A Guide for the Southern Belle Snowbird

#FabFriYAYFive

A Guide for the Southern Belle Snowbird

Y’all I am cold.

Like, my bones are cold.  And, all I want to do is escape to a desert somewhere.  Or wherever it is not 20 degrees or below. HA!

So, let’s take a glance at what we have to look forward to here in a few months when we can finally escape the tundra!

It is officially resort season … aka that time of year when snowbirds flood our newsfeeds with jealousy-inducing photos of their Sports Illustrated cover edition sun tans.

Why can’t that be me and you this year, sister?

If you have a warm getaway approaching, OR you just want to stock up to get yourself excited for summer…today’s post is for you.

Side note: did you know that fashion lines typically roll out resort wear collections in late October?  These lines include warm weather wear, swimsuits, beach accessories, etc.  All the happy things.  I will let you in on a little secret, NY & Company puts out one of my favorite resort collections every single year.  They surprisingly don’t advertise these lines well enough, but they come out with one every year.  I actually enjoy their resort collections sometimes better than their every day lines.  They are amazing.  So, be on the lookout for them and stock up on Black Friday next year!

DISCLAIMER: All of the items below are monogrammed, because well #SouthernBelle.  BUT, you can get all of these items without a monogram if you prefer a more subtle beach look 😉

Finally, Marley Lilly (the shop where you can find all of these items) is simply amazing.  If you are on the hunt for monogrammed goods, I suggest Marley Lilly or Swoozies! Happy shopping!

Ok, on to this season’s cute finds…

(1) Pineapple Jewelry Pouch – Nothing is worse than a sandy diamond ring, or sea-salt stained gold bangle.  Am I right, friends?  So, I searched high and low for an extra cute option for all us Southern Belles…and stumbled upon possibly the cutest beach bag addition since forever.

Photo: MarleyLilly

(2) Insulated Cups – My love for Tervis Tumbler may be my strongest material love.  Nah.  Nevermind.  This girl is all about the purses and shoes.  BUT, I LOVE a good Tervis.  Nothing I’ve found does a better job of insulating your beverage and I love the texture of the cups.  Check these out if you need a fun cup for the beach…remember the “no glass” rule 😉

Photo: MarleyLilly

(3) Coordinating Pom Pom Accessories – If you’ve been in our little tribe for long, you know that I am unabashedly obsessed with pom pom anything.  Heck I would put a pom pom trim on my microwave if it wasn’t distasteful.  This hat and bag combo will have you turnin’ heads all the while shielding you from the sun’s harmful rays and keepin your pineapple jewelry bag (above) safe and secure 😉

Photo: MarleyLilly

Hat: HERE

Tote: HERE

(4) Clear Makeup Bag – I love this thing whether I’m headed to the beach or not!  Plus, you could totally use this for game days since most stadiums have now introduced a clear bag rule. SCORE!

Photo: MarleyLilly

(5) Pineapple Sandals – Keeping with the pineapple theme, how adorable are these sandals?  The monogram on these is subtle and the threading is divine.

Photo: MarleyLilly

NOTE: I do not receive any form of commission or affiliate revenue from any of my product endorsements.  These are simply just products I really love and thought you may love them, too!

What were some of your favorite products this week?  And what are your snowbird necessities?

Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our Tribe!!  Please sign up for our Monday newsletter to receive weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Sip On A Cup of I’ve Got This

#MommaMonday

Sip On A Cup of I’ve Got This

It’s Monday morning.

The kids are screaming.

You forgot to switch over the laundry, so the kids now have nothing to wear (or at least not if you consider clean underwear a necessity…).

It pops in your head that your gas light was on last night and you forgot to fill ‘er up.

You haven’t packed lunches yet.

Or brushed your teeth.

Heck, are you even wearing clothes yet?!?

Not to mention it’s 15 minutes before you have to be where you’re headed and it looks like you aren’t headin’ out for another good 30-45 minutes.

Cool.

Yeah.

Those are the best days.

