Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Monday, friends!! Can you believe it…my SECOND post for May?! I told you I would get better :-)

Now that my finals are done and my grades have been submitted, my summer break has officially begun!! The kids still have a couple more weeks, but they will be out before we know it. This weekend is Memorial Weekend and we will be heading out in the old camper for some fun in the sun. I am so ready to get this summer started!!!!

In case some of you don't follow along with our shop blog, we have been trying to do a monthly Organization series. So far we have tackled budget planning, office and workspace organization, spring cleaning and more! This month, we are focusing on getting organized for summer and I am sharing my review of 100 Days of Summertime by my friend Jennnifer Tankersley. I am also showcasing some of the fun new planner sets we are offering in the shop, as well as a great summer FREEBIE!! I am including the post below.

Enjoy and I will see you all soon with my March-May in a Nutshell post!

*****************************************************
Post from ThePolkaDotPosie

After the winter we've had, I didn't think summer would ever arrive. But here we are…a week away from Memorial Day!!

To most, Memorial Day is the official kick-off to summer. For us, Memorial Day is the official kick-off to CAMPING SEASON!! And party season. And beach season. And enjoying-every-minute-of-sunshine season.

I feel like summer breaks get shorter and shorter every year. It doesn't help that my kids have several snow days to make up too. We already have a list a mile long of summer activities, camping trips, parties and cookouts and I just know this summer is going to fly by.

So before all of the summer chaos begins, and before the kids are out of school, I think it's time to...


I know, I know…Summer is about RELAXING! Taking it easy, being spontaneous, throwing our schedules and routines out the door. Trust me…I can't wait to turn off our alarm clocks and take a break from school pick-up lines and homework. But at the same time, I'm a planner. I like having things in order (or at least as close to "order" as I can get). I want to be organized for our camping trips and the parties/cookouts we plan to host. I also want to keep up with meal planning and household chores and projects. I also need to keep the kid's summer activities straight and still schedule time for all the fun little things we want to do together.

Luckily…I have a bunch of GREAT tools and resources to help us get organized for the summer craziness. 

First up…a book to add to your summer reading list :)



For the last few years, I have had the privilege of reviewing all of the books in the 100 Days series by Jennifer Tankersley. Her newest book, 100 Days of Summertime, begins THIS SUNDAY and is packed full of fabulous inspiration, motivational tasks and activities, printables and more! Here is a little excerpt from the book:


What I have always loved about these books is the way that Jennifer not only helps you manage the chaos of summer (or the holidays), but also reminds you to slow down and enjoy the season. It's great to spend your break organizing your home and preparing for the school year ahead (which this books helps you do), but don't forget to celebrate the little summer holidays like National Ice Cream Day and create new traditions with your family, like Olympics Day in your own backyard.

And speaking of your backyard, don't forget that June 28th is the Great American Backyard Campout! I had no idea this was actually a "holiday" until I read this book last summer. Camping holds a special place in my heart…it's been one of the greatest bonding experiences for our family and we have already made some of the best memories together. If you haven't ever taken your kids camping…make this one of your summer goals. Whether you stay at a national park or pitch a tent in your own backyard…I promise it will be one of the highlights of your summer {Special Camping Post Coming Soon!}. 

100 Days of Summertime comes with 34 different lists and planning pages, including monthly calendars. And if you aren't a paper person, the ListPlanIt app will help you keep all of your lists right on your smartphone!

Now, since I have no idea what it means to NOT be a paper person, here are a few of our NEW printables planners!!

This first one is our Happy Camper Planner, NEW in the shop this month! It comes in Large (8.5 x 11) and Small (5.5. x 8.5).


And for all of your summer party planning needs, here is our new Party & Events Planner! This set also comes in Large (8.5 x 11) and Small (5.5 x 8.5).


The beginning of 100 Days to Summertime is all about getting your summer schedule in order. Deciding when you will travel and what parties and holidays you plan to host are important details. But what about your days at home with your kids? We all know how loooooooong some days can be when everyone is "bored" and looking for something to do.

Last summer, when I was struggling to come up with something fun to do with not only my two kids, but also my niece and nephew, I followed Jennifer's plan from 100 Days and set up a Day Camp at home! I planned out different weekly themes like "Ocean Week" and "Space Week" and then every Tuesday, we would have Day Camp!

