Summer Routine

Summer has struck me real hard, and it’s been about 2 weeks into my kids summer vacation. I believe I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping the kids away from the screen, and integrating a few activities, afternoon movies, and family board games. But there are stretches of free time.

With a sufficient amount of resources out there on the internet to keep kids busy (God bless Pinterest), let’s be honest… There is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks, that I can keep my two boys busy with back to back activities with creative crafts and outdoor water play. To be quite honest, my summer started off with sleeping in, cooking a semi-breakfast, then running errands with my kids for about 3-4 hours.

Am I just being too hard on myself?? During our summer days I’ll squeeze in a casual park visit after our errands. But, lately, mother nature has been blessing us extra hard here in Sacramento with some extra heat. After a few searches on Pinterest, I was inspired with a structured day by day weeks summer schedule. After creating this summer schedule, it’s definitely anchored my days adding a metal bolt to my day.

Check out my summer fun schedule! Hopefully this can help you out if you’ve been struck hard with summer open time.

Summer Schedule

You can download Our Summer Schedule HERE.

Thank goodness to a structured scheduled summer!! I’ve now structured my summer to a systematic day to day event routine, my children and I could follow together.

Happy Summer!

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Sports Mom

I’ve been in the world of little league for the past 4 years. Last year, I was able to handle both boys in little league (with conflicting game & practice schedules) while pursuing my weekend races. With keeping my mind cool, tag-teaming with daddy, meal planning and extra help with the grandparents, last years baseball season went by smoothly. Mom’s out there, if you’re ever feeling stretched thin, ask for help with family. That’s what they’re there for! Really. Don’t be afraid to ask to help. (I realize this, as I’m now 100miles away from my parents.)

Now come this season. We’re in a new city, new league, new neighbors, and far away from any family. Decisions needed to be made, to make schedules easy to handle between myself, and well…Only myself as daddy is juggling work. This season, I only registered my oldest son Jaeden (8yrs old) to little league, as my 5 year old has no interest in tee ball what so ever. (He said he wants to do golf?!) Feeling really ballsy, and just a few days before our move to Sacramento, I volunteered and stepped up to be Team Parent as a way for me to get to know our new community and for me to meet more parents out there.

 

7 weeks into the season, and I’m not sure if it was the smartest decision. Knowing, that I have a bad case of social anxiety.

 

Presently, I’ve met plenty of parents on the team. Some, which I can see being friends even after season. Another few, live in my neighborhood, or their kids go to my son’s school too. In the end, it all works out! (Better than I expected, as I’ve worried nights before -for no reason.) I would’ve met these other parents eventually, even without the job of team parent. Putting the team parent job aside, which I’ll blog about another time, I’d like to focus on something more glamorous. What to wear, what to bring, and other baseball game essentials for the sports mom.

EVENINGame

Everything above are all things I actually own and take with me on daily basis. Everywhere.

(Of course if it isn’t above 70 degrees. Sacramento skips Spring, and loves to jump into Summer in mid-April)

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I typically post these essentials* more for special occasions, or for gift ideas, but this time I thought it would be fun to have a post specially for sports moms out there. Which, I’ve accepted will be my forever seasonal trend all throughout the year, and for each of my boys. Sports will never end in this family! (And that isn’t a bad thing!)

Nowadays, my style is very simple. Long or mid-calf length black leggings, Nike Frees, green army cargo jacket, a hat, and a warm cozy scarf. That is what I’ll wear to my son’s evening games. And by evening in my household, that’s a few hours after school, homework is complete, and that transitional period of rush hour and dinner time. That’s when it’s baseball season. Weekday games always tend to be my favorite. For some parents, not so much, because they work, and rush just to make it in time for the game. Which I totally get.

Evening games, usually consist of me bringing:

  1. Camping Chair
  2. Backpack
  3. External Charger
  4. iPhone/iPhone cord
  5. Camera (Simple point and shoot, and to hit record)
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Granola Bar
  8. Purewell Wipes
  9. S’well Water Bottle
  10. Gatorade
  11. And a pair of sunnies

 

If you’re a on the go type of mom, which I’m sure we all are, keep the camping chairs in the trunk, and a backpack filled with the electronics (external charger, extra cords) along, with granola bars, first aid kit, sun glasses, and a scarf ready to go, hanging in the garage or near the door! This helps a lot! Especially, if you like bouncing from different purses. Have a designated baseball/sports mom bag-purse!

