A Big Thanks!!

I am not a big "numbers" person when it comes to my blog/social media.  I don't work with companies that are looking at pagviews or followers, y'all are not just a number to me.  If I do a giveaway or review, it is because I really do love the product and want to share it with you.  




With that said.... the past few months have been awesome.  As my baby (JD) was turning 1, I was torn at where I wanted the blog to go.  I started blogging back in 2007 on Xanga (which you can't even access anymore) to purely document my 1st pregnancy.  I "met" so many wonderful girls, some of which I still keep in touch with today.  

Ever since my blog has been simply that, our lives.  I wanted to do something more.  So I started throwing in some organization, planning, recipes.  Then I discovered the world of YouTube.  Sure I had searched on YouTube for reviews on strollers, or how to do this or that.... but I never really thought about those people making the videos.  

I started my channel last May, and WOW, I can even explain how great the past 11 months on there have been.  For those of you that don't know, my 1 year in college was spent in front and behind a camera, working in sports.  It has been something I have always wanted to do, but simply thought that since I was a housewife for life, with a hardworking husband in that field, that it would never happen.  It is a hobby/passion of mine, and I am loving it!

I recently just got my first "paycheck" from the ads that run on my blog and channel, and believe me it IS NOT about the money at all,  but it felt good.  

So thank you all so much for following along and contributing in the comments, on Instagram, Twitter.... It really means so much!

Now that said, Facebook basically sucks now and y'all won't be seeing my post on your timeline as much based on the new algorithms, or so I am told..... so please take a minute to follow in some other way.  Whether it be your favorite blog reader (I use BlogLovin) Twitter (I will get better on there, promise!), Instagram (where I will start sharing when a new post is up or video is live)  I would really appreciate it!  

 

Five On Friday!!!

Happy Weekend Everybody!!  Our weekend started out early, yesterday we made the trip to PA and we are spending time with family.  The kids are in heaven, they love their Bubby's House!  

Today I am gonna do a little Five on Friday! {They are Totally Random Today} Be sure to head over and say hi/link up with   Darci, Natasha, Christina, and April !

{One}

So I have to first say THANK YOU to everyone who was so encouraging about my very first vlog on my YT channel.  I can sit and talk in front of a camera all day, but actually sharing real life moments isn't that easy.  Good news is, I loved doing it, you all made me feel so loved, and there will be more in the future!!




{Two}

I have done some shopping over the past few weeks, and am so ready for warmer weather so these sundresses can get some wear!  I did a haul that will be up next week!


{Three}

Time with family is the best.  The kids really do love it here.  It is so relaxing and nice to enjoy time together.


{Four}

So, I bought a kikki-k.... and yea, I completely ruined my Plum Planner in the process of moving it in.  I like the planner, it shipped so quickly, but I don't like the insides...so I would have to add my own inserts.  I am planner less right now, and can't decide what to do.  I am pretty sure I am going back to my Erin Condren for now.  #crazyplannerlady



{Five}

There is still time to enter my Thirty-one Giveaway!!  I loved showing off my zip-top utility bag, and what I put inside.

HAPPY WEEKEND!!!

My Mindset As A "Work Widow"



As I lay in my bed writing this post, having just done homework with, played with, fed, bathed, and put all the kids to bed myself, I am think about the next few weeks.  I know that I will not be seeing my husband for at least 2 weeks.  In that time, we will have a weekend trip away, tball practices, quite a few meltdowns, approximately 42ish meals #ISUCKatMath, and my birthday.  I am what I have heard referred to as a "work widow".  I am also tired just thinking about all that!

Now I am not even closely trying to relate this to being a full time single parent, a real widow, or a military wife.  My husband just works a lot of hours, in a career he loves.  Early mornings, late nights, weekends, red eye flights, across the country....nothing is off limits.

I have been told I handle it so well, by many people.  While I can't say I am the perfect wife who never complains, gets angry, or wishes we had a normal 9-5 Monday-Friday schedule, I try to stay as positive as possible about our situation and life in general.

So how do I do it?

First and Foremost, I We make the most of the time we have together.  When we do get a full weekend without anything on the calendar, I try to keep it that way.  We relax, go to the park, maybe enjoy a meal out, head to church as a family.  I also use this time to refuel a bit.  I will take a morning to myself, usually at the mall, just to get some time alone.  My husband is amazing at completely focusing on the kids when he is home.  He is great at playing for hours on end, even when he probably wishes he were catching up on sleep.





I plan and prepare.  Some say I over organize, or write to many lists, but especially now with three kids, I make sure I don't double book myself when it is just me and the kids.  We just can't schedule a dance class on a day where the kids have church school.  It CAN'T happen.  I also try to limit the errands that need ran with all three kids.

 


I always am thankful.  We are so lucky to be in the position we are.  I am able to stay home, my husband is in a great position at work, and him being busy means things are going well.  There are so many who go through the struggle of loosing a job, trying to find work.  Heck, that could be us.  I am just so grateful that my husband's hard work and long hours have provided for us in so many ways.

