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2017 Monthly Goals: April

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Well April is coming in with a bang around here. The weather has gone from one extreme to another- 89 degrees on a Tuesday and lows of 32 degrees on Thursday. What the what? Everyone is battling some kind of sickness- sinus infections, ear infections, strep throat, stomach virus….it’s been a long couple of weeks. I’m so ready for April! I did okay on my March goals….fine, I sucked at them. But it’s a new month so new goals!

March Goals:

1. Clean out Zoey’s bedroom. Done. This one absolutely got done 100%. Her room was so bad. I pulled out bags and bags and bags of stuff to donate or trash. She actually has space to play now!

2. Finish Tyler’s bedroom. Partly done. The weight bench is now in the garage, we made space for both his twin bed and his futon couch, we gave him a new cube organizer that doubles as a TV stand, and we cleaned out a lot of clutter. We still need to get the barn door hung, the new curtains, and mount the TV on the wall. But we’re getting there. 

3. Finish Maia’s bedroom. Nope. I planned to do a gallery wall and that was about it in her room but we’ve decided to do a whole room makeover. I’m going to paint, hang some DIY lighted curtains as a backdrop to her bed, paint both her desk and vanity, get new bedding and rug, and do a gallery wall. It’s going to take some time, some planning, and some more money so it’s on hold until summer probably. 

4. Clean out the kids closets. Done. I cleaned out Zoey and Mason’s closets completely. I got rid of so much stuff! With them wearing uniforms next year in charter school it means I can get rid of a bunch of the excess stuff. Maia cleaned out her own closet for me. And I’m still working on Tyler’s. 

5. Clean out the master bedroom. Nope. Sigh. I got a good start. I cleaned out the nightstands, got rid of the extra decor clutter that had been just sitting there, and moved some furniture around. But still a lot is left to do. 

April Goals:

1. Work on front yard. Our curb appeal is crap right now, y’all. It’s so bad. We got so busy that we let things slide and now we need to catch up. We just hired TruGreen to come whip our yard back into shape. Tyler and Matt are going to power wash the driveway, siding, walkway, porch, and clean the big windows. I’m going to touch up the paint, add a new front mat and door wreath, and do some potted plants on the porch. Then we’re going to re-mulch the front and probably plant some shrubs or something. 

2. Start planning the backyard redo. Just like the front yard, our back yard looks like crap. The dogs have torn up all the grass, not that there was much there to begin with. And because we have so many trees it’s nearly impossible to get grass to grow. So we are going in a different direction and thinking about doing a rock backyard. We need to get the hot tub fixed because it sprung a leak in January. I would love to plan some kind of entertainment area on the deck with the bar, maybe a shallow shed with a TV, and a seating area. Add some plants and colorful cushions with some furniture and we have a nice deck again!

3. Organize papers. Oh the papers. I swear they breed at night. I have a system but I had to do some re-vamping recently. I need to clean out all the master files in the big file cabinet, clean out the monthly files and kids school papers in the command center in the closet, and then figure out something in the kitchen. 

4. Do a driving contract with Tyler. He recently got his license and has been driving our cars here and there. But hopefully he will be getting a car in April (or May) and will be driving to school and practice and stuff. So we need to come up with a driving contract outlining responsibilities, expectations, rules, etc. With school and 2 varsity sports it’s nearly impossible for him to work a part time job, which had been the original plan. So we need to find ways for him to earn his car and gas money. 

5. Clean out master closet. Good gravy, the master closet. I need to go through every single thing in this monster of a closet and get rid of so much stuff! I’m wearing the same few outfits because I can’t find anything!

 
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Monthly Book Report: March 2017

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I read 4 good books in March that I would recommend. I read a few that I would not recommend so we won’t talk about those. I didn’t have a lot of free time to read this month unfortunately but there were a few books that I knew I wanted to read so I used my reading time wisely.

1. Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson– After a career on the rodeo circuit, Ben Sterling longs to settle down on his farm and start a family like his brothers. He’s searched all over for the woman of his dreams. Yet the only one to spark his interest is the new owner of the local café. Getting her attention, however, won’t be easy. Sissy Sue Bentley has worked hard to make it on her own, and she doesn’t need another man in her life. From her alcoholic father to the men she’s dated, who were after only one thing, they are nothing but trouble. Except Ben keeps showing up whenever she really needs help. Sissy struggles to deny her growing feelings for him—but soon Ben’s tender concern has her hoping for a happier future. Then her past comes barreling back into her life, and it will take more than the love in Ben’s heart to hold them together.

I love Catherine Anderson, she’s one of my favorite authors and I’m always excited when she has a new release. I enjoyed this book. It took awhile to get the story build up but once it got going it was really good. I liked both main characters and I liked them together. There were some twists that I wasn’t expecting. This is part of a series but each book stands alone. 

