Thursday, September 26, 2013

How To Attempt Staying Organized Each Week

So moms always ask me "how do you do it all"?  There are many responses to this answer, one if which is that I don't do it all.  I fail every day in some areas or another.  But I also succeed in a lot of other areas mostly due to staying organized. But one way that I get stuff done is by having a weekly "to do" list.  And here it is below.

This is my very basic Word document that I keep on my desktop for easy access.  Every Sunday I fill in the blanks with my school volunteer schedule, work projects, appointments, kids activities, ect.  Then I immediately email the hubby what he needs to know about the week.  Then I print it out and put it on my clipboard that I have on my kitchen counter all week long.

I keep all my appointments on a Google Calendar which I ADORE!!!  It's also an app on my iPhone so now when people ask me if I'm available, I can quickly check and confirm.  Plus my husband can view it anytime and anywhere...not that he does!

But what I love about this is that most of my days are the same.  Those things never change so I don't have to re-type it every week.  I just fill in the blanks and print.  It keeps me on track and, quite frankly, I get a little thrill out of crossing something off my list multiple times a day. :)

If you read the schedule then you also discovered my other two secrets to getting it all cleaning ladies and my laundry helper!  Sweet Baby Jesus they make me happy!  My cleaning ladies come every other week and they do all of my deep cleaning.  And my laundry helper comes every week and folds and puts away my laundry.  I wash, dry and the kids sort it...but then she does the job I hate most!  With a family of 6, that's about 8 loads per week and she knocks it out in 2 hours....$20 bucks and totally worth it!  If I had to do it with the kids bugging me all the time, it would take 3x that amount of time.

The last secret you saw was my weekly therapy appointment.  Some people like exercise, some like reading, some like wine to relieve their stresses...I love therapy!  It's like a weekly massage for my emotions!  I "reboot" with some wisdom for her and vent my ugly thoughts.  This keeps me from curling up into a ball in the corner of my house somewhere weeping.  It helps me to want to participate in life with love and acceptance!  I've been going for 2 1/2 years now and nobody messes with that appointment...nobody!

Here's what it ends up looking like by the end of the week.  All scratched up...just how I like it!

So it just took an hour one day to type this all up and get my facts straight.  Once that was done it became so easy to do on a weekly basis.  I've been doing it every since I've had kids.  And since my brain likes to lose thoughts like my dryer likes to loses socks, it's best that I keep up this practice! :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Day of Fall

The first day of fall is this weekend and I love kicking it off with a fall party!  There are so many foods that remind me of fall: chili, corndogs, sweet potatoes, pulled pork, pot roast, all types of soups, corn bread, apple pies, apple cider, pumpkin bread, raisin bread pudding, candy corn, carmel apples, pumpkin pies, ect.

So when throwing a fall party, it's about getting the food right!

Yeah, I accidently left the under cabinet light on that night and it melted the icing :(

You can cook this right in their jars!

Another year

Crafts are always fun!  This day we did finger painting and made trees with our arms and hands.

It was raining at this party, so I just set up our bounce house inside and the kids rocked it out!

Decor!  Well, if you have mums, pumpkins, leaves, pine cones, acorns, Indian corn, wheat, haystacks or gourds, then you have more than enough elements to set the scene for fall!

Now here's the deal with decorations....if you spread it out all over the house, it won't make an impact.  It will seem like an afterthought.  But, if you can at least group the decor in settings of 3 or more items, then it will be impactful and make sense.  So decide to decorate the mantle or the table centerpieces or your book shelves, ect.  Keep it together for a cozy feel.

And, more than anything, don't forget the pumpkin candle! :)  The smell will bring it all together!

Here's a picture of my mantle and book shelves:

But check this one cute!

Now, outside's what I typically do...pumpkins, mums and scarecrows...but I'd love to do more!

Now here's an awesome front porch!

Setting the mood with the 5 senses:
When planning parties or just to make your home cozy, I always try to appeal to the 5 senses.  Here's how:
  1. Sight: fall decor using natural elements
  2. Hearing: light music or your favorite fall songs
  3. Smell: fall baked good candles or something in the oven
  4. Touch: different earth toned colors and textures that make people want to touch it
  5. Taste: get your fall cook on!

