Three kids vs. Two kids

A prime example of how things have changed around here since I had my third child…

Exhibit A:  Star Behavior Charts (made when I just had my girls)

– Time spent on planning and prep work (measured lines, bought supplies)
– Hand cut and laminated stars with velcro attached to each one
– Color coordinated, symmetrical, pretty
– Every letter was hand stamped for the title & days of the week
– Clearly defined and thought out goals
– Clearly defined and thought out reward system

Exhibit B:  Star Behavior Charts (made last week with three kids in tow)

– No time spent on planning or prep work
– Star stickers grabbed from the craft drawer (happened to be on top of the pile)
– No thought on color/appearance, crooked names with now crooked lines of stars
– Quickly hand scratched names (written with baby #3 on my hip in a moment of insanity when all I wanted was for my girls to STOP FIGHTING!)
– No goals
– No reward system
Life with three.  Things sure have changed.  
Want to know the funny thing?  The new not-so-cute version of our star charts?  
Working like a charm.   :)

Organization Solutions

Hello everyone!  Sharing some fun organization solutions I’ve found on-line.  Thanks to Pinterest I now have a perfect place to save all of the inspiration I find all over the web.  Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest yet?  It’s like a drug.  And I am BEYOND addicted.  But it’s a good addiction.  I think.  Maybe Kenny would tell you otherwise since I can’t carry on a conversation with him each night because I’m too busy “pinning” ideas for our next home.  But in my defense, we are watching the Bachelorette (I know – it’s a train wreck I can’t pull myself away from) and Kenny is making so many lame wise cracks about this show and all of the people on it that our conversation is one I feel totally justified tuning right out!  So Pinterest it is.  And what better to pin than fun, creative ways to organize!  Here are a few solutions that just make me smile –

Source: bhg.com via Erin on Pinterest
These are CD racks used to hold tupperware lids.  Genius!

Love this mini shelf inside a cupboard drawer to hold cutting boards/cookie sheets.

I also REALLY love this solution for baking sheets.  These are just tension curtain rods!  I think I’ll add some to my next kitchen.  You know.  Because baking is such a passion of mine.

Source: bhg.com via Erin on Pinterest

Shower rings in a closet to hold purses – SO CREATIVE!  I love to buy new purses and then I can never part with them.  I will need a lot of shower rings…

I was so excited when I came upon this idea because I never know where to put the girls lunch boxes each night.  So smart to have a place to hang them – especially somewhere out of sight like in the pantry or by the back door.

How fun and handy is this built-in gift wrap station!?
Sourcebudgetwisehome.com via Erin on Pinterest
And if you don’t have room for a whole station – here is a great way to store gift wrap supplies on the inside of a closet door.  Perfect.

This is SUCH a clever idea for all of the random kid stuff moms haul around in their cars all day.  

This picture made me want to immediately run to the Container Store to find baskets for my fridge.  Then I realized I didn’t really need baskets for my fridge – but they sure look good!  :)

Speaking of looking good – I can’t get over this clever and fun way to store first aid supplies.  These little tins would also make great containers for jewelry…they would be great to house anything small.  I love them.  Love the green too.

Source: bhg.com via Erin on Pinterest

Another great way to make good use of the inside of a closet or cupboard door.  

Source: kitchens.com via Erin on Pinterest

This is so fabulous!  If my pots and pans were this organized and pretty maybe I’d want to cook more.  
Nah.  I’d probably want to cook less.  No reason to mess with this perfection.  

Source: re-nest.com via Erin on Pinterest

Egg cartons for Christmas ornaments.  So so clever.  

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw this little “command station.”  The only thing I’d change is white erase boards instead of the chalk boards.  I don’t do chalk boards.  

Source: flickr.com via Erin on Pinterest

This shelf is such a fun way to store, display AND organize books and magazines.  Plus I love the pop of color it brings into the room.  So so fun.

Is anyone else feeling the need to organize something?  Or the need to watch Bachelorette?  Or the need to put a muzzle on my husband?

Guess that last one is just me.

Summer Schedule

It’s summer!  Time for easy breezy, low key, go with the flow days!

Well.  Sorta.  This is my summer we’re talking about.  So I thought I’d share my summer schedule.  Yes, I do have a summer schedule.
Surprised?  
I didn’t think so.    
But in my defense, it really is an easy breezy, low key, go with the flow kind of schedule that can change at a moments notice.  If I want it to.  :)
I have learned a few things over the past few summers with my little ones that can make or break our sometimes long days together.

1)  It’s best to have an outing planned for the morning.  While it’s tempting to stay home in our pajamas all morning, it seems to set the tone for the day.  I may be enjoying getting housework or other to-do’s done, but before long my kids are all fighting and going stir crazy and then I’m getting upset at them and the next thing you know, we are all in a bad mood.

