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Does Your Schedule Run Your Life?

Does Your Schedule Run Your Life?

Do you ever feel like your schedule is running your life? The other weekend was kind of like that. On Saturday we had an inspection at my house at 9 am, T had dance class at 10, I had to go to the store to pick up something for my brother's pot luck engagement party later that day, a house showing at 2pm, and then the engagement party at 4pm.  After the engagement party my husband also had a cast party for a show he was in while I stayed home with the kids.  The next day my son had picture day at the dance school at 11:30, and then I had to pick up my in laws, and then my daughter's cake, and be back home for Hailey's birthday party at 2pm.

A Minnie Mouse First Birthday Party

A Minnie Mouse First Birthday Party

Today is Hailey's first birthday!! I can't believe that my baby girl is already a year old.  It is so true that the days are long but the years are short. We are currently weaning baby girl from breastfeeding and while I am super relieved, I am also so sad that our special time is ending.  But on to happier things!!

Paper Plate Christmas Tree Craft

Paper Plate Christmas Tree Craft

In case you haven't noticed by now, my son loves to make crafts involving paper plates. In fact, if he sees me grab a paper plate, he is more likely to think it is craft time than food time.  Therefore, this Christmas' craft project of course involves a paper plate. This project was a lot of fun and includes two of my toddler's favorite things: painting and using stickers. Check it out!

How to Create Your Morning Routine

Last week we talked about creating an evening routine in order to have a smoother morning. You can read about that and get the free printable here. With school starting in a few weeks, many of us will be changing up our morning routine. This year T will be enrolling in an early learning program for the first time so there will be new things to add to our routine. The following are the steps to follow when transitioning to a new routine.


1. Perform a brain dump of everything that needs to get done in the morning. This should include absolutely everything including what you already do now.

2. Once you see everything listed out, dole out the tasks to who will accomplish them. Maybe mom dresses the baby and dad helps dress the toddler. Maybe mom puts lunch in the bag while dad puts the baby in the car seat. Everyone shock have jobs to do and they should know what they are. This will help mornings run much more smoothly. There will be far less confusion.

3. Put together a schedule. With more things to do in the morning it's good to put together a time table of when things should get done. This way you know if you are on time or not. Everyone should have their own schedule. You don't want to have to look through a bunch of items to figure out what you need to do. Have a toddler who can't read? Use pictures to create his or her morning routine. For example toucan have a picture of toothpaste and a toothbrush followed by a picture of clothes and then a picture of breakfast.

4. At least a week before school, have a trial run of your routine. See if anything needs to be changed or times tweaked. Practice until you think it's just right.

5.  Build an extra few minutes into your routine for the inevitable mishap. Things happen. The baby has a blowout just as you're leaving the house or the toddler spills juice on his school clothes. It's best to have a few minutes built in to accommodate these types of events.

Are you ready for back to school or are you dreading it? I just registered T yesterday and it got very real.  While I'm excited for T to make new friends and have stories to tell of what he did, I still can't believe how fast he's growing up.

In the meantime, we will enjoy whats left of summer.



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How to Cope with Sleep Deprivation 

I will start by saying that sleep is super important. As far as your health goes, assuming you have the choice, it is far better to get enough sleep than workout. Note, it's not that you shouldn't work out, it's that sleep is even more beneficial for your health. This is coming from someone who loves to workout daily.

That said, having a newborn implies sleep deprivation. Add grad school on top of that and a rambunctious 3 year old and there is no way that you are getting a full nights sleep. Today I finally took my final for my last summer class. Considering that spring semester ended the day after Hailey was born and the summer semester started two days later, I haven't had a break from school since January. To say that I have been looking forward to a month off from classes before the fall is an understatement.

No matter what kind of schooling you do or what you major in, there are some classes that are more difficult than others. This last one was intense! Couple that with jam packing the information into a short 6 weeks of classes and well, I'm praying for a B by the skin of my teeth. In order to get even that I used a few tactics to combat my sleep deprivation.

