Cleaning Hacks for the Busy Mom

Mother and daughter cleaning in the kitchen


Day-to-day we try to get by with completing something from that never ending list of home cleaning. Whether it is laundry or toilet duty, the cleaning job never feels done. Add a few little kids running around, and you really feel like you’re always picking up. So here are just a few cleaning hacks for the busy mom that makes the cleaning process just a little easier.


1. Vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. This combination is the ultimate cleaning solution. From taking care of shower grime to getting rid of stains produced by your potty-training child, this really is our go-to when it’s time to deep clean.


2. Re-purposing everyday items. Pinterest opened my eyes to which everyday items could be used for cleaning. My favorite, and probably most time-saving, idea is cleaning your blinds with a pair of BBQ tongs. Wrapping a clothing around each prong and securing it with a rubber band is nothing short of genius. While cleaning blinds is never high on my list, this method definitely helps in getting the job done more quickly.


3. Schedule. My list of things that need to be cleaned or organized usually is a mile long – that was until I started a schedule. Whether Mondays were strictly for bathroom cleaning, or Wednesdays for laundry duty, scheduling has made a world of a difference. Not to mention, scheduling the other humans in the house a chore or two is a must!


No one wants to spend their free time cleaning, so we take all the tips we can get. What is a must for you? Tweet and let us know how you tackle your world of cleaning!
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Transitioning Back into School After Summer Break


While any parent can tell you that routines are key to one’s sanity, summer has the tendency to ease up our daily routine. With vacations and kids out of school, summer takes on a new rhythm that is very hard for kids to let go. Transitioning back into school after summer break can be difficult for both kids and parents, so here are just a few tips that can help when getting back to that school routine.


1. Start back on routines early.
A week or two before school begins, start getting into the rhythm once again. Going to bed early and rising early is one of the biggest hurdles you really have to deal with, and getting your internal clock adjusted is even harder when you are a kid. Starting the routine even a week before will make a huge difference on that first day back.


2. Pinterest Inspiration.
There are ideas for just about anything on Pinterest! Easy lunch ideas are many on Pinterest, and a perfect way to inspire your own creations. Meal prep the night before, for both breakfast in the morning and a packed lunch in the afternoon, will make the morning routine go much smoother the next day.


3. Don’t wait!
Everything and anything that can be done the night before, just do it. With kids, random time consuming things can happen at the drop of the hat. The less on that morning to do list, the better in our eyes. That includes things that need to happen for yourself. Whether it is laying out your outfit the night before, or even tidying up after the kids go to bed, it all helps.


4. Cherish the Moments.
By this time we all can admit we might be a little more than ready to have our kids return to school. Cherish these moments because they go by so quickly. Carve out family time in any routine, because those are the moments you want to remember.



Tips to Consider when Hiring a Nanny or Caregiver

Tips of Hiring a Nanny

One of the hardest things to do is to leave the one you love in another person’s care. Like many, to be a stay-at-home mom or even the sole caregiver to an elderly parent is just not feasible. It is a big decision to introduce a new person into your life, but more importantly the right person. This month we are sharing tips to consider when hiring a nanny or caregiver.

  1. Let the people in your circle know you are looking. Getting a great recommendation from someone you actually know is a great start in the search. Talking to someone that has already experienced working with a potential candidate is a gold mine!
  1. Do your do diligence and take time to really search for the right person. Set up a trial one if that is possible. Being around to watch for the first couple of days can help you gauge the person level of patience and even reliability.
  1. Trust the professionals. There are great services out there that have strict screening processes that include a background check.
  1. Include the one being cared for in the interview process. They are the ones ultimately that need to be comfortable with your choice. Give them time to interact with a potential candidate, it is a vital piece in picking the right person.
  1. Don’t ignore your gut. If you have even the slightest hesitation about a candidate, then that person is not right for you.

OC Home & Family cares about your loved ones and does a mandatory background check. We provide families with the peace of mind. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Spring Fun Bucket List

spring fun

Between the longer days and the beautiful weather that Spring normally brings southern California, it is the perfect time to spend some special moments outdoors with your littles. A spring bucket list is a great way to get your child excited for the upcoming season.

Today on the blog we are sharing our top three activities that made it onto our bucket list. One of the things we love about the great outdoors is that many of the activities you can do can be a low cost, or really no cost at all.

1. Grow a Garden

Is it just us, or do kids normally gravitate to dirt? Growing a garden of their own is not only a fun afternoon activity, it is something that will help teach them discipline and responsibility all through the spring. Setting up a planter box in the backyard, as well as making signs for the different type of things they are growing is a great way to spend a few hours outdoors. Watering and maintaining their garden can be a great part of their daily routine in the spring.

