Dear Kole

Dear Kole,

My little buddy.  You turned five years old today.  FIVE!  I blinked and it happened.  My baby is growing up.  We had your Kindergarten orientation last week.  This is my third time doing the Kindergarten thing so you’d think it would be pretty routine.  I was fine while they introduced the Kindergarten teachers.  Fine when they talked about your schedule.  Even fine when then showed us the Kindergarten classrooms.  But then they took us outside and showed us the little tables you’ll sit at to eat your lunch.  And the little playground where you’ll play at recess.  And suddenly my heart started to hurt so badly and I couldn’t hold back the tears.  Your dad looked at me and just shook his head.  And I know!  I’m crazy.  If I’m already this emotional and it’s just orientation time we are in big trouble on the first day of school.  But it’s hard.  You are my baby.  My only boy.  My little sidekick for life.  Or so I wish.
k 5 years old_0104
A few things about wonderful you right now.  First of all – the two of us are so close Kole.  Unbelievably close.  It has been that way since day one and your sisters and dad tease us about it.  We like to do everything together and go everywhere together and we have a language all our own.  Sometimes I spoil you.  Ok.  All the time I spoil you.  :)  Don’t get me wrong – I am firm when I need to be (and you give me lots of times that I need to be!) but there is also so much love going on between the two of us every day.  A love fest some might say.  I shower you with hugs and kisses and you tell me “you’re the best mom ever” and I melt like putty in your little hands.  We snuggle a lot.  And read stories.  And when I put you in bed you always yell after I close the door “I love you mommy!  Have good dreams!  Night mom!  I love you!  See you in the morning!  Night mom!  I love you!”  And I say the same right back.  Sometimes this goes on for five minutes.  We have serious separation issues.  :)
k 5 years old_0108
While you are a true momma’s boy, you definitely love your dad and sisters too.  You get so excited to see your daddy each day when he gets home from work and if anyone asks you your favorite thing to do it’s to “go to the Zoo with my dad!”  You also love helping dad with “work.”  Anytime dad is in the garage or yard you are right by his side “helping.”  I don’t know what he would do without so much help.
k 5 years old_0109
Your sisters love that you are finally old enough to really play with them.  The three of you can often be found on the trampoline or riding your scooters and bikes around the yard together.
ziggle-in-motionk 5 years old_0090
These two take GOOD care of you.  You pretty much have three moms hovering around you all day making sure all of your needs are met.  You have no idea how good you have it buddy.  :)
peek-a-boo
Another favorite activity of yours is hide and seek.  You never get tired of hide and seek Kole!
IMG_68432
You have become REALLY good at it.  :)  You also love playing with your race tracks, dinosaurs, snakes, stuffed animals and transformers.  You love to group all of your toys together and carry them around in baskets.  Categorizing and baskets.  No wonder the two of us get along so well.  :)
QI1A0103c
You absolutely adore your grandparents Kole.  All of them.  Utah has become a magical land where nothing but fun happens.   You talk about “Utah” like it’s the best place on earth and countdown to each and every trip we take.  I love the special relationship you have with your grandmas and grandpas.  They all adore you.

Your favorite things to eat are noodles (of any kind), turkey, waffles and popsicles.  You really love popsicles.  I had to tell you that they “weren’t selling them anymore at the store” because we needed a serious break from the popsicles.  Then you came shopping with me a few weeks ago and “guess what mom!!  Vons has popsicles again!”  Just great.
You like to ask questions.  You ask me questions all day long.  About anything and everything.  You still don’t like to wear pants or anything long sleeved.  I’m so grateful we live in a place where it is mostly sunny.  You’ll be in big trouble if you ever move anywhere cold and actually have to wear a coat!

