Monday, August 21, 2017

Five Time-Saving Tips For Busy Mornings On The Go


My kids are heading back to school this week, and life is going to get a LOT busier! I already struggle to make it out the door on time, so getting four kids out the door at three different times is going to be a lot to juggle. Taking advantage of a few time-saving tips is the only thing that will keep me sane (and on time) amidst the chaos!


Getting four kids and myself prepared for each day often feels like a full time job. There are times when I sacrifice my own needs in order to meet their needs. If I stay organized, and do most of the work the night before, getting out the door on time really can be less stressful!

Five Time Saving Tips for Busy Mornings On The Go

Five Time-Saving Tips For Busy Mornings On The Go


PREPARE EVERYTHING THE NIGHT BEFORE


Preparing everything we need for the following day on the night before is key! Here are a few things I do before we all go to bed:

  • Pack all the lunches and store in the fridge.
  • Empty backpacks and add in what will be needed the following day.
  • Put everything that will be needed for school, work, errands, sports or activities in one spot near the door, or have a designated storage spot for each person within easy reach.
  • Drape each coat over each bag or hang the coats above the bags.
  • Choose clothing, shoes, underwear and accessories for the following day.
  • Sit out a travel mug and prepare everything for morning coffee or tea. I like to put the tea bag and sugar in my travel mug, then put the lid back on until morning.
  • Ask each member of the family what they would like to eat for breakfast and make sure they stick with it!
Five Time Saving Tips for Busy Mornings On The Go

SHOWER IN THE EVENING

I know many people prefer to start their day with a shower, but I'm the opposite. I like to be completely clean BEFORE I crawl into bed at night. The best part is that it saves me a lot of time in the morning!

SET THE CLOCK AHEAD


Setting the clock 10 to 15 minutes ahead helps so much! When the alarm goes off at the designated wake up time, I'm already a few minutes ahead. Plus, having a few minutes before the first child wakes up is really nice!

UTILIZE A CALENDAR AND SET REMINDERS


Having an organized calendar is so important! We have a family calendar, and everything gets added to it. Project due dates, important school events, work or blogging functions, practices, games, classes, activities, birthdays, parties, play dates, appointments, etc. 

Every evening, I check our calendar for the following day so we don't miss any important dates. For extra important dates, I set reminders so an alarm will go off prior to the event. Staying organized and adding dates to our calendar immediately helps eliminate some of the stress in my life!

EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST ON THE GO


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it's often missed for me. I spend so much time feeding kids and herding them out the door that I often forget to eat! I'm usually so busy that I don't even realize I missed breakfast (and often lunch) until that 3 pm headache and exhaustion hits!

Eating a small, easy, well balanced breakfast on the go is necessary for me, or else I will completely skip it. I'm not overly hungry in the morning, which is part of the problem. Plus, I need to eat on the go as I'm rushing out the door for my morning run, errands or appointments. 

A nutritious, easily portable option is Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks and Dannon Oikos Nonfat Yogurt Drinks! They are the perfect choice for breakfast on the go. I can toss one in my purse, along with a piece of fruit, and eat a healthy, well balanced breakfast as I drive the Mom Taxi to and fro!

#DannonAtWM

Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks and Dannon Oikos Nonfat Yogurt Drinks are available in 4 packs, in the refrigerated section at Walmart. Both yogurt drinks pack a healthy punch by providing protein with 0% fat. Even better, they taste great!

#DannonAtWM

  • 7 fl oz yogurt drink
  • 9 grams of protein
  • 90 calories/serving
  • Nonfat
  • No added sugar
  • Available in mixed berry, strawberry, strawberry banana, peach mango and raspberry flavors
  • MUST be refrigerated
Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks

  • 7 fl oz nonfat yogurt drink
  • 10 grams of protein
  • 110 calories/serving
  • Nonfat
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Available in strawberry, vanilla, mixed berry and banana creme flavors
  • Not a low calorie food
  • MUST be refrigerated
Dannon Oikos Nonfat Yogurt Drink

I keep my favorite flavors stocked in my fridge, and grab one as I dash out the door each morning. Not only are they nutritious AND delicious, but they are the perfect choice for busy moms on the go!

Moms On The Go

Try Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks and Dannon Oikos Nonfat Yogurt Drinks for your busy mornings on the go! Take advantage of THIS IBOTTA OFFER to save $1 on these yogurt drinks!


