Thursday, October 16, 2014

When Santa says you suck...

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      So I'm running around the other day desperately trying to play catch up on errands and grocery shopping and play date planning all while dragging my toddler with me, because let's face it...they go EVERYWHERE with us! Here I am fresh in the world again after recovering from strep with my hair a hot mess rockin out leggings and boots (like the mumu of our generation that they are) with my son high on the steroids they gave him for his pneumonia and laughing at everything...

I'm pretty sure we were the walking version of what every mom fears that day.

And as I'm walking around I realize through the haze of flying cereal trying to attach itself to me and my son trying to lick random strangers (yes I said lick) that I am surrounded by not one, not two, but three...count them, THREE holiday displays. 
      A Halloween Cupcake decorating display on how to throw the best playdate for your little with the creepiest chocolatey fingers in town! A Thanksgiving Tablescape display on how to wow your guests with your savvy plate setting expertise (more on that later)! Annnnnnnd Christmas! A pint sized Santa staring at me with a half off sign begging to be bought so he can hold our guests cute little scarves when they come in the door! All of this within 2 aisles of each other!!!!!!!!! I'm fresh in the world again hoping I get the right deli sliced ham through a medically induced haze and I have this shoved at me. I have a crazy kid singing "I like that booty" at the top of his lungs and Santa staring at me disapprovingly and the only thing I can think of is

 "Where's the Nutcrackers? Can they squish my head?"
My dream and nightmare every holiday season...

     No mom should feel this behind. This early in the game. Halloween isn't even here yet. I'm still

Halloween 2013 :)
carving pumpkins and painting with apples. I'm still looking for a leaf pile to throw my kid in and a way to have Fall pictures without an actual Fall season down here in good 'ol Mississippi. I don't want to think about Tablescapes. I have all next month to freak about Thanksgiving Dinner. In fact I will do just that. Not the dinner itself because I'm awesome, and you can be to thanks to my Dinner Prep Post Here, but the people around and whether they thought it was good enough. Whether they liked my plates and my house smelled sufficiently like fall and if my kid didn't try to build a sandcastle out of mashed potatoes because that seems to be a distinct possibility this year. I have allllll next month to worry needlessly about all the things that won't go wrong about Thanksgiving, so why push that on me now. On October 15, 2014 why is it necessary? WHY?!
This is my husband's Awesome Family for our second Thanksgiving:)

     And Christmas...good 'ol Christmas. Why is Santa lurking in the aisles waiting to pounce on me with that judgemental stare? Who is he to judge my guests scarves and where they go? Who is he in the middle of OCTOBER to come out of the woodwork and give me that judgey look of disapproval. If he isn't dressed as a zombie and pretending to be on the Walking Dead then I don't want him around right now. I can't handle him right now. Him and his horrible little helpers who jump out in the cooking aisles and preach about perfectly cooked hams and the tree aisle (yes, there's a tree aisle) to tell me my tree skirt is all wrong for this season and I am failing as a decorator can just go back to the North Pole until it is their turn! People, I just wanted to buy fresh deli sliced ham!
     Then I realized I was being told by Santa that I suck. As a Mom, a Decorator, a Wife, a Consumer, a Woman...
     and I punched him.
I punched Santa.

 I really hope it didn't scar my son and to be fair he laughed at it like everything else that day. I just couldn't take it! Here I was in the aisle turning slowly around with all these advertisements bombarding me and Santa just staring at me and I snapped. I'm sorry Santa, I really do love you. During December where you belong. Not here though and not now. I get told everyday through magazines and billboards and facebook how I can be better as a... fill in the blank...but I don't want to be told that by you. 
Maybe my reaction wasn't the best. In fact picking on pint sized plastic well dressed Santa's with great boots is not highly recommended. Punching things is not either. Shopping so soon after recovering from being sick is no longer either...which I only was doing to fulfill the role everyone has written for us moms. Things crash and burn when we get sick and we race around to play catch up too often too soon. Instead of asking for help and getting it, we give in to the judgements and overdo it and end up punching Santa. I know over commercialization will not end with the holidays and I will never be able to keep up or tune it out completely. I am learning to laugh at it. I am learning to go with the commercialized couponing flow and I am learning what is important to our family. I'm slowly learning to tune out the media and tune into me and my awesome family. The very same ones who eat the deli sliced ham even when its the wrong one and laugh at me when I go off on a plastic toy for being detrimentally judgemental. Hopefully somewhere in the chaos of these upcoming seasons you can come to some peace about it to. If not, there's three other Santa's in the BX who could use a good 'ol West Side Story "Dance off" if you know what I mean. ;)