You really dislike being alone.  You are such a people person and always want someone with you or at least nearby.  If you aren’t minding me, all I have to do is suggest a time out away from everyone and you shape right up!  You have such a friendly personality.  Everywhere we go you say to random people “hi!  my name is Kole!” and then tell them a random fact about the day.  We have a hard time getting through the grocery store quickly because you are chatting it up with anyone who will listen.  :)
pottery-barn-striped-chair
You love to read buddy.  We could sit and read books all day.  I love walking in a room and seeing you in a chair reading.
k 5 years old_0096
You have come so far Kole.  They delays you had in speech and other areas when you were 2 and 3 are completely gone.   We just had a meeting with your preschool teachers and it couldn’t have gone better.  You are right at or above where you need to be in every area.  The two of us have worked so hard the past few years with your therapists so this meeting was one to celebrate!  I couldn’t be more proud of all you’ve accomplished so far in your little life.  Your teachers also said you are quite the charmer and that they all adore you.  I can’t say I was surprised to hear this one.  :)

I’ll never forget the day your dad and I went to the doctor and found out you were a boy.  I’ll never forget the feeling that swept over me and how I knew.  I just knew at that second that you would be such a blessing in our lives.  I knew you were meant to be my little boy.  I knew that I loved you more than my heart could begin to handle.  And I was so right.  You make me happy Kole.  Every day.  Your smile and your laugh and your voice and your silly little quirks and your hugs and your unconditional love make me so happy.  Thank you for all the happiness you bring into my life.  I’ll love you forever.  And then for longer after that.  Happy 5th birthday sweetheart.

xoxo

Love, mom

Spring in the kitchen

white craftsman kitchen_0032
Happy Friday friends!  I’ve done a few things around the house to welcome Spring!  There is still a lot I want to do (isn’t there always!?) and a lot of areas in my kitchen need some sprucing up, but I decided to show you where I’m at anyway.  If I wait until things are “complete” like I want them to be I’ll be showing you Spring pictures in November.  :)
white craftsman kitchen_0018
I decided to channel my inner Joanna Gaines with this simple centerpiece.  Not sure if I pulled that lofty goal off but I sure had fun trying.  It’s so simple, but I think that’s what I like most about it.  Lately I’ve been feeling like less is more.  Especially when it comes to decor.
white craftsman kitchen_0033
white craftsman kitchen_0024
I have lots of little groupings in the kitchen that are making me smile.
white craftsman kitchen_0019
white craftsman kitchen_0023
To the left of my cupboard you can see my pop out window is sitting empty.  My plants died.  Twice.  First I think I under watered them and then I think I over watered them.  Such a bummer.  I tried.  Currently looking for something green and fake to replace them!
white craftsman kitchen_0021
Oh and I got a new sign that I just couldn’t love more!  Enjoy The Little Things.  My life motto.  :)  Aside from the message I love the simple black font and wood frame.  Isn’t it fun!?  I originally bought it to be part of a gallery wall in another room, but it’s living in my kitchen for now and it may need to stay a while.  It’s from an etsy shop I discovered called The House of Belonging.  They have such beautiful signs!
white craftsman kitchen_0020
Ignore the butler’s pantry to the left.  Another area that’s a mess since I took half the stuff off of it to use on shelves in another room.  My decor has been playing musical chairs lately.  Sometimes I feel like I’m taking one step forward and three back when it comes to decorating this house.
white craftsman kitchen_0029 white craftsman kitchen_0030
My scale was full of lemons and looked so pretty!  But I used them too fast.  Three left when I took this picture.  Only one there now.  :)
white craftsman kitchen_0028
white craftsman kitchen_0027
This tray is in another room at the moment.  I moved it right after I took these pictures because I realized I had too many trays!  Clearly I can’t resist a good tray.  Or a good lemon.  Or cookie dough for that matter.  I ate two spoonfuls an hour ago.  Felt like I should tell you that since this post is all about full disclosure.
white craftsman kitchen_0031
So there you go!  A few simple Spring touches in a house that’s about 30% decorated.  But I’m having fun working on the other 70% and that’s what matters.  At this rate I’ll be able to give you a full house Spring tour in oh.. I’d say 2017.  Don’t make other plans.  It’s coming.  ;)
white craftsman kitchen_0025
Enjoy your weekend!
week-ahead-prep
p.s.  It’s Friday!  Are you all trying my “week ahead prep?”  Give it a chance and watch it change your life!

