This has been my third year attending the Haven Conference in Atlanta, GA and it sure did not disappoint. Every year that I have attended, I have been in a different season of my life. From deciding if I should take the leap, to have taken the leap only to focus on personal organizing, and to this year where I want to turn my focus to just the blog. (More on that at a later date.) Regardless of where I have been on my journey, I have walked away with new blogging friends, products from generous vendors, tons of information, and inspiration for days.
“You gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away…” Sometimes you just have to call it, and bring in the professionals. (BTW you’re welcome for the song stuck in your head.)
Two weeks after my husband and I moved into our first home, we had our first child. Needless to say between diapers and daycare, money was tight, but we still desired to make our new place our home. I grew up in a family of doers, so naturally we wanted to take on projects ourselves. We started small. First swapping out the kitchen cabinet handles, then the floor air vent covers. Weekends were spent walking the aisles of Home Depot and Lowe’s trying to get inspiration. See, this was a time before Pinterest. Shocking I know! I can hear myself now “When I was your age, I didn’t have anyone telling me how to do something, I had to figure that out on my own. You kids and your Pinterest…” With each little project, we gained confidence and so, we decided it was time to really learn how to paint.
And boy did we learn.
I can see that some of my friends have already embarked on their summer break and I am jealous. After the amazing three day weekend we just had, the school/struggle bus arrived early Tuesday morning. As the last few days of school trickle down for my girls, the end of the year paperwork and supplies are rushing in. I mean my oldest literally dropped off an armful of graded paperwork for the whole year on my counter Tuesday afternoon and I instantly became queasy. Since this isn’t my first end of the school year rodeo, I’m here to pass on some tips that will hopefully help.
School paperwork and artwork
It would be extremely difficult to save every single piece of paper your child has drawn or written on in their entire school lifetime. I’m not advocating to be completely heartless and throw it all out or recycle it, at least not while they’re looking, but there are ways to manage the beast.
For us, each child has a folder in my daily file system where I snag my favorite pieces. At the end of the school year I’ll only keep a few items from the beginning, middle, and end of the year along with the final report card. I found clear standard paper sized envelope folder. It has a pocket where I printed out the year and the teacher name. In addition to school stuff, this is where I keep cards from immediate family or any certificates they receive through the year. I am keeping these folders in a plastic bin along with their year books. Another great option a friend of mine suggested is to snap a picture and use a service like Shutterfly to create a digital book of all your child’s artworks and projects.
It doesn’t always happen, but by girls may come home with the left over supplies from the year. This includes notebooks that aren’t completely used. I use a utility knife to cut the used pages out and let the girls have the remaining pages to doodle and draw over the summer and throughout the year. The plastic pencil boxes that have survived the year we have used in a variety of ways. I keep one in my glove box as a mini office. I’ve used it as a first aid kit. Or even just a box to keep markers in the car for trips. I use a caddie for all the colored pencils, markers, and crayons, which is handy for kiddos who love to draw and create. We also use supplies to make a homework station complete with glue sticks, erasers, pencils, and scissors just for the kids. If you’re lucky, any unused/unopened supplies, consider saving and donating to schools who have a greater need the next school year.
Backpacks and lunch boxes
Once the school year is over, I do a thorough cleaning out of the book bags and wipe them and the lunch boxes down with clorox wipes. We found that investing in good back packs, we can get about two years use out of them. Even if you do opt to buy a new one for the next year, you may be able to sell it on local mom swap sites or even consider donating to a local orphanage or homeless shelter.
Before we dive into summer break and head out on that family vacation, it’s nice to put the school year behind us and focus on the future. I hope the little tidbits I have passed along are helpful. Please feel free to pass on any other ideas you may have!
** I was given the material from Aspect, but the opinion of this product is my own **
As DIYer’s, we’re always looking for ways to expand our skill set and of course take on new and exciting projects. With anything you do for the first time, there is a learning curve. Naturally the project may take a little longer than if you hired a professional, but the satisfaction far outweighs the speed. We knew the kitchen backsplash would be no exception.
Doing laundry is one of the chores to loathe, but if you don’t do it, will suck you in and drown you in a sea of dirty and/or clean clothes. I have also been known to move piles of clean laundry from couch, to bed, to chair for several days only because I was hoping that the laundry fairy would fold it and put it away. Yep, that never happened. For the first time in about 4 years I finally had a real laundry room, but the functionality, not to mention the fashionability of this room, left little to be desired.
This past summer I attended the Haven Conference and was lucky enough to win an amazing prize package from Ryobi Power Tools and Ryobi Outdoor Power Tools. Ah-may-zing. Naturally I won all of this weeks before we were set to move into our new house, and had to be patient before I got the chance to dive in and test out all of the goods. When it was time to design the laundry room update, I wanted so badly to do a pallet accent wall so we could finally use the tools. And we soooo used the tools. So many tools.
A few months before we decided to sell our house, our girls chose to move into the same room. It was after they moved in together magnified how much unused space we really had, which led to the decision to downsize and find a better layout. Even though they could each have their own room in the new house, the girls still insisted on sharing the FROG (finished room over the garage) and called it the “apartment” since it was the only upstairs room in the new house. The room the day we bought the house, was an interesting florescent lime green. I told them they could pick how they wanted it decorated and they both agreed, and wanted “under the sea”. Just when I thought that I got off easy and just as every “Little Mermaid” theme came to mind, they quickly told me, no literally under the sea. Ooohhhhh….
**WARNING, this post is not about organizing, today we are focusing on the “and more” portion of Cribbs Style. And there won’t be a ton of pictures either so I apologize in advance. **
I am not the first person, nor will I be the last, to say that parenting is HARD. Shaping and molding tiny humans to be respectable adults is no easy task. Knowing when to be firm, when to ease up… To make things more challenging, the two children I had, have completely different personalities. Polar opposites. My husband an I marvel over how the same two people created these tiny creatures and yet they are completely different people. Kennedy is our easy going one, and Kelsey, while she can be sweet and cuddly, is the opposite of easy going. (I’m being really, really generous in my description.)
**Let me first start out by saying I am not a dietician, nor do I know all the ins and outs of nutrition. I am sharing my personal journey and the twists and turns I am about to face. If you feel that you have any digestive issues, I highly recommend that you seek professional help first. **
Ever since I can remember I’ve always had some sort of issues with my gut. Being a kid and now as an adult, I was in denial that there were any real underlying issues. I just knew that if I ate or drank certain things I would “pay” for it later. A doctor that I saw in my early 20’s said it sounded like I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and prescribed medication. I had very little relief from the medication. I would then make the choice, and my husband and I would joke if I ate one of my trigger foods, of what was to come. Except it really wasn’t a joke and I would be miserable, but I learned to deal with the pain; and it was intense. So intense infact, that when I went into labor with my first child, I thought it was the Mexican food from the night before. Thing is, it wasn’t and unbeknownst to me, I was pushing for about 4 hours before it dawned on me. When I called my husband at work to tell him, he offered to come pick me up, but after I explained as best I could the prior 4 hours I decided to drive myself to the hospital. Probably not my brightest move, but I made it.
Typically for me, I start thinking back on the past year whenever I do my Christmas cards. As I flip through my address book and see the names of friends and family and all the memories we shared come flooding back. This year was no exception and boy did we have so much to reflect upon!