 Best Wishes, 
Jules & Monkey

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY Advent Calender

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      I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEE the Holidays! I love the smells, the food, the guests, the made for TV cheesy movies that my hubby laughs at me for...I love it all! I especially love that for the first time all year the whole world seems to be in sync with teaching my child about selflessness and giving and love for others. I love that there is an entire season that is dedicated to my Savior and the songs that everyone plays on the radio are about family and love and togetherness.
   The one issue I find though is that with the constant commercialization of Christmas it can be overwhelming for a toddler, for anyone really. They hear "if you're good Santa will bring you presents" or "You better behave if you want gifts!"...I don't want my son to think that Christmas is solely about what he can get. It's not about the haul he makes every year under the tree...don't get me wrong, he's spoiled every year by all the grandparents and aunts and uncles and gets more toys than I can count...but my job as his mom is to teach him to be thankful for them all because of who gave them to him, not because of what they are. Does that make sense? I firmly believe that a gas station toy truck picked up last minute is just as meaningful as a fancy electronic gizmo and should be treated with the same respect and sense of thankfulness. That doesn't happen overnight though. We instill that into our children over time with our words and actions. We model that behavior and also show them how to do so by allowing them situations to practice it. 
   When I started researching Advent Calenders I didn't find any that fit my needs financially, family wise, or time wise. I needed something that could change yearly as we grow as a family, move, or as our finances change. So I took several ideas that I liked and combined them with some of our favorite family traditions to create our Advent Calendar. I'm hoping it works for you too!
Not above using Grandparents to my advantage...


Kept him behaving for two weeks!

   Here's how it goes...

1. Start with 25 Envelopes and Cards of your liking. I personally use Kraft Brown for both because it matches our Christmas decor and wrapping but you could use whatever you want!  On the Envelopes write the Numbers 1-25. On the Cards write one thing from your list of things that you decided upon. Match your Card with your Day and put it into your Envelope. The best part is that next year you can change the order of you need to, just remember not to seal the envelope! :)

2. Decide upon your order based upon your checks, school activities, work days, family movie preferences, family visiting on certain days, etc...there's a lot going on in life. Don't let your calender be a burden. Make it work for you! Just be smart about it, obviously certain things need to be done earlier in the month than others. whereas baking cookies for Santa may need to wait a while :)

3. Some days require things to be done and therefore require supplies to do them. I start picking the supplies up as early as possible. PJ's on sale, Gingerbread house kits in October, Mini Candy Canes from the dollar tree...I scour Pinterest starting in July when I have free time for ideas that are cheap and quick but still meaningful and then make a supply list. As things pop up on sale I buy them and stash them away. Come November the Advent Calender is done. I even wrap the supplies so my toddler and hubby feel like they get a gift every day. It's cheesy but effective. It gets them hyped about family time and community service. Having everything pre-gathered makes it quick and easy as well as one less thing I have to stress about. It is also one less thing in the budget to worry about.

4. Below is our list but you can change it to fit your traditions. I promise no one will be offended :) Think of it as a kickstarter for your brain. Just try to keep a balance between family time and community thankfulness. It is about teaching your child  
Home Depot for a tree...weird I know!
Some kids are soooo dramatic about hanging lights...

1. Let's Go Christmas Tree Shopping!

2. Let's Decorate the Tree!

Ornament 2013

3. Homemade Ornaments for Grandparents

4. Write Letters to Santa
Torts are easier :)

5. Bake an Apple Pie

6. Take Cookies to Fireman

                      7. Family Movie night ~"Charlie Brown Christmas"
Like Father, Like Son
Mason chose the colors across the board
on this. Let your kids have a say :)

8. Build A Gingerbread House
9. Family Movie Night ~"How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
10. Homemade Hot Cocoa with the Family

11. Teacher Appreciation Day


PInterest is your friend!

12. Visit Veteran's Retirement Center with Mini Candy Canes
13. Pull Names and go Shopping! ($10 limit)
14. Visit Santa!

15. Daddy / Monkey time :)

Kid Crack!!!!