The days that make you want to pull your hair out and ask God for a “do over.”

A few months ago I found myself having this kind of day almost every single day.

“What is WRONG with me?!?!” I kept asking out loud.

I just could NOT get it together.

Have you been there?!?

School started every morning at the same time.  And I knew it.  But, I just could not get myself up and motivated to get us there on time.

For a while I blamed the kids.  Well, if B had gotten up and gotten dressed like I screamed at her to…I mean gently encouraged her to do…we’d have been on time.

And then I blamed the hubby.  Well, if you had offered to pump my gas last night because you telepathically read my mind and knew that I needed some I wouldn’t have had to stop on the way to school.

And then I blamed society.  Because why on earth would any school (or anything in general, really) begin before 10:00 a.m.?!?

Eehhh.  Let’s just say, I needed to get over myself.  And fast

One night when I was channel surfing, I ran across a McDonald’s commercial that had nothing to do with my predicament, but I loved the tagline: “Sip On a Cup of I’ve Got This.”

Whoa.  That really stopped me in my tracks.  I LIVE for catchy slogans, people.

I am not a morning person.  Never have been, never will be.

So the notion of me getting out of bed to in the morning to claim that title of “morning super hero” eluded me.

But, this slogan made me want to be one.  Really badly.

So, I tried it…using the tiniest baby steps possible.

I set my alarm for 5 minutes earlier the next morning.

And spoiler alert: I did not explode.  Life did not come to a halt.  And if I’m being honest, nothing changed.

Each morning for the next week I backed up my alarm until I was waking up a whole 30 minutes earlier.

I’m not gonna lie to you, friend.  Those first few days of earlier rising were rough.  Like I’m ashamed of myself.

However, I survived.  My kids survived.  Even my hubby came out mostly unscathed 😉

I used those 30 minutes to collect my thoughts, read a quick devotional, pray and center myself.

I wish I could express to you through these typed words what a transformative process this teeny tweak in my agenda has had on my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all of the sudden in line for Mom of the Year or anything, but at least I’m not screeching in to carpool line on two wheels narrowly missing the safety patrol children each morning…

Maybe you’re like me, and the thought of rising any earlier than normal sends you into an unnecessary bout of over the top anxiety.

That’s ok.

Take those moments to Sip on Your Cup of I’ve Got This in the afternoon.  Or at night.

Whenever you can carve out 30 minutes alone, do it.

It will change your life.

As it turns out, no matter what our mommin’ looks like, we NEED some time alone.  Heck, the kids NEED some time alone, too.

We need to check out for our own little Mommy Time Out and breathe.

When we take control of our thoughts, we give ourselves back power and focus.

Sometimes all we need in life is to take a sip of I’ve Got This and keep it movin’, friends.

Do you need to take a breather?  What do you do to center yourself each day? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! SO grateful you are here today.  If you would like to connect with a group of real Moms doin’ the hard work of Mommyhood each and every day, you are in the right place!  We would love to have you join our once weekly email list (comes out on Mondays only) which will have all of our new posts for that week listed for your convenience.  Please subscribe below for weekly tips, recipes, encouragement and more! We need your voice!  Have a great week! 🙂

Mom Hack for All Those Holiday Cards

#MommaMonday

Mom Hack for All Those Holiday Cards

I LOVE getting family Christmas cards in the mail.

I love mail in general.  But, holiday cards are just next level, folks.

Those beautiful, perfectly posed, expensive little pieces of paper remind me that we are all doing our very dang best in this job of Mommin’.

When they start pouring in mid to late November (I see you Over Achiever Moms 😉 ), my hubby and I even start a friendly competition of who wins us the most nods in the form of cards for the year.  It’s quite honestly one of my fave traditions to date…

And once the tree comes down a few days after Christmas I can’t help but stare over at those gorgeous cards and feel utter shame as I drop each one tenderly into the trash bin trying ever so carefully not to bend the edges …as if they aren’t about to meet their final destination in an over-crowded dump.

