February 28, 2015

February in Review

This month was a pretty good month so I'm going to reflect back on some of my favorite posts.

We started out the month with a wonderful accomplishment by TnT.

Potty-Training-Certificate

Then I went in to dreaming about Spring and the projects we want to work on outside. I also started planning my Spring wardrobe.

We finally finished decorating another room in the house. We've had the theatre room done for a while now and this month we finished TnT's bedroom.

Home-Tour-End-Table

I did a tiny bit of organizing and organized our home maintenance cabinet and then I shared how I make my fail-safe to-do lists.

Home-Maintenance-Cover

I wasn't that great about posting my weekly Homeschool updates (we are doing a lot of the same activities week after week) but I did post weeks #1 and #2. I also shared some of my favorite YouTube videos that I use in our Homeschooling.

Homeschool-W1D2-Magnet-Boar

Lastly, I've been consistently posting our weekly meal plans (with links to recipes). Some weeks are harder than others but I've managed to keep up! I hope to start posting more of my recipes this year.

February 25, 2015

Wednesday Randoms + Vol. 2

I thought since I fell behind in blogging I'd just catch everyone up with some Wednesday Randoms!

Snow Days & Sickness

  • After a week and a half of snow days and us taking turns being sick, today is the first day that we are back to our normal schedule routine. It was nice.
  • We are supposed to have a big snow storm this weekend. I'm really hoping we get lots of snow for the sake of TnT. They've been wanting it to snow for weeks now. However, I hope it melts fast and that we don't have any more disruptions to our normal daily routine. It's rough trying to catch up
  • Hello Exhaustion! I think while Tillie was sick last week I got about 8 hours of sleep in 4 days. In addition to no sleep, having my thyroid super low didn't help me in the energy department. I have felt like I've been walking through mud until today.

Speech-Day
Speech-Day-Lunch

Salsa Girls Weekend

I have a group of friends from college that are affectionately known as the Salsa Girls. We got that name because we would always gather in one of our dorm rooms and eat chips and salsa. Anyway, they were in town this weekend for a girls weekend. Aside from me fighting the major fatigue I was having, we had a blast!

Whiskey Cake
Salsa Night

Awesome Hubby Alert

This past weekend, a group of my girlfriends from college were in town so we had a girls weekend. None of them had seen the house yet (some of them live in other states) and with no sleep and taking care of sick kids, I left the house in somewhat a mess. I did as much as I could Friday before I left but it still looked pretty bad. JMac said he would take care of the rest and when we showed up Saturday the house was spotless. I was so impressed! He definitely wins Hubby of the year.

Decorating

I made yet another Joss & Main purchase a couple weeks ago. This time I bought a rug and a mirror. I posted a picture of the rug on my Instagram account. Today the mirror came. I bought it for the mantle and I love it! If you haven't shopped Joss & Main for your home decor, you should definitely check them out!

My fireplace/mantle is still a work in progress décor wise.

Mantle Mirror

Etsy Shop 

My schedule has been filling up with custom orders for party printables lately. I've added some pre-designed invitations to my shop as well. Spring seems to be a busy time for baby showers, wedding showers and birthday parties so if you need an invite and/or other party printables, email me or check out my shop!

Blue-Sprinkle-Invite  Newsprint-Baby-Shower-Invit  Pink-Sprinkle-Invite

February 22, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan + Week 8

Last week was a rough week.

I woke up sick on Monday and just as I was getting better, Tillie woke up sick on Wednesday. Then I had a girls weekend with some of my best friends (that part wasn't so rough except for the fact that I was exhausted).

I didn't get any sleep until last night and I'm still exhausted.

Last week was basically a fend for yourself kind of week so this week is basically a repeat of last week's meals that will make more than enough for leftovers.

My grocery budget likes this week.

2015-Weekly-Meal-Plan-Week-

Recipes

  • One Pot Pizza Pasta – this made enough for us to have it again so it will be served for one of our leftover nights.

 

Did you know I have Pinterest boards for all the recipes I've tried and have added to my meal rotation? Yep, I do. And I have them categorized.

February 19, 2015

The Best Toddler Learning YouTube Videos

Best YouTube Videos

In trying to homeschool my three year olds, I have come to love YouTube videos. When the girls don't seem to be listening to me, I can go to my trusty Homeschool playlist and play a video related to what we are learning. Gets their attention every time.

