Can you tell that we are plowing through our 2014 resolution to get s$it done and organized? I must say, it has been a really amazing feeling. This past Sunday, as we were waking up, my husband and I realized the household chores for us to do were minimal. I mean, there were huge things on our to do list, but nothing that was so urgent, that if we said, “let’s take a day off and do nothing,” our house would go into shambles. We had a relaxed, enjoyable day…went for a family adventure walk for a couple of hours on a nearby trail, made breakfast and dinner together, played board games in the afternoon, watched football, and all got to bed early. It was a day that was truly a reward for busting our arses all week, and for putting in time and effort to be organized, and productive. As I mentioned the other week – this will all go down the toilet in a couple of months, but we are trying! At times, things really important are being addressed – like ensuring if we are in an accident, my kids will be ok (check out last week’s post) – this week, the focus was toys. In a house with three kids – the toys are what can drive me absolutely bonkers. How do things that cause so much joy for children drive parents bonkers?? They are everywhere, slightly disorganized, and you know, deep down, your kids would probably be happy with half of what is in the house. So for now…we are up to toy organization – puzzles specifically.
My son (5) and daughter (2 1/2), are incredibly into puzzles. They will both sit at our kitchen table, forever, plowing through puzzle after puzzle. They will do them individually, or together, or sometimes just give each other encouraging words across the table. I am loving this because they rarely argue while they are doing them (except sometimes, over who gets to put in the last piece), and I love seeing their building approaches to problem solving. My son is very into the 100 piece puzzles, and my daughter is loving the 24 piece puzzles. They both received a bunch of new puzzles for Christmas…so we now have about 600 new little pieces of puzzles hanging out around our house. This would be the one major downfall of this loved activity, for me mostly, because when a piece goes missing, well, all hell breaks loose. We are frantically searching for the pieces so that we can finish the puzzle…or the other side of it, we are cleaning up, and find one random piece. Where does it go!? AHHHH….
One of the puzzles that my daughter received for Christmas was a set of Disney Junior Puzzles:
She loved the puzzles, but I absolutely loved what I learned from these…on the back of each puzzle, there was an identifier. For example, on the Sofia puzzle, there was a princess crown, on the back of a Jake puzzle, there was a sword. Genius! This was the perfect way to make sure that we knew which piece went to which puzzle. At first, I thought I would write a letter, or number on the back of every puzzle. I then had a though, which falls nicely into my “encourage kids to be more independent and responsible” resolution (seriously – I have way too many resolutions over here). I pulled out stamps…
and let them stamp away on the back of their puzzles.
Here is the example I showed them (they were a bit more overzealous in stamping theirs):
I noticed that a lot of the puzzles were awkwardly shaped as well, and basically, a huge pain to put away on the shelves, taking up storage space. So I have also transferred them into the gallon zip lock bags, with a picture of them inside, and they fit nicely into a little tote in each of my children’s rooms.
When they want to do puzzles – they bring the tote downstairs, instead of lugging a bunch of boxes. With the stamps on the bags, we can also always find where a wayward puzzle piece belongs. I am loving this new organization, and especially that the kids played a big part in the organization
Next up is attacking my daughter’s baby dolls and dress up clothes. Both of these seem to be everywhere in our house…any ideas?
Do you struggle with toy overload? Any ideas to tackle with keeping it organized?
In my last post, I mentioned that 2014 is the year of getting stuff done. One of the items which has been on my to do list for the past, um 4 1/2 years, has been to better organization of family photos. I take millions of pictures. Between my fancy DSLR camera, my easy point and shoot that is in my diaper bag,my phone’s camera, and many sessions we have had with photographers, I have captured just a few occasions in my kids life. I have gotten better about printing out some of our favorites and hanging them in our home, but the other day when my son looked at a picture album with his baby pictures, he asked if he could see more. When I told him I could show him on my computer, we both realized that was not nearly as much fun! Let’s be honest – when kids are grown up, are they really going to scroll through our Facebook or Instagram accounts to get their history? Even though everything is becoming paperless, isn’t it important to pick up a picture and look at it?
