Mar 20, 2017

Workin It Wednesdays: Balancing Work and Home Life

Linking up with Erika and Shay


This is a perfect topic for me right now. In fact, I just recently had a melt down about this very subject!

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Here's a little back story....When Brad and I married, I was a nursing assistant, I LOVED that job.  It will probably always be my favorite job.  When Rachel was born, I worked until she was almost a year and then decided to stay home and do daycare.  I quickly learned that staying home is HARD and staying home and doing daycare was HARDER!!

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I did daycare for 11 years, and as hard as it was, it really was the best decision for our family.  I loved being able to do the preschool stuff, crafts, celebrating any and all holidays, etc.  I do wonder how that affected my kids, because lets be real, at the end of the day I was freaking exhausted and crabby!

When Alayna started 1st grade, I decided to hang the daycare hat.  11 years was enough for me.  I found a great office job that was only 3 days/week 10 minutes from our house.  It was the perfect job to transition away from being home!  I worked there for 4 years and loved it.  Just this past August I accepted a position at a different job only 10 minutes from our house and love it!  The only downside is that it is a fulltime gig.

So that's where my struggle is.  I feel like I still need to do all the things I did when I was home, but I'm quickly learning that I just can't.  For me, it feels like I'm failing at being a mom and I need to transition my head away from that.

With volleyball tourneys almost every weekend, I tend to feel even more crazy, haha!  So here is what I do to try and keep my sanity:

MEAL PLAN!!  Seriously.  it doesn't take a huge amount of time, but it will save your sanity.  I wrote a post here  about how I do it.  We don't always stick to the meal plan 100%, but just having some things prepped and ready to go is a time saver.

If I know our weekend is going to be super crazy, I will so one load of laundry everyday to keep up with it.  I am lucky that I work 10 minutes from home, so I can put a load in before work and switch and fold when I come home for lunch.

My girls are 16, 13 and 10, they are MORE than capable of helping.  I will leave them notes of things they need to do like clean out and fill up dishwasher, fold laundry, clean bathrooms, etc.  Helps me out so much!

I am also an early riser, I am usually up by 4:30-500.  This is MY time.  I do my daily devotions and read blogs/do a blog post.  I need this time with Jesus and coffee to get my day going!

I also enjoy working out and this one is crucial for me.  With our basement in shambles right now, we had packed up my treadmill.  Brad helped me set it back up and I ran yesterday for the first time in 2 months and it felt glorious!  I need that for my mental health.

So, those are a few things I do to keep me sane, I can't wait to read what everyone else has done!!















Mar 16, 2017

Friday Favorites-Rachel's Birthday Edition

Linking up with Andrea, Narci and Erika 

I'm pretty sure I say this every week, but it seriously feels like yesterday was Monday, and here we are at Friday already!!

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Our sweet oldest had her 16th birthday on Tuesday, you can read all about her here.  We went out for supper on Monday night since she had volleyball practice on Tuesday.  Normally we would have let her skip practice, but they are playing in national qualifiers this weekend, so ya know, kinda important.

Her birthday morning the girls and I were up super early to decorate.  Her fave colors right now are gold, black and blush.  I had pretty much all those colored decorations already, so the only thing we bought was the Happy Birthday sign.


Rachel requested donuts for breakfast, so Alayna plopped 16 candles on it and we sang happy birthday!


This was my favorite part of her day, Emma and Alayna made up the "16 Things We Love About You", it was hilarious!! I mean, look at number 8, the best, haha!!! (side not, I am LOVING Emma's calligraphy writing)


Emma and Alayna were on spring break all week, but Rachel still had school.  Emma made her a birthday cake but wasn't sure she would eat it since she had given up sweets for lent, so she made her a granola bar cake, Rachel loved it! 



After volleyball we all enjoyed birthday cake! (Their cousin William was over for the night too)


Of course the highlight of her week was when she passed her driving test on Wednesday.  Heaven help me.

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Seriously, I knew it would be a change, but it is SO hard to watch her drive off and know that you no longer have control.  Ugh. On the bright side, I met some friends for happy hour last night and she dropped me off and picked me back up, woot!  Even though I only had a couple drinks, there's no reason to drive if shes available!

This weekend is a bit nutso.  Alayna has a volleyball tournament on Saturday about an hour from here, and Rachel is in a tournament about 4 hours the opposite direction.  We won't make Rachel's Saturday tournament, but depending on how they do, we'll see about Sunday.   I'm tired already.

Mar 14, 2017

Sweet 16

Today my beautiful oldest baby turns 16.  Oh my hell, where in the world does the time go??  Tomorrow she will take her drivers test, which means another part of me she won't need.  You know what the hardest part of watching your kids grow up is?  When they don't need you anymore.  I know she will always need her mama (I still do!), but it's so hard to watch them become so independent.  

Since she has volleyball practice tonight, we decided to go out for supper last night.  We went to Fuji's and ate at the Hibachi grill.  It was Matt's first time and it was fun to see him experience it!


She was royally embarrassed when they came out singing with dessert.  They even made her stand up, HA!