The Internet and your local library are the BEST resources for setting up your own Day Camp. Our library already had themed "Vacation Bags" filled with books and a DVD. I also found some fantastic websites that have FREE printable worksheets, games and activities for a variety of different themes and grade levels. My three favorites are RoyalBaloo...

Jump In to Learning Ocean Theme - Week 2   A summer learning program for toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.


Printables Packs from 1plus1plus1equals1


Having one day a week to spend on "school practice" made such a huge difference for us, and the kids really looked forward to each new theme (and so did I). It did take some prep each week to get the activities together, but having it planned out in advance made things run a lot smoother.

In fact, I found that planning out our entire week each Sunday night was helpful for all of us. The kids and I would talk about what we wanted to do that week, what camps or activities we had scheduled, and then I would decide what errands and to dos I needed to accomplish. Lately I have been doing the same type of weekly planning and it has been working out well. I currently use the Working Mom Weekly Docket that we have available in our shop, but I decided to make a fun, summer-themed weekly docket as this month's FREEBIE!!!


{You can download this fun freebie in 3 sizes HERE}

I realize that 5 paragraphs ago I said that I understood that summer was about RELAXING, and yet all I have done is talk about planners and schedules and day camp :-) I know I am not alone in this, right? Maybe what all of us type-A planners need to do is set some goals that do NOT include organizing. I'll go first. Here are my Five R&R goals for summer:

1. READ MORE BOOKS.

2. GARDEN (and by garden I mean grow a tomato plant).

3. GO FOR MORE WALKS.

4. GO TO BED EARLIER

5. UNPLUG (at least a few hours every day).

So…once all of your summer planning and organizing is done, what will your Five R&R goals for summer be?

100 Days of Summertime ends with a quote from Henry Rollins…

We know that in September,
we will wander through the
warm winds of summer's wreckage.
We will welcome summer's ghost.

We wait so long for summer…and it's gone in a blink of an eye. Above all else this year, be sure to enjoy every moment with your friends and family. Read good books, eat ice cream for dinner, swing in a hammock, cook some s'mores over a fire, and make lots and LOTS of memories :)

HAPPY SUMMER 

{Purchase your digital copy of 100 Days of Summertime HERE}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Sacrifices We Make

When I first started this blog almost 6 years ago, I didn't let a day go by without a fun little update about our family. Hence the name A Daily Dose of Davis. I was busy navigating my way through the first year of motherhood and I loved being able to hop on this blog at night and talk about the day we had. It was a way for me to journal those long, sleep-deprived days that went by far to quickly. I cherish each and every one of those posts and look back on them all the time. I am so happy I have those memories…my words from a time in my life when I thought things couldn't get crazier or more wonderful.

These last 6 years have gone by so fast and I have not only watched my children grow on this blog…but also myself. When I quit my job to stay home with my babies in 2008, I didn't exactly know what I was getting myself into. But what I did know is that I would never regret one moment home with them. These last 6 years I have been present for every milestone, for every cold or sniffle, for every boo boo, for every field trip, for every Mother's Day tea, for every dance practice or library story time. I got to spend my days at the park, playing in the backyard, taking trips to the zoo, going on playdates, napping on the couch, having picnics, playing baby dolls or Ninja Turtles. The three of us got to spend our days together…and that is something I did not take for granted.

Obviously, some days at home were hard. Like…bang your head against the wall repeatedly, hard. Some days just the melody of the "Hot Dog" song from Mickey Mouse clubhouse would set me over the edge. I remember calling Eric's phone, even though I knew I would get his voicemail, just so I could leave a fake message and he could hear the kids screaming and crying in the background. I wanted him to feel my misery those days. 

But every time I had a bad day and complained about it to someone with order children, they would beg me to slow down and enjoy it. They would tell me to take the hard days with the good and remember that they are only little for a short time. Before I know it, they will be in school and activities and have friends that are way more important that their silly old mom. And I will be wishing I could have these days back.

And I feel like I am already there. 