16.Quiet Day (no yelling, timeouts, etc...everyone on their best behavior for Santa :D)
17. Put together Present Bags for Teachers!
18. Take Presents to Teachers :)
19. Take Mini Stockings to Policeman (filled with candy of choice)
20. Clean out toys and Donate them
21. Christmas Shopping (last minute if needed)
22. Look at Christmas Lights in the neighborhood
23. Bake Cookies for Santa!
Nothing sexier than a man who bakes ;)

24. Polar Express Night!
  1. Put on your new PJ's
  2. Make your Hot Cocoa
  3. Polar Express Movie
(this is my favorite night of the whole thing! We actually take a breather before the chaos and I love the family time together.)

25. Merry Christmas!!!!

    At least that is what the kids look for right? Here is what we do...We "feed the reindeer", put the kiddo in bed, make it look like Santa was here, put the rest of the gifts together, make elf prints, clean up the house, prep for breakfast, chug about a gallon of Coffee, try not to kill all the other adults in the house as we run into each other in the process, and somewhere along the way we get great memories like these...

     Christmas is so magical when you're little and soooo much work when you're older. But with a little planning and clear goal in mind I've found that it can be a lot of fun as an adult too. Just remember that in the long run it's about family and giving and not about the gifts. Just keep it simple and family oriented and I guarantee you will have a fantastic Christmas Advent Season. Early Merry Christmas Planning Everyone!

Best Wishes,
Jules & Monkey

Friday, September 26, 2014

Presto Pesto Love

Pin It      I love this pesto! It goes with everything! I put it on sandwiches, pasta, sausage, veggies, chicken...anything really. It is the absolutely perfect pesto. After so many people have asked for the recipe I figured I would post it here. The original recipe can be found HERE on Food Network. The Sandwich King of Food Network came up with this delicious date night sandwich only a man could conjure up (and I have made it and loved it!) but the pesto he put on it was to die for! I altered it a bit for my taste and to compensate for the fact that we do not have fresh basil at our Commissary (still working on that one...) and what do you know? Perfection! 

What you need:
1 Tub of Basil Pesto (plain)
1 Head of Garlic (roasted)
2 Tbl of fresh Rosemary
1/4 C Romano Cheese
1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil

How To:

Roast your Garlic :)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the end off your garlic and wrap in tinfoil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about thirty minutes or until smelly good and browned.

Puree your Rosemary, Cheese, and Garlic together in a food processor (or Ninja) until semi fine. Add the Pesto and some of the Olive Oil. Add more Olive Oil as needed until smooth. This Pesto is a little on the white side due to the cheese and garlic so don't worry. 

That's it. It's that easy. Now my favorite recipe for it is this.

Italian Hoagie Roll
Deli Turkey
Deli Ham
Roasted Red Peppers
Swiss Cheese
Rosemary Garlic Pesto

Load it all up together. Wrap it in tinfoil and place on a baking sheet. Throw it in that oven that is still preheated (you know you forgot to turn that oven off with all the chaos going on Mama!) and place a heavy skillet on top. Let it stay in there for around 20 minutes. It will be a nice grilled panini when it comes out. 

Cut it in to slices, make some Lemonade, and invite some friends over for a Play Date.

Enjoy the recipes Ladies!

Best Wishes,
Jules and Monkey!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Hurt behind the Truth

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His Best Friend "Al the Moose"

    I have a rule with my son that when things happen in life that are unfair or hurtful, I tell him the truth. It's not easy but as parents it's necessary. I'm not talking is there a Santa (still believe in him) or who ate my Jelly Beans (probably me...) but why did they call me names or why don't they want to play with me questions.

The ones that punch you in the face as parent and bring out your inner Chuck Norris.

    I've spent so many moments in a church hallway, a park bench, and now tomorrow my own home, explaining to my son that there are people out there that are sometimes just mean. Sometimes they don't know any better. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they are asking honest questions about him and sometimes they are asking him to change. The one consistent thing in these talks is that my son is hurt and crying and doesn't understand why people are mean. Too be honest...neither do I.

