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.

 

 

Interest in Pinterest

My friend Kristin turned me on to a website called Pinterest. I consider myself a pretty hip, happening and tech savvy person – and yet Pinterest baffled me. What the hell is it? How do I make it work? And why do I need to use it?

I decided to get an account, mostly so I could see what my friends were doing. They all post beautiful pictures that either they have taken or have found on the web somewhere. Again, I was left feeling left out. At one point in my life I would troll the internet looking for pretty things and fun ideas while chained to my desk during a conference call – but that ship has sailed. I barely get a check in on Facebook and fire off emails before it’s time to actually get to work, pick up the munchkin or get an errand run.

I met with the creators of Scottsdale Moms Blog last week and I am happy to say that I will be their DIY/Craft/Home project contributor starting in October! I was energized after our meeting and started to make a list of the things I wanted to write about and research to be done. I began Googling as fast as my fingers would type crafts, Halloween, kids crafts, easy crafts, no mess crafts, etc. I was bookmarking all the lovely ideas – but later when I was trying to find a picture again, I was stumped and guessing at each of the random bookmark titles to find what I was looking for…and then it hit me, Pinterest! How silly of me to over look such a useful tool…and just like that, I got it. Pinterest. I can take the picture from each of the sites I’ve bookmarked (better known as pinning) and put them on to a board (also fancy for category I create) and they will all be in one place!

So I spent a good hour going through all of the things I’ve felt were important enough to bookmark: books, recipes, pictures, craft ideas, home improvement ideas, funny blog posts. You name it, it was in my bookmarks. I created new boards on Pinterest and then sorted out all of the little Easter Eggs of ideas. And the result was a beautifully organized and visual account of all the things I think are worth hanging on to. Fun craft ideas for Halloween? Noted. Delicious recipe ideas? Pinned. Great books and blogs? Done. All of it right there and best of all, now friends and readers can see my ideas too. You can also steal them and pin them to your boards if you love them.

Check it out: http://www.pinterest.com

Search for me under Beth Wand

See what you think of what I’ve done and look around a little at what other are doing. I guarantee you’ll find something you like or worst case scenario, it will be a fun way to waste a few minutes. Happy Pinning!

Get Organized

If I had the option of becoming a horder or death, I would choose death. My cleanliness and organization skills border on OCD and honestly, I’m ok with that. I’m ok with the fact that I was known for having my own vacuum in the sorority house – people may have made fun, but when Mom and Dad were coming to visit, I was their best buddy. I like to know exactly where everything is but I never want to actually see it. I want everything to be functional, organized and pretty.

Thankfully, I married a man who feels the same way. Maybe not to quite the same level, but he has his moments and if I strike at the right time, I can coordinate his urge to organize with a place that needs to be organized and BAM! A beautifully organized space.

That said, we have an area of our house that tends to fall apart often. Our garage is a constant project. It’s contents are eclectic as they are evolving and therefore keeping it organized is a full-time job. That said, it was in desperate need of a clean up

What could be so bad behind such a pretty door?

Ooooh, yeah. That’s bad.

Yikes….

I forgot to snap pictures before Peter started to hang the fancy new, modular peg boards I found so pretend they aren’t there. It doesn’t make it  much better, but still. So after Peter’s hard work and some ruthless organizing, we have this:

And this!

And this!

Geeze, you’d think we go to the beach far more often than once a year….

So until the next time all the crap piles up and the garage needs a face lift, it’s so pretty!

Clean Up Clean Out

The spring cleaning bug has bitten at our house. Peter and I have gotten into the “clean up, clean out, organize and get rid of it” mode. Slowly but surely, we’re making our way through the closets, the cabinets and the toy bins (yes, there are more than one) and getting organized.  And hopefully getting enough stuff out to make a few bucks at a garage sale.

It’s amazing the amount of crap that you accumulate – especially when you have kids. It becomes very apparent after Christmas and birthdays when there is an influx of new toys and clothes. Or after a growth spurt where the “too small” clothes are tangled in a pile with the new clothes.

Because we are planning to have more than one child, we don’t get rid of a lot of Baylie’s stuff. Rather, we clog up most of my parent’s storage unit, which they are undoubtedly regretting offering us to use. As first time parents and first grandchild for my mom, there is an excess of stuff. We didn’t have 4 bottles, we had 10. And 10 of the various size nipples that are required for each stage of baby-hood. Don’t get me started on clothes – first grandchild, girl, first child – enough said. I could build her a full size house out of the storage bins of just clothes. Toys that she has grown out of, the baby bath that’s too small, the beastly stroller we used until she was big enough to fit in the jogger and two baby carrier car seats all are wrapped in trash bags (we’re classy organizers) and marked waiting for their next owner.

That said, I have come across a lot of stuff that I just don’t think we need to hang on to. Like stuffed animals, we have 29,000 of them and maybe 5 get played with. I’m not saying I’m the grinch and I’m going to get rid of them all, but some of the little trinket ones need to goooo. And the books that have been chewed up, torn apart and ripped up are out.

Moving on to my side of the closet….When you gain and lose 50 lbs over a 2 year period, the sizes of clothing in your closet vary wildly. There’s the pre-pregnancy clothing (aka, the skinny bitch stuff), the gaining-a-few-pounds sizes, the starting-to-need-elastic-waist pants, the super-cute-maternity clothes and finally the whatever-will-fit-over-my-ass-belly-boobs-and-doesn’t-look-too-bad clothes. And the process reverses after the baby is here. As the pounds have come off, I’ve moved clothes to what else, a storage bin. But I’ve never done a full sweep of the closet and the off-season stuff I put in storage under the bed. I’m more than half way through, just two drawers and accessories to go!

Peter has been hard at work in the garage. We have a great garage; it holds two cars and lot of stuff, which is both great and terrible as it tends to get messy easily. Thus causing me to walk through a maze of Costco paper towels, boxes of diapers, the jogger, the wagon, a bag of trash…the list goes on. He totally changed the layout of the storage racks and added a HUGE work table complete with peg boards and a new miter saw. Not sure how that’s helping us organize…but it is helping him make me a new “lettuce table”. More to come on that in a later post. It’s nice having a hubby who can sue people AND make stuff.

The kitchen, office and laundry rooms are next on my list. I think the level of difficulty will go in that order with the hardest being the laundry. We have a lot of great storage, but do not utilize it well which means a lot of extra work trying to decide the most efficient way to set it up. Currently it is the catch-all for a lot of crap – I found dog treats under a lot of other crap on the counter across from the washer the other day and started to freak out. I was picturing being on that show Hoarders and finding things I haven’t seen in years when I finally clean out all the junk. It was a frightening thought and has only fed my need to keep going!