A few years ago my card dumpin’ dismay really got to me.  I was tossing upwards of $ 40 – $ 50 worth of people’s hard earned (and very well designed, might I add…) holiday treasures in my trash can like yesterday’s discards.  And I just couldn’t do it anymore.

So, I came up with a solution!

Now, when I receive your holiday card, it gets displayed from the day I receive it until Christmas is over.  THEN, I add it to a special annual ring of cards.  For the remainder of the year my family and I will commit to pray over you and your family.  We may not say a prayer for each family every day, or even every week, but your family is gettin’ prayed over up in here!

My girls love to sit and go through our little rings of love all the time.  It’s so nice (and sometimes necessary) to remind ourselves of all the wonderful people God has placed in our lives.

Creating a family / friend prayer reminder ring can do just that.

These little creations become gorgeous coffee table pieces and excellent conversation starters when company is over.

In fact, some of the best moments are when one of the families is over at our house, recognizes their card and inquires about its existence in our home months after Christmas.

It’s always so fun to share the little prayer pack idea and see them filled with joy that their work of art was not discarded like they had imagined.  Not to mention how grateful they are after learning about that extra breath of prayer over them from time to time.

If you are like me, and feel some kinda way about discarding your loved ones’ holiday cards, this idea may be a great one for you.

And if not, be sure to tell your packrat / borderline hoarder cousin about it.  This should be right up her alley 😉

By the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!!

What do you do with your holiday cards when you are finished with them?  Ditch or keep?

Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! SO grateful you are here today.  If you would like to connect with a group of real Moms doin’ the hard work of Mommyhood each and every day, you are in the right place!  We would love to have you join our once weekly email list (comes out on Mondays only) which will have all of our new posts for that week listed for your convenience.  Please subscribe below for weekly tips, recipes, encouragement and more! We need your voice!  Have a great week! 🙂

Momma Manual: Baby Carrier Giveaway

Momma Manual

Addition to My Registry Checklist for All New Moms

Sift through all the frou-frou and discover the must-haves!

When I was registering for my first baby I had no clue where to start.  The store was more than willing to provide me with a 14 page guide listing 1 million options in every single category.  Naturally, I sat in the severely worn floor model recliner and requested a box of cookies to eat away at my anxiety…

I had no time or patience for walking down every single aisle hunting for the greatest gear.  And every time I asked a friend, it was a whole new litany of required garb.

So, a while back, I drafted a registry checklist (that you can view HERE), and after livin’ it out, I’ve got one more item to add:

A baby carrier!!

Wow.

Jesus be a baby carrier.

Those things are what Momma (and Daddy 😉 ) dreams are made of!

After searching high and low, I have to say I found several favorites, but the Tula is just too beautiful not to rank at the top of the list.  I mean just look at the gorgeous detailing!!:

And guess what?!?   I am co-hosting a giveaway of a gorgeous Tula just in time for Christmas with some of my fellow blogging babes!

So if you are a Momma with a little one (or know someone who is 😉 ) you should definitely give this giveaway a go!  Here are the quick deets:

  • The contest runs from today (12/16 – 12/22) and the winner will be announced December 23rd

– We are using a rafflecopter to select the winner and if you are the winner, you will be notified on the 23rd!

If you would like to enter to win, click the photo below and add one of these lifesavers to your baby garb, too!

What is your “must-have” Momma item? Let me know, so I can add it to our list 🙂

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! You are home!  Please sign up below if you would like to receive our Monday email which consists of recipes, tips and a whole ‘lot of encouragement for the week ahead 😉

Earthly Blemishes and Heavenly Reminders

#MommaMonday

Earthly Blemishes and Heavenly Reminders

Last week on Thanksgiving, I shared my whole “glass-half-full” approach to Mommyhood with my fam.

Because, as with every family, some of my loved ones were feeling, well, bogged down in the business of Mommin’.

Some were even negative about it, commenting about all the ways motherhood has changed them.

And I totally agree.

Motherhood does change us.