Kidding.  It won’t change your life.

But it will insure you have clean clothes on Monday.

And that’s a step in the right direction.

:)

5 ways to help your home business succeed

5-ways-to-help-your-home-business-succeed

Happy Tuesday everyone!  My sister (who is a successful recruiter in SLC) was on Studio 5 last week discussing “5 Ways to Help Your Home Business Succeed” and I thought some of you might enjoy her tips!  If you are a “mom-prenuer” in any way these tips can really help you stay on track.  My sister Carly is on the news often discussing all sorts of tips for women in the work force so if you find her segment helpful go to the Studio 5 website and you can type in her name to find similar segments.  *Proud of my little sis!  She is beautiful and smart and so very talented.  I taught her every single things she knows.  ;)  Seriously though – all those hours we logged during our childhood playing news reporter paid off big time!  She is a natural on camera.  :)

You can watch her segment here:  5 WAYS TO HELP YOUR HOME BUSINESS SUCCEED – Studio 5

I wanted to re-cap the points she made (and add my two cents!) because they were great tips.  Some of them I already do and some of them I could definitely do better!

1)  Take yourself seriously.  If you’re serious about creating your own business whether it’s a blog or anything else you need to believe in yourself.  Speaking from my own experience this can be hard!  Especially if you are just starting out and wondering if what you have to offer will really help anyone.  But if you don’t take yourself seriously and have confidence in what you do, who will?  Believe in yourself and share your passion with others and you will feel success!  To be honest I’ve never thought of my blog as a “home business.”  It started as a hobby and because I still love blogging so much it’s hard to picture it as more than just that – a creative and fun outlet.  I always planned on going back to teaching once my kids started school full time, but the thought of taking myself and this blog more seriously and doing this instead feels like a dream!  So I need to put this into practice myself.  It won’t be easy.  I don’t take myself seriously very often.  :)  So I’ll try if you’ll try — deal?

Honey-and-Fitz-Free-Printable-She-Believed-She-Could-Aqua

(free printable from honey & fitz)

2)  Create a Work Zone.  Carve out a place in your home (even if it’s a corner of your bedroom, kitchen or garage!) where you can “go to work.”  Make it an organized, clean and inspiring space that will help you stay motivated and on track.

organized  office with built-ins

This is one thing I’ve been working on lately.  Because my home office is also the kids’ homework room/craft room/computer room I’ve had to figure out how to carve out some space for me!  I also want to decorate the room so that it reflects my personality and is a happy spot that I’m excited to spend time in each day.  (Seriously debating re-painting this room btw.. I’m giving it a mini makeover!)

Years ago in my previous house where we were short on space I used a corner of my baby’s nursery to set up a small craft/work station.  It’s really helpful to have a space to call your own whether you are working from home or even if you are a stay home mom and just need a place to conduct all of your “mom business.”  We all know there is plenty of that!

 3)  Set Work Hours and Avoid Distractions.  The great thing about working from home is that you can set your hours and they can be flexible and work around your family, but you still need to set your hours!  Once you decide the best time of day to work, consider yourself “on the clock.”  Keep some structure and be productive during those work times.  Don’t get distracted during this time by e-mails and phone calls!  My sister mentions in her segment that we discussed the e-mails I get from blog readers.  First I have to say that I LOVE getting e-mails from all of you!  It’s truly one of my favorite things about blogging because it’s how I get to know so many of you.  I’ve made countless friends over the years through my blog that all started with an e-mail.  Love that!  But these same e-mails that I love have been a challenge for me.  I want to respond to everyone immediately but if I did, I wouldn’t have time to write a post or finish a project for the blog, or pay attention to my kids.  :)  It has been helpful for me to set aside specific times to respond to blog e-mails a few times a week (especially for the e-mails that will take more time to respond to).  This way I can be more productive during my “work hours.”

