Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Was Me Last Leap Year...

I was large and in charge and only a week away from Addie's birth!!!


I was so tired in this picture. And blonde. I also had a bunch of false contractions that day and I thought for a split second that I would have a leap year baby. But my stubborn little peanut wanted to wait another week. Another looooooong week to get here.

It's hard to believe how fast time goes, though. How was this 4 years ago? And how did that bump turn into this sweet princess...



Ha! Addie got the Disney Princess Dress-Up app as an early birthday gift :-) The girl knows her big day is coming and she has been milking it for all it's worth. She had me playing tea party for an hour today.


And then of course she got her second birthday wish...a warm spring-like day to play outside! It was almost 60 degrees and we took full advantage. Our neighbor's grandson was over enjoying the weather too.


Blake was so happy to cruise around in his truck.


And Addie and neighbor Ryan cruised on their scooters.


Even Howie was out enjoying the day with neighbor Jack.


I am so happy we got some fresh air today. I even got in a run outside which hasn't happened for a few weeks. So happy Spring is just around the corner :-)

Happy Leap Day everyone!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We're Just a Little Excited

Okay...we admit it. We are just a little excited about this whole owning a camper thing. The kids are young, we probably won't leave Illinois this summer and we are YEARS away from doing any serious cross-country road tripping. But that isn't stopping us from daydreaming about all the trips to come.


And of course, that is not stopping me from doing some organizing and planning. We will be using the camper a lot this summer and from what my SIL Di has told me...a lot of planning goes into even the shortest of camping trips. We have to pack, grocery shop, get the camper ready, etc. So, with all that in mind, I started making some printables for our awesome RV/Camping Binder (pictured above).

I know not everyone is that into camping and not all of us have RVs, but for those of you that do, I wanted to share the printables I put together. The packing lists I think will work for any family summer vacation, so be sure to check those out. The binder cover sheet, inventory sheet and grocery list are very camper specific, but hopefully helpful :-) You can find them all here.


So...is anyone else gearing up for any fun summer plans? Anyone planning a big vacation or spending some time out of town? It may seem far away, but it's always fun to dream. It really will be here before we know it!

{All of my printables are free and I am happy to share. Just make sure that you credit me for their creation and link to my blog when sharing with others. It is not okay to post them as your own or sell them. Also, if you would like to purchase your own camping clip art to make your own printables and scrapbooks, be sure to check out Scrappin Doodles for some adorable stuff. Thanks so much!! Enjoy!}

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Recap & The Month to Come

Happy Monday everyone...if there is such a thing :-) Today is actually a happy Monday for me because we accomplished so much over the weekend. Isn't that the best feeling? Having to-do lists checked off and being prepared for the week to come? 

We actually have a lot going on the entire month of March, including a preschool field trip, recital costume pick-up, charity projects, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K and FOUR birthday parties, starting with Addie's this weekend. WHEW!!

And speaking of birthdays, we were able to celebrate Papa's birthday (again) yesterday and we had a nice time. None of the adults felt "picture ready" so I was only able to capture the birthday boy and two of his grandbabies.


These kids love them some cake :-)


Blake got to make Papa's wish and I am pretty sure that what he wished for was to have the RV back in our driveway. 

Yes...it was a sad day around the Davis household when Eric had to take our camper to storage for the rest of the winter :-( I still see Addie staring longingly out the window. I feel it too baby girl...but Mommy needed her parking space back and the neighbors were going to report us soon. Ha! May will be here before we know it though! One of the things Eric and I worked on this weekend was a "Camper Binder" and I am SHOCKED by how excited Eric was to work on it. We are certainly a match made in O.C.D. heaven :-)

And speaking of getting work done, I have been a digital crafting machine lately. I can't wait to show you how Addie's "Minnie & Mickey Mousekersize" invitation, toppers and favors came together. We are having her party at a gym and since she wanted some sort of Minnie theme, I thought it was perfect! I have also been working on some new Home Management Binder printables for spring and summer, a few tags/toppers/craft ideas for St. Patty's Day AND some RV printables. Oh yeah...just incase any of you other campers out there want an RV/camping binder of your own. Ha! Oh, and as you can see, I finally updated my blog! I was SO OVER snow and anything post-christmasy. This is much better :-)

Alright friends, I would love to chat more, but I need to tackle my next room for 40 Days/40 Bags. I am already ahead with almost 10 "bags" and I am feeling great. I have had lots of friends and family offer to contribute to some of my donation boxes which is wonderful too. I will be sure to do a little update on my progress this Wednesday :-) Chat with you soon!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

I know I don't talk about religion much on my blog, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that my faith is still growing. Even though I went to church every Sunday as a child, and was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church, I still feel like I have so much to learn. I have a lot of questions and there are a lot of traditions and "rules" I'm not sure I believe in. I think all this uncertainty was what made me leave the church when I was old enough to make that decision for myself. I didn't feel a connection there and because of that, I didn't make it a priority.

