Tips for a Smooth Morning with Kids

I get asked all the time is how I can get everyone ready and out of the house on time in the morning. Mornings can be a cluster when you have kids ifyouknowwhatImean. Three days a week Scarlett has to be at school for  8:30, so that means we all need to be out of the house by 8:15 (because every mom knows it takes almost 10 minutes to get on shoes and coats and load into the car, amiright?!). I am not perfect, but one thing I can’t stand is being late. I try my best to get ready and out of the house on time and hopefully have everyone out of pajamas! Actually, some days it’s just leggings for me, but that’s #momlife. Here’s my six tips for a smooth and successful morning! (Scroll to the bottom for outfit details!)

Secrets to Success:

Wake up way before kids

If you’ve followed along here for any time (or follow my instastories), you’ve noticed I wake up really early. Like way earlier than you think necessary. But, this is my number one secret to success. I get the things I need to get done for the day that are more difficult to do when the kids are awake. That includes waking up in general (I need a few minutes of quiet or I wake up like a bear…), coffee (see next point), devotional, exercise, and shower. Usually, but not always, in that order. (I can go into more detail about how I wake up so early another time, so if early waking isn’t for you, continue on to the next tips!)

To make it to school on time and fit in all those things, currently I wake up at 5:00 am. I know. Right now I am between Bible studies, but when I start my new one I will start waking up at 4:45. I get right up and start my day off right! Then once the kids start to wake up, I am in control of the day instead of the day controlling me. So, think of a time you’d like to wake up. Now wake up 3o minutes earlier than that. It will take time, but you’ll get into the habit!

Have coffee programmed

We invested in a grind and brew coffee system when our old Keurig died a couple years ago. It has a setting where I can prepare and program the coffee the night before and this has become a huge time saver! Instead of me preparing the coffee machine when I go downstairs and then waiting for it to brew, I walk down to a fresh cup waiting for me. Otherwise I would be waiting another 20 minutes by the time I prepared the coffee maker and waited for it to brew! If you aren’t a coffee drinker or have an instant coffee system, then you can ignore this one. But the difference in coffee is crazy!

Downstairs hair station

Hair is a big issue in our house. Scarlett has very snarly hair and it is super sensitive, so every morning it is a bit of a project. Instead of having to run upstairs with Scarlett (& now Levi too, he loves to have his hair done like daddy!), I have a little station in our powder bath downstairs. It is right outside the kitchen so I will either do their hair while they eat, or after they are done and dressed. It saves the hassle of rounding up the kids and going up a floor! (Believe it or not, a big time savings!). I keep everyday hair supplies down there in a drawer like a hairbrush, clear elastics, and hair gel. Her daily hairstyle is a small portion in front pinned back with a bow. We pick out a bow the night before with her outfit. Which brings me to my next point…

Set out outfits & pack lunch the night before

Part of our nighttime routine on school nights is picking out the next day’s clothes and setting them out. It also gives us a chance to talk about weather, appropriate layers, and styles for the activity of the next day. Scarlett loves to dress herself and is surprisingly interested in different sillhouettes and what pieces go with what. She’s totally my daughter 😉 Most mornings Scarlett will bring her outfit downstairs and she will put it on after breakfast. Picking it out the night before relieves me of having to have the conversation in the morning where time is so valuable!

Since Scarlett does lunch bunch at school, I also pack her lunchbox the night before. I can take my time and make a well-balanced meal for her when I am not rushed! I have forgotten to pack it at night and then had to make it the morning of, and let’s just say it wasn’t my best work… I leave her lunchbox insulator on the island counter so I remember to take it out of the fridge in the morning and put it in her backpack.

Need-to before want-to

Efficiency is key in the morning. We do all the things we “need” to do before we can do the things we “want” to do. That means we have to eat breakfast, clean up, get dressed, and be ready for the day before we can play! I try and hold myself to the same standard, although I have been slacking lately. That should mean no social media checks for me until I have crossed my need-to items off my list! As a reward I will let the kids watch a show once everyone is all ready. This also helps build teamwork skills to assist in getting each other ready for the day! Most mornings the kids will watch an episode of something in the morning if they get ready efficiently. I usually finish getting myself ready (hair/makeup) during this time.