 

Happy Friday everyone! And too all you little league moms, and team moms, the season is almost over!! Start soft planning the end of season party/picnic and brace yourself for summer vacation!

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Calmer State Of Mind

While we love spending time with extended family, sometimes (or often) it’s also a big time of stress and conflict. Stresses like these dealing with family and friends can happen more often during the holidays, but also in other instances such as other events and weddings. The Holiday disagreements happen. But if it’s one thing learned over the years, that keeps me cool during this stressful season is having my partner and I being on the same page specifically for the holidays. Stress tends to build up and there are times when family members can lose their cool, so the next time you argue with your partner during the stressful holidays, consider this calm down  themes/points:

CalmerState

Be On The Same Team

With your husband, spouse, partner, boyfriend, fiance, approach the seasonal holiday party(parties) with a game plan.  Anticipate the issues, issue spots on what’s going to happen, and address them before they become issues. We know our families, so addressing the hot button topics with your partner. Between each other as couple, fill each hother in on day-to-day going’s on whats currently happening within each other’s extended family members.

Sit down for a few minutes and discuss in preparation for the family party. Usually, my boyfriend and I discuss our plan during the commute to the party. Our drives to family parties are usually 30-45minutes, so we’re able to catch up on “who’s not talking to who,” or “don’t bring up that..” 

One thing to remember at the end of the night, is although you’re dealing with friends and extended family members, whatever happens during the party, at the end of the night you’re going home with your significant other. It’s all about supporting each other, and even if you disagree with whatever’s happening within the family, present yourself as a unified friend. Deal with it at home.

Find The Humor 

When at the family party, however the situation presents itself, go there with a smile, and just find the humor it in all. Weather it’s your teenage brother fighting with his girlfriend in the other room, or your mother complaining about why your children don’t want to wear a bow-tie, or your little nephew crying during prayer. Whatever it is, find the humor. Remember, this is a time of gathering, you don’t meet with these people on a daily, nor live with them on a day to day basis, so if you’re on vacation seeing family, don’t push anyones buttons, accept other peoples behaviors, and just take a step back, smile, and find the humor in it all.

Accept It

There’s a reason why you showed up to Thanksgiving. It’s your family. They may be far from being perfect, but you oviously accept them for who they are, and they accept you for who you are. People are not going to change, you will not change for your family, nor don’t assume they want you to be a certain way. Your family isn’t going to change into the way you want them to be.

Level set your expectations. The internet, social media, and TV  portrays the holidays as a perfect family gathering. So your expectations don’t always have to be so ideal. You got to get realistic with what your expectations are with your family especially during these times of events such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

One thing my boyfriend has taught me, which has some harsh truth to it is “Set your exceptions low.” Although there is some level of truth to it, it works. When gathering together, you know exactly the personality traits in which your family members have, so accept it, and leave that level of expectation there. That way you know how to handle their behavior and any sudden occurrences. At most times, you find out you’ll end of having a good time.

Leave At It’s Peak

While at the party, when everyone is having a good time, that is honestly the best time you can leave. It’s a common trick to practice during family events. I’ve been practicing for quite awhile, because of the crazy amounts of family holiday parties my family is invited to, somehow we’ve managed to show face to each one in previous years. (One year we did 4 Thanksgiving Parties!!! In one day!!!!!) Yes. It’s exhausting, but if you follow the common tips above it helps me deal with the overload, in dealing with extended family, and family gatherings. Leaving on a high note, keeps that engrained memory of family fun fresh in your head. As you leave the party, and drive off, it’s the last memory you and your family will have. It is a little heart breaking to leave, but trust me, it’s the best way to avoid the low, after all the partying, the food coma, and then grumpy children.

 

How do you deal with holiday stress and what keeps you calm? Do you sit with your significant other and plan ahead? Or do you deal with the crazy in-laws and extended family, knowing something always erupts? Holiday traveling is a lot to deal with, especially with having children. Do you avoid the parties, and just take a vacation away from it all? Let me know you’re thoughts, and how you manage to deal with the holiday season!