Here are some of our favorites.

Stations

Here are our go to YouTube stations

  1. ABCMouse
  2. The Learning Station
  3. ABCkidTV
  4. StoryBots

Time

Every day we start with days of the week and months of the year and have recently started discussing seasons.

  1. Days of the Week
  2. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
  3. Months of the Year
  4. Four Seasons

ABC's and 123's

Since we are doing the Letter of the Week Curriculum, I have been using the ABCMouse letter songs. So far we have done A, E, I, & O.

I have had a lot of trouble finding ways to teach the girls numbers individually. There's not a whole lot out there (at least nothing I've found) to teach numbers (that compares to letter of the week). I have found Storybots videos for this purpose. The girls like robots so these videos go over pretty well.

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. Four

We seem to have some issues with counting. They almost have it down but they still skip a couple numbers.

  1. Counting Together
  2. 1, 2 Buckle my Shoe
  3. 10 Little Numbers

Just for Fun

When I feel like I'm starting to lose control of our learning time, I will play a fun video where they can get up and dance around.

  1.  Hokey Pokey - It's great because they are also learning 'right' and 'left'.
  2. Wheels on the Bus

 

I am still building our Homeschool playlist but feel free to follow along!

Great Toys For All Ages At MelissaAndDoug.com

February 18, 2015

How to Make a Fail-Safe To-Do List

I like to make schedules. Schedules make me feel organized and in control.

But let's be honest, when you have kids, schedules don't always work. Also, as much as I like making schedules, I'm horrible at sticking to them. I'm like a Type B person with Type A tendencies (making schedules). Or maybe I'm just lazy. Either way, schedules don't always work for me.

So while I like to make schedules (and use them as a guideline), non-time constraining to-do lists work much better for me.

Fail Proof To-Do List

Here is how I structure my to do lists.

1. Make a Master To Do List

Each week, I make a master to-do list. This list includes all chores, errands/appointments and projects that I want to accomplish for the week.

2. Daily Top 3

Each morning (or sometimes the night before) I make my to-do list for the day. I start with non-negotiable items like appointments and homeschool and then I do my top three which I categorize into the following (Do these first, when/if possible):

  1. Something for my family – I try to do at least one thing every day for my family. It can be as simple as making a special treat for them.
  2. Something for myself – usually blogging or working
  3. Chore – This usually involves a chore aside from the daily picking up and cleaning the kitchen. It can be something like deep cleaning a bathroom, organizing a drawer or paying bills.

3. Daily Essential's

These are my work before play tasks.

After I get my top 3 items on my to-do list, I add in my daily essentials like cleaning the kitchen (I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen). For me, these are things that I can easily get checked off my list each day.

4. Non-Essential's

Lastly, I list my non-essential's for the day…tasks that I'd like to complete if I have any extra time. These are things that I don't mind migrating to the next day like chores or projects that don't have to be done right away. If I get to the point to where a non-essential item becomes an essential item (i.e. getting close to a deadline) then I move it to my Top 3.

 

If any of the items on my list don't get completed, I try not to worry about it and just migrate it to the next day's list. The world isn't going to end if a couple things don't get done in a day so if it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. Worry about it another day.

So what do you think? Is this how you go about making your daily to-do lists?

February 15, 2015

Weekly Meal Planning + Week 7

Exhaustion is my excuse for this week's boring meal plan. Sometimes you just need boring, right?

Also, boring equals easy so I call that a win.

2015-Week-7-Meal-Plan

Hope you all have a great week!

February 10, 2015

The Casual Mom

Most momiforms are typically yoga pants and a t-shirt or sweatshirt. While I love a good yoga pant outfit, I run a lot of errands so I try to at least wear jeans when I leave the house. I do like to dress up but let's be honest, I don't go anywhere that I need to wear anything remotely close to business casual (or dressier) so my typical leave the house outfit is usually jeans and a hoodie.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I am a Maurices fan. Their jeans fit me perfectly, they often have tops that I love and they are super affordable. I was excited to open my inbox today and see that they are having a BOGO 50% off sale! I immediately went shopping (I really need some new jeans)!

