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Tiny Tips

The Bane of My Existence

receipt organization


They are the bane of my existence.

I am swimming in them and am drowning in a sea of crumpled little papers. My wallet, my purses, my car, my jewelry drawer, my junk drawer ~ they are everywhere and I am haunted by them. In my nightmares they grow legs and come running after me in a swarm. Kidding. But seriously, they drive me CRAZY.

So, this post is not a receipt organization tips post. I wish it was. This post is a mom-to-mom SOS post because that is what I desperately NEED from you – receipt organization tips.

Here is my problem, and I want to know how you handle it:

I am doing my shopping at warp speed. Either during the ridiculously short preschool time frame OR with kids that are not so thrilled to be shopping with me. Therefore, at check out I am usually in a rush and I take the receipt and stuff it in either my wallet or my purse.

The have it together mom would then, immediately upon returning home, take out the receipts, organize and file them in some civilized fashion. But I am not that mom.

But I know some of you are.

So, please share the secrets to your success at keeping receipts in an organized fashion?

What are your receipt organization tips?

How do you keep them organized?

I want to take all your tips, try them out, and then hopefully do another post with a real life receipt success story. Help a mama out?

Sibling Conflict Resolution Tip

sibling conflict resolution tip

The post today is about a sibling conflict tip my friend Laurie shared with me. A truly brilliant idea, which makes for immediate blog material.

Does this sound familiar?

You come up with a fun idea to go out to dinner with the family and start talking about where you will go. One child yells, “Ruby’s!!” Their sibling yells (louder), “Wahoo’s!!

And then what was supposed to be a pleasant outing idea has turned into the battle of wills, which each child standing firm in their stance. UGH!!!

A standoff (and headache) ensues and you think, “Why on earth did I start this?’ I should have just boiled some spaghetti and called it a day.

But the dinner idea is out there, and there is no turning back, because really, you don’t want to make dinner, so the conversation and negotiations start.

You might have one child that is likely to throw the bigger fit, so you try to talk the other into going along with their idea so you can just get out the door for pete’s sake.  There might be a bribe involved. Anything might happen at this point.

Or maybe you say, “Enough! I am choosing!” and then they get really pissed off and the fun family dinner turns into a nightmare before you walk out the door. Good times.

But here is a sibling conflict tip that is going to help you.

If you have two children, you have an odd child and an even child.

My firstborn, Emma, was born first. She is a 1, or my odd girl.

Morgan was born second, she is a 2, my even girl.

So, in those situations now, where it is truly just a matter of one opinion or choice vs. the other, you can say, “What day is it? The 12th? Oh, it’s an even day, that means Morgan gets to chose this time.”

The calendar is calling the shots. Blame it on the day kiddos. You are not choosing sides, the calendar is.

I implemented it the next morning, which was the 9th. My kids thought it was a super cool plan. Until my oldest misunderstood and thought since it was an odd day, she would get her way all day. We are working on that one.

Now, there must be a way to figure this out with more than two kids, but I didn’t have the brainpower to come up with an idea. If anyone else does, please comment and share!

beautiful photo by the lovely

Raising Punctual Kids


Confession: I was raised in an ultra-punctual family. So raising punctual kids has been important to me, by nature.

The Kendalls were always on time, often a few minutes early. Even today, if my sister, my mom and myself are all meeting up someplace (disclaimer: without kids) and coming from different places, we will all walk in at the exact same time, on the dot. Punctuality is in my blood.

Having kids made me loosen up a bit, because as we know, even with best efforts to get out the door on time, endless things can come up to alter departure time (i.e. “I have to go potty!” after getting buckled in the car. UGH!!!) So, I am not as punctual today with kids in tow as I would have been in my prior kid-free life, but still, I make every effort to be on time. Unexpected traffic can often put me over the edge.

Since punctuality is important to me, I have found myself inadvertently teaching my kids the importance of being on time.

So, here are some of my tips on raising punctual kids.

Work Backward and Set Departure Time 

The most important thing to being punctual is, of course, departing at the right time. My parents taught me to estimate driving time, parking time, walking in time, etc. When you factor in how much time it will take you door to door, you can figure out what time you need to leave.

Let’s say the family is going to a movie that starts at 3:30.  I would teach the kids to estimate about 10 minutes to drive there, probably 10 more minutes to park in the structure and walk in, 1o minutes to buy tickets and popcorn, etc. So, we would figure we should leave at 3:00pm to make it to our movie on time.

Estimate Getting Ready Time

OK, now that you have the departure time set, the next step is to teach your kids to estimate how long it will take them to get ready. Do they have to shower? Clean room? Pick out an outfit?  Have them pay attention to the clock when they are getting ready and look at how long it takes.

This way you can then back up getting ready time from departure time, and know, for example, if you are leaving for church at 8:45am, and it takes 30 minutes to get ready, you have to start getting ready at 8:15am.

I remember the days when I would budget an hour, sometimes an hour and 15 minutes to shower and get ready. Remember the leisurely showers, long blow dries, hair styling, careful make-up application?

That time is down to 20 minutes now with a shower, tops. Pretty amazing how become a mom can make you ultra efficient!

Punctuality is an Important Value

Raising punctual kids will be something they will thank you for someday, because to me, it is a really important character trait.

