Spring Cleaning Made Easy

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A clean house makes me happy. But, like most working moms, it is not always easy to stay on top of the cleaning, which is why spring cleaning is so necessary. When our homes are clutter or dirty, we don’t feel our best. It’s true! Reader’s Digest has a great article entitled Who Knew? 7 Unexpected Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning that explains how clutter leads to stress and dust leads to unhealthy breathing.

If you are like me, you know spring cleaning is important, but it also seems overwhelming. I’m here today to share what I’ve learned that has made spring cleaning so much easier. After you read these tips, you’ll feel ready and prepared to take back your house this spring.

The Right Attitude

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First things first – you must have the right attitude. For example, I’m not someone who loves cleaning, but I do love a clean house. So, I have to do the work. By focusing on the end reward, I am more motivated to get started.

Similarly, if spring cleaning feels overwhelming because you are thinking about ALL the things you have to clean, stop thinking about everything at once. Instead, focus on cleaning one area at a time. Prioritize what matters the most. For me, this means prioritizing the places that are used the most frequently and seen the most. Think about it. If you could clean one room in your house, which would it be? Okay. Now that you’ve named the room start there first.

You know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? This saying applies to spring cleaning. Too often, we think of spring cleaning as one day or one weekend in the spring to get everything done. That’s not always possible. And, for some of us, that feels like too much work. Instead, clean in short bursts of time. Clean one space or complete one cleaning task, stop and take a break. Then, do a little more. If it takes you a week, who cares?

The Right Tools

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Next, you want to make sure you have the right tools to get the job done. I have found that by purchasing the right cleaning products, I save time and my sanity. Why work harder when you don’t have to?

For example, I absolutely love the Swiffer Dry and Wet Sweeping Kits. This 2-in-1 sweeper is perfect for my hardwood floors and saves me so much time and energy. When it comes to cleaning furniture and walls, I use my vacuum cleaner.

I also always stock up on safe cleaning products, soaps, disinfectants, and dusters before I begin my spring cleaning. But, by far, the favorite spring cleaning tool is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. These things are amazing and can be used to clean practically everything. I have used them to clean my walls after my girls colored them and to clean my appliances.

When it comes to purchasing the right tools, you can’t go wrong with Walmart. Walmart has the best prices for spring cleaning products and offers free 2-day shipping. You can order all you need and have it in time for your weekend spring cleaning extravaganza!

The Right Plan

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Finally, you want to have the right spring cleaning plan. While I already said you don’t have to do it all in one day, you should have a plan to clean it all. This is the time of year when it makes the most sense to clean those spaces of your home that are often neglected (such as baseboards and window screens). I’ve found using Taste of Home’s Room-by-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist helps me deep clean every area of my home.  

Don’t Miss This Spring Cleaning Giveaway!

You can win a cleaning bundle from P&G (Febreeze, Dawn, Swiffer, Tide, etc.) worth up to $100 by sharing a photo of your own Spring cleaning win on Instagram or Twitter and tagging me, #SpringCleaningWin and #Inrachelshoes

Head to my Instagram page to find out more!

10 Family-Friendly NYC Events This April

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Can you believe the first week of April is already over? Where has the time gone? As the season changes, there are more and more fun things to do in NYC – especially outdoors. With an abundance of outdoor fun, I have identified ten of my favorite family-friendly things to do in NYC this April.

Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

On Easter Sunday (April 21st) beginning at 10 am, the annual Easter Parade takes place along Fifth Avenue (and St. Patrick’s Cathedral) with participants wearing their finest Easter attire and outrageously silly bonnets.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival NYC

The cherry blossoms bloom in April in NYC and families have multiple opportunities to see them and snap the perfect Insta-worthy photo. Sakura Matsuri is held April 27th -28th at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can also sign your family up for a Cherry Blossom Tour of Central Park in the month of April.

EarthFest

With Earth Day taking place each April, it is the perfect time to teach your kids to respect the earth. One family-friendly event to help you is EarthFest taking place April 13th at the American Museum of Natural History.