Sometimes I regret all those years that I didn't pray or thank God for my blessings. I was selfish. I would only turn to Him when I needed something, much like teenagers do with their parents, and yet even through all that...He still took care of me. He didn't hold a grudge or punish me for not being more grateful. He waited until I finally found my way back and when I did...He was there with open arms.

I can honestly say that my faith has never been stronger, but I often worry that it's because God has blessed me with so much. I worry that I'm being selfish again and not doing enough to show him how grateful I am. I read so many blogs and articles about these amazing people who give all of their free time and extra money to help others and it makes me feel sheepish. I know there is more I can do...it's just a matter of figuring out what to do.

So instead of giving up candy for Lent this year, I've decided to do something a little different. I've been reading about people committing to a 40 Deeds in 40 Days project where they vow to do at least one good deed every single day of Lent. Deeds can be anything from volunteering at a shelter for a day, or buying a stranger their coffee in Starbucks. I think this is a sweet idea and I may commit to this too.

But the bigger project that has me super excited right now is the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, which is essentially a challenge to rid your house of 40 bags worth of things you don't want, need or use. One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah from Clover Lane, does this every year and I love how she explains the purpose of doing it during Lent. She says,

"Why Lent?  To me, Lent is a time of prayer, renewal, self-reflection, sacrifice, self-control, repentance and almsgiving.  It does seem silly to me to somehow try to link a good old home decluttering with something as deeply spiritual as the Lenten season, but the first time I did 40 bags/40 days it was much more meaningful to me than just getting rid of junk.  I thought long and hard about how much we really needed vs. how much we had, I became more aware of how we spent our time and money, I had the chance to feel the rewards of charity (and so did my children) giving away to those in need some of the things we took for granted.  It was a physical cleansing of the space we were all growing together in, as a family, but it also freed up space in my heart and mind for awareness and purpose-I didn't want my house buried under "stuff" and I didn't want my heart and mind buried under "stuff" either-and I learned that often the physical reflects the spiritual and vice versa." 

Isn't that a wonderful challenge? Using these 40 days to rid your house of clutter, give to various charities and organizations, learn to live more simply and teach your children important life lessons in the process? I Just think Sarah explains it so well...which is probably why she has hundreds of people following her on this journey :-)

So...even though this challenge started with the first day of Lent, I am still in the green because I had AMVETS pick up two bags of clothing yesterday. And speaking of clothing, I've decided to take down the rest of the items in my blog sale and donate them to various charities.

I read a really fantastic article about a women's charity called Dress for Success. They provide less fortunate women with professional attire and career development tools to help them get a job. What better place to donate all of my old work clothes? You have to read all the wonderful stories on their website...they will make you want to go out and buy all these women clothes.

Another organization I really want to donate to this month is Donate Your Old Shoes. They provide shoes to needy adults and children around the world. Please take just 2 minutes and watch the video on their website. Look at the faces on those children who are putting on a pair of shoes for the first time. Can you imagine what a little girl would think if she received Addie's light-up Barbie sneakers? It gives me chills.

I want to do a little more research to find new organizations to donate to and if any of you have one that is special to your heart, be sure to share. Does anyone else want to jump on the 40 Days/40 Bags bandwagon? I'll be sure to post about my progress and share the links to any other great organizations looking for donations. Now let's get to work!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Procrastination

Just last week, I gave my students a fantastic lecture on procrastination. I talked about how writing is a process and that an insightful, well-planned essay takes time to develop. I asked students to raise their hand if they wrote their paper within the last 24 hours.

Over half of my class raised their hands, most of them looking shameful while doing so. WHY do we procrastinate when we KNOW what the outcome will be?


Ive had a stack of essays in my work bag since last Thursday. I knew they were there on Friday, but decided to give myself the day off from school work. I walked past my work bag 3 times Saturday and twice on Sunday. Monday was President's Day and since campus was closed...so was I. Tuesday was more of the same, and then I woke up this morning and realized that I have class again TOMORROW!!! I let my kids watch movies all day, I gave them cookies before lunch and I passed up a nap with Addie this afternoon to get these papers done. The whole time I kept thinking, "why didn't I start grading on Friday? Why didn't I get these done over the weekend?"