Our lives and our schedules have changed so much this year and I feel like I've watched the kids grow before my very eyes. A few weeks ago, we had a garage sale and sold the last of our baby items. As I watched a mom push away my last stroller I got big tears in my eyes. It happened again at Target a week later when I realized that Blake is on the last size in the Toddler section. Soon both my babies will be in the big kid section and I am just not ready to accept that! It's all happening so fast and I can't make it slow down.

But at the same time, I don't want to go back to diapers and 3am feedings. I LOVE the ages my kids are right now. I think 4 and 6 are magic numbers.


Right now, I am Addie's best friend and Blake's favorite girl. The two of them want to be with me all the time, but still like to have their independence to play with friends and enjoy school and activities. They still want to cuddle and kiss me goodnight and best of all…they never so much as leave the room without telling me they love me.


Eric and I have this very small window of time where these two want to be everywhere we are and I am trying so hard to take advantage of that. It's why we have a camper. It's why we've booked our next trip to Disney. It's why I save all of my shop and school work for after bedtime. It's why I've never put them in daycare. It's why I never turn down a volunteer opportunity at their schools. It's even why I have sacrificed this blog over the last year, and especially over the last two months. There simply aren't enough hours in a day to do and be everything I want. At this stage in life, where my kids need me, I can't give 100% to anything other then them. I can't give 100% to my career. I can't give 100% to my friends. I can't give 100% to Eric. And I especially can't give 100% to myself. Sacrifices have to be made sometimes and I have to choose where and how I spend my time. 

Some day it won't be like that. My kids won't need 100% of me and I'll be able to do all the things I simply can't find time for right now. And I will probably be sad about it. 

At first. Ha! 

So please forgive me friends…for being so absent around here lately. This blog was not an easy thing to sacrifice. I missed writing so very much and even though I won't be able to post as frequently as I used to, I feel I need to make this space a bigger priority again. Sharing pics on Facebook and Instagram is great and all…but I want stories to look back on. I want my words and my thoughts at this stage in life too. The kids make me laugh on a daily basis with their funny little attitudes and personalities and I want to remember them this way.

So after final exams are over this evening and I get all of my gardening done this week, I am going to attempt a little March-May in a Nutshell post to get things back up to speed. Stay tuned, my friends :-)

P.S. Nicole…thank you for encouraging me to post today. It's because of you that I finally sat down to write…and I am so happy I did :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

February in a Nutshell & the Month to Come!

If I could sum up February in one word, it would be 

SNOW! 

And if I could add 5 more words to that, it would be 

COLD AS A MOTHER *&^%$#!

I'd be preaching to the choir right now if I went on and on about how over winter I am. The whole country is over winter right now. I mean, except for these two.



But they are missing camping and the beach…and SO ARE WE!!!!


At least we have been making the most of this miserable month and keeping busy :-)

I tried to think of the best way to organize this enormous catch-up post and I thought I would just update all of you the way I update my friends and family that I don't get to talk to very often. So here goes…

"How are the kids?"

Addie and Blake are awesome. BUSY…but awesome. They are both doing great in school, which is something I could not be prouder of. Addie is READING, which blows my mind, and Blake, although he can't cut a straight line to save his life…is becoming so much more social and adjusted away from me. He has never cried one time going to preschool this whole year, and he BEGS me to take him to the library. It's his favorite place on earth, besides the Skylanders isle at Target. Blake also took his first ice-skating lesson this winter and did really well.


Addie also took skating again this winter and loved every second of it. She is still dancing away in Ballet/Tap and is preparing for her 4th recital this June!


Our third child, the furry one, is also doing great. Howard turned 9 years old this winter and is as spunky as ever. He may have two artificial knees and the bladder of a 90-year-old man…but that hasn't slowed him down one bit.


And speaking of old men…

"How's the family?"

February and March are the biggest birthday months for us. Aunt Meagan and Uncle Ryan had birthdays in early February and Daddy-O turned the big 6-0 at the end of the month!!! We had a joint celebration for them and we spent most of the time playing in the snow. Well, at least the "kids" did.


My mom will also be turning 60 this year so we are planning a huge Par-Tay for the both of them this summer :-)

The March birthdays are up next. Addie will go first when she turns 6 {cue the tears} this Friday. She is having a Frozen themed sleepover for 5 friends and I think I may be as excited as she is. LOTS of fun planned. But Addie also got an early birthday gift when we went to American Girl a few weeks ago. We had a fancy lunch at the cafe and Aunt Dana gave Addie her birthday gift early and got her Isabelle!!


