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5 Things Friday {3.9.18}

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1. So we pretty much have a revolving door of kids in our house every weekend. Maliah has a handful of friends who rotate sleeping here most Friday and Saturday nights. Mason has his best friend here fairly often. Zoey and her bestie take turns having playdates at each other’s houses. And we never know who or how many friends Tyler is going to show up with. It’s awesome and I love it. I love knowing their friends and what is going on in their lives. 

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2. I shared this picture on IG and captioned it “How you know offseason football training is starting back up this week” haha! Tyler has weights several afternoons a week plus field work several afternoons and on Saturday’s. He also has a combine coming up at the end of the month so he’s working hard to get back into peak shape and shed his winter body. I’m still not pleased that he wants to go back to football but at this point he’s been cleared by his sports medicine doctor and the neurologist has given his tentative approval. Tyler’s completed another round of concussion specific physical therapy that concentrated on brain function and his grades have come up. Still….it’s scary. 

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3. We spent last weekend cleaning out the garage. Holy clutter. We threw away or donated several car loads full of stuff. Some of it I’m still trying to figure out where it came from. I don’t remember buying it. But it’s done. We were hoping to get the garage painted this weekend but of course the weather isn’t cooperating. We’re supposed to get torrential rain both Saturday and Sunday and temps are COLD. Maybe next weekend. 

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4. Have I mentioned how much I love our charter school? Maybe a time or two? Or a thousand? I get pictures all the time from teachers, parent volunteers, and on the Facebook and IG feeds. I love seeing my kids during their day. The pictures of Tyler at the varsity basketball playoff game were posted on IG. He was so so bummed to have to miss basketball season this year due to the concussion but he’s been at every game supporting his teammates and friends. The pictures of Maliah were taken on the 7th grade trip to Washington DC and posted on Facebook by a parent chaperone. The pictures of Zoey were taken by a parent volunteer during her STEM class and the pictures of Mason were taken by his teacher and sent out to parents. I really love this!

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5. Maliah has had such a rough transition to school this year. It’s so hard to jump into middle school not knowing anyone, especially when it’s a smaller school and most of the kids have been together for years. She’s made friends and her grades are fantastic. But recently she’s been dealing with a mean girl situation. This girl is someone Maliah considered a friend so to have her all of a sudden turn on Maliah and start some false rumors has been hard. Mean girls suck. Maliah seems to be handling it well. There were some tears and then she got angry. She introduced this girl to the definition of slander and let her know that bullying will not be tolerated. It helps having an older brother who is uber popular and known by everyone…including the mean girl’s older sister. That helps a lot. 

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Friday Favorites {1.5.18}

Friday Favorites

Helllllo first Friday of 2018! I’ve decided to start participating in Friday Favorites again this year. I need some positivity in my life right now. Today I’m sharing some favorite things I’m grateful for right now. 

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One of the biggest things I am grateful for right now are the amazing friendships my kids have made at their new school. Making the decision to switch them to a charter school was full of anxiety for me. I knew in my heart that they were better off in this new school but switching them to a school where they knew nobody was hard. It was a rough few months- especially for Maliah. But they’ve adjust so well and they’ve made some great friends. I was worried that I would never see any of their friends because we live so far away from the school. Having a house full of kids, knowing their friends, and knowing what’s going on in their lives is something I have always really enjoyed. It took a few months but my house is full of kids again. Tyler has football teammates and basketball teammates here all the time and recently there have been new friends too. Maliah always has gaggles of giggling girls over here- which I’m sure has nothing to do with the amount of teen boys also hanging out here ha! Even Mason and Zoey have had quite a few friends over in the last couple of months. I love it. 

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Something else I’m grateful for is my master bedroom. Matt and I upgraded to a king size bed in 2017 and it’s been amazing. Somehow the master bedroom is always last on my list to get done so it never gets finished. I finally buckled down and finished some long overdo projects. I also splurged and bought some of the most amazingly soft and comfy sheets ever known to man- Cuddl Duds Luxury Plush sheets. They’re like being wrapped into minky fleece and sleeping on a cloud. Seriously. Life changing. 

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2017 was a hard year for our family with Tyler’s concussion and complicated recovery, some health scares, and just a lot of stressful things. But looking back at our best 9 of 2017 reminded me that we had good stuff happen too. We visited family, we went to Niagara Falls, we hosted family, we had fun. It wasn’t a total wash of a year. There were a lot of memories made. 