Dannon Yogurt Drinks

Only two days left until the back to school chaos begins! The earlier, structured schedule is going to be tough for all of us. However, with these five time-saving tips for busy mornings on the go, I'm hoping to make it out the door on time each day with the least amount of stress possible! (A mom can dream!)

Motherhood

Five Time-Saving Tips for Busy Mornings On The Go #Sponsored #DannonAtWM @lightandfit @oikos


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An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

5 Ways To Get Organized For School


Hello, I’m Keri and I am so excited to be sharing some ways to get organized for school with you today! As many have already started school and the rest of us are preparing to, all the moms are thinking about all things related to back to school. 


In the middle of school shopping and figuring out new schedules, this is the best time to think about how to get organized for school. Starting the school year off with these five organization methods in place, will help your school year be much smoother! 

Landing Zone


I am all about creating landing zones in our house. A landing zone is a home for a specific item. When you create landing zones and follow through with using them, there is less clutter and less wondering where your keys are. 

Create a landing zone for your kids bookbags. This will help relieve so much stress, because no mama likes tripping over bookbags. I love to use what I have to create landing zones, so look around your house. What can you use?  

Put the landing zone in a practical area. Our bookbags get hung up on the hooks by the front door. It makes sense because that is right where they walk in. 

After School Snacks


Kids come home from school  hungry! What are some snacks you can have on hand for them? What are some snacks you can easily send with them to take the after school care? While you are out buying pencils and book bags, also pick up some good after school snack options. 

You can even take time on the weekend, to prepare some after school snacks. Cut up some vegetables and have them ready in the fridge with hummus, make some cookies ahead of time, stock up on granola bars for the cabinet. 


Homework Station


No one is a fan of homework, but having a homework station can help lessen the stress. Put together a caddy of all the supplies your kids may need for homework. Basic essentials: sharpened pencils, colored pencils, ruler, paper, markers, and crayons are generally needed. Set the caddy in an easily accessible location. 

School Papers Plan


You are about to enter into the time when there is a constant flow of papers piling onto your counters. Decide now what system you will use. Will you file the papers? Keep them in a binder? Come up with a plan and explain it to your kids as well. From day one, use your plan and soon it will become second nature. 

I love to use clipboards that hang in our command center. It is so simple. Each child has a clipboard and it holds all of the current important papers. The papers that I will not referance as often get placed in a file folder in a little caddy. 

Meals


As school and sports kick into gear, mealtimes can become hectic. This is a great time to consider preparing some freezer meals for your family. Put together a basket of granola bars that can be grabbed last minute. Stock up on some paper plates for rushed meals. 

Are you ready to get organized for school? If you feel overwhelmed by these five things, pick one to tackle and then add in the others one at a time. 


Thanks for letting me share today! If you want more practical tips and encouragement for moms, I would love for you to head on over and say hi! You can also sign up to receive my FREE Say Hello To Thriving Motherhood Guide

Connect with Keri


Bio: 

Keri lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and three kids. She loves to use her day-to-day life to encourage other moms to thrive in whatever season of life they are in. 



Monday, August 14, 2017

Our T21 Anniversary {GUEST POST}

Happy Monday, my friends! While I am sitting on the beach this week, I enlisted a few blogging friends to take over my blog, so I can enjoy my break. I am so excited to share their content with my readers! First up is Amber from Baby Lemonade Blog, sharing her T21 diagnosis story. Amber's beautiful daughter just celebrated her first birthday last week!

(About that sitting part...if you ever met Liam in person you know that's far from the truth. Most likely, I'm racing up and down the beach trying to keep him from escaping!)

Our T21 Anniversary


{March 1st, 2016} – This date will forever be a turning point in my life. On this date, I heard the words “abnormal test results” for the Trisomy 21 portion of our prenatal screening test. If I had known, I wouldn’t have taken that call in the middle of the work day.

Because Kara is so incredible, it’s easy to say I wish I would have known then what I know now, but it’s not that simple. This was a very hard time for us last year. I needed time to grieve, to learn, to grow. I needed to be there for my husband and know that he was going to be there for me.

Anything after March 1st has become “after we knew.” I look at pictures before that date and think “Those people are so worry-free and uneducated.” I search my own face in photos and see innocence. I want to say, “You just wait…You just wait until the 1st and your world is going to change forever.”
March 1st was the same day we found out we were having a girl.

