Tot School: Week 4

Hi friends!

Week 4 of Tot School was SO MUCH FUN!!  We had planned to do a whole lesson about Spring, but one of our littles wasn’t able to join this week — so instead, we focused our time on learning more about ABCs and 123s!  This way, we could save the fun plans for Spring until we had all of our babes present. 🙂

I’ve had a few people message me on FB about our weekly lesson plans — so I’ve decided to create a cute graphic for each week, listing out the different activities we do.  This way, you can use the graphic as a guideline, and delve more into the blog post about details of what each activity entailed.  It is SO exciting to hear all the positive feedback about our littles and our mommy “dream-come-true” Tot School — as well as inspiring to hear that many of you are interested in starting your own Tot School!  Just more proof (like we needed any?) that Moms are SO AMAZING and SUPERHEROES. 🙂

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We started off this week with a review of our colors using our bandanas.  We tried two approaches to this:  we asked them to pick out certain colors from a pile (ie. “Where is the PINK bandana?”), as well as held up a color and asked them to name it (ie. “What color bandana is THIS?”).  The girls were SO fast at doing this — I think it’s safe to say colors are officially MASTERED — which means, this mommy needs to find a “color” themed badge for our little Explorers’ sashes!  We will more than likely continue to keep a color testing activity in each lesson, just to keep it fresh!

After colors, we practiced our number skills by using flashcards to name off which number was on each card.  The numbers ranged from 1-25.  Most of the girls had 1-10 down, but 11-25 was a challenge.  This is great to know, as I can now cater future lessons to develop those number skills.  Lilly Belle brought her abacus with her for this class, which the girls loved playing with (and naming off the colors), although they didn’t quite get the purpose of using it.  We showed them that you can move each piece one at a time to count “1….2….3…” but they would end up moving 5 pieces at a time or more.  But, they are learning — and that’s all that matters!  This was the first class that we really introduced numbers, so it’s amazing to see how far along they already are (kudos to you Mommas for at home teaching!!). IMG_4034.jpg

After number flashcards, we retreated to the kitchen for “painting” with our Do-A-Dot markers!  On top of our usual “dot” a letter or shape (in this case, we dotted the letters A, B, and C), I threw in a new activity of “find the correct letter and dot!”  I found these cute worksheets on Pinterest (swoon!), so we did these sheets for the letters A, B, and C.  This was fun to watch — I think the girls had anticipated the activity to be the same as it has been for the past few weeks, but throwing this activity in switched it up a bit — and they seemed to have fun!  I’m definitely going to have to do more practice of these at home with Ella Grey — she gets “dot-happy” and wants to just dot EVERYTHING.  Another lesson in mommy patience and understanding. 🙂

After we used our dot markers, I introduced a pasting activity — where the girls had to match the correct shape/object next to the letter it started with.  I simply cut these shapes out by hand, but I’m sure you can find ones to print online.  We did “A is for Apple, B is for Bee, and C is for Cat.”  This was nice to do, also, because it was something the Mommas could take home and hang on their fridge.  We did this in our house, and it’s cute/helpful — as Ella will walk past it pretty much daily and say “APPLE — CAT — A — B — C!” Constant exposure and practice!

I managed to find a hidden gem recently at our local Target, where they sell letter and number shaped chocolate “animal” crackers — PERFECT for our little Tots!  We used these “cookies” after our pasting activity to recite our letters and numbers, and attempt to spell our names (which proved to be a bit more difficult — not enough Ls and Es for this group!).  Best part for them? They could eat it — and boy, did they!

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We finished up our day of ABCs and 123s by putting together a big Alphabet puzzle.  This puzzle was awesome because it has uppercase and lowercase letters — something I know Ella Grey needs to work on, and the other littles too!

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It warmed my heart watching the three girls put this together — and as they found the letters, they were naming off the color too.  I’d say that’s a double win .. 1 for Mommas, and 1 for Tot School.


