Chaos. That word perfectly describes my life right now. Pure utter chaos.
Keeping the kids happy, the house clean(ish), getting dinner on the table and (maybe) getting laundry done takes just about every available second I have. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that some days are hard, very hard.
That being said, there’s a handful of items that I rely on every single day to help me stay sane – my favorite things. My favorite things aren’t expensive and they bring me a little closer to sanity each for their own individual reasons be it convenience, organization or just plain joy.
Please note, this is not an advertisement. I purchased these items on my own terms with real, actual money.
I’ve had this watch for some time now and I still love it. Actually I never take it off except when I run and it’s only to put on my Garmin. For a while I quit wearing a watch. I mean, really with cell phones you really don’t need one anymore but when you’ve always got a handful of something (in my case, kids) it’s handy to not have to fish your phone out of your purse or pocket to see what time it is.
I guess any watch would serve this purpose but I particularly like this one because it was cheap and is virtually indestructible. I think I got it on sale at Academy for $25.
The count down and count up timers are perfect for toddler/kid use.
I read once that if you use a timer to dictate when a fun activity is over then it makes the end of said activity less arbitrary and more concrete.
“Five more minutes at the playground, little one. When Mommy’s watch beeps its time to leave.”
You can argue with Mommy, you can’t argue with her watch.
When Alvy was a little smaller I set the count down timer for 2 hours so I knew when it was time to feed him again (also useful for remembering when to dispense medicine).
Need to leave the house at a certain time? Just set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to go or in my case, get ready to go.
The best part about this watch is it’s waterproof. When I swim at the Y, I always know how long the kids have been in ChildWatch. How long I’ve been I the shower? The answer to this question is especially useful if I’m showering in the evening and racing bedtime.
Maybe it’s just the Type A in me but I find this indispensable.
I heart this watch.
I have two of these bottles. I actually bought a second one because I was constantly chasing the first one around. Where did I leave my water bottle? Is it in the car? In my gym bag? In the bottom of the jogging stroller?
I like them because they don’t spill and I can keep track of how much water I’ve had for the day – important information when you’re running in the heat and breastfeeding. Any less then 100 oz (4 bottles) a day and I start noticing a drop in my milk supply. Since I run in the evenings I try to drink two bottles before my run, one bottle during my cool down and one bottle after my shower while I’m feeding the baby.
Downside? After two years I had to replace the lid on my first bottle. Repeated opening and closing caused the little hinge to break. But seriously, two years and the replacement lid was only $8. Not too bad.
Something to watch out for though, if you put cold water in it then leave it in the hot car with the nozzle open the heat causes pressure to build in the bottle. When you pick it up it turns into a little mini volcano spilling several tablespoons of water all over your cup holder, the console and your shorts. Not that that’s happened to me or anything…
Let’s face it, once you have kids you live in a constant state of distraction. In the days before children I was able to remember the pot of chili on the stove and the cookies in the oven. Somewhere between then and now though I lost that skill. After almost ruining one of my pots by turning a sick of butter into charcoal and testing the nonstick qualities of the silpat with a batch of biscuits, I decided it was time to invest in a kitchen timer. I found this one at Ace Mart (if you haven’t been, you need to go, they’re open to the public) and it quickly entered can’t-live-without status. You can time four separate events in either count down or count up mode. All you have to do is remember which timer goes to what item you’re cooking.
The only thing I don’t like about it is the inability to turn off the beep every time you press a key. It’s amazingly loud and annoying.
I love, love, love this bag. Unfortunately, it’s been discontinued (why?!). I’ve looked all over the internet for a place that still sells it but to no avail. This means I can never, ever lose it because apparently getting a new one is impossible.
It’s the perfect size, it’s small but not too small. The fabric is flexible but still holds it’s shape when you put it down. And most imporantly it still holds a ton of stuff. It easily holds everything I need for both kids: diapers, wipes, extra onesies, a burp cloth, a bib, E’s water bottle, a pacifier, snacks and Sophie the Giraffe.
The two pockets on the outside are perfect for my phone and wallet. There’s also a separate pocket in the back which I use for catchall stuff – receipts, maps of the zoo, etc. I can easily adjust the strap to wear across my body, over my shoulder or to hang on the back of the stroller.
It’s washable (extra handy when your toddler smears banana on all over it), super durable and as a bonus the zippers sound like those on a tent, which makes me happy.
I can only hope North Face has replaced this product with something equally wonderful because if I loose this and can’t replace it with something that I love just as much I will be pretty upset.
This isn’t my favorite thing for me, it’s my favorite thing for Evie. It’s good for hours of endless entertainment and if she gets it on her clothes no big deal! I got this as a set at Michaels for $11 or $12 with the six markers pictured above. The board is the perfect size to fit in her little lap. I’ve noticed the washable dry erase markers are a bit harder to wipe off than regular dry erase markers but a wet rag will clean the board nicely. This board has already seen countless erasures! The only downside? She’s still not strong enough to get the lids off the markers so she has to bring them to me for help.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my favorite things with you! I have no doubt that soon I will have more things to add to this list as I discover new products that add just a little bit of sanity to my day. Each item has a link to its listing on Amazon (with the exception of the bag), just in case you’re interested in buying one of these for yourself. If you do take the plunge to buy something I’ve mentioned I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
P.S. The item on my wrist in the watch picture is a ponytail holder. I have several of them and unfortunately, I don’t quite love them enough to include on my list. They don’t grip my fine hair well enough for me to be 100% satisfied with them for their intended use. BUT I do like them as bracelets; they’re pretty, generally match my clothing and don’t drag on the table or my computer keyboard (my main peeves against bracelets). I switch them from wrist to wrist to remind me which side I finished nursing last. 🙂