The calls were divided. I got a call from our physician that afternoon telling me the next step was to meet with a genetic counselor. Shortly after, Jacob got a call with the news of our baby girl. He was to keep the secret and surprise me with our gender reveal that weekend, but you know how plans change…

He did great keeping the secret. When I told him that I needed to hear some good news that afternoon, he shook his head. But then a few minutes later I got a text message. I looked down to see this image illuminated on my screen.




My eyes filled with tears, “I was right?”

“You were right,” he said.

What a day.  

Six days later we met with a genetic counselor and had an ultrasound performed. Seven days after that I had my amniocentesis.

The day the results came back, a friend had come to drop off a gift for Baby Girl. A tiny little black & white dress with a yellow bow. Jacob had told me the news minutes before. She had no idea that she’d be walking into our living room to see me a sobbing mess. I don’t remember if I could even say the words, she has Down syndrome.

Kara has long grown out of that dress, but I packed it away with extra special care and the flood of emotions that it brought back.

Many of my fears have now diminished.


I was so scared that my daughter wouldn’t be smart, beautiful, or strong. Now I feel silly when I think of those feelings because she is all these things and more! I was terrified that she wouldn’t have friends or supporters, but again, I was proven very wrong. Since that day, we have aimed to be experts on everything Down syndrome. I have gained a lot of knowledge, but nothing could have ever prepared me for the love I feel. She has my whole heart.

Termination was never, ever an option in our minds. I feel lucky that our physician did not lead us in that direction. We made it clear from the beginning that the results of the amnio were to prepare us, not so we could talk about a solution.

March 1st, 2016 – I was sick to my stomach with fear and uncertainty, but the fear is nothing compared to the pride I now have for my little girl. The world is a better place with her in it, just you wait and see.

Amber is a first time mother who is crazy about her little girl. She is married to a police officer and has two cuddly pups. She blogs about the ups & downs of being a special needs mom. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, & Pinterest

Thursday, August 10, 2017

First Day Of School Memories & Moments Link Party

First Day of School Memories and Moments

The time has arrived! You might be dreading the moment or you might be counting down the days, but either way, it's time to send the kids back to school. The first day of school is always exciting, and it's so much fun to document those memories! 

I teamed up with a few other awesome mom bloggers to host a fun back to school link party! Link up all of your back to school posts with us by September 10th, and if you share on social media, use the hashtag #2017B2S. We hope you will join us in sharing all of those first day of school moments! (Link your posts on the widget below!)

My kids go back to school two weeks from today, and one of those weeks will be spent in Virginia Beach. We are all fiercely Team Summer, and we are not looking forward to the start of the school year, but that first day is rapidly approaching!


This year, Liam will be in Pre-K, Lily will be heading to 1st grade (and will be in school ALL day), Lexie is moving up to another building for 5th grade, and Dylan is going to middle school. For the first time in almost 13 years, I will have 2 1/2 hours to myself 3 days a week. (Hello, cramming in work.)

When Dylan was a baby, the first day of school seemed so far away. Somehow, I blinked, and 12 1/2 years are behind us. My "baby" is going into 7th grade. This is the year when everything changes!

Our first day isn't here just yet, and you better believe we're going to be enjoying the two weeks of Summer, but soon, I'll be sending all four of my kiddos off to school. While this year's first day of school moments are going to have to wait, here's a glimpse at some past first days of school!

2016

Dylan - 6th Grade, Lexie - 4th Grade, Lily - Kindergarten, Liam -Preschool

The First Day of School

The First Day of School

2015

Dylan - 5th Grade, Lexie - 3rd Grade, Lily - PreK

First Day of School

First Day of School


2014

Dylan - 4th Grade and Lexie - 2nd Grade

First Day of School

2013

Dylan - 3rd Grade and Lexie - 1st Grade

First Day of School

And that's as far back as I'm going! Photobucket ruined third party hosting, and I have 5 years of blog posts to fix. I can't reference my old posts for pictures, and I'm not hooking up my external hard drive to find 4 pictures! (Darn you, Photobucket. NOT cool.)

Dylan, Lexie, Lily and Liam's first days of school are so near! I will be recapping all the special moments and linking them up here. Now go link up your first day of school posts and recaps! We can't wait to read them!