1. Naps:

If you can't sleep at night, try to get a little shut eye during the day. Even a 30 minute power nap can recharge your battery for the rest of the day. Nothing combats sleep deprivation like, well, sleep. I can't get a nap every day, but when I can I try my darnedest to take it. Sometimes I just lay there with my eyes closed without actually  getting to sleep. But even that can help relax and restore.

2. Caffeine:

I'm a breastfeeding  mama so the amount of caffeine I can consume is limited. If your baby becomes jittery or agitated when you consume too much caffeine, it can keep your baby up. This can decrease your sleep even more. Otherwise, caffeine early in the day can help with your exhaustion. Since I sometimes have long drives for work, last time I had a newborn I would have coffee during the drive. Long monotonous drives can make you tired otherwise. I expect I will be doing this again when I start work again this time.

3. Exercise:

If you have to be up anyway, exercise is actually a good way to get energy. This may seem counterintuitive since you would think that you are expending energy. But, exercise can actually help you think more clearly and feel more energized. I like to exercise in the morning, but 5 minutes of increasing your heart rate can definitely give you a boost. Feeling drowsy mid afternoon? Go for a quick walk or jog or just dance to a few songs in your living room. You will definitely feel a lift in energy.

4. Keep busy:

Yesterday, the family took a trip to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania. On a day that I would otherwise be exhausted after days with the kids and studying before they wake up and after they go to bed, I was able to keep up with them because I was busy. The monotony of day after day at home with a newborn can add to our exhaustion. The same can be said for any monotonous routine.  Take the kids to the park or zoo or grandma's house. Anything you do to change up the routine can help with your sleep deprivation.

That said I am looking foward to tomorrow morning when I can wake up and feed the baby and then relax until T gets up. Maybe even do a morning workout again! I can't wait!! As for tonight, I will be going to bed early to reclaim some of my sleep.

How do you combat sleep deprivation?

Happy weekend!!



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Picking a Third Birthday Theme


With my son's third birthday quickly approaching, it was time to pick a theme for his party. For the past two years, this job was pretty easy. During the time prior to his parties, T was pretty much gravitating to one thing. For his first birthday, that was Sesame Street. For his second birthday, he was mad about Toy Story. Now that his third birthday was rolling around, picking a birthday theme was not so easy.

We obviously wanted to pick something that he liked, but unlike prior years, we had too many choices. This year he has various interests including Avengers, WWE, Lego, Star Wars, and more. Picking one of these to be his theme would not be easy.

We also had a second dilemma. We do not want to repeat birthday themes. He only has a certain amount of years of throwing birthday parties and we want him to get to celebrate with all different themes. With that in mind, themes like the Avengers were ruled out because when he is older he may want that theme to play with his friends. We considered a Muppets theme, but there just wasn't much available for Muppets. If I wasn't in grad school, I'd consider diy-ing it, but I just don't have the time.

What to do, what to do...

Luckily, we received an Oriental Trading catalog in the mail just as we were discussing matters. They had a bunch of fun but generic party themes one of which is perfect for Tyler. We found that the color brick party would be perfect for Tyler. All the items in this set have building blocks resembling Legos. They have tableware, accessories, favors and more. And we can supplement with his own Legos and Duplos. Need a utensil holder? Build it from blocks!

The best thing is, we can gear it to duplo versus Lego, which is more his speed anyway. If he wants a Lego party when he's older, we can always do a party at the Lego Discovery Center which would be totally different.

We found a cool vendor on Etsy, Blaked Potato Press who made custom invites for us. You can see the top portion of the invite in the cover photo. You can find them here: Blaked Potato Press Check out their other themes as well.

So in conclusion, here are my tips for choosing a third birthday theme.

  1. Make a list of all the things your child is into at the moment
  2. Remove items that may be more appropriate for older kids
  3. If there are items remaining after step two, find the theme that had the most items available
  4. If step 2 cleared your list, see if there is a generic version or a toddler version of your theme. So instead of Disney Princess, think generic princess or instead of Avengers, think generic super hero. At this age, what matters is how fun you make it!

Good luck in your party planning!!

If you could use a planer to help put together your birthday festivities, check out my birthday party planner here!



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