2)  It’s best to NOT have the TV on in the morning.  Again, this seems to set the tone for our day and we start out unproductive.  There is a time for TV (I’m not one of those anti-TV moms – I couldn’t survive without a daily half hour of Little Bear or Max and Ruby to save me from going completely nuts!) but I’ve learned that for us, it’s best that it doesn’t happen first thing in the morning.  
So!  With those things in mind, this summer I signed the girls up for some summer camps that start in July and go from 9-12 each morning.  Addison is doing a “Kindergarten prep” camp and Ellie is doing a lifeguard camp at the beach along with some other just for fun camps – painting, dancing, theatre, etc.  Three hours every morning – just enough time to give the girls an outing and to give me a break to run errands with one child vs. three.  
2011 summer schedule:
6:30 – wake up (yes my kids are up early because I put them to bed early — even in the summer).  
morning routine – breakfast, get dressed and ready for the day.  If the girls are ready early, they play with their toys while I feed and get Kole ready.
8:30 – Take girls to camps.  Kole and I head to the gym.  
9:45 – Run any errands I need to – grocery store, etc.  If time allows, run home and feed Kole, shower and get ready.  Most days I’ll be running around all morning, feeding Kole in the car, and the shower won’t happen until evening.  Just keeping things real.  
12:00 – Pick up girls from their camps.  Go home and put Kole down for a nap.  This is a stretch to hold him off this long!  Poor kid has just had to learn to sleep when we’re home.    
12:30 – 3:00 – is going to be our “down time” at home this summer so Kole can nap.  Planning to feed the girls lunch and then spend 20-30 minutes on school stuff (just like last summer).  We’ll also have our DEAR time.  Then it’s time for some of the “indoor activities” from our summer list or maybe a TV show.  The girls will also play in the yard during this time.  We don’t have a big yard, but it’s big enough for simple activities like painting with water or taking a dip in our “pool.”  :)   IF the girls are entertaining themselves and getting along then I’m hoping I can squeeze in 30 or so minutes on the kids’ scrapbooks.  Fingers are crossed! 
3:00 – 5:30 – Time for an outing!  This is when we will head outside and have fun together.  Time for the beach, the pool, the park, a friend’s house…whatever we’ve planned or whatever sounds appealing at the minute.  
5:30 – Head home and throw the kids in the tub – start my cleaning routine.  Scramble to do some laundry, clean the upstairs, and bathe the kids.  Then head downstairs for dinner and some more cleaning.  Kenny comes home around 6:30 and reads stories to the girls while I put Kole to bed.  Lights are out upstairs by 7:30.

8:00 – way too late – Hang with Kenny, watch our summer shows, blog, veg, recharge!  So that I can wake up the next day and do it all over again.  :)

I know that someday things will be different.  My kids will be older and in the summer we will all sleep until 9:00 (can’t even imagine that one!) and then have an empty day ahead of us with no need for camps and naps and schedules.  But for now, this schedule is what works.  It’s what keeps my kids happy and their mom sane.

For the most part.  :)

What about you?  Do you like a schedule even in the summer time?

It’s all about the shoes

Since I just shared Addison’s pre-school teacher gifts with a bit of a “shoe theme” I thought I’d also share this simple layout I put together for her PL album.  
That Addison — such a shoe girl.  Once a shoe girl, always a shoe girl!
Here are a few shoes from Nordstroms I’ve had my eyes on lately…
Steve Madden Marvillis Sandal – I would buy these tomorrow except they look like five pairs I already have.  Love a good wedge in the summer!
Aren’t these UGGS with the knit overlay fun?  Clearly I’m loving this tan/brown color scheme.  These take me back to my childhood leg warmer days.  

Love this gray bootie by Prada.  IF I had $850 in my shoe budget and IF I didn’t spend my days chasing a one year old at the park, then this shoe and I would be fast friends.  

I think these Fendi platform boots have showed up in my dreams a few times.  Aren’t they beautiful!?  Jaw on the floor beautiful.  For a mere $1,300 they can be mine.  All mine!  (Can you imagine spending that much on a pair of shoes!?)  Wonder what Kenny would do if I added these to my 2011 Christmas wish list.  I think I’m going to add them.  Just to see his reaction.  I’ll simply explain that Addison starting Kindergarten is a big milestone for the both of us.  And she and I need a little something to celebrate that milestone.  
This should be fun.  :)
Enjoy your weekend!  May it include a great pair of shoes.  

Teacher gift

WHERE has this week gone!?  First week of summer has definitely been a busy one.  Summer actually hasn’t happened yet for my Addison.  This is her last week of pre-school and this weekend is her little graduation ceremony.  
For Ellie’s teacher, I kept things simple and just did my standard gift card (always to either Nordstroms or Target – the two places I’d want a gift card to!) along with a personal card from me and one from Ellie.  But with Addison, we went a different route because she has SO many teachers who have had an influence on her during the last two years.  
First, Addison made cookies.  I hate to bake so I just turned it all over to her.  
 Kidding!  Kidding.  Kind of.  She did help a lot.  And yes, she’s wearing a Halloween outfit.  In June.  Because that’s the way we roll around here.  And once Addison is on outfit number 6 of the day – you just stop caring.  Ya know?

Kole was our official “cookie watcher.”  He took his job pretty seriously pulling himself up to his post every few minutes to make sure the cookies were progressing to his satisfaction.   
Since Kole had everything under control in the kitchen, Addison and I got to work on our cards. 
Addison drew a picture of her with each teacher.  She is the one on the right with the curly hair.  :)  
I pulled up the shoe collage I made for Addison’s birthday letter, added a little journaling in Photoshop and had it developed as a 4×6 pic.  Quick and easy.  

Last week I found some cute plates on clearance at Target and snagged about 15 of them.  They were perfect to hold our oatmeal cookies.  Which thanks to Kole, were cooked to perfection.

Then I just used some scrapbook ribbon and plastic wrap I had on hand to tie everything together.

A quick and easy gift with a personal touch.  My favorite kind.
We gave them to her teachers today and I couldn’t help tearing up.  So did several of her teachers.  I am so sad to say good-bye to this second family of mine.  
 Even if it is just for a couple of years until my little “cookie watcher” is ready for pre-school.  Good thing that isn’t for a while though – this little one is needed in the kitchen.