These girls are so spoiled :-)


After Addie, we have Audrey's birthday {she turns 6 as well} and then Uncle Adam will turn the big 3-0 on the 20th. And finally, our little Nolan will be 5-years-old on the 24th!!! And then sometime in the middle of all this birthday fun, BABY BOY MUELLER WILL BE BORN!! I'm so excited!!!

"How's Life?"

Life is just straight crazy these days, but in the most wonderful way possible. We are healthy, the kids are thriving in school, Eric and I are excelling in our careers and we have a beautiful house to keep us warm through this craptastic winter.

But if you read my last post, you know I am struggling a bit to find balance in this crazy wonderful life. I am trying to find a way to make time for myself in the middle of all the other roles I play and responsibilities I have. I want to give everything and everyone 100%…but we all know it just doesn't work that way. So you have to pick and choose and learn to prioritize. I know now that making time for me is good and it needs to happen more often so that I don't TOTALLY lose my mind.


Too late :-)

But once the Spring is here, and we can escape for weekends in our camper, all will be balanced and right with the world.


"What's the latest project?"

Like always, I have 2,356 projects started and not a single one finished. The shop has been taking the majority of my time and I've got lots of projects in the works for that, including a total blog makeover.

But at home, we have a few things we are hoping to do this year. Our house needs some fresh paint, for starters, and we are FINALLY getting new carpet in the bedrooms. That is a long time coming…like 7 years coming. I am so pumped!!!

And although I have no rooms to redecorate or re-design this year, I am still on a mission to de-clutter and make things simpler around here. LOTS of organizational projects to accomplish. And to kick off this mission, I will be starting my 40 Bags/40 Days challenge again tomorrow and I will be posting about that on the shop blog {so be sure to stop by}. 

Well thanks for stopping by today, friends! I appreciate all of you who stick with me even though this blog isn't what it used to be. Some day I'll get my groove back. 

But until then…I have a Frozen party to plan!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Month

That is the longest I have ever gone without posting in the almost 6 years I've blogged at A Daily Dose of Davis. I know this blog has taken a backseat to everything else in my life for a while…but a MONTH?! With NOTHING?!

And blogging isn't the only thing that I haven't made time for in the last month. I've also not been out for a good run.  I've not been to a yoga class. I've not had dinner and drinks with my girlfriends. And honestly, I've not had ANY free time whatsoever to myself. My nails are chipped, I have a stack of unread magazines on my nightstand and I can't remember the last time I was in bed before 11:00. 

I know it may sound like complaining {and maybe it is a little} but I am incredibly grateful for the circumstances that have kept me from all of these things. I am getting to live a life that I always dreamed of. I get to stay home with my kiddies during the day and volunteer at their school and be a room-mom for all of their little parties. I get to work as an English teacher at a college that I love and am proud to be a part of. I get to run a little Etsy business that is actually not-so-little anymore. My days are spent running back and forth to school, dance, library, iceskating, etc. and when the day is finally over and the babes are nestled all snug in their beds, I spend some quality time with Eric until he goes to bed and then I burn the midnight oil grading papers or filling orders for the shop.

Life is good right now and I thank God every day for it.

But…

This mama is tired.

The other night, after  I got home from teaching, I plopped my big butt  down on the couch and let out a huge sigh. Class had gone great that night, but I knew I had at least an hours worth of work left to do in my office. Eric looked at me and said, "Babe…you are burning the candle at both ends."

Normally, I get defensive when he says things like this. I like to think of myself as a master multi-tasker but at this particular moment…I knew he was right. Something has to give. But the big question is…what?

Now I know I am not the only Mom who feels this way…pulled in 50 directions a day, taking care of everyone but herself. And the funniest part about all this is that when I look back on some of my posts from 5 years ago, when Addie was just a baby and I was a full-time Stay-at-home-mom…I thought my life couldn't get any crazier. All the nursing and diaper changing and sleep training and tummy time and feeding schedules and house cleaning and cooking and baby food making…AH! I remember feeling so overwhelmed and like I had no time for myself. 