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

 

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Happier Mornings

The holiday season is slowly approaching, but until then it’s the crazy and most busiest season for most families. Before the boys wake up for school, I stand in my kitchen analyzing our family white board. Schedules are so crazy right now, especially with birthdays every weekend, appointment visits, and early dismissals, it’s hard to keep track of all of it. Every morning feels like a Monday morning. Getting the kids ready for school until I drop them off is a precious time for me schedule and get organize. It’s a time for me to process our day/week/month and so forth.

Too boot out the crazy season, crazy mornings are evidently to happen. Rushing my children to get, change, eat breakfast, up brush their teeth, pack homework its an insane tornado every morning. Develop new behaviors and practices for yourself. Here are a few secrets to happier mornings:

 

Challenge Them

Instead of rushing them, challenge them. As your child is slowly packing their backpack, tell your kids that you doubt they can do it. Naturally we as parents feel we have to explain every single thing to our children. But actually, of you say, ‘I bet you can’t get dressed all by yourself,’ your child will most likely respond, ‘Oh yes I can! Watch!’ Once your child completes the task, praise him!! This will encourage an encore performance.

Practice

Self-sufficiency requires some repetition. The good news: About two weeks of dedication is all parents need to get kids with the program. During that time, help your child get through each task until he can do it entirely without you. Then fade out those prompts and you’re done.

Do Some Prep

A bit of advance legwork, like laying out the next day’s outfit or putting out the cereal the night before, can save a lot of hand-holding during the a.m rush. Growing up (in a Filipino household) I’ve witnessed my mom cook dinner in the wee hours of the night. She would be cooking loads of food for the week to feed our family. My mom would also prep my dad’s lunch the same night. It was what we say ‘baon’ (pronounced “bah-own”) in Tagalog.  She’d pack two tupperware for him, one filled with rice, the other with the specialty dish, usually a soup meat based dish with boil veggies. I saw my mom do this ever since I was a little girl, until the day I moved out later in my early twenties.

Now, as a mother, I need the efficiency in her methods. My dad still this day grabs his lunch every morning, as I do the same for my young boys with their breakfast and school lunches.

Set A Fast Pace

One morning I left the kids for a moment as they were eating their breakfast, to do the rest of my make-up (yes, if I have a few minutes to spare I apply some make-up as a refresher) When the kids linger, just this week I caught the boys playing checkers as they were waiting. Try to beat the clock!! Pick a series of related tasks (think: brushing teeth, putting on socks and shoes), set a timer for a few minutes, and ask your kid if he can do them before the buzzer sounds. Every time he wins, he gets a point to be used for a treat.

Raising boys: They love games. Create a game for anything. That brings us back to challenging them.

Calm Yourself

The more stressed you get, the less likely kids will do what you ask. To decompress, walk to the end of the house and back. Remember you can always try again tomorrow. Something I’ve been practicing is openly apologizing for rushed and late days when things were clearly at my fault. In the car as I drop my son off school a few minutes late “I’m sorry we were late today. Tomorrow we will wake up earlier, and get it right tomorrow.”

You can’t go wrong with apologies, and being accountable when you are at fault. We learn from our mistakes, and make better choices next time and get better the following day. Admitting to minor faults, and practicing them to your children will teach them honesty, and liable to their own actions.

Follow the above steps to create happier mornings in your household and I promise you, just developing new behaviors will produce not just happier morning within a home, but happier family.

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Alternately Edited by Jennifer O’Neil Scholastic.com/ParentAndChild

Love Your Home Challenge

I love our home. I love how we’re located in a cute quaint quite cul-de-sac right off the main street and we can hear the sirens of the paramedics going up and down giving us a city feel. I love how we have a large tree in front of our home to give us cool shade all throughout the day. I love our front porch that holds our Craigslist rocking chairs, and found off the curb Pottery Barn Kids picnic table. And I love how we’re exactly a mile away from sons school.

I love our home. To be able to have a roof over our head, I feel very blessed. And yet, sometimes I struggle with taking my blessings for granted! For me, I am so fortunate to have a safe and warm place to not only raise my family, but to nurture my family. We are blesses even further to have a space to decorate and enjoy, and to have land for our boys to roam and play.