How fun is this outfit that I pieced together? I seriously think I'll be buying most of the pieces with this sale.

 

Maurices---Casual-Mom

BOGO 50% off Sitewide @ maurices.com Use code SHOP215 Valid 2/9-2/11

Happy Shopping!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchases made from these links help to support my family and this blog.

February 9, 2015

Home Tour + The Girls' Shared Room



The house is coming along sloooooooowly but I finally have another room tour for you!
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
The girls, being twins, have shared a room from day one. Our plan is to have them in the same room if/until they decide they want their own room.
The whole design (if you want to call it that) of the room was based on the bedding that I found at HomeGoods. Their names from their nursery survived so I spruced them up with a little paint and re-used them. I hope to paint their chest of drawers (also from their nursery) but that's a project for another day.
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared BedroomJust Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom
Just Wait til You have Kids | Twin Girls Shared Bedroom

Other Home Tour Posts

February 8, 2015

Weekly Meal Planning + Week 6

So I'm a little bummed that we didn't start whole30 last week but it was a crazy week and honestly, I'm not sure how we could have even stuck to the plan week 1. I do, however, like incorporating some cleaner meals into our meal plans.

One day last week, every meal I had was whole30 compliant (beverages were not). Then the next day I ate too much junk and felt AWFUL. I wonder if it was just a coincidence or if just the one day made a little difference in my body. Anyway, it convinced me that eating cleaner was definitely a change I'm wanting to make so here we go.

Week 6 meal plan

2015-Week-6-Meal-Plan

Recipes

Homeschool Preschool + Week 2

This week we focused on the letter 'E', the number '2' and the triangle.

Our theme this week was 'E' for Elephant.

Homeschool-W2-Letter-E-Move
Homeschool-W2-Letter-E Homeschool-W2-Letter-E2

We did a lot of the same activities as last week. There were a couple of activities this week that ended up being a little too complex for them at this point (this curriculum is technically for age 4) so we ended up nixing those activities until I feel they are more ready.

We went to the library one day to pick up our books for the week and we had so much fun that I plan to make it a weekly thing.

Homeschool-W2-Library-Time

I've also started utilizing YouTube for some of the lessons like days of the week, months of the year, etc. I'll be doing a post on our favorite videos soon.

Homeschool-W2-DOTW

At the end of the week, we took a field trip to the zoo to see the elephants! The weather was perfect and we had so much fun. The girls were so inquisitive so there was lots of learning that day.

I was a little lax this week in our schedule. After our full days Monday through Wednesday, we are all exhausted and focusing on "school work" seems to be a little difficult so I am seriously considering lumping the daily assignments together into just a couple of days a week.  I'll let you know how that goes should we go that route.

February 6, 2015

Five on Friday + Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces

Spring will (hopefully) be here soon so I've been brainstorming ideas on how to fix up our yard & outdoor spaces.

Fortunately and unfortunately, the tornado left us with a blank canvas. It's a little overwhelming but also a little exciting. We have two back porches, a fairly big covered front porch and a 50-foot covered porch on our metal storage building that I want to furnish and decorate. We also need to re-plant trees and of course, fill up our flower beds.

So here are five things I'd love to do to our property starting this Spring.

ONE

We don't really need any more sitting areas/patios but we have been thinking about adding a covered pergola at the back of our house, between our two back porches. We have a fire pit and think it would be the perfect place to put it. Maybe something like this…

Pergola
(Source)

TWO

Our storm shelter is now eight steps from our back door and sits up against one of the back porches and it's not pretty. I think doing something like this would make it look a little less like an eyesore.

Landscaping on and around the Storm Shelter. This would work for a root cellar entrance, too.
(Source)

THREE

We have furniture for our two back porches but they need some more décor to make them feel a little more homey. I love the feel of this porch.

Back covered patio
(Source)

FOUR

Our Front Porch isn't quite this large but this one looks so comfortable and simple.

porch
(Source-Unknown)

FIVE

I'm most excited about doing something to our barn porch. I mean, 50 feet of space to decorate! How fun will that be?! This porch is the only one that gives a view of our entire "back yard" (I put that in quotes because we actually have 5 acres but we will be fencing off an area for the safety of the girls). So while the girls are playing, I'd like to be sitting on a porch that looks a little like this.

