entertain your kids anytime, anywhere at thesaltymamas.com #busybag #roadtrip #flyingwithkids

 

Bujo, Crafty Mamas, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

Making Time to Be Creative (If You’re Into That Sort of Thing)

Let’s preface this one by saying- you don’t HAVE to be creative just because you’re a mama. Your parties don’t have to have carefully paper-crafted banners. Your kids’ sandwiches can be sandwich-shaped, your kids water cups don’t have to be personalized with vinyl, you don’t have to make your own home décor, and you CERTAINLY don’t have to sew your daughter thematic skirts for every holiday.

Repeat-you don’t HAVE to.

But some of us? Some of us WANT to. Continue reading “Making Time to Be Creative (If You’re Into That Sort of Thing)”

Bujo, Crafty Mamas, MicroLuxuries

Bullet Journaling in a Passion Planner

This post contains affiliate links.  We were also fortunate to receive giveaway items from Passion Planner and Hal Elrod. We’d like to thank them for their support, and think you’ll enjoy their products as much as we do. For more information, see our legal disclosures. Thank you!

As followers of the blog know, Christine and I are BIG fans of bullet journaling. We love the organization it provides, we love the pretty trackers and layouts, and we LOVE the supplies.  It was everything I wanted from a planner system- until it wasn’t.

The number one question I always got asked about Bullet Journaling was, “But doesn’t that take up a lot of time?” And the short answer is yes, it does.  Creating weekly layouts, monthly calendars, elaborate trackers- all of these things take up precious time. And as long as you’re enjoying the time spent making those things, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

But then Lila started elementary school, Abe became a person with his own activities to keep up with, and I got the part-time job of my dreams. There were blogging deadlines and birthdays to remember and things to buy. And spending time making pretty weekly spreads suddenly went WAY down on my priority list. I needed something with better functionality, but that still left room for the things I loved most about bullet journaling.

Enter: the Passion Planner. Continue reading “Bullet Journaling in a Passion Planner”

Crafty Mamas, Mama Loves a Party, The Salties, Tips & Hacks

Putting the GOOD Back in Goodie Bags

I.Hate. Goodie Bags.

There I said it.

Controversial? Sure. But true. SO FREAKING TRUE. I just want them gone. But as I stare at an ominous October calendar that has a giant star on October 8, my youngest daughter’s first birthday party, I start to waver in my conviction. Because as much as I don’t want to make them, I know there will be kids that expect them. Hell, there will be parents that expect them.

I’ve given into the Goodie Bag monster before. At my sons second birthday I made little 11401548_10207121368018916_8004798448923372245_ncanvas bags, complete with each child’s name on them. A dinosaur themed event, each kid got “fossil dig” brushes – each with painstakingly Cricut-ed labels – and of course, the homemade salt dough fossils to go with them. There were bubble wants and homemade crayons in the shape of dinosaurs. And I’m not gonna lie, it was ADORABLE. But looking back, Good God was it a lot of work!

By the time I got to my second child’s first birthday party at the end of December, each kid got one coloring calendar. Because easy.

Three days away from the seventh birthday party in my resume, and I’m ready to throw in the towel and say eff it. I’m afraid I’m not going to get my dream of saying goodbye to the goodie bags, so here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for putting the GOOD back in Goodie Bag! Continue reading “Putting the GOOD Back in Goodie Bags”