Thursday, January 30, 2020

Organization Tips for Busy Moms

A few weeks ago a friend and I were chatting about how we stay organized with all of our kids crazy schedules.  We compared what type of calendars we kept, if we were list makers, and just other general things we did to try to keep it all together without forgetting something important.  I loved hearing what she did and she loved hearing mine so I thought this might be a fun topic for a blog post.

1. Get a planner. 
I am a paper planner kind of girl. I know some people think that is just crazy and part of the dark ages, but it works for me. I have tried doing a digital calendar and I know people who have family shared calendars, but I like having a physical planner.  I like to have everything written down so I can see it in front of me, know what my week looks like, and make sure I'm not missing anything.

For at least six years I used an Erin Condren planner and it was my life. I loved the vertical daily display to keep my days organized, but eventually I found that I preferred to have something a little smaller so that I could easily keep it in my purse without it weighing a ton so this past year I bought THIS brand on Amazon.  It had the weekly display that I liked and has worked great!

2. Use an academic year planner. 
Because my family has school aged children, my brain works on the school calendar.  Of course we love celebrating the New Year every January 1st, but to me the new year starts August 1st when school begins.  I prefer a school year planner that runs July-June. That way I can have all of their sports schedules, school holidays, my PTA responsibilities, etc. written in one planner for the entire school year.

3. Write EVERYTHING down. 
I know you think you will remember things and it might be true that your daughter has soccer practices on the same day at the same time every week. BUT, it helps your brain to plan and organize your week if you see it written down. I literally write down everything in my planner...appointments, school responsibilities, kids practices, my blog due dates...everything! It might not be neat, but at least I have it all in once spot!

4. Use different colored pens.  
I don't do this as constantly as I would like, but I do try to keep things written in different colors. It helps me to easily see who has what on which days without even reading it. For example, my daughter's team color is purple, so I try to write all of her practices in purple.  

5. Keep an constant to-do list going. 
I keep a post-it note on the inside of my planner and have a constant to-do list there. Any little thing I think of that I need to do gets written down there. Once most things are crossed off that list, I copy the uncrossed items onto a new post it and will add to it.  Some things will stay on my list for weeks if I don't have time to get to them (like organizing a closet), but if it is written down it is a constant reminder and eventually I will find or make time for it!

6. Use the notes feature on your phone. 
Just because I like to write things down doesn't mean I don't use my phone at all to stay organized. I love using the notes feature on my phone. I will put things there I want to remember long term and/or have quick access to things when I'm away from home. Anytime the kids mention something they would like I add it to an ongoing list so I have gift ideas for birthdays, Christmas, etc. I keep a list of books I want to read/listen to when someone recommends them so I don't forget, I keep a list of blog post ideas, I keep our pool's address so I can remember it when we order pizza there in the summer. Just random types of things I want to have quick access to.

7. Email yourself things. 
If for some reason I don't have my planner with me I will email myself things I need to remember to do.  Most often this happens late at night when I'm getting ready for bed several things will pop in my head that I want to try to get done the next day or errands I need to run.  I'll email them to myself so when I see it the next morning I can add it to my to-do list and make sure I don't forget anything!

8. Have a family calendar displayed for everyone to see. 
I'm heading to Target this afternoon and hoping to pick up one of these chalkboard wall calendars.
I've realized that while I know what is going on, my kids are constantly asking me "What do we have today?" I feel like this would be an easy way to have their schedules displayed so they can take a look and know what our week will look like.  I'll report back after I get it and let you know how it works out!

Other Organization Tips 

*When the mail comes in the house I sort it right away. I throw away junk mail, file bills, etc.

*I do the same thing with school papers.  I'll file, sort, trash things right away. If a permission slip needs to be returned, I fill it out immediately and put it right back in their backpacks so it doesn't get lost under other papers or forgotten about.

