Five On Friday!

I am so excited to be doing this weeks Five On Friday from my parent's home in SC!  While it isn't hot and beachy here in January, it is still a nice break from home.  So, YAY for long weekends where the kids get tons of attention from grandparents :)

{Man I can't wait to come back in the summer}

1.  This week Matthew has spent a total of ZERO hours at school.  Yes we got some snow, and yea it has been cold, but it amazes me how quick the school are to cancel where we live.  Today he was supposed to have a two hour delay, but we have had this trip planned for awhile so....yep, no school this week.  


2.  I had to become pretty creative when trying to occupy the kids in the house all week long.  I thought sleeping in and laying around being lazy was a good idea, but no.... not for them.  The biggest hit was my masterpiece tent.  {hint: using a fitted sheet along a couch or even over chairs is a great idea!}



3.  This week was all about toy organization.  I showed off my playroom, craft spot, and busy boxes.  I *may* have our dress up clothes and bedroom toys up today too, but with traveling I'm just not sure!

4.  I feel like I have really hit a groove with my blog, and while it is really exciting, and I LOVE it, I am also finding myself looking up ways to get more views, how to get people to subscribe.... all the things I used to sweat I didn't care about.  Of course you want people to read, but I don't want to become consumed by it.  Any other bloggers go through this?  How do you find the balance of wanting to grow, but also nor letting it take over?  

5.  Lastly, I have been working really hard at compiling a list of my favorite blogs, to put in a tab on my header, and also listing out Link Parties for each day of the week.  I would LOVE if you would comment your blog if you host a Link Party so it can be added to the list.  I am trying to put together a post AND make the Tab live next week at some time!  




Ok, I am off to enjoy the weekend here is the not warm, but also not cold SC.  Hope y'all (that's what they say down here, right!) have a great weekend!



{This photo is from August 2013 here in SC, Joshua was just 7 Months Old}


Busy Box Organization



These Fun Preschool Learning Boxes are a must in our home.  I have 5 storage containers I use, and I switch out the contents of the box periodically.  There are a few ways to go about assembling the boxes.  

1.  Specific types of toys/activities in each box.
2.  Mix it up.  Label the boxes by day and in each box include a variety of toys.

To see what is currently in our boxes watch the video below.  If you want to see each time we change them out, let me know, and I will update and film more when we switch.  Below I am also going to link to a number of products/items that work well in busy boxes.






When picking busy box items I try to keep a few things in mind.

1.  I want the toys to be independent.
2.  I want the toys to not make a mess.
3.  I want the toys to not have batteries or make a lot of noise.
4.  I want the kids to like them!
5.  I usually try to mix in some homemade things as well, which I didn't do this time.  I will sometimes add egg cartons with craft pom poms to use for sorting, or beads with pipe cleaners for stringing.


Also remember I am making these for my 4 and 6 year old.  If you have smaller children keep in mind that some cubes, beads, and other learning materials can be small and a choking hazard.  

Playroom Organization

I am SO excited to finally be sharing an updated look into our playroom.  I have done a blog post awhile ago showing what it looked like, but a lot has changed.


Be sure to watch the video to see the entire room.


Products We Love:

**This Post Contains Affiliate Links**


First Sleepover



As kids get bigger, they go through less of those "firsts".  For Joshua it seems like he is doing something for the first time everyday, but for Matthew, not so much.  

This weekend, he experienced his first sleepover.  He was so excited, his friend was so excited.  I was a nervous wreck.  Luckily the other boy's mom is a really good friend of mine, so that made me feel much better.  

Lilly was a mess that evening, we realized that in her entire life, she has never spent a night away from her big brother, they have stayed without us, but never without each other.  She cried, and moped around.  It was so sweet.

I am happy to report that he made it through the night, there was no driving in the middle of the night, or crying phone calls.  He was mad when it was time to go home.  He was the first out of the 5 boys to go to sleep and the last to wake up. 

The best part.... the next day I had all 3 kids napping at the same time.  Matthew doesn't nap anymore, but he snuggled up on the couch with me, and we all slept.  

Craft Supply Organization

This entire week on my YouTube Channel I will be sharing all the ways we organize toys in our house.  Today I am starting with the organization of all our craft supplies.  We keep about half of our supplies right in our dining room, since that is where the kids prefer to color, do homework, and I prefer to paint, glue and complete bigger projects.  I think the is a very functional way of storing supplies, where it is neat and put away, but also very accessible to the kids.



I have also included links to some of the products seem in the video to make them easier to find if you are interested!  If you have any other questions just let me know, I am happy to help.