ALOT.

But, I think motherhood has changed us all for the better.

It’s all in the way we look at things.

All of us have blemishes now because of our journeys.

We may dress differently.

Look differently.

Act differently.

Think differently.

But, at the end of the day, we Mommas have all been changed for the better.

If you need a little perspective change-up, check this out:

These stretch marks remind me that I was gifted two precious children. I was able to carry them on my own. God chose to use my body as the vessel to bring them into this world. And He just so happened to leave a special reminder of those moments. Rather than scoffing at their presence, I will thank Him for blessing me with my family.

This cellulite on my thighs seemed to pack on pretty fast after baby number one. As a relatively fit human, I was appalled at its emergence. But, now I look at it as a constant reminder that we all have areas of improvement. I thank God for the opportunity to explore those improvements. My body is a temple, as I keep reminding myself. And even the grandest of temples have blemishes.

These bags under my eyes represent the hours I spend nurturing my little ones. I could be enjoying blissful sleep with no distractions, but I am called to something so much greater. My babies need grace and love. Just like I do. And these bags, while temporary, are permanent reminders that a little lack of sleep is certainly worth the love I share with my God-given gifts.

This pain in my back has resulted from years of lifting and chasing little ones. I could sit and complain about it, or I could take a Tylenol and remind myself that there will come a day when I will wish I could chase them around at home rather than at the mall or at some boy’s house nearby…

These missed calls from friends are reminders that my priorities have drastically changed…for the better. Rather than spending my time appeasing my selfish desires, I am reveling in the opportunity to create my newest little #squad 😉

This empty bank account is super stressful. These stacks of bills make me wanna crawl in a hole and hide. But, snuggling at home is way better than the hustle and bustle any day. Ramen noodles never tasted better since they come coupled with a big bear hug. And the smiles on those innocent, grateful faces make every penny … and lack thereof… worthwhile.

This trashed car looks like a city dumpster. You would think I have 27 children with all the trash collecting going on up in here. But, those crackers crushed into the carpet means somebody was fed that day. Those crayons melting into the seats means someone found joy in coloring. And those ballet shoes strewn about in the backseat means someone is on a fun adventure. Today, I will be grateful to even have a vehicle to transport these little ones on their journeys of life.

This laundry room full of dirty, nasty, stinky clothes is overwhelming, quite honestly. I avoid it at all costs most days. But, today I am going to gaze at the tiny dresses and think about the little bodies who wear them. The little bodies that danced into my life and changed my life (and my laundry room) for the better.

This den is full of junk. My guests must think we have been collecting for a gigantic charitable donation for months. Wait, guests…? What are those? There’s been a “quarantined” sign on my house circa 2012…But, that’s really ok. I don’t wanna don my apron right now anyway. I probably do need to tidy up this den, though… Ok, rather than gritting my teeth as I clean, I will reminisce about all the fun moments we share here. And plan for hundreds more…

This sloppy getup I’ve got going on is probably not appealing to those forced to view it… But, to my babies, these PJs mean Mommy is ready to be jumped on, snuggled with, kissed, and wrestled in the floor.  They mean I’ve got all the time in the world to do some lovin’.

Whew.  That’s a whole lotta “little merry sunshine” for this Monday morning.  But, I hope that as each of us gets down, because we will from time to time, we will always remember that these earthly blemishes are heavenly reminders of God’s infinite blessings.

What earthly blemishes have you struggled with lately?  And how do you overcome them?

Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! We are so thankful you are here 🙂 If you want to be updated each time there is new content including Momma tips, recipes, fashion inspo and encouragement, please subscribe to our Monday newsletter here:

 

A New Kind of SuperMom

#MommaMonday

A New Kind of SuperMom

You’ve seen her…

The perfect mom.

The one who appears to walk right off the pages of Southern Living with pearls softly draped around her neck and a freshly baked batch of homemade mini muffins in her designer tote that are still warm for God’s sake.

She would never have spaghetti stains on her ankle jeans.

She couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to scrub poop off a crib at 2 am.

And we kinda don’t like her, do we?

Even though we have NO CLUE what goes on in her home.  Her head.  Or her heart.

Have we gotten to know her?

Do we really know what goes on in her Pinterest Perfect life?

I’m guessing if we are honest, the answer is a resounding, yet sheepish, “No…”

But we sure are judging her, aren’t we?

And if we’re being honest, it’s because we’re chillin’ in our sweatpants during carpool jammin’ to the latest rap watching her strut across the parking lot in her stilettos … and we just feel….well, inadequate.  Less than.  Not totally up to this crazy intense challenge also known as Mommyhood.

What if we stopped creating mental standards?

What if we committed to stop using the phrase, “there goes that mom again.”

And we just loved each other.

And supported one another.

And (gasp) what if we took the time to actually get to know one another?

Because every single Mom is incredible in her own way.  And the real beauty behind the whole “Mommyhood” thing is that we have our own unique strengths…and weaknesses.

We can celebrate both.  Together.

It is in our darkest spots, that God can come in to shine the Light.

In a world where kindness is sadly a rarity, let’s be the Moms that love one another unconditionally.  No matter how Pinterest Perfect…or lack thereof… 😉 each one of us truly are.

There is a new #SuperMom in town.  And girlfriend, allow me to share a little secret …it’s YOU!

Have you ever struggled with being labeled or maybe labeling other Moms? 

Please share your experiences in the comments to encourage others!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Erase It and Start Over

#MommaMonday

Erase It and Start Over

This week, my toddler took me to church.

And school.

And just…well, schooled me on all things life in general.

Back story comin’ at ya right now…

It was a Monday. That simple fact is foreshadowing enough for the events to follow…

The time was 11:42. Carpool line was about to get really cranked up. All of us had been either idling in our cars for an hour up to this point or stealing that awesome carpool cat nap. (Side note: Praise Jesus for carpool catnaps)

Thinking I was being super responsible, I arrived 30 minutes early, turned my car off, paid some bills, checked some emails, scarfed down a BLT and wait….hold up, #realtalk I was catching that nap, girrrrrl…

So, when I heard the sudden whirring of engines cranking up, I jolted to attention. As the teachers started spilling out of the school, I put my car in drive only to hear silence when I turned the key.

Important note: Apparently, it is universally well-known that you cannot crank a vehicle while it is in drive…

Um.  That little ditty sure wasn’t on my permit exam. UGH!

Jesus Be A Driving Manual…

SO, after 15 minutes of sheer embarrassment, forced awkward conversations with school personnel and face palm moments times a million, my ignorance was eventually remedied, my child was finally released into her crazy mother’s care and life went on.

The second my little one got in the car she could sense my angst.

It was palpable, to say the least.

And kids just have a sixth sense about those kinda things, don’t they?

I began the pleasantries, “How was your day?” “Who were your friends?” “What did you learn today?”

She reached into her bag and retrieved her artwork (which let’s be real, folks, is always museum worthy 😉 ) and informed me that I was viewing her self portrait.

I complimented her on the beautiful smile she had drawn.

That’s when she chose to lower the boom of truth on her frazzled Momma…

She said, “Thanks Mommy. Smiles are really important. One of my friends drew a frowny face on her picture. I just told her to get out her eraser, erase that thing and start over. And Mommy you need to erase your frowny face and start over, too.”

WHOA.

Hold up, kid.

Now I’m not saying I’m raising the next (faith-filled version) of Oprah…

But, what I’m saying is: I’m raising the next (faith-filled version) Oprah.

Because the girl’s got this world figured out, friends.

In all seriousness, if I would take a moment each time I find myself down, to just stop and reboot, I might find happiness is far less elusive.

Erasing and starting over seems all too easy, doesn’t it?

But the second we realize that happiness is a choice, it gets a little easier.

We cannot control what happens to us.

But, we can control how we react to it.

We must choose to be happy.

