Friday, February 16, 2018

Five on Friday - Valentine's Day & Other Favorites

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This week has been busy, exhausting, kind of weird, and a little sad.  Fortunately all of us here in our little family are all healthy and well, but this world we’re living in today sure could use a band-aid. 

Wednesday started out rough as there was a fatal accident on our route to school.  Two pedestrians were hit and killed and the police kept the scene “active” for the majority of the day while they investigated.  I ended up having to drive by it six times that day and four of the times I saw some pretty disturbing things that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind.  Later that same day, the school shooting in Florida occurred so my heart was even heavier after that.  In addition to those things, the weather has also been dreary every day this week, so that makes it even harder to be cheerful, ya know?

I try to stay positive here on the blog, but sometimes bad things happen and I can’t just let it go by unacknowledged.  All I know today is that I’m very thankful for a healthy and happy family, and I pray every single day that none of us are ever in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now that you know my true feelings about this week, let’s touch on some of the happier things that happened!

O N E – Valentine’s Day With My Lovies

Since Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day this year, Jacob’s school celebrated love day on Tuesday.  (We are Catholic, and Ash Wednesday is a very somber day so we don’t typically celebrate on this day.)  Tuesday also happened to be Fat Tuesday so in addition to the Valentine’s celebrations, his school also held their annual Mardi Gras parade. 

I volunteered to help with the class party.  The kids did a couple of crafts, ate some sweet treats (including a King Cake for Mardi Gras), and exchanged Valentines, and then the kids paraded down the sidewalk outside in Mardi Gras masks.  The older kids handed out beads to the younger kids and everybody danced and paraded around to traditional Mardi Gras music.  The kids had a BLAST.

Wednesday was actual Valentine’s Day so I left out Valentine’s cards and a couple of little goodies for the kids to come down to at breakfast.  They are both obsessed with PJ Masks right now, so they each received a PJ Masks mug with gummies inside and a plush PJ Masks character.  Jacob got Catboy, and Olivia got Owlette. 

We made breakfast for dinner that evening and I made homemade waffles with Valentine’s Day sprinkles.  We don’t ever really make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, but it’s fun to celebrate a little.

T W O – Closet Organizers

Both of our kids have closets that only have one hanging rack all the way across the top.  We hang all of their clothes because I don’t like putting them in drawers since they get wrinkled, but since both of them are still teeny tiny neither of them can reach their own clothes.  We have been working a lot on independence lately, but since neither of them can reach their clothes, neither of them can get themselves ready without help from Brian or me. 

I have been wanting to customize the closets and add some lower hanging racks that they can reach themselves, but because of time and money I have been putting it off.  I just so happened to come across these hanging closet rack extenders this week and I was intrigued so I ordered one for each of the kids.  They add an extra bar down low while also still leaving space to utilize the top rack.  I haven’t set them up yet, but I’m hoping to do it soon.  They are only $10 so I figured it was worth a shot to try!  Once I get them up and get the closets organized I plan to do another post to let y’all know how I like them!  

Amazon also has a few options as well and some of the pictures of how they work are better on Amazon.  These here look like the best option.

T H R E E – File Boxes

I finished up cleaning out and organizing my old school papers this week, and I wanted something to store them in so they would all be in one place.  I found some hanging file boxes and I loved them so much I got one for each person in our family.  I am making one file for each grade, plus files for report cards, awards, and important test scores, and that’s where each person will store their entire life’s worth of school stuff.  I was able to fit my entire school career (Kindergarten – College) in this one box and I will be doing the same for each of our family members.  Whatever doesn’t fit is getting tossed!

I can't find the exact boxes that I got online, but I did find a few options on Amazon that are similar, like this one, this one (which I've heard people rave about), and this one.  I love that the hanging file folders can actually hang in there and I love that they are sturdier than the typical cardboard banker’s boxes that are typically used for paper filing.  Once I get all of our boxes organized and labeled I plan to do a more in-depth post.

F O U R – This Post About Organizing

And speaking of organizing, did you catch my post about how I stay organized yesterday?  If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s staying organized!  I provided LOADS of information in this post, so if you missed it, you can find it here.

