9 Tips for Keeping Kids Rooms Clean

This post on keeping kids rooms clean is sponsored by The Good Stuff and Coupons.com.

If you’ve got a whole house to keep clean weekly, you know how just a few good tips can drastically alter your workload. With kids in the house, that cleaning task can sometimes seem insurmountable, but by utilizing these nine tips for keeping rooms clean, you’ll be relaxing with your feet kicked up in a clean house in no time.

9 Tips for Keeping Kids Rooms Clean

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Along with these tips, spending a little time making some efficiency and organization changes to your home can also help shorten the time your family spends cleaning your home each week. 

Get Your Kids Involved

Get kids involved in cleaning their room.

While sometimes it may be tempting to simply clean the room as you see fit, rather than trying to cajole your junior family members, getting the kids involved from the very beginning is key. After all, it is their room, and getting buy-in from the start will only help down the road. 

Giving them ownership over how their room is to be organized can help inspire them to keep the clutter at bay. If nothing else, they will know where you expect their items to be kept when not in use.

Let Them Take the Lead

Instead of trying to make decisions for your kids as far as what stays and what goes, give them the opportunity to share their vision with you. Letting them tell you about what their thoughts allows you to get a window into their world. You can then start to speak their language, giving them the sense that you are there to help.

Everything in its Place

Simply telling kids to “put something away” can imply a negative tone, and it also isn’t a definite instruction. Instead, personalize everything. Give everything in your child’s room a “home,” or place where it will live. When things are out-of-place, asking your kids to put something where it lives is a more positive and fun way of saying “clean up this mess.”

Give Them Control of Their Domain

Let kids take control of their own space.

When clearing the clutter, you may be tempted to interject and force them to hold on to certain items. A special gift, something sentimental, etc. However, having too much stuff in their room can be positively overwhelming for kids. Imagine being asked to keep a room full of stuff you don’t want and keep it organized, and you begin to get the picture. Instead, kids need to be given the ability to say what stays and what goes.

Get On Their Level

As adults, it’s not a problem to organize things wherever we find space. However, that strategy doesn’t always work for smaller people. It’s important for them to be able to access things easily and see where they are at a moment’s glance. That’s why it’s important to start at ground level and work your way up. Having organization spaces close to floor level gives your kids easy access to their things, and it also makes it easier for them to get them put away.

Keep Things Consistent

When your kid gets to school, chances are they are being asked to store their things in their cubby. So, recreate that experience at home with their own in-room cubbies.

Mirroring what happens at school can help reinforce keeping things in their place. If you put them by the door to their room, it also helps create a drop-zone where things can be put as soon as they enter their room, before they even have a chance to clutter.

Make a Game of It

Kids love games and can turn almost anything into a competition. Try to develop a fun routine in regards to cleaning and organizing rooms. A “Clean Room Club,” or counting backwards from ten as ten items are put away can also make the experience of keeping a room clean more fun.

Create Boundaries

Your child’s room is their space inside the home, so it needs to be as functional for them as possible. If the size of their room allows it, you should strive to make separate spaces within that room. There will be a temptation when organizing to move tables to walls and open up as much floor space in the middle of the room as possible. However, that lends itself to clutter.

Show Them the Way

When it comes to finding their way in the world, often children mirror the behavior of their parents. If clutter in your home isn’t a problem confined just to your kids’ rooms, it may be helpful to look in the mirror at some of your own behaviors. Take a good look at how you choose to organize your life, and apply some of the same tips we’ve gone over here to your own space inside the home.

Summer Shorts Upgrade: Just the right length with personality

This post on summer shorts is sponsored by The Good Stuff and Coupons.com.

Upgrade your summer shorts with this easy kid activity.

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Remember the days when holes in pants were considered messy and poor? When did we get the trend where pants are being bought with holes in them? It truly baffles me.

I have to admit though, as my kids wore holes in their pants, I became a little lax and let them wear them anyway. It was the trend after all.

After a General Conference address by Jeffrey R. Holland where he said “Sunday best has lost it’s meaning in our time“, I recommitted myself to pay more attention to what we wear all the time, not just on Sunday.

The holey pants had to go. Being the frugal person that I am however, I wasn’t just going to toss these otherwise perfectly good pants out! Instead, we like to upgrade our pants into shorts.

Summer Shorts How-To

Pants with holes? No problem with this upgrade.

