#MindfulMonday: Back to School

The one week countdown to school starting begins today!

So many emotions…

  • Excitement for a new school year.
  • Happiness that at least a few times a week our houses will be SILENT and messes can successfully stay clean (until they come home).
  • Sadness because even though you prayed for more moments of peace and quiet you’ll now miss those monsters while you transition being away from them.  Because as much as they can drive you crazy, you end up missing the crazy 5 minutes after they are gone #momhormones
  • Nervousness that you will be able to keep track of all the extracurricular times, school party sign up lists, volunteer opportunities and teacher planning days.
  • Worry that your children will remember their manners, be grateful and show empathy towards others, and little friends will be nice to them and vice versa.

One emotion we are actively trying to avoid is STRESS.  This year we want to have stress-free first days and first week’s back.  This may be completely wishful thinking, but to calm our nerves and help us at least feel like we gave it a good attempt we started brainstorming.  We tried to come up with a plan to help us enjoy the last week of summer, while also preparing our little ones for the first week back and the schedule it brings.

First day of school & Last Day of School 2015/2016

We decided the best way to do this is to do a few dry runs this last week of summer. We want to get our kids back on the schedule of waking up early (really this only applies to C’s littles because mine wake up with the sun, every morning, without fail).  We want them to be used to getting dressed, making their bed, eating breakfast, and brushing teeth within a reasonable amount of time in the morning.  Summer has been exactly what it should have been; many mornings waking up slow (even if it was at 6am) staying in PJ’s until 10, watching cartoons, and leisurely eating breakfast .  As much as we have enjoyed this routine, it will be a beast to slay when the first week of school is back and their routines are cut down to an hour at best.

That being said, C and I decided our plan of attack.

  1. We are going to pack lunches and layout clothes the night before.
  2. Set alarms as if we needed to get up for school.
  3. Have a set breakfast menu for the week (morning choices can be detrimental for some, so we are keeping it simple)
  4. Find an activity that requires us to get out of the door by school time
  5. Make sure everyone is dressed, hair combed, teeth brushed, and shoes on by that time

This plan is as much for them as it is for us.  There were plenty of mornings last year that were running behind because I forgot to pack lunches. So I’m going to work out those kinks and get in the routine of doing it at night.  I am going to try out a few lunch combos and snacks so I have an arsenal of options to keep them interested for the first few weeks.  We will be sharing these in a post at the end of the week. (Just in time for grocery shopping!)

As much as we want to focus on preparing for the coming week and keeping tears (on all accounts) to a minimum, we also wanted to focus on all the fun we had this summer and still squeeze in a few more fun activities.  We are planning on a beach/pool day (getting out of the door by 8:30 because of our above plan will be spectacular!), lots of end of summer treats (our kids love froyo), and maybe a water day in the backyard (for old time sake since we did this multiple times a week).

To reflect back on all the fun we’ve had this summer, big and small, we have started talking about this at the dinner table.  Every night my husband and I ask, what was the most fun thing they did that day, and then what was their favorite activity from the summer.  This may seem redundant but you would be surprised how often the answers change.  Also this week, I am giving my oldest a few empty blank page books and we are going to make a picture book of our favorite days from summer.  This is an easy activity that can be broken up into small amounts of time each day.

(We had a lot of beach days, pool days, zoo/splash park days, scooter days, and dinners with friends!)

We genuinely would love to hear from you if you have any ideas on how to prepare for the first week back at school, how to ease nerves and stay stress free and also if you have any fun activities you do with your kids to reflect back on the summer and capture all those memories!

Enjoy this last week of summer and for your sake and your littles relax and just do whatever fun activity comes to mind!  (And try to get them out of bed by 7am!!! I think this will be key ;))

(If we are extra put together we may be trying out the new insta stories on one of our dry runs.  So keep an eye out because I am sure it will be much more comical than successful)

LO + CO

 

 

 

That’s a Wrap

Fall is coming.

Game of Thrones fans just totally swapped Winter for Fall while reading that sentence so I’ll say it one more time.

FALL is coming!

This means kids going back to school, football season, pumpkin flavored everything, leaves changing, and a landslide of birthday parties to plan and attend.

I’ve been wanting to write a post on gift wrapping for a while because I legitimately enjoy the wrapping part just as much or more than the gift choosing.

Here is what I keep in stock for wrapping gifts in our household:

  • Leftover paper grocery bags (smaller to medium size gifts)
  • Twine (Stock up on the Target Dollar Section when you see it. I thank LO for this tip.)
  • Tissue Tassels as seen Here
  • Tissue paper
  • Yarn
  • Tape
  • Crayons
  • Watercolor
  • Small – medium boxes
  • Postal wrapping
  • White matte wrapping
  • Fun bows from TJ Maxx or Homegoods

First I choose the paper and let the children decorate it if it’s for a child’s birthday party. We usually do crayon scribbles, watercolor, or washable paint. If it’s for an adult outside of our family I will usually leave it plain.


