Where did July go?

So it has been almost two weeks since I posted something. It is aaaahmazing how quickly time goes by. We got to Georgia and then it’s been a whirlwind ever since. We spent almost the whole two weeks working every day (regular work and then the big Atlanta Gift Show). By the time I got home each night, I was so exhausted and still had a ton of other work stuff to catch up on. However, I did have a couple free hours here and there to do a few other things!

My sister-in-law and I have been running around preparing for the arrival of her first baby! We’ve been creating registries and also making the obligatory trips to both Target and Ikea. I LOVE these two stores. They are great for so many things, but one of the best things you can find at them is storage. We bought a Closetmaid Shelf at Target:

She is going to set it up and then decide how many of the cubicles she wants to put fabric bins in. Have I mentioned before that I am obsessed with Closetmaid shelves? I’m not sure that I have. We seriously have them everywhere in our house. We have a bunch of the 2 cubicle units and some have fabric drawers and some don’t.

-We have one unit in our mudroom to hold shoes.

-We have 2 stacked in our living room for toys. Three of the shelves have fabric bins and one is for books. We just secured the two units together so they don’t topple over. We have a full crew of kids and dogs in our house and I’m amazed that there are actually items we don’t have to screw into the wall. It’s craziness!

-I have another unit with drawers in the guest room closet. Right now, these bins are filled with toys since this room is also our playroom. My future plan is to completely redo the guest room. I am going to buy two more bins that just stay empty and when guests come, I will take the toy bins out and put in the empty ones so guests have a place to store things and unpack a little.

Speaking of the guest room, I found some great inspiration at Ikea!

May I introduce…..the Lidan baskets!

These things are so absolutely cool. They are made of a soft pliable material so that you can actually change the shape slightly. However, they are still strong enough to hold a variety of items and I think they would be great for both a bedroom and a bathroom. Here’s an inspiration picture I found using the sets of 4 baskets:

I am just picturing these awesome little creations holding hand towels and potpourri in the bathroom, magazines and extra blankets in the guest room.  Loving it! One disappointment though. I didn’t buy them because I thought I would run the idea by my husband and then just pop on over to the online store and order them. (Big ‘wrong answer’ buzzer sound) They don’t sell them online, you can only get them in the store! I guess I’ll be scurrying back to downtown Atlanta before we head back to Colorado. 🙂

I think it will be worth it though. They have the look and feel of something you might find at a boutique type home store, but without the high price tag. I love that kind of find.

Here is another item that is making me think outside the box for the guest room:

This is the Malin Band throw blanket (sadly also available only in stores) and it’s making me want to expand on my original thoughts for the guest room. I don’t think I ever would have chosen the colors green, teal and gray for our little Colorado mountain house, but the colors on this blanket were so rich and calming, I’m thinking I could ‘throw’ a little seaside into the mountains. What do you think?

~Erin

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Super Sunday!

So I arrived in Georgia yesterday afternoon after a surprisingly easy plane ride with two tired little boys! We left our house at 4:15 in the morning, drove the hour to the airport and waited in unusually long check in and security lines. I was trying to push my way to the crowd to get to the pre boarding line and I have to admit I was a little perturbed by my 3 year old who was walking soooooo slow. We were late and he was stopping to tell everyone how he was ‘going on a plane’ and ‘going to Georgia’ and ‘Owen is in the stroller’. Looking back on the situation, I am so proud of him for being so personable and smart and excited about life. But at 5 in the morning, I was like ‘Come on already!’.

So I had my backpack full of activities and healthy snacks for Evan. I had a bottle for Owen and I was going to hold him off until the plane started to take off. Also, we had been assigned to the aisle and middle seat so my plan was to politely ask the person in the window seat if they could switch to the aisle (pretty please if that’s ok with you?????). Here’s how the first 20 minutes really went:

-Owen screamed for 10 minutes as I tried to scoot Evan down the aisle.

-The person in our row wasn’t there yet so we just sat in the window and middle seat. When the guy showed up he said ‘I’m supposed to be in the window seat’ and I must have just looked at him and not said a thing because he paused for half a second and then said ‘um, I’ll just sit in the aisle if that’s ok’. I don’t technically remember giving him any particular look, but it must have been a look of absolute pleading for the window seat or else it was a death stare and he was afraid of me. Window seat…check.

-Owen’s first bottle was gone before the plane backed out of the gate.

-Evan spent the first few minutes in his seat crumbling up a strawberry Poptart EVERYWHERE!