Tot School is such a beautiful experience, and the learning goes beyond the time that we are with our friends once a week.  Ella has picked up SO much in the past 4 weeks — even those moments when you don’t think you littles are paying attention or understanding — THEY ARE!  She gets SO excited about learning — instead of grabbing the TV remote, she will grab her flashcards.  Instead of constantly playing with toys, she wants to play with her puzzles.  And, I think being around the other little ones is helping her develop her language skills even more.

Best. Idea. Ever. 🙂

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Body Back: Week Seven Recap!

Seven down.  ONE MORE TO GO!

Week seven is complete — and I still can’t believe that as I’m writing this, our classes are one away from being DONE.  Where has the time gone?

I’m finding myself reflecting back to day one and focusing on the journey from that first step to now.  How much has changed?  How do I feel?  Of course, I won’t be answering those questions yet — that tale is being saved for next week 😉  Stay tuned!

Did you miss any of the week recaps?  Have no fear, friends!  Check them all out here:     ONE  //  TWO  //  THREE  //  FOUR  //  FIVE  //  SIX


Week Seven — whoa!  This week was an attempt to get back on the healthy-eating train.  Last week, we fell off a bit and indulged in all sorts of yummy, but not so yummy for the waistline treats.  So this week, I planned to get back to basics: veggies salads, eating breakfast, and celery/hummus lunches!

Overall, I managed to do pretty awesome this week — I ate breakfast 4/7 days, and my dinners mostly were a mix of veggie salad, quinoa salad, and one night of cheese ravioli with steamed broccoli.  My celery/hummus addiction was back in full force, and I found myself on several occasions making a “special treat”plate: celery, hummus, sliced apples, 4 slices of pepper jack cheese, and a pickle.  I could seriously eat this plate all day, everyday.

Workouts were actually a bit of a struggle this week, in comparison to weeks past.  Monday and Wednesday were Body Back classes, which I followed up with a 2 mile run, with intermittent sprints (which felt amazing!).  Tuesday was our Stroller Strides class, which was incredible this week — I really felt it!  After SS, K and I practiced our pull-ups on the playground swings while Quinn and Ella played.  I’m confident that we will be able to do at least one by the end of the summer — if not sooner!

I did an at-home workout pretty much everyday, but nothing too crazy.  Mostly just working on my core, push-ups, and dips.  Friday, another good friend and I did a pretty intense running workout, where we incorporated sprints and random workouts along the way of our 2 mile loop (i.e. using a bench to do push-ups, using a curb to do step-ups, etc.).  This workout was killer, probably the best one I had all week!

Then, Saturday came — we watched sweet Quinn for most of the day, but by mid-afternoon, I was feeling a bit tired. Rundown.  I went to bed a little early that night, only to find myself waking up Sunday morning feeling like garbage.  Head  cold? Allergies?  Who knows!  All I do know is, other than getting in a walk in the evening with Ella, and doing a quick workout by the lake on Sunday, I was BEAT.  Perhaps it was my body’s way of telling me I needed to rest.  So REST I did.


Friends, I can’t wait to tell you about week eight.  Week EIGHT!! Holy cow!  It’s here!  We will be taking measurements and doing our physical assessment too — it will be so interesting to see how far everyone in our group has come in such a short time!

But, at the end of the day, no matter what comes out of the assessment — I know 100% that this program is incredible and I feel SO much better.  I may not have my “dream” body yet — but I’m on my way!  I know that this program has reenergized my love for HIIT workouts, and I know that even when we close the book on this session, I will be continuing on my own — and with anyone else I can sucker into working out with me 😉

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DIY Wednesday: Engagements, Chalk Paint, and HOCKEY!

Happy Wednesday, friends!!

Today’s DIY Wednesday was a super fun project inspired by a great friend who wanted to make a special gift for her recently engaged bestie.

She wanted to make a “Countdown to the Wedding” canvas, with a chalkboard heart where the bride-to-be can write how many days are left. The two friends are HUGE hockey fans, specifically for the New York Rangers — so what better than to create a hockey-themed “Countdown Until We FACE-OFF!” print!

When my friend brought this idea to me, I was stoked!  I love doing anything crafty, and any excuse to bust out the paintbrushes — I’m down!  So, last week, prior to Tot School, she came over and we got to work!