Paw Patrol Live

Photo:  TimeOut  (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

Photo: TimeOut (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

If your kids are fans of Paw Patrol, then make plans to see PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. This live-action show will take place April 13th and 14th at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Midtown West.

Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival

Nothing screams “SPRING!” more than an outdoor children’s carnival. Take the whole family to the Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival at Queens County Farm the first two weekends of April.

Dinosaur Safari

Dinosaur Safari heads to the Bronx Zoo beginning April 19th. Your family can see these giant animatronic roaring dinosaurs up close.

Outdoor Roller Skating at Pier 2

After ice skating season ends, it is time for roller skating! Families will love the Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The roller skating season officially begins April 12th.

FAD Market

The FAD Market is a pop-up market celebrating Fashion, Art, and Design – all things I love! The Brooklyn MADE Market is April 13th and 14th at City Point. In addition to all the handcrafted goods for sale, there are also food vendors on site.

NYC Food Truck Fest

Foodies families must make plans to visit the NYC Food Truck Fest on April 13th. This is the largest food truck festival in NYC with gourmet food trucks and unique food vendors. Make sure you go with an empty belly!

Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s

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Last but certainly not least is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s. My family loves ice cream, so we are all about visiting Ben and Jerry’s on April 9th (from 12 pm – 8 pm) to enjoy a free scoop.

I hope you and your family have a blast enjoying all the spring fun. If you know of an event my family would love, let me know in the comments!

6 Reasons to Look Forward to Spring in NYC

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Did you know it is officially Spring? It sure is hard to tell when it is still in the 40s here in NYC! I am so envious of the people down South posting Spring pictures already. But, I know that soon it will feel like Spring. To help me get over my jealousy, I am spending time thinking about all the fun things I can do once the warmer weather moves our way.

Park Hopping with My Girls

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I love taking my girls to the playgrounds around NYC. We have so many great ones to choose from, and it is a wonderful thing to do as a family. We all get out of the house, get some exercise, and have fun. This spring I want to park hop. All this means is I want to explore new parks and playgrounds instead of frequenting the same ones every time.

Seeing the Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden

You know spring has officially arrived when the Cherry Blossoms bloom! The best place to view them is at Sakura Matsuri, the annual cherry blossom festival held at Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 27th and 28th. It is such a fun, cultural event for families.

Visiting Our Favorite Zoos

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We love going to the zoo, but we’ve learned that some seasons are better than others to visit. For example, if you go to the zoo on a really hot summer day, you won’t see much activity from the animals (probably because they feel just as miserable as you do in the heat). But, if you visit on a nice spring day, you will get to see the animals being more active.

Heading to Coney Island for a Day

Yes, Coney Island is a tourist trap. But, it is still great fun for NY families! Spending a day at Luna Park and exploring the boardwalk will leave your kids happy and tired. The rides tend to open up on weekends around Easter and then daily after Memorial Day.

Eating Outdoors

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I love to eat, but I really really love to eat outdoors. Once the weather warms up and the skies are clear, I love to find restaurants with outdoor seating where I can eat and people watch at the same time. It is also the perfect time of year to plan a picnic. I love hiking and it a picnic afterward makes the hike that much more exciting.

Family Scavenger Hunts at Central Park

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Anyone can create their own scavenger hunt, but did you know there are tons of official scavenger hunts for Central Park? Whether you create your own or purchase a ticket for a group scavenger hunt, you will have a blast searching Central Park for clues!

What are you most looking forward to doing this Spring in NYC?

Why I’m Choosing Choice Vacation Rentals This Spring Break

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It’s cold right now, but before you know it, it’s going to be Spring! Like every other family living up north, we look forward to spring break all winter long. And, now that it is March, it is time to start planning my family’s spring break trip. All I know at this point is I want to go somewhere warm and sunny. I want to put all the new sunny vacation goodies I recently splurged on at T.J. Maxx to good use!

