Friday, June 13, 2014

Getting Organized

With the impending arrival of Willow (and SUMMER!), I feel myself starting the "nesting" stage. I'm overwhelmed with wanting to organize every nook and cranny in my house as well as paint everything. I've come to realize in the past few months that my disorganization is very much rubbing off on my kids and I really don't like that. If I can't keep myself organized, how on earth can I honestly expect my children to be organized? Disorganization causes our family so much more stress than need be and it's time that stops!

So, I decided to start with the biggest culprit--paperwork. We have an insane amount of paperwork coming into our home and not a lot of it seems to leave. This is actually the second goal in my organization plan (the first was creating meal plans & grocery lists on a consistent basis which I will post about in the future). I find it difficult to find papers I need when I need them because of this. I do have what I believe is a decent filing system but I'm not great at keeping up with it--and therein lies the issue. First and foremost, I need to set aside time each day to go through and organize any paperwork from that day. If I can do that every day, it should never get overwhelming and take me hours to go through it. I recently had an epiphany--I don't need to keep everything. I've always been the kind of person who keeps every single bank statement, receipt, explanation of benefits, etc. forever. I have banker's boxes downstairs with files from 10 years ago (I know...crazy and unnecessary)! So, I'm purging.

And all that brings me to the reason for my post--implementing and using a family binder. I've been researching different ways to use these and what to include but haven't been able to find the "perfect" one to fit my family's needs. Along comes my crafty side--I decided to take the best of what I found and create my own. I started with the basics from Thirty Handmade Days. She includes several free printable sheets including Babysitter Info, Health Insurance Info, Other Insurance Info, School Info, & Utilities (this is one that will be incredibly beneficial for me) in her post and explains how she uses her family binder. I love her idea of having different sections and will definitely include some of those sections in my binder. (Side note: if you have children, I highly recommend checking out the Accountability Binder and School Binder posts. I'll be doing a blog post about these as well in the future.) The next site I found is The Polka Dot Posie. She includes a tab on her website with Home Planner & Management pages as well as extras for seasons like Christmas and Thanksgiving, camping/vacations, and even has multiple sizes to fit existing planners (some free, some paid)! They're incredibly cute and I decided to use most of these since most of the work is already done for me and I really like the pattern. I just fill it out, pop it in my binder, and go. I did create a binder cover (printable here), calendar for the remainder of the year (printable here), and blog planner (printable here) using a grey chevron pattern to match the rest her printables. I'm really excited and will do a future update on how this is working out for our family and any changes I make.

Until next time, much love and many blessings!


♥Courtney♥

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mastered Pregnancy Yet? Nope..

I have so many thoughts running through my mind today. From my pregnancy to how much my kids crack me up to holy cow I forgot to switch the diapers into the dryer! Speaking of pregnancy, you would think with this being my 6th pregnancy I would have it down pat by now. I do, for the most part. But there are still times when things catch me off guard. This pregnancy hasn't been too bad sans the sickness and earlier progression of gestational diabetes. Willow is moving and kicking all the time now and you can feel it much more from the outside in recent weeks. She's growing perfectly and one of our kids FINALLY cooperated for the 4-D ultrasound! I'm amazed at how much she looks like Trinity. It makes my heart melt every time I look at that picture. I'm so excited to meet her! We go back tomorrow for another ultrasound (one of the few positives of having GD) and I'm hoping we'll get another 4-D picture!

As far as getting ready for her, I'm all over the place with decisions. Since we don't really have a separate sleep area yet for Willow, preparations haven't been quite as extensive for her arrival as with my other two. I'm still trying to figure out a suitable arrangement for her clothes and am debating if we can use the dressers we already have or if we'll need another dresser. That brings a whole other host of problems though like where on earth I'm putting another dresser! So for now, I'm mostly just working on getting her NB diaper stash together. I'm sewing at least half, if not more, of her diapers and ordered the rest. After a lot of thought and talks with Andy, we've decided to go the AIO route for her diapers since Trinity isn't showing ANY interest in potty training yet. :/ Side note: AIO = All-in-One which is basically as close to a disposable as you get. I've made 5 so far and am in love with them! (You can check them out and my other crafting endeavers at On My Needles.)