We are so very proud of the young woman she is becoming.  Rachel is very confident, outgoing, and not afraid to ask questions, in any situation.  She is very much a "take me as I am" kind of girl, which I love.  Not sure what Matt's thoughts are of that, haha!



She is a first born child all the way, a leader, bossy, organized and isn't much of a procrastinator.  She likes things a certain way (I think she gets that part from her dad) and isn't afraid to fight for what she wants.


It's been so fun watching her grow up and seeing how much her personality is the same from baby on!  I was put on bedrest at 28 weeks from pre term labor, but that little scheister decided to hold off coming out until I was almost 39 weeks!  Stubborn already!


Rachel, we LOVE you immensely and are so excited to continue watching you grow up!  Never, ever underestimate the power of you, and as Grandma Donna would say, "go out there and kick some ass!"

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Mar 9, 2017

Friday Favorites

Another Friday and another Friday Favorites with Erika, Narci and Andrea!





This week has been a bit crazy, as Brad got hit with a stomach bug on Monday afternoon.  I'm writing this post on Thursday morning, and he still isn't 100%.  In the 22 years that we have been together, I have never seen him this sick.  We aren't entirely sure it isn't food poisoning, but I am praying he starts feeling better.  Yesterday he was finally able to eat some solids, poor guy.

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I have been diffusing oils like a mad woman, Thieves and Purification mostly.  I bought some glass bottles off of Amazon a few weeks ago to make my own room sprays, and they have worked awesome!  I made Lavender sprays for each of our bedrooms, and the girls have all said they feel like they sleep better (us too!), and I also made a few Thieves sprays which has come in very handy with the sickness we've had.


I'm not even sure that I have talked much about essential oils on here, but I've been using them for almost 20 years.  It kind of makes me laugh that it's so popular now, because a lot of people 20 years ago thought I was crazy, ha!  I've always used Young Living  oils and love them.  Everyone has their own preferences, and this is the brand I've loved.  I got introduced to them at a nursing home that I used to work at.  It was a nursing home for a local monastery in our town and we used oils to help with healing and with calming the sisters.  Many times when I use specific oils I think back to my time there, such wonderful memories!   I used to be a distributor, but got lazy and didn't order for awhile, now my girlfriend orders for me.

I'm still happy to day that I've still been on my game with meal planning!  We had this Ham and Potato Chowder last night and everyone loved it!  ( I do not, and never will have photography skills, just sayin...)



We also enjoyed burgers on the grill and pigs in a blanket... who doesn't love pigs in a blanket??!!  Our version is a hot dog with cheese wrapped in a crescent roll.  SO good!

One of my favorites this week is the little electric "wood burning stove" my dad brought down for us last weekend.  I had asked him to send a picture of theirs because we wanted to get one for the basement and he said we could have theirs since they are getting a pellet stove.  WIN!  I put it in the dining room for now next to my chair and absolutely love having it on while I'm cooking.  You can have it on with or without the heat.  I might miss it when it goes downstairs, ha!



Another favorite this week is skin care products.  It's an obsession I have always had.  In high school I couldn't wait to get my allowance and browse the skin care isles at our local Ben Franklin store.  Usually my advice came from my Sassy magazine (anyone else remember that magazine??  )  And pretty much whatever they said was true, haha!

I love trying new products, but still have my faves that I stick with and will never change.  Now that I'm in my 40's (ugh, did I just say "in"?  I still feel like I'm in my 30's...) I am definitely more interested in age fighting products.  Not that I want to look younger, but more that I want to take the best care of my skin.

Growing up, my mom always used Oil of Olay lotion and I remember that she always washed her face before bed.  Unfortunately I wasn't a follower, and didn't start washing my face at night until I was in my mid 20's.  Now I don't EVER skip a night of washing my face. 

Here are some of my fave beauty products that I've been using lately.  Shay recommended the Clinique overnight moisture mask, so I decided to order the sample size to make sure I liked it.  I LOVED it!  My skin has been much drier than normal this winter, and this worked perfect for my skin!

My next fave is the Mary Kay Timewise Repair Revealing Radiance Facial Peel.  I am a huge Mary Kay fan, most of my skincare is their Timewise line and I swear by their foundation and loose powder.  I seriously love their stuff!  This facial peel is awesome, you apply a thin layer, leave on for 10 minutes and wash off.  I have a couple sun spots that have started to show up, and they are diminishing since using this!

The last one are these self tanner pads for your face.  Another one that Shay recommended on her blog.  They work awesome and are so easy to apply!  I started using them after we got back from Mexico, since my face mostly stayed out of the sun.  I use one application and it last about 5 days.



Hope you all have an amazing weekend!!

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Mar 6, 2017

The Weekend

It was another crazy busy weekend!  Rachel and Alayna both had volleyball tournaments, and Emma had her one act school play.

Friday night was nice and low key.  Brad fried up some fish for supper, nothing like good ole crappies!  Rachel's boyfriend Matt came over for the fish fry and some card playing after.  They all played Carbels, and I enjoyed meal planning and watching "The Help".