Car floss

This one is a weird one, I’ll be honest. But it works for me! I use Plackers and floss on the way to school. Normally I may skip flossing because it takes time and we are rushing to get out of the door. If I do it while driving to school it maximizes my time! There’s nothing like a healthy habit that saves a little time. Also if you haven’t used Plackers, you need to try them! I haven’t had success with other brands, so stick with these (no, not sponsored!) They work so well and you can do it with one hand. Bonus points because I have a small mouth and it is easier for me!

Shop the look here:

sweater / jeans (size up 3!) / vest / necklace (similar here) / sunglasses / boots (size down) / bralette 

Do you have any secrets to getting out of the house in one piece? Share with me below! I would love to hear.

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Organized Chaos AKA Family Pictures 2017

Family pictures with young kids is notoriously challenging. No matter the dynamic, there is some level of stress that is associated with these highly coveted pictures! I wrote a post last year about my best family picture success advice (check it out here!) so I am not writing today to give any advice, merely to share the result of the stress. It may take some preparation, work, or bribery (no judgement!), but it is always, ALWAYS worth it. (Husbands, are you reading this?!).

Now please excuse me while I cry over how perfect these came out and how adorable my kids are! You can shop our outfits if you scroll to the bottom of the post. But before you do, check out the cuteness! I mean, I may be biased but…. I am obsessed. Carry on.

Oh, don’t let me forget this. Help me not to forget the squinty eyed smiles, the insatiable desire to be held or the fierce independence and fearlessness (sometimes both at the same time). Let me never forget the giggles, snuggles, and sound of them calling out to mama. I am so thankful for pictures like this to help me capture this beautiful (and chaotic) phase of life!

Thank you to Bekad Scadding for these amazing pictures! Contact her here if you are local. She works some magic with kids (which if you have kids, you know that is hard to do!).

My Outfit:


dress / boots / similar necklace / similar jean jacket

Marcus’ Outfit:

tee / sport coat / similar jeans / chukka boot

Scarlett’s Outfit:

similar blouse / leggings / boots / bow

Levi’s Outfit:

striped thermal / jersey lined chambray / khakis / boots

Eloise’s Outfit:

peplum tee / similar hooded sweater vest / leggings / similar boots 

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A Day in the Life of a Stay At Home Mom

Probably my #1 requested thing to write about is our daily routine. It took me a while to find a “normal” day, no playdates or random extra things, and to remember to record what we do all day long! But, I finally had success. So here it is! A day in the life of a stay at home mom. Riveting.

So to give some context, I am stay at home mom of three: Scarlett (4.5), Levi (3), & Eloise (1.5). I also blog, but I would hardly consider that a job. It is a very time consuming hobby. Every day is different, chaotic, crazy, and awesome. Our current routine has Scarlett in school 3 mornings a week, and I recorded our day down on a Monday, a school day. Now keep in mind that not every day is this productive, and I am also working on my “rest” time… so without further explanation… here we go.

Schedule

4:45 Marcus wakeup

4:50 Coffee starts to brew, I “wake up”

5:00 Downstairs. Coffee. Brain begins to activate.

5:20 Child has an accident. Put on clean sheets, put dirty ones in washer. Put child back to bed.

5:30 Workout commences

6:00-6:20 Try and figure out new spin bike with no success (come to find out it wasn’t plugged in well enough).

6:20 Shower (hair washing day)

6:35-6:55 Distribute yesterday’s laundry with child who woke early and didn’t go back to sleep.

6:45 Levi wakes up and helps with laundry.

7:00 Eloise is awake. Get her and everyone goes downstairs for breakfast & get ready for the day.

While kids eat & get dressed, I: unload/load dishwasher, make shake for Marcus, turn over laundry & throw new load in, wipe down tables, vacuum floors, water Christmas tree, do Scarlett’s hair. Scarlett feeds/waters cat.