2. Local Park Checklist

The great thing about most parks is that most of them are free city parks. With several different options in each city, it would probably be a kid’s dream to play on every single one of them on spring break. Pack a lunch and make a picnic out of each park trip, it will be a time for the whole family to enjoy.

3. Bubble Time Fun

Front yard bubble time will probably bring all the neighborhood kids to the yard. And now there are such fun bubble makers to add to the mix to keep the bubbles coming continuously. Add a little water table and a slip n slide, and the neighbors may never leave.

Spring Break in Orange County


It is always exciting to get to Spring Break. A week or two off is a great way to relax and have fun before your kids finish the rest of the school year. Living in the OC, there is no shortage for things to do during Spring Break in Orange County. There are so many great family oriented day trips and even overnight trips for the ones you love. We have narrowed our favorites down to the 3 things we will be doing this spring break (besides going to the Beach):

Staycation at a Resort
The Great Wolf Lodge has come to Southern California, and it could not have been at a better time. While Southern California is known for sunny days, it also tends to be unpredictable (even more so because of El Nino). Their indoor water park, as well as resort activities is a great staycation for the kids. Not to mention, the actual hotel rooms are so creatively decorated, that half the fun is sleeping in them.

A Day at the Museum
Orange County is not short on great indoor museums for kids. Pretend City, Discovery Cube and the Children’s Museum of La Habra are all great ways to burn off some energy during spring break in Orange County this year. The hands on exhibits are not only great, but it is such a fun way to do something educational.

Fun with Animals
And for those beautiful spring break days, there is so many zoos and farms in and around the Orange County areas that are perfect no matter the age of your child. From San Juan Capistrano’s Zoomars to OC Zoo, there is something for everyone. Zoomars is a favorite because there are so many great restaurants in walking distance as a special treat for mom and dad to enjoy too. 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Parents


With the first official day of Spring less than a month away, Spring cleaning has probably been at the back of your minds for quite a few weeks now. If you are anything like us, we want to spend the soon-to-be longer days with the people we love most instead of trying to rearrange the clutter that always seems to multiply as our schedules get more hectic. Do you get overwhelmed when there is too much to do? Are you overwhelmed enough to not even know where to start? Sticking with these Spring cleaning tips below will help you conquer your Spring cleaning woes.


1. Make a List

The number one spring cleaning tip is making a list. A majority of people work better with a to-do list in their daily life and it works just as well when you want to get your spring cleaning done. Throughout the day you might come across your chaotic linen closet or too many random bottles under your bath sink and think I really need to go through these items! So make a list of the Spring cleaning tasks you want to get done because it will serve as your game plan for the coming month.


2. Find Organization Ideas and Use Them

If you have the standard 40-hour+ work week, kids and a house to maintain, Pinterest will become your best friend. From 1st birthday inspiration to quick dinner recipes, it is a great way to organize your thoughts for the different areas of your life.  It is not only about de-cluttering what you don’t need, it is figuring out way to organize what you have to keep.


3. Ask for Help

There are probably many of you out there that have somewhat of superwoman (or superman) complex. You want to do everything and be there for everyone. The reality is, you need your village probably more than your village needs me. Take a minute and figure out when you need to ask for help. Whether it is making a to-do list for your spouse, or if it is in the budget to get a personal assistant, it is OK to lighten your load a little. Be practical about it and figure out what tasks doesn’t need your direct supervision.


Do you have a Spring cleaning tip that you use every year? Tell us about it!


Back to School Must Haves

kids running All your social media feeds these last two weeks have been filled with pictures of little ones getting ready for the new school year. We can still remember the excitement that came with going back to school. More so, the excitement of back to school shopping is what we loved most.


Shopping for new pens, pencils and even binders is usually the highlight for many kids during their back-to-school shopping. However, there is nothing like finding the perfect backpack to start the school year on the right foot.  So today, we give you 3 of my favorite back to school items:



1. Skip Hop – Kids Backpack and Lunch Setbackpack



Adorable styles for your little guy or girl. The toddler backpack and lunch bag are also so cute in your child’s favorite animal. We love the sizing to these bags, as sometimes backpacks can tend to be too big for the little ones.


2. Yoobi’s School Supplies – Pencils, Pens, Binders and More!products



We love the concept behind the Yoobi brand. For every item you purchase, an item is donated to a needy classroom right here in the U.S. The bright colors of the Yoobi school supplies are the perfect way to start a bright year ahead for your little one.


