Monday, November 9, 2015

Christmas To-Do Lists

Are you beginning to think about all you have to do to get ready for the Christmas season? Maybe you have already started. I do not have a tree up, nor will I until the day after Thanksgiving, but I have been plugging away at my Christmas shopping list and have begun to think through all I need to do to make the holidays magical for my family. I thought I'd share my Christmas to-do lists with you. Perhaps my lists are similar to yours and this may help you out!

1. Put up tree
2. Put up kids' bedroom Christmas trees
3. Put up mini tree in kitchen
4. Decorate mantel
5. Hang garland in arch to living room
6. Outdoor lights and porch display
7. Clean and decorate my bedroom (aka mom cave for some Christmas season R & R - see HERE!)

Gift Giving
1. Finish Santa Claus shopping
2. Get stocking stuffers
3. Begin Santa shopping for hubby (He's always last! Poor guy!)
4. Staff Christmas gift exchange - $25 gift
5. Teacher gifts - for 3 teachers
6. Gift for classroom volunteer
7. Gifts for aunts, uncles, cousins
8. Grandparent gifts
9. Sunday school teacher gift
10. Sunday school friends gifts
11. Wrap EVERYTHING!! Gah!!

1. Order Christmas cards
2. Send out Christmas cards
3. Plan and organize Christmas countdown stockings (See HERE!)
4. Pull out all Christmas storybooks and movies
5. Plan Christmas morning menu
6. Make reservations for Christmas vacation trip (a nearby overnight trip for fun!)
7. Plan each child's Christmas Eve outfit
8. And what am I going to wear?!?!

In addition to my mom/wife Christmas to-dos, I am also an elementary creative arts teacher and will be having two Christmas programs with 400 students the second week of December. AND my daughter's birthday is December 10th soooo.....I HAVE to be organized ahead of time. I have begun to feel overwhelmed but having it all in list form helps. Though the list is long, my shopping is well underway and I feel good about it. Everything else will fall into place! It always does!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Making Your House a Haven

Making Your Home a Haven 6th Annual Fall Challenge!

Last year I discovered Courtney Joseph's fall challenge to create a haven in my home. Author of the book, Women Living Well, Courtney shares how important it is for the mother/woman to make the house a home. Her tips include lighting a candle daily and praying for peace in the home each time you notice the candle. She also encourages women to bake bread, cookies, or some other delicious smelling treat that will add to the comfy ambiance in a home. She reminds us the important of remaining patient and calm and setting the tone of the home with kindness, gentleness, and self control. I've gotta admit - this is something I need to work on.

Proverbs 14:1 tells us "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” 

Hop on over to Women Living Well and see what this fall challenge is all about, You will be inspired to create and maintain a home that your family wants to come home to - a home that feels warm, cozy, safe, relaxing, peaceful, and a true haven from the busy world. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

7 Ways to Welcome Spring

This was our front yard Tuesday morning - March 31st! 
We had school but several schools in our area were closed! It would have been so pretty if it was Christmas rather than Easter. Enough is enough, I say! Here are some ideas for welcoming spring...

1. Get a Pedicure - Treat yourself to a pedicure with a bright, peppy color! Then put on your flip flops! (Even if it is just to flop around the house!)

2. Plant Some Seedlings - get one of those peat pots and seeds of your choice (marigolds do real well, real quickly) and get to planting! It will feel good to see some something green, new, and growing! In a few weeks, as your seeds sprout and grow stronger, you can replant the peat pots right into the soil outdoors!

3. Get Outside - just go out! Go for a walk, take the kids on a bike ride, sit outside to read even if you have to wear a coat and gloves! Just go outside. It is AMAZING what a little fresh air and daylight can do for you!

4. Open Your Window a crack each morning - when my oldest son, Hugh was little he used to stand on the toilet in the bathroom, open the window and yell, "Hellllllooooo, Spring! It's Hughie Walker!" I open the window every morning as I'm getting ready for work just to hear the birds sing! Even if it is a cool breeze, the sound of the birds is so worth it!

5. Add Some Color - hot pink, aqua, cheery yellow to your decor! A bright colored candle, a bright painting, or a springy wreath will perk things right up!

6. Pick Up a Vase of Tulips - stop by your local flower shop or pop into the produce section at Wal-mart. For just a few bucks, you can treat yourself to a bouquet of spring flowers that will brighten any space and again, give you something fresh and green to look at!

7. Wash the Windows - I can't tell you how good this feels! Washing the windows always brightens up a room, lets in more natural light, and provides you with a crisp, clear view of the awakening world outside!

