Friday, June 30, 2017

Savannah's Last Day of 2nd Grade!

Today Savannah finished 2nd grade (and I wrapped up my 18th year of teaching)! Over the last year, Savannah has grown taller, her hair has gotten longer, and her two front teeth have come in. My new school year starts on Monday, but Savannah is looking forward to 4 weeks of vacation with Grandma Barbara and Grandma Judy before she starts 3rd grade on July 31!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Falls Lake

After Hadley woke up from her nap on Sunday afternoon, our family went swimming and played in the sand at Falls Lake. Below are some phone pics from our relaxing evening at the lake:

Hadley took a break from swimming and ate some "fish" (goldfish) as a snack. She threw a few fish in the sand for the birds to eat:

Hadley: "Look, Mommy! A boat!"

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Everyday Moments

These random iPhone photos are dark, blurry, and untouched,
but they capture everyday moments from the last couple weeks.

Savannah's tie-dye art that she made in science class:

Last Sunday, Grandma Barbara drove 3 hours to celebrate Father's Day with Tal, as well as to pick-up Hadley and take her to her house for the week. While Grandma Barbara was here, she treated us to ice cream:

After eating our ice cream, Savannah and Hadley wrote messages on paper and hung them on the wall:

While Hadley was at Grandma Barbara's house last week, she went to Bible school every night at Grandma's church. Below are some of the crafts that Hadley made:

Grandma Barbara texted me this picture of cousins Harper (left) and Hadley (right) playing on beach behind Grandma Barbara's house:

While she was laying on Grandma Barbara's couch, Hadley drew a picture of Momo, the dog at her babysitter's house:

While Hadley was at Grandma Barbara's house, Savannah enjoyed spending some extra one-on-one time with Mommy and Daddy. After gymnastics on Monday, Savannah enjoyed eating a popsicle on our porch:

After school on Tuesday, Savannah and I went shopping at HomeGoods and TJMaxx. Savannah used some money from her piggy bank to buy a swim mask and snorkel. After shopping, Savannah and I ate dinner at Moe's, where kids eat free on Tuesdays:

After school on Wednesday, Savannah and I stopped by Panera Bread and got 10 cookies. Savannah put on labels and gave the cookies as end-of-the-year gifts to her teachers and the teachers who helped me in the library this school year: 

Over the last week, Tal and I have been giving Savannah's bedroom a mini-makeover. Tal put together a desk and chair for Savannah's bedroom. After school on Thursday, Savannah and I painted the bookcase in her bedroom.



After work/school on Friday, Tal, Savannah, and I drove three hours to Salter Path to pick up Hadley at Grandma Barbara's house. The sun was starting to set when we drove over the intracoastal waterway and onto the barrier island where Grandma Barbara lives:

On Friday night, we slept at Grandma Barbara's house. At 8:00 on Saturday morning, we ate breakfast with Grandma Barbara, Uncle Benny, Aunt EJ, and Harper:

Hadley wanted to sit and and snuggle with me since she hadn't seen me in a few days:

Cousins Savannah (8), Hadley (2.5), and Harper (4) after breakfast:

Grandma Barbara and her three grand girls before we said goodbye and drove three hours to home:


For the last 2.5 years, Savannah has been taking gymnastics lessons on Monday afternoons. Unfortunately, I rarely get to watch Savannah during her class because I am chasing after Hadley and trying to keep her entertained for an hour.

While Hadley was at Grandma Barbara's house this week, I enjoyed watching Savannah do chin-ups, pullovers, backbends, and handstands. I was so proud of our Savannah!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Doing it All

Tal and I each work 40+ hours a week outside our home. Being working parents is challenging and exhausting. I often wonder how other families manage to "do it all." How do they do all of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, as well as have family time, couple time, personal time, and relaxation?

I thought I'd share how Tal and I manage to get everything done by using some outside services and by working together as a team. We aren't gourmet cooks, nor do we have a spotless house. However, we strive to have a (mostly) neat, organized, and efficient home by using the tips, tricks, and time savers below:

1. Daily Chores
Every evening, Tal and I spend 20-30 minutes doing daily chores, such as folding clothes, making the grocery list, or washing dishes. It's easier to keep our house (mostly) neat and organized when we do a little bit every night.

However, Tal and I don't like to spend all of our free time doing house work, so as a general rule, our family stops working by 7 PM each night. By 7 PM, dinner is done. Baths are done. We are in our jammies. That way, we can have 1.5 hours of family time/quiet time to relax, watch TV, and play before the girls go to bed around 8:30 PM. On Saturday mornings, Tal and I do yard work and house work, but we stop working by noon, so we can eat lunch, take naps, and relax the rest of the day.