Set up for pole barn porch. LOVE THIS! The ceiling, the lights, the loungers!
(Source)

February 5, 2015

Organizing Your Home Maintenance Supplies

When we were designing our house I may have gone a little crazy with the cabinets. So much so that it put us way over budget on the house. I have no regrets though because now EVERYTHING has a place and if it doesn't fit anywhere, it goes away.

Many of our cabinets are not yet organized they way I want them but I do have one cabinet that I am pretty happy with and I'm sharing it with you today.

Home-Maintance-Cabinet

When we moved in to the house, all the batteries, light bulbs and picture hanging supplies were just lying around all over the countertop in our laundry room. Finally, I couldn't take seeing it lying around cluttering up the laundry room so I decided to do something about it. I gathered storage items I already had and got to work.

If you have kids, you probably have lots of batteries. Not only do we have toys that require batteries but I also have a husband that hoards electronics so we buy batteries in bulk. I sorted all of our batteries into the two mini drawer sets and put them on the bottom shelf. One of these days I might actually get around to labeling them. That little basket to the right is for our command hooks.

The middle shelf houses our light bulbs. Ideally, they'd be sorted by type and wattage but we have such an array of bulbs that I just grouped them together the best I could. In one box is the normal CFL bulbs and the other are more of the specialty bulbs.

Home-Maintenance-Light-Bulb

I used the top shelf for less frequently used items such as flashlights, extension cords and our picture hanging supplies. All grouped accordingly as you can see in the picture below.

Home Maintenance Cabinet (4 of 4)

This system is working really well for us. Every thing having it's place just makes this wanna be super organized person, very happy.

Now to get the other 3043983 cabinets and closets in our house this organized.

Home-Maintenance-Cover

February 4, 2015

Valentine Gift Guide for Moms

These days I rarely buy anything for myself. I have more fun buying things (especially clothes) for my girls. However, every once in a while, I'll see something small that I'd like to have but still wouldn't buy it for myself.

How about chocolate? Ok, I'd buy this for myself but if you want to win me over, buy me caramel filled chocolate….and it must be the runny caramel. Not that stuff that sticks to your teeth (although I'd eat that too).

You can never go wrong with flowers but that's just my opinion. Oh what I wouldn't give to constantly have flowers in my house. It would just make my days that much brighter.

I know jewelry is kind of a cliché type of gift but almost all women wear it at some point or another. I'm not a big jewelry person (I have toddlers that still like to pull on any jewelry I wear) but I love a good stylish piece here and there.

Most mom's are coffee drinkers so how could you possibly go wrong with a fun coffee mug? She'd be sure to think of you any time she had her morning, afternoon and/or evening coffee in such a special mug.

VDay-Gift-Guide-for-Mom

Ghirardelli Chocolates
First Kiss Deluxe Bouquet
Jesus + Coffee Mug
Lacey Ryan Turquoise Arrowhead Necklace
Open Heart Knuckle Ring

*This post may contain affiliate links. Any purchases made from these links help to support my family and this blog.

February 3, 2015

Meeting Milestones

Potty-Training-Certificate

I am happy to say we they finally did it! The girls are officially potty trained! Honestly, after my last post, I didn't think it would ever happen but me backing off and giving the control to them was all that needed to be done.

I was very strict about my rule of of 2 pairs of big girl underwear a day and actually, I reduced it to one a couple days after that. If they had an accident, they were responsible for cleaning themselves up (I made sure it was done properly) and they had to wear pull-ups for the remainder of the day.

It didn't take Tillie long….2 days to be exact and within 4 days she was wearing big girl underwear 24/7. She has only had a couple overnight accidents since then and both of those nights, we forgot to have her go before bed.

Tensley seemed to have digressed a little but took a turn for the better end of last week. Up until tonight, she had been sleeping in a pull-up. We're testing the waters to see how she does.

Both girls are doing great (with both #1 and #2)! We are, however, having trouble getting them to remember to wipe, flush and wash their hands. Y'all, these are minor compared to what we've gone through the past several months.

I CANNOT tell you enough how excited I am that we have reached this milestone and the girls are pretty proud of themselves too!

February 2, 2015

Monthly Goals + January Update & New Goals

So I'm learning that I'm a little to ambitious in my goal setting. Apparently.