Next you can wrap the gift and finish with twine (and simply tie a bow or add a fun bow) or yarn with some Pom Poms as shown below.

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Last Minute NSale Picks: Baby & Kids

As I am sure you are aware the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is going on right now.  (You can see our picks from the start of the sale here).  The sale ends August 8, which means there is exactly 5 days left to shop.  We have been noticing  a handful of incredible Baby & Kids picks.  Some that we swear by as moms and others that will help with back to school prep.  Below is our last minute NSale picks for Baby & Kids.


 

 

JU JU BE Legacy BFF Diaper Bag – I live and die by this diaper bag.  With my first and for the first 8 months of my second’s life I used a large Marc Jacobs diaper bag tote.  It was super cute, but this JU JU BE Diaper Bag changed my life.  It is stylish, easy to see everything in your bag, and most importantly it can be worn as a backpack, saving your arms for corralling children.

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Friday Files

Happy Friday!

We took a short summer hiatus to spend time with family.  C took a road trip to the Tennessee Mountains to visit her brother-in-law while I spent a fun weekend with my family and a cousin, who is more like a sister, and her family who flew down for a visit from Philadelphia.  Aren’t fun family weekends the best?!  We both feel rejuventated from spending quality time with both and look forward to the next fun weekend!


Back to School

LL Back Pack

School is sneaking up on us!  I couldn’t believe it when we got our school packets in the mail and realized in about 3 weeks (probably closer to two now) the girls will be going back! This immediately made me feel behind on back to school preparations.  My list includes finding backpacks for both girls (I have these red LL Bean Junior Backpacks in mind with both of their monograms), a lunchbox for my littlest, shoes for both, and back to school clothes.  C and I will be throwing together a back to school post in the next week to share what we are grabbing for our littles and what we think is most important for the fall school semester!

 

JCrew Signet Bag

I am loving this Signet Bag from JCrew.  I love the simple, classic lines and how you can personalize it in a variety of ways!  The perfect staple piece to take you into fall.  Also, I think this would make a great gift!

Quiksilver Sea Stash Wet Dry Backpack

img_0223C and I took the little ones to the pool for the morning yesterday.  She showed up with this wet/dry backpack.  She found it at TJMaxx for $15 (which was a steal of a deal because the only place I could find it online has it priced at $50).  This bag was AH-Mazing!  It was huge, comfortable to wear, and perfect for pool days with wet bathing suits, towels, and toys.  The most exciting part about the bag is… IT FLOATS!  That was more of a novelty for us than an important feature, but I guess it could come in handy if a rowdy toddler threw it in the pool.  Lesson here – if you have small kids RUN to TJMaxx and see if you can score this bag.

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Yarn Bombed Antlers

44876ff03522cb826d31d2a1666af5de (2)My youngest will be three years old in two months so in the process of changing his toddler nursery (I call it toddler nursery because we lived in another home his first 1.5 years of life which was his true baby nursery) into a big boy room I knew I wanted to be cost effective. I had run across yarn bombing years ago and read a quick article on how to do it as written about here. My father in law is a hunter and believes in using or donating all parts out of respect for the animal. So, I requested two antlers from him and found some good packages of string at the local dollar store (shown below).

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My total list included:

  • Two antlers (donated by in laws)
  • Two packs of assorted string from dollar store but you could also buy specific colors at craft store
  • Two unfinished wooden plaques bought at Michaels (I couldn’t find them on the website) but they were close to $2.50/piece after using coupon
  • 7.5 oz Stain from Lowe’s here that was tinted with Dark Bark
  • Glue Gun (which I already owned)
  • Push in Picture hangers like here for the back of the wooden plaques (to hang on wall)
  • #2 Wood Flat Brass 3/8 in screw to secure above Push Ins
  • 2.5 in screws to secure antlers to wooden plaque
  • Drywall Anchor and Screw Pack for walls to hang finished product on

So, first I yarn wrapped the antlers by tying a knot in the back and gluing it to the antler. I wrapped until it was the size I liked and glued the end piece to the back of the antlers where nobody would see it. I continued this process on both sides slightly mixing up the order of color and size. Keep in mind if you’re wrapping from the back to keep peeking at the front to make sure there are no gaps in the wrapping. I found that it was easiest for me to wrap holding the antlers part way off of a table.

Once I completed the wrapping (I may end up going back to add more color towards the top of the antlers) I moved on to staining the unfinished plaques. I only did one coat and left to dry overnight. I used old paper bags to shield the stain from our table and it worked like a charm. I usually mix up requesting plastic and paper bags each trip to the grocery store because there are so many different things I use them for around the house. I like the paper ones for backup wrapping paper, play dough surface, paint shield, etc.

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After this step I applied the push in hangers and reinforced them with the tiny brass screws as shown here:


Use large 2.5 in screws to angle into antler skull and drill through wooden plaque. Follow the directions for using wall anchors and hang your finished product! 