First, we gather the supplies.  I managed to find square canvases on sale at Michaels a few weeks ago — got 7 canvases for $12, with 40%. SCORE! I already had the red and blue paint, and my friend brought painter’s tape, black chalk paint, and a silver paint marker.

 

We wanted the canvas to have thick red and white stripes, with two blue thinner lines in between.  I used a measuring tape and ruler to create clean lines, then we taped over the areas that needed to stay white.  Also, I cut out a stencil heart, that we would then fill with chalk paint, so the bride to be can use chalk to countdown the days. We traced the heart in the top left corner, and then taped out the heart, too.

After the lines and hearts were taped out, it was time to paint!  We painted several coats for both the red and blue lines, just so they popped against the white.  LET THE PAINT DRY COMPLETELY BEFORE REMOVING THE PAINTER’S TAPE!  And, be careful when removing it.. sometimes it likes to tear off the paint from the canvas, which can luckily be fixed. 🙂

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After removing the tape, we painted the chalk paint in the area that was taped out for the heart.  This paint was very thick, and actually only needed one (good) coat.  Again, let it dry completely!

We used a silver paint pen to write out the words.  Since they LOVE hockey, we thought it was cute to incorporate that theme into the wording, thus us choosing to write “days until we face-off.”  We hesitated at first, thinking it may sound a bit combative — but in the end, we felt it fit the couple most and they would appreciate the hockey reference. The silver paint pen needed several coats, so be patient!  I then traced out the wording with a black Sharpie marker to make it POP.

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And, that’s it!  Super easy, cute, and the bride-to-be was SO happy.

Are you going to try something similar to this at home? Let me know!  I’d love to see what you create! 🙂 Email me, check out my page on Facebook, or drop me some love in the comments below!

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week, so far!

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Body Back Recap: Week Six!

Six weeks down, 2 to go.

Wow.

SIX WEEKS.

It doesn’t even feel like six weeks.  Six weeks, generally, feels like a long time.  For many people just starting their own fitness journey, hearing words like “six weeks from now..” or “in JUST six weeks..” seems impossible.  Like, “damn.. six weeks? Let me just get through week one!”  But, before you know it, week one flies by.  Week two — a breeze. Three, Four, Five… and then you find yourself sitting here, looking back, and being amazed at how far you’ve come.  How short the time really was.  It flies!  Enjoy the journey, and for goodness sake, DONT. GIVE. UP.

Need to catch-up?  Have no fear!  You can read about this entire process here: ONE  // TWO // THREE // FOUR  //  FIVE


Week Six started off with a BANG! for me.  Considering last week’s weigh in being a gain, I maintained a positive spirit and pushed really hard in Week Five, which reflected on the scale Monday morning.  148.4.  That’s an entire 5lbs lost in a week.  Not too shabby, considering the 3lb gain last week.  Plus, even though the scale isn’t my biggest priority, it was pretty nice seeing the 140s again.  Hello, old friend!

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I feel up to this point, my nutrition game has been pretty decent — even with a few cracker binges here and there.  This week, however — not so good.  Pizza, cookies, and Chinese food — oh my!  My food choices could have definitely been better, and I paid the price of terrible eating with a few awful tummy aches.

But, since I strive to make my negatives into positives, I learned some pretty good lessons about my food choices due to the not-so-good decisions I made this week:

