Ribbon Wrangling

This swim team season has been the best yet! Having both kids on the team, happy and working hard was amazing.

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And this guy.

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Youngest on the team by almost a full year and he crushed it! In his first meet, he got splashed big time during the back stroke warm up and got a serious case of butterflies. After a snack, observing other swimmers, pep talks from us, several other parents, his teammates and coaches, he reluctantly lined up to swim his heat. Swimming in the 6 and  Under category, he was 1 of 5 kids in the heat, two of which were 6 years old. When they handed him his 3rd place ribbon, his mind was blown. He did it! He walked around swinging the ribbon saying “oh this? It’s just my ribbon. It’s a 3rd place. No big”. It. Was. Amazing.

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He went on to swim the rest of the season in both individual and relay races and worked his little butt off to do it. He was crushed when he didn’t make the cut in the finals, but showed up in his uniform any way “just in case”. I love his hustle and can’t wait to see what he does when he’s the big kid in his group.

Big scoops, buddy. Biiiiigggg scoops!!

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Also, it appears that while he sometimes has some hesitations about swimming races, his confidence with the ladies has no issues…

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This girl. This girls pushes past the limitations that asthma puts on her and works hard to swim fast. If there were style points, she’d win every time. Her strokes are gorgeous. This season, she worked on trading some of her skill for speed and she crushed it. She made the cut for breaststroke in the finals and took home an 8th place medal. She was supremely disappointed. While I felt bad that she was mad, I was also a little excited to see her get some competitive fire. Once she figures it out, she’s going to be unstoppable!

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Now, what the heck do we do with all these ribbons?!

Two years ago I assembled B’s ribbons into a shadow box for her. It makes a great back drop on her shelves. We added in her medal this year too.

*one note – if you have multiple kids, save your sanity by marking the ribbons as they get them. The fights that broke out over sorting ribbons at the end of the season were legendary.

(as you can see, I got this gem on sale at Hobby Lobby)

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I use a cool iron and press them from the backside to get all the wrinkles out without damaging the print. In addition to pinning them in, I also put in a little hot glue to make sure they don’t swing around.

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Voila! Start to finish, this is a 15 minute project. And a great display piece for all that hard work.

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Beachy Memories

If your kids are like mine, they are always trying to keep every little rock, bucket of sand, broken shell and sea tumbled piece of trash that they find on the beach. Or in a creek. Or just walking down the road. Sure you can bring it home in the name of preserving your sanity, but then what do you do with it?!

I let everyone collect all the shells and sand that they want and then sometime things “blow” out of the car on the way home. What are you gonna do? With a paired down set of shells, rocks and sand, we create little jars. They are cheap at Michael’s and we try to get the same size each time – or at least the same style. Then we fill them, label them and put them on a shelf. Easy to dust and no beach memories on the floor!

And if glass scares you, grab a plastic jar instead and hot glue the lid on for a toddler / hands on friendly version.

Easy way to control the amount of crap that comes home and keep it in one place is to use a drink cup with lid. If you’re extra fancy, remember to pack some ziplock bags

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Our sand dollars were purple and hairy. We put them in a bleach bath over night and voila! White and smooth.

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Ta da! A sweet little mess free collection of our vacation!

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Also works with creek rocks:

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Organized Living: Noted

In college, we had to take the Meyers Briggs personality test – which I actually found to be pretty accurate. And just in a breif version now, I’m still the same personality type today. But I think one part has gotten even stronger…judging.

No, not what it sounds like. A judging personality prefers to have matters settled. Likes to make plans and details on what one is jumping into. A judging personality needs details and lists.

And if we’ve met? You know I love me a list (Stop laughing, Marilyn 😉 ).

I reached out on Facebook to my friends about the best way to keep notes in your phone and on your computer. The unanimous decision was Evernote. I quickly downloaded it and then began to transfer all of my notes from my Note app in my phone over. It took me a few weeks to get really used to it and organized in a way that works best. But now? It. Is. Awesome.

In general, I keep a running To Do list broken into work, writing and life. There are sub categories from there, but it gives me a quick and dirty. I can update it at school from my phone and when I get home and sit down at my desk, it’s there to remind me to order party table cloths. I can also print a hard copy which I love for the visual reminder at my desk.

I keep my grocery list, Target list and Costco lists there so when we’re in the car and a kid says “can we get popcorn at the grocery?” I can add it in and avoid the sad frowny face when I realize I forgot to purchase said popcorn because my list wasn’t handy. Now, my list is always handy.

I am just starting to try the “clipping” feature where you can put pictures, websites, etc. I love this because I always see a sign for something, or a website I think is neat and now I can clip it into Evernote rather than save the bookmark. And it’s allll in one place. One place! Everything!

Get downloading. You’ll thank me when you never forget something on your grocery list again.

 

 

Organized Living: Catch It All

Any time I flip through a magazine or catalog, I always sigh when I see neatly organized “catch all” or mud rooms. I love the idea of having a place to house all the stuff needed for activities, school and life.

This is our finished catch all and I love it. It makes clean up easy (ok, slightly easier) because everyone can put their bags, gear and or reminders in one space. Plus there’s not back packs and soccer balls every where. Or at least in theory.

This bench is an antique that has been in our house since I was little. It sort of floats around rooms, but it always works. The mirrors and the baskets are Target. And the shelf is courtesy of Peter and his amazing carpentry skills.

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I love the baskets. They make storage so pretty. And yes, having a crap basket is totally necessary.

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One organized living solution that keeps my sanity is to have a bag for each activity. Swim, dance, soccer, softball – all of them get a bag. Then at the end of each game or practice, all the crap goes back into the bag. That way there’s at least a fighting chance of finding soccer balls and TWO shin guards.

And that orange bag? Is a life saver! It has pockets surrounding the inside and the wide opening means everything is easily accessable. It’s called The Game Day Tote from Simply Steph’s Monograms on Etsy. Tell her I sent you when you order yours.

Need ideas for your mud room? Head on over to Pinterest and get ready to lose a few hours. All you need is a little space and some imagination – now get organized!