The app Cozi has also been a huge help for me (I just recently mentioned it in my “week ahead prep” post).  My husband and I used to spend so much time calling each other back and forth discussing our schedule – adding appointments and making sure each other knew what was going on.  With Cozi you can upgrade to “gold” and get all sorts of add-ons that help you manage your schedule including alerting anyone in your family once you make or change an appointment.  So if I add an appointment to my calendar, my husbands gets an e-mail about the addition/change and now it’s also on his calendar.  Saves us so much back and forth on the phone!  Not that we don’t love talking to each other, but phone calls for scheduling were getting a bit excessive and interrupting our productivity during the day.  SO!  Long way of saying set up work hours and then don’t let distractions like e-mail and phone calls (or instagram and pinterest – ha!) keep you from using that time efficiently.

4)  Support Each Other.  One of the best ways to grow your business is to support others.  This is something I love about blogging!  It’s such a creative, supportive environment.  If you read a good post, share it!  If you buy an etsy product you love, share it!  My sister talked about the whole movement of women supporting other women.  It’s truly one of my favorite things about blogging and something I’m excited to do even more of this year.   Aside from helping your own business grow, supporting and lifting up others just makes you feel good.  :)

insta copy

(recent picture from a blogger get together) 

On a quick side note I have to say a huge thank you to all of you!  My supportive friends who read this blog.  So much of any success I’ve had blogging has come many of you sharing my posts on social media or just telling a good friend about my blog.  So thank you!  It truly means so much to me.

5) Update How You Communicate.  Create a business card.  I actually just had some made for my blog.  They include a picture of me (although it’s a seriously outdated one that I need to update), my e-mail and blog on the front, and then all of my social media accounts on the back.  So official, right?  ;)

sunny-side-up-business-cards

Have a professional e-mail signature.  Another way to share your business often and be remembered.  Last but not least – dress the part.  Dress in a way that represents your business.  Do workout clothes represent Sunny Side Up?  Because that is what I live in most days.  Not because I’m exercising all day, but because if I do exercise there isn’t time to change out of them.  Exercise or shower.  The choice most women make every day.  The struggle is real.  ;)

So that’s it!  A few tips on how to help your home business succeed.  If you work from home and have any other tips to share I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Friday Favorites

world market popcorn bowls
Happy Friday everyone!  Made it through the week!  Which is always something to celebrate.  :)  Sharing a few of my recent favorite things today!  These popcorn bowls are from World Market and they make me smile every single night.  I always pop some popcorn after the kids go to bed.  A little ritual that signals time to sit down, chill with my husband and blog the night away.  My happy time.  :)  Technically these bowls belong to my girls.  I wrapped them up with some treats and American Girl DVD’s for them for Christmas.  I bought six little bowls (they are doubled up in this pic) so we have plenty if friends come over.
QI1A6843
Especially love the inside of the bowls.  Too fun!
QI1A6855
These are three things I’m using in my daily exercise routine that I am absolutely loving!  I mentioned two of them in December when I shared everything from my friend’s annual Favorite Things party (that post is FULL of so many great tried and true products btw so if you missed it check it out!).

On the far right is a Head Sweat Outdoor Sports Visor.  I bought it soon after the favorites party because after hearing how so many of my friends loved it I knew I needed one for running in our non stop sunny climate!  These visors keep the sweat away and are perfect for exercising or for moms who live at outdoor sports events.  They come in so many fun colors!   I bought this one in black but I’m going to order another colorful one too.  I wear it almost every morning.

The band under the visor is a Hip Sister.  It’s a fabric like yoga pants that you put around your waist when you walk/jog and it holds your phone or keys while you exercise.  Like a fanny pack but much cooler.  ;)  My cute friend Ann who threw the favorites party just bought if for me for my birthday because every time we exercise we get chatting and laughing and I drop my phone and we never notice and have to back track half the trail!  I laughed when she gave it to me.  :)  I was going to order one right after the party and just forgot.  Love it SO much!  No more searching for the cell phone.