  • Lesson One: Be Prepared.  I’m fully aware that I’m in control of my decisions, especially those decisions that come to what I put into my body.  This week, I was bogged down with a full to-do list, and was too eager to cross things off my list, that I became … dare I say it, lazy with my food preparedness.  I didn’t go to the grocery store.  I didn’t plan my meals.  I fell into the old habit of “I’m too tired” or “too busy” to cook, so let’s order in.  At least when we lived in Jacksonville and fell victim to this vicious cycle, we had a variety of places to choose from, and within those places I could choose a “healthier” option.  Nope.  Not here.  We have pizza or Chinese food.  And we had BOTH.  If I would’ve just taken a few minutes to focus on what I was going to eat this week, I could have been better prepared when the hunger bug struck and I was left with a growling tummy in the middle of itemizing receipts. (Yep, tax season!)
  • Lesson Two: I just don’t like those foods anymore!  Let’s get real — Pizza is delicious.  Chinese Food is usually pretty tasty, too.  But in all actuality, I didn’t fully enjoy it this time.  Maybe it was guilt.  Maybe it was just sheer change in taste.  Maybe it was a bad order.  Who knows?  But what I do know is, after eating those meals, I felt gross.  I felt tired. I didn’t feel how I wished I would have. Does that mean I won’t ever have pizza or Chinese again? Probably not, but at least next time I’ll try to remember how I felt after eating this time.
  • Lesson Three: My body has changed.  Seriously.  I used to be able to eat like 4 slices of a large pizza, then maybe an hour later, have another slice.  Pepperoni: all day, everyday.  Not anymore.  We ordered a medium pizza and two slices was ENOUGH.  I bagged up the rest and left it for Raux when he got home, and didn’t even think twice about it.
  • Lesson Four: Moderation.  Even though my body pretty much hated me after eating those meals and I did feel a teensy bit guilty — the guilt is garbage.  I work hard, I’m strong, and one “bad” meal isn’t going to kill that fact.  I don’t eat like that ALL the time, so every now and then, it’s okay to give yourself a treat.  Moderation is key.

Although nutrition was a bit off this week, I feel like I killed it with my workouts.  Our Body Back sessions were awesome,  I ran 4 out of the 7 days, and challenged my workout buddy to an awesome “playground workout.”

Raux and I have always been huge advocates for bodyweight, HIIT workouts — especially those where you can utilize your own surroundings, rather than using a gym.  When we lived in Jacksonville (and our Jax friends will remember this well!), we lived down the street from a very large staircase.  A few times a week, we would run to the stairs, do some sort of workout (usually a countdown-style with push-ups, squats, frog jumps, planks, sit-ups), and then run the stairs. Over and OVER again.  It was awesome.

A few days ago, my dear friend (and workout buddy) Kaitlyn posted an article on my FB page that featured a photo of a woman who had an amazingly defined back/arms/shoulders.  I told the Mommas in our group — the only way we will really get a back like that, PULL-UPS.  Dun dun dunnnn.  Yep, you heard me. Pull. Ups.

So, I challenged the Mommas to join me at a local park playground for a bonus workout.  The rain (and lack of sleep) kept some of the mommas away, but I was super excited that my “swole”mate K joined me.

Our routine consisted of the following:

  • using a curb for plank walks and fast step-up/curb toe-touches
  • using benches for step-ups with a leg raise, inclined push-ups, and dips
  • using the designs on the ground of the playground as markers for walking lunges
  • plank arm touches into a push-up
  • burpees
  • using the monkey bars for pull-ups, full body hangs, and crunches

We were WORN OUT by the time we finished, but man.. what a great workout!  Neither of us could do a full pull-up, but we kept trying.  We also did a full body hang hold for a full minute — and that’s a LONG time when your muscles aren’t used to being worked that way!  Oh, and of course, doing the monkey bars like a child would, which was surprisingly difficult now that we are adults.

After we finished the workout, I walked K over to a different playground in the park to show her my semi-ninja warrior-esque obstacle course.  It is essentially just regular playground equipment, but I added a challenge of having to get from one side of the playground to the other, without letting your feet touch the ground.  I’ve done this before, but have failed in the final “leap” to the slide:  it’s about an 8ft gap between a cargo rope and ladder to the slide, and the only thing you have to hold onto is a 6″ wide bar that is about 10ft in the air.  I can successfully say, after about 10 minutes of being a chicken, I crossed it for the first time that day.  And, I can’t remember ever feeling so strong.


As we are getting closer and closer to the end of this session of BB, my heart is kinda… sad!  I’m so thankful for the push this class has given me, the connections and new friends I’ve made, and the reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to.  The reminder that I’m worth it.  The reminder that my body is an incredible vessel to carry me through this journey of life — and vessels need maintenance, attention, and tender loving care.