Whether it’s getting to a friend’s birthday lunch, college class, job interview or work shift on time, being punctual is something that will never steer them wrong. Because I have yet to meet many bosses that say, “Oh, get here whenever!”

How do you feel about punctuality and raising punctual kids? Do you have any tips to share? 

How to End Fights Over Car Seats

How to End Fights Over Car Seats

This post is how to end fights over car seats, an issue that seems to be a common one amongst moms with more than one child eligible to ride in the same type of car seat and carpooling moms everywhere. May this idea work for you like it worked for me because dealing with car seat squabbles can be a nightmare.

This year we started a regular carpool with four girls. We have four seats for the girls: two in the middle row and two in the back row. In the beginning, it was astounding to see the amount of grief brought upon by WHO was going to sit in WHAT seat.

Many times there were actual TEARS over what seat someone got or didn’t get. It was fascinating to watch this dynamic because the drive time to school is 5 minutes tops. But still, to these first and second graders it was obviously a very big deal.

The last thing I wanted to do was start the day with someone crying, so I thought I have GOT to find a way to make this work. When I thought about it more, at the root of the issue, it appeared to be a power struggle amongst the girls.  There was power in positioning, and the back two seats became the coveted ones (why I have no idea.)

I needed to take the control out of their hands, and put into the hands of fate. Mommy was on a mission.

So I took four blank index cards and wrote the name of each seat on it. Each morning before anyone takes a seat in the car, they take a card and that is the seat they get for the ride. No questions, no negotiation, no conversation.

And it has worked brilliantly!!!!! Everyone takes their card, reads it, and gets in their seat with a smile on their face.

For anyone struggling with how to end fights over carseats, try out the pick a card method. I hope it works for you too! Any other moms want to share ideas on what has worked for you?

P.S. I am going to see if I am busted on this photo above by two moms who shall remain nameless. There is a funny story behind the happy pick your card pic!

What to Expect at Mickey’s Halloween Party (Hint: FUN!)

Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland

All you have to do is take one look at my younger daughter’s CRAZY excited candy eyes in the photo above to tell you just how much fun we had at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland last Friday night when we were invited to attend  a special media event.

For all of the details and dates on this special separate ticket event, please click here to read my post on Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013. This post will be focused on our firsthand experience and tips on how to get the most out of this boo-tiful party.

Studio Disney 365

To kick off the event, my daughter was treated to a complimentary rock star makeover by the girls at Studio Disney 365 in Downtown Disney. Made for ages 3 and up, girls can get primped and camera ready with hairstyling, makeup and wardrobe packages.

Every girl is made to feel like a celebrity and their transformation is kept secret until the final reveal. They currently have a Take Two! package for Halloween which includes a hairstyle, glitter, Minnie Halloween headband and makeup pallet to keep ($39.95). Call 714.781.STYLE for reservations. P.S. Would be a great place for a birthday party!

Studio Disney 365

Mickey’s Halloween Party 2013

Once she was glammed up, we were ready to hit the party! Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets allow you to arrive up to 3 hours before start time to “mix in” with the guests, then when the party starts, daytime guests are escorted out and only Mickey’s Halloween Party guests remain in the park.

Our Favorite Things:

- Costumes! Guests of all ages are invited to wear their (Disneyland appropriate) costumes. It was so fun to see all the kids in costumes and my girls loved an excuse to wear theirs early.

- Trick-or-Treating! All over the park you will find treat trails where kids can take their (provided) bags and trick-or-treat for candy. Can you imagine anything more fun to a kid than trick-or-treating at Disneyland?? The day we were there trick-or-treating opened an hour early at in Toontown. Keep your eyes open for this opportunity.

- Space Mountain & Haunted Mansion! Both rides are decked out in Halloween decor with spooky additions. If your kids like this sort of thing – these rides are a must see.

Halloween Screams fireworks! My kids hung in there for the fireworks show and it was simply spooktacular. If your kids can stay up, please, please watch the fireworks show. Amazing.

- Monsters U Show and Dance Party!  This was the surprise hit of the night at Tomorrowland Terrace! Everyone danced to the tunes the Monsters U D.J. was spinning and we saw special performances by the cheerleaders and Monsters U characters. Shake your groove thing! 

My girls even got invited onto the stage for a special “Scream Contest.” Yeah, they were just a tad excited.

Monsters U Dance Party

Mickey’s Halloween Party Tips:

1. Wear a costume that is comfortable and allows you to get on and off rides easily.

2. Purchase tickets online early to save money.

3. Arrive 3 hours early so you can take advantage of the extra park time.

4. Bring a stoller. Even with older kids, it’s our sherpa-mobile for stuff, especially the candy bags.

5. Bring your kid’s jammies and toothbrush! My kids were SO tired leaving the park at 10pm. I wish I would have thought to brush their teeth before leaving the park (you will need to after the candy) and I wish I had their jammies to change them in the car. They were both out like a light within minutes and it would have made for an easier car to bed transfer. Next time!

For more information on Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland and how to purchase tickets visit:

Here is a group photo of the bloggers that attended the event. Thank you Disneyland!
[photo credit Disneyland]

Halloween Blogger Event

Disclosure: My family was provided complimentary tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party to facilitate a firsthand review.