8.28.2014

I Wonder

The kids got bored this summer. While we all enjoyed the slower pace, I think they missed the structured learning activities from preschool and parents' day out. One day in the car, my little lady (who recently turned 5) started asking questions about different topics. A series of random, seemingly unrelated questions.

1) How are stickers made? 
2) What does the swamp look like? 
3) How does the mail man know where the mail goes? 
4) Do airplanes take gas like cars? 

Sometimes my brain works like this too. A series of fragmented, unrelated thoughts. 

So after some googling after the kids went to bed, I sat down with her at the computer the next day during quiet time for some fun learning. With snacks. (This is one of those fun parenting moments. I can't wait until they're old enough to watch Jurassic Park with me.) 

1) How are stickers made?
Thanks, How It's Made, for this show on stickers. Pretty cool.

2) What does the swamp look like?
I found this lovely video on the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

3) How does the mail man know where the mail goes?
This was a trickier. Some of the videos were too boring, but I found this one that proves to be interesting and even fun. Skip ahead to 3:15 and put your hands up!

4) Do airplanes take gas like cars?
A fairly boring video but at least it answered her question with proof. Sometimes mama's word isn't good enough. 5 going on 15...

And then just for fun we watched an ice skating video. Because who doesn't like ice skating?

When you get to learn about the world through the eyes of a kid, it's magical if you can take a minute to enjoy it.

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I discovered this site a while ago. Lots of kid-friendly learning fun. A good one to ask your husband to show the kids while you go upstairs and clean something (or read or just sit in the quiet for a few minutes).

How do you entertain your kids' curiosity? 

8.26.2014

August Stitch Fix

Happy early Birthday to me!


My latest Stitch Fix arrived on Friday. I requested a fix for fall and specifically requested jeans. I've done one previous fix-- in April-- and then I specifically requested items for our Vegas trip and date nights. In that fix, I got a shirt, a leopard cardigan, two dresses, and a pair of cropped jeans. Kept it all.

If you don't know much about Stitch Fix, it's amazing! You fill out a style profile (measurements, colors/materials you absolutely won't wear, price ranges) so that your stylist can better select pieces for you. You select groups of outfits that you like best so they have a better feel for your tastes and you can also link a Pinterest board to your account. You can specifically request items (like jeans or a dress for a wedding). The styling fee is $20 and is applied to whatever you choose to keep from your fix. They send you a box with your items and you have three days to return items in a prepaid USPS mailer. When you checkout on your account, you can leave feedback for your stylist regarding each piece and the fit.


On to this fix. I must admit that I cheated and peaked at my Stitch Fix account when I got the shipment email to see what the pieces looked like.

(Excuse the headless photos. It was a no makeup, no fixed hair Sunday. I changed out of a nightgown to try on these clothes and take pics, and then put the nightgown right back on... winning!)


Breydon Twisted Seams Polka Dot Sweater in Black from Kensie. I got a large and it's enormous! Luckily, I was able to email Stitch Fix and they are exchanging the large for a medium. It is pretty sheer so I'll have to wear a tank or cami underneath, but it's different and will look great with a fun necklace. It was my least favorite piece, but it turned out to be cheaper to keep it than to send it back with the discount for buying all of it. (When you buy all five pieces, you get a 25% discount.)


Priya Abstract Print Knit-Back Tank in Navy from Pixley. This is one of my favorite pieces from this fix. I love the colors and it is so comfortable. A little big on the arm holes but I thought I'd just wear a navy bra-- problem solved. I'll pair it with a nice cardigan for cooler days and it will be a great pop of color. 


Breyson Split-Neck Tab-Sleeve Knit Top from Market and Spruce. LOVE the coral color and the fit! It is so soft and hangs nicely. Flattering and colorful. 


Corinna Striped Dolman Top in Light Green from Market and Spruce. When I first saw it in the box, I was "meh", but once I put it on, I loved it. Super comfortable. 

The jeans in all of the photos above are the ones from this fix, Freida Skinny Jeans from Mavi. High waistline for holding in that extra bit of mommy fluff. Super skinny but not uncomfortable. They almost feel like thicker yoga pants-- tight but stretchy. And socially accepted in public. 

I have really been pleased with Stitch Fix. If you'd like to try it, use my referral link so I can get some more discounted clothes. New clothes that fit make me a happy gal! 

(*This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

8.21.2014

Adaptable

I was thinking last night about the most important parenting skill or trait, and I arrived at adaptability. This was after the kids had a wild time in the tub, after my girl accidentally swallowed her mouth rinse, after my son put his (clean and newly-pajama'd) knee in the toilet. That my husband had just used. Luckily what was in there was sterile, but still, YUCK. All of this and I had to keep my cool and move from one task to the next quickly.

