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Life can be crazy with 4 kids…PLUS, a “Butterfly Craft”

This post is sponsored by Brawny via AOL Media.…but all opinions are mine.  

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Life can be crazy sometimes.  These 4 children of ours are constantly changing and growing and testing my limits as a mother.  They can be rascals and ornery and sometimes drive me to my own “time outs” (aka: locked away in my bedroom after my husband gets home from work so I can finally take my 1st shower of the day), but those moments are fleeting and I hardly remember them when I finish a week and think about all of the absolutely tender moments I’ve shared with them.  But as they grow and our days become more packed with so many different activities and commitments….I have had to learn that in order to enjoy them, I must let other things go. Like, having a sparkly clean home.  Or perfect dinners.  Or organized weekly play-dates for each child.  I will never be a perfect housekeeper/chef/mom….and that’s okay.


I started thinking about this a little more a few weeks ago when Brawny® sent me some of their paper towels as part of their Stay Giant campaign and asked for me to reflect on being a “Super Mom.” But let me tell you what…at first I thought, “I am in NO WAY a Super Mom.” After thinking about it though, I realized, you know, I am my own kind of Super Mom.  Not a perfect one by any means — but one that has figured out some secrets to making life a little easier.  Such as requiring each of my kiddos to help with the not-so-fun chores of each day.  Like cleaning up their dishes after every meal, bending over and cleaning up cracker bits from their snack, grabbing the little hand-vac and sucking up crumbs beneath the kitchen stools after a meal, etc.


One of the easiest ways that I can get all of the kids involved helping (and something I do often), is handing them wet paper towels and have them spread out and start scrubbing.  They start wiping counters, cabinets, floors, appliances, chairs, etc.  And yes, I do point out spots they’ve missed but I also let it go when it’s not perfect.  I often times have to say, “it’s good enough”, because as much as I need to have a play-date with the imperfect counter tops, I’d rather have a play-date with my kiddos and challenge them to a wild game of “Killer Uno”! (Have you ever played that variation? So fun!)


Every night after dinner, I am so done being in the kitchen.  That’s why the 3 older kids are responsible for clearing the table, unloading the dishwasher, wiping the table, and sweeping the floor. And even though they don’t have to scrub the floor, they are responsible for anything sticky or wet that has fallen onto it.  And rather than hauling out the mop, they wet a few paper towels and wipe it right up.  Easy and done.


Something that I’ve really had to train myself to do, is to let them take care of their own spills.  My first reaction is to swoop in and clean them up because I don’t want it to spread.  However, I was realizing about a year ago, that my now 4-year-old Chloe was being “babied” and I was constantly helping her take care of everything.  But this only resulted in bigger freak-outs and her just sitting there staring at her spills and screaming for me to come “fix it”.


But in order for her to learn how it’s done, I’ve had to insist that she try to clean it up first herself and then I’ll come and help afterwards.  She is now pretty proactive about jumping up to grab paper towels and clean up her own spills (well…most of the time).  Hallelujah!  Another thing removed from my To-Do List!


And since we use paper towels for a lot of our quick clean-ups, I really, REALLY love that these Brawny® rolls have more paper towels on each roll than the other leading brands.  The less we’re wasting and the more time between changing rolls, the better!


Okay, pause right there.  Because it’s starting to sound as if my kids are amazingly helpful and are always right on top of their chores, etc.  Just so you know, yes, they do grumble.  But we have gotten to the point that they know if they make a mess, it’s their responsibility to clean it up.  And if they don’t, then I explain to them that I have to to do it.  And if I have to do it, it not only makes me cranky, but it also takes away from making play dough with them, heading to the pool, or having a movie night together!  They know where the broom is and they can reach the paper towels…that’s about all they need! So yes, they whine…but they still have to do it. :)


However, I do have a 1-year-old named Oliver.  And he thinks messes are hilarious.  Especially wet ones.  (Darn those Sippy Cups with lids, for popping open when dropped. Grrr.)


And since he doesn’t know how to clean up his own messes yet, I’ve been noticing that Elli, Connor, and Chloe have been rushing in to help.  And hallelujah for paper towels!  Because milk soaked up with a hand towel will inevitably forget to be rinsed and will then turn sour and become ruined.

(***Now, of course this picture is staged and they don’t always rush in at the same time to take care of it with smiles on their faces.  But even if I ask them to help out, they usually don’t have a problem helping little Ollie.  It’s a good thing he’s cute!)


Something we tell our children is that we work together as a family so that we can also play together.  We still have some work to do on keeping bathrooms tidy, folding clothes correctly, and putting shoes in their proper shoe cubby……but for the most part, we have a decent system going.  And frankly, I’d much rather play too.


So the other day, right after we scrubbed the kitchen, I brought out our roll of Brawny® Paper Towels and we dipped folded paper towels into food coloring.


Then we unfolded them and spread them out to dry.



After they were completely dry, we pinched the centers together, wrapped a pipe cleaner around the center, and then created little Paper Towel Butterflies.  A favorite activity here in our home!  (A more detailed tutorial for the Paper Towel Butterflies HERE.)


I love how according to a 8, 7, and 4 year-old, something simple like creating butterflies is absolutely worth scrubbing an entire kitchen.  Work together, play together…it’s a great mantra to live by!


I used to be embarrassed that I wasn’t awesome at everything mom-related, but now you know how it really is.  Our house is never perfectly clean (…except for the 30 minutes before company arrives), I’ve been known to serve cereal for dinner (it’s vitamin fortified, right?), and sometimes I shove unfolded clothes into dresser drawers (shhh…don’t tell my mom).  But I’m okay with that.  Because I, like some of you who are moms, am just doing my best at this whole mom gig.  And with a few tricks up my sleeve, I feel we’re doing just that!

Okay, now I’m off to check to see if all chores were completed. ;)




Compensation for this post was provided by Brawny via AOL Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Brawny or AOL.


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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