Enjoy the first day of fall and all that this season brings!

This was on pinterest but had no original source, otherwise I would attach the link.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Friday the 13th FREE Printables

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th, so in honor of this "unlucky and superstitious" holiday, I'm giving away FREE printables!

First I made this and white is supposed to represent the ying and the yang, the lucky and the unlucky, the good and bad.  So it was appropriate! :)

Here's the link to the downloadable banner:

And here's the subway art I created for this holiday.  I'm not superstitious by any means, nor do I believe in Santa Claus, but it doesn't stop me from celebrating the day and making fun memories with my kids.

Here's the link to the downloadable subway art:

And if you're still wondering how this tradition came about, check out all the theories from Wickipedia:

Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.

  • One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. 
  • In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or aNorse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table results in the death of one of the diners. 
  • Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales,[5] and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. 
  • Friday is also the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, making it through folklore and adding to its unpopularity. 
  • One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth,[6] in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.[1]
  • Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common. The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and in John J. Robinson's 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France, an action apparently motivated financially and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V's coronation, the king falsely charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently.[7] However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention.[5][8][9]

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Do TV Shows Really Affect our Children's Attitudes?

This week I had a very helpful therapy session! :)  My 7 year old has been having a pretty rotten attitude lately.  Lots of negative comments, sassy remarks and disrespectful "tween" talk.  I couldn't figure out what was going on inside her heart.  I didn't expect this until she turned 12?  But here we were, at age 7.  So in my usual way, I turned to all my parenting books.  

Now I've pretty much read every self-help book on parenting.  I don't feel as though training my children to be healthy successful adults comes easy for me...I mean, for heaven's sake, it's hard enough for me to be a healthy successful adult! LOL!  So I read tons of books and pull what I can from each.  One of my favorite books on the subject is Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids.  Mostly it says that everyone in the family has to honor each other...and the parents are the example.  Also, my therapist, who's a child therapy specialist, helps me a ton!

So, on Wednesday I spoke with her about my daughter's behavior, which has suddenly worsened over the summer.  She's always been a more serious child, but I wouldn't have said she was negative or pessimistic.  So my therapist asked me 1 question: What is she watching on TV?
Saturday Morning Cartoons!
Now, I try to protect my kids from as much outside influence as possible, without going overboard and shielding them from society as a whole.  A bubble never did anyone any good...teach kids "why" not "no".  I'm a huge fan of Common Sense Media's website!  All you have to do is type in the book, movie, tv show, song, video game and it will give you an age that they "conservatively" think it's appropriate for...along with a breakdown of why.  They rate it by age and give it 1-5 stars for a positive message.  Every kids movie I have in my house has a sharpie number marked on it with the age that Common Sense Media suggests...mostly for babysitters to know what my kids can watch.

Here are Common Sense Media's Beliefs:

Our 10 Beliefs

  1. We believe in media sanity, not censorship.
  2. We believe that media has truly become "the other parent" in our kids' lives, powerfully affecting their mental, physical, and social development.
  3. We believe in teaching our kids to be savvy, respectful and responsible media interpreters, creators, and communicators.  We can’t cover their eyes but we can teach them to see.
  4. We believe parents should have a choice and a voice about the media our kids consume and create. Every family is different but all need information.
  5. We believe that the price for free and open media is a bit of extra homework for families. Parents need to know about the media their kids use and need to teach responsible, ethical behavior as well as manage overall media use.
  6. We believe that through informed decision making, we can improve the media landscape one decision at a time.
  7. We believe appropriate regulations about right time, right place, and right manner exist. They need to be upheld by our elected and appointed leaders.
  8. We believe in age-appropriate media and that the media industry needs to act responsibly as it creates and markets content for each audience.
  9. We believe ratings systems should be independent and transparent for all media.
  10. We believe in diversity of programming and media ownership.
I also have a general rule of thumb, "if the kids in the show are older than you, then you cannot watch it without my permission."  They don't have to ask me to watch Blues Clues, Special Agent Oso, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse...but other shows on the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Netflix...they need permission for those.