It is April now and today our temperatures are expected to reach a high of 64! Way warmer than the last day of March was! Hopefully this is the start with many warmer days ahead!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March is Reading Month ~ Door Decorating

I am a Creative Arts teacher in an elementary of grades Young 5s through 6th grade. I am also the March is Reading Month coordinator for our building. I have had this position for many years now. Each year every classroom decorates their door based on a specific book or author. They are SO good! The kids and adults alike love walking through the building checking out everyone's door!  Last year I asked my colleagues if I had their permission to share their creativity with my Sister-Dipity readers. I told them our creativity was just too good to keep to ourselves! We must share it with the world....or you know, Pinterest, at least!

This post is photo heavy and many pictures are just self explanatory so just enjoy....

Each child made an owl!

Each child colored a rainbow and a photo of their face was on the cloud!

Each child made a piece of candy to go with the door!

Each strawberry had a child's photograph on it! So sweet!

Each child drew a pigeon! So cute!

Lyle is our tech guy at our school and the office staff made this poster in honor of him!

This was my classroom door! This book is a HUGE favorite with my younger students. My Young 5s kids each made a shoe and their little school picture is on it!

Our paraprofessional staff did a door based on their favorite author, James Patterson! It was fun to see them share their love of reading with a popular adult author!

I am so excited to see what happens this year in our school for March is Reading Month!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gimme 5 Series: 5 Ways for Busy Moms to Get a Workout In

I am so excited to have my dear friend (and unofficial personal trainer) Mandy Haag guest blogging today on a topic that seems to be an issue for so many mamas! Take it away, Mandy......

1. Put Yourself on the Calendar
We are the LAST person to get scheduled into the week’s events. Every weekend sit down and set times to workout through the week. Pre-planning gives you time to make adjustments and make it work! Make it known to yourself and to your family that these times are non-negotiable!
2. Pre-Plan Your Workouts
Now that you have your workout times blocked off on the calendar, get a little more detailed in your own personal planner. You can cut quite a bit of time and mental energy from your overall workout if you know before you even lace up the shoes what workout you’re about to do. I find this particularly helpful for early morning workouts. When I know that I’m going to be getting up before the sun to fit in my workout, because that’s the only time in the day that was available, the job is much easier when I pick out my clothes AND my workout the night before. Then all I have to do is stumble out of bed, pick those clothes up off the floor and press PLAY. No thinking required! So after you’ve blocked off your time on the family calendar, sit down and specifically write out which workouts you want to do on each day. And as you accomplish them….CROSS THEM OFF!! (Ahh yes.)

 3. Play Dates for Kids = Workout Dates for Moms
Kids love having time to play with their friends, and your workouts can be both more fun and more effective with a partner. It’s a win-win! Kids can be much less needy when they have some friends to play with, especially if they have this opportunity somewhat consistently. So pick someone’s house and a workout DVD or a park, the track, a stadium, pack up the kids and the toys and gett'er done.

 4. Think of it as Interval Training
As a mom we know that we don’t live in a perfect world. Because there, in that perfect world, every workout would be uninterrupted. Babies would get in their full naps as anticipated and the other children would play peacefully together and wouldn’t need help reaching their toys and drinks of water and to go to the bathroom during our workouts. But since we don’t live in that perfect world, we have to be mentally prepared for those interruptions. It doesn’t do anyone any good to get all huffy and frustrated when we’re needed. We are mom, after all. So think of it as interval training….high intensity/low intensity within the workout. The moments when the kids are content and the baby’s still sound asleep go at it pale male….all out. You truly don’t know how long that’s going to last. Then when someone needs their Cinderella dress zipped and the play-doh cup opened, you can take it down a notch and jog in place as you play mom for a second, secretly relieved for the chance to bring your heart rate back down. When you work out at home, know that these interruptions will happen. If we accept them ahead of time, we all win.

5. Know that part of taking care of them is taking care of YOU
No guilt. It’s hard as a mom to take time for ourselves. You have the most important job in the whole world. But if mom isn’t feeling well, doesn’t have enough energy, isn’t happy with herself, she can’t be the best possible mom and wife. You have to make your health and fitness a priority, it’s non-negotiable. And there isn’t room for any guilt in that.

Thank you, Mandy...and Macy & Molly too!
Yes, she is pregnant! She is 8 months pregnant and fit as can be, not letting anything slow her down! Such an inspiration!

For more fitness inspiration from a mom who KNOWS how it is, follow Mandy Haag: Health & Fitness on Facebook.