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Kids Behind The Blog: August Edition

The Kids Behind The Blog

Happy Wednesday! I'm in the middle of an absolutely chaotic week, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get everything done before we leave for vacation this weekend. We are so excited to go to the beach, but I really could use one more week to prepare! I'm taking a brief (and much needed) break from the overwhelming stress to bring you August's edition of The Kids Behind The Blog! 

THE KIDS BEHIND THE BLOG:


Dylan - Age 12 / Alexandria - Age 10 / Liliana - Age 6 / Liam - Age 3

If you could change one of your family's rules, what would you change?


LIAM: *Gives me a kiss.* "Smooch smooch smooch smooch smooch." Mom Thoughts: He is the sweetest!

LILY: "I would change it and make it no locking the doors. If we hear the door open, we can just run out and grab him." Mom Thoughts: We had to install locks on the top of each exterior door because Liam likes to escape! It's kind of a pain for the rest of us, but his safety is what matters!

LEXIE: "I would change jumping on sofas and beds!" Mom Thoughts: They totally broke our couch doing just that.

DYLAN: "Let me think. To let me play basketball in the house. I mean...I don't know." Mom Thoughts: You already do.

Down syndrome blogs

Are you a good friend? Why or why not?


LIAM: "Uh, yeah." Mom Thoughts: He is when he doesn't pinch cheeks!

LILY: "Yes. Am I? Because I'm nice and I take care of animals and I care for people, too. And I'm cute." Mom Thoughts: She definitely is cute!

LEXIE: "I guess, because I help people and animals." Mom Thoughts: She most definitely is a good friend!

DYLAN: "Yes, because I care for people and help people." Mom Thoughts: He drives me crazy, but he really does!

Carter's

Where is your favorite place in the whole world? 


LIAM: "Haha! Lily!" Mom Thoughts: Remind me to conduct these interviews separately next month!

LILY: "I'm going to say Lightning Bug. Because Bump-errrrrrr Caaarrrrrrs!" Mom Thoughts: She has been obsessed with The Lightning Bug since we went there for her birthday!

LEXIE: "Virginia Beach! Of course!" Mom Thoughts: Of course!

DYLAN: "Virginia Beach!" Mom Thoughts: Good thing we're going there on Saturday!

The Kids Behind The Blog


If you could invent anything in the world, what would it be? 


LIAM: "Mom." *smooch* Mom Thoughts: Hmmmmm.....

LILY: "I don't know what you mean. I would make a castle. If I could. I would make a cage." Mom Thoughts: A castle and a cage are great options?!?

LEXIE: "A flying device, because then you could fly around wherever you like and you would have wings on you like a bird!" Mom Thoughts: I like it!

DYLAN: "I would invent a teleportation device." Mom Thoughts: Start working on that, buddy!

The Kids Behind The Blog

What are you most excited about this year in school?


LIAM: "No. School. Bad! Bad!" Mom Thoughts: Don't believe him. The kid loves school!

LILY: "I'm very excited to go eat lunch in school!" Mom Thoughts: She really is! I, however, am going to miss those half days of school and having her home for lunch!

LEXIE: "Having to organize my locker!" Mom Thoughts: Nerds rule the world!

DYLAN: " I am most excited about being more independent, having more teachers, and not having the same kids in my class." Mom Thoughts: We had 7th grade orientation last night and poor Dylan looked so overwhelmed. I'm glad he's excited!

The Kids Behind The Blog Monthly Interview

Next month when I share The Kids Behind The Blog interview, Liam will be FOUR! These kids of mine need to stop growing up so fast!

Now excuse me while I cry as I try to fit in swimming, basketball, two days of preschool, 10 loads of laundry, packing for vacation, preparing for Liam's birthday and writing five blog posts into the next three days!  I'm going to need all the luck I can get!


I'm linking up HERE for The Kids Behind The Blog.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The BEST Strawberry Banana Smoothie & Snapshots From The Strawberry Fields

The BEST Strawberry Banana Smoothie & Snapshots From The Strawberry Fields

 {I received the GREENPAXX reusable silicone straws in exchange for a review. I only share products I love on my blog!}

One of my family's favorite Summer traditions is picking strawberries at a local farm. We go every year, pick several pounds of strawberries, then whip up our favorite Strawberry Banana Smoothie recipe each day until they're gone!


