Happy Halloween!

I wanted to share some throwbacks on the blog today of the last few years. I cannot believe how big the kids are getting!  We are looking forward to a little trick-or-treating, even if it’s raining!  I think sometimes as adults we make it more about us than our kids and it’s important to remember the fun and joy we used to have at the SIMPLE things.  I’m talking, the smallest of things here people, are what seem to stick in our children’s minds.  My kiddos are already begging to play the “Santa Game” (Google during the holiday has a free Santa’s workshop thing they enjoy playing on my laptop)

Our first year with Brookie, 2013, we did a 49ers cheerleader outfit.

The 49ers were decent that year too, so we proudly wore our jerseys ha.

The second year, 2014, I scored a Pig Costume in January for like $3 when I ordered her first birthday party items.  Daddy always likes wearing a big scary mask…(it doesn’t scare the kids, but all the neighbor kids kind of wig out…)

I was pregnant with Bradley and had little pig ears, but they didn’t make the photo.  Side note, holy smokes our chairs are so clean before kids ruined them!! HAha

I just loved this costume. I just remembered how she didn’t want to put it on, but when trick-or-treaters came to the door in costume, she realized they got candy, so it quickly went right on!

Bradley came along and in 2015, we had Anna from Frozen and a cute Dragon.

I even did a YouTube video.

Brookie picked out a Unicorn costume from Target the following year, 2016 and my mom snagged me this cute cat head piece.

Bradley Boo was a Ninja Turtle

Halloween 2017 they both chose their costumes.  Lil miss had her heart set on being a black cat and Bradley fell in love with Kion.

Last year, 2018, Bradley chose Black Panther and Brooke was Mavis from Hotel Transylvania.

A sneak of this year— Bradley is a Ninja!

Our little Angel at dance class.

I may have decided to dress up a bit as well…here’s my inspiration!

It’s absolutely pouring, so I will most likely be wearing my rubber rain boots.  Oh the joys of Upstate New York weather!
Stay safe and Happy Halloween friends!

Productivity

I’ve been really focusing on what’s making me productive and how I’m getting everything done.  I watch tons of other moms on YouTube doing their thing, I surround myself with positive people and have a few tips that I believe can help you if you feel overwhelmed.  I am doing the #last90dayschallenge and so a few of these are inspired by Rachel Hollis, but I started implementing them before 10/1 so I can speak from experience that they are helping in more ways than one!

1.) Cut distractions. 

This could be negative family or friends, social media in general, mindless snacking, or your phone.  I know babies, kids and dogs can be a bit demanding, but get into a schedule and figure out a good routine.  I know if I put the dog outside on her doggie run, I have a good amount of time to get some stuff done without worrying about her puppy-ness wanting to chew on toys that haven’t been cleaned up etc.  My kids are getting older so I can set some timers and let them watch a show, play a video game or independently play without having to watch them like a hawk.  If you have a baby or a toddler, then give yourself grace.  You’re number one focus is keeping that human alive!  Otherwise, turn off the phone, ignore messages (for now) and set a time later in the day to accomplish those things.  Having a list helps me.

2.) Finish things.

There’s not much worse than that feeling like you have a million things left not done.  Maybe you’ve started most of them, but if you’re like me, you can easily get distracted (kids, dogs, life!) and then I don’t finish something and it hangs there.  Just do it.  It probably only takes half the time we think anyway.  Set a timer and get-er-done!  The satisfaction of crossing it off the to do list and actually seeing an end result will catapult you onto the next activity that needs to happen.

3.) Drink your water & Cut or limit sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. 

Tired? Drink your water.  Hungry?  Drink your water.  Bored? Drink your water.  Feeling run down? Drink your water.  Want a soda or coffee?  Drink some water.  I’ve been making myself drink half of my body weight in water, and before I allow myself to eat or drink something else (even tea) I chug a bunch of water to see if it’s something I still want.  Water is SO important for all of our organs and to keep us running full steam! Here me out, I get it.  The latté, cookie, chips, pop, whatever seems so helpful but it I find that the quick fix does not fix the overwhelm.  I know I’m just coming off a cleanse, where I did omit these items, but seriously, I have no brain fog, lots of energy (at 6am) I’m sleeping great and if I had not gotten mindful about what was going into my body, I don’t think I would have realized how great I could feel.  Am I never going to have wine or a Green Tea Latté again?  Heck no, BUT I will have them in moderation.  I think we all tend to get a little lenient in the summer and before we know it, we feel like crap, and the spiral continues.  Plus half of the problem is that we don’t even realize how much we’re consuming until we step away from it for a bit…

4.) Wake up an hour early.  

It’s not easy.  I love sleep.  I love the cozy bed and the feel of the soft sheets.  BUT, when you start making a habit of getting up before the rest of the house, something changes inside.  I look forward to starting my day.  I get to do a few of my favorite things, writing, reading, sipping tea and just be alone with my thoughts.  You could workout, pray, meditate, whatever you feel like doing, but do it before you have to go take care of everyone else.  Creating before you start consuming will change your life people!  I’ll write more on my morning routine later, but just try it for a few weeks.  If you normally get up at 7, set that alarm for 6 and just set things up the night before.  I literally cannot stress the importance of this one!  YOU matter and putting yourself first to be with God, or a good book, or sweat sesh will give you that push the rest of the day.  An hour sound like too much?  Start with 15-20 minutes and work your way up.  I was up at 5:45 no alarm today, just because.