And now, I look back on those days when there was still a nap time. When we didn't have 20 places to go every day. When we stayed in our jammies 80% of the time. And I think…how could I have thought life was so crazy then? And the answer is…I didn't know any different! Every stage of motherhood is challenging for it's own reasons, which is why we should NEVER judge another mother and think we have it harder than she does. We all look for this balance and I think most of us fail miserably at it. But that doesn't mean we should ever stop trying.

I was having coffee with my Grams the other day and she said something so perfect to me. She said,

"Honey…being a mommy is hard work and I know you are busy. But if you don't make time for yourself and the things that make you happy, you will never be the mommy you want to be."

And this is coming from a woman who raised three girls all by herself. She not only had to work more than one job to support them and keep a roof over their head, but she also had to put meals on the table, help with homework, give baths at night, etc. She had to do everything for her family and she STILL knew how important it was to make time for herself.

And my mom has told me the same thing. She was a stay-at-home-mommy to three crazy kids and my dad worked a lot of long hours. She said her only "me time" was when she could sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning before we got up, or when she could work in her sewing room at night after we went to bed. But those moments were important for her sanity so even though her days were incredibly busy, and her to-do list was a mile long, she still made the time for herself, even if it was just for a few minutes.

And maybe that is where I keep going wrong. I only think about the big gestures of "me time" like spa days and weekends away with our hubby or friends, and forget about how important the little breaks are too.

One of my friends pinned this really cute picture the other day and it got me thinking…


What are some of the little things I love to do that make me smile and de-stress? It was such a fun question…I had to write them down.

Go for a run.
Read a magazine.
Drink a cup of coffee.
Paint my nails.
Play with my planner.
Make a craft.
Do some yoga.
Talk on the phone.
Blog :-)
Drink a glass of wine.
Eat some of the chocolate I have hidden in my desk.
Walk around Barnes & Noble.
Have my hair done.
Look at cookbooks {but not actually cook}
Do something nice for someone.

Turns out there are a lot of little things I love to do for "me" and they don't require a lot of time or money. All I have to do is simply MAKE THE TIME!!!!

So who else wants to work on making some time with me? What is on your list? What makes you smile and de-stress? For some strange reason…I feel like writing them down has made me want to try harder. So for starters…let's see if I can blog again before another month passes :-)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Surviving Winter

Today I received my first, "Are you alive? You haven't blogged in FOREVER," texts. I knew it was coming…it has been almost 10 days since my last post and even though I said I was going to be so much better about posting, 2014 isn't off to a great start. Ha! But I swear I have so many good excuses.

For starters, I have been working hard on my Jillian Michael's DVD challenge and trying my damnedest to get back into my groove with running.


After all, one of my biggest resolutions this was year was:


But when your hubby leaves you home alone with the kids for 7 days while he hunts, it's hard to worry less and run more. I was basically just in survival mode that whole week, praying that none of us got this nasty flu that is going around. I must say…the three of us did pretty well! But, we also had help from our families. If I would have known how many dinner invites the kids and I would get, I would have sent Eric hunting for two weeks :-)

But in all seriousness, it was nice to have him home this weekend. The kids were missing him like crazy and so was I. Also, I was DYING to go for a run and get in just one uninterrupted workout. I finally got my wish on Sunday and it felt SO GOOD…even on the treadmill. Then Jillian kicked my abs.


In addition to trying to work out and get back into fighting shape, I've also been working hard to do some organizing!!! I've got Spring Cleaning Fever a little early, but it will take me at least that long to get through my project list. I basically want to redo every cabinet, drawer, closet and BINDER in my house.

But one thing that I really wanted to start from the beginning this year was a Budget Planner {which I posted about here on our shop blog}.


Last year I tried so hard to follow a budget with some software I purchased online but by March…I was already over it and back to my half-ass ways of tracking expenses. But this year I wanted to do so much better and I knew I needed to move to a paper and pencil system. I have only been using this binder for a few weeks but I have to say, I am loving it!!!

As I said above, my project list is about a mile long at this point, but I am excited to tackle each one and share them with all of you!! In fact, it is going to be a new segment on our shop blog!!