Bonus here – you know how girls shorts are always way too short. I mean, WAY TOO SHORT! This simple fix gives your summer shorts that are the perfect length and fun to wear.

Here’s what you do. Take a pair of pants with holes in the knees. Cut along the hole that is up highest on one leg. This will be your guide for cutting along the other leg. Fold the pants in half, and cut off the other leg.

Ta Da! Shorts!

Shorts from pants - it's a literal Upgrade!

Being the creative fun type (hahaha…ok I do try sometimes!), I then pulled out some fun crafts to really give our summer shorts an upgrade. Why not dress them up a bit?

With fabric markers and iron-on patches, you can really turn an old pair of pants into something new. If you personally don’t feel creative, turn the project over to your kids, and let them express themselves on their shorts.

Iron on patches to summer shorts for some instant fun.

This is a great activity for when the kids are bored, and it’s raining outside, or just because you need a day to actually get stuff done around the house this summer! Iron on patches and fabric markers can be found at most fabric stores, or as always on Amazon.

I suggest a parent helps with the cutting and any iron on patches. From there though, this is a project the kids can run with. We personally went with a patriotic theme to get ready for the 4th of July this week.

We styled the shorts with a fun striped shirt before heading out for some photos. Read How to Style Summer Shorts for more tips on styling your new creations.

how to style summer shorts.

A Summer Chore List Helps Teach the Family Routine

This summer chore list is sponsored by The Good Stuff from Coupons.com

Teaching the whole family through similar routines helps keep the home running smoothly. Try a summer chore list to tame the chaos.

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Hellooo Summer! Long days full of sunshine, and fun, and family togetherness. Or is it more like long days of kids home, begging for electronics, with toys and crafts strewn from one end of the house to the other while Mom spends all her time cooking one meal and snack after another.

I say it every summer – this is the summer I am going to stay on top of it, and keep our family and home organized.

This summer, I really mean it! After watching my sister-in-law take the reigns year after year, and seeing how well her kids respond to it – there was no way I couldn’t put together our own Summer Chore List without some hope it would work.

See, here’s what I’ve learned over the years – routine is one of many keys to a happy healthy family. It’s honestly why I love when the kids go to school, because we have a good routine with school. But when summer hits, we tend to say goodbye to routine and hello to chaos.

It’s time to stop the chaos, and just change up the routine. There are a lot of things a routine can teach us as a family, but here’s just a few I see in my home.

Responsibility

When you stick to a routine as a family, it teaches kids that they are responsible for certain things in a family. Things like making their bed, their personal hygiene, and helping keep the home clean.

Trust

I have to trust that the kids are doing their chore list, and being honest about it. The kids have to trust me to follow through with rewards and consequences. Without trust, families fall apart. 

Example

Having a summer chore list is a great time to teach your kids by example. I have given myself the same list to accomplish every day just as them. This means the list is no longer something I just talk about, but they see me doing it. They say actions speak louder than words, and I truly believe that when it comes to teaching our kids. If we don’t do it, neither will they.

Priorities

Kids do not know how to prioritize. They don’t. Sometimes they might get it right, but generally they will want to do the fun things first, and procrastinate the work. By setting up a routine you are teaching them how to prioritize. This skill will be essential throughout their entire life.

If you’d like a customized copy of this printable, just shoot me an email or comment below.

So how does this summer chore list work? Well, I got the idea from my sister in law. Each child will get a printed off sheet that then gets laminated. Attach the sheet to a clipboard, and hang on the wall, or place in an area that is easily noticeable. We don’t want to forget about these after all. Each morning the kids grab their sheet, and as they go through the routine they check off each item.

You may be wondering about a few of the items on my kids list. Morning routine for example is what I call out every day when they get up, even during the school year. My kids know that it means 4 things – Make bed, brush hair, brush teeth, say prayer. Nothing else happens until these 4 items are done.

4 workbook pages

The 4 workbook pages came about, because every year my children bring home half done work books that they don’t want to get rid of. They also don’t crack them open ever again. So now we do a partial “summer school”, and keep their minds fresh for the next year by completing a few pages out of the workbooks each day.

For the spiritual study time, this looks different for each of my kids. I do ask that they read from The Book of Mormon every day. However, my 12 year old is working on a program called Personal Progress while the other girls are working on a program called Faith in God. There are different faith building activities they do to earn awards, and this is a time they can set aside to work on those. For my 7 year old, I have challenged him to read The Book of Mormon before his next birthday when he is old enough to be baptized.So together he and I read a little of that each day.

