Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday - February 2018

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Well, it’s official… my least two favorite months of the year are over!  Although, I do have to say, this year is off to a good start, and even though I do feel like my winter funk settled in a bit, it didn’t seem near as bad this year for some reason.  Maybe because I’m loving that stay-at-home mom life??

Anyway, as always, we’re welcoming March with open arms!  Bring on the flowers, warmer weather, and greenery!

What We’re Eating This Week

Mon – Tacos
Tue – Sandwiches after soccer practice
Wed – Fetuccini alfredo with shredded chicken and broccolli
Thu – Leftover White Chicken Chili after soccer practice
Fri – Out
Sat – Out
Sun – Chicken parmesan with roasted green beans, French bread, & Hershey pie

What I’m Reminiscing About

Since the weather has been really warm these last two weeks my mind has already started drifting toward the beach.  I’ve been thinking about all of the fun that we had on our beach trip last year and I’m counting down the days until June so we can get back there again!

What I’m Loving

All of the stuff that we bought from the Old Navy sale!  We received our package this past week and everything is just so cute!  Olivia is excited.  Links to purchase are below each picture.  :o)






I’m also LOVING these closet extenders that I purchased for just $10.  They have completely solved all of our morning problems when it comes to getting the kids ready.  They can now reach their own clothes so they are totally independent.  They are really excited about this so they have both been so excited to get ready in the morning whereas getting ready used to be a struggle.  I also bought a couple of these cheap over-the-door shoe organizers so their shoes are all organized on the inside door of the closet.  No more shoes strewn all over the closet floor.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.

And finally, I’m loving that we purged and organized both kids’ rooms and rearranged some things for maximum functionality.  Both of them are loving their new spaces and Jacob is really loving having his bed up against the wall.  And all of the baby stuff is officially out of Olivia’s room!  February was a pretty ol’ productive month! 

What We’ve Been Up To

February was all about soccer and celebrations – Valentine’s Day, Brian’s 40th birthday, and Olivia’s 4th birthday!  And since it was so warm, we spent loads of time outside!  We had some fun play dates with friends!

What I’m Dreading

The possibility that my allergies may go crazy soon from all of the pollen.  Ugh!  That stuff is everywhere already!  Last year I didn’t get super sick from it until the end of April, I believe, but I’m praying that I’ve already had enough allergy shots to protect me somewhat.

What I’m Working On

My main project right now is still purging and simplifying.  My MIL is going to have a yard sale in the spring, and I’m going to bring all of our stuff over, so I’m preparing for that as well.  February was extremely productive.  As I already mentioned, I got both of the kids’ rooms rearranged, purged, and organized and I also did a lot more work in my office.  I’ve accepted the fact that it’s going to take months to get my office in order at this point, so I’m moving on to some other rooms in the meantime.

February was also for purging and organizing all of the kids’ school papers.  I finally found the perfect, no-fuss method and it only involves one box per child.  I’m basically making a time capsule for each of them and it will contain school papers from every single grade plus all keepsakes, report cards, test scores, awards, and pictures from their entire school careers (preschool through college).  And yes, it will all fit in one box.  See the post here... it includes category ideas, ideas for what to keep and what to toss, and links to everything you need to make them for your own kids.

What I’m Excited About

I’m really excited for warmer weather, lazy evenings on the back porch, and even though it takes me forever to recover from the spring time change, I am looking forward to it so we can start taking our walks after dinner again!  Woo hoo!!!!

What I’m Watching/Reading

Watching – We watched a little bit of the Olympics, but now that our regular shows are back after the hiatus, we are watching those again – The Bachelor, This is Us, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Scandal, and Shark Tank.  We also just finished Friends from College on Netflix.  It is so good!

Reading – I’m STILL working my way through Winter Solstice.  I think I’ll be finished in the next couple of days, though.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve still had JT’s new album on repeat as well as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, and I’ve also started incorporating some of my favorite spring music like The Lumineers as well as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.  They are so fun!  I love them! 

What I’m Wearing

Well, for several weeks we had some very warm weather so I had started wearing short sleeves and walking around barefoot, but it is going to be slightly chillier these next couple of weeks so we’ll be back to long sleeves.  During the week I’m still living in my beloved Zella Live-In leggings, this workout top (I LOVE IT), and my Nikes.  If I had to pick one “momiform” this would be it.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Saturday Jacob has his first soccer game, so we are excited for that!  And other than that, we’ll just be doing the usual weekend things – church, Sunday lunch with my in-laws, and then Sunday for dinner I’m going to cook for the whole family so everyone will be coming to our house.

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month


BUT I’m not announcing on the blog just yet.  Womp womp.  Sorry for the suspense!