I’ve finally “gotten” it.  I’m finally listening.

And, man.. it feels so good.

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Tot School: Weeks 2 and 3!

Good morning, friends!

Wow, what a week it has been! I feel terrible I haven’t had as many posts this week — we’ve been in Tax “Hell” — having to itemize receipts is exhausting.  But, the good news is, we are DONE — and now, I can get back to my normal life, minus all the extra math! 🙂

Speaking of math…… TOT SCHOOL!  Even though we’ve been up to our elbows in tax stuff, we still made time for my new favorite activity with our littlest friends.  Ever since we started this, it has just made my heart SO happy, and it’s so exciting to see how much they have learned ALREADY.  These kids, man.. they blow my mind!

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Week Two of Tot School was at our house — it was so fun to see Ella have her friends over to play with her toys!  And, Raux was there, too — another bonus, as he got to participate in the fun!

For Week Two, we focused on continuing the lesson of colors.  We started the first morning off with a “rainbow of snacks,” which consisted of strawberries, cheese cubes, animal crackers, grapes, blueberries, and raisins.  By the end of the day, the only real food that was consumed were the animal crackers and strawberries — but hey, it looked pretty!

We also had fun with our Do-A-Dot markers!  We practiced our colors as we dotted a rainbow, calling out each color before we dotted on paper.

After markers, we took a dance break into the living room, where we played with bandanas of different colors.  I placed all the bandanas in a pile, and asked the kids to give me a certain color.  It was fun watching them all run over to get the correct color first.

We also played “Find the Match!” — a game Ella and I created using a cute color/shape puzzle game she got for Christmas.  We mixed all the pieces together, and I would hold up a piece of the puzzle and say, “Find the Match!”  The kids would all search through the pieces until they found the correct one.

On day two, I made Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispie treats.  These were so delicious, and were GONE in a matter of hours.  Gone so quick, in fact, I didn’t even get a picture of them! It was … sort of educational?  We did ask each little one if they could pick out the colors in each.  I do think we (the adults) ate majority of them though.. haha!

We practiced our Do-A-Dot rainbows again, and we played a game using colored pom poms and the “rainbow” bowls I used for snacks on day one.  The kids were to fill the bowl with the correct color pom pom, while shouting what color they had before placing it in the bowl.  Not all the littles were interested in this game, but Noah and Quinn seemed to enjoy it. 🙂

We finished the second day with more bandana fun, as well as playing with an electronic fishbowl color match game, attempting to match the correct color fish with whatever the fishbowl instructed them to drop in.  This entertained them for a while — but of course, as toddlers do, they eventually decided ENOUGH learning, and retreated to Ella’s room to play with toys the rest of the day.

Oh, and while the babes played, Mommas did THIS — which you can read about in my Body Back: Week 5 recap here.

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In Week Three, we decided to “shape” it up into a lesson all about.. you guessed it.. SHAPES.  We decided to only have one day for Tot School this week, so I wanted to make the most of it!

We started the morning with a brief review of colors by doing the bandana game.  I was impressed with how quickly they picked it up — way to go Mommas for continuing the color testing throughout the week!  After our color review, we played with a shape sorter, calling out which shapes we had in our hands before putting them in the right slot in the sorter.  Even Baby Cora got in on the fun with this game!

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Then, we retreated to the kitchen table, where we practiced our Do-A-Dots by coloring in Circles, Hearts, and Stars.  Of course, we tested their colors with this too, which was a double win for us Mommas.  The little ones really like coloring with these markers — I’m so happy we made the purchase for TS.  Even though they aren’t quite “perfect,” they truly are perfect in their own way.  And, the more we practice, the better they will get at actually filling in the whole circle with the dot markers.

