This LARGE Family's 5 Secrets to CONQUERING City Life!

This LARGE Family's 5 Secrets to CONQUERING City Life!

Before we get started let's clarify something, city life is one thing but with 4 kids, it's an even greater challenge or reward on any given day. At this point we've got almost a decade of experience with this topic. We live in one of Chicago's primary metropolitan areas so we wanted to write this article to offer a few tips that might make your life a little easier if you are married with kids (that means plural) and living the city life!

Become a cost killer! 

Being a cost killer is waaaaaay more sexy than being imprisoned by a budget. We love our budget tools but we also become very excited about how it feels to win when it comes to everyday deals and things that have long-term financial benefits. The number one rule here is "if it ain't being used, get rid of it." This means that if you are a family of two or three vehicles and one vehicle isn't getting used, why keep it!! In this scenario you might feel that a $360 per month car note doesn't necessarily hurt anything but when you add in the cost of insurance and gas costs along with the possibilities of tickets (street cleaning, etc) there will be spending that you did not anticipate.  When we tried this scenario with one of our vehicles and did the math we were able to save ourselves around $6,000 within a year. Guess who's going to Jamaica!

This isn't just about transportation, housing, shopping, etc. Think about your goals when it comes to cost-cutting strategies and the “why” behind it. For us one of the reasons that we use digital coupons is because the money we save can be migrated into our business or other local businesses in our neighborhood that we believe in. In order to improve your neighborhood you've got to invest in ways that count. So while you cost-cut and "kill it,” we want you have a very clear purpose so that you feel empowered at the end of the day.

Entertaining Kids (The result of "Sex in the City”)

Many people think that city life isn't for kids but there are a ton of amenities and cultural experiences that are invaluable. Museums, amazing parks and free public spaces that are inspiring for everyone in the family are always within reach. The rule here is simple, take full advantage of places that are kid-friendly and let the city's offerings entertain them for you. This isn't to say you won't need a break every once in awhile but you're living a lifestyle WITH your children not separate from them. If you try to do the latter, your therapist will love the commissions she or he will earn from you this year. 

Choosing Schools (That’s Plural!)

This is a topic that we love to discuss given Augie’s 9 years of school administration experience. What I can tell you is that you've got to invest the time up front in your child’s foundational years of learning.  Selective enrollment schools in major cities are often some of the best schools in the country but it is competitive as these schools become a pipeline for elite "performers." As painful as it is to bear through testing a kindergartener, it's not impossible to gain access. Create opportunities for you to have fun learning with your kiddo and be consistent about it. Also you may need to consider reallocating luxury spending that doesn’t mean as much now that you have a family. These expenses could be used for Saturday workshops that teach kids how to apply themselves in new or foreign environments like IQ test settings. For our family we don't just rely on selective enrollment schools, we tend to look at the individual learning needs of each of our kids. This has opened up a bag of worms because we have four kids and four drop offs.  BUT it's about taking advantage of opportunities to differentiate for each of them.  Depending on what your core values are as a family,  you should execute a structure that makes the most sense for you. City schools have a wide variety of options and missions so make sure you choose wisely.

Maintaining Momentum, Strategically!

If you are an employer looking at this blog, I want to warn you about these secrets. All parents, especially parents in the city, might benefit from anticipating mental health days based on your ability to estimate your threshold for stress, but on the flip side, we all have employers that have children and can benefit from these tips as well. For example, if you know that the start of school is a hectic time in your household,  make sure that you have an escape day plugged in sometime after the first 2-3 weeks of school. When school resumes, there is an extreme uptick in traffic, schedules are more intense, day light ends sooner and the list goes on.   Do your best to track your stress levels when tensions are high and make it a priority to take a day to explore the city with your spouse. The reset is real!. Also work to maintain healthy exercise schedules and keep to it. Augie starts out at 5 a.m. and I may during a lunch break or sometime during the day at work. This means that everybody starts the day off energetic and our endorphins have the escape route needed to help us relax and focus   Last but not least, consider activities and events that really touch your soul (5Ks, day parties, lectures, fireside chats, etc). We've attended some events lately that have been quite interesting and engaging.  At this stage in the game, we agree that we are somewhat past relying on top 40 music and  intoxication as a means to have a good time.

Know Your Advantage

Acknowledge that your family size makes you an anomaly at times, then take full advantaged of it. Having four kids forces us to establish healthy and clear boundaries at work and in relationships. Some of us are very direct people and have been skilled with this since birth.  The rest of us are learning to set boundaries with wisdom and age. Trust me, kids make it a little easier for you to make sure you get off work at a decent time which inadvertently makes you more efficient, This means that you are prioritizing family and self preservation so that you stay in the game over the long haul. 

*For Families With Little Support

When you don't have a familial network: with a large family like ours and no family around you can easily burn out given the strict routines for our pick ups and drop offs, not to mention extracurricular activities. Finding a job where you can work from home some days or closer to home helps tremendously especially when you have appointments, a child gets sick or just need to maximize that mental health day we mentioned. Even starting that biz you've always wanted could assist with the built in flexibility you need. Honestly, this is how we’ve done it so that Dinobi gets the attention it needs.

