Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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.   :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

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?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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 4x6 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.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My favorite guys

Happy Fathers Day to my cute dad who has taught me so many things throughout my life.   

How to play and have fun.  

How to help with yard work. 

How to camp and fish and keep a fire going strong.  

How to cruise down the slopes - with maybe more speed than he would have preferred.

And how to shoot a perfect bulls eye.  Or at least how to use perfect form so that I can fake shooting a perfect bulls eye.  

But even more importantly dad....

You taught me the importance of a good education.  To set goals and to work hard to achieve them.  You gave me confidence and taught me to believe in myself.  

You taught me to love and respect my siblings and parents.  You taught me how much joy and happiness comes from a family who loves each other.     

You taught me what a good marriage looks like and how a husband should treat his wife.   

You also taught me to stay away from boys on bullet bikes.

So maybe I didn't listen to everything you taught me.  But I did listen to most of it.
And so much of me comes from all that I've learned from you.  
Love you so much dad.

And to my Kenny.  Who despite starting out as my dad's worst nightmare, has surprised us all by turning into an amazing husband and father.  ;)

He is there when life with little ones is pure bliss.

And he is there when life with little ones quickly heads in another direction.

But he is there.  Reading stories, making waffles, practicing letters, cheering through gymnastics, bandaging owies, working hard to provide, praising good behavior, setting boundaries for not so good behavior, dancing to Gwen Stefani, changing diapers, gluing broken barbies, carpooling to school, filming family moments, and watching princess movies.  

Watching A LOT of princess movies.  

Happy Fathers day babe.  The kids adore you.  And so does their mom.   

Friday, June 17, 2011

Random ramblings

Hi everyone!  Thanks for your comments on my last post.  The summer to-do list was so much fun to make.  My girls loved helping me come up with our summer plans.  I've seen such a variety of fun summer lists in blog land so it was fun to finally make our own.  When we were brainstorming ideas Addison told me that all she wanted to do this summer was to "play with mommy."  Then she said she wished it could be like it used to be before Kole when I would play with her and not just take care of Kole all day.  Ouch.  Dagger to the heart!  She has really been struggling with that lately.  And it's true.  Kole occupies so much of my time - as most one year olds do - and I've felt stretched a bit thin lately.  So, after feeling some major mom guilt in that little moment, we wrote "play with mommy" on our summer to-do list and I vowed to myself to focus on spending some one on one time with each of my girls each day this summer.  Even it it's just for twenty minutes.

Yesterday during Kole's nap Addison and I played soccer together in the back yard and today we did some puzzles.  
Guilt is slowly melting...

In other news - Kole has learned how to do laundry.  He is incredibly helpful as you can imagine.

This first picture is blurry but the expression on his face is one of my favorites.  He sits in the hallway and anxiously waits for me to take the warm clothes out of the dryer and throw them on him.  A fun little routine I've done with all three of my kids.  My girls still love it and come running whenever they hear the dryer stop.  Oh the anticipation!  Who knew a load of darks could be so much fun!!

Wheee!!!  Do it again mom! 

Then we sort together.  Kole is a master sorter.

Dad's socks?  Not so much.  I'll save those for my sisters.


Ellie has completely taken over our guest room and decided to spruce it up and make it her own.  I went to wake her up for school one morning and found the walls covered in her artwork.


Hmm... maybe I'm putting her to bed just a tad too early?  My favorite is the bumpy picture of her and her friend on the left which she clearly drew and colored AFTER it was taped to the wall.  Classic!

I also get a kick out the way she neatly places her little house shoes to the side of the bed so they are ready to slip on each morning when she wakes up.  Little things like this always make me smile.

And as for me, I've become even more lazy with food preparation - if that was at all possible.  Lately I've been buying a Spring Mix of lettuce already washed...

and just tossing a few things right in the plastic container to make my summer salad.  That's right.  I don't even take the lettuce out and put it in a bowl.  I can just see my grandma (who was an amazing cook) up in heaven shaking her head at me.  This pre-washed lettuce is as cool as pre-cooked chicken.  I'm a fan.

Following Ellie's lead, I too have decided to do some sprucing up.  Last week I took down most of our living room decor.  I want to move the clock too, but I need to glance at it each morning when I come down the stairs to see how late we're running this time.

Ahhh.  Nice and empty.  My neighbor stopped by and thought we were moving.  Nope.  Just ready for out with the old - in with the new.  

And until I find "the new" I just want to keep things a bit bare for a while.


Think I'll keep this picture up though.  It's a favorite.

BTW - is it so weird to see ads on my blog!?  It's weird to me.  I have to say that when I started this blog I never intended to monetize it.  (I am more than content to let Kenny take full responsibility for bringing in the bucks!)  I started this blog thinking it would be read only by close friends and family.  Hopefully my mom and sister would check in each day.  Maybe my dad and brother once in a while?  A friend or two would certainly check in once a week.  Maybe a total of eight people?  I feel honored (and a bit surprised!) every day when I see how many people are reading.  I feel even more honored when I hear from some of you.  I get the sweetest e-mails and comments that truly do make my day.  I love blogging. I love everything about it.  The pictures, the journaling, creating friendships.  I got a sweet e-mail today from a friend who I knew in High School.  We danced together on the drill team and spent hours together in practice every day.  Now we live in different states and never see each other.  But we read each others blogs and because of this we know each other so much better than we ever did in High School!  And it's so true.  People who read my blog know me better than people I see and talk to every day.  I kind of put it all out there.  It's exciting and to be honest, sometimes it's a little scary!  And intimidating.  Sometimes I think about the fact that more than eight people are reading this blog and I feel pressure to post something amazing!  But all I have to post is a cleaned out cupboard, a scrapbook page, or maybe just Kole folding my laundry.  Nothing amazing.  Just my life.  I've had several opportunities lately to monetize this blog and to be honest, nothing has felt right.  I don't ever want to change this blog into something it isn't and I don't ever want blogging to stop being fun for me.  When I was given the opportunity to join the Blogher Publishing Network, it just felt like a good fit. I like Blogher ads.  I use a lot of the stuff they advertise!  (Hello 2011 Honda Odyssey)  And a lot of great bloggers who I admire have chosen to go with Blogher.  But the best part is that my blog doesn't have to change.  I can keep posting pictures of a cleaned out cupboard, a scrapbook page, or just Kole sorting my laundry.  So I went for it!  And it's exciting to think I could make a little money doing something I love so much and will always do regardless.  Maybe just enough money to support my weekly Container Store shopping sprees, but still, I'll take it!  :)  Kenny loves to tease me about it.  He'll say at night "hey - get a post up!  I'm ready to retire."  And then we laugh.  Because there is NO WAY that's happening anytime soon.  :)  So I know I'm TOTALLY rambling right now but I guess I just feel a connection with you - my readers - and wanted to well, be an open book again and share why I now have ads on my blog.  And to also say, thanks for reading.  

Tomorrow is Ellie's last day of school and our summer officially begins!  I love summer in San Diego!  Even though the weather doesn't change much, I can just smell summer time.  It's a mix of the Jasmine vines in my yard and the neighbors BBQ.  Love it!  

I received a phone call and some text messages today from parents of friends in Ellie's class wondering about the end of the year party I was having at my house tomorrow after school?  According to Ellie, it's going to be quite the par-tay!  Only problem is that she forgot to tell mom about it.  HA!  Our summer is off to a great start!  :)

Hope yours is too!