After coloring, we had a dance party break, where we practiced our jumps and marches while dancing to some music.  Then, we all sat around the kitchen table to cut out cookie dough shapes for our afternoon treat!  The kids, of course, LOVED this — almost as much as they loved eating the cookies once they were baked. 🙂

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After talking with the Momma group, we’ve decided to cut Tot School back to just one day a week — for now 🙂  Even though we only have one day a week with our friends for “school,” Ella and I have been practicing everyday.  She has become SO fast with her colors and shapes now, as well as recognizing the alphabet (out of order, too!) and can pick out numbers 1-10 (we are working on 11-20).  We also have a match game that matches cartoon pictures of body parts to their word.  Obviously, she is too little to know the words yet — but I will give her the correct match for her to piece them together and she repeats the word after I say it.  We also point to the correct body part, for recognition.  Her favorites to say: Shoulder, Toes, Tongue, Teeth, and Muscles — which she flexes her own muscles when she says it.  She’s adorable.

Tot School has seriously become one of my favorite things in life right now.  Watching these little ones learn and interact with each other just makes my heart SO happy.  I can’t wait for this week’s lesson: All About SPRING — where we will spend time outside and will plant our own flower to take home!  And yes, there will be MANY pics!

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Body Back: Week Five Recap!

Hi friends!!

Wow — five whole weeks have FLOWN by!  I can’t believe it!  The 8-week journey for this Spring session of Body Back has been incredible, and I can officially say, I’m hooked!  The closer we get to the finish line, the more anxious I get to see how far we’ve all come.

In typical “sappy Ashley” fashion, I really can’t express enough how thankful I am for this Village of Mommas.  Joining Stroller Strides saved my sanity, joining Body Back has saved my health — but honestly, joining this Village of Mommas has saved my life. Their support, camaraderie, and unwavering friendship really means so much to me, and I’ll be forever grateful.

Did you miss any of the previous week’s posts?  No stress — check them out here: ONE  // TWO  //  THREE  //  FOUR

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WEEK FIVE!!!  We are MORE THAN halfway done!  Wow.

This week has been incredible, despite having a gain on the scale — which I blame Mother Nature for. 😉  Even though we skipped the weigh-in last week, I was expecting a slight gain when we came to Monday — I went from 150.0lbs in Week Three to 153.4lbs in the start of Week Five.  No sweat though — I was feeling pretty groggy and bloated, so chances are, it’s just my body working.

Nutrition was pretty good this week, although I skipped breakfast 4 out of the 7 days — SHAME!  I did manage to snack healthier — traded my usual cracker craving with fruit, raisins, and yogurt.  I did indulge a few times: I had 2 pieces of dark chocolate on Wednesday, 1 rice krispie treat on Thursday (dang, Tot School treats!), and 1/2 Cinnamon bagel on Saturday.  But, you know — I didn’t beat myself up about it.  I acknowledged that I could have made better choices, but I work HARD — and sometimes it’s nice to “treat yo’self!”

Speaking of “treat yo’self”…… I got my SWAG in this week!  Shipping was incredibly fast, and I was so pumped when I opened it!  I’m going to wear this gear with pride! #fit4momrocks Ella looks super cute in her “Mom’s Workout Buddy” shirt! 🙂

 

Workouts …. phew.  Our workouts were AWESOME this week!  Our Body Back sessions this week were killer — sprints, mountain climbers, and PLANKS oh my!  Not to mention, I managed to do an additional at-home workout each day too — on top of a daily walk with Ella.

Thursday’s at home workout was the the best though — a group of us got together at my house, and somehow, these crazy ladies entrusted ME to give them a good workout while the kids played.  There were 6 Mommas and 7 little ones (all under the age of 3) running around as we busted out some squats, push-ups, sprint/hill climbs, and crunches.  To top it off, we all did the 5 minute plank hold challenge — and EVERYONE DID IT!!  It was amazing!  Afterward, one of the Mommas said she felt she could go again, so we held for an additional 4 minutes — all while our kids were climbing on us, crying, and sitting on us.  It was absolute chaos — but we pushed through, and I’ll tell you — although holding an extra 30lbs on my lap as I held a reverse plank was HARD, my heart was so happy watching my friends push themselves beyond what they thought they could do.