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10 Lessons Learned On The Neighborhood Website

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A couple of years ago my neighborhood started using an app called NextDoor to let neighbors communicate, post announcements, and the such. Now, at first glance this seems like a great idea. But a couple of years into this endeavor a few things have become clear- giving 1000 plus homeowners and residents an open forum to discuss whatever strikes their fancy is not a great idea. I try not to interact too much with these people. And below you’ll find 10 reasons why. 

1. Don’t poop where you eat. Puppies learn this lesson early. It’s taken the neighbors awhile to catch on. It’s easy to pick an argument online behind the relative safety of your keyboard. It becomes trickier when you have to see Harry getting his newspaper every morning after you called him a “big-headed ninny pants”. 

2. The neighborhood watch is a hot button issue. Not everyone likes being watched. 

3. Naming your wifi can start a war. On one street alone we have “Carl is a cable thief”, “Bob is a baby”, “Get your dog poop off my lawn”, and “that’s not dog poop”. These are grown people, y’all. 

4. Some peeps are scary crazy, not just eccentric. I’ve seen some For Sale posts that raised my eyebrows clear off my forehead. We won’t be trick or treating at that house. 

5. The old adage “Opinions are like buttholes” has never applied to anything more than the neighborhood forum.

6. There will always be that one neighbor who is never happy. Even when he gets his own way.

7. Quickest way to become a pariah in your own neighborhood is to let your dog poop on someone’s lawn and leave it there. See number 3. 

8. Everyone has a camera. Please wear pants while getting the newspaper in the morning.

9. Hiding excessive wine bottles in your neighbors recycling can will be noticed and you will find AA pamphlets in your mailbox.

10. There will always be that one person who can quote the bylaws by heart and loves to point out all the houses where the grass is 1/10 of an inch too tall. 

Best thing to do in my unsolicited, non professional advice? Turn off your lights, close your blinds, and hide in the back of your house where you can’t be seen. It’s safer that way. Then pop some popcorn and scroll through the posts on the forum shaking your head and marveling at the magnitude of crazy living right down the street from you. 

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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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How To Simplify A Busy Life

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We are in a season of life that is extremely busy. There’s not a lot of free time and my to do list is longer than the hours in the day. A few months ago I found myself snapping at the kids all the time, scrambling to make dinner, forgetting appointments, and just feeling overwhelmed and miserable on a daily basis. I cannot live like that. So I made some changes to help simplify our busy life. 

1. Meal Planning. I’ve seriously simplified my meal planning over the last few months. I asked the kids to make me a list of their favorite dinners and I plugged them into a 2 week meal plan. That filled up 9 days since most of their favorite meals overlapped and I filled in the other 5 days with easy, fast dinners. Then I just repeat the same meal plan for the next 2 weeks. The change has been amazing. Everyone eats dinner, nobody whines, and life is easier. I also keep the staples on hand for a few easy dinner for those crazy nights. My go to dinners to keep on hand include homemade macaroni and cheese, BBQ chicken sandwiches, and loaded baked potato soup. 

2. Monthly Purge. I’m in the middle of my 40 bags in 40 days challenge but I don’t limit purging to big challenges. I do a smaller purge every month. I take a big garbage bag, walk through the entire house, and pick at least 30 things to get rid of. It might be as simple as a few pairs of outgrown shoes, or some old books, or outdated decor. The house is so much easier to keep picked up when there is less in it. The kids have gotten into the habit as well and often choose items from their own rooms to donate each month.

3. Family Calendar. I use the Plum Paper Planner that you see above in the picture. It stays open on the kitchen counter at all times and is color coded for each family member. Every single thing goes in this planner- all appointments, all school activities, all sports schedules, all reminders…our whole family operation runs out of this planner. Having everything in one place makes it easy to schedule stuff.

4. Lower Expectations. The hardest thing for me to learn was to just say no. I like to think that I can pack everything into my day but I can’t and I would be so stressed out. I was so stressed from everything I was trying to do outside of this house that I was short tempered with everything happening inside this house. I stopped volunteering for a lot of things, I trimmed my commitments back to a manageable level, and I declined opportunities that would take up a lot of time. It’s made all the difference to not be over-committed. 

5. Manageable Routine. One of the biggest things that has helped in our house is to do the morning prep at night. Our days start tragically early and I am not a morning person. So anything that can be done at night gets done including packing lunches, signing agendas, packing book bags, laying out clothes, gathering sports gear, etc. I also have started doing a 15 minute pick up before I go to bed. The kitchen is clean, the dining table is cleaned off, and anything lying around is put away. It has made such a difference for me. 

Doing these 5 things has made our household so much more peaceful and happy. There’s less arguing and nagging, there’s more laughter, and we’re all happier. We only get one life to live and the years of having our kids at home are very short. We should enjoy them!

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