Once the chore list is done, they are allowed 1 hour of screen time. If they get on screens before their chores are through, they lose screen time the rest of that day and the next. This consequence teaches them to be responsible for their lists and their time.

My kids think 1 hour is not enough time, but I think it’s plenty. After all, I plan on taking the kids on adventures, finding new parks, going on hikes, playing new board games, and getting them together with friends. We can’t do that if we stare at a screen with all the leftover time in each day.

How do summers look at your house?

Compost: A Beginners Guide

This article on compost is sponsored by The Good Stuff and Coupons.com. All opinions are my own.

Any good gardener knows that compost will significantly benefit their garden. Whether you’re planting a large field of vegetables, or a small flower garden compost will increase the health of your plants.

A beginners guide to compost. How to start and what you need to know.

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When I was a kid, we kept an old ice cream bucket under the sink. After every meal we were expected to scrape certain of our scraps into this bucket. When the bucket was full, it would be someone’s job to trek it outside and into the woods where the chicken wire fence made a crudely placed compost pile.

For years we did this. It was never a favorite chore, but if it meant getting out of cleaning something else, I was happy to take the time. Often I would see wild animals enjoying our scraps, and once a beautiful white tailed deer.

There was always one question I never got answered though – what was the point? Sure it meant less garbage, but now we had this extremely stinky pile of waste out in the woods. Thankfully, it was in an area we kids never played near. Or perhaps we never played near it, because of the stench.

So while we had a compost pile and we had a garden, I don’t believe my mother ever used it in the garden. On the up side, the forest was getting lots of extra nutrients, we were feeding wildlife, and on the rare year, we would grow a watermelon or cantaloupe right out of the compost heap!

So with that experience behind me, here’s what you should know if you want to start composting.

A Beginners Guide to Compost

I’ll go over the basics here, but for a more comprehensive guide on how to compost, follow that link.

Size Matters

The size of your garden matters.

How big your compost heap should be, will depend on how big your garden space is. If you only have house plants, you don’t need to compost everything. In fact, a small, indoor counter-top compost bin will work very well for your needs. Amazon sells a variety of these, and they are designed to keep the smell contained as well.

If however, you have a larger outdoor garden, you will probably want a larger pile for your compost, and it will need to be outdoors. For the hobby gardener with just a few garden beds, a medium sized single bin will be your best friend. You can purchase these on amazon, or build one yourself.

For the more serious gardener, you will probably want a larger multi compartment bin. Bins like this allow you to fill one compartment with compost-able items, and then continue filling the next bins, while the first works on turning itself into usable compost. Currently my mother has a 3 bin compost my brother made her, and she finally uses it to feed her garden.

What Goes In It?

What should you compost?

The only rule I remember as a kid when adding our scraps to the compost bin, was no meat, bones, or dairy. Everything else had better be added to that bucket or we’d risk my mothers frustration.

Turns out, there’s actually quite a bit of do’s and don’ts with composting. A good compost contains what we call green and brown materials. Green materials are your kitchen scraps, dead weeds, grass clippings, etc. Brown materials are dry leaves, newspapers (shred them for quick break down), and sawdust.

The mix of green and brown materials are adding both nitrogen and carbon to your compost. These are the chemicals needed to break down the scraps into a usable compost.

Using Your Compost

Gardens love compost!

Now you have a scrap pile, what are you going to do with it? Don’t be like my mom and just pile it up, hoping to one day use it. Actually use it! Your garden will thank you. The environment will thank you.

When the compost turns dark brown, maybe even black and has a nice earthy smell to it, that is when it is ready to use. Here’s the thing, though, composting takes time. At some point you will need to stop adding to your pile, and let it turn into the usable material. Again, the size will matter on how long this process takes.

Once it is ready though, the real fun begins. Compost can be spread across your garden in 1-2 inch layers. After applying the compost, water it to help it seep into the soil faster. For indoor plants, the idea is the same, just on a smaller scale.

You can also use your compost in your lawn. Spread it out across the lawn, sprinkle some water on top, and give it a little time to seep into the lawn. Your grass will love it!


I hope this helps encourage you to start composting! Whether you’re new to gardening, or experienced but never tried composting, your garden is going to be so happy with all the added nutrients it gets this year.