Photo: Did you know that ThePolkaDotPosie has a blog? We have BIG things planned for www.thepolkadotposie.com in 2014 and we hope you will all follow along :)

My mom and I have so many exciting things in the works…I hope you will all follow along :-)

So speaking of my shop…it turns out that once you become a part of the "Planner Biz," you can kiss your January goodbye. Ha! It seems that everyone is in organization/planner mode and my shop has been on fire. Words cannot express how truly grateful I am for all the incredible feedback I have received about my planner pages. Creating these and having people love them the way I do is just a freaking dream come true!! I could cry. Seriously. It's been such a fantastic start to the year…I only hope and pray it continues :-)

So…when I am not squeezing in Jillian Michael's workouts or making planner pages, I've just been spending lots of quality time with the fam and trying desperately to survive winter.


Winter has been pretty rough this year. We got all the beautiful snow we wished for {and then some} but it's been too cold to enjoy it. We've had lots of movie nights by the fire, lots of Wii marathons and more Lego building and crafting than I can even process. We are all struggling with cabin fever a bit, but it is nice to be back to school and in a routine.

So now we wait for good old Punxsutawney Phil. That furry little shit better not see a shadow :-)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Surviving ChiBeria & Getting Back in the Groove



The first week of 2014 is barely behind us and we've already survived a kiddie New Years Eve party, an Arctic Vortex that turned ChiTown into ChiBeria, and the first day back to school after a very loooooong winter break. It's been a crazy week and getting back to normal with school and schedules today felt SO GOOD!! But that's not to say that I didn't enjoy our time off because I truly did.

As crazy as our New Year's Eve was entertaining 5 kids for a sleepover, it was a blast. We popped balloons on the hour, we chowed on snacks and drank sparkling grape juice {that no one liked} and played Skylanders until our hands were ready to fall off. The kids did their countdown at 9:00 and were asleep before 10. They said it was the best NYE party ever :-)


After New Years was over, we knew our days of playdates and staying in our jammies till noon were numbered.  So we filled our calendar with as many last minute get togethers as we could. 

Addie and I got to have a girls date with our buddies Kennedy and Linsey :-)


And my cousins Jill, Krissy and Diane were able to get the kids together for another play date and do some celebrating!!!! This little mimosa cheers right here was for my cousin Diane, who had just told us that she is PREGNANT!!!!!! Diane and Bill adopted their little Christmas Miracle, Logan, two years ago and this pregnancy was a LONG awaited surprise. I couldn't be more happy for them :-)


And because a morning was just not enough time with her bestie Gracie, Addie begged me to let her stay for the day and do some snowmobiling. I mean really…how could I resist those smiles?


This little snowmobile got a LOT of use that day and it's a good thing too because the Arctic Vortex was just around the corner.


The day after this picture was taken, we got another foot of snow. It was a beautiful snow…and the perfect opportunity to stay in our jammies and wind down after a crazy busy holiday. We played games, did crafts and sat by the fire.

Photo: Just got the call...school is closed tomorrow AND Tuesday due to snow and sub-zero temps. Looks like two more days of crafts, Skylanders and HEAVY coffee/wine drinking ❄️⛄️

And then the storm rolled in and temperatures dropped to about -50 below. Social media went crazy with some of the most hilarious hashtags I've seen.

Photo: 835 PM: Latest graphic update on #ChiBeria!

Highlights:
***Steady light/moderate to locally heavy snow tonight into Sunday gradually shifting southeastward***
***Blizzard conditions possible in east central Illinois and northwest Indiana later Sunday***
***Life threatening, record challenging #coldoutbreak Sunday evening through early Tuesday***

Check out the graphic for more details and go to http://www.weather.gov/chicago for specific information for your area.

Keep helping us spread the word about the dangerous winter weather for our area by liking or SHARING this graphic with all your family and friends. Stay safe!

Photo

As you can imagine, we did not leave the house for a few days. School was called off for Monday AND Tuesday this week…and for good reason. It was straight up miserable out there! Today's temperature of 10 degrees felt like Spring. And when it get's back into the 30s around here in a few days, we are going to be breaking out the t-shirts.

The only benefit to being stuck in the house for a few days is finally having the chance to get some things done. I decided to join in on a 30-Day Jillian Michael's DVD Challenge and I am happy to say that I have been getting ALL of my workouts in!!