Adaptable. Able to change or be changed in order to fit or work better in some situation or for some purpose. 

Being an adaptable parent doesn't mean being a pushover. It just means that you can roll with the punches and keep moving forward.

You can watch a kid fall face first, with no real attempt to catch herself, on a brick floor and not flinch when you pick her up and her face is covered in blood. You're not sure if teeth are missing but you're staying calm and trying to calm her down and clean her up and not let her see her messy bloody face.

You can go into the hospital with a birthing plan that involves absolutely no drugs and end up with an elephant's dose of pitocin and an unplanned c-section. After 23 hours. And you know what? We were both healthy and that is all that mattered. And even when there was a problem, it turned out in the end that it wasn't that bad.

You can watch your husband's guts explode less than a month later and shuttle back and forth from home with your nursing newborn to your husband's hospital bed in the ICU. And you know what? We all luckily amazingly survived, and we eventually became stronger because of it.

You don't give up on hope when things don't go as planned.

You can butt heads with your kids and how they behave, or you can realize that your two children are VERY different and change the way you treat them to make a more peaceful home for everyone.

Adaptable.

You don't freak out when it gets scary and you don't quit when it gets hard.

You change your attitude
and your actions
and your reactions
and your expectations
to make it work. 

8.19.2014

Organization: Managing Mornings with Kids

Internal dialogue before 2 pm yesterday, my girl's first day of school: What on earth was I thinking getting back into blogging NOW? It's been a long day and it's not over yet. 9 am carline, errands with my sweet boy, 12 pm carline, home for lunch, 1:30 nap for sweet boy, 4:15 dance class (why did I schedule anything for Monday?), home for dinner (which I have to make so we can eat)... eat dinner, clean up dinner, kids to bed... Whew.

The only way to manage the chaos is to be organized. I'm good at planning and I'm fairly good at execution-- with the assistance of my little friends, caffeine and chocolate.

Five tips for an organized before-school morning 

1) Clean up the night before. (I do this 20% of the time. Goals, people.) If you're anything like me, you're physically exhausted by the end of the day. I'm moving most of the day, cleaning, picking up toys, going up and down the stairs half a million times. By the time the kids are all cozy in their beds, I am DONE.

But I'm trying to be better about picking up before we go to bed. Load the dishwasher, clear the sink, wipe the counters. I try to think of it as minimizing chaos for myself in the morning by setting the stage for breakfast and final school preparations.

2) Use a planner or some other calendar (like the one on your phone or Google Calendar) and record every school date as soon as you get notice of it. (My Type A self is all over this one.) Then you can toss the original sheet and cut down on all of the paper that comes from school. Or if you're slightly OCD like me, you can keep it just in case you wrote down the wrong date or time, and store it in your home management binder.


3) Wake up early. (Really bad at this one, I'd rather stay up until 3 am than get up at 6.) I know it doesn't sound fun, especially if you're a night owl like I am, but it really does help. Yesterday morning, I was showered and dressed, had a little time to myself, and had everything ready before I woke up the kids. Such a game changer.

4) Plan meals and lunches ahead of time. (I don't like to stress about food so I do this nearly 100% of the time.) I always pack snacks and lunches the night before and just toss the bag in the fridge. The real trick is to remember to put it in the backpack before you leave.


As I'm eating breakfast each morning, I figure out what we're having for dinner and check to make sure I have the ingredients. I start thawing meat or other items in the fridge as necessary. Adding that to my morning routine definitely reduces stress at 4 pm when everyone is starting to get hungry. I used to plan meals out monthly, but that got to be too much for me. This method works better for our family.  

5) Lay out clothes for the week. (100% for this week! Bonus points for me!) If this is too much for you, do it at least every night for the next day. No more "where are my pants? I can't find any clean socks!" at 7:30 am. I can check the weather on my phone and then select outfits based on the forecast. Anyone remember when you actually had to dial a phone number, most likely on a rotary phone, to hear the time and temperature? I'm dating myself...


I have enjoyed not stressing about clothes for my little lady this week, so I made a printable for you too. You can print and laminate or just glue/tape to cardboard and then slip it over the hanger. So easy and all of my daughter's clothes are ready to go each morning. Next week's plan: let her choose them. I see lots of mixing of prints and clashing colors in the future, like only a 5 year old can do.


How do you organize to minimize school day stress?