Weekly Prep: Steps To Start Your Week Off Right

Confession time.

I’d like to say that my New Years Resolutions are still going strong, that I’m crushing my goals, and that I am rocking 2018.

Not so much.

The truth is that there were no New Years Resolutions. I haven’t set any goals for myself. January was a hard (and long) month and I’ve struggled through most of it, feeling as if I was doing the absolute minimum to get by. Excuses: my family has been sick, the weather has been dark and dreary, my depression is rearing its ugly head… whatever. None of that matters. Sometimes you just have to pull yourself up and tell yourself you are going to do better.

With that said, things have needed to change. I need to get back into a routine and on a schedule. I need to figure out what is working for me and what’s not. I need to focus on productivity and organization. When these things are being addressed in my life, my anxiety is lessened and both me and my family are both happier and healthier.

So what’s working for me? I’m still a work in progress, obviously. But lately I’ve been focusing on really using my Sundays to set myself up well for the week, and spending a little time each night to prepare for the next day. I’d love to hear from you as well – what do you do that helps maximize your organization and productivity?

Weekly Prep: Steps to Start Your Week Out Right

  • I’ve been using grocery pickup at Walmart for my groceries since the summer, and that has been a total game changer for me in terms of being organized, being efficient, and saving money. I schedule my grocery pickup on Sundays after church, and we swing by to pick up as we drive home from service.
  • When we get home, I immediately prep my produce. I wash all my fruits and let them dry thoroughly on the counter as I unload the rest of the groceries. When they are dry, I store them in Tupperware with a paper towel lining the bottom. This has been an amazing hack in terms of my fruits lasting longer! You can change out the paper towel as it gets damp. I love that I can just pull out fruit for meals with no washing or cutting.

  • I keep my lettuce in the plastic containers they are sold in, but again I open them up and line the container with paper towels. I replace the paper towels each day. This has been a huge help in making sure my lettuce/spinach/arugula lasts longer!
  • Another thing I like to do is make a huge batch of hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot! I load up the pot with about 18 eggs, cook them, peel them, and store them in the fridge with a bit of water. Jason loves to grab a couple and eat them as breakfast, the kids eat them as snacks, and they are a quick meal or snack for me if I’m running short on time. I usually make about 18 eggs at a time.

  • I always skip breakfast. It’s a horrible habit that has wrecked havoc on my metabolism, and one I’m determined to change. One way I’m attacking this is breakfast smoothies! We have a Nutra Ninja and I absolutely love it for convenience sake. (We also have Vitamix, but I find myself using the Nutra Ninja more. It’s quicker to use and easier to clean.) To make things even easier, I prep our smoothie cups the night before. I add in greens, fresh fruit, and the protein powder. The next morning all I have to add is almond milk and some ice. I store it in the fridge and it is easy to just add two more ingredients, blend, and go!
  • Once a week, I made a big batch of soup. We eat it once during the week for supper, then I go ahead and portion out the rest into individual containers for easy lunches.
  • On Sundays, I update my calendar and to do list. I like to head into the week knowing what I’ve got scheduled and what needs to get checked off my list.
  • Each night I update my to do list and try and create a loose schedule for the day.
  • Every afternoon when Cooper comes home, I go through his folder and backpack, we do his homework, and I restock his snack and prep his lunch (if he is taking lunch that day). I also set out his water bottle so it is ready to go in the morning.
  • I try to set out everyone’s outfits, including shoes, the night before. Shoes are really the crucial part  – someone’s shoes are always missing as we walk out of the door and it results in me loosing my temper and yelling because I’m scared we are going to be late.

One thing I don’t currently do that I would like to start doing is getting up early! Cooper goes to school late (at 8:40) and I confess most mornings I sleep until 7:00, which is when I wake him up. This always results in me rushing, being frazzled, and a lot of times being in a bad mood. I never have time to shower, and if I do, I never have time to actually get ready. My goal is to get up at 6:00 so I can get myself ready and hopefully have a quiet time before the kids get up and things get hectic.

What about you? Do you have any mom hacks for smooth and productive days? I’d love to hear them!

Playroom Tour & Organization

When we moved into our home three years ago, we decided we wanted to keep all the bedrooms upstairs. We have three bedrooms upstairs. At the time we only had one child, so one was the master bedroom, one was my son’s nursery, and one was a guest room. When I become pregnant with Sullivan, we turned the spare bedroom into Cooper’s “big boy” room and we moved Sullivan into the nursery.

We had one bedroom downstairs that we decided to use as a playroom. I don’t really care to have toys in the kids’ bedrooms. Cooper does have a few toys in his room, and I have two wicker baskets in the living room that are Sullivan’s toys, but in general all the toys stay in the playroom. When we first moved in, this room was a mess. We had several plastic storage bins just filled with toys and we kind of let Cooper do what he wanted as long as the toys stayed in the playroom. As a result this room was always a mess. It got to the point where Cooper couldn’t find anything to play with because everything was in such a chaotic jumble.