And now I will spend my free time tonight (after blogging of course) going over my grading to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. I will be tired and crabby in the morning from not sleeping, which I could have avoided if I WOULDN'T HAVE PROCRASTINATED!

I'm such a hypocrite...but please don't tell my students :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Look What Showed up in My Driveway Today?

Sorry for the lack of post tonight friends! But I have a good excuse...


That's right...our RV is here!!! Eric was like a kid on Christmas morning today. He tossed and turned all night, which is so not like him. He couldn't wait to pick this bad boy up and we had the family over to check it out when he got home. Addie and Blake wanted to sleep in it tonight.

In the driveway.

And honestly...I kind of did too. Ha! LOTS of fun pictures to come my friends! We are going to spend some time playing in it and taking measurements (so I can purchase the right organizational equipment) before we take it to storage in another day or so.

Come on Spring...get here already!! The Davis' are ready to camp!!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Family Home Office

I don't know why I read home organizing books and magazines because they almost always convince me that the way my house is set up is not conducive to our needs. I always want to rearrange furniture, gut cabinets, and change rooms around. Eric knows the look I get when I have a new home idea and my Dad knows when the phone rings and the first words out of my mouth are..."Hey Pop...how simple is it to build {fill in the blank}.

So I guess I should have warned Eric and my Dad when I bought a copy of this the other day...


I love everything about this magazine, but one section that really sparked my interest was the section on organizing Home Offices. It says, 

"All of us work from home, in one capacity or another. For some, this means telecommuting one or two days a week; for others, it's the everyday business of running a family. Whether your work takes the form of creating spreadsheets or scrapbooks, writing a personal blog or logging the household budget, it's best done in a dedicated place."

I just love that line..."The business of running a family." I really feel that captures my day job these days. Yes, I am a Stay-at-Home-Mom, but in many ways I feel like I am actually running a business around here. I have schedules, spreadsheets, important meetings, budgets to follow, daily/weekly/monthly responsibilities, TWO bosses (named Addison and Blake) and a colleague that technically works another full time job so he can't always help me with the "family business". And on top of running the family, I am also busy with my hobbies that will hopefully turn into another business that actually makes money. Ha! Oh...and did I mention I'm a teacher?

I think anyone, whether they work from home or not, can justify the need for a "dedicated space" to take care of business. Right now, I have about 10 dedicated spaces. I have two spots for my crafting stuff in the basement, a computer cabinet in our bedroom housing my office supplies, a calendar system in the kitchen on the fridge, a mobile office (a.k.a. a tote bag) with all of my school stuff floating around the house, a shelf with file boxes in the top of Blake's closet, and a small desk nook in my bedroom for our computer. I also have our Home Management binder on a shelf with cookbooks in my kitchen/family room area.

Seriously friends...this is just NOT working for me. No matter how hard I try to organize these many different spaces...the fact is they are all different spaces. The other day, Eric asked for some blank computer paper, a pencil sharpener and a ruler. I had to send him to our bedroom and the basement before he came back up to the kitchen to get a pencil. He just laughed and shook his head.

And now I'm shaking mine too. 

Luckily, the solution to this problem is simple...create ONE dedicated space for our working home office. But the BIG question is...where?

We are very fortunate that we have 4 bedrooms in our house. Addie and Blake each have their own, which leaves one extra for a home office or spare room. We had both at one point but I sacrificed it to make a playroom two years ago. At the time, it made perfect sense. Our unfinished basement was perfect for playing, but not for a young toddler and an infant. They needed a smaller, safer place to play and crawl around. It was perfect and the kids spent a LOT of time in there.

But things are different now. Now that the kids are older, they LIVE in our basement. It may be unfinished, but it has carpet, a TV with cable, TONS and TONS of space for riding bikes, scooters, roller skating and jumping in the bouncy house. The kids don't want to be in their playroom when they can be in the basement. In fact, the only purpose the playroom serves at this point is a place to store toys. The kids either go in it to grab a toy and drag it to their bedroom or another part of the house, or they go in to trash the place. I don't find them playing in there like I used to and that would be fine if I didn't have another purpose in mind for the room. BUT I DO!!!