    For those who haven't read any other posts here, My son is an amazing, strong willed, red-headed
Shout out to the Parents who have taken "that walk"...
bolt of energy that tires me out on my good days. The reality is I wouldn't change that. He got really sick when he was about 6 months old with chronic ear infections. Just one right after the other till his little drums busted...and then started over again. He has such a high pain tolerance that most of the time you wouldn't know he was sick. He was always smiling and laughing. The problem is that he wasn't hearing. We weren't able to communicate. So we taught ourselves our version of sign language based on what he was already trying to sign. As well, he was really good at reading faces and body language so that helped him understand what was going on to a degree. After he had tubes put in at 2 years old, his hearing got better, his speech therapy has helped his actual speech, but his comprehension still has some holes in it. This is where it gets complicated. People see a rambunctious 5 year old who is willfully disobedient. In reality he is a 4 year old who has trouble assessing the situations sometimes and over compensates by being crazy. Don't get me wrong...he's willfully disobedient too, but not every time like people think.
Willfully Crazy here as he "runs away"
yet again.

He's too loud because he can't hear his own volume correctly.

He's too big for his own age group.

He's too "dumb" for the older kids.

He's easily hurt by every insult thrown at him by everyone like Frankenstein, Monster, Stupid...You understanding the picture yet? Here's where I get angry though. Kids are kids. They learn as they make mistakes. Adults though? They should know better.

    I found out last night that a situation that I thought was a non-issue is actually a big issue. That two sweet friends of mine are stuck in the middle having to choose sides like it's middle school again. That apparently another girl, a mom nonetheless, will not be in the same room as me because...who knows why. Last I heard it was vaccination opinion differences but given that it has escalated this far over the course of a few months without me knowing about the seriousness till this week, who knows the reason now. What I do know is this girl putting her foot down in such a childish manner has caused our mutual friends to have separate play dates, girls night ins, you name it. It went so far that when we were invited to the same play date, one of us couldn't go.

    My sweet friend was put in the position of "uninviting" us to appease this mom. I honestly don't blame them. It's simple logistics and timing. But I do blame the mom who started this. Who couldn't come to me like an adult and talk things over when all we had was a simple difference of opinion. Because now, thanks to her actions I get to explain to my little boy tomorrow when he asks "when are we going to go see my friends?" in reference to the play date he knows is happening...that we aren't going. Not because of him. But because someone has an issue with a decision I made in regards to him. A decision I have the right to make. What's worse is that none of this will affect her. She won't be the one wiping his tears, or explaining that it's really not him this time. She will be able to get away scott free on this matter when it comes to the damage to my son. And she probably won't even realize it.

    I know there are some that are reading this and thinking, "just lie to him then". I don't do that with my son for two reasons. First, it's a commandment. Thou shalt not lie. One I'm pretty adamant about. Second, if I want my son to trust me then he has to know he can. Lying undermines trust like nothing else. The truth hurts like nothing else sometimes but it has never undermined trust. He needs to know that I will always be honest with him on these issues so in the future we have a foundation to help us through bigger issues that can have an even bigger impact on him.

    I get that we all parent differently. We are all different people with different beliefs and different backgrounds. But while I would normally be nice and wrap this up with a great little pick me up today I'm not. Today is different because today I get to be the bad guy and break my little boys heart and then try and repair it. So while we go about our parenting today can we all remember that we don't have the right to inflict our beliefs on others. We don't have the right to bully others. We certainly don't have the right to dictate to others how to raise their kids. And if we can't get that, then remember simply that your actions as adults have an impact on innocent children. 

Best Wishes,
Jules & Monkey

Friday, August 29, 2014

Packing like a Pro

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Over the river and through the woods to Crazy Town we know you sang it :) Every time we take a vacation I go crazy. There is a week when I live on coffee and lists and feel like i'm always forgetting something. It's a week of planning and cleaning and packing and prepping and hair-pulling and...insert bad mommy habit here. But in the end, we have everything we need, the trip goes smoothly, and the lil' monster is happy on the car ride. Both Ways! So this time I'm sharing my lists and awesome crazy with you - so you can appear less crazy :)

To start with you will need:

  • A Pen
  • A Trip Notebook (A three ring binder with a clear insert on the front)
  • Clear page protectors (dollar tree has packs of 10 that have a 3 hole punch)
  • Blank Paper for random notes to yourself :)
I then added my Notebook cover page.