F I V E – Olivia and My Old Baby Dolls

This past week when I was doing some cleaning out/organizing, I pulled out some of my old baby dolls and Olivia was so excited to see them.  She wanted to hold my old Cabbage Patch doll and my favorite “real” baby doll and it made my heart so happy seeing her with them!  Both of them smell really old and musty, though, so I don’t think she’s interested in playing with them all the time.  Haha.

Alright, friends!  Have a great weekend!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Girl Chat - How I Stay Organized

*This post may contain affiliate links.

Welcome to another edition of Girl Chat!  Today we’re talking about how we stay organized, and let me just tell y’all… these types of posts are some of my FAVORITES!  Today is like Christmas Day, y'all!  I can't WAIT to see what you guys come up with!

If I could describe myself in one word and one word only, it would be organized.  I have been making lists since I was old enough to write and organizing since I was tiny.  I’ve always loved neat and tidy spaces and when things are in disarray it directly affects my mood more than anything else.  I’m pretty sure I even have a touch of OCD.  Sometimes it’s a curse, but most of the time it’s a blessing because a) my spaces are always neat and tidy, b) I can always find anything I’m looking for, and c) my life is a lot less hectic because I stay on top of things.

Today I’m going to share a few tools I use to help keep me organized.

O N E – My Planner

This right here is my organizational bible, y’all.  Anything and everything that needs to be done goes in my planner.  I have used an Erin Condren Life Planner for the last few years, but this year I made the switch to a Plum Paper Planner and I’m loving it!  It gets used for daily life stuff, blogging, stuff, finances, and other to-do lists.  If you are interested in getting one for yourself, let me know and I can send my referral code to you so we each get $10 off of our purchase!

My planner is broken down into several different categories:

Life Stuff

Every single appointment, dinner, meeting, game, and get-together is recorded on my monthly spread and then each week, all tasks are transferred to the appropriate days.  The days are broken down into the following categories – Brian, Lindsay, Jacob, Olivia, Blog, Other, and Daily and this lets me see what tasks correspond with each category.  Only things that HAVE to be done on that day are recorded in the days columns and other tasks that aren’t pertinent for that day, are recorded in the miscellaneous column on the side.  In the “daily” section I write down what’s for dinner each day and that helps me keep track of my meal planning.  I also keep track of exercise in this section in case I ever need to refer to it down the road.

Blogging Stuff

In the back of my planner I have an entire section dedicated to my blog.  I have a monthly calendar back there where I can plan out my editorial calendar in advance and  I also have a few other spreadsheets with link-ups and other reminders.

Financial Stuff

Now that I am jobless, we are watching our money very closely, so I also have a section dedicated to spending in the back of my planner as well.  There is one page where I record all of my frivolous spending.  I know approximately how much I can spend each month and this helps keep me within that limit.  I also have a page where I keep all of my receipts from my credit card spending.  B and I each have one credit card for just ourselves so we can buy gifts for each other without the other person seeing and ruining the surprise.  Since I pay that bill, I use that page to keep all of the transactions in one place so it’s easy to check my statement each month before I pay it off.

Monthly Schedule

Now that I stay at home, I don’t have the natural routine that automatically goes along with having a 9-5 job.  When I first quit, I felt like I was all over the place each day, so I sat down and wrote out a loose monthly schedule to help me stay on track.  This schedule is tucked right inside the front of my planner so it’s always with me when I’m planning!

I only do some things once a month or every other week (like laundry, grocery shopping, and allergy shots) so making this monthly schedule helps remind me of which things I need to do which week.  All revolving tasks that I do each month are on there and I also mapped out loose daily schedules for each day.  Ever since I implemented this schedule, I have been able to stay on task better and I feel like I’ve been far more productive as well as had more free time to just hang with the hubs and the babies when they’re home.

Daily To-Do List

Each night, I typically write out a to-do list on a note pad for everything that I want to accomplish the next day.  I refer to my monthly schedule as I make my daily list so I am sure to include all of the monthly revolving tasks, and then I throw in all of the other daily tasks as well as additional goals for that day.  I cross off tasks as I accomplish them, and then at the end of each evening, whatever’s left (which isn’t usually much since I try to make these daily lists attainable and realistic) goes on the next day’s list.  This is also tucked right inside my planner.