Morning Meditation: a routine to start your day

This post on morning meditation is sponsored by The Good Stuff at Coupons.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Morning meditation: a routine to start your day in the right mental state.

Not everyone is a morning person, and sometimes even morning people need a little help to get going with their day. These tips for creating a morning meditation routine will help start your day on the right foot.

Some people talk about drinking coffee in the morning, as the only thing that can wake them up. You see memes, jokes, and merchandise with phrases similar to “it’s not morning until I’ve had my coffee.”

That’s never been a part of my life. I don’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol. While it is a principle my church teaches, it is also a personal choice I have decided to make. Being co-dependent on a substance just doesn’t align with the way I try to live.

So instead, I like to start my days with a bit of morning meditation. As my favorite podcaster (Come Follow Me for Us) does, I love looking up the definition of words to get a clear grasp on their meaning.

What is Meditation?

According to the Oxford Dictionary to meditate means to “think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” or “to think deeply or carefully about (something)” or “plan mentally; consider“.

So in essence, meditation can be look just about however you want it to. Not everyone will meditate or think deeply the same way, or about the same things. I go more in depth on to the why and how of meditation in another post. Here I want to focus on the benefits of meditating in the morning.

Morning Meditation

Starting our day out right, can really be what makes or breaks us. If we get up with a bad attitude, it’s hard to change it as the day progresses. But if we get up with an attitude of success and courage to face whatever comes, we generally have a better day – even if things don’t go as planned.

As the definition of meditate suggests, starting your morning out by carefully planning out and thinking through your day, will give you a jump start to a positive mental state. Then when things don’t go as you planned, you will have prepared mentally for the outcome and can adjust.

30 minutes earlier

start your day 30 minutes earlier

The kids are home for the summer, and all you want to do is finally sleep in. Don’t. Set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier than when you plan on getting the kids up.

This extra 30 minutes will give you time to breathe. I do some of my best thinking in a still quiet house. Once anyone else gets up though, that time is lost to the noise of having 5 kids vying for my attention.

This 30 minutes of a still home allows the setting to be made for successful meditation

Set the Mood

morning meditation needs to have the right mood set

With a quiet home, you may think you’re ready to meditate. However, if you get up and are trying to stare out a window but there’s dirty dishes filling the sink. Or you are sitting in your comfortable chair, but the room around you is covered in toys, blankets, shoes, clutter. Your mind will not be able to focus.

Every night, gather the family for a quick pick up of the house before bed. After dinner, have the family help clean up all the dishes. This is not just your responsibility, but there’s as well. Together, you can set the mood for the next day. Make it part of your nightly routine. These 10 ways to simplify your morning routine will make morning meditation easier.

Get Outside and Breathe Fresh Air

get outside and breathe fresh air

Clearing the visual clutter is not always successful in a house full of kids. So on really nice days, I try to get out to the porch. Depending on the season I will take a mug of hot cocoa, or cool glass of juice with me. I sit on the steps, and breathe in the fresh air of a world beginning to wake.

Homes make great shelter, but the outside world is full of fresh air our bodies need. Breathing deeply the first morning air. When a night of sleep has allowed the dust and grime of the day to settle down, helps open your mind. Your brain will thrive on this air, and your thinking will feel fresh.

Morning meditation will look different for everyone. Find what works for you.

Morning Meditation does not mean you need to go learn some fancy yoga moves, and contort your body into odd shapes. It does not mean you need to find some spiritual center – though I highly recommend reading The Book of Mormon during your morning meditation.

All you really need, is a little bit of quiet time, and a clear mind. Now go enjoy your summer vacation with the kids. Clear your mind, and let the fun roll.

How Serving Others Boosts Your Mood

This post on serving others is sponsored by The Good Stuff and Coupons.com. All opinions are my own.

Giving service to others can really boost your own mood. See how here!

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“Whenever you are having a bad day, go out and serve someone else.”

These words were like a mantra from my mom. When we seek to focus our attention on others problems – we soon find what was bothering us really wasn’t that big a deal.

The Good Stuff has a great article listing 10 simple ways to be happier, but I’d venture to add a number 11 – Serve Others! It’s almost impossible to serve others and walk away feeling worse.

Serving Others Equals More Happiness

Serving others will equal more happiness in our own life.

