If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we did a fun little countdown to kindergarten the week leading up to school starting.  But, I thought I’d share it here in more detail.
 
Last year, Lovebug was leaving the daycare/preschool she had attended since she was four months old to attend Pre-K at a different school.  She didn’t know the teachers, the school or any of the students and she was a little sad and anxious about the change.  So, we decided to do a countdown to Pre-K to get her excited about her new school.  We did fun little surprises each day the week before school started, like painting her nails fun designs, putting chalk colors in her hair and taking treats to her preschool.  We just wanted her days to be a little more special so she wouldn’t be so sad.  By the time school started, she was more excited than anxious about the change.  Mission accomplished!
 
This year, Lovebug was already excited about kindergarten, but she was changing schools again so we decided to implement the countdown again, just for fun.   We planned simple, inexpensive and fun activities to surprise her each day of the week leading up to school starting.  
 
 

We started the countdown with donuts for breakfast with 7 days to go…
countdown to school ideas

 

With 6 days left, we had a sleep over and movie in mommy and daddy’s room.  It was fun for her but so very precious to me.  I loved cuddling with my sweet girl thinking about how quickly time has flown by and how my little baby would be starting kindergarten in a few short days.
Countdown to school ideas

 

5 days and counting… We surprised her with bath time fun!  I went to the dollar store and picked up 7 packs of glow sticks.  Each pack had 4 – 6 sticks in it so the tub was full of light.  She had so much fun that bath time took twice as long as normal!
Countdown to school ideas

 
With 4 days left, I took Lovebug to the Disney Store for an Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.  If she could sound out Disney characters or items starting with each letter of the alphabet, she could pick out a prize ($15 or less).  I was so impressed with how many she came up with on her own, but have to admit the end of the alphabet gave us a run for our money. Luckily, the lovely cast members at our local Disney Store helped us out and we were able to come up with all but one letter.  I still gave her a prize and the cast members did too!  She walked away with 101 Dalmatians figures and awesome Disney trading cards!  
Countdown to school ideas
* Free printable of the Disney Store Scavenger Hunt sheet is below.  ๐Ÿ™‚
 
 
3 days until the big day meant special mini ice cream cone treats for Lovebug and her friends!  Her absolute favorite!
Countdown to School Ideas
 
My Love had won tickets to the Phoenix Mercury game from work and Lovebug loves going to the women’s basketball games.  So, it was the perfect surprise for one of her last couple days before school.
Countdown to school ideas
 
 
We celebrated the last night before school with one of Lovebug’s favorite meals and ended the meal with frozen yogurt, toppings and all!
Countdown to school Ideas
 
 

We had one last surprise for Lovebug on the first day of school.  We decorated the bathroom mirror with encouraging notes using dry erase markers and filled the bathroom with helium balloons.  We just wanted to start her day off with a smile on her face.  And boy did she ever!
Countdown to School Ideas

Lovebug loves school and was already really excited about kindergarten.  But, we wanted to create some fun memories leading up to the big day.  When she thinks back on kindergarten, will she think about this countdown?  Probably not.  But, I know I will always remember it and the excitement on her face as she would ask what her surprise was for that day.  So, maybe the countdown was more for me than for her. But, either way, we had some fun and made some lovely memories.  So, it was worth it.  In fact, it was so worth it that we will likely do a countdown to school every year going forward! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the free printable for the Disney Store Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.  Just right click and save to your computer.  Then, open it in a word processing program, adjust the size, if necessary, and print.

 
Disney Store Alphabet Scavenger Hunt Final
I hope all your kiddos have a fantastic school year this year!
Read More →
Replies: 1 / Share:

His & Hers To Do List { Free Printable }
With both My Love and I working outside the home full time, carting two kids to various activities, running errands, making meals, spending quality time with the kids and squeezing in a little time for each other or ourselves, our home sometimes usually suffers from neglect.  Dishes pile up in or around the sink, floors are covered with a crumb carpet, mountains of laundry take up valuable space on the couch, toy land mines make it impossible to walk through common areas, etc.  Does this sound at all familiar or are we the only ones?
 
The problem is that after a long day, we are pretty exhausted and the last thing My Love or I want to do is spend another hour or two cleaning up.   But, if we don’t tidy up, the problem gets worse because now there are more dishes, toys, laundry, etc. to deal with.  Then, there is the whole issue of frustration and resentment if one of us works on cleaning up and feels the other isn’t really carrying their weight or if one has an expectation that the other will take care of completing a task that just doesn’t get done.  
 
We used to argue about why the house was a mess, who was responsible for what, who’s spent more time cleaning, who dropped the ball, etc .  But, we wizened up recently and decided to divide and conquer by assigning tasks.  We made a list of what needed to happen regularly to keep our house tidy and then divided up the work.    
 
 
You guys know I love to make lists so, naturally, I made a fun little His & Hers To Do List to keep us on track.
Our To Do List
 
To make sure that we addressed everything, we sat down and created a comprehensive list of the things that needed to get done.  Then, we spent the next week adding to and editing the list to make sure we didn’t miss anything important.  Then, we went through and assigned tasks and timelines.

This wasn’t a you take one, I take one type of deal.  It was more of a ‘what do I usually take care of and does it make sense for me to continue doing it’ scenario.  For example, My Love does the yard work.  I sometimes help in the garden, but for the most part, he trims the bushes, fertilizes, makes sure irrigation system is working properly, etc.  So, it made sense for him to take on the yard work.

We also took into consideration how much time each item would take so one of us wouldn’t be more overloaded than the other on daily or weekly tasks.  The only exception is the yard work.  Depending on what needs to be done, that can take up more time than the other tasks.  And in those cases, I help My Love with some of his designated to do’s to compensate for his time in the yard.