Long-Term To-Do List

Many years ago I became overwhelmed with all of the tasks on my to-do list.  Some of them needed to be accomplished right away, some of them needed to be accomplished in a month, and some of them didn’t really have a specific timeline.  I decided to take all of the items that weren’t urgent off of my main to-do list and create a Long-Term To-Do List. 

The Long-Term To-Do List is so long that I decided to make it in an Excel spreadsheet so it is easier to edit when I need to.  The list is broken down into categories.  Since most of the items on the list are things that I want to do around our house, I have a category for each room in the house (for stuff like adding a back splash in the kitchen, painting an old bookshelf, etc.), and then I also have additional categories like “Car” (for stuff like adding an emergency kit or cleaning it out), “Media” (like ripping old CDs and selling them), and many other categories as well. 

I keep a printout of the list in the back pocket of my planner so it’s always with me, and then I cross tasks off the list as I finish them and hand write new tasks as they come up, and then every few months I edit the Excel version of the file with any changes and then print an updated copy to keep in my planner.

That’s about it for the planner.  I keep saying I’m going to do an in-depth post about how I use my planner, so one of these days I’ll crank it out.

T W O – List Master App on My Phone

I have talked about this app before on the blog, and I cannot sing its praises enough!  I’m not typically one to use electronics for list-making or planning, but I do have this app as a supplement to my planner.  All of my fixed lists are kept here and arranged by category as well.

For example, every single thing that I ever buy at the grocery store is listed in my “Publix” list and every other week before I do my grocery shopping I just uncheck every single item that I know I need to pick up the next day.  All of the items are arranged in aisle order as they are in the store, and as I pick up each item it gets checked off the list.  You guys, this method makes grocery shopping a breeze!  I buy groceries for two weeks in about 20 minutes flat.  I actually went into it in great detail in this post here if you’re interested.

In addition to my grocery store list, I also keep my Target shopping list, Sam’s shopping list, a pending list for things I have ordered and am waiting to receive in the mail, lists for gift ideas for each of my family members, wish lists for myself, bucket lists, a reference list with little things I have trouble remembering, a list of restaurants we love, and lots of other random lists that I sometimes need to reference when I’m on the go.

I cannot sing the praises of this app enough!  I’ve had it for about five years and this is in no way sponsored.  I just LOVE it.

And I should really do an in-depth post on this app sometime, too.

T H R E E – Daily Bin

I mentioned last week that I recently created a daily bin and it is so handy!  I have several books/things that I reference/read/write in each day, so I decided to get a little basket with a lid to keep them all in together.  My planner, my devotionalmy two One Line a Day books that I write in daily for the kids, my gratitude journal, my iPad, a notepad, all of my planner pens, along with any other little project I’m working on at any given time are kept in there.  When I know I’m ready to work on my daily stuff, I just grab the basket and take it wherever I want to work on it.  No more carrying stacks of books and misplacing things.  They’re all right there together in this new basket that sits right next to my desk in my office.

F O U R – Baskets, Boxes, and Organizers

When it comes to keeping the house organized, I’m a big fan of pretty baskets and boxes, labels, and other organizational items.  I use them everywhere – the closets, the playroom, the pantry, bathrooms.  Give me all the containers!  Here are a few examples of how I use them:

Kids’ Playroom - pretty baskets

Pantry - over-the-door organizer

Office Bookshelves - pretty baskets and boxes

Office Drawers - labeling

Office - labeled boxes

Outdoor Toys - metal buckets

All.  The.  Heart.  Eyes. y’all!

And in case you’re looking for some tools for yourself, I’ve rounded up a bunch of my favorite products as well as a few that are on my wish list.


Well, I guess it’s time to wrap it up since this post is turning into a novel.  I could go on and on about organization all day long, but I’ll stop now.  If you have any organizing ideas I would love to hear them! 

I should have been a professional organizer, huh?

If you want to see some of my old posts about organization and time management, they are below.

Time Management of a Full-Time Working Momma: Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

And don't forget to link up with us below!  