#MindfulMonday: Willpower

“Willpower is a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets.”


I came across this quote on a fitness website as I was casually scrolling through for half marathon training tips (we’re still full-steam ahead on that goal!).  Actually, it was the page that pops up with an ad before it lets you go to the article.  Initially I was annoyed (I am way too impatient for these 3 second ads), then during the 3 seconds I had to wait to click to the article, I was moved by the quote.  It left enough of an impression on me for me to take an extra 3 seconds, before moving on to the article, to screenshot it and send it to C.

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I started to think about all of the choices in daily life that requires willpower.  I can speak for myself, and I believe I have a good enough idea to speak on C’s behalf, that we fill many different roles, wear many different hats in our daily lives.  Mom, wife, daughter, aunt, friend, employee, volunteer, room mom, nutritionist/chef (you definitely are these if you plan family meals!), Chief Financial Officer (as I call myself at home), the list can go on and on.  All of which require varying degrees of willpower.

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Friday Files: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Happy Friday!

It’s that time of year again… the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!  You undoubtedly are aware by the mass amounts of coverage it gets from Bloggers posting on Instagram and writing blog posts about it.

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Well… We are no different!! We can’t help ourselves.  It is the best sale to stock up on fall wardrobe staples and score on last minute summer staples (which still feels like a major win since summer is practically 8 months of the year here in Florida!).  Below we both are sharing our top picks from the sale.

*Currently it is only open to those that hold a Nordstrom Credit or Debit Card (if you shop here often they are definitely worth it – we grabbed one the last time my husband got a suit – highly recommend.)  If you would rather not get one you can sign up for Nordstrom Rewards with your email and phone number which allows you to accrue points for every dollar you spend to earn a Nordstrom Note.  That said, Early Access does not include Nordstrom Rewards Members, only Nordstrom Credit or Debit Card holders.  You can still sneak a peak and look around, because the sale opens up to everyone on July 22!

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Budget Beauty: Skincare

I’ve always been somewhat aware that I should be following a skincare routine, but I can’t say I was ever concerned enough to seek out products and structure one.  I did things like, routinely go to the dermatologist for annual skin checks, wash my face in the shower, use a cleansing wipe over my face before bed (sometimes), and moisturize with an SPF in the morning and at night.  That was the extent of my “skincare routine” (if you can even call it that).

Then 29 hit.  The last year before 30 (how is that possible!).  I have not fully come to terms with my 20’s being on their way out.  I know age is just a number, but I swear I started seeing more fine lines on my face than I had ever noticed previously.  This caused me to start seeking out anything I could do to hold on to my youth.

These are circa 2010 & 2008 – when I had baby skin and barely knew to moisturize.  Oh to be young 😉

At my last dermatologist appointment I asked if she could give me some tips on what exactly I should be using and when.  She recommended doing the following as the bare minimum:

  1. Cleansing
  2. Serum during the day
  3. Moisturizer with SPF (I bought a really good one from her that I swear by)
  4. Retinol at night

She offered to give me some samples so I could try a few at home to figure out what worked for me.

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#Mindful Monday: You’re more than a Mom

 

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It’s Monday.  On Mondays we try to find time to write something mindful and/or motivational. I spent this past weekend in my old college town where a good handful of the girls I used to hang out with in college still actually live. They are now working full time jobs and raising kids.

I was surprising one of them for her baby shower and it was so nice to have the entire weekend together. Each night ended up on the couch, catching up and chatting about life then and now. The rarity of those moments after you get busy with life makes them even more special. I realize more than ever now, how we used to take these special moments for granted in college (amongst other things).

As you get older life gets busier, regardless of whether or not you have children. You have to earn a living. There are weddings. There are baby showers. There are doctor’s appointments. You are running a household and plans seem to keep being made in between. We take on more responsibilities and hopefully learn to keep a balance between those responsibilities and doing what we love. Then, if you add children to the mix, there becomes a whole other larger piece of responsibility. This responsibility is your pride and joy. Something you think about all of the time, even while you’re taking care of your other tasks. Your children’s well-being never strays far from any given corner of your mind, as a mom this part of your brain doesn’t shut off.  When you do get a chance to rest, they are most likely right there telling you that a puzzle piece is stuck in the toilet, asking you to play a game with them, wondering if they can have a snack, or peeing on your floor.

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Friday Files: Our Favorite Healthy Kid Snacks

Happy Friday!

For this week’s Friday Files, we decided to share Our Favorite Healthy Kid’s Snacks.  Between the two of us we have an arsenal of healthy snack options we constantly keep on hand for when our littles get hangry (and they do get HANGRY at least 3 times a day, am I right?!).  So without further adieu, below are our tried and true favorites we consistently rely on to keep our littles well nourished and whatever the opposite of hangry is!

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To be honest, this is a good snack list for adults as well! I find it to be very true, I eat what my kids eat or vice-versa, so why not make sure everyone is eating well!

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