3.26.2017

The Sunday Night Rush.

I'm totally over here weeping because my two week vacation is coming to an end. No more late nights, slow mornings, endless hours with Javi, traveling, binge-watching netflix, etc. etc. etc. Hold on -- I need to grab another tissue.

When I am working there are things that I need to do on Sunday nights to make sure the rest of the week moves along smoothly. I'm out of the house for about 12 hours a day during the work week so there's not much time to do anything after work besides the typical -- play with Javi, eat dinner, relax for a bit and go to bed on time. For me, that's key. I don't want to waste the few hours I have with Javi and Sean during the work week because I need to do things that easily could have been accomplished during the weekend -- and even then I leave most things to Sunday night. Call me crazy, but I'm motivated when my time is running out. :) Plus, I don't want to do this stuff on Saturdays!

1. Laundry -- I typically do 4 loads of laundry every Sunday -- 3 for clothes, and 1 for towels and sheets. I hate doing laundry during the week and when I don't have time on Sunday and end up doing it during the week -- well that's when I don't put it away and we end up sleeping amongst piles of clean laundry and then it falls on the floor and we have endless conversations about what's clean and what's dirty. And then we never catch up and it's a never ending cycle of scary laundry. No good.

2. Pack bags -- Javi has a bit of a confusing schedule but on the days he is with family he uses one bag and on the days he goes to school he uses a different bag. On Sunday I make sure both bags are packed accordingly with everything he needs -- so then all I have to worry about each evening is his food. I also pack my bag for work -- and make sure I have everything I need -- especially my keys! The worst thing in the world is not being able to find keys at 5AM.

3. Clean kitchen -- Including dishes. I always like to wake up to a clean kitchen but it's important to me that we have the appropriate dishware to bring lunches during the week. Some days we bring sandwiches or salads and some days we bring leftovers. But one thing I hate is when the dishes I want to use are dirty. I get so frustrated! This is also why we run the dishwasher every day. Most often it's full anyway but it's the worst when dishes are dirty.

4. Prepare food -- Everyone needs to eat! I like to make sure Javi has all his snacks and food for the next day and since his bags are already packed I just replenish every other night of the week. I also get together food for Sean and me. I need breakfast, a snack, lunch and usually another snack :). I make sure everything is ready to go so I can just grab it in the morning. Sometimes we meal plan on Sunday and we make lunches for every day, too. Those are always easier weeks. Another thing we do, regarding food, (we actually do it on Saturday) is that we buy all of our stuff for the week -- food, paper goods, cat food, etc. -- one day during the weekend (or we order it from amazon and have it delivered during the week). This helps because we plan all our dinners, portion out the meat in ziplocs and write (for example) "Monday - chicken parm" or "Tuesday - pizza". It helps so much! And there's no reason to stop anywhere after work -- we don't have time!

5. Collect trash -- Our trash day is Tuesday but it's terrible to collect trash on Monday night after putting Javi to sleep. So we try to empty most trash bins on Sunday. That way when Monday comes along we just have to do the kitchen trash (and the litter boxes because that's an every day thing -- you know what I mean if you have cats).

6. Clothes -- Always pick out clothes for the next day. I get dressed in the dark -- literally, I don't turn on the light because Sean is still asleep. I use the flashlight on my phone to be nice -- though he recently told me it shines in his eyes (here I was thinking I was being a good wife). On particularly busy weeks, I pick out all 5 outfits for the week -- I dress in layers so the weather doesn't really matter. I also put whatever shoes I plan to wear near the door. And ALWAYS match your socks when you put away laundry -- especially if you get dressed in the dark like me because all socks look the same and you'll inevitably be mismatched in the light.

7. Go to bed -- Especially on a Sunday like tonight (coming off a 2-week break) but really every Sunday, I feel a little more amped up and not necessarily like I want to go to bed. But when I do go to bed before 10PM -- I feel so much better waking up the next day. Oh, and always set your alarm before falling asleep. Because it's terrible to oversleep on a Monday morning. It throws off the whole week!

What do you do to prepare for the week?