*Linking up with Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Baby Showers for Baby Olivia

February is the month for love, but it’s also the birth month for our second little love, Olivia.  This time four years ago I was hugely pregnant and counting down the days until I got to hold her in my arms, and since I’ve been a little nostalgic this past week, I thought it might be fun to reminisce a little here on the blog today.

As most of you know, I didn’t start blogging until Olivia was one, so my pregnancy with her as well as her first year of life were undocumented, and every now and then I like to take a step back in time to update some of the important things from the past so she can read about them when she is older.  Today I’m going to do just that and I’m going to post a few details and pictures from the two baby showers that were thrown for me in her honor.

Family & Friends Shower – February 1, 2014

On February 1, 2014 my best friend, Shelly, threw a baby shower for me and it was everything I could have ever wanted.  And bless her, she was six months pregnant with her daughter Claire so it was the sweetest thing for her to take on such a big project during such an exhausting time. 

Shelly lives pretty far out in the country, so we opted to have the shower at my house since it is more convenient for everyone.  Shelly did all of the planning and preparing and then she just set it all up at our house.  All of my favorite ladies (family and friends) were in attendance as well as my two favorite boys, Brian and Jacob.  We all dined on sandwiches, pasta salad, chips and dip, fruit, cake, and punch, and then it was time for presents.

Jacob was just two and a half years old at the time of the shower, and all of these old pictures of him just make me melt.  Oh how I miss him being so tiny!  He was thrilled to help me open every single present, and everyone oohed and aahed over all of the sweet little girly things – there were lots of hearts, lots of ruffles, and lots of pink things!  I have always been a super girly girl, and everyone had always told me that I would probably have all boys just because of that, so it was surreal to see all of those frilly little outfits and know that they were for my daughter.  And disclaimer –I would have, of course, been happy with a house full of boys, too… I am a sister to two brothers, so being around boys is all I’ve ever known!  And frankly, raising a girl is actually a little more intimidating.

*Look closely in the photos below and you'll see the Georgia cheerleading outfit that Olivia wore this past weekend.  <3

Once the gifts were open and passed around we played a couple of party games, and then my girlfriends and I headed outside to snap a few pictures before everybody left.  In this picture, three of us are preggo, and one of my girlfriends who had already left had just had her baby six weeks prior to my shower.  Yep, in my close group of friends, four of the six of us were preggo at the same time.  Crazy!

One other thing to note, before you start looking at the pictures, pregnancy did some WEIRD things to my body, and not just the normal weird things that happen to most pregnant ladies.  During my pregnancies with both Jacob and Olivia, during the last three months I literally started losing weight everywhere on my body except for my belly.  My arms and legs turned into sticks and my face became so gaunt that my cheekbones stuck out, my eyes looked all hollow, and my mouth looked huge.  It was like my babies just sucked the fat out of my whole body and took it for themselves.  That’s probably why both of them were so freaking huge!  Haha.  I have no clue why that happened but my midwife wasn’t the least bit concerned so it wasn’t a big deal.  When I look back on these pictures they creep me out a little, though, because my face is so crazy thin! 

The three preggos!

Me with my beautiful preggo hostess!  Her little babe was born just two months after Olivia.

Me with my gorgeous Momma!

Handsome hubs who wore pink for the occasion.  <3

And my sweet little Munchie… Lordy, I love that sweet little boy!

And here’s a picture of all of the loot!  Sweet baby girl got some great stuff!

Work Shower – February 7, 2014

My co-workers were also kind enough to throw a shower for me in Olivia’s honor a few days later on February 7.  They brought in gourmet Oreo cupcakes and Banana Pudding cupcakes and the all pooled together to get a gift card for us so we could buy any remaining baby registry items that we needed.  It was so generous of all of them, and I was so thankful to work with such a great group of people! 

Just a little over two weeks later, on February 24, 2014, our little family took our last picture as a family of three, and sweet baby girl was born the very next morning. 

For more on Olivia’s birth and also for details on Jacob’s birth, click here… you’ll find belly pictures, birth stories, and newborn photos for each of them plus my hugely popular post about how I documented Olivia’s pregnancy with chalkboard signs. 

See you back here tomorrow for Girl Chat!  We’ll be discussing how we stay organized and we hope that you’ll link up with us!

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*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.

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