I've also been SUPER busy in our shop! It's clear that all the other Organization Junkies out there like me are busy putting together their 2014 planners and I've got some great new printables to help! We launched both a Budget Planner and a Health & Fitness Planner at ThePolkaDotPosie{Printables} this week and I am SO excited to start using them myself :-)



2014 is off to a GREAT start and I can only hope and pray that it continues :-)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Set Goals, Be More Organized & Establish Healthy Habits in 2014

As sad as I am that the Christmas season is over, I am always so anxious for the start of a new year. I love setting new goals and making new resolutions. I love looking at a fresh new calendar and dreaming of all the memories that will be made in the coming year. I love organizing and freshening up my home after all of Christmas is taken down and packed away. But most of all…I love that a new year means a clean slate. The past is the past…and the future looks bright :-)

I can feel that New Year motivation kicking in, too. I am ready to tackle some new goals and organize every square inch of my house. But before I go emptying every closet and have to dig my way out, I need a plan of attack. I need lists, people!! And cleaning charts! And a meal planner! And budget sheets!! Lucky for you…I've found some awesome resources that we can all use!

First up, you need to grab a copy of my friend Jennifer Tankersley's book 100 Days to a New Year



This year's edition is packed full of inspiration and daily tasks that will help you set new goals and establish healthy habits all year long. The book also comes with 75 lists and planning pages that are editable!! First up…a yearly To Do list :-) 

What I love most about this book is it takes you beyond just organizing your home. The daily tasks will help you organize your finances and help you work towards a debt-free year, it will help you plan for travel and family vacations in the year ahead, it will help prepare for Spring and all the holidays in-between…I could go on and on about this book, but I think it's more fun if you just get yourself a copy and follow along with me. You can pick up a copy HERE. Also, be sure to like the 100 Days of a New Year Facebook page to get involved in the community :-)

After reading the book and compiling all your lists, you will also want a FABULOUS planner or Home Management binder to put them in, right? RIGHT! So that's where ThePolkaDotPosie comes in!!

If you haven't been by our Printables shop in a while, be sure to stop by and check out all of the FUNctional planner sets we have to offer right now! They come in two styles and THREE different sizes that are sure to fit almost any planner, cover or binder. This is our newest design that actually comes with 4 different weekly options (two of which include meal planning for those of you making that resolution this year).


We also have some fun new accessories for your planner, like these great calendar stickers!


And there is a LOT MORE to come in 2014, including some add-on kits for budgeting, party planning, and more!!

***

Now if you are like me, your Christmas tree will still be sparkling as you ring in the New Year tonight. I know my decorations need to come down ASAP, but I want to put them away NEATLY this year. The jumbled mess of lights and decor I found in bins this year was sad. I need to donate so many things I don't put up anymore and I need to package the things I do want to keep neatly and safely. I just saw today that I Heart Organizing did a whole Christmas-pack-away post today with some great ideas!! Check it out HERE:


So once your planners and binders are all set up and our Christmas decor is tucked away until next year, it's time to get to work on your home! Here is a fantastic cleaning schedule from Clean Mama to get you started in the month of January.



Be sure to check out her blog, she has some amazing free printables to help you with your home.

Well I hope this helps all of you as much as it is helping me! I would love to spend my NYE playing with my planner and reading organization blogs, but I have to entertain 4 VERY excited kiddies :-)

Wishing you all a healthy, HAPPY 2014!!!!!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Christmas in a Nutshell

There are moments during the holidays when I say that I wish there weren't SO many obligations. Parties, programs, dinners, Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating…there isn't a moment to sit down some days and just enjoy the season.

But then I try to remember just how lucky we are to have friends and family to celebrate the holidays with!! And really…what would Christmas be without all those traditions? This year may have been crazy for us, but we were able to celebrate with all of our friends and family and that made all the craziness worth it :-) So here's a little look at our Christmas, in a nutshell.

The last few days of school before Christmas break were pretty exciting for the kids. Addie had her first Christmas Shopping Days experience, a Winter party and Pajama Reading Day. Blake also had his first Christmas school party and his FIRST CHRISTMAS PROGRAM!!