What Else Is New

Olivia starts soccer next week so we’re looking forward to it!  She’s really excited!

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Don't forget to link up with us below!  

Your Hosts! 

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*Linking up with Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday and Mix and Match Mama for What's Up Wednesday.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How to Organize All of Your Child's School Papers in Just One Box

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Ah, the never-ending trail of school papers that parents have to deal with!  It can be such a nightmare.  And if you’re a sentimental person like me, then it’s even worse, because you probably have a hard time letting things go.

For the last few years, I have looked high and low for a system that actually works for storing papers that the kids bring home from school, and I just didn’t love anything that I tried.  For a while, I stored them loose in boxes, and then for the last couple of years I have been storing them in random files in my file cabinet in my office.  However, the school papers took up so much space that I no longer had room for my regular files (taxes, bills, etc.) so I realized that I was going to have to find a better way to do it.

Today I’m going to share with you how I finally got everything organized, and y’all, it is absolute perfection!  I’m only regretting not doing it sooner.

And before I go any further, after you read this post, be sure to go follow me on Instagram... there is a live look at these boxes in my "Simplify 3" highlight as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the rest of my entire decluttering journey.  Just look for "Simplify 1," "Simplify 2" and "Simplify 3."  Lots of good stuff!!  And I update new decluttering/organizing stuff pretty frequently so be sure to check back regularly!

Let’s do it!

For this project, you will need the following:

1. 1 Hanging file box for each child (you may want to go ahead and stock up on these because you will probably want to make a non-school papers keepsake box for each child in addition to this school papers keepsake box.  The non-school papers keepsake box is for birthday cards, notes, artwork, and other paper keepsakes that are not affiliated with school.  You can see that post here.)

2. Labels for the outside of each of the boxes

3. Chalk Markers to label each box

4. Manila folders (I needed 8-9 per box)

5. 1 Set of hanging file folders for each child (I needed 26 per box)

I have these file storage boxes from Amazon and I LOVE them.  They have a split lid so you can open just half of the box, and they are also slightly longer than standard file boxes so they have a bit more room.  **Update for June 2018, Amazon is sold out of the 1-packs, but you can get them here at**  If you're looking for something similar there is also this slightly smaller size that is pretty inexpensive.  Also, thesethese, these, these, and these look like good options as well.  If you prefer a cheaper version, you could also grab some of the cardboard banker’s boxes as well. 

I bought these chalkboard labels a while back as well as these chalk markers and I used those to label the outside of the boxes.

These are the manila folders I purchased to go inside the hanging file folders.  I use these all the time for my regular files, so eventually my box of 100 will get used.  Plus they were only $10 for 100.

I purchased these hanging files on Amazon because I love that they come in different colors… I chose blue for Jacob and pink for Olivia, their favorite colors respectively.  I already had a set of yellow hanging file folders so I used those for my own box.

Which brings me to… YES, I still have all of my old school papers.  EEK.  I know my parents meant well when saving all of the heaps and gobs of old papers (hiiii, Momma and Daddy!), but goodness gracious it was just too much!! 

Moms, listen to me when I say – when your kids are adults, they will NOT want every single piece of paperwork that they ever brought home from their entire school career!  Take it from someone who just cleaned out boxes and boxes AND BOXES of old school papers.  I had so much stuff that I got tired of looking at it.  When you’re in the lower grades a lot of the work is repetitive.  I swear I tossed a whole box just of handwriting practice!  Haha.  I’m so thankful my parents did save stuff, but my old keepsakes literally filled my office closet from floor to ceiling before I purged, and it took me over a month just to clean them all out. 

So before you get started, keep this in mind – BE RUTHLESS!  You only need to save a random sample of stuff from each grade!

Now that you have that in the forefront of your mind (and you’re going to keep it in the forefront of your mind the entire time you work on this) let’s get started!

The first thing you need to do is set up your keepsake boxes.  I’m using ours for SCHOOL PAPERS ONLY.  Non-school papers are going to be stored differently, but that’s another post for another day, which I hope to get to soon.  ;o) 

Label the outside of the box (I labeled each box with the child’s name, and “School.”), and then hang your file folders in the box.

Once your boxes are set up, now it’s time to plan out your categories.  You should have one folder for each grade, plus some additional folders for report cards, awards, and other miscellaneous things.  Your categories will look similar to mine, but there may be some slight differences depending on if your child went to daycare or pre-school or not.  Our kids went to daycare so they started bringing artwork home at the age of one, so we have the folders starting from those first one-year-old classes.  For each of these files below I save the class syllabus (which is at the front of the folder) and then I save a few random pieces from throughout the year – reading, math, and other school work, art work, special projects, etc.