Another birthday gift I’m in love with – this was my birthday gift from my husband – PowerBeats2 Wireless Headphones.  Wow.  Can’t say enough good things about these!  I have gone through so many less expensive headphones that ultimately break, fall out of my ears when I’m running, have poor sound quality, have the annoying cord, etc.  I guess my husband got tired of hearing me complain about them because he spent some time researching headphones and found me these.  LOVE them!!  A bit of a splurge but so worth it.  I know I’ll have them forever.  Now I just need to update my seriously sad workout playlist (a little Footloose anyone?) and I’ll be set.  :)
IMG_0160
Just bought these indoor/outdoor stain resistant poufs for my kids to sit on!  My heart skipped a beat when I saw them sitting on a shelf at none other than.. wait for it… Target!  Oh Target.  Still my #1 after all these years.  :)  Not sure if I’m keeping them inside or putting them outside yet.  I just knew they had to be mine and their exact location could be determined later.  :)
don't push the button book
K I know I share so many books that my sweet 4 year old is in love with, but I have to share one more because he is having so much fun with this book!  It was given to me in January by a sweet friend of mine and we’ve been reading it over and over ever since.  When a book tells you NOT to do something you of course want to do it even more.  :)  So much fun for kids.  If you have a little one try out Don’t Push The Button!
the monster at the end of this book
It reminds me a lot of another favorite.. The Monster at the end of this book.  Same concept with Grover begging the kids to NOT turn one more page.  Kole’s little laugh and excitement when he reads these two books are priceless.  I love children’s literature.  :)  (If you are interested, I shared more of our favorite children’s books here.  Comments were accidentally deleted in this post when I switched my blog around so sorry if you left one and it’s not there now!)
loreal-tanning-lotion
I shared this as a favorite last summer but had to mention it again since it’s Spring and time for a little color!  Loreal Sublime Bronze is my favorite tanner.  I just put a little on my legs every few days to take away the scary white!
you are so loved print
Just bought this cute print from Paper Source for 5 bucks!  It’s going in Ad’s room, but I love it up against my office wall!  Maybe I need a “you are so loved” print too?  :)
QI1A6878
I’ve had this page torn from a magazine forever now and I’m finally putting it to good use!  These are my favorite colors for decorating at the moment!  I’m incorporating them into our formal living room and can’t wait to see how it turns out!
west elm trey
A few favorite finds from West Elm!  Coral is popping up all over my house these days.  Love how it compliments all the blues.
insta copy
Speaking of West Elm, last weekend I was invited to a little blogger’s night out at the West Elm in Orange County.  Fun get together for southern California girls!  The event was hosted by Courtney from A Thoughtful Place and Danielle from Danielle Oakey Interiors.  I have been reading Courtney’s blog for years and was so excited to meet her!  I took my cute friend Gina (Living Solutions) and we all had such a great time.  This was the first blogging event I’ve ever attended and I have to say I really loved meeting and talking to so many other bloggers!  A favorite night to remember for sure.  It even ended perfectly with an impromptu stop at the Container Store on our way home.

Gina and I had to stop somewhere to use the restroom…

:)

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Week Ahead Prep

week-ahead-prep
How do you generally feel during the week?  Productive and on top of things?  Or like I do most of the time – frantic and scattered and barely getting by.  From the minute I wake up Monday morning until around 8:00 Friday night I feel like I am doing all I can to just survive.  I love the stage we are in with our kids but man – is it ever busy.  From what I hear talking to parents with kids older than mine, I can see the writing on the wall.  Things aren’t slowing down any time soon.

Because I despise that “barely getting by” feeling I started something a month ago that has helped me manage my time and feel more in control of my week days.  Every Friday afternoon/evening I spend an hour or two preparing for the upcoming week.  This can obviously be done any time over the weekend.  I prefer Friday afternoon because it’s a low key time for us with no homework and little on our agenda.  Plus I like to get it done so that I can relax and enjoy the weekend with my family.  Here are the things I do during my “week ahead prep.”