Melissa & Doug Boy Stamp Set
Melissa & Doug Wooden Girl Stamp Set
Colored Pencils
Markers
PIP SQUEAKS MARKERS {short markers shown in boxes- We LOVE these}

If anyone is interested in the workbooks we use, I can do another video and post on those, just let me know if that is something you would want :)





Coming up this week is our playroom tour, dress up clothes organization, busy box organization, and our toy rotation system.

**This post contains affiliate links**

{Recipe} English Muffin Pizza



When It comes to toddler lunches I look for 4 things, it's quick to make, the kids like it, it's a balanced meal, and easy clean up.


I LOVE making these English Muffin Pizzas.  They are so simple, and the perfect quick at home lunch to make.





Ingredients:

1. English Muffins.  I use the Thomas Whole Grain ones.
2.  Pizza Sauce.
3.  Mozzarella Cheese.
4.  Additional Toppings.  This could be pepperoni, peppers, onion.  Anything your child wants.


All I do is simple toast the muffins in the toaster, spread on the sauce, cheese and toppings, and place in the oven on a low broil until the cheese is melted.  Done!

This is also a great meal that your child could help make.  

This particular day I served the pizza with some carrots, strawberries and a few pretzels.  


Hope Your Little Ones Enjoy!!

Life As A Mom Of Three

So it has been a year as me being a mom of three.  I have learned so much in the past year.  I somehow come across so many people with 2 kids debating whether to try for a third or not.  For us there was such a big time period where we weren't sure whether to have another baby or be done after Lilly.  When Lilly was almost 3 we decided to try and  see how it goes.  We have never had problems getting pregnant.  And sure enough about a month after making the decision, we found out we were pregnant.

I never in a million years would have imagined the difference between having 2 kids to having 3.  While I know if we wouldn't of had Joshua my heart would have always ached for 1 more baby, the transition has made me a bit frazzled.  I no longer have it all together.  I actually am now late for things, I forget things, I say no to helping with things, because I am simply too busy.  Is Joshua worth it, absolutely 100%, that question is so laughable.  Would my life be different with just two kids, easier, less hectic.... well, yes.  I would have 9 hours a week right now to myself without any kids.  In the fall I would have both children in school all day.  I would have no bottles in the house, diapers would be a thing of the past, there would be no nighttime wake-ups.

Every season of life is a just that, a season, it will come and before I know it, it will be gone.  I would do anything to go back and relive the newborn days with all three of my babies.  Those are some of my happiest times in my life.

When people ask my opinion on having a third or sticking with two, I usually tell them that with three there is never a moment where someone other than yourself needs something.  Attention, food, cleaning, driven somewhere, you name it.  But seeing all three of my kids snuggled together, playing, or reading just melts my heart.  You will always wonder if you don't have another, but if you have another, you will never regret it.

I may never be 15 minutes early for every appointment again, supreme room mom, or be able to workout at the gym 5 mornings a week, but I have a full house.  Full of love, laughter, and....well, kids!



{Recipe} Hashbrown Casserole


This is a family favorite side dish.  I recently made it on New Years Day along with our traditional Pork and Sauerkraut meal.  I love how it is a simple put it together and into the oven, there isn't any prep work, and is so easy.

Ingredients:

2lb Package of Frozen Hash Browns
1 Small Chopped Onion
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Pint of Sour Cream
3/4 Stick of Butter
8 oz. Grated Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Prep:

Mix all ingredients; put in a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour.  Top with corn flakes.

Enjoy!

Meal Planning For Busy Moms



Today I am so excited to finally share my new Meal Planning book.  First I want to give a big shout out to Home Made by Carmona for the inspiration and wonderful printables.  It is so great when a printable is able to be edited.  You can really transform it to work for you.  

I decided I no longer wanted my meal planner in my home management binder, but in it's own book.   When I found these printables I had the idea to print them out and laminate the pages.  I took them to my local office supply store to have them laminated and also had them spiral bind them.  It turned out perfect.  

I love having a master menu idea section, where all my meals are right in front of me.  There is also room to add more as I try new recipes or transition into more "summertime" meals.


The actual space to menu plan works really well for me.  I have enough space to plan out all 3 meals plus side dishes.  It gives me a good start on knowing what exactly I will need from the store to complete every meal.


Meal planning is something I have done for so long, but I also think it can become boring and redundant, so changing it up every so often really works for me.  I love how I can take this on the go, and literally meal plan from anywhere, because everything I need is right in the book.

Be sure to check out my YouTube video to see more!