And this isn't going to be as simple as taking out the toys and putting up shelves and a desk. This is going to take some major planning because the playroom is actually going to become Blake's new room so that him and Addie are across from each other and can share their bathroom. It just makes more sense to have our home office across from our master and next to the guest bath.

So yeah...to make this happen, I actually have to redo two rooms with a VERY small budget. I am going to have to reuse and repurpose as much as I can. LOTS of DIY projects in my future and lots of help from my personal carpenter :-) Here are just a few of the features I hope to achieve in there to make it a family space, and not just my own playroom (even though that would be AWESOME!)

1. Two Work Spaces


I love the idea of having one workspace for the computer, and one for crafting or coloring :-) Addie loves "writing in her calendar" or "making lists" while I work at the kitchen table so I can see her loving this space, especially when she starts getting homework!!

Cube Storage


I love cube storage for some many reasons, but mostly because you can customize it to your needs. You can use fun baskets, boxes and magazine holders and keep everything neat and tidy in each cube. Also, cube storage is pretty inexpensive and easy to make. Me likey :-)

I also plan to incorporate:

* Our Large Chalkboard
  * A Gift Wrapping System, like this over-the-door one:


* A fun, easy to use calendar system and chore chart for the kiddies
* A filing system for our paperwork that makes sense!!

Yep...LOTS of work ahead of me!! I don't plan to start this project until we get closer to summer because if I am going to paint, I need to be able to have windows open. Plus, planning everything out and doing all the DIY projects will take some time too. Anyone have any great sites or books they recommend for inspiration? I will be doing some serious looking around on Pinterest but if you have any other great places to look let me know. And of course, if you have a family home office of your own and have any great tips for me...be sure to post a comment!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Finally BLOG SALE TIME!!!

I haven't had a blog sale since last spring and I made a promise to myself that if I didn't use or wear a certain item in my closet for the next 12 months, I was going to put it in a Blog Sale. Period. No hoarding. No saying I will "Wear it Someday."

I've also spent a few weekends this winter actually trying on everything I have in my closet. I was shocked to find so many things that were too big, too small, too short, etc. The problem is, they are all beautiful clothes (in my opinion) and it was hard to part with them. But if they don't fit, there is no way I am going to wear them. Also, ever since I was pregnant with Blake, I have become somewhat allergic to wool. I LOVE wool sweaters but every time I've tried to wear one this winter, I've had a reaction.

So...it was finally time to say goodbye to the part of my wardrobe that hasn't seen the light of day in a while. I am hoping that these beauties will help you spice up your own wardrobe. Because really...they are a lot easier to part with if I know they are going to a good home :-)

And just to help you out, all clothes in this blog sale range from Small-Large and Sizes 6-10. I have lots of great jeans and dress pants that are Longs/Talls so make sure all you long-legged ladies check those out.

And the really exciting thing for you guys (especially for my friend Kate) is that there are some COACH bags this time!!!! The bags are "vintage"...if you will...and have been used quite a bit. But the price tag reflects that. They are all genuine and the real GEM in this handbags and totes section is my COACH baby bag, which works great as a work bag too. It is too beautiful to just sit in my closet so it's time to send it to a new home.

LOTS of goodies my friends! If you are looking for designer stuff, this is not the blog sale for you. But if you love JCrew, Ann Taylor LOFT, Banana Republic and GAP...this is your lucky Day!

Check out all the goodies by clicking HERE!


Enjoy!!

P.S. If any of you are on the hunt for maternity or kids clothes stay tuned for those later this spring :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Planning a Vegetable Garden & A Shout Out to My Sis

Even though it's still months away, I can't stop thinking about summer. Maybe it has something to do with buying our camper, or watching Addie walk around the house in her swimsuit, or looking at pictures from my brother and sis-in-law's farm...but whatever it is, I am READY for the next season. I am ready for some sunshine and outdoor fun!

But since none of that can happen right now, I am doing the next best thing.

PLANNING for summer.

Oh how I love planning and making lists. I have already started our camper notebook and now Eric and I are starting to brainstorm other plans, like putting together a vegetable garden again this year. We had quite the garden a few years ago and had a pretty good crop of goodies!


But gardening is a lot of work. We couldn't keep up with the weeds or animals and we planted WAY too many things and it all just got out of control. That mess actually scared me away from the garden for the last two years but not having fresh veggies to go pick was kind of sad. And now that Addie is old enough to be a great gardener herself, I thought this was the perfect year to start it up again.