When I got pregnant with Sullivan, I went on a mad house organization and decorating binge. We had been in our house for two years at that point and had not painted anything other than Cooper’s nursery – but when nesting mode hit, I insisted we paint Cooper’s (new) room, the downstairs bathroom, the dining room, the kitchen, the living room, the hallway, and the playroom. And when I say “we” I really mean my husband.

Luckily my husband is a trooper and always makes my crazy ideas come to life!

We left this project until the last minute… as in, this was done just a few weeks before I gave birth. I picked up stuff for the room here and there throughout the summer, and we threw it together last August. In the almost year since we decorated and organized, I have to say the system we came up with is working quite well!

Without further adieu…

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Here’s the view of the left side of the room from the doorway. I love statement walls, and I decided to go big or go home in this room. I know a lot of people hate chevron, but I love it. I told my husband I wanted to do multi-color chevrons and he made it happen. The base of the wall is white, and I used blue (the blue of the other three walls in the room), pink, yellow and red for the chevrons. My husband says that painting the chevrons is not as hard as it seems, but it is very time consuming. It involves a lot of measuring and taping.

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Here’s a close up on the storage cubbies you see in the picture above. The two storage cubbies and the bench cubby are from Target. I also purchased the red fabric drawers from Target as well.

When I decided on a cubby system, I knew I wanted to label the drawers in a way that my son could easily view and understand what went into each bin. I sat down and sorted all his toys into categories to decide how many bins I would need. Then I made labels with scrapbook paper and cardstock. I searched for clip art for each category of toy, and then I pasted it into a Word document. I printed on heavy cardstock, cut, mounted each square on scrapbook paper, cut, and then laminated each square. I initially used velcro to attach the labels but those did not work long term. I ended up hot gluing velcro to the fabric drawer – it still detaches easily if I need to change out the content and the label.

One I had the fabric drawers labeled, I asked my son to help me put everything in the correct bin. I explained the system as we went, and the first few times he cleaned up I helped him, explaining what went where. From that point on he could do it himself.

Here are some of the labels I created:

  • Angry Birds
  • Super Heroes
  • Legos
  • Little People (this includes random figurines)
  • Castle
  • Toy Story
  • Mr. Potato

The bookshelf holds his books and some puzzles.

Above the bookshelf I have a shelf with hooks where his dress up clothes hang.

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This is the view of the center and the right side of the room. In the center of the room there is a children’s table with a tabletop easel. Directly behind the table is the train table, and beyond that is the art desk.

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We use the easel for our learning time. I print whatever letters we are working on that week, and my son uses the chalkboard on the back to practice. He also loves using the cups and paintbrushes to paint.

IMG_5851Here is what we call the Creation Station. (A very corny name for where I store art & educational supplies, and where we have Cooper’s art desk.)

IMG_5846The art desk itself stores markers, crayons, colored pens, and paint. The bins to the right and left hold stickers, educational supplies, chalk, paint, play dough, etc. The three drawer bins are from Target and I created the labels the same way I did for the fabric drawers. I repurposed some old plastic bins to hold coloring books and construction paper, and created labels for them as well.

I have to tell you – my friends think I am insane for putting the art supplies out. However, my husband and I had a serious talk with Cooper when we put together the desk. We told him he needed to always ask before using his art supplies, and that if he wanted to paint he needed to have his dad or I supervise. He’s done really well! We have had two accidents with the paint but it is washable so luckily it came up out of the carpet easily.

Here’s some of the art I created for the room.

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I purchased two plaster, open backed frames from Hobby Lobby at 40% off. I painted them red with the same paint we used on the walls. My husband (carefully, since they are plaster) screwed in hooks on the back, and I used twine to make racks where I could pin photos. In between the two frames, we screwed hooks directly into the wall and strung twine between the hooks. I purchased small hangers from Hobby Lobby and printed off Instagram pictures for the frames and the wall.

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I purchased wooden letters from Hobby Lobby and painted them to match the different color chevrons. These letters hang above the closet in the room.

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On our last trip to Disney World, I purchased a book of all the different Disney characters. Every time we saw a character or a character spot, I would stop and have the character autograph his or her page. I pulled out some of our favorite pages and framed them for the wall.

This was my least favorite project in the room. I got the frames from Ikea, super cheap, but they were black. I primed them with spray paint primer meant for plastic, and then I attempted to paint them with the red paint I used on the chevron wall. Even though I had primed, the paint would not stick. It took me about 10 coats, and there are still places where if you get close enough you can see the paint did not adhere.

I do want to point out that the playroom will likely change as Sullivan gets more mobile. We have already went in and pulled out anything that has tiny pieces the baby could choke on. We moved those toys upstairs into Cooper’s room. I am sure as Sullivan gets more mobile that they art supplies will move to a locked closet.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed the Playroom Tour & Organization!

Note: you may see color differences in each photo. This room is very dark and is hard to photograph because of that. I had to go in and lighten each picture, so if the paint colors look different room to room, that is why.