1)  LAUNDRY – Nothing is worse than remembering late Sunday night that I need to do laundry so the kids have a certain outfit they need for school or so that I have clean exercise clothes to wear to the gym.  Getting all of our laundry done Friday afternoon feels so good!  I don’t need to worry about it over the weekend and the kids have time to fold and put away their clothes.laundry-room-rug

(kids’ laundry room)

2) WEEK AHEAD TO-DO’s – After I toss in a load of laundry I sit down with my computer.  I use an app called COZI for my planner and love it (shared more about it here).  I pull up my calendar for the upcoming week on my computer and print it out.  Then I take a few minutes to look at my week ahead.  I write down anything I need to get done so that I’m on top of our activities.  Things like buy a birthday gift for the party, get a babysitter for the evening event, develop pictures for a school project.  You get the idea!  All those little things that can add stress to your week when you haven’t done them ahead of time.  This just takes a few minutes to plan, but ensures I’m on top of our activities instead of stumbling through them.

3) WISH LIST TO-DO’s – Next I take a minute and write down the rest of my to-do list for the week.  These are the things I’d love to accomplish.  Usually organizing or decorating projects or when I’m going to squeeze in exercise.  I also try to pencil in times to actually make those things happen.  If I have an extra hour on my calendar I’ll write “finish bathroom shelves.”  If I don’t do this, I’ll end up cleaning the kitchen again with that extra hour.  For the 18th time that day.  :)  These are the to-do’s that I care about and I’ve found that if I don’t schedule them like appointments, they don’t get done!

4)  BLOG PLAN – There are so many bloggers who are amazing at scheduling out their posts months ahead.  I’m not one of them.  :)  I’ve always been more of a fly by the seat of my pants type of blogger.  But it IS really helpful for me to take a minute and think about what I want to post in the upcoming week or two so that I know what projects I need to finish and what pictures I need to take.  This goes hand in hand with a lot of my wish list to-do’s above.  It’s important to make time for what you enjoy!  

5) MEAL PLAN – You all know me.  I’m terrible at meal planning.  What “meal planning” means to me is taking a few minutes to write a grocery list of food we need for breakfast and school lunches for the upcoming week.  If I feel ambitious I’ll plan a dinner or two.  :)  I go to my grocery store often throughout the week (usually during the kids’ activities) so a lot of times I come up with dinner on the fly, but I dream of someday having our meals all planned and pre-cooked!  Those of you who are able to do this I applaud you.  I also hope I can be just like you when I grow up.  :)

6) EMAIL CATCH-UP – I take some time to catch up on my e-mails from the previous week so that I’m starting with an empty inbox and clean slate.  (You can read more about getting your inbox under control here.)
stay on top of emails

7) GET THE KIDS GOING!  My kids usually do Saturday chores, but if we have time on Friday and they would rather start early I’m all for it!  They fold and put away their laundry, clean their rooms/bathroom and choose their outfits for the upcoming week.  I also have them clean out their backpacks, file/toss paperwork, and I sign any forms that need to be signed so we are all set for Monday!organized-childrens-closet organized-school-outfits

(organizing kids’ outfits for the week)

So that’s it!  My week ahead prep routine.  I can’t begin to tell you the difference it makes in my week if I take some time over the weekend to prepare.  It doesn’t mean that everything runs perfectly or that I complete everything I set out to do.  Hardly!  I have three kids.  :)  But it does take away that frantic, scattered, barely getting by feeling. I feel prepared instead of like I’m in constant survival mode.

I’ll take it. :)

Everyone’s schedule/to-do list is different, but I hope this post gives you some ideas of how you can implement a week ahead prep into your life!  It has really made a difference in mine.

Is there anything else you do over the weekend to prepare for the upcoming week?  Do tell!