From there I use my page protectors to build our trip. Here's the order I use. You can do it differently, obviously, if you want.
  1. Trip Cover page: Destination, Dates To & From, Occasion if needed
  2. Printed Map To & From (in case there is no GPS reception)
  3. Hotel Confirmation Page
  4. Activities we are doing / Itinerary
**When the trip is over I put all the pages together in one page protector behind the Cover Page and put it in the back of the book. The next time we would like to go to that destination we have most of the info ready to go!

Next up is the car...the dreaded car. I actually take most of the responsibility for our car because I drive it the most. It is the quintessential Mom Mobile and as such I like to do most of the work with it. I keep it up to date season wise so come trip time there are a few things to do to prep it.
Normally how my car looks minus the stroller that resides in it :)
**My hanging organizer is a shoe rack from dollar tree that I cut in half and nailed in. We don't plan on selling our car. Just driving her till she dies :( The other organizer is a traditional car organizer from an Auto Store that I have had longer than I have been married...That's been with me through all 5 of my cars. You all need one. Seriously. Now. :)
  • Clean it: Take out the trash, Vacuum it, Get those random toys out. Wipe down the windows and surfaces. 
  • Restock your supplies. I keep a first aid kit, a medicine bucket, a restaurant activity kit, and extra diapers / wipes / trash bags in my car at all times. I also keep tissues packs in the doors for the random runny noses. As well, an extra outfit for oops-es since my son still has the occasional accident when he is sleeping.
  • I maintain car tools for breakdowns in my car as well. We live in Mississippi right now but I did my time in PA with a car that liked to breakdown...I learned my lesson. I always keep a few hot hands, ponchos, umbrellas, flashlight, tools, fuses, as well as the basic car jack / spare tire. 
Now when I know trips are coming up I take the toy bucket out of the car and replace the toys so they seem brand new. Best Mom trick E-vah!!! I also start in on the trip fun. Trips are tough enough with kids, but cranky kids make a trip unbearable. With a little planning any trip can fly by and be a lot of fun actually. Most of the ideas I use I got from friends, family, Pinterest, his nursery, his speech therapist, VBS...the places are endless. Just raid your home first before buying anything, and talk to everyone for great ideas!
The Trip "Kick-Off" Bag

  1. He had a bag to kick the trip off. Some old toys from a garage sale he
    The Blue Bucket holds his toys on the floor
    normally. On trips, it's within arms reach :)
    had forgotten about plus a new cowboy gun and sheriff's badge (to be the man of the house while Dad was away). Bonus: That bag was used to collect treasures along the way throughout the vacation!He had his Toy Bucket back with "new" toys.
  2. I bought a kid desk at Michael's on discount since it was a little beat up to help him with his art projects. Highly suggest these things. This one tucked neatly into the back of the chair when not in use :)
  3. He has a Kurio with lots of educational kids games and netflix (bonus!) but didn't even ask for it this time :)
  4. The Bonus Bags. Best idea ever! Brown lunch bags with random toys in it. I mark them 1- whatever (normally one for every other hour of the trip both ways) and close them up. Bring a dice and let them roll. Use these bags as bribes, incentives, lures into the restrooms...I don't care...They are awesome! I Never give Monkey the toys out of his happy meals because he's too busy playing or sleeping, so they all go into a box for later. I raid that for these bags :) When he's (fill in the blank here) I let him roll the dice and he gets the bag to match that number.
  5. The Fruit Loop "Candy" Bracelets. A snack Ziploc bag with
    Fruit Loops and a Bendy in it. They string the Fruit Loops on it then you close it up and they can wear it while they eat it :) Self Contained fun game that will last awhile, and its a snack! Two-fer!
  6. Small Cookie Sheet and Magnets. Put the Magnets in a Ziploc Bag for your own Sanity.
  7. Empty Egg Carton and colored Puffs. They can sort to they're hearts content. You can be super cool and put stickers in the bottom of the egg carton for them to match the colors to. 
  8. Extra plastic cups as well for sorting is always fun. 
  9. Coloring books with wonder color markers and stickers. Just remember to turn your  OCD off because those stickers will end up in weird places :) The endless giggles will make it worth it though.
  10. Pillow :)
    Car Pillows go a long way...and are not hard to make ladies :)
     **Get a solid Flexi-Bucket for the front seat that can hold the extra games, toys, and food within arms reach to make life easier. This is especially necessary if you are road-tripping by yourself! Otherwise get a little one that fits by your feet and when you stop, change it out! Keep them guessing or you will be miserable.
My "Blue Bucket" with extra activities, My Orange cooler tote with
snacks / drinks, and my new yellow Life Bag with my Trip Notebook :)