I'm not gonna lie…I was pretty nervous that this little dude was totally going to freak out on stage. He had been practicing his songs for weeks and he told me that morning that he was excited for us to come watch him.


And he was right…Blake walked out on that stage like a boss and hammed it up for the audience the whole time.


He sang every song and knew every word and motion. Watching these kids on stage was hilarious. God Bless Preschool teachers everywhere :-)


And speaking of teachers…these are Blake's this year. I love them to pieces. 


Blake had a pretty great cheering section that day too. Mima came...


And Nana and Papa...


And Aunt Dana...


Addie was at school that morning so she had to miss the show, but Daddy and I cheered extra loud on her behalf :-)


I was so proud of my little buddy. He was an Angel on stage.



Once the kids were off school, we tried to fill our days with some fun activities. We ended up getting the girls together for some cookie baking.


And they had a BLAST!




And of course when we were finished, we did a little cheers to a job well done :-)





One of the things that Dana and I really wanted to do with the kids together this year was the "Christmas Lights Express" tickets. We wanted to leave them all new Christmas Jams and a ticket and then pile into the SUV together to drive around town.

Our elves dropped off this sweet little package one night...


And these 4 peanuts were beyond THRILLED!! 


We drove around for about an hour and managed to see some great houses, including one that was set to music…



and one that had a projection machine that made it look like Santa was walking around in their house. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever and were shouting out their wish lists one last time. Ha!

And speaking of the man in red, we had several visits with him this season! He surprised us at the Mueller Christmas Party…




And then again at Eric's family party!! I love this picture so much…look at Addie's dramatic reaction in the back. HA!


Santa brought the boys a new Skylander {the HUGE hit of the season}



And he brought the girls new purses. My kind of santa!!



Every other year, Meagan and Ryan travel to be with Meagan's family on Christmas eve, so this year we celebrated with them a day early. We got in lots of snuggle time...


And opened WAY too many gifts :-)


One of my favorite gifts this year was from my mom. She made us all custom aprons {notice the campers on mine? Ha!}


Oh, and she got us matching polkadot slippers :-)


The kids were spoiled rotten as always, and this little guy was happy as a clam :-)


We did manage to get our two yearly pictures.  A nice family shot...


And the goofball shot.


On Christmas Eve, these kiddies woke up ready to party.


We stayed in our jams all day and played with new toys. It was the perfect way to spend our day while Daddy worked. Then that night, we headed over to Nana and Papa's house for another celebration!

The kids were spoiled, once again...





But I think their favorite part was passing out gifts to everyone :-)


Grams was able to be there that night too, which is always special.


And Aunt Di and Uncle Adam got some snuggle time with the kiddos.


This night is always my Dad's favorite and he got into the spirit with this tie and shirt. Love this guy!!


Our Christmas doggie :-)


And of course, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a handmade Papa gift!! This year it was a gymnastics set for Addie's American Girl doll :-)


It was SO HARD getting the kids to wind down after such a fun night, but we made sure to leave Santa his cookies…


And then once the kiddies were all snug in their beds, Santa made is big debut :-)


I had the hardest time falling asleep all night because I was SO excited for the kids to wake up. Of course, of all days, they decided to sleep in. Ha! But once Blake screamed the word "SANTA" across the house, the kids were up.

Blake was on the hunt for one box…and only one box.

The Skylanders portal. I guess he made it on the nice list!!


Considering Addie had asked for another American Girl doll this year, I thought she would be most excited to see that box under the tree. But nope…she was most excited about her Elsa nightgown and the girl has LIVED in it for the last 4 days :-)


And neither kid will leave their tent. Ha!


I would call that another successful Santa visit!!!


Later that morning, it was time to head to Mima and Papa Steve's house!!




One of the things I love best about Christmas at my in-laws is that by the time we get there, a lot of the stress of the holidays is finally winding down. No more parties to go to, no more gifts to wrap…we can just sit and drink our coffee, play games and be silly :-)





And here is Papa with our creepy Furby.


As you can see from these pics, we really had the most wonderful Christmas!!!! The magic was alive this year and even though I am SO SAD it is over, I know that we have a magical 2014 ahead of us, including our next trip to DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!!!!! Let the planning begin :-)

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!!