And when the dreary days come (and they will…) and those frowny faces pop up, let’s erase ’em … and start over 😉

What lesson(s) has your child(ren) taught you this week? Please share in the comments!

We’d LOVE to have you in our Tribe! Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly Mom love, recipes, tips and encouragement! 🙂

Crises to Convictions

#ThoughtfulThursday

Crises to Convictions

Hey, friends.

I sure have missed y’all.  I wanted to apologize and offer up an explanation of why the past few weeks have been pretty quiet on the blog.

Y’all have become my family…can you believe we’ve been hangin’ out each week for almost 2 years now?!?!

And I love every minute of “doin’ life” with y’all!

So, I want to thank you for your patience.  Some of you reached out, and I felt the need to extend my hand back with some extra inside info 😉

Bare with me, this is still a bit raw…

Last week my youngest (3.5 years old) woke up one morning and was unable to use her legs.  She could barely stand and when she did, she screamed in pain, fell to the floor and writhed as if her little insides were being internally attacked.

Just as any Momma would be, I was shocked, scared out of my mind and in tears.

After a loooong appointment at her pediatrician’s office, the doctor stared at us and shared that he thought she had early onset arthritis.

No.

Nope.

Wait.  WHAT?!

My overly bubbly, in your face amazing, gigantic smile-creating sunshine of a child was now suffering from something that Mommy couldn’t wipe away with a tissue, or kiss away like a scrape…

My little one just stared into the doctor’s eyes unaware of what her future might hold in those moments.

Over the next few days we were able to secure an appointment with a rheumatologist.  We went to bed the night before the appointment having no idea whether or not our daughter was destined to years of therapy, medication and whatever else was required to return her to her “new normal.”

The morning before her appointment with the specialist, I heard a familiar lilty voice peep on the video monitor.  I think I fell out of bed jolting to look at my little one!!

SHE HAD CRAWLED OUT OF HER BED AND WAS WALKING AS IF NOTHING HAD EVER HAPPENED, PEOPLE!

I kid you not.

Miracles are real.  God is real.  He is with you.  He never forsakes you.  And He goes before you to pave the way on which you will walk.

We are each going to face trials in our lives.  That is promised.

But, God can use those moments to shape us into an even better, stronger tool to be used by Him.

Even in those 3 am, crying moments when we don’t have any of the answers, God is there.

And He is the only one who does have those answers…

Just gonna leave this little gem right here:

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I’ll tell you what, though.

That is not the only lesson that God was teaching me that day.

When we arrived at the rheumatologist’s office I began to gaze around the waiting room.

I saw a mother carrying a child in her arms who was unable to walk.

I witnessed a child attempting to hold her sippy cup and it falling from her hands because she could not grasp it.

I watched as a little boy cried into his mother’s shirt in pain.

And I stopped and asked God for forgiveness.

How many times do we take everything for granted?

How often do we yell at God for the tiniest of storms that pop up in our lives when others are going through nightmarish ordeals?

And do we truly thank Him for the calm moments He so graciously provides?

God used this hiccup in my child’s life to teach all of us so many lessons.

The one I cling to every day going forward is to be grateful.

When we wake up and we have breath in our lungs, let’s thank God.

When we walk to our kitchen to fix a meal (even when it’s just cereal and water before a grocery run), let’s praise God for providing.

When we look at our families, let’s exalt the Lord for His goodness.

Life goes a million miles a minute at times.

And it can seem overwhelming, like we don’t have a second to spare.

How about we take a few moments each day this week to reflect on God’s goodness…

And about how we can address the needs of others…

The world is hurting.  The world so desperately needs Jesus.

Let’s take a meal to a neighbor,

offer to love on someone’s child for a bit while they take a much-needed break,

send an uplifting word of encouragement,

donate clothing and food to a local shelter,

volunteer at a local hospital, or

offer to help a loved one in a time of need.

Let’s actively live in gratitude.

Let’s give back to God’s world.

And let’s remind them that He is there in crises and in miracles.