Wonder why that is? Science. Our brains are wired to feel better when acting selflessly. I dare you to go out and do some kind of service without a smile. When we are truly out serving others, you can’t.

Now, can you give service without a smile? Absolutely, people in customer service do it all the time. But is that really service at that point? If you go into serving others grudgingly, you won’t get anything out of it.

Next time you are feeling a little blue, or out of sorts, find some small act of service. A random act of kindness will do the trick even.

Gives You a Greater sense of Purpose

Get involved! Volunteer somewhere new this month.

Have you ever wondered if you had anything to give? Or if there was any purpose to your life? Perhaps you feel disconnected from life altogether?

Going out to serve others will help you find a greater purpose to your own life. Whether it is delivering meals to shut ins, reading books with the under privileged, or genuinely smiling at the cashier and thanking them for what they do.

Allowing others to feel loved through us – I’m telling you right now, that it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Removes the Focus from Our selves

Take the focus off your self.

Focusing on our selves can lead to many problems. For one, it goes back to that selfish brain science. A selfish attitude decreases our happiness. When we search to always get what we want, and make our lives perfect, we may find ourselves on a wild goose chase – there will always be something “better” on the other side of the fence.

However, when we remove that focus and give it to serving others, and improving the lives of others, we will naturally find that our life gets better too. And when our life is naturally better, we are better.

Giving service doesn’t have to be some huge production. In fact, it’s really quite easy. My favorite place to look for service opportunities is on JustServe.org. You’ll find a lot of local organizations looking for volunteers here.

For those local to Indianapolis, check out my fellow influencer on Instagram at GiveBackIndy. We’ve had the opportunity to give service together, and she’s always sharing ways to get involved!

If you don’t have time to volunteer, then simply taking the time to wish someone a good day, to offer a genuine smile, or share a compliment will go a long way in boosting your own mood.

How to Support an Addicted Spouse in Recovery

This post on helping an addicted spouse in recovery is a guest article written by Tyler from the Steps Recovery Center. No compensation was exchanged for this post. My goal is to provide content to help your family live a more full and purposeful life.

Marriage is supposed to be one of the most rewarding relationships in our life, where spouses can go to each other for reassurance and feel loved in our everyday lives. Marriage is supposed to feel like a safe haven from the outside world.

Have a spouse addicted to <fill in the blank>? These tips will help you support them in their recovery.” class=”wp-image-9327″/></figure>



<p><strong>Related Content:<em><a href= Learning to Love in a Marriage when Differences Arise

Unfortunately, addiction can quickly turn the safe haven of marriage into a nightmarish cage. If you are the spouse of an addict, you’ve probably witnessed your partner change from a kind, loving person to someone whose mood requires you to walk on eggshells constantly.

Even if your partner is actively working to recover from their addiction, it can be all too tempting to give in to despair. I’m here to tell you that there are steps you can take now that will not only help you support your spouse but also help you gain some semblance of normalcy in your life.

Here are some tips on how to support your alcoholic or addicted spouse in recovery.

Be Honest – Avoid Denial

If you are married to an addict in recovery, the most important thing you can do is be honest with yourself about the situation. Too many people try to sweep their addicted spouse’s actions under the rug rather than address reality. However, ignoring the problem won’t help you or your spouse.

Being honest doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone you meet about your problem, but it does mean you need to face it head-on. Doing this allows you to take control of your own well-being and helps you to determine what your next step should be.

Do Your Research

Addiction is a disease that can affect everyone in your family. The person you fell in love with still exists, they are just sick and need help.

If you are married to an addict in recovery, all is not lost. There are many sources online full of tips and strategies to help you through this rough patch in your marriage.

You should also consider contacting an experienced treatment specialist as they can help you gain a much clearer picture of your situation.

The Steps Recovery Centers blog is a great place to start, as they regularly post blogs about addiction recovery and how to support an alcoholic spouse in recovery.

Support a spouse through addiction recovery.

Stop Enabling

Whatever you do, and this can’t be emphasized enough, don’t enable your partner in their addiction. Enabling is doing anything that shelters an addict from the consequences of their actions and allows them to continue indulging in their addictions.

Enabling an addict always causes more harm than good. Your goal is to help your spouse overcome their addiction through love and care, not help them continue their destructive behavior.

Put You and Your Family First

Ultimately, there is only one person you can change in this world, and that’s you. If you are the spouse of an addict, it’s vital that you place the needs of yourself and your family first.

