Friday Favorites

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TGIF!  Today, I’m linking up with Erica, Narci & Andrea to share my Friday Favorites!

 

One

If you do nothing else this weekend, buy at least one (or 3!) of these tank tops.  This post is not sponsored – these tanks are that AMAZING!  I layer one of these tanks under my shirt every day…it’s long so it works with leggings or jeans/shorts.  It’s just enough spandex to help hold in the muffin top too!  I bought one of these several years ago, and have gone through several other tanks of different brands since then since they stretch out, etc.  The original tank in this brand is still in great shape…and extra bonus – they’re really inexpensive!

Two

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If you have younger kids, get them a pair of Natives this summer.  I bought Ashton a pair last year, and he wore them almost every day.  They’re easy to get on or off, and the hold up really well.  He’s still wearing them this Spring – the only pair of shoes that has lasted more than one season!  They can be thrown in the washer and a Magic Eraser works wonders to clean off the white parts of the shoes.  They’re definitely worth the investment!

Three

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Another favorite this week was celebrating Ashton’s 4th birthday yesterday.  I picked up some cupcakes so we could celebrate as a family last night and his actual birthday party will be tonight.  He picked out a Paw Patrol theme – I’ll share some pictures next week hopefully!

We’ve got a fun weekend ahead – hope you do as well!

Happy Birthday Ashton!

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Today my baby turns 4!  How is this even possible?  It seems like just last week he was up several times through the night (oh wait, it was just last week he did that)!  But seriously, this kid has grown up so quickly!  He’s got the best personality and is always making us laugh.  Ashton has grown up a lot this year with Preschool and can’t wait to go to Pre-K next year at the “big kid school”!   Before we know it, he’ll be off to Kindergarten on the bus with his sisters – time needs to slow down!  Happy Birthday Ashton – we love you!

Every year on the kid’s birthdays, I ask them the same list of questions.  It’s fun to see the answers change from year to year.  Here are his answers for this year (#19 and #20 are my favorites!):

  1. What is your favorite color? Blue and white
  2. What is your favorite toy? Airplane
  3. What is your favorite fruit? Pears
  4. What is your favorite TV show? Paw Patrol & Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut Butter & Jelly
  6. What is your favorite outfit? Paw Patrol t-shirt
  7. What is your favorite game? Twister
  8. What is your favorite snack? Cookie
  9. What is your favorite animal? A giraffe and elephant
  10. What is your favorite song? A Boy Named Sue
  11. What is your favorite book? Paw Patrol
  12. Who is your best friend? Danika and Mommy
  13. What is your favorite cereal? Cocoa Puffs & Lucky Charms
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Throw a frisbee & climb on trees
  15. What is your favorite drink? Lemonade & juice
  16. What is your favorite holiday? Easter
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polka Dot Blanket
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Coffee cake
  19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cake if there is any left
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? The farmer in the dell

Ways to Incorporate Barn Doors in the Home

Thanks to Fixer Upper, I have decided to turn my home into a barn door show room!  It took several months for me to figure out the best place in our home to put barn doors that made sense, but once it clicked in my head, I was adamant that we were getting barn doors.  We have our main living room and then an adjacent living room/sitting room that had french doors separating the two rooms.

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I never loved the french doors, as I felt like it made the home seem dated and never really meshed with the rest of our decor.  But I never really knew what to put there and we liked having the rooms separated by a door to save on utilities (the sitting room gets pretty cold in the winter and warm in the summer because windows surround most of the room).   The other problem with the french doors is that our sectional couch in the living room covered one of the doors, so it was almost impossible to open the one door without having to move the furniture.

Barn doors seemed like the perfect option because they would slide open/shut which would allow us to open both doors whenever we wanted even with the sectional couch in place.  Also, the fact that there aren’t any windows in the doors would allow us to save even more on utilities by keeping the sitting room separate.   Doors this size could be pretty expensive so we spent some time determining the most cost effective option to tackle this project.  We were able to find someone local that built the doors for us very cost effective, and then we stained and hung them ourselves.  I stained the doors with Minwax Classic Gray and then sealed with Mixwax Polycrylic Protective Finish.  We ordered this hardware to hang the doors off of Amazon and it was pretty simple to hang.   I love how they turned out.

I feel like it was a huge transformation for the room and we love the look!