*I keep a magnetic notepad on the side of our refrigerator for anyone to add items to.  If someone's favorite snack is gone...they write it on the list. My husband needs more coffee...he writes it on the list. I realize we are down to our last few ziplock bags while packing lunches...I write it on the list.  If I didn't do this I would constantly have my family asking why I didn't remember to get what they told me they wanted at the grocery store and it just kind of puts the responsibility on them.  If you want it, don't tell me...just write it on the list!

Do you have any great organization tips?!?  Please share them with us!!! 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Shows We Can't Stop Watching

Stop the Internet, grab your remotes, your favorite binge watching snacks, and settle in for this post. We are  chatting all about the shows we just. can't. stop. watching. 

Largely we aren't big T.V. watchers. If we do get a free moment to sit down and watch something, our T.V.'s are usually set to sports or one of the kids' shows while we snuggle and read a book next to them. Lately though, we've found ourselves tuning in a little bit more. We'd be at dinner with friends or sitting on the sidelines of our kids' sports teams, and inevitably talk of popular shows would pop up. We'd feel so lost when people would chat about Stranger Things or say "Winter is Coming".  

So, we decided when people told us to watch a few things to jump right in. Some shows we enjoyed, some we LOVED, and some we found on our own and our now our new favorites. All are watchable from apps on our phones via Prime Video, Netflix, or Apple TV. So that has helped us watch more during our normal routines. We can sneak a few minutes here or there like we do when we read or prop up our phones on the treadmill when we are doing our daily walk/run in the gym. 

Here are the ones we just can't stop watching. Also, if the good people of Amazon, Apple, and Netflix can get on making some more seasons ASAP, it would be most appreciated. 


  • Cheer (Netflix) - We both watched this Netflix docuseries following the National Champion Cheer team from Navarro College right when it came out, and just like Reese Witherspoon, JJ Watt, Chrissy Teigan, and the rest of America - we couldn't get enough!

    Carrie Beth's Review: When I learned about this new show the week before it released I downloaded Netflix to my phone, called the Mr. for our log-in and was ready to see what it was all about.  This was my first ever Netflix series and after about 5 minutes I was hooked!!!  I watched it while I was folding laundry, I watched while I was packing lunches, I watched every second I got until I could finish it.  Then I texted all of my cheer mom friends and told them to watch it, too!  I mentioned this before, but the world of competitive cheer is just crazy and this was the first show I have seen that did it any justice.  It shows the hard work, dedication, crazy training schedule, athleticism and stamina that is expected of these athletes.  They work harder than you would ever imagine and put more heart into the sport they just adore. It also shows some very rough backgrounds that some of these college kids came from and it makes you just want to root for their success. I fell in love with everyone on the team for different reasons and cried when they celebrated their success at the end. Not to spoil anything, but when something didn't go their way during their competition my heart dropped just as if it was my own daughter's team out there. It has been so much fun to see this show explode and gain such a following!