-5 minutes into the flight, Evan was watching ‘Rio’ on my computer.

Ha!

After that, things calmed down and Owen did take a nap (after spitting up on me a dozen times) and Evan did look at flashcards and read his book about safaris. We did have healthy snacks and we sang a couple songs and practiced not kicking the seat in front of us. Another passenger carried my carry-on suitcase all the way up to the front for me after we landed and the pilot gave Evan a little plane ‘wings pin! I had no idea they still did that. How freaking cute!

Lessons Learned:

-No matter how much you organize and prepare for an event, something unexpected will probably come up and catch you by surprise.

-If you prepare as much as possible, then you know you’ve done the best you can and it makes all these little upsets sooooo much easier to deal with.

Here’s a couple pics of our trip and our 24 hours in Georgia so far:

I was so proud of both my boys and now I’m not nearly as nervous about flying back to Colorado with them. They are amazing little people and I’m blessed to be their mom. Funny side story…today Evan went around to everyone and said ‘Are you a human?’ How funny, why would he even say that? 🙂 Love those kids…..

On another note, my sister in law is pregnant (Yea!!!!) and I went with her today to start her registry. I was seriously so excited, not only because she’s having a baby, but because a registry is literally the first organizing thing you do for a new baby! And I got to share it with her! Thank you Stacy!

However, the store did not offer any kind of real checklist. Now I know everyone’s needs and wants are different, but it’s still helpful to have a general guide for anything like that. We are continuing the registry process tomorrow so tonight I searched websites and found a couple great baby registry checklists that I’ll print off for her to look at. It really does help to have something to check off and reference. And I’m such a ridiculous list person that I literally can’t do anything without a list. This registry thing is right up my alley. I’ll keep you posted on my travels through Georgia!

~Erin

Compartmentalize!

So the things I’m loving this Thursday are compartments! Now clearly I love storage and organizing, but I especially love the fact that every little thing gets to have its’ own space. I love pretty much anything with organized compartments, drawers and hidden spaces. Here are a few examples:

Tackle Boxes!

I use tackle boxes for lots of things in my house. My husband uses them for the obvious:

But I use them for pretty much everything else. I store scrap booking embellishments in one. I have extra office supplies in one. I store earrings in one. I have actually put all of my jewelry that I am taking on our upcoming trip into one little tackle box!

They are great because they come in so many sizes. Many of them have adjustable compartment sizes and a lot of them stack or click together for easier storage. I just saw this idea on Pinterest:

If I wasn’t already completely packed for our plane ride, you can bet I would be getting one of these snack boxes ready right now! This will be a must have for our next road trip 🙂

I also love Backpacks. I’m bringing one backpack on the plane and it has everything I need: toys/ snacks, diapers, extra clothes (for all 3 of us!), blankets, books, computer, bottles/ cups, bibs, my purse, headphones and the list goes on! I can’t believe how much I fit into it! And our backpack has about 7 different compartments so everything will be relatively easy to get to.

More compartments!

This backseat organizing system is seriously amazing.

                I totally love this idea. Lazy Susan style storage truly makes the most out of any space!

I love that this drawer is pretty much hidden. It’s great for large flat items, kids items, or things you don’t use very often. And it maximizes space that would otherwise go unused.

Basically, you can win me over with any compartmentalized storage option…big or small. When everything has a place, it let’s me function so much more calmly and it also makes clean up so breezy!

~Erin

Fear of Flying

In 3 days I am going on a cross country plane trip with a hyper 3 year old and a possibly teething 5 month old. I’ll pause while you gasp sympathetically. I must admit I’m pretty nervous. First of all, Owen may or may not be teething. Either way, he’s been a little extra fussy for the last few days and hasn’t exactly had a reliable nap schedule. Second, to say that Evan has an abundance of energy is a major understatement. This kid stops about as often as a hummingbird. I don’t have any idea if I will be able to corral them into plane seats for 3 1/2 hours. Not to mention the fact that our plane leaves at about 6 in the morning, so they will be up hours before they normally get up! I actually had this picture in a post early last week, but it perfectly exhibits what I’m expecting on the plane:

Enough whining. Here’s what I’m doing to prepare:

-I have a carry on suitcase, but everything I will need on the plane will be in a backpack under the seat.

-I will have sooooo many snacks. I have a stash already set aside of granola bars, raisins, dried fruit, lollipops and Buddy Fruit.