5.) Have fun!

The less we look at things at “chores” or things that we have to do, the better we feel.  If I have a dirty floor, clothes piled everywhere, messy rooms, food to prepare and overflowing dishes in the sink, the first thing I do is breathe.  Push play on a good audiobook or even a fun song, watch a TV show or YouTube video while you get to work.  {I recently just rented an old favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, so that I could watch it while I folded and put away the endless loads of laundry}.  Once I realize I can habit stack, I know it won’t be so bad. Then I throw some laundry in, (to feel like I started taking action on SOMETHING!) get going on the dishes, prepare the food, clean up and before I realize it, everything is back in place and I can sigh in relief that my kitchen is no longer a disaster area!

Cleaning Routine

It’s only taken me my whole life to come up with and stick to a cleaning schedule–haha!

I used to try to clean the whole house and it’d take most of the day.  Then I had kids and if you have children, you know that you cannot do anything for 4 hours straight, let alone clean the whole house.  I would try to sneak in cleaning here or there, but I’d inevitably get backed up and struggle with keeping up.  I will admit that I do hire help once in awhile; I build it into our budget and it’s really great to have the whole house clean at once AND it forces me to keep up with it.

However, I don’t get help every week or even every other week, so I started this a few weeks ago.  I cannot take full credit for the breakdown, as I watch YouTube and How Jen Does it uses a similar routine.  I did choose my own chores on what days worked best for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that with two little kids and two dogs (especially a big one who drips water all over the floor after she drinks every single time) it’s not easy to keep the house in tip top shape.  I use the Roomba almost daily and am constantly wiping the counters and table down, as my little guy is still home with me most of the time.  I do feel like I found a way to keep a handle on the mundane chores that need to get done without feeling like all I do is clean.

My Top 5 Tips:

  1. Get everyone to help.  Even my little guy loves to help vacuum, dust or wash the mirrors.  Sure it’s not perfect and I usually have to re-do some things because he’s 4, but I’m teaching him how to help, he feels useful and he will have this valuable skill for life.   My daughter is great at putting folding her laundry and putting it away as well as being responsible for helping with keeping the kids bathroom clean.
  2. Do a WHOLE load of laundry every day. We are a family of four and I swear we have too many clothes haha.  It’s the never-ending chore and if I don’t keep up with it for even a day, it backs up pretty badly.  If I can wash, dry, fold AND put away one single load daily, I feel like it really does help.  I’m not perfect, but I do attempt to put a load in first thing every morning. If I know I’m home all day, I’ll do a couple of loads, but at the very least aim for one.  I hang dry a lot of my husband and my clothes, to keep them nice, so they usually take a day to dry before I can put them away.
  3. Clean sheets Monday This started a few months back and I am always so grateful to start the week off fresh clean sheets!  There’s nothing better than falling into bed with a nice new set of sheets, am I right?  I also take time to pull the kids sheets and wash their blankets, rotating every so often.  That way I’m not left wondering, wait when was the last time that happened??
  4. Be flexible. I’ll be honest, some Tuesdays I don’t get the vacuuming done because we had to XYZ, but the next day I’ll just make up for it.  It really doesn’t take that long for each chore, but if you let everything go, it does seem next to impossible to finish.  Sometimes I combine dusting & glass/mirrors too because our Friday is when Joe is off and it’s hard to do chores when we are off doing something enjoyable or working on real estate.
  5. Post your schedule. Routines take time to establish and get into, so the first few weeks here I had to make sure I wrote down in my planner, posted the routine on my fridge and reminded myself daily what needed to get done.  It’s also great so if the kids want to play on electronics, I can quickly look and see what they can do to help out before I let them play.

 

Bottom line, don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed with housework, but do something!  Setting a timer for 10 minutes can really help you de-clutter a messy countertop or start organizing a play area too.

Do you follow a cleaning routine?

 

Tea with Me

If we were to sit down and have a cup of tea, I’d enjoy this kind! My bestie gifted me a “Sipscription” and this was one of the teas from Sipsby.  This one actually kind of tastes like coffee!

I’d have so much to tell you, since back to school just started!  Summer flew by, but I so enjoyed every stinking minute.  I sometimes wonder why I feel so much emotion though; even the change from Summer to Fall has me all weepy.  I know I love Summer the most, but I do enjoy our Fall weather.  When the trees all change it’s so pretty! I enjoy going for donuts and cider, pumpkin picking and all the slow cooker recipes!  Football, red wine and cozy fires are in my future and I’m not mad about it.