Saturday, Raux and I attended a beautiful wedding for two of our friends.  Saturday was the first day in these 8 weeks that I actually had a REST day.  And, it felt great! Plus, I got to spend the afternoon with my favorite person in the world — then went home to spend a lovely evening with family and my beautiful little girl. It’s the little things. <3

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Week Six is in session now, and I can’t WAIT to tell you all about it next week!

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

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DIY Wednesday: Toddler Dress-Up Area

Hi friends — and happy DIY Wednesday!

Today’s DIY was a HUGE #momwin.  Super simple, yet oh-so-relieving!

As Ella has grown, she has acquired a vast amount of “dress-up clothes” — costumes ranging from Anna/Elsa to Minnie Mouse, Mulan to Doc McStuffins and, of course, Tinkerbell.  I had all of these costumes hanging in her normal closet, but they were too high for her to reach — so she would either pull them down, making a huge mess and causing a nervous Momma, or not wear them at all (and where’s the fun in that?!).

After scouring Pinterest for ideas on what to do with her costumes, I found several cute ideas.  Most of the ideas required some sort of physical piece of furniture — and we just don’t have the space in her room for any additional furniture pieces, at least while we still have the changing table (oh potty-training gods, send me a miracle!).  I was striking out.

In sheer desperation, I took all the dresses down from her closet, nicely folded each costume, and placed them gingerly in a bin under her changing table. The folded dresses lasted a whole 5 minutes before she discovered the bin, and threw each one on to the floor — laughing and playing with each one.  Le sigh — those that have two year olds of their own can relate, I’m sure!  So, bins — no go.  After that first day of constant folding and refolding (and refolding.. and refolding…and REFOLDING.  What’s the definition of insanity again?), the dresses just seemed to be stuffed into the bin when cleaning up, and by stuffed, I mean STUFFED.  A hot wrinkled mess.

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So, I did what any other organization-loving-hot-mess-living Momma would do: I went to Ikea, with big hopes and dreams of an answer to my “please, dear God, these dresses are driving me insane” prayers. Nothing.  Not a dang thing that would work for our space, solely for the purpose of housing these costumes. That night, after dinner, I was telling Raux about my costume closet woes.  He smiled, took a sip of his drink, and said, “Well, there’s always Command Strips.”  Command Strips are truly a lifesaver, I’ll agree — and they are Raux’s go-to for pretty much anything — so this made me laugh.

“What? You can’t just Command Strip dresses to the wall. You need like a hook or something.” I said, with a slight shake of my head and roll of my eyes. Psh.

He smirked. “Yeah, they make hooks.”  He sipped his beverage again, raised his eyebrows, and gave me a “yeah… yeah… mindblown?” look.

MINDBLOWN.  What a crazy person I’ve been — on the hunt for some crazy organization device, when I can just MAKE IT myself.  And, I totally knew they made Command Strip hooks — I just put them up in my closet to hold my necklaces a few months ago.  OMG. *facepalm*  Oh, that sweet, handsome, GENIUS hubby of mine. 😉

So, the next day, I ventured to Target (insert angels singing here) for my Command Strip HOOKS.  While I was there, I found really cute letters to spell out “dress up” that I would paint to hang above the dresses.  I chose to paint them in rainbow colors — but you can paint them whatever you’d like.  After they dried, I affixed our handy-dandy Command Strips on the back.

I decided to place the hooks and letters behind Ella’s bedroom door.  I had her stand next to the wall, so I could hang them at a good height for her to reach.  Then I used a level to evenly place each of the hooks and letters on the wall.  After I finished, I was in love.  Not only was it EASY, but it was super cute and added more color to her room.

Moments after I hung each dress up, I called Ella in her room to see her new “dress-up area.”  She said “Wow…” and named off the characters of each dress.  Not even 5 minutes later, each dress was in a crumbled mess on the floor — again.  But this time, it didn’t bother me so much.  I knew each dress had a place, and hanging each one up (no matter how many times I have to do it every day) made me smile.

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Hope everyone is having a great week so far!  Make sure to check back with us tomorrow — we will be wrapping up week TWO of Tot School.  The photos are really cute, and I can’t wait to share what we did this week! <3

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