So, this is the year the pictures are going to switch from being on mommy’s computer (taking up oodles of space, I am sure), or in an online album (thank you, Snapfish for holding all of our memories so well) to real, physical albums that my children can thumb through. Now that we have gotten that far…I am in need of some help.
I need a happy medium of my current online system, and my own mother’s system of having perfectly detailed books for every year of our life, including the teeth I lost (yes, the actual teeth), hair from my head, etc. (I really do appreciate the detailed approach though, mom). I have thrown around various ways of doing this – but would love some thoughts as well…especially from anyone who has an easy way to do this.
My plan of attack was to make family albums for each year, through a site like snapfish, capturing our vacations, day trips, family special moments, birthdays, and more. I could easily have 1 copy printed for us to look through and have as a copy for our home, and then could have 3 copies of each album printed for my children to have in the future, when they someday (very far far far) in the future, move out. I would then have a box of more personal pictures for them to hold onto. The other alternative is the old-fashioned way of printing pictures and putting them in albums for each individual child.
What do you think? Any great ideas out there on how to organize and save family photos?
2014…I have named this “the year of being productive” in my house. The year that I do everything I say I am going to do, and not put it off forever. When I have something to get done, an errand to run, or something similar, it is done within a week, as opposed to put off for a month or so. We’ll see what happens, but as of January 6th, well, it’s going AWESOME (note to self, check out this post in March). This also means a raging return of Mommy’s Manic Monday’s and hopefully, some helpful tips! One thing that I have had on my “to do” list since November, is writing Child Identification Car Tags for each of my children to put on their car seats.
What are Child Identification Car Tags? Simple, yet critical information, about my children which would be necessary if we were ever in a car accident, and I was not in the position to speak for them. I first saw this idea back in November while hanging out with baby girl in the middle of the night, and checking out Facebook. A couple of my friends had posted this tip, and I vowed that I had to do this immediately. We are in the car all the time…this is an absolute no-brainer. As life would have it though, I forgot from from night til morning, and then vowed to do it another time, right after Homeland was over or I finished up the laundry, or, or, or…and we all know how that goes. Last night, my cousin posted another article, reminding friends to do this, and well, when a NICU nurse tells you how important something like this is, you pay attentionSo, I officially have this checked off my list!
I wrote out the information, and secured this on the car seats (and the car seat base for my daughter who is still in the infant bucket seat. This took 10 minutes. We may never need the information, but, if we are in the place where we do need this – I know that those will probably be some of the most valuable 10 minutes I ever spent.
Here is the information I included:
Parent’s names & DOB
Parent’s cell phone and home numbers
I hope this helps, and gives others a kick in the rear as well As in…get up from watching the Bachelor and go do this
Disclosure: I am sharing my own honest views of the experience with Stitch Fix. I am not working together with the company, however, if you sign up through the links below , I do receive a referral credit to the Stitch Fix service (for which I would be extremely grateful…)
Two months ago, a friend of mine shared a link on her Facebook page about a company called Stitch Fix. I was very intrigued, as she shared information – each month, she received a shipment of 5 pieces of clothes and accessories based upon her personal profile, and if she liked the items, she kept and paid for them, if she didn’t, she returned them within 3 days in a prestamped envelope. I was intrigued…someone else taking the time to shop for me based on my preferences, I could try the items on in the comfort of my home, and return them if need be, just by dropping the envelope in a mailbox? I kind of felt like it was like having a cooler sister doing shopping for me and sending me presents in the mail each month. Granted I would be paying for those presents, but you see the jist, right? I can’t remember the last time that I went to the store to browse clothes…to just shop. I order clothes online in the same styles I have had in the past, and feel as though I lost that little pop in my wardrobe. My closet was a group of functional clothes as opposed to things I was excited about wearing. I shared the information on my own Facebook page, and I had several friends who were curious. I promised them that I would give a Stitch Fix review on here as soon as I received my package.
So….off I went to the website, and signed up for my account. I answered questions about height/weight, fit of clothes, styles that I prefer, and price point that I was comfortable with…and then I waited.
The e-mail came sharing the news that my package shipped, and I did a little dance…and today – the package arrived!