Strawberry Picking

This Summer was the 6th anniversary of this tradition, and I can only hope we have many more years ahead of us. Summer just wouldn't be the same without it! This year we almost missed strawberry picking due to rain, but managed to go on the very last day of the season!

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry picking is always more fun with friends, so we plan a group trip every year! Sometimes our group is large, and sometimes it's small, but it's always fun. This Summer, we met up with a few of our favorites at nearby Soergel Orchards!


It was a scorching, uncomfortably humid Summer day, and the threat of rain was on the horizon. I didn't have high expectations for our trip, but we didn't want to miss it. Thankfully, the rain held off while we picked strawberries!

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking Family Tradition

Strawberry Picking Summer Tradition

Strawberry Picking

Liam, of course, ate far more strawberries than he placed in his bucket, lost a shoe, and was covered in strawberry juice by the end of our excursion. (See the juice running down his leg?) Allowing the tiny toddler tornado to run loose in the strawberry fields was definitely entertaining!

Strawberry Picking

It didn't take too long before the kids (and the moms) were hot and tired, so we ran for the lone shady spot in the entire field to take a short break. A few strawberries just might have been eaten in the process...

Strawberry Picking

Down syndrome

Down syndrome blogs

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry Picking

Finally it was time to capture the toddler tornado (oh, how I love my Lillebaby CarryOn), say goodbye to the strawberry fields until next year, and hike back down the hill. There's usually a tractor pulling a wagon to and from the fields, but it was broken down that morning. We ended up getting a bit of unexpected exercise!

Strawberry Picking

We paid for our strawberries, then the kids were able to play, visit the animals in the barn, get ice cream (Liam's first cone), and cool off in the sprinkler!

Soergel Orchard's

Soergel Orchards

Soergel Orchards

Soergel Orchards

Down syndrome

Soergel Orchards

Although our group was smaller than usual, we had so much fun picking strawberries that morning! I'm so glad we were able to make it to the farm before the season was over. We can't wait to do it again next year! (Then again, I can, because that will mean I will have a 13 year old, 10 year old, almost 7 year old and almost 5 year old, and that is NOT okay!)

Strawberry Picking

We came home from the farm with 5 pounds of strawberries and they were gone in no time! My family loves smoothies, so we try to make them almost every day. It's such an easy and healthy way to eat all those fruits and vegetables! Our favorite one to make is a simple Strawberry Banana Smoothie recipe.


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Grant and I started making this recipe when we were teenagers. We found out the "secret ingredient" at our favorite smoothie place at the mall, and it was easily duplicated at home. Although we make many other types of smoothies, this one remains the family favorite. The ingredients are basic, and I think that's what makes it so good! 

The BEST Strawberry Banana Smoothie


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:
  • 8-10 Strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 banana
  • Ice
  • 8 oz water
  • 1 tbsp local honey 
*Note: Eating local honey is really good for you! Eating 1-2 tbsp daily can actually help if you suffer from seasonal allergies!

MAKE IT:
  1. Wash and hull the strawberries, then cut them in half.
  2. Place the strawberries and banana into the blender, then fill it to the halfway point with ice.
  3. Stir 1 tbsp of local honey into 8 oz of water, then pour into the blender. 
  4. Blend until smooth!
*This recipe makes a 16 oz serving. I usually make it in my NutriBullet since it is so quick, but if I use my regular blender, I usually make enough for 4 servings.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

SERVE IT:

GREENPAXX recently sent me a 4 pack of reusable silicone straws to feature on social media, and they quickly became a family favorite. Not only do they save us money because they are reusable, but they are also BPA, Phthalate and PVC Free. Plus, the 2 piece design makes them really easy to wash!

The Cool Straw is wider than traditional disposable drinking straws, which makes them perfect for our daily smoothies! The silicone is a safe alternative to plastic, and the straws are non-stick, flexible, and dishwasher safe.

My kids love them so much that they use them daily. I really want to try the Cool Cap Universal Cup Lids and the Reusable Snack Packs, too! Check them out!

GREENPAXX reusable silicone straws {partner}

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

This Strawberry Banana Smoothie is the most frequently requested recipe in our home. We hope you love it as much as we do!


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie


The BEST Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe! Just a few basic ingredients - strawberries, bananas, local honey, ice and water. Featuring reusable silicone straws from @GreenPaxx! {partner}

You might also like:

Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits


TUESDAY TALK


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Tuesday Talk


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