County Fair 2017

We survived our first county fair with kids in 4-H!  It was a ton of fun, and we were all exhausted by the end of the weekend.  We took the pigs to the fair and checked in Wednesday morning.  Danika and her friend Gracie did a Favorite Foods Day project which they presented Wednesday morning.  They did a great job and got purple ribbons – we were really proud of them!

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The girls and I helped with food judging on Wednesday afternoon and we checked in pigs Wednesday evening and then hung out and camped until the pig show on Friday morning.  The girls both did a great job showing their pigs, especially since it was a first for both of them.  Jayde showed in Clover Kids, which meant she didn’t actually compete against anyone, but she did did very well.  Danika ended up with 2 purple ribbons and 2 blue ribbons for her pigs, which was really good for her first year!

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Both girls had friends that also showed pigs, so that made it extra fun!

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Danika had a couple of friends spend the night with us Friday and Ashton got to have a sleepover at his cousins house.  We spent quite a bit of time checking out the fair (mostly the kid barn petting the animals!) and the kids spent most of Saturday afternoon on the rides.

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Sunday afternoon we did a family monster truck ride!

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The girls and I rode through the parade on our church float, and then we spent a bit of time with friends and family.  Ashton wouldn’t cooperate for a picture at all…silly kid!

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We went out for pizza with some friends and then headed to load up projects and animals.  We were happy to call it a weekend, but sad the fair is over!  We’re already looking forward to next year!

5 on Friday

Instead of Friday Favorites today, I decided to do 5 on Friday….or rather “5 Thoughts Floating Around in my Head!”  I’m mentally (and physically) drained this week and feel like getting some thoughts out of my head might help me regroup…so I’m sorry if none of my post interests you today:)  It’s more for my sanity!

One

We’re only one week in to summer vacation at school, and I’m already questioning whether I made the right decision with summer daycare.  We typically have a high school girl come in and watch the kids at our house in the summer, but this year we decided to leave Ashton at the daycare he’s been going to and send the girls to the YMCA summer fun club.  Both of these are great programs and the kids love it there, but it kills me to get my kids out of bed every morning earlier than they have to for school so we can leave the house by 7:20 am….isn’t it supposed to be “summer vacation”?!?  I’m sure all working parents have been saying this for years, but this is the first summer it’s really affected us (in years past I’ve worked from home or only a couple days a week so summer schedule was always really lax).  Dealing with the wrath of my children at 6:30 am when they don’t get to bed until late because of summer commitments (ball, 4H pigs, etc) does not rank high on my fun meter!  I’m hoping we fall into a better routine as the summer goes on (at least I keep telling myself it will get easier, because it can’t get much more painful at my house this week)!

Two

As I said, this are just random thoughts in my head.  I’ve been struggling with youth sports as of late, and really don’t know how it will all pan out.  I’ve encouraged Danika to play all sports available to her, because I think it’s good for kids to learn to play in a team atmosphere and take direction from someone other than parents.  This spring I will be the first to admit that I overcommitted her to the point of frustration for all of us.  She was so busy that she would have melt downs every night because she didn’t have any time to be a kid and I felt horrible about it.  I’ve promised her that I will not ever make her play a sport if she’s not 100% on board in the future.  She wanted to sign up for softball but we’re hitting the point where she’s not 100% committed so practices are a struggle….I don’t want her to quit because that’s not teaching her that she needs to follow through with her decisions.  I’m putting this in writing so when it comes time to sign up for fall sports, I can go back to this post and remind myself that I will not force her into anything!! 🙂

Three

I’m super excited that camping season is finally here (see this post for some great camping recipes)!  We’re hoping to camp most of the weekend and I cannot wait to just relax…it’s nice being out at the campground and enjoying the outdoors, and then I don’t see all of the to do lists that keep growing at home!  It’s fun family time, and the kids always look forward to it.  Camping is one of my very favorite things about summer!

Four

Danika has her dance recital this weekend and I always look forward to seeing her dance…she really enjoys dance and will be sad when this year is over.  I’m not sure if she’ll continue to dance next year or not, but regardless am so glad that she has found something she’s good at and that she loves doing.

Five

I really want to sit down with the kids and write a summer to do list.  I think it would be fun to have a list of things they actually want to do this summer.  I envision this being both simple things (eat ice cream for supper, movie night, catch fireflies) and also items that require more planning (go on a camping trip to XYZ campground, have a play date with a friend, etc).  Letting all 3 kids have a say in our summer plans and also putting them in writing will help us accomplish at least most of the items on their summer fun list.  I’ll try to get that done in the next week or so and share it!

 

If any of you have any insight on summer daycare, youth sports, etc. I’d love to hear your feedback.  I’m on the struggle bus this week and need to reset as we go into June so that we can enjoy our summer…we need to find a happy balance of free time and commitments!  Enjoy your long weekend – I know we will!

 

Friday Favorites

Today, I’m linking up with Erika, Narci & Andrea to bring you my Friday Favorites.  I have no life altering products to share this week, but rather a compilation of some of my FAVORITE moments this week!

One

A friend sent an extra Kiwi Crate craft project she received in the mail from her son home with me last weekend.  My girls absolutely loved putting it together (it came with all supplies and instructions on how to assemble).  They spent a couple hours working on it and needed no help from me (extra bonus!).  Their end result was awesome and they had so much fun working together on the project. (For some reason I can’t get the picture from this fun project to load on my computer, so you’ll just have to imagine how wonderful it is:)

 

Two

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On Monday, the girls had track and field day at school.  Joe’s mom was able to come up and spend the day there, and since I was working she offered to take Ashton with her.  The girls were so happy they were there and I was happy to receive the pictures and videos throughout the day!  Win, win for everyone!

Three

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We had some rain on Wednesday throughout the day, so softball practice was cancelled for the night…we were all happy because that meant we actually got to be home with no plans for one night this week (this meant the girls were glued to their iPads since they don’t usually have time during the week to play on them)!

We’re going to attempt our first camping trip for the year this weekend…hopefully all goes well!

 

 

 

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!!

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!