But honestly...I don't know where to start! I know I only want to plant things we will actually eat, and I only want to plant as much as we have room for. The PERFECT person for me to call right now is my sis Diana, but she is a working machine for the next 5 weeks and I know she is just as sad about that as I am :(

In fact, there are a million things I want to call and chat with her about! I mean, you know her and my brother Adam were the first RV owners in the family, right? This is their beauty...


Man we had some fun times in that thing...


The nights were the best. Di and I would sit around and have a drink...


While the guys lounged and smoked cigars :-)



These two have been contemplating selling their camper but I simply can't let that happen now!!! We need our RV buddies!!!

So sis...I know you are living in a work haze right now but just keep marking off the days. Spring is gonna be here before know it!!! I say we mark the occasion with a HUGE glass of wine...and our garden planners. Miss and love ya!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Valentine's Day in Pictures

I don't care what people say about Valentine's Day. I LOVE IT!!! We had such a fun day and I tried to capture everything in pictures.

When we woke up, Daddy had left us some very sweet cards on the counter :-)



Part of me just wanted to stay home and be cozy by the fireplace but it was Valentine's Day party time at preschool! I've been waiting weeks for this! We made sure to bring our teacher's Valentines...


I am happy to say the party was a smashing success!! The kids (and mommies) had so much fun making crafts, playing games and decorating cookies. And then when it was story time, I was able to capture one quick picture of Addie and all her valentine buddies :-)


Then the kiddies came home to some surprises!!


Nana and Papa AND Mima and Papa Steve brought some goodies too and that made this girl one happy valentine :-)


As if that wasn't enough...Addie decided to go through all her loot from school. So cute seeing all the kids names on their cards :-)


Before I would let the kids dig into all that junk, I attempted a cute Valentine's Day lunch. 


The kids ate about two bites because when the doorbell rang and they saw these DELICIOUS strawberries from my dear friend Marie...they were like, "Peanutbutter sandwiches? Please."


I guess all the excitement from the morning really tuckered this guy out because he fell asleep on my shoulder. This hasn't happened since he was a baby. I LOVED it!!


And while Blake slept, Addie had a photoshoot with her princesses.


We did lots of relaxing until Daddy got home and then we ate our heart-shpaed pizza!!!


The four of us ate every single bite. Pigs :-) But don't worry...we all made sure to save room for some of this...


That, my friends, is a hot fudge, banana and sprinkles sundae topped with whip cream and a cherry. YUM!!


Blake had two :-)


Now that we've all had plenty of fun today, it's time for these two to take a bath and get cozy before bedtime.


That way Daddy and I can enjoy a little of this :-)


Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you got to spend the day with the people you love :-)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Davis' Buy an RV...

When Eric and I started dating, one of the first things we found in common with each other is our love of camping. I had to explain to him, of course, what my idea of camping is. I will sleep in a tent...with a blow up mattress. I will get dirty...as long as I can find a shower. I will cook food on an open flame...as long as I didn't have to kill or skin anything. I like the outdoors...but I'm not really into being one with nature, if you know what I'm sayin.

Luckily, Eric is a bit of a luxury camper himself so when he told me that he would like to get an RV some day, I was sold. On him and the RV.

Getting something like this before we had kids was just not possible. We were planning a wedding, trying to find a home to start our family, etc. A camper was the last thing we could afford. So we waited.

For 5 years we've waited. To get settled in our home, to have our babies, to save money, etc. And now the time has FINALLY come and we couldn't be more excited.

We are RV owners my friends!!! This is going to be our beautiful new home away from home...


"Isn't she a beaut, Clark?"

Sorry...it is nearly impossible to avoid the Cousin Eddie jokes at this point. And we love them...but just know that we are going to charge $5 for every time a person asks if our "Shitter is full" Ha!

So let's get to the fun stuff shall we? You know...like a few pictures of our digs on wheels.

Here is our gorgeous living area...


Our kitchen...


Dining area...


Living area and pull-out sofa...


The kiddies room...


The HUGE tub for washing off all that dirt :-)


Our cozy bed to crash in...


And Eric's FAVORITE part...our outdoor kitchen.


Isn't she gorgeous?? We got the most amazing deal, especially since we were able to trade in a vehicle we've been trying to sell for a year. It was meant to be :-)

Now we just have to wait patiently for camping season to begin! I get tears in my eyes thinking about all the wonderful memories we are going to have in this camper. We can travel the US, spend weekends at our Beach & Recreation Club and best of all...spend quality time together as a family :-)

Let the adventure begin!!