We are blessed. This I know.

But I’m only human….And sometimes I want more. I would be lying if I told you I never wished for more funds to decorate or renovate or improve.

Truth is, I’m a little unsatisfied.

___

Thankfully, I don’t have to settle with the cards I was dealt with, dealing with my dissatisfactions or disappointments.

Right now, you could be asking, what in the heck could you hate or be dissatisfied with your home Tiffany? Honestly, I’m really unhappy with my backyard. This has be a neglected area for quite some time. I never really knew how to take care of if, besides a good old fashioned daily raking of the leaves. BUT! I told myself (with a go-getter attitude) I can own up to the challenge of sprucing up the backyard with what little budget, and things I can make on my own.

Focused Area: Backyard

Backyard

Problem Area: Backyard Wall

Backyard2

So, this summer – in the fabulous month of July, I’ve made it my project to bring the love, energy, attention and focus to my backyard. I’m going to give myself the Love Your Home Challenge. Just like any trending home decor challenge given over the internet, these challenges are usually given as a focus and commitment to a certain task. Very similar to the Zero Dollar Decorating, and $5 GoodWill Challenge.

I really look forward to tacking this backyard challenge this summer, as I intend to trim, tidy, declutter, and upgrade our current backyard living area, into a whimsical simple garden terrace with play area. I can’t wait!! Here’s what I’m working with so far…..

Pallets, succulents, and Craigslist!  

Follow me here on the blog for more on my summer Love Your Home Challenge!

Also, follow me on Twitter for hour by hour updates on what I’m up too!

Smiles

Summer Chores

With summer vacation already 2 in a half weeks in, I decided to change up our current chore chart. Last February, I made this crafty wooden chore chart that displayed the boys assigned household chores, as well as an award jar. At the end of the week, if all chores were complete the boys would take the reward. My older son, Jaeden gets a dollar and my youngest, Tristan, gets a lollipop.

The boys have to some extent gotten used to their chores. But as they’re getting older, one just turned 8 and my youngest slowly progressing and developing the chores has a natural habit; I believe its time to freshen up the current chores to a summer chore edition!

They’re current chores are age appropriate chores. Based on my own family’s experience, and seeing what my kids are able to handle. Obviously, my 8 year olds chores are way more advanced than my 4 year olds. Summer is a great time to get kids into the habit of doing chores. With more free time in the morning and evening good habits can take hold before the school year begins again.

ChoreChart

Check out my post on how I made this Chore Chart HERE.

Teaching your kids to do chores at a young age is the key to developing a good habits in your children. Here are some of the age appropriate chores I have for my 2 young boys.

Summer Chores

Preschooler (Ages 4-5)

– Help clean playroom

– Put shoes away

– Keep toys organized

– Help collect recycling (Water bottles)

– Bring plate and cup to sink after meal.

– Put dirty clothes into the hamper.

– Wipe up after spills.

Early Elementary (Ages 6-8)

Any previous chores….

– Take out garbage and recycling

– Feed pets

– Put dirty clothes to garage laundry basket

– Vacuum bedroom & playroom

– Clear bunk-bed toys, and remove bedsheets

– Rake leaves

Summer Chores

– Help mommy bringing in groceries

– Meal prep (wash produce & simple cutting)

– Put dishes into sink

– Wipe down bathroom countertops

– Collect

– Get mail

– Wash car

– Fold laundry (towels)

Soon enough, my 8yr old son’s daily chore chart will be integrated with this summer’s chores. I’m really looking forward to my boys helping around the house with these easy simple chores. It’ll make mommys life SO MUCH easier.

Does your household have a chore chart or responsibility chart? Let me know what you have your kids doing! Please share!