    Jen's Review
    : Carrie Beth texted me and told me I needed to start watching Cheer ASAP. So I did. And I couldn't look away. I watched the whole season (six episodes) in one day. One. Why? I'm not really sure. My daughter is also in competitive cheer, and I enjoy it. But, would I normally eat, sleep, and breathe it? No. But for some reason the Navarro College Cheer Team had me from episode one. I had all the feelings. I want Monica to be my life coach. I want Jerry to walk around with me on the daily mat talking me through life. I want to know why all these kids don't have parents. I wanted to give Gabi a hug. And a donut. Because girlfriend just wants a break. And some calories. I want to know what FIOFMU means. And bless them, because who wouldn't want to frolic in the ocean following 2 minutes and 15 seconds of flipping, lifting, being tossed in the air, risking detrimental injury (and defying it) to beat out every single college in the United States? I felt uplifted, entertained, and even teary eyed . It was a great peek into how hard cheerleaders on the competitive level work, and I hope they do a second season (although I'm not sure what else they could show us without it dipping into reality television).
  • Virgin River (Netflix) - We read the book first (see our review here), and then heard a show was created on Netflix based off the book. We loved the book so much, we couldn't wait to see how it was portrayed as a show. IT. IS. SO. GOOD! It differs from the book in some major ways, but from start to finish it is definitely a new favorite and we can't wait to see season two. The series follows Mel, a nurse practitioner/midwife, as she leaves Los Angeles behind for a simpler life in the remote town of Virgin River. Tragedy, romance, drama - these series has a little bit of everything. 
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video) - This show is just plain fun. It follows the story of Midge Maisel, a housewife in the 1950's who stumbles into a life of stand up comedy. We weren't sure what to think about the show at first. But it's entertaining and kind of a different twist to most shows that are out today, so it's refreshing. It has drama, humor, and romance all wrapped into one.
  • Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime Video) - This is a show friends of our told us they watched as a couple. It's based off of author Tom Clancy's infamous Jack Ryan series. Honestly, we only caught a couple of episodes, but so far it's really good. And really intense. The only reason we've only caught and episode here or there is because Mr. Magnolia decided he just couldn't resist watching an episode or two (ahem, the whole season) while on the road for a work trip. Jack Ryan is fast paced, and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. 
  • The Morning Show (Apple TV) - This was one of those shows we heard a lot of buzz about and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. Verdict: it has. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston headline it as news anchors, and it's been interesting to see them in different roles than you are used to. The show is based on a book, and it supposed to show the behind the scenes of what goes on in the morning show news world. It's fictional, but at the same time reminds me of a scenario that happened not to long ago in real life. It's jam packed with drama, and very addicting. A second season is supposed to be in the works and we already can't wait. 


We wrapped up watching all the available seasons of these shows, and then hit a slump. We wanted a show we could totally get sucked into. So we polled our Facebook and Instagram friends and these were the top suggestions of "must watch" shows. 

  • The Boys (Amazon)
  • Hart of Dixie (Netflix or Amazon)
  • You (Netflix)
    • This was by far the most recommended show. We've tried watching this before, but it was so intense we ditched it after two episodes. We need our stalkers a little less creepy. But, based on the sheer amount of people who recommended it, we wonder if we should push through and pick it up again? 
  • Dare Me (Netflix) 
    • This is also a show based on a book (see the premise here).  Jen is listening to the Audible now, and we're curious how it will translate to a show. 
  • Northern Rescue (Netflix) 

What are your current "must watch" shows? 
We're looking to add something new to our queues! 

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday Favorites: Gift Ideas for Boys

Happy Friday!!!  I always love seeing another weekend roll around, and this one came especially quickly since it was a 4-day school week. If you have kids then your weekends are likely to involve some birthday parties. I feel like it sort of comes in waves, but the birthday party circuit is going strong around here.  Often times we just do gift cards for my kids' friends, but if I'm feeling on top of it I will stock up on gifts to have on hand.  Today for Friday Favorites I thought it might be kind of fun to share some of our favorite gift ideas for boys.  Some of these are items my son has had for a while and some are gifts they he got for Christmas and has just LOVED.  

1. Cotton Candy Maker ($29.99) and Supplies ($18.99): My son got this cotton candy maker for Christmas and all of my kids have loved it! It's so fun to see the cotton candy form right in front of their eyes and also a fun treat to make when they have friends over.  It's small enough to stick under a cabinet or in your pantry when you aren't using it and I have been impressed with how well it works and how easy it is to clean up when they are done. 

2. Slushy Maker Cup ($23.99): My kids all over these slushy maker cups. You keep the inner cup part in the freezer and when you are ready to make a slushy you put whatever kind of drink you want in it and continue stirring/scrapping the sides for about 5-10 minutes until it is frozen.  It's a fun after school treat and perfect in the summer when it is SO hot!  

3. Dig It Up Dinosaur Eggs ($25.99): These little eggs each contain little dinosaur figurines and the kids have to chip away using the given tools to find what is inside.  This kept my son entertained for what felt like HOURS.  He loved seeing what was in each one. It's a bit messy so I would recommend setting them up outside or make sure you cover their work surface, but such a fun activity. 