And He is always good…  All the time.

What lessons have you learned this week?  Have they come in surprising forms? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our tribe!  We are so thankful you are here 🙂 Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly recipes, fashion inspo, tips and encouragement!

 

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

#MommaMonday

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

One of my favorite things about my kiddos being back in school is all the incredible artwork they bring home.

But, you know what one of my least favorite things is about my kiddos being back in school?

All the incredible artwork they keep bringing home…

This is what one of the corners of my house currently looks likeBRACE YOURSELVES:

Because, of course, I’m that Mom that legit keeps a toothpick if it even remotely appears that my kid engaged it with some kind of creativeness.

Each one of those long storage containers represents a year of school for one of my children…

Quick Embarrassing Fact: When my oldest child was about 8 months old, she accidentally hit my brother’s printer and caused it to print a blank piece of paper.  I kid you not, I swiped up that piece of paper and wrote: “Bellalise’s first time to print / June 7, 2013.”  Devastatingly, I am not joking.  Are you crying for my sanity, yet?!?

Jesus. Be. A. Trashcan.

It’s like our little Picassos are busy from the second we drop them off ’til the second we return to pick them up.

And, I LOVE IT.  We sure are gettin’ our money’s worth, folks!

But, the cleanliness (or lack thereof …) of my house…not so much.

After giving myself a mini therapy session the other day, I am officially here to help.

Do you need to dump 75 rolling carts worth of childlike creativeness?  Got you, girl.

Wanna clear your head and your closets of clunky, glue-dripping insanity?  Track with me today, sister.

Feeling like you just need to build a storage shed out back and call it a day?!?  Love you long time.  #SoulMate.

Whatever your choice may be, today I am sharing 5 Ideas for Organizing and Storing ALL our babies’ beautiful artwork.  Take this journey towards sanity with me, will you?

Here goes…

(1) BE SELECTIVE

For a recovering pat-rack-aholic, I can tell you that this will be the toughest thing to conquer.  What does selective even mean when it comes to your child’s artwork?!?

Some people follow the handprint / footprint only philosophy, but I think that’s a little too restrictive.

SO, here are some guidelines:

– Is there a handprint / footprint?  Yes = definitely save; No = Proceed to next questions…

– Is there any of your child’s handwriting? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is there any identifying info about your child (i.e. the teacher has answered questions on your child’s behalf after asking them the questions; developmental info like hair color, eye color, height, weight; graded project, etc.?  Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is it a coloring page that does not go with anything else and appears to be ripped out of a standard coloring book or a free teacher printable? If the coloring is extra spectacular = I would save; If not = toss.

– Is it a craft that required your child to use a special skill such as cutting, gluing, measuring, etc.?  I would save, but it’s up to you.

Hopefully, you are able to begin answering more “No’s” and tossing some things.  If not, I’ve got you covered on some organizational / storage ideas…

(2) DOWNLOAD ONE OF THE APPS MADE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!!

Who else is screaming for joy right now?  Yours truly has tracked down a mega list of all the apps to help you with this very issue.  Each one of these apps will take photos of your child(ren)’s artwork and turn them into beautiful coffee-table quality books for you to cherish for years to come.  So, now you don’t have to join the television show Hoarders…like I’m destined to do….

All you have to do is upload photos of your child(ren)’s art projects into the app and it takes it from there.

Each one of these apps has different capabilities and products.  Plus, they have different price ranges as well.  So, check each of them out and find the best fit for your needs.

Without further ado I present them to you… and happy hunting for the perfect one for your family! * Just click on any of the links below to head straight to the sites to pick the best one for your family!

ArtKive

Art My Kid Made App

Canvsly

Keepy.me

As a quick bonus, here are some photo organizing / storing solutions:

Google Photos – upload your photos to this app and then you can delete off your phone to make room for more memories!

Shutterfly App – Upload directly to Shutterfly to order prints, photo books, gifts and more!