This means that you should continue with any family routines you may have, such as family dinner, even if your spouse doesn’t join you. Find some time to spend with family and friends. Taking the time to care for yourself can help you find inner strength that you didn’t even know you had!

It’s also important to know your limits. Most spouses will eventually get the help they need. However, it’s important to remember that marriage doesn’t mean that you need to be tied to a sinking ship.

Remember, addiction recovery is a process. Your spouse may make great strides some weeks and little to no progress other weeks. As many can attest, things can get better.

Author’s Bio

Tyler S. Hansen 
Steps Recovery Centers
General Manager

Tyler S. Hansen. Steps Recovery Centers General Manager

I am a recovering addict who currently has 7+ years clean and sober. I spent time in the Utah State Prison for drug and theft charges and now work as an Advanced Substance Use disorder counselor for Steps Recovery
addiction Centers and the Utah County Sheriffs Office. I am also attending the MSW program at Brigham Young University and an advocate and speaker for recovery.

A Pre-Teens Guide to Cell Phone Etiquette

This post on pre-teen cell phone etiquette is sponsored by Coupons.com.

So, you’re thinking of getting your pre-teen a cell phone? Read through this cell phone etiquette guide first!

Pre-teen have a cell phone? Read these cell phone etiquette tips and set some ground rules.

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We were those parents who said we’d never get our kids a cellphone – at least not until they could pay for it themselves.

Then our daughter went to middle school. Life had changed more than I thought it would. There were after school clubs, group projects, and many more friends.

We went through most of the year without a cell phone, but I found her becoming more reclusive, and avoiding joining clubs or even getting together with friends. Perhaps, I thought, it was because her friends had easier ways to communicate with each other and their parents.

After much consideration, we decided to set up my old phone for her use. The hope was that she would find comfort in being able to contact me about after school activities. It would also make working in group projects easier to coordinate. Using an old out-dated phone meant she would also be limited in how she could use it.

When it comes to giving your pre-teen a cell phone though, there are certain rules they should and you should follow.

Mom and Dad have full access to everything on the cell phone

cell phone etiquette and teens

This one is a must. For your kids safety, and your knowledge, you need to know what they are using the phone for. There are many ways to limit what they can use the phone for, but kids have a way of finding new ways to use electronics.

At the end of every day, I take a moment to read through any texts that were sent that day. I also check her call log, and safari tabs.

No deleting phone numbers/messages

I quickly discovered that after each phone call she made or received she would delete the number. We discussed that she needs to leave the call log alone, so I can see who may be calling her. After getting a number of spam calls, she understands that this helps me keep her safe.

She also had no idea that that is what she was doing when she swiped the number away. While I hope she also hasn’t been deleting any text messages, this one is harder to keep tabs on. Discuss with your children the importance of knowing who and what they are texting.

Keep the Cell Phone out of the Bedroom

Keep electronics out of the bedrooms.

My number one rule with a pre-teen owning a cell phone is that it must stay out of the bedroom. Conversations behind closed doors, and facetime with friends don’t need to be held in private at this age.

On top of the privacy concern, allowing a phone in the bedroom can really mess with pre-teens body clocks. They may spend many hours up in the night texting friends, playing games, or watching videos. Make it priority from the start to keep electronics out of the bedroom, including tablets.

Set aside a place for all electronics, including Mom and Dad’s phones to be during the night. We bought a multi-use charging station where all electronics go at night. By setting the example

At School, keep it in the locker or turned off in the backpack.

Cell phone etiquette at school

The main reason any pre-teen should have a phone, is to stay in contact with their parents. This means, when they are at school, the phone doesn’t need to be used. In fact, it shouldn’t be used during class. Encourage your pre-teen to either turn their phone off or keep it in their locker

I once texted my daughter to remind her of our after school schedule. She got upset with me because it was during her math class. Turns out, though, it was in her locker the whole time. She was more upset she had missed my text, lol.

Keep Tabs on Data and Internet access.

If your pre-teens cellphone is going to have data and internet access make sure it is set up so you can keep tabs on it. Discuss with your child what uses data, and how much it costs. You don’t want to get a bill at the end of the month with unexpected charges.

Read more about Teens and Cell Phones: What’s a Mom to Do? from The Good Stuff.