We recently updated our main bath and decided to put a barn door in there as well for the linen closet door.  This time we purchased the door and hardware from Menard’s (because we were in a bit of a time crunch and just wanted the project done!).  Here’s how it looks:

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We added a handle on this door which I picked up at Hobby Lobby for under $10.  The doors are stained Minwax Ebony.

Barn doors are such an easy project and can make such a big difference in the look of your home.  I’m already dreaming of where I can put another set in my house!!

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!  We had a fun weekend with lots of outdoor time which is the best!  Friday night both girls had softball practice at different fields, so I took the two younger ones, and Ashton and I headed to the park while Jayde practiced.

Saturday morning Danika had a volleyball game at the YMCA so we headed there to watch her play.

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After volleyball we ran a few errands in town and grabbed pizza for lunch.  We found out on Friday that our 4H pigs were coming Saturday afternoon, but waited until lunch time on Saturday to tell the kids.  They were so excited!  Because the weather was so nice, we ate our pizza outside, went for a Ranger ride, and practiced some softball in the yard while we waited for the pigs to arrive.

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Once the pigs arrived, the kids got to help get them into their pen and show them around their new home.  All of the kids were happy to get in there and play with the pigs, and cousin Mason came to help too!  I think Danika & Jayde will become best friends with these pigs over the next few months.  Danika has named two of them already – Spot and Chatterbox!  The others she’s still deciding on names for.

We went out to dinner Saturday night and ended the night with more outside playing.  Sunday morning Danika woke up just in time to help me make a strawberry jello pie – love baking in the kitchen with her!

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Ashton went to ride in the tractor with daddy, and the girls and I spent some time at home doing housework/blog stuff/door signs, etc.  Danika had ball practice again on Sunday afternoon, so Jayde and I spent more time at the park, played catch and went for a walk.

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Joe sent me this picture while we were at ball.  Ashton hung in pretty well, but couldn’t survive two days without a nap!

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We had a great weekend and are ready to tackle the upcoming crazy, busy week!  Ashton turns 4 on Thursday so we’re gearing up to celebrate his big day!

Friday Favorites

Today I am linking up with Erika, Narci & Andrea to share my Friday Favorites.  Here we go:

One

We had a fun Easter weekend.  Saturday we had a family Easter and the weather was amazing.  We got all of the kids together for a picture at the park before the day was over.  

Sunday we were able to spend the day at home.  The kids slept in a bit and then they found their Easter baskets and hunted eggs around the house.

We spent the rest of the day doing outside work since the weather was amazing!  We got the cars cleaned out, got the camper out, cleaned and ready for the season and did a little yard work.  We rarely have a day at home, so we took full advantage!

Two

Another favorite for this week is that Danika picked out her 4H pigs over the weekend.  She’s been so excited to show pigs this year, but I was a little worried when she got into the pen of pigs that she would freak out.  She and Jayde were both really into it (Jayde even more so than Danika which surprised us all!).  We ended up with 4 pigs that we will get in a couple of weeks.  Stay tuned to see how this project goes….I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about this!

Three

I’ve tried all sorts of workouts over the past few years including Jillian Michaels and 21 Day Fix DVD’s, Jazzercise, etc.  I joined Beachbody on Demand back in February and it’s been amazing being able to workout at home each morning and having a ton of various workouts to choose from.   They often run specials (when I signed up it was an all access pass for $99/year).  This gives me access to any Beachbody workout (there are a ton!) whenever I want, wherever I want. I like the variety and the fact that I can choose a workout that is 10 minutes or an hour depending on how much time I have.  It’s my favorite way to workout – in my house, on my own time frame!

Four

My final favorite this week is my Yeti Tumbler.  I literally have this thing with me everywhere I go!  I love that I can fill it up before work in the morning and my water stays cold (with ice!) all morning.  I sometimes use it for hot chocolate and it stays warm forever.  As the weather warms up, this will be great to take boating, camping, etc. because my drinks will stay cold even when its 100 degrees outside.  If you need a good gift idea for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, etc. this is a great one!

Have a great weekend!