3.25.2017

How to plan a Scrapbook Getaway

I told you about how we were rushing to get home from the west coast after the storm Stella, right? Well, maybe you were thinking "what's the rush? why rush home from 90 degree weather to be freezing in the teens?!" or maybe you thought "ah... they must have to get back to work". Well, no. Not at all. The reason I was in a hurry to get home wasn't because I had to work (I have 2 weeks off this month; Sean works on a computer and can pretty much be anywhere). It definitely wasn't because we love the cold weather or the snow. And as much as we love our cats -- we knew they were well taken care of. :)

No, no -- the reason we were rushing home was because every year I plan a scrapbook weekend (Thursday-Sunday) for 10 women, in the White Mountains of NH about 3 hours away from where I live, and our cancelled flights were jeopardizing my plans! To say that I was upset about this would have been an understatement. I did end up missing one night but I eventually got there and carried on the tradition of raffles, giveaways, prizes and break-out sessions. If you craft, I highly recommend starting up this tradition with fellow crafters. Here's how:
1. Find your people: The biggest part of any plan is having people who will show up. I've found the more people who come, the cheaper it is for all. But of course you need enough beds and enough bathrooms. For my group there are some family members, some friends, and some friends of friends who have become friends. It's a really tight group and we've been going as our own group for 5 years -- though we broke off from a larger group before that so we've been doing this for longer. Everyone doesn't need to do the same craft either -- with table space and lighting (and internet) you can pretty much do anything. Some people relax, others scrap, some read, and some enjoy the resort amenities like the pool and the gym. It doesn't have to be all work all the time. So think of your family members and friends. Anyone stick out that may seem interested in a crafty-getaway? Ask them!

2. Find a location: I like to scrapbook, others like paper crafts, or painting or knitting -- just something creative with your hands. You need a space to do such things and the most important things the place needs to have is good table space and really good lighting. I've attended lots of scrapbook days at various places -- hotels, churches, people's houses but the place we go for the weekend rents out condos (they call them the scrapbook condos) and it's basically 2-adjoining condos (6 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms). One living room is set up for scrapbooking and the other has comfy couches, a tv and a fireplace to get away to relax. There are 2 kitchens too BUT our meals are included in the cost of the getaway so we actually get breakfast and dinner at the resort's restaurant. As soon as you're back in the condo -- you can scrap away, take breaks and go back at 2AM because that's why you're there! No need to clean up at the end of the day. It's 4 days of fun. Depending on how long you are planning to go you can contact places near and far with your exact requests to see if they can fulfill them. I like the place we go because they set-up all the tables/chairs and lights for us, but you could make it work if you rented a house and brought your own tables and chairs, too.

3. Plan some fun: Like anything you host -- it's always fun to add a little extra for your guests. My mom helps me plan, shop and coordinate but we put together welcome bags for everybody and plan raffles and prizes, too. Generally raffles are smaller gifts and I pull a name out of a jar a few times each day. It goes something like "raffle time!!!" and everyone kind of jokingly oohs and ahhs over a paper pad or adhesive. Prizes are larger gifts and for that I also pull names out of a jar. Sometimes we do "in your seat raffles" which means if you're not sitting/working and your name is pulled -- you miss out (we never actually follow that rules, it's just fun), and sometimes we do "finish a page" raffles where you put your name in a different jar every time you finish a page in your scrapbook (the more your scrap, the more of a winning chance)... and we do a larger, "grand prize" on the final day of the weekend. Here is some of what we gave out this year.

Some items in the welcome bags:
 Some prizes:
// country farm house // calendar kit (similar) //

I buy some stuff from Amazon, some from Michaels and AC Moore and sometimes JoAnn Fabrics has some good deals. Always get their apps and use their coupons and ALWAYS check their sales during Black Friday. Sometimes we buy stuff well in advance and hold on to it in anticipation.

In addition to all the loot, we plan and teach "break-out sessions" and provide "make-and-takes" for everybody. I was totally unprepared for this, this year, because of the flight situation, but my mom and a friend totally saved the day. "Make-and-takes" are quick projects where we supply all the materials and "break-out sessions" are longer lessons where we tell people ahead of time what they should bring and then we teach the class on one of the days. This year we made this, this and these. Pinterest is an amazing place to find these types of projects and you can watch youtube videos, too.

And then of course, my favorite part of the weekend is when a chair masseuse comes to the condos to give massages. It's always good to treat yourself and your guests!

All in all, you just really need company, a place and a few projects! And then you can scrap for as long as you'd like!

3.24.2017

Happy Birthday to my better half!