2. Cole by Tijan– I shouldn’t have remembered him. He was just a guy who walked through a restaurant. I didn’t know his name. We never made eye contact. There was no connection between us at all. But I could feel him.
The tingle down my spine. The command in his presence. The snap of tension in the air around him. That was the first time I saw him, and I was captivated. The second time was different. He was in the mysterious back elevator of my apartment building. Our eyes met for a fleeting second before the doors closed, and I was staggered. My breath was robbed. My senses on high alert. My body hummed. That was just the beginning. He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…Cole Mauricio.

I love Tijan. Her Carter Reed series is one of my most favorites ever and this book is part of that series. There’s action, there’s violence, there’s a hot alpha male, and there’s mafia. What else do you need? I definitely recommend reading this series in order so you get the full story. 

3. Moving Target by Lynette Eason– When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord. Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don’t win this game, they die.

This series is so good! There’s so much action and suspense and romance. It’s fantastic. This one is probably my favorite of the series. I could not put it down! You can read the books in any order but they are really good when you have the backstory on all the characters. 

4. Claiming Grace by Susan Stoker– For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years. Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved. Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

Susan Stoker is another one of my favorite authors. This is the first book in her new series. I enjoyed it, probably not as much as her other 2 series but it was really good. I think I love her other characters so much that starting a new series was hard for me. I know, I’m a freak. 

I’m looking forward to reading some more great books in April. It’s getting warm outside so I plan to spend some time out on the deck reading while the kids play in the yard. I love Spring!

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Life Lately {March 2017}

It’s been a week, y’all. Actually it’s been a rough 2 weeks around here. I figured since I missed last week’s 3 Things Thursday I would just do one big Life Lately post to catch up. First, you might have noticed a lack of posts last week. I was really really sick and then someone hacked my blog. I didn’t have the energy to fix it last week so I got to spend all day yesterday fixing the issue. So what else has been going on? Here’s the last 12 days in no particular order. 

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Maia got a hair cut finally. She’s needed one for about 6 months but she didn’t want to lose the length. She finally asked me to cut it last weekend so I did. I chopped off about 5 inches of hair! It looks much better now and she can straighten it or curl it herself, which is a big bonus because nobody wants to mess with that at 5:30 in the morning. Amen.

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Tyler got his drivers license. God help me. Matt took him one day last week during Tyler’s spring break. He passed on the first try and was told that he is an excellent driver. Now the search is on for his car. I think we might have found the one we want so we’ll see. Because I really don’t want him driving around in my year old Honda Pilot!

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I spent over an hour cleaning out and rearranging the kitchen pantry and the second hall pantry. It was a disaster. I found empty wrappers, expired and open food, and a big ole mess. I took everything out and cleaned all the shelves before putting it all back inside. It’s so much better now! I’m working on a system for making it easier to pack lunches every day and this will help a lot.

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I took Tyler for his monthly blood work to check his levels for his Accutane based medication. He has to do the blood work every 30 days and then see the dermatologist. I hate that he has to be on a medication that requires blood work because I worry about what it’s doing to his body. But the dermatologist says he has excellent blood work, better than 95% of  people. All his levels are great and the medication is not causing any issues with his body or internal organs. So that’s good news.

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We had a string of really strong storms come through last week and one dropped huge hail balls! It sounded like the windows were going to shatter from the hail. The dogs were outside and you should have seen how fast they came running when that hail started coming down! There were some that were as big as golf balls! I’m glad our cars were in the garage.

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A couple of days after he had blood work done we went and saw the dermatologist. She’s really pleased with how he is doing on the Accutane medication. He’s finished with month 2 and she doubled his dose for month 3. He had a really rough first week with the side effects but then it seems to even out. We’re starting to seeing some real difference now in his cystic acne. His face has cleared up almost completely, his chest is clearing up and his back is finally starting to show improvement. I’ll be so happy for him when he’s finished this course.

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After his dermatologist appointment he had to go to school for weights with the football team and wrestling. Then he had basketball shoot arounds right after. On Spring Break. No days off in varsity sports. No days off for mom either. I sat in the car for 3 hours waiting for him. I really can’t wait for him to get his car. 

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Matt and I had to take all 3 dogs to the vet last week. It was…..fun. We schedule them together because we get a 10% discount for bringing them at the same time. But man, it’s hard work. Plus we had 2 sick kids tagging along with us. We looked like a traveling circus. Chase tripped the nurse, Abby hid under a chair and had to be dragged out, and Bailey peed on the vet. They were happy to see us leave, I’m sure.

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Matt turned 40 last week. I wanted to do a big party but he threatened to run away to Alaska if I did. So I thought about it for awhile and then decided not to. I took him to lunch one day instead. Sans kids. That’s a real birthday treat. His company gives employees their birthday off as an extra paid vacation day and he tacked on 2 more so he had a 5 day weekend to celebrate being 40. 