So, my therapist and I discussed these shows.  She recommended that I watch some of the shows with the kids to find out if it's appropriate or not.  Ugh...can I vomit now?  Who wants to do that?  Oh well, I guess I'll get busy sitting and watching.  

But, in the mean time, I did my cyber homework and gave the kids a list of shows they can and cannot watch (I read most shows full reviews to come to these conclusions).  These are the shows they routinely ask me if they can watch.  I told them that if they can be responsible and trustworthy to only watch the shows on the "can watch" list, then as they get older, we will discuss moving some of the "cannot watch" over to the "can watch" list.  Here's hoping they will be trustworthy!

My kids are:
7 year old girl
6 year old girl
5 year old twin boys

However, the greatest advice she gave me was to discuss with my kids the attitudes of the kids on the shows.  I don't like giving my kids blanket "no, because I said so" responses.  I like to tell them why and help train their hearts to know why for themselves as well.

So here were her suggested conversations to have with the kids:
1.  When the kids on the show are being sassy, are they being sassy to their parents or their peers?  Most of the time it's their peers and there's always a time and a place for certain words, it's called manners.  Those words and phrases like "whatever", "that's stupid", "talk to the hand" are never appropriate to speak to your parent or adults.
2.  Just because kids on TV aren't held responsible for their actions, get away with disrespectful talk, break things, have crushes, ect. does not mean that it's ok for you.  Every family has their own set of rules.  Our rules are different from theirs.  You can watch this show, but the first time that you start acting like them, you lose your TV privileges.  We can't cover their eyes, but we can teach them to see :)

We had this talk on Wednesday night.  I have noticed a huge difference in my daughter's attitude and conversations already, which, honestly, I found surprising.  Fingers crossed that it continues...but in the mean time, I guess I'll be watching a lot of "Good Luck Charlie" just in case!  Keep me in your prayers! LOL!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Grieving the Halloween Costumes

I know that Halloween is 8 weeks away, but if you know me, I like to prepare and plan.  So, yesterday I was talking to my kids about what they wanted to be this year and it broke my heart.  We always pick a theme for our family to dress for Halloween.  I know this might seem like I'm preventing them from picking what they want, but seriously, we have 2 huge boxes of costumes that I buy and they can dress up however they want everyday.  So, what did they pick?  VAMPIRES AND ZOMBIES! 
I blame Hotel Transylvania...

It's a very cute movie with a great story...but now my kids want to be Vampires.  One wants to be a vampire zombie ninja, another a vampire princess, another a vampire zombie and then another Dracula.  So we did decide on a just wasn't what I was hoping for...the Wizard of Oz!  
Seriously, this could have been us :(

  Ok, I love vampires, I loved Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Twilight, True Blood, ect.  However, I don't want my kids to dress up as gothic, scary dead people.  They are still so young.  So, in grieving the lost of our past cute and colorful themes, I want to take a trip down memory lane.

Our first year with Sophia and she was the cutest lady bug ever!

Then we went for a fun "sports" theme when Bella arrived.  Yeah, they look thrilled :)

Then the boys arrived and we were fairies and frogs!  Freakin' adorable!

Yes, I spray painted our hair gold :)

And daddy doesn't like to dress up so he always gets a shirt that "says" what he is in the theme :)

Of course we had to do superheroes one year :)

Super DAD!

Super MOM!

Pirates was one of my favorites...I mean, how cute are these kids! 

Daddy even got in the spirit but only because we had to go to a work, Halloween party :)

But this one, by far, is my favorite one!  I mean, how cute are they?  Sophia had a broken arm that year and she said she was dressed up as a "broken" crayon :)

Last year we watched the movie, "We bought a ZOO" and they all picked their favorite animal and we went for it!  I even did a crazy face paint job...which was exhausting by the way! LOL!

I made a shirt that said the movie title and put their names on it...and a stun gun for that little guy who kept me running the whole night!  Yeah, that was a true to life Halloween costume...I do have a ZOO!

So, I'm sure I'll find a cute way to make my little animals look like vampire zombies, but it does make me a little sad to see them growing up so fast and making their own decisions.  It's a new chapter in our lives and I'll embrace it...just give me time to grieve. :(