Yesterday was a super special day :) Sean turned 31! Look at the little guy circa maybe 1989 (before T. Swift made that year cool)! Does Javi look like him? I think so. This celebratory blog post is a day late because that's what happens when Javi doesn't sleep (ah!)... things get delayed (since I do most of my blogging the night before). BUT! We still got a chance to celebrate! My mom watched Javi for us and we went to dinner and to the movies last night -- we saw Beauty and the Beast. (I liked it because I love Disney but I'm not totally sold on it).
We've come a long way from all-day birthday celebrations and parties with friends but it was really nice to be out just the two of us. It's always nice to eat a meal when it's still hot :) (though we missed Javi, of course). I did get Sean a few gifts like this and this but his major gift is coming Monday -- and I'm really excited about it! I can't believe we're fully in our 30s now! It seems like just yesterday we were in middle school! I definitely took a trip down memory lane when I brought out all the old hard drives to dig out some of these gems. :)
This is the 9th birthday we're celebrating together and I think they're so special. I'm so happy to be doing this whole life thing with Sean and I can't wait to see what many more birthdays bring. 

3.23.2017

Impromptu road trip

Last week a huge storm hit the east coast. We were happy to be in sunny California when it was happening but it really messed up our flight home. Originally we were leaving Tuesday night (that flight was cancelled), we moved it up a night (that flight was cancelled), we moved it back to Thursday night (that flight was cancelled), we finally moved it to Wednesday morning but when we got to the airport, our flight was delayed. Once we boarded the flight and started down the runway, we had to turn back because of a maintenance issue. We sat on the plane at the gate forever, they thought they fixed the issue, we started down the runway once more only to turn back because the pilot said "I wouldn't fly my family on a plane I didn't think was safe, and this one isn't safe". As you can imagine, after a delayed flight and sitting on the runway -- people were a little annoyed. After that it was a mad rush to get in line, get on another flight, I had JetBlue on the phone and the helpful woman was telling me "get to gate 8! there's a flight to JFK" and I'd run to gate 8 and they were auctioning off tickets and the woman in front of us got the last one (damn her!). Then the woman would say "get to gate 4, you can get to San Francisco with a layover you can be Boston tomorrow morning" and we'd run there (with Javi, a stroller, 2 backpacks, etc., etc., etc.) -- she eventually said "I'm so sorry, but that was the last one. The next flight to get you anywhere close to the east coast is Sunday". SUNDAY. It was Wednesday. So we decided to cancel the flight, rent a car, and drive. We were in Long Beach, California and we live outside of Boston. It's winter. And we had a toddler with us.
It didn't take long for us to realize that Javi wasn't going to make the trek. He fell asleep immediately upon sitting in his carseat. He was out... for 3 hours. So I started researching airports along the route home and then seeing which ones could get us a flight within the next day. Eventually we settled on Phoenix (about 10 hours from where we started off in Long Beach) so we booked a random hotel on Expedia (yay for last minute bookings that are super on sale!) and headed toward Phoenix. 
I've been to a lot of east coast states, and a few years ago we drove from Seattle to San Diego -- but I've never really spent any length of time inland on either coast. I've always been pretty close to the ocean (with the exception of a few trips to places like Vegas and Lake Tahoe) so the views of mountains and deserts was something I've never (in my adult life) seen before! The drive definitely made us realize that we aren't ready to embark on such a trip with Javi (as a 17 month old) but that in a few years (!) we will definitely make the trip across the whole country! If I could have taken pictures of the stars at night -- I would have! It was like we were in the planetarium at a museum. That's how bright they were! We finally made it to the hotel around midnight and it was such a nice hotel we were upset that we were only there to sleep for 6 hours! We wanted to spend more time there. Phoenix is definitely HOT. When we woke up at 6AM it was still 75 degrees outside.

We did eventually get home. The following day (Thursday) we got on an 8AM flight (that's when this whole thing happened) and landed in Boston around 4:30. We were really excited up until the moment we stepped off the plane and felt the -degree weather and we were all "sooo.... why were we rushing to get home"?!

:)

3.21.2017

A toddler Easter Basket

I'm on vacation and thought it was the perfect opportunity to decorate for spring and easter! I like to decorate early or not at all. Sometimes it's a lot of work (we keep everything in the basement and it is so not organized) and if the holiday is in the too near future -- it's just not worth it! But 4 weeks seemed to be a good amount of time. 
I also went to Target yesterday and bought some stuffers for Javi's easter basket! This year we're going to try to do an egg hunt and I bought stickers to fill some eggs and I'll put some snacks in others. If it's nice weather, we'll do it outside or else we'll be inside. I know Javi will love to find the eggs and will love opening them even more!


// bug keeper (similar here) // bucket hat (similar here) // printed cactus beach towel // Easter Fun book // bubble wands (similar here) // sidewalk chalk (similar here) // garden tool set (similar here) //

I didn't want to go overboard with the basket (everything is from their formerly $1 but now $3 section except for the beach towel) because I do intend on getting him some outdoor toys (mostly this sandbox) for the yard. So, I'm saving my money for that!

What do you like to put in easter baskets?