3. The Perfect Work Space for Kids



This week in our DIY Facebook post, we shared our favorite magnetic/chalkboard wall perfect for your kids. But this is just one of the elements that makes a perfect work space for your little one. Whether it is a place for them to do homework, or a place to be creative after school, a workplace designated just for you kid is a perfect way to get them excited about learning.


Indoor Activities for Your Children


California is known for its unpredictable weather, but this summer has really thrown us for a loop. While we can always count on the heat during this time of the year, we are getting dry days, humid days, to even days with thunderstorms and lighting. The ever changing weather has made it really hard to plan for days spent outdoors.


Here are 3 of our favorite indoor activities that will help fill in those days when being outdoors is just not possible.


Sesame Street Let’s Cook

Cooking with Elmo is the perfect way to introduce your child to all the fun that can be had in the kitchen. Whether it is measuring out ingredients, or in my son’s case, throwing those ingredients in a big bowl and mixing it up, they find excitement in doing something mommy and daddy usually do. Throw in a kid’s apron and chef hat, and you can’t help but smile along with them.


Land of Nod Teepees

Camping in the great indoors is as comfortable as camping can get. Land of Nod’s cute patterns in their teepee collection can really set the right mood for your adventure at home. My son’s Jake the Pirate tent with matching tunnel has been a lifesaver on those rainy days. And on the weekend, it is always fun to mix things up with a family sleepover in the living room.



As much as getting crafty can mean getting messy really quick, it is something most kids love to do. Given that, can I tell you how much I love Crayola and their line specifically for toddlers? From finger painting projects, to paper creations I don’t have to worry about what gets on my toddler or my rug!


Top 5 OC Summer Safety Tips

Summer is here in the OC and kids everywhere are outside swimming, riding bikes, chasing lizards, and hopefully staying out of trouble. While we’d love to be able to count on the little rascals to always use their better judgment, sometimes it’s a good idea to do a little preemptive planning to make sure that they stay safe. Educating yourself and your kids can make all the difference in ensuring that your summer goes off without a hitch. 


Here are five summer safety tips, courtesy of OC Home and Family!


5. Playground


Playgrounds can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a source of hidden dangers. Check the playground before letting your child play for broken equipment or other potential pitfalls. Make sure to watch your kids as they play to ensure that they’re not using the play equipment in a way that might put them in danger. Be aware of other kids as well. Not every kid is a nice kid, and your child may not tell you if they’re being bullied.


4. Bees and Bugs


Bees and other insects are an essential and amazing part of our natural environment, however they can also have poisonous stings and bites. Bugs can be attracted to scents and colors. Try to avoid light colored clothing and scented lotions and soaps. Bees also tend to collect near water sources and garbage. Fix any leaking or dripping pipes and keep a tight seal on all trashcans.


If someone does get stung, scrape the stinger out with your fingernail or a credit card using a sideways motion to avoid pushing the stinger in further. Wash the wound with soap and water and apply a cold compress.


Watch for signs of allergic reaction to stings. If your child’s lips or tongue begin to swell, or if she complains of tightness of the throat or difficulty breathing, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately.


3. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen


Melanoma is a nasty form of skin cancer. Studies have shown that just one blistering sunburn in early childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of getting melanoma later in life.


Sunscreen isn’t magic! It takes quite a bit for it to work to it’s SPF rating and it must be reapplied every hour or so. Also, don’t forget your lips, feet, hairline, ears or neck.


Talk to your kids about the dangers of sun overexposure and the importance of healthy habits to protect their skin. If they know why they need it, they may even remember it when you don’t.


2. No Swimming Alone


Over one in five drowning victims is a child. 30% of all children ages 1 – 4 that die from unintentional injury die from drowning. Always watch your child while they are swimming and be aware of the signs of drowning.


Drowning doesn’t look like you might imagine. It may look like the individual is just splashing in the water. Usually the child can’t call for help because he or she is struggling to get a breath. If you seen a child splashing, make sure you can see that their mouth is above water. Children have drowned only feet from their parents, because their parents didn’t even know what was happening.


If you have a home swimming pool, make sure that it is fenced off. It can also be very beneficial to teach your child to swim.


1. Have an Action Plan & First-Aid Ready


No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. Having an emergency plan and a first-aid kit that you know how to use can help ensure that you’re ready when something goes wrong.


Your first aid-kit should include:


  • Absorbent compresses
  • Bandages
  • Aspirin
  • Anti-biotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Breathing barrier
  • Instant cold compress
  • Nonlatex gloves
  • Hydrocortisone ointment packs
  • Roller Bandages
  • Sterile Gauze Pads
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers

The Red Cross offers CPR and other first-aid classes that can help give you the confidence you need in an emergency.  Contact your local chapter to enroll in a class.