Plan your food. Its easy to pack breakfast and lunch. Freeze some water bottles as ice packs and throw some fresh fruit and bagels in a cooler. I always bring some PB&J and deli meat / cheese as well as an unopened juice bottle for Monkey. As well, pack some snack packs of your favorite things and keep it handy. I gave Monkey his own Snack container (old Baby Wipes container) that he could choose things from. A little freedom can go a long way in making kids happy. And don't forget to bring some for the ride home :)

Suitcases! the bane of my existence...Its been too long since we have been on a plane so this is in no way how to pack according to weight restrictions. This is how to pack with kids. Period. I use my trusty Packing List - Toddler. Altered from the original Packing List - Baby. I throw everything in the suitcase as it is washed so it doesn't get worn and then two days before the trip I lay everything on the bed and match up the outfits, fill in the blanks on the lists, and stuff the suitcases. My hubby and I share one suitcase and our son has one. That leaves a cooler, tech bag, life bag, pack~n~play, and stroller to pack. Remember I have a permanent diaper bag with a change of clothes in the car :) 

     My son's suitcase is packed a little differently than ours. I put his outfits together (underwear and socks included) and put them in gallon Ziploc bags. Push the air out when you seal them and they lay really flat. They also double as dirty laundry bags so if there is an accident you don't have to worry about the smell or mess in the suitcase. Bonus, your kid can get dressed themselves without your fear of not matching. If you need certain outfits for certain days, just number the bags to match the days in your vacation. His blankets, noise machine, diapers, etc...all go in his bag so I pack his carefully.

I always clean my house before leaving for vacation. It's why I stress so much. The timing is so close together that I feel like I'm sleep deprived going in. However, I hate coming home relaxed to a huge mess and more work. I change the sheets, clean the bathrooms, do all the laundry, and run the dishes as i'm walking out the door. Don't leave laundry in the washer or dishes in the sink as that will cause a huge smell and no one likes a smelly home fresh from vacation. I also throw some powder down on the carpet and vacuum the day before so everything smells amazing and feels amazing. We always leave really early in the morning so we leave the house beautiful :) I love it but it does take some work. 
Our Lt. Logan going to the Dog Sitter! If you take your animals in the car, get them proper restraints. We were going five houses down, but he is normally in a harness with his car leash :)
If you have animals, please take some time to find the best place for them. They are family and deserve to be treated as such. We now have 2 dogs, 1 cat (who thinks she's a god), and a turtle. The turtle is the easiest out of them all :) We have to board the dogs and find someone to come once a day to the house for the other two. I print out Caretaker Lists for anyone who has our animals to help. I included them to give you an idea of what to include. At the top I also try to write who they are going to and the dates we are going to be gone. 
After Animals, Before Children...

That trash bucket is a permanent feature and I love it!

We have a Bear Rug that my Son takes everywhere right now :)
Freaking people out on the highway was fun though...

Trips are time consuming and difficult but with a little planning and work they can be a lot of fun and definitely easier than we anticipate. Keep everything for your trip in your binder. In the long run, the best thing to remember is that the trip is not about the destination, it's about the journey. It's about those adorable little people in the back seat taking that journey with you. It may not be like that vacation you used to have where you packed a duffle bag and hit the road for the beach and sipped margaritas but this time is so much better. You get to be a pirate and a cowgirl and a princess all in one day. You will be told "you're the best" a hundred times over a simple candy bracelet. You will get to see about twenty different restrooms and suddenly appreciate yours so much more :) You will be exhausted and beat down and smell like cleaning solutions and yet there will still be a precious little person who wants to climb into bed with you and snuggle when you get to your destination. Because, let's face it, we're parents. We're Moms. Our destination is our children. and it's the best destination in the world.

Best Wishes,
Jules & Monkey

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Quit!