Make sure that you find convenience where you can while giving as much as you can. With this many kids we had to shift how many activities each kid had and how far we were willing to travel. With a newborn at the time, we had to be as close to home as possible, so we had to reduce the number of activities each child was able to do (strategically), and find things closer to home. Having one activity each is not depriving your child of more, but we found that it helps them to zoom in on their commitment to the activity they asked for. Use your network of families that live around the area!! Ask, ask, ask, and you will find!

☮️&LOVE-

Augie & Sylvia!


Now on Babylist.com!!

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How Much Is Too Much?

As a SAHM (or a parent period), laundry becomes a part of your daily routine, especially with a family of six!  While strolling the aisle of #Target or #Walmart searching for detergent that would be enough to wash clothes for four children and two adults, I've typically focused on how it smells, and the size of the bottle.  More detergent for more clothes, right? 

Over many years and much trial and error later, I've found that I formed the habit of using more detergent for a few reasons: larger loads and the perceived need to use more, dirtier loads/laundry with tougher stains and smell, or simply because there was more detergent to use and I liked the fragrance. Using more detergent, especially those with fragrance used to cover smell (and not get rid of it), usually exacerbated existing skin issues (my husband and children battle eczema, I have sensitivities to certain ingredients with really long names) and the clothes needed multiple washes to get rid of underlying smell that seemed to be covered and not removed.  It didn't seem like a big deal at the time (until the fourth child), that I was using more detergent; I realized something just wasn't working out the way I thought it should. 

I came to the realization upon the impending arrival of our fourth child that we needed to cut costs (lol), and that I've had three children with skin issues and a husband with chronic eczema already.  Most likely, the fourth will have some sort of issue as well. The question then came to mind as to how I could make a change that would benefit everyone and save us money at the same time.  And lets not forget that I needed that smell that would make doing a ton of laundry less daunting and more nostalgic.  The answer to that question is Dinobi, which is fragrance free, and plant based! Dinobi requires only about one ounce of detergent for a full load, which is about HALF of what I was using of the regular detergent which really helps to make my dollars stretch! I've used it on my own newborn with no issues, and a great lavender essential oil smell (which can be enhanced by using my #loohoo dryer balls with a dab of lavender - can you tell I LOVE lavender?) to replace the fragrance I thought i needed.  The fact that my baby's cloth diapers and all of our clothes were clean with no residual perfumy, or old funk smell (and no more itchy skin) was like a breath of fresh air and suddenly, I was ok with doing laundry again.  

 

Welcome to Dinobi

Welcome to our Dinobi blog! This is where you will find content on our detergent, some of our own tested home remedies for baby rashes, skin ailments, ingredients, and much more.  First, let's get into how the #laundrywithus movement began. 

For years, I've had family members struggle with skin issues, and babies with random rashes, eczema and irritation; and for years, we tried the same things as everyone else.  I remember doing laundry before my last baby came, and I flipped over the "big name" detergent bottle that I was using to do laundry and realized two things: I have no idea of what is REALLY in here, and what is in here is not working for us and won't work for our newborn.  Disclaimer: that is not to say big name detergents aren't great.  I grew up on **insert big name** detergent myself! I remember how it made the entire house smell like heaven, and my clothes even more so.  However, I also remember how the stuff that made the colors stay so long, also made the stains stay longer than they should have, or how it made my skin itch from time to time.  That moment that I flipped over the bottle, I knew I wanted something different for myself, my family and friends that I knew also battled with skin irritation and the never ending struggle to find the "right" detergent.  This thought is what makes Dinobi Detergent different.  

When creating this brand, the first thought that came to mind is that it should be something that would bring that same sense of nostalgia that most people get when they do laundry (because I honestly get tired of it being a chore lol). For me, it was smelling the house when my Grandmother would wash clothes, helping her fold them, and remembering how great she always smelled! I also thought about the obvious skin issues that I wanted to combat, as well as trying to figure out a way to keep the ammonia out of cloth diapers, so that I wouldn't have to worry about stripping them each month.  I wanted a one stop shop for all my laundry needs!  I have about three or four different detergents to use for different people at home, so that had to stop. That is when Dinobi was born.  

Fast forward to today, and the vision for our one stop shop detergent is in the testing phase and has produced some great results! I've used it on my very own newborn, and a bunch of my hubby's OLD sweaty gym clothes (that I was about to give up on and burn), but alas, Dinobi came to the rescue (**sidenote** - my husband struggles with eczema on his entire upper torso)! We are so confident in our product that we began the #laundrywithus movement, where we encourage those who can identify with any of these issues to try Dinobi Detergent.  If you have skin ailments, are looking for a detergent to use on cloth diapers and baby clothes without fear of upsetting your infant and spending more to strip diapers, or if you just need a renewed sense of nostalgia when doing the mundane task of laundry, come #laundrywithus beginning Fall 2018.