Why a Vacation Rental Over a Hotel

Because this ^^^ (PHOTO:  Choice Vacation Rental in Destin, FL )

Because this ^^^ (PHOTO: Choice Vacation Rental in Destin, FL)

Another thing I already know is that this spring break we will opt for a vacation rental over a hotel. Don’t get my wrong – I love a nice hotel! I love resort vacations! But, every now and then, I want to escape to a new locale and still have as much space as I would at home. I want bedrooms and kitchens of my own. With a vacation rental, I get to magically pretend someone else’s home is mine for just a week. It’s a nice change of pace.

Choosing Between Vacation Rental Companies

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Clearly I am not the only one who feels this way as vacation rentals are more popular than ever! Not only are people choosing to book a vacation rental rather than a hotel for their trips, but people are also making a second income by renting out their homes through AirBnB, VRBO and Homestay. The vacation rental industry is booming!

Given that sudden popularity, there are many people jumping on the bandwagon and renting out their homes. While this sometimes works out well for both the homeowners and the vacationers, there are also tons of horror stories. Imagine thinking you are renting an extravagant vacation home and arrive to discover a dump.

Choice Vacation Rentals Gets My Vote

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Honestly, this is the biggest reason why I start my vacation rental hunt with Choice Vacation Rentals. Choice Vacation Rentals offers beautiful homes, private residences, townhomes, and cabins as a part of the trusted Choice Hotels Brand. Instead of dealing with individual homeowners, Choice Vacation Rentals are professionally managed ensuring your rental is of clean, well-maintained, and fully furnished.

Plus, Choice Vacation Rentals offer stunning vacation homes in the most popular destinations in the US. No matter where you plan to book your family’s spring break trip, you will find a vacation home rental you love on their website, which is super easy to navigate.

Finally, Choice Vacation Rentals gets my vote because you can earn Choice Privileges Points for every hotel or vacation home stay. Since my family loves to travel, I look for any opportunity to save money. As your points add up, they can be redeemed for free nights, free hotel stays, digital gift cards to popular restaurants and retailers, and exchange points for airline miles and cruises.

Now, it’s time to decide which spring break vacation destination my family will visit this year!

Final snowstorm of the winter...oop I mean first day of Spring!

Just when we thought we were ready for spring, mother nature sent us a quick reminder that just because we’re ready, doesn’t mean that she is! I had my fingers crossed that this week was going to be the first of the spring weather we’ve been expecting. I had just put away their Moncler and Canada goose jackets, ready to shift their wardrobes into spring; so ready to just take the girls out to the park without having to lug around extra scarves, gloves, and hats so they don’t get too cold. Lone and behold, we are hit with another big snowstorm!

 

 Though, as much as we all like to express how inconvenient a snow storm is for us adults, we can’t deny that a snow day for the kids is something they wait on all winter. To be honest, I felt like a child myself when I heard that of the severity of the storm.  Knowing the girls would have a snow day it gave me an excuse to take the day off as well to spend it with them. So my husband and I gave in to the weather, and cancelled all the plans we had for our day allowing our entire family a day of fun in the snow! And what a day it was, thanks to Toby. Our world had been blanketed with enough snow to all the snow things that our girls love. We had snowball fights, built forts, and even a snowman, which of course, the girls named Olaf (how original). It’s funny how kids never seem to realize how cold it is when they’re playing in the snow. They play and play until their cheeks are all rosy, and their snot is running down the little noses. Thankfully their coats were not put away too far, and we still had their Sorel boots in the closet, which assured me despite their looks, they were kept especially warm in their snow-ready clothes. How un-expectantly grateful I was to have this snow day with the entire family. It’s a great opportunity for us grown-ups to feel like kids again and roll around with our little ones; to remember what it’s like to have so much fun in the snow that you don’t even feel you’re cold until you come inside. And my most treasured part of a day like yesterday, is when everyone is back in their pajamas, dry from the icy snow, sipping Swiss Miss hot chocolate to warm our hearts while telling stories to my little snowbunnies!