First up, I opened up a little note from my stylist, Sarah. She shared how she looked at my pinterest board (seriously – I don’t even looked at my Pinterest boards!), and then shared the items included in the shipment, with recommendations on how to wear them. Please forgive my inability to rotate this picture. I think you get the point though…clearly Sarah is overly helpful, and knows how much help I need.
So the clothes that came – first up the Claire Polka Dot Swing Skirt
The skirt was okay, but I don’t feel like it was work appropriate for my office, and it was above my price point (at $98) for casual wear. This one was getting returned.
Next up, the Hemmingway Tab-Sleeve Knit Shirt
I loved the pattern, loved the cut, but it was a little too big, so sadly, this one was heading back.
The third item I opened, I adored…the Thisbe Colorblocked Open Draped Cardigan. Comfortable, stylish, and perfect for both work or casual wear.
This is a keeper!
Next were the Just Black Adora Skinny Jeans in Green.
I must admit, if I was out shopping, I would probably never pick up these…but because they were in my house, I tried them on. I then did exactly what Sara said, and tried them on with a classic white button down and a statement necklace. Score! Perfection! These will be perfect for a date night, a casual outing, or a dress down day in the office. Also…it must be noted that it usually takes me about 40 pairs of pants at a store to find the perfect fit…and these just worked. It was kind of weird.
Lastly is the one item I am most upset about…the Collared Wrap Dress in black…
I tried it on – the style was awesome, the dress was so well made and you could tell that it was going to be the perfect mix of comfort and elegance…it was big as well, and a big wrapped dress is, well, a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. I could see the kids running under and pulling up the skirt, or the wind at the train station giving someone an extra view…
I kept 2 out of the 5 items from my package, but I returned to the website to give feedback on the items. Sarah, my trusty stylist, asked for the feedback, so I figured that it would help make our second Fix a bigger winner. A couple more things about my profile…I have tons of jewelry, and am a bit of an addict with finding great pieces. I asked that I was not sent any jewelry in my Fixes. I also found that in my first fix, the price point of the items were all on the higher end of the price range I put in. I did adjust that for future shipments, so hopefully I can keep everything that is sent my way
Any other Stitch Fix customers out there? What are your experiences and reviews?
I have no idea how we got here. When I had my baby girl back in August, my maternity leave, ending in December seemed like it was a million years away. I have no idea how the time came and went so quickly. Looking at my baby girl, I can see how fast it really is going as I have a smiley, gurgling, sweet girl (who is um, still not sleeping through the night), in front of me.
Things have been a little quiet on MMB in the last month. I was hoping this would slip by until one of my blogging buddies asked where my posts had been and reminded me that December is one of the biggest hits months (although apparently my past posts are doing ok and everyone who looks at my site is a lush, because my biggest post for this month, by multiples, is this Cookie martini post)…and then I had some emails from readers asking if things were ok. Everything is ok (ok in the craziness!) sometimes mommas of three drop off the grid. Well, to everyone except the 3 little people.
This happened mainly because I had a list of things that I was hoping to do on my leave, and well…I kind of left them to do in the last month. I can finally say that all maternity clothes are packed up and out of the house, the bins and bins of outgrown kids clothes are gone, and some other house projects are complete. We also have been hit by all sorts of illnesses in the last two months - Croup, Stomach Bug, Ear Infections, and just plain colds. For a while, it seemed like we were in our pediatricians office weekly and much time was spent comforting kiddos and adults. Add in hosting Thanksgiving, preparing to host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, running my first 5K, prepping for the holidays with every fun kid Christmas activity possible, oh and finally going live with a little business with one of my closest friends that we have planned forever (more to come on THAT in coming weeks!). With all of that, something had to give, and when it came to my usual evening writing time, I chose sleep over writing. Oh or Modern Family, Greys Anatomy, or Homeland. Darn you readers who suggested Homeland. We are obsessed! While I was always good on posting recipes, the cooking went too around our house. Thank goodness the freezer was stocked…although I think now we are just down to frozen breast milk, which really only helps one person in our house!
Everyone is fairly healthy at this point, Christmas prep is just about done, and life is on track (for now!?!). I have worked on putting all the thoughts in my notebook and random text messages to myself into some actual posts. So…MMB will be back in action soon (very soon)…for now though, I hope that everyone is having a wonderful holiday season
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