If you haven’t heard of Buddy Fruit,they are blended fruit purees in a little resealable pouch. They are about the size and shape of a Capri Sun, but they are real fruit blends and you can put the twist cap back on if your kid doesn’t finish it all at once. Genius! Hope they are good on a plane!

-I also have an ‘activity kit’ for Evan. Here is what it includes:

~I have 4 books – note that they are all thin so they store easily. I also have one book called ‘100 Things to Spot in the Town’. This is a more interactive book and Evan will probably spend more time looking through it than a typical story book. He also loves the Richard Scarry and I Spy books si I highly recommend those!

~A plastic case which holds a pad of paper, coloring book, stickers and crayons. The case snaps shut to keep all of this together and it even has a clip on the front to hold a piece of paper still while coloring.

~2 Movies – I am bringing my computer for work so I will have it available to pop in the DVD when it comes to that (and I know it will). I have super slim cases for the DVDs so they take up barely any room at all.

~And here is my absolute favorite thing I’m bringing, just because I’m pretty proud of it. I’m bringing 2 sets of flash cards. To keep them from flying all over the place, I hole punched the cards and attached the sets with a metal ring that clasps:

Evan is learning how to spell simple words, so one set is short words. The other set has pictures, colors, shapes and numbers. I think Evan is really going to like them because they are new and he can flip through them by himself. Also, each set of cards cost less than $2.00 and a set of 8 of the metal rings was also less than $2.00. So economical, so practical, great for learning, and fun for the kids! Yea!

Another great thing about these activities is when they are stacked, the whole stack is less than 3 1/2″H.

I have a couple more days to mentally prepare myself, but knowing that I have done everything I can to keep them busy and happy will make the anticipation a little more relaxing. So wish me luck everyone. I will be keeping you posted on our travels!

~Erin

15 Minutes

Have you ever thought about how many activities you probably spend too much time doing on a daily or weekly basis?

Too much TV? (guilty!)

Browsing the endless boards on Pinterest? (guilty!)

Staring into the pantry wondering what to snack on? (guilty!)

Thinking about how you should get started on that big organizing, cleaning, etc but don’t know where to jump in? (guilty)

There never seems to be enough time in the day, but if I really dissect what I typically do, I know there’s ways to be much more efficient. I find that putting a time limit on something will keep you from a) getting sucked in and spending too much time on something unimportant or b) keep you from feeling overwhelmed by a big project. This week I put that theory into practice by breaking down a couple of projects:

-First, I wanted to tackle some of my closet. I try to go through my clothes a couple times a year to weed out what I don’t wear. That task is a little daunting though. So I decided to spend 15 minutes and just go through the sweater and jackets first. I went through and quickly pulled out anything I knew I wasn’t going to wear again and then tried on the rest. I found that I even had time left to try on my dresses. Now I’m not known to be a go-to girl for fashion so I don’t have very many dresses at all. Anyways, I still tried them all on. And here, 15 minutes later, is what I got rid of:

Gone!

9 Items….Gone! 8 sweaters or dresses and I also got rid of a pair of jeans I know I don’t wear. 15 minutes went by so fast and my closet is so much nicer now. And I’m donating all of the clothes, so that little feel-good perk doesn’t hurt! 🙂

Here’s another example:

My nightstand drawer has become the catch all for me at night. It’s where I shove everything to get it out of the way. But I realized this frustrates me when I actually need something out of there (picture me fighting to get the drawer open because one of the 8 books has lodged itself in the open position and is holding the drawer shut somehow). I was sick of this part of my nightly routine so I decided to devote 15 minutes and fix it.

You can see books, pens, paper, remotes and that weird green thing on the far right is one of those exercise band things. I thought “surely, if I have this easily accessible, I’ll exercise!” ….nope.   15 Minutes later:

Ta Da! I did the following steps:

1) Took everything out

2) Cleaned the drawer

3) Decided what items I really needed/ wanted in there (6 pens? no thank you) and put those items back in.

4) Then I put everything else in it’s rightful place…far, far away from this drawer.

So there are two 15 minute projects that went delightfully right! I have a few more 15 minute projects in the works, so I’ll keep you posted on those!

Here are a couple of other small regular projects that I know I can do in 15 minutes or less:

-Do the dishes and straighten up the kitchen

-Go through the mail

-Put away laundry and straighten up the bedrooms

Knowing that each of these won’t take a huge chunk of time makes is easier to motivate myself to do them regularly.

Sunday Survey:

What area of your home could use 15 minutes of your time?

~Erin