5 Tips to Save Your Sanity as a Parent

I’m sure I’m not the only mom out there that feels like a constant circus act.  I’m guilty of not saying “no” enough and often get caught feeling like I’m a headless chicken running aimlessly trying to get the kids to their activities, getting everyone out the door to school and work on time (without forgetting show & tell, class snack duty, theme day at school, lunch money, activity sign up sheets, homework assignments, and the list goes on and on). It seems like a revolving door of obligations, with no clear end in sight….I’m actually certain as my kids get older, these obligations will only multiply. So, how do we handle it without feeling like we’re not going to end up in the nut house? I’ve compiled my best tips that I’ve implemented to keep our family of 5 running as smoothly as possible (and miraculously on time, most days!):

1) Find A Calendar System That Works –  I still use a planner book (love my Erin Condren planner!) because I need to be able to see things on paper. However, my husband doesn’t ever see this and we need to be able to communicate all of our activities so we both know what’s going on day-to-day. We found a free app, Cozi Calendar, to be lifesaver for us.

We can each add items from our phones, can choose the family member that the calendar item applies to, and either of us can look at it as needed and have the most up-to-date schedule. We use the free version, which does have pop up ads from time to time, but there is also a premium version you can pay for to avoid the ads.  Another bonus with this app is that it’s got a grocery list included. Anyone in the family can add to the list. This is perfect for those times when you happen to be at the store but can’t remember what might have been written on your grocery list at home.  Or when you’re out and about somewhere and remember something you need to add to your list.  This app has been a lifesaver for our busy family!

The other calendar (yes, we have several!) that we use regularly is this large dry erase calendar that we have on the side of our refrigerator. This is good for us as we walk by it anytime we come or go from the house. We update it every week our schedule along with our menu for the week.

2) Meal Plan – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say that meal planning is key. I never really thought that it would save that much time/money, but we finally gave it a whirl about a year ago. All I can say is LIFE SAVER! A simple 15 minutes of meal planning and making a grocery list on Sunday (I go grocery shopping for the week on Monday’s) saves us so much time/hassle throughout the week. We typically look at our schedule for the week, figure out which nights we’ll have limited time for dinner prep and plan meals accordingly. Not having to go back and forth for 20 minutes each day with the husband and kids as to what we’re having for dinner each night is worth it’s weight in gold. Now, my husband starts dinner since he’s home 30 minutes before me, so by the time I get home dinner is nearly ready. Since we know what’s on the menu, we typically get the meat out ahead of time so it’s thawed and ready to use. Meal planning has saved us money as well, since I just buy the groceries I need for the week rather than guessing at what we might use. I’m telling you, take my advice and meal plan! If we didn’t, we’d be eating fast food 4-5 nights a week just due to our crazy schedules! I created my own grocery list that helps me not miss anything as I got through the store because it’s grouped in sections.  Here’s a copy you’re welcome to use – Grocery List

3) Do As Much As Possible At Night –  Mornings are crazy, right? Getting everyone out the door without a major meltdown (even from my 8 year old) each day is a miracle.  My goal is to eliminate as many things as possible the night before so that our morning runs as smoothly as it can. This means homework is always done before bedtime, clothes for the next day are picked out, and backpacks are packed with all papers, permission slips, show & tell, etc. My kids are not happy morning people (unless of course it’s a Saturday, in which case they’ll be up chirping happily before 6:30 am – why?) so we try to make our mornings as pleasant as they can be by having as much done as possible ahead of time.

4) Car-Pool With Other Parents –  Unless you’re a mom with super powers (I haven’t figured out how to get those yet), you can’t be four places at once. When you have multiple kids in multiple activities, you need to rely on your mom-squad to help you out. Find a neighbor or friend that you can car-pool with to your child’s activities and it will take some of the load off of your plate. The time spent in the car traveling to and from practices and other activities can kill hours of the day. Find another parent to help out and cut that time in half.

5) Avoid Overplanning – Okay, so maybe this tip was added because I need to remind myself of this one! Don’t overcommit yourself or your kids, or you’ll regret it. I’m guilty of this!  Sometimes you just have to know when to say no.  Kids need time to be kids and a little down time is good for the soul anyway!  Plan in some time for your family – whether it’s one evening a week or a few hours on the weekend.  Time goes so fast and soon our littles will be out of the house.  That extra activity isn’t really that important, is it?

Tell me – have you tried any of these tips and do they work for you? Do you have any other great tips to get us through the crazy called life? Comment below – I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!