Sandisk Smart Phone Disk Drive – This is so genius, I am thankful one finally exists!  Sync your phone and computer = voila!  Photos are ready to organize / store / print!

(3) Take Photos of Your Children’s Artwork, Upload to Chatbooks and Print a Keepsake Book

– A little trick I have is a secret Instagram account.  Nobody knows the username of my super-Top-secret Instagram account except for my Mom and Dad.  Predominantly because who else wants to see 100 photos of my kids every single day…?

It’s really neat because I can upload ALL our photos for the day and not send all of my friends / “followers” into rage induced oblivion when 45 of MY photos clog their newsfeeds.  As a heads up, all of us love each other, but NOBODY wants to see 45 pics in a row of any of our kids except for us and maybe our Moms…trust me on this.

Once you’ve uploaded the pictures to Instagram and synced with the Chatbooks app, simply select the size book and send to print.  Within a week, you will have a beautiful photo book keepsake and none of the clutter!

P.S. While you’re in there, go ahead and print some photo books for the whole year.  You’ll be so glad you took the extra 10 minutes now rather than waiting for 5 years once ALL the kids are finally in school…I see you, girl.

(4) Create a gallery art wall in the children’s Playroom / Bedrooms

Not all art is created equal…I think we could all agree on that statement 😉

But, there are some really great pieces of art that deserve a place on the wall.   Meaning, of course, that there is a free space in your storage box for yet another piece of memorabilia.

For example, here are some watercolors that my daughters painted a few weekends ago.  I plan to have them framed and hung in either the playroom or my bedroom for a splash of color.

SO, Mommas, don’t always look at artwork as a waste.  SOME of those millions of pieces might just be wall-worthy!

(5) Old School Scrapbook Session

Takin’ it all the way back to eighth grade when rather than packing the latest cold brew to chill with our homegirls, we packed up all the silly edged scissors and decorative stickers we could find…And don’t forget the Cricut!

Scrapbooking now feels like a chore.  But, it doesn’t have to be!  Get the kids involved for a weekend of fun!  Give them some kid safety scissors and let them go to town while you scrapbook to your heart’s content!

Phew!  Ok, Mommas.  This post gives us lots of solutions to our artwork / photo storage concerns.  Let’s hop off the stress-mobile and onto the happiness wagon!  WE CAN DO THIS!

How do you store your child(ren)’s artwork?  Please share in the comments!

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Marble Masterpiece Mini Pumpkins

#MommaMonday

Marble Masterpiece Mini Pumpkins

Fall is in full swing and the pumpkin patches are gettin’ picked over.

Turns out, there is a certain little pumpkin that often gets looked over…the little white ones!

Confession: those have always been my faves!  They are just so petite and fun!

Head back out to your pumpkin patch and / or Trader Joe’s, etc. and grab 5-10 for this craft.  Most places (including pumpkin patches) sell these little pumpkins for $ 1 or less, each so grab as many as you wish.

Side note: White pumpkins make gorgeous placeholders for your Fall / Thanksgiving dinner tables…just a heads up 😉

Back to the craft…

You will need:

5-10 small white pumpkins

4-5 different colored nail polish (preferably fast drying polish)

Large Plastic Bowl or Tupperware container

TIP: The container you use will most likely have paint stains on it afterwards that will not be easily cleaned.  Consider using a container that you do not mind turning into a crafting container later on 😉

Room Temperature Water

Directions:

(1) Pour room temperature water into the container.

(2) Quickly drip several drops of each nail polish into the water in rapid succession.  Use a toothpick to swish around in the water and mix the colors.

(3) Holding your pumpkin by the stem, carefully dip into the water and allow the nail polish colors to adhere to the pumpkin.

VOILA!  Marble Masterpiece!

This craft could not have been any easier and was perfect for a Sunday afternoon with my girls!

My girls are 3 and 5 and they loved every minute!

This will definitely become a new tradition in our house 🙂

So what do you think –  Will you try marbling with your family?

And do you have any fun October traditions with your kids? Please share in the comments!

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