8:00-8:10 Kids are all ready, they watch a show while I put on some makeup upstairs. Read First 5 Devotional.

8:15-8:35 Coats & shoes on and out the door! Drop Scarlett off at school.

8:35-9:00 Levi & Eloise watch a show while I clean more and do another load of laundry.

9:00 Meet with contractor about basement progress (see previous picture for reference).

9:15 Put more laundry away. Play on phone for 5 minutes.

10:00 Snacktime & post outfit on medias. (Shop this look here)

10:30 Make lunch for the kids.

10:45 Walk to the park. Snacktime for me!

11:15 Park time.

11:45 Kids eat lunch at the park.

12:05 Walk to Scarlett’s school.

12:15 Pick up Scarlett and head home.

12:45 Get mail, then home. All kids go down immediately for naps/rest.

1:00 I get started on meal prep for the week. Put laundry on the line. Another load in the washer.

1:45 Lunch for me!

2:15 Scarlett’s rest time is done. She gets herself a treat (for a good rest time) and I get snack for her. Continue meal prep.

2:35 Set up activity for Scarlett with her letter of the week.

3:00 Chore time while Scarlett watches a show. Dishwasher unload/load, distribute clean laundry, get guest room sheets & wash.

3:45 Levi is awake! Get snack for him while he gets himself a treat.

3:50 Make a shake for myself and take the kids outside to play in the FREEZING cold. I read while the kids play.

4:30 Eloise is awake! Take everyone inside and pop them all in a bath. Blowdry hair, dance party, and distribute/put away more laundry. Put laundry in dryer.

5:30 Dinner prep. Kids read books in the playroom. Set coffee maker for next morning.

6:00 Daddy is home! Eat dinner.

6:25 Daddy takes kids out to pick up ice cream while I stay home. Put clean linens on guest bed, unload/load dishwasher (meal prep day! Lots of dishes!), clean kitchen.

6:45 Upload IG post/Facebook

7:10 Daddy is home with the kids and Frosties. Kids eat ice cream.

7:25 Bedtime routine. Teeth brushed, tucked in, prayer time, and done!

7:40-8:45 Hubby time. Wash face, brush teeth, read a little of the book. Bed before 9! (Definitely earlier than normal. We are both recovering from Marcus traveling all last week!)

Breakdown

This was actually a good exercise for me to be more intentional with my phone time. I’ll admit I tend to mindlessly scroll and I know it takes more time than I realize… I am working on it. But, that I write it out, I realize just how much I do on a daily basis. No wonder why we are tired at the end of the day! Moms, give yourself a round of applause for all you do!

So while I didn’t do everything on my to-do list (didn’t pay a bill, forgot to call pediatrician, never took the laundry off the line…come to think of it, it is still there a day later…oops!), I did get a lot done. I did do FOUR loads of laundry (classic Monday…oof) and ran the dishwasher three times. Both is definitely above average for the daily. Levi also doesn’t normally nap, and Eloise’s naps are usually only 2 hours. See? A normal day still isn’t even a normal day!

As you can see, I wake up really early. And the truth is, once I get my new devotional series chosen, I am going to wake up a little earlier. I will save the “how” for another post, but as a general sidenote, that is how I get so much done, or at least the “me” things. Early waking when you have kids is my key to success. A quiet house, a few minutes alone, it is magical. Coffee, Jesus, and myself.

Shop My Life

Here’s the planner I use, which helps organize things on my to-do list and other scheduling things:

Here’s the book I was “reading” (because you know as a mom I only got maybe 4 pages in):

This is also on my reading list:

My husband and I are also reading this (or more like we read one chapter and haven’t done anything else…but the first chapter was great!)(Also no, we don’t have problems. I just like to read books like this with him):

Shop my look here:

If you have any questions about our daily routine, please let me know! What does your normal day look like? Do you wake up early to get things done, or are you a night owl?