I started this post weeks ago and never got around to finishing it but am going to do so today because it's a very special day. My one and only son is a full year old today! I just can't believe it! It's amazing and astounding that an entire year has gone by since meeting my little man. I absolutely love that his personality has really started coming alive the past few weeks. He laughs all the time when he's amused (he didn't used to) and is trying so hard to talk. When you ask him something, he actually responds like he's answering your question. He has the most expressive face and eyes. He loves to snuggle (most times) and wants to do everything that everyone else does. <3 access="" all="" at="" but="" can="" drive="" external="" hard="" here="" his="" i="" is="" moment.="" most="" my="" nbsp="" of="" on="" one="" p="" photos="" put="" re="" recent="" s="" shots:="" t="" that="" the="" they="" this="" unfortunately="" usually="" where="" year="">



Moving on to my other kiddos... Little Love is just about finished school. Her official last day is Friday and she's totally excited (as am I). We have about a week break before she leaves for Girl Scout camp, comes home, has her birthday party, and then leaves to visit her dad for the remainder of the summer. While I'm totally going to miss her while she's gone, I know she needs some time with her dad and future step-mom and -sister. She's totally excited to explore more of Seattle and I'm really excited for her. She's participating in character day on Monday and chose to be Hermoine from the Half-Blood Prince. I'm amazed at how she's taken to reading the Harry Potter series. She started reading them in September and read this last book in only a few weeks! I'm incredibly proud of her!

I'm getting ready to start some lesson planning for Love Bug and am doing research on homeschooling in PA. Oh my is it overwhelming! I'd like to start some sort of "school" time with her this summer to get her (and Harrison) used to a scheduled, structured time for learning. She's already counting to 10 orally so I'm thinking we'll start there and work our way to recognition. She's also doing great with shapes (thank you Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!) so we'll continue building on those as well as introduce more reading time. This is definitely going to be a journey and one I'm nervous about since I have no formal instruction on teaching. PA has a TON of regulations when it comes to homeschooling and thankfully I don't have to start documentation until she turns 8. With that said though, I'm currently looking into creating a Homeschool Planner because I really think it will help keep me organized and things less chaotic. There's so many resources out there and trying to sift through them all has been challenging but I'm very excited God has blessed me with being able to dive into this adventure with my kids.

Well that's all I have for today so until next time, much love and many blessings!

♥Courtney♥

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quaker(R) Warm & Crunchy Cranberry Almond Crunch Review

It's been a little while since I've posted a review or had something to review! My latest and greatest is something new from Quaker(R): Warm & Crunchy Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal/oatmeal (I'm not really sure what category it's in).  I love the flavor of oatmeal but not the texture. Let me start by saying, "Oh man!" The flavor of this is incredible! Quaker's(R) newest creation offers the best compromise! I sampled the cranberry almond and fell in love! All the packets were gone in a week--it's THAT good!

Because of my texture issues, I was really hesitant to join this campaign. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture. I actually tried this two different ways--the suggested way and cold, with just milk. I also experimented with the amount of milk added. All the ways were great! The flavor of cranberry, almond, & granola was amazing and perfectly balanced, not too much of any one thing. I really enjoyed the amount of cranberries and almonds in each packet. The texture when heated was surprisingly crunchy, even after sitting for a little while (I got sidetracked so one of the times, it sat for about 30 minutes before I ate it). The cranberries add a nice chewiness while the almonds and granola give it a nice crunchiness. No matter how much or how little milk I added, it didn't change the texture of the oatmeal. The granola was more crunchy when I added cold milk but didn't heat it and was just as good as when heated!

I really like how quickly this prepares. It's as simple as opening the package, pouring into a bowl, adding milk, and heating (or not!). All-in-all it's a 2 minute process from start to finish. The "hardest" part was getting the packages open!

I would highly recommend this for those who are busy in the mornings and tend to grab fast food on the way to school or work. It's fast, satisfying, and delicious!  



♥Courtney♥

Although I was given the opportunity to try these products for free as a BzzAgent, the above opinions and experiences are 100% mine. :-)