We have hanging folders for the following grades for school papers:

Young Toddler Papers (age 1-1.5)
Older Toddler Papers (age 1.5-2)
Twos Papers
Threes Papers
Pre-K4 Papers
Kindergarten Papers
First Grade Papers
Second Grade Papers
Third Grade Papers
Fourth Grade Papers
Fifth Grade Papers
Sixth Grade Papers
Seventh Grade Papers
Eighth Grade Papers
Ninth Grade Papers
Tenth Grade Papers
Eleventh Grade Papers
Twelfth Grade Papers
College Year One Papers
College Year Two Papers
College Year Three Papers
College Year Four Papers

Then behind all of the school papers folders by grade, I also added the following hanging folders for all of the other school-related papers that were saved that were not school work itself:

Grades – This hanging folder is divided into two folders, one for “Report Cards”, and one for “Test Scores.”  The folder for “Report Cards” will contain every single report card that my children receive.  Report cards are one thing that I do not throw out.  The folder for “Test Scores” will contain results for the big annual tests that they take, SAT scores, etc.  This folder is not for every day tests that they take in class.  It is only for the big tests.

Awards – This hanging file is divided into three folders, one for “Academic,” one for “Scholarships,” and one for “Sports.”  I save every single award that my kids are presented with as well.  Chances are they’ll actually care about seeing those more than they will their school work.  Each type of award is filed in its respective folder based on the category it falls under.

Keepsakes – This hanging file will contain everything else that does not fall into one of the other categories.  I have many different things in this folder.  I have a few of the “Eat, Sleep, and Poop” info sheets from when the kids were infants at daycare, I have a few of the “Incident Reports” from when they fell and scraped their knees, programs from their school concerts and events, their Kindergarten diplomas, and eventually this file will also hold programs from their high school graduations and high school diplomas and other things like that. 

School Pictures – This hanging file is also divided into three folders, one for “Individual,” one for “Class,” and one for “School Dances.”  I may also have to add one for “Sports” down the road as well.  The “Individual” folder contains all of their spring and fall and yearbook individual pictures, the “Class” folder contains all of their class pictures, and the “School Dances” folder contains all of their photos from school dances.  Our school holds a Mother/Son dance and a Father/Daughter dance, and they always have a professional photographer, so all of those pictures will go in there.  And eventually their Homecoming and Prom dance pictures will as well.  Waaaahhhh!  I don’t even want to think about that!

Now that your categories are decided and your folders are ready, it’s time to organize those papers and get them in the boxes.

Again, BE RUTHLESS.  This box is going to be for your child’s entire school career (our boxes even include college) so you are going to really have to pare down what you save.  I promise you that your kids will be thankful… they will NOT want to see every single assignment that they ever did.  Nobody would ever have time to look at everything and nobody wants ten boxes of school papers lying around and taking up space either.  If you feel bad about throwing stuff away, you could always snap a quick picture of each piece with your phone and create a digital folder as well.

This is what both of my kids' boxes currently look like... clearly I have some purging to do!

The last thing I will be including in each of our kids’ boxes is a keepsake book from all of their teachers.  I bought a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” for each of them when they were just babies, and I have had every single teacher sign it since they were infants.  I will continue having every teacher sign it until high school graduation, and then we will give the books to them after graduation so they can read all of the sweet notes from their caretakers from their first eighteen years of life.  If you haven’t started doing this, I urge you to.  Jacob’s and Olivia’s teachers always think it’s the neatest idea when we ask them to sign their books at the end of each school year and they always write the sweetest little notes in there.  It’s something that they will treasure forever.  I just know it!

Once the kids graduate from college, we will hand over their boxes so they can see everything that they accomplished during their entire school career!  Random samples of their school work from every grade, as well as every single report card, test score, scholarship, award, keepsake, and school picture will be in there along with a book signed by every single teacher they ever had.  How cool is that?  Wouldn’t you love to have a wonderful time capsule like that?? 

And you wanna know how I know that this system will work?  Because I made one for my entire school career!  I went through aaaallll those boxes and saved a few things from each grade as well as all of my report cards, test scores, scholarships, awards, keepsakes, and school pictures.  I only saved what I could fit in one box and everything else went in the recycling bin.  I had so much stuff that I literally filled our four-foot tall recycling bin to the tippy top.  TWICE. 

I now have every single thing that I actually want to see from my 18 years of school right here at my fingertips and it only takes up the space of one small box. 

Life, simplified!

And while you're organizing keepsakes, you might want to go ahead and organize newborn keepsakes as well... click here to see how I organized those... they are all saved in one tiny box!

Good luck!