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I got to spend more time at urgent care on Friday. I just finished a 10 day course of antibiotics for a sinus infection but a couple of days later it was back. And it was angry. The whole side of my face was swollen, I couldn’t chew or even really open my mouth because of the pain in my jaw, and I had a fever. They put me on really strong antibiotics for the sinus infection and discovered that I had a severe ear infection. My eardrum ruptured a couple of days ago and it was gross. But I felt better once all that icky drained out of my ear. I’m finally on the mend I think. I hope.

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And Tyler got to drive himself to Saturday football workouts and basketball shoot arounds for the first time this past weekend. It was so nice to not have to sit in the car and wait for him for hours. I’m alternating between happy and terrified. But mostly happy. He’s a great driver. It’s all the other crappy drivers out there that worry me! I feel like we’ve reached another milestone and right of passage with him. He’s more adult than child now. We’re working on our driving contract with rules and expectations for him since he’s going to be getting a car soon. I can’t believe I have a kid old enough to drive. 

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My Sunday Night Prep Routine For A Busy Week

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I mentioned last week in my How to Simplify a Busy Life post a bit about my nightly routine. Today I thought I would share some about my Sunday night prep routine to prepare for the busy week. See those pictures up there? Those are the reason that I now have a Sunday night prep routine. Because I cannot live like that anymore. I try to get as much done on Sunday night as possible to make life easier during the week. It’s the only way to keep this household running smoothly.

1. Update planners and bullet journal. I check my paper planner, add reminders, and then transfer the info to my phone planner. I don’t like having to take my paper planner out of the house with me because if it gets lost of damaged my life is over. Dramatic? Yes. But also true. So I use an app on my phone called Picnic to keep track of appointments and schedules when I’m out of the house. Then I create my bullet journal page for the week. Do you use a bullet journal? Mine is a bit different than the artsy ones you see on Pinterest. Mine is basically a running to do list for the week. I’ll share more about how I do it in an upcoming post. 

2. Refill main pantry and fridge/freezer. I have 2 pantries- the main one in the kitchen and the second large one in the hallway. I keep all the extra snacks and food items in the second pantry. I have 3 fridge/freezers- the main one in the kitchen and 2 in the garage. On Sunday night I go through the main pantry first and refill any of the canisters, baskets, and drawers that need to be refilled for the week. For example- this week the fruit roll-ups were low, the Goldfish, White Cheddar Cheese crackers, and the yogurt covered raisins containers were empty. I pulled more from the second pantry and refilled them all. I also restocked the poptarts, refilled the cereal containers, and switched out the empty peanut butter jar. I do the same with the fridge and freezer. I refilled the fruit and snack drawer and made sure there were enough water and gatorade bottles in the outside fridge. It just makes life easier and it definitely makes lunch prep easier at night.

3. Check meal plan. I check my master list to see what dinners are on tap for the week and I fill them in on my paper planner. I like to schedule crockpot meals on the nights when I know I’ll be busy picking up Tyler from football weights in the afternoon.

4. Place Walmart pick up order. After I finalize my meal plan I can place my weekly Walmart order. I love this service so much. I place the order every Sunday night, pick it up for free on Monday morning, and never have to set foot inside the store. It’s Heaven. 

5. Finish the laundry. I always do the kids laundry on Saturday’s but I hang dry most of their tops and all of their uniform items. So Sunday evening is when I make sure everything is put away and ready for the week. I also make sure everyone has their uniform pieces ready for the week. 

Doing these simple things on Sunday night has made all the difference in my week. My stress levels have gone way down and I feel much lighter. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everything we need to get done as moms so any kind of routine that lightens that load is fabulous!

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3 Things Thursday {3.16.17}

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{one}

I finally got a few house projects done this last week including hanging these amazing botanical prints on the stairway wall. They’ve literally been sitting in the shipping box for months waiting for me to get around to hanging them. I love them so much more now that I have them in place. They are the perfect compliment to the room. I can’t wait to show you the whole room with all the changes.

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{two}

Zoey lost yet another tooth this last week. Ironically she lost it on a Friday just like last time. She even asked for an advance on her tooth fairy money so she could buy ice cream at school. I’m starting to get suspicious of her losing teeth only on Friday’s. Ha! I did give her the advance and she did buy ice cream. All is right in her world.

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{three}

We actually got snow on Sunday. Snow. In mid-March. What is going on? The weather is insane. The kids were wearing shorts and playing outside in the sunshine on Saturday afternoon and then we woke up to a few inches of snow on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon it was completely melted and gone as if it never even happened. I’m so confused. But that’s the kind of snow I love. Pretty to look at, gone in a few hours. 

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