4. Alexa Echo Dot ($34.99): Quite possibly one of his favorite gifts was his Echo Dot which he calls his Alexa.  I hear him up in his room talking to Alexa all the time. He asks her what the weather is, he uses it as his alarm clock, he has it play music and he just talks to it like a friend. When he leaves he tells Alexa goodbye and she tells him jokes, sings him songs, etc. It was so easy to set up using my Amazon account and my daughters already had them so he loves being able to "drop in" on their rooms to talk to them. I was hesitant about him having one, but it has been the the greatest! 

5. Alpha Rouge Blaster with Scope ($9.97): My son will get hooked on something and WILL NOT stop talking about it.  He played with this dart gun at a friend's house and when he came home it was all I heard about. We searched and searched and finally found it!  He spent some of his Christmas money on it and has used it every day since. It isn't a NERF brand, but it fits the NERF darts  and he loves it because of the scope and the way it loads the darts.  It is a great value and has held up really well, even with all of his rough play. 

6. Over the Door Basketball Hoop ($24.99): This is one of those things we have had for several years now and something he still uses daily.  We used to keep to in our playroom, but moved it to the back of his bedroom door and he will constantly shoot baskets when he is getting ready for bed or when he is just hanging out in his room. He'll try all sorts of different "trick shots" from all over his room.  It has little rubber backers so it doesn't damage the door.

7. Zipline ($99.95): This one is definitely pricier, but would be a great gift to get your own child for a birthday if you have the space for it.  We installed this just after Christmas and all of the kids love riding on it.  It is a legit zipline and I couldn't get over having something like this in our yard!  Such a fun thing for kids to play on and something that will keep them outdoors! 

8. Dino Fossil Kit ($7.99): I was SO impressed with this National Geographic Dino Fossil kit. My son LOVED using the little tools and chipping away to find the treasures inside. Every kit contains part of a dinosaur tooth, bone and even dino poop which he got a kick out of.  This would be a fun add on to a gift since the price is so affordable or you could buy several and use it as a party activity for your dinosaur loving kids! They make several other similar kits (gemstones, shark fossils, fools gold) and I imagine they would all be just as good. 

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Weekend Getaway: Cheer Competition in Indianapolis

If you follow us on Instagram you probably saw my little getaway to Indianapolis this past weekend.  My oldest daughter and I went there for a big cheer competition she was competing in and we had the best time. I had no idea what to expect because I had never been to Indy before, but all I kept thinking about was the cute movie Turbo.

My son used to LOVE this movie. It's about a snail gets super speed powers and races in the Indy 500. If you have little boys and haven't seen this movie you should watch is so cute!

I looked into flights, but waited too long and they were all so expensive so I decided to make the 7 1/2 hour drive instead. It turned out to be such an easy drive. When I saw that we were going to be heading right through Nashville we decided to forgo a quick fast food and instead make the most of our time there.

We ended up taking a pictures with the famous mural wall, walked around a bit, and ate at a great little sandwich shop that was nearby.

There were so many fun places to see and I just wish we had a little longer there.  I definitely want to go back to Nashville for a weekend.

When we got to Indianapolis we got settled in our hotel, which was located right downtown. My daughter was surprised by a fun little good luck treat my mother-in-law had sent to our hotel.  It was from Cookies by Design and was such a sweet surprise!  Her team name is Moonlight and their signature color is purple, so these cookies were just perfect.

We met some friends from her team for dinner and then tried to get to bed somewhat early to be ready for the first day of competition.

Unlike other sports where my kids can just throw on a uniform and head to a game, cheer requires a lot of time for hair and makeup to be competition ready.

Y'all know I love theme wear so I'll take any chance I get to dress to match a theme.  Most of the moms try to wear purple to support the girls and when I found this Shoot for the Moon necklace from James Avery I knew I had to have it.

I love that James Avery creates one of a kind jewelry with meaningful messages of family, faith and love.  This necklace is certainly meaningful to myself and my daughter.  This team is so special because is her first year cheering at this prestigious gym. It is also a team that has overcome so many obstacles to be where the are now! 