{Matthew and Lillian "helping" at Daddy's office Fall 2010}

I remind myself that he doesn't want to be away.  My husband is working to support and provide for his family.  Yes he is career driven, and loves his job, but he doesn't want to be away from us.  He is doing it for us.  He may get fancy hotel rooms, great meals out, but he is also working his tail off, it isn't a vacation, and you know what those hotel beds don't come with, 6am snuggles, which I know he misses!

{Matt and Joshua Summer 2013}

One word, FaceTime.  This was a game changer for us.  Luckily the kids really haven't had a time that they remember without being able to chat face to face with their Dad.  Sometimes if he is on the west coast with the time change it gets a bit tricky, but being able for them to see him really helps.

Prioritizing.  When Matt is away I put my nose to the grindstone (one of my former teachers or coaches used to say that all the time).  I realize that if I don't do something then it isn't going to get done.  I really focus on doing/being my best when he is away.  It makes it easier on him, if he knows that all is well at home.



#naptime.  I have admitted before to occasionally taking a nap during the kids nap time, and when my husband is gone, this happens pretty frequently.  I don't sleep at night so well without him home, so I make up for it during nap.



I am so proud of my husband, the person, husband, and father that he is.  I know that if I were to complain all the time about our situation, it would just make everyone miserable.


31 Zip Top Utility Tote


Baseball season has arrived!  The spring is a very busy time for us, and we seem to be more on the go than usual.  I love having a bag that I can just grab and go, knowing everything I need is inside waiting.  I decided to order a Thirty-One Zip-Top Organizing Tote to fit my needs.  Lauren, my consultant, is great to work with!  She also offers great promotions and giveaways on her Facebook Group.  


This bag fits everything I need for a day at the fields.  Rain or shine, it holds everything I need.  

Inside I have:

Various Snacks
My Wallet
Diapers and Wipes
A Hoodie For Lillian
A Hoodie For Joshua
A Rain Jacket For Myself
Hat and Sunglasses For Lilly
Hat and Sunglasses For Myself
Sunscreen
Bug Spray
First Aid Kit
Water Bottles


{GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!!!!!}

Lauren is awesome and offered a great giveaway!  There will be 2 winners.   The first will win a $50 Gift Card for Thirty-one.  The second winner will receive the same bag as I have, minus the name on the front. 

Enter using Rafflecopter below.  Winners will be chosen and contacted on April 1st.  US only.


Bi-Weekly Meal Plan 3/22 - 4/4

I used to share my meal plans pretty religiously on the blog, but had gotten away from it.  I love seeing how others meal plan, and stapled meals they use in their homes, so I thought I would get back into it!  I also share my grocery hauls on my YouTube channel, so you can check out what I got from the store this shopping trip as well!



The last full week of March, how is that possible?!?!?  Obviously we are already through the weekend, and let me tell you, being able to grill again has me so excited for meal planning in the spring and summer!  I also love the easy clean up.


With baseball starting, my husband in a very busy time at work, and some other plans up in the air, I kept it pretty simple to start April, oh and my birthday!!  I am a firm believer, that no mom should have to cook on her Birthday!  

I am feeling good at the start of this week, with a nice aired out house from the warm temps this weekend, and a beautiful vase of flowers on my table, I am ready to take on this week!




Below is my 2 week grocery haul.  I shop at Target on a bi-weekly basis and then also do a monthly trip to Costco.  You can check out my channel for past grocery hauls, and subscribe to see more in the future!






How Linky Parties Can Grow Your Blog




I don't talk much about the actual business of blogging, pretty much because I have no clue how to have a successful blog, I don't blog for the money, and I know I am probably doing a million things "wrong". 

Today though, I do want to talk about Link-ups, Blog Hops, Link Parties.... whatever you want to call them.  These are a great tool for any blog to get noticed and grow your readership.  It is a free, easy way to get your posts noticed, pinned, talked about.  

Joining in on these link-ups, there are a few things to remember. 

1.  Make sure you are putting quality posts out.  No they don't have to be perfect, but if I have learned ANYTHING about blogging, it is that photos do all the talking.  Having photos on your posts will get you noticed.

2.  Pick your best posts to showcase.  I try to have 1 post a week that I really try to use for link-ups, features, and promoting.  The most popular typically are my organizing posts, recipes, printables.  Something that will help out others.  Some people love seeing/reading about my kids, but this is not the place for that.

3.  Have a "pinnable" image.  If anyone likes your ideas/crafts/recipes, they are going to want to pin it to not only remember it for later, but also to share it with their followers.  Adding an image to a post to solely act as the pinnacle image is such a good idea.  It is also a good idea (but also time consuming) to go back through and add in images to old post, you know those ones you wrote before Pinterest existed, as well.