Diamond Stud Earrings for Mothers Day

While most 21 years old went out and celebrated with their first drink, I went and got my ears pierced. I received these Diamond Stud Earrings from Anjolee in exchange for a review. This is my honest opinion.

Anjolee Diamond Stud Earrings for Mothers Day

As a young girl, I was obsessed with earrings. My parents even bought me a picture book called “Earrings” – all about a girl who begs her parents for earrings.

When I turned 16, my parents allowed me to pierce my ears. The problem at that point – I was a low maintenance type of person. I didn’t want to worry about caring for my ears and earrings.

So, I resorted to wearing clip-ons, and even had a beautiful pair of pearl clips that I wore at my wedding! Since getting them pierced at 21, I still rarely wear earrings, except for special occasions – church and date night usually.

Flower Petal Diamond Stud Earrings from Anjolee Diamonds.

When Anjolee Diamonds offered to send me a pair of their tulip inspired Diamond Studs though, I decided I couldn’t resist. They were pretty, but also a simple design that I could enjoy. Just because I’m low maintenance, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a beautiful pair when I see one.

These Diamond Stud Earrings are truly gorgeous! It took me a bit to put them in because of the screw backing, but I felt so much more secure knowing I wouldn’t accidentally lose an earring. When you have small children who love to tug on hair and ears, and especially shiny earrings, the screw back is insurance!

So why do I love these Anjolee Diamond Earrings? Well, for one because they are fully customizable. From the type of metal, diamond size and quality, and even the length of the full piece are your choice. You’ll get exactly what you want from Anjolee.

These particular studs I chose are the Flower Petal Diamond Stud Earrings in Silver. The setting from the side looks like beautiful tulips which are one of my favorite flowers. The Tulip Poplar also happens to be the state flower for Indiana. It’s the little things like this that draw me to certain pieces of jewelry.

Anjolee earrings come packed in a it’s own display box with an LED light to put the spotlight on those beautiful studs. It’s the little things like this extra design in the box that make me feel special.

As a mother, it’s really all the little things combined that bring us joy, isn’t it? The first time we hold our little ones, feel their little toes, examine the little fingers, and getting excited over the first little smile.

Anjolee gets that.

That’s why this Mothers Day, I can’t recommend Anjolee Diamonds enough. Pair a set with some flowers, and Mom will be set! If she’s anything like me, wearing these will make her feel like a million bucks.

Need more Mothers Day Gift ideas? Check out these 7 gifts she’s sure to love!

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks. I received a copy of The Girl He Used to Know for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Available for purchase April 2nd!!

Tracey Garvis Graves, a New York Times Bestselling Author, has written a new novel, and it’s nothing you’ve read before.

The Girl He Used to Know

Meet Annika. She’s a bit awkward. Home schooled from 7th grade after an incident with bullies, it’s now 1991, and she’s headed to college. The only reason she stayed was because of an amazing roommate and the Chess Club. The Chess Club where she may have met the perfect man for her. The only one who sees her quirks and loves her anyway.

Jonathan has transferred to the University of Illinois and decides to join the Chess Club. He’s paired with a beautiful girl sitting all alone for his first game. She’s good. Real good. Can they hit it off?

Jump ahead to 2001. Annika and Jonathan have parted ways, and not on good terms. Will a chance meeting in a Chicago grocers bring them back together. Can they rekindle what they once had? Or is Annika still the same girl he used to know?

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracy Garvis Graves

Should You Read the Girl

WOW! Really just wow. This book was riveting. From the very beginning you know something is different about Annika. The reader has to make a lot of inferences and guesses as to what happened throughout the book.

The emotions are raw and real. I don’t want to give anything away, but this book is truly unlike anything else I’ve read. If you’d like to get an insight look into someone living on the spectrum and what they deal with on a daily basis – this book is for you!

As part of her character, Annika is obsessed with quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt. I truly loved this aspect of her character. Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing women, and much of the advice she gives, plays very directly into Annika’s life. They also are just good advice for anyone.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracy Garvis Graves

CONTENT WARNING: I don’t tend to read a lot of adult novels, because you just never know what you are going to get. There are certain things I just don’t want nor need to read. Chapter 18 probably could have been left out of this book. It is between consensual adults, but the details are there. Some skimming may be needed if you, like me, prefer not to read those scenes.

TRIGGER WARNING: Part of this book does take place during the attacks on 9/11. It gets very close to the scene, and may trigger emotions. Be aware.