Saturday morning we were at the gym bright and early for Alayna's first volleyball tournament.  They played SO good!  We were really impressed at how well they played together, they ended up placing 2nd in the bronze division!!


Our favorite part was watching how much energy Alayna had on the court, she was also cheering her team on, dancing around and just having fun!  She might be a peanut, but she packs a punch!


Saturday night Emma had her first play performance, we loved it!  It is amazing how much talent there is in middle school!  The play was called "Paranormal High School" and Emma was Dr. Cordelia who was a professor.  She is such a natural up on stage it KILLS me!

For the record, it totally cracks me up when Brad and I do the same things, unprompted!!




Sunday Brad went to Rachel's tournament in the cities while I stayed home with the other two as Emma had another performance. 

I was up bright early (5 am) to get Rachel's lunch and snacks ready, we were in charge of bringing snacks.  I made my homemade granola bars and we also brought cheese sticks and Gatorades.  After they left, I enjoyed my quiet time!  I have a couple devotionals that I do every morning, and I also found a podcast from a church we used to attend, so I listened to one of those, I so miss that church...

I also discovered Fitnessblender.com, they have hundreds of different types of workouts, and I try to do one of the 10 minutes ones in the mornings.  Feels so good to (slowly) get back into workouts.  I cannot wait until my craft/treadmill room is done so I can get back into running.

Favorite Kid Parties

Today I am linking up with Andrea for Show and Tell Tuesday!



This month's prompt is favorite kid parties and I am STOKED for this one!  I love, love, love planning parties.  I love every aspect of planning a party, coming up with a theme, finding decor (on the cheap!) and making the food.  I've been working full time outside of the home now for almost 5 years, and I will say that my party planning has taken a slide, I just don't have the time to Pinterest like a mad woman, but I still love to put a party together!

I think it's so fun to come up with a theme and then see what I can pull for decorations with what we already have.  My fave place to order decor is from Oriental Trading Company.  It's super cheap, and I can get a lot of stuff!  Now, I have a huge box downstairs that I keep all decor from birthdays past that I can pull from.  I love that I don't need to spend a lot of money and my girls are always so excited to see what I've come up with!

Here are some of my faves, unfortunately I don't have all their birthdays on the blog, sad.  But it was so fun to look back at the ones that I did blog about!!

I loved making their cakes every year, I'm definitely no professional cake maker, but I sure have fun!

Alayna's 4th birthday:



Alayna's 5th birthday:



Alayna's 8th birthday



Emma's 6th birthday



Emma's 7th birthday



Emma's 10th birthday



Emma's 11th birthday


Emma's 12th birthday



Rachel's 8th birthday



Rachel's 10th birthday



Rachel's 11th birthday



Rachel's 13th birthday



Rachel's 12th birthday



Besides birthdays, I love having any reason to entertain!  Back in the day, we use to do a gourmet club with 4 of our closest couples.  Once every 3 months we would each take a turn hosting and planning the menu, the host would give out the recipes to the others and we would all get together and try yummy foods that we might not normally make.  We did this for a couple years and then one couple moved away and one couple got divorced.  I will always treasure these memories we had together cooking and drinking wine...

I had a girls only gourmet club evening that was all chocolate themed.  We had:

Pepper Crusted Tenderloin Steaks with Shallots, Port and Chocolate
Chorizo-Chocolate Tapas
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Tiramisu Dessert

Even though the meal was a bit of a disappointment, it was still so much fun!  I had found a bunch of different sized cruet bottles at a garage sale and decided to make each of the girls a body scrub.  I love adding little things like that to parties.




One thing I have learned is that you don't need to spend a ton of money, or spend hours making everything.  The last thing I want is to be super stressed about how things look, the kids really could care less!  Just putting some thought into it, you can create something beautiful you're kids will always remember!

Mar 1, 2017

Life Lately

Well, we're full on back to reality after our amazing trip to Mexico, *sigh*.....
Work has been CRAZY for both Brad and I, and a part of me feels bad for the girls as we are spent by the end of the day.  But then I remember that we just took them to Mexico and I'm all better, haha!!

The Tuesday after we got back we all had off, and I was SO glad we did that!  We got all 10 loads of laundry done and I got some cooking in.  It's funny because I was so freaking excited to have somebody else cook for me, but by the time we got back, I couldn't wait to get back into the kitchen!

One of my favorite meals in Mexico was a wild mushroom risotto that was amazing!  I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com.  It was very good, but still not close to the one in Mexico, the search continues!


The weekend before we left for Mexico, Alayna had tried out for a club volleyball (the same one Rachel is in, but a short season team) and was so excited to find out she made a team!  Especially sweet was that 2 of her best friends made the same team.


She's such a peanut, but can play really well!



I'm sharing more pics of our trip, these ones came off of Brad's phone.

My beautiful diva, love her poses!!  And seriously, can we talk about those legs??!?!?!?!













It already feels like it's been forever since we went....

Between volleyball, work, school and finishing our basement, we're spent!  I will post some pics later this week on the basement progress, it's all coming along beautifully!  I cannot WAIT for it to be done though.

Have a great week!