The way cheer competition scoring works is that they compete two days in a row. One day is generally worth 25% of their score and the next day is worth 75% of their score.  A hit routine means they got zero deductions and that is always the goal!

As we get closer to the time for them to take the stage,  I get SUPER nervous. I have butterflies in my stomach, my hands start shaking and I just feel sick.  She is a flyer and I am always nervous she will fall so I think that is part of where my nerves come from. I'm not ever worried about her falling and getting hurt, I'm worried about her falling and being upset and feeling like she let her team and coaches down.  They practice longer and harder and have more heart than any sport I have ever witnessed and I just want them to do their best!  I was talking with another mom and the thing with this sport is that they only get once chance.  It's not like other sports where you can make a mistake and then comeback from it to win.  This sport only gives them 2 1/2 minutes to show what they can do and if they make a mistake, there is no coming back from it. The great news is that they looked amazing on Saturday and hit their routine!

Their coach was in tears by the end of their performance because she was just so proud and all of the parents felt the same way.  The girls came off stage on a high and were SO excited.

Day one was done so she could relax for the rest of the day!  That afternoon we decided to walk around the mall a little. It is located right int he middle of downtown and has tons of windows so you can see all of the city.

While we were there there was a photo op with the Navarro cheerleaders from the Netflix show CHEER  She was so excited to see them person and get a photo with them.  For all of you CHEER fans, Morgan was super nice to her and it totally made her day.

That night we walked around the town a bit and about froze!  It was such a neat city though and I love how everything was easy to get to on foot.

That night we ate dinner with some friends at a place called Burger Study and it was delicious!

The next morning we were up early and ready for day 2!  It's always more of the emotional roller coaster and all I want them to do is come off the stage feeling like they did their best.

It was another beautiful HIT routine and you could just tell that they all felt SO good about what they had done.

Two hit zero routines over the weekend was a huge accomplishment for them!  

They were awarded an execution award for their stunting which was such an honor because that is one of the things they work hardest on!  

We knew there was a very good chance they could win the competition.  After day 1 they were in 2nd place and with the routine they performed on Sunday they all felt confident they had moved up.  It was incredibly heartbreaking for them all when they were announced as second place and even more so when we learned that they had only lost by 0.05.  SO close!  

However, a great thing came out of the weekend.  Even though they didn't win, their score was SO high that they were awarded a bid to The Summit!  Summit is in Orlando and is like the Super Bowl of allstar cheer for her level. You have to be invited to attend and it is a really big deal.  They were all ecstatic when they found out on Monday night!  

There is a bid reveal show so we planned a team party so they could watch it together and celebrate!  The very next night they had a 3 hours practice so it was right back at it for this team.  No rest, but they wouldn't have it any other way! 

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Valentine's Day Style on Amazon

We blinked and it's already Wednesday. How did that happen?! Usually this time of year seems to drag on. The post holiday lull in combination with frigid weather usually makes us longing for warmer weather and Spring days. But this year, between the kids and house projects, we look at our calendars and realize it's almost the end of January. Bless those tiny people and their 1,004,594 activities and hours of Common Core math homework for distracting us from the blah that is January.

And with February on the horizon we get a little giddy. With its days filled of Super Bowl excitement, all things hearts and love, a break from school, and the hope of warmer days just around the corner - we can't help but feel excitement. 

A month with all those fun things needs to be celebrated. And you know how we like to celebrate - with theme wear. While we were shopping at our favorite store (Amazon) we couldn't resist adding a little Valentine's Day attire to our Prime order. I don't know why we were surprised, but Amazon just has so many cute options! It was hard to narrow it down to just one (or, ahem, three).

Here's just a peek at some of our favorite Valentine's Day options we found...

  1. XOXO Shirt - Love the cute buffalo check pattern of the hearts. Only $13!
  2. Simple Heart Long Sleeve - Tunic length and comes in a couple of colors. 
  3. Love Tee - Has an option to have your mini match you! Comes in two colors and under $16. 
  4. Heart Sweater - Several color options. 
  5. Long Sleeve Heart Elbow Tee - Comes in three colors and is monogrammable. 
  6. Heart Elbow Sweater - Super cozy material and has great reviews! 