Some people question my inability to get things done. I tell them to spend a day with me and they'll find out. Honestly, right now, parenting these super active three year olds of mine takes up the majority of my days. But I'm going to keep making goals in hopes that one day, as we get closer to age 4, some things will become easier to accomplish.

Here's a recap and update of last month's goals.

  • Take down Christmas decorations – DONE!
  • No Spend Month – Ha! We actually did pretty good the 1st half of the month so we have a pretty good buffer.
  • Organize recipes – Hahahahaha! We'll try again next month.
  • Eat healthier – Working on it this month
  • Exercise at least twice a week – Hahahahahahahahahaha! Every time I got up early to work out, one of the girls woke up before I could even get my workout clothes on.
  • Plan at least one daily (weekdays) activity for the girls – Does homeschooling and a trip to the library each week count?
  • Finish one of the many books I've started – NOPE. Maybe someday.

Ok, so my goals for next month.

February-Goals

  • Work on organizing recipes
  • Schedule our days better (and stick to the to-do list!)
  • Eat healthier
  • Finish Organizing the playroom

Do you make monthly goals? I love to hear about them!

February 1, 2015

Weekly Meal Planning + Week 5

Well, my plans to do Whole30 this month went down the drain this weekend. Our calendar filled up with events (including a girls' weekend, YAY!) that would make it difficult to stick to it 100%. However, since I had already started planning and shopping for it, we decided this month would be our "practice" month where we become more aware of what we are eating and will try to eat as many whole30 meals as possible.

Just prepping for doing whole 30 had made me so much more aware of what is in the foods we eat. Processed food is bad, Bad, BAD. There is sugar in EVERYTHING! No wonder we are all addicted to sugar.

We plan to have eggs of some sort most mornings and hopefully we'll have leftovers that we can eat for lunches. There are several meals in my normal rotation that I can easily transition to whole30 compliant. I'm pretty excited about that.

2015-Week-5-Meal-Plan

Recipes:

Homeschool Preschool + Week 1

Well we've (almost) finished week 1 of our homeschool reboot. Friday I ran errands that went a little long thanks to my 3 year olds who say they like to go shopping but really just chase each other around the store(s) giggling & squealing and touching all the things. These two girls of mine sure know how to draw attention to themselves. People were staring everywhere we went…either in pity or disgust, I can never tell. There was also a pee accident and an illegal taste testing of produce (don't worry, I paid for it). I might have come home and curled up into a ball that evening. If there had been alcohol in our house, it probably would have been consumed before bed. Age three may kill me y'all.

Where was I……

Oh yes! Homeschooling.

We'll be making up the last day hopefully today.

Instead of trying to come up with my own lessons this time I decided to purchase a curriculum. I chose the Letter of the Week curriculum by Confessions of a Homeschooler. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Trying to do anything with 2 three year olds is nearly impossible so taking one thing off my to do list, like not having to lesson plan, makes my life SO much easier.

This week we started with the Letter A.

I think their favorite part of day one was the Floor Numbers. Fortunately, this particular lesson is repeated throughout the curriculum because they need practice with numbers and counting.

Homeschool-W1D1-Floor-Numbe

More manipulatives on Day 2. They loved the magnet boards and the geoboards.

Homeschool-W1D2-Magnet-BoarHomeschool-W1D2-MB-T1 

They also had fun trying to make the letter A with their bodies. I had to help a little, of course.

Homeschool-W1D2-Letter-A

On Day 3 they worked with pattern blocks….

Homeschool-W1D3-Pattern-Blo

They did puzzles with color matching…

Homeschool-W1D3-Color-Match

And worked on their fine motor skills with a letter collage.

Homeschool-W1D3-Letter-Coll

They also enjoyed the movement lesson from Day 2 so much that they insisted on make a lower case 'a'.

Homeschool-W1D3-Little-a

The Day 4 favorite was the poking page. They spent a little extra time on this lesson. A little too much, I think. lol

Homeschool-W1D4-Poke-page

These are the books we read this week:

  • Apples on Top by Dr. Seuss
  • Apples and Oranges: Going Bananas with Pairs by Sara Pinto
  • One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert
  • Apples A to Z by Margaret McNamara
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