Smiles

Living Space Inspiration

His & Her Main Space
The past week we’ve extended our stay in our own living room. Daddy just recently ruptured his achilles tendon, so sitting and watching movies on Netflix, and reading has been our current home life for the next few weeks. As I move furniture around to make space, and sleep on the chaise of the sectional, I keep looking around our current living room in search for new living room update opportunities.
I’m always open for new projects around the house. From distressing wood furniture I picked up at the thrift store, or a Craigslist purchase I’ve recently made. But, my favorite projects have been no-cost (free) decorating!! Here are a few low or no budget ideas to update the living room:
  • Freshening up pillows
    • Toss in new pillows! These not so dominant decorative pieces that pull color from drapes, rugs, or artwork!
  • Underfoot Style
    • A graphic rug is a simple way to make a big statement.
  • Rearrange Furniture 
    • For a free update, rearrange the furniture you have. Experiment with the room’s layout.
    • Think about how you can have a comfortable conversation with someone sitting on another piece of furniture.
  • Light It Up
    • Add sparkle and drama with a pair of matching table or floor lamps!
  • Artwork Statement Pieces
    • Expand your shopping list to include new lighting, interesting accents such as pillows or a decorative throw, and a piece of artwork for a focal point.
    • Create a DIY modern art piece yourself! Mod Podge a photo on canvas, frame an old vinyl record, the skies the limit!

So those are a few of my low or zero budget decorating tips to update the living room. Overall, start by shopping in your own home; there may be an unused bookcase in the basement or forgotten end tables stacked in the garage. Of course, I’d love to own a Restoration Hardware New Marbella Right Arm Sectional, or a Z Gallerie Ava 8 Mirrored Dresser. But financially that isn’t in the budget. So quality furniture should be treated as an investment.

Living rooms are where you entertain guests and spend quality time with family, things like making lighting key for setting the proper mood. Personally, I like lighting candles. Start shopping around the house, and hopefully you can create a nice new fresh living space, without spending a dime!

Happy decorating!

Smiles

At Home Work Outs

Home GySave money by creating your own personal fitness gym at home! Invest on some space-saver fitness equipment, and enjoy doing work-outs at home while catching up on your favorite TV Shows! (Mine, HGTV’s Fixer Upper & ABC’s Modern Family)

Here’s what you need to get fit: 1) 30 minutes and 2) you.

This workout is basically my warm-up to get the blood flowing, to torch calories and tone muscles in whatever time you have (15 Minutes max!) The key is going all-out. Perform the first exercise at your max intensity for 50 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then move to the next exercise (again, as hard and fast as you can). Later on, push yourself to reach the max of 2 minutes. 2 minutes of effort! Then move to the next!

Being pretty frugal, I don’t expect everyone to buy every fitness equipment out there. The fitness equipment I have, is a collection of items I’ve gathered over the course of a few years. My weights are actually my moms, back in the 90s! Many of the below exercises could be done without the equipment as well. If you would like to purchase some fitness equipment, I’d suggest checking out TJMaxx/Marshalls and Ross, before going to the expensive sports store!

2 Minutes Each:

Side Plank With Hip Abduction (Each Leg)

  • With your body leaning towards the couch, and one had as support, side plank, raising one leg – up for a 2 second hold. Repeat for the 2 mins, then switch legs.

Leg Lifts With Ankle Weights (Each Leg)

  • Position on your side, with one leg tucked in. Raising one leg – up for a 2 second hold. Repeat for the 2 mins, then switch legs.

Yoga Ball Extensions (12 o’clock/ 2 o’clock/ and 3 o/clock)

  • Holding a light dumbbell in each hand (5lbs, is what I use), lie face-down on the yoga ball with your stomach and pelvis on the ball, your toes on the floor, and your heels against a wall. Keep your palms facing in. With your legs straight and your core tight, raise your arms forward until they’re in line with your torso. Lower the weights slowly and repeat for 15 reps.

One Leg Squat With Resistance Band

  • Using a door attachment for your resistance band, position a chair a few feet away from the door to get a good distance for your resistance band to support you. Note: The further you are from the door, the more support you’ll get from the resistance band. Sit partiva

Jumping Jacks (Star jumps – is what the Aussie’s call them!)

  • Classic jumping jacks for 2 minutes! Remember to expand those arms!

After completing all five exercises, I’ll guarantee you’ll be sweating. If you have more time, rest for a minute and then continue a few more times. Repeat the sequence. (You’re trying to complete reps of 100!!) Yes! 100!!

Are there any staple work-out routines you follow? Comment below! If you’ve blogged about it, send me the direct link!

Happy Fitness Friday everyone!!

Smiles