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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Add a Little Sparkle to Your Christmas Outfit

similar sequined shirt / similar pleated skirt / heels / earrings / wreath

Now that Christmas is only a WEEK away (how did that happen?!) I am starting to think about what I am going to wear for Christmas Eve to church and my Christmas outfit. What a better excuse to wear a little sparkle than at Christmastime! Pairing this sequined shirt with a pleated skirt makes for the perfect Christmas outfit. It is such a cute ensemble, plus everything can be remixed into other outfits. Can you tell I like items that have a lot of bang for their buck?! (Remember how I wore this pleated skirt here in the summer?). The silhouette is so flattering and the extra bling for winter is perfect.

My skirt and shirt are old, but I found some really similar options below.

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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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Clothes You Can Wear During & After Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a weird and awesome thing. Your body is creating a human, a perfect combination of you and your partner. But all beauty and magic aside, there are aspects of it that are complicated and just plain uncomfortable . Take dressing, for instance; your body will get bigger. Some bodies more than others. Mine was in the latter category, but that is beside the fact…

Pregnancy seems like a long time in the moment, but the reality is that it doesn’t last long. That beautiful, round belly will be gone before you know it. Not a lot of people (myself included!) want to spend a ton of money on maternity clothes. Not that there is anything wrong with maternity clothes, and I believe that certain pieces should be invested in, but they are expensive and an investment for such a short part of your life. So what is a girl to do?

My friend Shelly (isn’t she adorable!) was talking to me about her frustrations with dressing her bump. She is pregnant with her third little girl in three years and is now 25 weeks along. Not only did she not have a lot that fit/lasted from the other pregnancies, but she didn’t want to spend a ton of money on items that would only be worn for a few more months. So we set out to get shopping! I mean, pull my arm 😉

At first I was super excited at the challenge. And then I admitted defeat. Was it really possible to find these unicorn items? And then Shelly tried on a few things and hope was restored! Check out what we tried on and worked for both pregnancy and after. (All sizing recommendations/shopping links can be found at the bottom of the post).

The Choices

First up was this funnel neck tunic. This had a split side hem, which allows for a little more breathing room for the bump. But when worn when not pregnant, it just has the perfect drape! The material is the softest waffle knit, making it a great option for a winter pregnancy. As the bump grows, you can get away with the front getting slightly shorter just by pairing it with a black camisole underneath.

I really want this for myself! It’s so soft and so comfortable. Super cute with jeans like shown here, but also would be perfect for lounging around the house with leggings #SAHM.

Next up was this adorable ruffle sleeve dress. Shelly picked this up and I wasn’t sure it would work, but I was pleasantly surprised! The material is more of a sweatshirt, making it super cozy. It also has the same split-side hem the tunic had, perfect for a little more body grace.

I need more church options, so this is sitting in my shopping cart! Super cute, but also functional. The material would allow me to chase children but look cute and appropriate while doing it!

This tunic is one I have had for a few years and was the first thing to come to my mind when Shelly talked to me about this subject. It drapes so nicely over the bump! I wore this through almost my entire pregnancy with Eloise. You can see it is longer in the back, but is roomy in all the right places.

So my brain can’t do too many things at the same time and I spaced trying this on in the store. But as you can see, of course I own this top! I wear it with leather leggings for a date, with jeans and a front tuck, and I’ve even worn it all the way tucked in with a high waisted skirt. This top is such a great investment!

This dress I know you’ve seen before so I’m sorry (but really, I’m not sorry because you need to buy it!). The ruching on the side of this dress is so beautiful, and it works so perfectly with the bump! It gives just enough room for a growing bump in the most flattering way.

Don’t be surprised seeing me in this dress. Would you just buy it already? I’ll wait for my thank you card in the mail… 😉 It is just such a versatile dress and so flattering.

Shop & Sizing Info

Click on the picture or on the text link to shop!

<<< zing for pregnancy] funnel neck tunic (size up) / leggings (size down) / ruffle dress (size up) / roll tab tunic (size down)/ ruched dress (size up two)/ cardigan<< ick on the picture or the text link to shop! [pre/post pregnancy sizing]

funnel neck tunic (size up) / destroyed denim (TTS) / booties (TTS) similar booties, in stock / ruffle dress (TTS) / roll tab tunic (size down) / leggings (size down) / ruched dress (size up)

So you see, it is possible! They may not last the entire pregnancy (I’m looking at you, month nine), but they can pull double duty for quite a bit. The key is to finding the right silhouette and the right size, and consider layering simple pieces like tees and leggings with open front cardigans (I LIVED in this through pregnancy!).

Did you have any items that you could wear through pregnancy and after the fact? Which item above was your favorite? Share below!

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Simple Outfit, Elevated

I was talking to my brother’s girlfriend a couple weeks ago about clothes as we painted our nails (stereotypical girls night?!). She was asking how I choose my style and matured my wardrobe. If you’ve followed here for a while, you know that’s been my theme the past few years (read more here). But now that I look at my wardrobe and reflect on her question, I concluded this: quality over quantity, dressing for your shape, and really maximizing an outfit with what you have. So while I don’t have the most expansive wardrobe or fanciest clothes, I have learned how to be more strategic about my purchases.

I wanted to show you what I mean. Stripes are my jam (again, not a surprise!). So here I have my basic outfit: long sleeved tee, jeans, booties. Then, I added just one more layer to add a bit more interest. I may buy a trendy piece every once in a while, but in general, most of my outfits are combinations of classic pieces mixed together (a capsule wardrobe, I guess you could call it!). Here is what I put together to make a simple outfit a little more interesting! (Scroll to the bottom to easily shop these items!)

Basic

Not a bad outfit on its own! Just not finished. Check out what happens when you add one more layer…

Layer one

See what I mean? It looks like a completely different outfit! Check it out with a different top layer:

Layer two

Crazy, huh?! This is totally my daily outfit as a SAHM #momchic. Now for one last top piece!

Layer Three

 

So it isn’t about needing a whole new wardrobe, it is just being more strategic about your purchases. I challenge you to take a close look at your closet and try some new combinations. You may be surprised! When shopping, try and focus on improving yous basics instead of buying that trendy piece that may not get as much wear.

A huge thanks to Bekah for these amazing pictures!

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