I have tried many things to make mornings run smoother in my house — especially school days — like reconfiguring my kitchen so kids can make their own breakfasts, making lunches the night before, and choosing clothes a week in advance.

One of our more successful family hacks is an alarm set to kid-approved music that tells us when it’s time to leave the house. Any musical alarm clock will work for this. We use a SONOS speaker that alerts us ten minutes before we need to leave the house. When the music plays, we all drop what we’re doing and report to the backpacks and shoes area get ready to leave.

How to get shoes on and kids out the door with no yelling

This trick radically improves the need to remind or raise my voice to get action because the music just keeps on playing without me saying a word. (For kids upstairs, we will often yell “SHOE TIME” once but after that, they know the drill.)

Music plays for about 15 minutes and if we’re still home, then I raise my voice and act crazy. But that only happens about 2% of the time so I’d say we’ve found a good trick.

Would this work in your house?

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Host an ugly baby clothes contest

Dress up your baby in the worst, ugliest gift outfit and invite over some other poorly dressed babies for a costume party and ugly-clothing contest. Dorky gifts, ratty hand-me-downs, and hopeless mismatches can finally have their day.

Try not to be offended if your idea of cutest-outfit-ever winds up on one of the other models. Cute is completely in the eye of the beholder here. See also What Not To Wear: Baby Edition.

My brother in the 70s is an unwitting model for ugly baby clothesMy brother Chad (pictured above) models something from the mid-seventies in the hopes that I won’t offend any of YOU with my idea of ugly. I actually think he’s pretty adorable here anyway.

Take lots of pictures, but be careful who sees them!

This is your 25th challenge. Have you done this yet? Share your story and pictures.

  • Comment below and spill the details.
  • Share a picture with us on Facebook or instagram tagged #rookiemoms.

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Star Wars birthday party ideas on a budget

July 25, 2014

What’s the difference between a third child and a first child? The first child has a “Star Wars fourth birthday party” and he’s never seen Star Wars. The third child can hum along the Clone Wars theme song before he can even speak. With a new Star Wars movie on the horizon and Clone Wars […]

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Two kids in a room. Or not.

July 24, 2014

We are at a conference for the rest of the weekend, so I am re-posting this one from a couple years ago. Heather and I both live in Berkeley where houses are small, and expensive nonetheless. Our neighboring city Oakland is pretty much the same.  If you’ve seen the show Parenthood, which is set here, […]

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Get kids to listen without yelling {FREE class}

July 23, 2014

We are so happy to tell you that we have partnered with Amy McCready’s company Positive Parenting Solutions to bring a free webinar to you guys on the topic of getting kids to listen – without nagging or yelling. The format includes Amy presenting material and a live chat session where we can all ask […]

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Going all Mary Poppins on my bedroom {Rookie Moms Challenge #29}

July 22, 2014

When school was cancelled for a snow day this Spring (argh!), the first thing I did was jump to the list of Rookie Mom challenges and see if there were any I could complete while home with the boy all day long. There was a perfect one: Challenge# 29, Refresh your bedroom. I took Weston […]

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Activity #24: Be a tourist in your own town

July 21, 2014

Today’s challenge is to strap on your fanny pack and be a tourist in your own town with your little sidekick. Ok, I’m kidding about the fanny pack. But how about you two go somewhere only the visitors ever enjoy? If you’ve never taken the time to see your hometown’s greatest hits, choose a destination […]

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What Not To Wear: Baby Edition

July 18, 2014

Poor Winnie the Pooh. Such a nice guy, but moms are not into him these days. We asked our Facebook page about what types of clothing they refuse to put on their children. While this is a very subjective topic, and I don’t imagine we all share the same opinions on these styles, here are […]

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Bikini at 3.5 months post-partum? Yep! {Rookie Moms Challenge #35}

July 17, 2014

The Rookie Moms Challenge #35 is Buy some new jeans but I switched it up because I needed a swim suit. I should also probably claim credit for taking a baby swimming, but I’ll tell you more about that later. Ok so I confess, I headed out to Old Navy about week 2 postpartum because […]

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What I wish I could do over: Introducing my kid to food

July 16, 2014

My nine-year old son is a very picky eater. I was the same way. The world will not end over this, and he is certainly not lacking in the nutrition department — red bell pepper, raw spinach leaves, and hummus are on his limited list of approved foods. More than anything, it’s inconvenient. Going to […]

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STITCH FIX delivers current clothing to lazy moms

July 15, 2014

I’m pretty sure that STITCH FIX was invented just for me. Since it started in the Bay Area, it is highly possible that someone overheard my weird clothes-shopping peculiarities in some coffee shop and launched it into a startup. That really happens out here. The deal is that real-life human stylists create a box of 5 items […]

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Activity #23: Build muscles at bootcamp

July 14, 2014

By the time my first baby was 10 weeks old, I had not exercised for about 6 months. Baby Bootcamp was my re-introduction to sweating and I loved it. I was not a gym-goer in my normal life, and Baby Bootcamp was perfect for me. Here’s why: Exercising in the company of other sleep-deprived, temporarily […]

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