4.  Be Kind.  As my 4 year old reminds me daily, Sharing Is Caring.  If participating in a Link-Up, be considerate and try to take the time to follow the blog, link them on your own blog, comment on the post, and share on social media.  Also visit at least a handful of the other blogs participating and comment on their posts.



I have created a new tab at the top of my blog, to show some of my favorite places to link up throughout the week.  If you have a link up you would like me to add, just email me at happilyahousewife@gmail.com and I will put it on my list.

Ultimately, the purpose of these Link-ups are to have fun and interact with other bloggers.  I hope you  can use my list as a go to when trying to find new ways to share your favorite posts.   

Small Closet Organization



It feels so refreshing going in to spring with a new looking closet.  This has been on my to-do list for a few years now.  I have done the kids closets but neglected to give mine the attention that it needed.

Adding the Ikea Alex Drawer Unit has made a gigantic difference.  I open my closet and smile, I just love it.



I have always used these Sterilite Shoe Bins to house shoes not in use.  I love how easy they are to stack.


Also making the switch to the Huggable Hangers  has also created more space in my hanging section.  I am buying them in sections, and not all at one time.  Although the cost is the same, spacing it out makes it seem like less!


Inside my Alex Drawers there are many bins and containers that hold everything in place.  I like using these, that way when makeup gets messy, you can clean the bins and not be left with a stained piece of furniture.  


Container Store Small/Medium Bins
Container Store Tray




Below is a complete look into my closet:



My biggest tips for keeping it organized:

1.  Go through your clothing/shoes/makeup often.  Donate or toss things that you know you will no longer use.
2.  If you are dealing with a small space, try only putting things in you are using at the current time.  Rotating clothing/shoes by season is a great space saver.
3.  Stack Vertically.  Now if you are shorter this may not work, I am 5.9 so I can reach pretty high.  Using stackable bins, and wire racks really works for me.
4.  Reevaluate if something isn't working.  The way I was storing my makeup WAS NOT WORKING.  Changing it up has made the biggest difference.





**This Post May Contain Affiliate Links**

My Cleaning Routine

While I am great at being clutter free and organizing, one thing I struggle with is cleaning.  Staying on a schedule with my cleaning tasks is so difficult.  Recently I have taken the approach of doing a little bit each day will help me stay on top of things, instead of trying to cram cleaning my entire house into one day.  So below is my weekly cleaning breakdown.



Check out my cleaning routing video below!

Sorry the end of the video cut off!  But PLEASE leave me any tips for keeping up with cleaning!


Trendy Tot Tuesday - Spring Haul

It's no secret I LOVE shopping for kids clothes, so much more than for myself.  Well, Lilly is growing out of all of her current sized clothing, so when spring decides to arrive I need to be ready.  Here are some of my purchases for the spring.

Kohls Girls Spring


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Target Dress

Target Dress



H&M


1 / 2 / 3


gap


1 / 2 / 3


gymboree

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

As for the boys, Joshua gets mostly hand me down's from Matthew.  Matthew wears a uniform for school, and other than that just wears athletic clothing.  Shopping for Lilly is definitely my favorite, so that is usually what I like to share.


Below is my haul of most of the products seen above!



As the weather gets nicer I will probably start sharing more of #whatlillywore on instagram and also start linking back up with Kelly for Trendy Tot Tuesday.


Finish The Sentence....

A random Saturday post, I know, it's kinda crazy!  Today I am linking up with Holly for Finish The Sentence... should be fun.  So, it goes like this, she starts the sentence and I finish.....


1.  I always pick ..... at my nails.  That is why I rarely wear nail polish.

2.  Look at the size of those .... page views/ subscribers.  I hit some milestones this past week on the blog and YT channel, and it feel awesome, so thanks to all you who read/watch!  It really means a lot!

3.  I recently learned ....  "Across, and down from Heaven, that's how you make the number 7"  Yup, my preschooler taught me that little trick :)

4.  Only when no one is looking ..... I film videos.  I cannot film for my YT channel with anyone else in the room.

5.  I lost my ...... marbles.  Hook is one of my all time favorite movies and that is the first thing I thought of.

6.  I was certain I'd ..... be a teacher when I grew up.  Maybe someday.  I would love to teach preschool when my little ones are no longer little.

7.  There is not enough liquor in the world for me to ..... fly in an airplane again.  I tried it once, but never want to do it again.

8.  I just finished ...... sneezing???  no really I did.

9. Why does everyone have to be ..... so into running.  I am just speaking as a jealous person, I wish I liked to run, I really would love to want to get up and run each day.... the motivation, just.isn't.there.

10.  It's very rare when I ...... am productive during nap time, unless sitting watching DVR'd Real Housewives counts.  It would be such a waste of quiet awesomeness to do actually work while they are sleeping.

11.  If I were a dog ..... I would sleep all day long :)

12. I don't believe ...... in housework, at least that is what you would think if you all saw my house this week.  


Hope Everyone has a great weekend!  Oh and there will most likely be another post tomorrow.... #imonarolllately #don'tgetusedtoit!