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     Mom Wars blow! Let's face it, no matter where we turn, there is media and strangers telling us we are doing this mothering thing wrong. I don't know about you but I am done! I know who I am as a mom and wife and while I may trip every now and again it's normally because this pesky Mom War keeps getting in the way and shoving it's opinion in my face. So today I am covering the big issues from both sides and we are all going to learn what is Acceptable Behavior together. And then we are all going to
 Dun dun DUN!!!!(belt :D) QUIT! together :) 
   Now I know that the video is long, but seriously, we women have a  lot of issues! like, this list is the short on to the good stuff! Simply click on the hyperlink below (above the photo) and wait for the download to finish. I'm sorry if it takes a moment, it's a part of Google Share with longer videos :)

     Now let's all say it together: "Not Acceptable Behavior".

Best Wishes,
Jules & Monkey

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Home, Same World

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She's ready to go!
  Our move is finally over and the last picture is, well...almost hung. We were blessed to have a contracted move to base housing and even more blessed to have a house in a cul-de-sac that is full of other kids Monkey's age. The move however, like all moves took planning, patience, and a level of understanding for each other that we don't normally have to have. In my previous post - Not Uprooting, Just Replanting - I mentioned a few things that we use to assist in our moves. This time around I went ahead and put all my other tricks down too. I figured I would share them all with you so you could have your own easy move guide as well!

  My first step is getting my go-to supplies:
  • Accordion Folder
  • Clipboard and Pad-folio combo (Target sells them for about $12 and they are awesome multi-taskers)
  • Two pens, different colors (I use black and red)
  • Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!!!!

   Secondly, I always have a calendar and utilize a schedule but in a move 
He's such a goof...
my calendars either get erased or are too small to be effective. Because of that, I print out a weekly calendar for the week of our move and live on that till we are in our new place. All our moves have happened on a weekend, so all my preparations have started around Tuesday and ended around Monday. Here's the one I use:  Weekly Calendar.

   Next, is my reminder list for my Utilities. If possible, print it front and back to make it easier on yourself. I write down the companies as we remember them, call them, write down if we are getting a deposit back, even if they are coming to either house for anything and on what day. The best part is it is all on one sheet and my Hubby knows where to find it when he needs to do the bills come payday. Just remember to keep the latest bills in your Accordion File so even if you are not settled in to the new house you can still stay on track and not get penalized for late payments. 

     **Side note: always keep your utility companies programmed into your phone to make it easier to pay or solve an issue. If your pay online, bookmark the page. As well, keep a list of your account numbers and PW's for your significant other in a safe location. That way if something happens and someone needs to assist you with that part of your day it will be less stressful.

Pick your battles during a move people.
Pick your battles.
 Also, Your accordion file will come in handy for a few things. Here's my favorites:

  • Important Family Documents (to keep them safe in the move)
  • Bills, to make paying easier
  • Separating money: get cash for your cleaners, sitters, etc and put them in separate files with notes for an easier day. that way no matter who is taking care of that "chore" it is laid out and can't be messed up due to stress or mis-communication.
  • Paperwork from the movers
   Lastly, for my family is food. I always shop on payday and normally cook every night. When we move though I try to empty the fridge as much as possible so I change how I shop. We go to a lot of munchies and sandwiches and purposefully build in a few days for take-out. Don't forget that most likely you won't be shopping for a few days after the move as well so plan for that as well. Take-out, freezer meals, sandwiches, get you through. If you have a grill - use it! And don't forget your paper plates :)
Take a moment to just let it all out! 
Cracking out!
   I mentioned at the beginning, moves take planning, patience, and understanding. I can help you Plan, but learning to have Patience with the process and the companies is all you. The area my family has had the biggest learning curve personally is Understanding. Every move is different, every age is different, even every day is different. We go into our moves knowing there is going to be upheaval and issues and back pain even. The cat will hide in the empty closets and the dog will go crazy about the new back yard. My child will crack out on the latest cartoon addiction for days while I try to unpack as quickly as possible all while telling myself the back pain is worth it as long as we can get back to "normal" quicker. My husband will keep the coffee pot running 24/7 just to survive the chaos and somewhere in there we will end up laughing at everything. Nothing will be normal but everything will be ok and through every move we learn a little more about each other and have a little more understanding for each other. Just remember that moves affect everyone differently. Step back occasionally and see how the ones you love are coping.

Don't forget to do a date in folks :) and Laugh!

Best Wishes,
Jules & Hubby