  1. Red Heart Ruffle Neck Top - Cute ruffle details and comes in at under $17.
  2. Heart Belted Tunic Top - Long enough to be worn with leather leggings. 
  3. Pink Heart Puff Sleeve Top - Comes in tons of colors and has great reviews. Under $30. 

The options on Amazon are endless. To see all of our favorite Valentine's Day Styles for the whole family, we've put everything in one quick spot for you easily check out.  See all of our Valentine's Day Styles on Amazon HERE

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Rug Refresh with Old Time Pottery

Thank you Old Time Pottery for sponsoring our Rug Refresh. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

I'm knocking items off my January project list left and right. This week's project was a rug refresh. I feel like a rug is one of those decor pieces that you should always put at the top of the list. It anchors the room, can pull together colors, or can serve as texture to your space. Last year I updated all the rugs on the main floor of our home, so this year I decided to set my sights on our bedrooms and upper floor of our home. 

Because these are some of the rooms the kids frequent the most, and not ones typically seen by guests, I wanted to try to keep these rugs more budget friendly. Old Time Pottery was one of the first places that popped into my mind. They are usually one of the top places I go when I need seasonal decor or great accessories, but I remembered they also have a large rug section. 

And boy do they ever. I didn't realize how large of a selection they actually have until I started working my way through it. 

Indoor rugs. Out door rugs. Bathroom rugs. Large, medium sized, small, handmade...they offer it all. 

There are tons of colors, patterns, piles, and textures available in a variety of sizes. I knew I needed something in the 5x7 to 8x10 range, and had specific colors in mind. I had a hard time limiting myself to not take a basket full of rugs home. There were so many great options and one rug in particular had me almost convinced to re-do an entire space around it. But, I managed to show restraint. 

For now. 

My favorite shopping buddy and I left with two rugs - one for the baby's room and one for our master bedroom. 


Our bedroom seems to be one of those spaces I constantly am tweaking. I think because it is one of the rooms we spend the most time in it. We have a little reading/TV watching nook set up in it and the kids love snuggling up in it while I'm folding laundry or cleaning. 

I've actually been on a hunt for a rug for this room for years, but could never find anything I just loved. Just when I put it out of my mind, I find something. This was actually the first rug I spotted at Old Time Pottery. I noticed the cute tassel edges and it looked like the right color blue that we have sprinkled throughout the room. When I opened it up to check it, I knew immediately it was going to come home with me. And for less than $130...Mr. Cute is lucky I didn't buy two. 

The rug also has a subtle cream pattern in it too that I love. 

The rug was just what our bedroom needed for a little pop of color amidst all the neutral whites we have going on. 


The nursery is the room that will be getting the biggest makeover this year. Our baby isn't so baby any more. It's more than time for her to be in a big girl bed. And let's be honest, she's only slept in that crib like five days her entire life. She "naps" in it some nights, but most of the time she sneaks into our bed or her siblings beds. 

Her room will be staying similar colors, but she's requested a "princess" room. When I spotted this rug, I knew it would be the perfect addition to her big girl room makeover. 

But I just couldn't resist going ahead and putting it out. It immediately brightened her entire room. I wish I had done a rug refresh in there earlier. 

Her room is one of my favorites we've done in our house. It will be bitter sweet to see it change from nursery to a big girl room. She's the last of our little ones and it reminds me how quickly she is growing up. 

But it is fun getting her input and seeing her little personality take shape in her room. More pink, more "make-up", and more soft touches like this rug. It was also a steal at under $100 for the quality and the size (its a 5x7). 

I'll share more about her updated room soon, but for now we're all enjoying these little rug refreshes I found at Old Time Pottery. Now to decide whether to go back for that rug I'm still thinking about days later...

Visit HERE to start your own rug refresh with Old Time Pottery. 

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