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The Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Tree

One of our favorite traditions as a family is to go cut down our Christmas tree every year. This past weekend we set out the day after we got back from Pennsylvania, ready to go chop down our tree. This is our first Christmas since our move to New Hampshire! We got all packed up, headed on the road to the most recommended cut-your-own tree farm in the area, and decided halfway through to just stop at an pre-cut tree farm. The wind was quite blustery and chilly and we were tired from our Thanksgiving trip, so it felt right. We were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it since we had been cutting it down ourselves for so many years! The kids had a blast running up and down the aisles of beautiful trees and selecting the perfect one.

We had planned to put a normal size tree in our living room, but we became fascinated with the giant ones because our new home can actually handle it! We ultimately decided to bite the bullet and got a 12 foot one for our foyer. It was a beast to decorate, but so worth it and the kids loved it. Check out the pictures of our day! You can shop our outfits in the widget at the bottom of the post.

You’ll notice Levi isn’t in as many pictures as the girls. It isn’t because I love him any less, it’s because most of his pictures look like this… #onegiantblur

Here she is in all of her glory! I need to fix that garland on the railing, I know. We started decorating with so much gusto and then I lost steam…

Did you get your Christmas Tree yet? Are you team real tree or team fake tree?! I’ll admit I may invest in a fake tree for the foyer and maybe do a smaller real tree in our living room… that thing is FAT!

Shop my outfit:

Leggings (size down) / Hunter Boots (size down) / Pullover (size up) / Button Up (size up)

Shop the kids’ outfits:

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Gift Guide: Land of Nod

Like most of the world, I have Christmas on the brain! (If you don’t, I’m sorry. Christmas celebrations start early in our house!). Don’t we all have those retailers that we love EVERYTHING they produce? Land of Nod is one of those stores for me. Not only is every item great quality, but the colors and uniqueness of each is beyond compare. Add a sale on top of that and you have a winning combination! Check out my top gift picks for my kids for Christmas!

Shop the Items

Play Food

My kids (and their friends!) love our play kitchen (on sale! We paid DOUBLE!). I believe they play with things more if they are better quality and better to look at! This set is adorable, and it is made by Melissa and Doug so I know the quality is amazing! I can see Levi making me a bologna waffle orange juice sandwich already…

Shopping Cart

This goes along with the above item… We had a shopping cart that sadly did not survive the move. My kids have played with this one at friends houses and the quality is amazing! It will (hopefully) withstand three kids beating on it and more than likely one kid pushing another inside it…

Pantone Board Books

Eloise has just discovered the magic of board books. These are adorable, the perfect size, and I know she will love the cutouts!

Bucket ‘O Blocks

Levi, being the stereotypical boy, has discovered building things and smashing them with a monster truck. Right now the building of choice is constructed of duplos, but something tells me he would love the weight (and crashing sound) of building with these wooden blocks!

Larry the Llama

My kids are obsessed with anything they can ride on. This is absolutely adorable! I think Eloise would enjoy this in her room…

Multicolored Train

Continuing on with the trend of things my kids are obsessed with, they also love anything they can drag/make a lot of noise with. I love the primary colors on this and the cute animals!

String Along Bead Kit

Scarlett needs this. Not only would she enjoy making herself jewelry, but her teacher recommended she do more practice fine motor skills at home. This would be ideal!

Goldendoodle Stuffed Animal Adoption Set

Another thing my kids are obsessed with? Animals. Anything animal. (If Scarlett sees an animal outside someone’s house or in a paddock, she tells me she wants to buy it. I am trying to explain to her we can’t just buy other people’s pets… it’s a work in process…). Scarlett would love to have an animal of her own, and I am sure Eloise would love this just to carry around!

Fire Engine

Levi has a small obsession with fire trucks and other “helping” vehicles. We make a trip almost once a month to the fire station to bring treats, and we even had one stop by for his birthday! This would blow his mind! And he can ride it… enough said.

That’s it for my gift picks from Land of Nod! Did anything stand out to you? What is on your list? Share below! Happy shopping 🙂

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