I’d probably tear up telling you all about my babies going off to school for another year.  I was a teacher, you see, so of course I know the value of an education, the mingling of like aged children and stimulating my kids’ minds is so important to me.  But selfishly, I miss them.  I miss the baby snuggles, the bottles, the sticky cheeks, the consumption of them needing me.  No, I don’t want more babies, but I think it’s normal to always have a feel of just wanting your babies just a little while longer.  Don’t get me wrong though, 4 & 6 is such a fun age! They are so sweet and innocent and get along pretty well for the most part. My husband and I keep saying how much know we will miss this phase too! I really had such a beautiful Summer with them.  Parenting is so crazy; I am so ready for bedtime and to sit down quietly, but gosh they grow so darn fast!

I’d tell you if Summer 2019 had a sound track, you’d find these songs on it!

Dancing With a Stranger, Calm Down, Git Up Dance, Old Town Road, Have you Ever seen the Rain, and it would conclude with Dreams–this song has come to me over and over and over again in August.  I would see the lyrics, “thunder only happens when it rains” and I heard it on Big Little Lies.  My husband randomly played it, and I’ve heard it come on several times on the radio.  Why?!?

If we were having a chat, let you in on a little secret—I may not watch TV, but I am known for binging on You Tube! I can’t help it, but I get sucked down a rabbit hole once in awhile. Lately I’m back on the wife/mom bandwagon and adore these two ladies!  How Jen Does itBeauty & The Beastons

I would fill you in on my manifestations.  “What you think about you bring about.” Thanks to a mastermind training, I’ve started really putting things out there and whoa—they do come back at ya!  Something as small as Joe and I talking about how we wanted a picnic table for the land, and we just wanted to find one…I was walking with the dog and someone had it out by the road. Score! Now we can have picnics or even a bonfire before it gets too cold!

I’d say that I am pretty pumped that I have done 37 workouts out of my 100!  I’m feeling so great and can’t wait to just keep going! It’s amazing what CONSISTENCY does.  I don’t love every workout but I get them done and that’s what counts.  30 minutes or less, there’s really no excuses.

I was also proud of myself for not buying all the things at Home Goods yesterday! I did scoop up a few new pillows for our couch, because Bailey, and all of the Fall Decor was so cute.  I cannot wait until I have our new home to decorate!

I’d admit that I still haven’t used my Instantpot.  I don’t know what my problem is, I’m like nervous or something?! I did use my slow cooker yesterday.  I did the old chicken breasts, cubed small potatoes, green beans, butter & a packet of Ranch dressing. I didn’t want to have to grab fast food after a late afternoon at my sister’s gymnastic’s center, so I prepped before we left. I felt like a total badass for having dinner ready when we walked in the door.  So, I’m giving myself some grace on the Instantpot.

I am pretty excited about some “DO YOU TIME” tomorrow.  With Joe’s work schedule and the kids back to school crazy, I haven’t done much for me. I have worked out, but I am excited for a few hours of daylight alone! I see a pumpkin cold foam iced chai latté in my future.

I’m looking forward to doing some Freezer meals with my friend Cathy on Saturday.  Some of these recipes look so yummy!  I’m really making efforts to make more meals at home as we got into a bad habit of eating out a lot this Summer.  It’s okay, we’ll reign it in and it will be delicious!

Currently I am trying to read my Book of the Month book, The Reckless Oath we Made, but I haven’t been into reading much.  I am making it a goal to read tomorrow though!

Looking back at this Summer, I can’t help but believe that since I took all that time to work on me, it was truly the best gift I have given myself, my husband and my children.  I am so grateful for this crazy beautiful life.  I have never been happier, and it’s crazy because I know life is only going to continue to get better.  It’s what we make of it, and I know and believe there’s so much more in store.

 

A Look Back at August

What a fun month we had!

I read quite a few books, Class Mom, It’s Not Your Money, Evie Drake Starts Over, Watching You, The Unhoneymooners, and Big Little Lies. (You can find all of these books in my Amazon Storefront!)

We were able to hit up the casino through a work incentive, and that was fun night out in a limo.

Our book club got together at Flight West.  We had delicious drinks and apps!

We had a fun double date with some friends.

My sister came over and we enjoyed a Sunday Funday while Joe mowed down the trails at the land.

We spent a lot of time at the land (like every Sunday!) walking the beautiful trails! It’s going to be like having our own park in our very own backyard.  20 acres is amazing!

Bradley enjoyed his weekly sports camp.  He loved Lacrosse!

Brooke earned a free book for Summer reading!

The kids spent a weekend with my sister, which meant a little time alone for me and another date night for hubby and I!

I finally got my hair done after two months–much needed.

I tried a few new recipes and some old ones, all of which I’d recommend!

Tuna Poke Bowl

Asian Chicken Skewers & Thai Noodles With Spicy Peanut Sauce

Egg Roll in a Bowl

And we used the heck out of our smoker/grill!  We are obsessed with bacon wrapped scallops & shrimp.

We also love getting a whole chicken that’s been cut, brining it and then smoking/grilling it.

Bradley had his Pre-K ice cream social.

I also spent some times working on routines.   I’m currently working on a weekly cleaning routine that the kids can help me with too!

We had a nice “back to school” dinner out last night.  These two love their daddy so much, and he loves them even more!

We will enjoy a nice family weekend coming up here for Labor Day and then we are ready to bring September on!

What was your favorite thing about August?