Below are some examples of our daily chores:

*reserve time to pick-up groceries at Walmart
*make grocery list
*plan meals for upcoming week

*finalize grocery list and meals for upcoming week

*wash/dry two loads of laundry
*pick up groceries at Walmart

*fold/put away two loads of laundry

*finish laundry if needed

*wash sheets and towels
*make 2-3 meals for the upcoming week
*make lunches and snacks for the upcoming week
*do yard work

2. Laundry
Tal and I do 3-4 loads of laundry each week. When we do laundry, Tal and I usually wash/dry clothes one day and then fold/put away clothes the next day. We also mix everything together. We don't sort whites, brights, darks, etc. In one load, we wash/dry Tal's clothes and the girls' clothes together. I wash my clothes in a separate load because I don't put my clothes in dryer. I hang them up to dry, so they won't shrink. We usually wash sheets and towels on the weekends.

To make laundry more enjoyable, I listen to podcasts or watch shows on DVR in our bedroom. I fold clothes on our bed and then put them away in our family closet. I cull out Tal's clothes and put them on the end of our bed. Tal prefers to put away his clothes (which saves me time anyway). While I'm folding the girls' clothes, I put together 5-7 outfits each for Savannah and Hadley and put them on top of their dressers in the closet. That way, we can save a few minutes in each morning by grabbing an outfit and getting dressed quickly.

3. Cleaning
Tal and I have had a cleaning service for 5 years. The cleaning ladies come every 4 weeks and spend 3-4 hours cleaning every area of our house. We pay $119 each month. The cleaning ladies do chores that Tal and I never get around to doing, such as wiping the inside of the fridge, vacuuming our living room sectional, and dusting the windowsills, blinds, and baseboards. Since Tal is allergic to dust, I'm thankful that our house gets a deep cleaning every month. Plus, having a cleaning service forces our family to declutter and organize our house at least once a month. A couple days before the cleaning ladies arrive, our family spends 30-60 minutes cleaning off the kitchen counter, filing bills/papers, and putting miscellaneous items in their correct places.

4. Grocery Shopping
Our family gets groceries once a week. A couple months ago, I started picking up our groceries at our local Walmart. Grocery pick-up is free and saves me 1.5 hours of shopping each the stress and exhaustion of taking the girls with me. I order and pay for our groceries online and then schedule a one-hour window (usually 3:00-4:00 on Wednesday or Thursday ) to pick-up our groceries. Before I leave to pick-up our groceries, I click "check-in" on the Walmart Grocery app on my phone. The GPS on the app notifies Walmart when I have arrived. I park in a designated parking spot. An employee brings out my groceries and loads them into my car.

5. Meal Planning
Tal and I have been doing meal planning for years. Before we do our weekly grocery shopping, we choose 2-3 meals for the week and then buy the ingredients when do our grocery shopping. We cook our meals on the weekends and then eat the leftovers during the week.

Tal and I are tired and hungry when we get home from work. The last thing we want to do is spend 30 minutes cooking a meal and cleaning up afterwards. Some families don't like leftovers, but we don't mind eating the same meals for a couple days.

6. Lunch Prep
To save time during the week, Tal and I make our lunches and lunch snacks on the weekends. For lunch snacks, I fill baggies with nuts and baby carrots. Tal makes sub sandwiches and keeps them in the fridge. Then, when we get home from work, Tal and I spend 5 minutes assembling our lunches for the next day and putting our lunch boxes in our fridge.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Everyday Moments

These random iPhone photos are dark, blurry, and untouched,
but they capture everyday moments from the last couple weeks.

Last weekend Tal was having trouble breathing. I thought it was adorable when Hadley crawled into his lap while Tal did a breathing treatment:

Hadley was so proud of herself when she put on Savannah's gymnastics leotard all by herself. She didn't care that it was on inside-out!

Before church, Savannah asked me to measure her to see if she'd grown:

On Sunday afternoon, Hadley took a nap with me:

Sweet Sisterly Moment

On Tuesday night, Savannah fell asleep on the couch while she waited for Tal to come home from choir/drum practice at church and carry her upstairs to bed:

Hadley was adorable when she got all of the blankets and covered herself and started talking to herself:

Hadley has gone 6 days straight with only one potty accident during the day. (She peed on Tal during nap time yesterday):

Savannah sat on Tal's lap and told him about a chapter book she was reading:

Savannah and Hadley had fun playing on top of Tal:

Father's Day Naps

Father's Day Nap