End of Summer 2019 Recap!

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It’s really hard to think about summer being over, but it is. I’ve gone back to work, Emorie is back in school and we are settling back into our routines. I’m not going to share every single thing that we did, but I’m definitely going to share the highlight reel.

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This little cutie turned eight and celebrated her fourth recital and did a fantastic job. She was by far the busiest member of our family this summer: she went to tennis camp, volleyball camp, acrobatics camp, swim lessons, art camp and Vacation Bible School. Thank goodness these camps were all half day camps, or I’d have never seen her!

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Aubrey finally, actually let me take some pretty cute pictures of her! She also attended acrobatics camp and swim lessons.

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I took a break from blogging to spend more time with my family, and I also discovered a new love- weightlifting. I worked with a personal trainer and have lost almost 35 pounds. Here’s a pic of me in April, at the heaviest I’ve ever been.

 And here I am after working with a nutritionist and personal trainer for two months.

We also adopted a sweet little kitten this summer and Emorie named her Daisy. She is a sweet cuddler and loves to play. We are truly enjoying her.

We also took our first vacation as a foursome in two years.

And lastly, my precious big girl went to third grade.

I hope you have had a wonderful summer. I cannot wait to show you some of the really cool things I’ve been working on lately!

Visit on Thursday for a super cute wreath tutorial!

 

Back to school: tips for a smoother first day of school

How to have A better, more smooth

My sweet girl returns to school on Thursday, and my own first day of school is just around the corner. While the beginning of a school year can be really stressful and difficult, it doesn’t have to be. Like in many other situations, a little planning ahead goes a long way.

Please enjoy the following tips for making your first day of school run more smoothly…and please comment and add your own!

1. Go to sleep early

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Studies have shown well-rested kids perform better in school. A week or two before school starts, make sure your kiddos are back on schedule- early to bed and early to rise. It’ll make fighting that “morning wake up” battle so much easier.

2. Organize early, as much as possible.

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Don’t wait til the last minute. Buy everything you need and get it organized a few weeks before school starts. You’ll be glad you did, and if you forget anything, you’ll have plenty of time to get it.

3. Involve your kids in your planning process

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Take your kids back to school shopping and help them choose their supplies. Do whatever you can to get them excited about going back to school.

4. Practice your routine

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Get your kids prepared for their new routine by practicing their bed time and get up time a few weeks before school starts. Discuss when homework will be done and when chores will be done. Talk a lot about what a school night will look like so your child will know what’s expected once school starts.

5. Keep calm and…keep calm

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I’m being just a little facetious with that picture of course ๐Ÿ™‚ But it’s true. First days of school, or just mornings in general, can be stressful. Your child is probably already a little anxious or worried about their first day. The calmer you are, the calmer they are likely to be. Don’t stress- take a few deep breaths because it’s gonna be ok.

6. Prepare the night before, as much as possible.

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Keep things simple in the morning by laying out clothes, packing lunches, packing back packs, and anything else that is needed the night before. Then, focus on having a fun and restful evening. The more you can prepare ahead of time the more you can relax and enjoy your morning the next day.

7. Don’t be late!

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When you’re late, it stresses you out. Leave the house a little early if you can- no one wants to be late for the first day of school!

8. Do something unexpected

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Kids are crazy about surprises, so anything unexpected that fills their love tank is great. Maybe it’s as simple as a sweet note in their lunch box, or a special notebook or pen in their bag. Maybe it’s a milkshake on the way home from school, or a fun and simple outing after school. Giving your kiddos a sweet, unexpected surprise will make them feel loved and valued.

And lastly, take a breather for yourself after you drop off your kids and refill your own tank. You deserve it!

What to pack in your toddler’s pool bag

What to pack in your toddler’s pool bag

Summer is quickly approaching, and for most of us, summer means pool and beach trips. Those of us with more than one child have a pretty good idea about what your tiny tot will need for a trip to the pool, but if you aren’t sure, I decided to share what’s in our pool bag.

We are a family of four, so our pool bag is this giant monogrammed Land’s End tote with a zipper top. It holds everything we need for some fun in the sun and I love it!

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For our toddler, we always pack the following items:

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  1. A snack (not pictured). We try to always bring a healthy snack for both kids no matter where we go. Dry cereal works well, as do small fruits (grapes) or veggies (carrot sticks), and things like granola bars or Belvita biscuits.
  2. A swimsuit, a cover up (a hooded towel will work well for a small child), and sunglasses
  3. A sunscreen for sensitive skin
  4. Swim diapers and wipes (if your toddler isn’t quite potty trained. Ours is not).
  5. Diaper ointment and lotion. Some kids’ skin is sensitive to chlorine, so it’s a good idea to have some lotion on hand to replenish their skin’s moisture
  6. Pool shoes and goggles
  7. Something to drink in a plastic, lidded cup
  8. Detangler and a hairbrush (not pictured)

I always feel the most organized and prepared for anything when I create a checklist beforehand, run down my list, and physically check it off. I decided to share that list with you as well. To download it, simply right click on the picture below, save it to your device, and then print it. For best results, do not print larger than 8X10 inches.

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Enjoy your pool and beach trips this summer!

 

Living Room Toy Storage: How to have a beautifully organized living room when you have kids

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We all want living rooms that look incredible but that are still for, well…living. I want my living room to be a place where my family can be comfortable, but also a place that doesn’t look like a playground or a toy store. With a few easy tricks, you can have a stylish, functional living room with children.

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1. Use stylish storage furniture to hide toys

A cute chest or footlocker looks nice and provides a place to store small toys. This chest could also double as additional seating as well.

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2. Create a small “playroom nook” that melts into a corner of your living room

This tiny playroom nook is cute and takes up such a small amount of space in your living room. It’s literally a corner. You could do book ledges like this one, or your could use cube shelves and baskets. There are so many different ways to customize this to make it work for you.

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3. Use an extra closet to store toys

What better way to hide toys than behind closed doors? If you don’t have a playroom, but you do have an extra closet, fill it to the brim with organizers and attractive storage for your kids’ playthings.

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4. Repurpose an old bookshelf to hold toys or art supplies

I have a few old shelves at my house that I could use for this. I could paint and modify them, then add some color-coordinated storage to corral those wayward toys. This would only take up a small amount of space, too.

 

I hope you have enjoyed this roundup! Our playroom is about to undergo a major revamp in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to share itย  with you!

Stay tuned for more DIY, parenting, and housey-goodness!

Cute and Functional Study Spaces

Cute and Functional Study Spaces

My daughter needed a quiet, well-lit and organized place to study and do homework. We bought her this desk off Craigslist some time ago, but we never really decorated or did anything to make it inviting.

It wasn’t bad, but it was missing some key elements. Check this post for elements of an effective study space.

We decided to purchase a lamp

And we repurposed an old towel bar, S-hooks, and decorative buckets to store writing utensils.

Just $16 made a huge impact on her study space.

Her desk is far less cluttered and much cleaner now.

What small change has made a big impact at your house?