 

In looking at our list, you may think that loading the dishwasher and washing dishes is the same thing, but we don’t run our pots, knives, cutting boards, measuring instruments, etc. in the dishwasher because it can damage them and/or shorten their lifespan.  So, our dishwasher is used for dishes, cups and silverware.  And I, the human dish washer, take care of everything else.  Also, you might notice that we don’t have clean bathrooms, mop floors or dust on our list.  That is because we hired a house cleaner to help us with those tasks once a month when I went back to work after having Lovebug.  It is such a huge help to have those things taken care of so that we just have to maintain them.

Suddenly, our house was routinely tidy and we weren’t arguing about the mess anymore.  We know what is expected and what the timeline is and generally we’re able to accomplish the daily tasks in 30 minutes to an hour.   Plus, we are usually getting things done at the same time, after the kids go to bed, so it gives us time to chat.  Not an ideal ‘date’ but with two kids and busy lives, I’ll take what I can get!

Don’t get me wrong, things still get away from us from time to time and we try to keep things flexible and step in for one another when necessary. But for the most part, creating our His and Hers To Do List has really simplified our lives.

And because I love you guys so much, I’ve made this cute His and Hers To Do List a free printable!  You can print it and fill it out or open it in an photo editing tool and add your to do’s on it.

Free Printable Mr. & Mrs. To Do List
 

How does your family keep your home tidy?  We are definitely open to suggestions to make our lives easier!

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

If you know me personally, you know that I am a very honest person and not at all shy about sharing what I think, whether it is good or bad.  So Into / So Over posts provide me a forum to share my thoughts on things that make me happy as well as things that make me, well, not so happy.  Here’s what I’ve been So Into / So Over this week:

So Into: Random Holidays
Did you know today was National Shortbread Day?  No? Me neither.  
I occasionally hear about a random food holiday on the radio or on social media and I think to myself, “I wish I had known!  I could have made { insert National Food Holiday item } today!”  
I love any excuse to celebrate and food holidays are the perfect way to make an ordinary day extraordinary!  Plus, they can make menu planning a little easier, if you are organized.
I am so into National Food Holidays that I made myself a fun little printable so I can keep on top of all the fun and random food holidays throughout the year.  And let me tell you, there are TONS of them!  This is not a complete list but there is enough here to keep me busy almost every day of the year!  
Feel free to use the printables below by clicking here and here.  I’ll warn you that they are a bit of an eye chart.  I also have a much simpler (read: not as pretty but easier to read) PDF version you can download here
US Food Holidays printable

So Over: 2014

2014 was a great year but I’m so looking forward to the excitement and adventure of 2015.  It’s funny, not a whole lot changes with the new year, but there is something that feels so great about having a clean slate.  Here’s to a fantastic, productive, organized and prosperous 2015!!

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

For Valentine’s Day this year, we decided to go with a candy free gift.  We found some fun red straws at Party City and decided they would be the perfect Valentine for Lovebug’s friends.  I whipped up this simple note, did a little printing and cutting and voila!  Fun and simple Valentine’s ready to go!   

You are ex-STRAW-dinary!  Straw Valentine Printable

Here’s how to make them:

Materials:
Red Loopy Straws
White card stock
Free printable below
Scissors 
Hole punch
Instructions:
1.  Right click on the image below and save it onto your computer.  Open the saved image in a word processing document and adjust to the size you want.  
2.  Print the image onto your card stock then cut it out with your scissors.  NOTE: You could also use paper for this project, but card stock will hold up better.
3.  Using the hole punch, punch a hole in the top left corner and bottom right corner of the image.  
4.  I will have Lovebug sign the bottom of the printable so that her friends know they are from her.  But, this is an optional step.
5.  Feed the straw through the holes and you’re done!  

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

I was recently going through my BABY file on my computer and came across the Interview Questions I prepared for Pediatricians when we were pregnant with Lovebug.  As a recruiter, I spend my days trying to find candidates that are the perfect mix of technical chops and personality / culture fit.  So, you can imagine how high my expectations were as I interviewed the person / people that would be responsible for my childs’ health.  I invested a ton of time researching and preparing questions that would help give me a good sense of the doctor’s we were considering and they really did serve us well,  so I thought I’d share them (free printable available below).

The questions are broken up into three sections: Background Questions to provide some insight on where the doctor was educated and trained, Practice Questions to get an understanding of how the office operates and Doctor’s Approach to Practicing Medicine & Bedside Manner to determine if the doctors approach aligns with what you are looking for.  I was able to find most of the answers to the background questions on the internet.  Then, I would call the office to get answers to the practice questions and schedule a time to interview the pediatrician.   We were able to narrow the pool of prospective pediatricians down pretty quickly with the first two sections and the final section really determined which pediatrician we decided to go with.

I was looking for someone I could trust but who I could also challenge if I felt compelled to.   Plus, personality and how they engage with children was hugely important.  These questions made it incredibly easy to narrow down the options and ultimately decide on our pediatrician.  Four years later, we couldn’t be happier with our choice.  We LOVE our pediatrician and even followed him when he moved to a new practice.  Lovebug adores him too and always looks forward to seeing him, which further validates our choice.   
Here are some additional tips I found helpful as I searched for a pediatrician:
– Ask friends, family, coworkers and other doctors (family doctor, OB, etc.) for recommendations.
– My family doctor recommended that we find someone with about 5-10 years of experience so that we wouldn’t have to be concerned about them being too green or retiring in a few years.
–  Trust your gut… If you get a bad vibe, it’s probably not the right fit.  If you get a good feeling, it means something.  
– If possible, bring a child with you.  You want to see if the doctor engages the child or speaks only to you.  This is a BIG indicator of how they will interact with your child.
I hope this information is helpful.  I’m also curious to hear if you had questions that I might have missed. 
Good luck!  

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share: