Monday, March 9, 2015

Creating Outfits

A few weeks ago I packed for a trip. I am notorious for packing way to much stuff and then only wearing a handful of the items. One of my goals has always been to go on a vacation and only bring a carry on. This time I was determined! I packed my bag with fifteen items intended to create seventeen possible outfits.
I decided to choose a color scheme that I could create numerous mix and match outfits so that I would be prepared for what ever weather we would experience. Since I love to wear gray and my closet is full of black and white and because you can never go wrong with black,I chose to build my wardrobe using those colors.
I didn't buy anything new, everything I packed was already hanging in my closet. I am sure you have similar items in your closet that could be substituted for the outfits I created.
Below is a list of the items I packed and pictures.

1. black skinny jeans
2. darker denim jeans
3. black and white striped skirt
4. a black maxi dress
5. black tshirt
6. white t-shirt
7. gray t-shirt
8. black and white striped long sleeve t-shirt
9. dark grey cardigan
10. black leather jacket (which I wore on the plane)
12. black cascade blazer (you could do a cardigan or a traditional blazer13.
13. black flats
14. black wedge sandals
15. converse tennis shoes
16. accessories (necklace and ear rings)


I created seventeen outfits from these items! I am sure Larry will be impressed if I do this on our next vacation!

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Stay at Home Mom's Wardrobe Essentials

Let me just begin by saying I don't consider myself to be fashion expert by no stretch of the imagination. At this juncture in my life my top priority is to feel good in my clothes. They have to be comfortable and flattering. This post is prompted because four years ago I went on a one year leave of absence from my teaching profession which turned into choosing to stay at home permanently. Staying home after having a career has proved challenging to me in many ways but especially in the "what to wear department." I found myself staying in my pajamas or throwing on a pair of yoga pants and my husbands t-shirt all too frequently. All of the sudden I was in the pajama and yoga pant rut. I had forgotten what pretty felt like. I had forgotten when you feel pretty on the outside you feel better on the inside. It was that moment that I decided that I would get up each day and get dressed and look at being a stay at home mom as a job to get dressed to enjoy! I still allow myself to lounge in my comfy clothes once in awhile, especially on those cold snowy days, but I will never again become a yoga pants addict.
When I worked I had a lot of clothes, but not much suited the job of a stay at home mom. I have to be honest, I kept all those clothes hanging in my closet until this past fall. I finally packed them away and took them to a resale shop. So what does a closet look like of a stay-at-home mom? Jeans, leggings and tops! I love it!
My attire most days consists of skinny jeans and a loose "easy to care for top." Some days I pull on the leggings and throw on a tunic. At my age, I feel I have to be a little careful with what I wear with leggings!
I do use Pinterest for a lot of my daily outfits. I actually find it fun to browse Pinterest and find outfits I can create from things I already own. If you follow me on Pinterest you will find a board titled "Outfits from things I already own."
My clothing budget is much smaller than it was when I worked so I have to get creative. I find that by having basic items in my closet and adding a few trendy pieces each season and some really cute accessories, I can create looks that make me feel good and in style. I look for things that are easily washed, basic, and feel comfortable.
My stay at home mom essentials for fall, winter, and spring consist of: a white, black and grey t-shirt, two cardigans, a great pair of dark skinny jeans(mine have a little stretch to them making them feel a little like yoga pants) and a pair of dark or light skinny jeans, a stripe t-shirt, a button down plaid shirt, a cute cotton sweater and a stylish sweatshirt. For summer I add a pair of denim shorts and a pair of chino shorts in a favorite color, a maxi dress, and tank tops.
I have posted some pictures below of things I have worn in the past two weeks. I've learned that it isn't about the quantity but the ability to mix and match and feel good.

A stay at home moms essential wardrobe consists of things that make her feel good.

The outfits posted below were worn in the past two weeks. Basically the outfits consist of a black and grey t-shirt, a plaid button down shirt, a striped long sleeve t-shirt, two casual cardigans, two classic cardigans, a tunic, a grey oversized sweater, a green sweater, two puffer vests, a sweater coat, a pair of skinny jeans and a pair of black leggings. Accessories include three scarves, two statement necklaces, and two long necklaces. Shoes include booties, brown boots, and converse tennis shoes. The only items purchased this season are the burgundy cardigan, the grey oversized sweater, the plaid sweater coat, the plaid scarves and the dark red statement necklace.
There are so many options to mix and match all of these items. The eighteen outfit combinations below are only a small representation of possibilities. All created on a budget and all stay at home mommy approved!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Each and Every Day!

The past three years I have had the best time staying at home with my twins. I stayed at home with my older children until Abby was eighteen months old. At that time I accepted a full time teaching position. Both staying at home and working outside the home have been rewarding as well as had their challenges.
Currently, as a stay at home mom I find I do better if I have a little schedule in my days. That begins by controlling when they wake and sleep. I wake the twins in the morning by 7:45. Yes, this time around I am one blessed momma to have kids who go to bed at eight and sleep through the night until 7:45.
My morning is basically dedicated to Roman and Renley. I complete basic household cleaning after breakfast while the twins free play. They also help me do some the housework when its appropriate. They think it is pretty fun to help do chores.
Each day, with the exception of the day I work, I try to plan some activity for the twins. Not only is it important for them to have free play, I find some structure and activities that require them to complete a task and focus for an age appropriate amount of time, makes our day much more pleasant. I have to admit it is more challenging to get Roman interested. Proves that every child is different. There are days when I am just excited that he sat down with us and attempted to participate!
Here is what we did today:

We read "Elmer the Elephant" by David McKee and discussed colors.

We talked about Elmer's colors while we colored our own elephants. I had them identify the colors and talked about how Elmer was different than the other elephants. We talked about how my eyes were blue and theirs were brown and we looked at pictures for their sisters and talked about how they looked different.

Then we did this:

After some fun outside, we came in and reviewed our colors. We searched for items in the house and put them in our " color graph." When we were done we counted the items. We spent maybe 15 minutes on this activity. They seemed to enjoy it.

At noon we eat lunch and then its is time to read a few books. Next is nap time. I am pretty adamant about not scheduling anything during their nap time. If they are not awake by 3:30-4 I will wake them. After nap is free play. Often their older sisters are home and they like hanging out with them. Then its dinner, fun time with Dad, bath time, story time and often they like to watch a Bubble Guppy show before bed. Then its prayers and lights out at 8!

I think it was a pretty successful day!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Everyone Helps Out!

It definitely feels like a Monday in our house today!

After the weekend it is always hard to get things back on schedule. Since the birth of the twins I have found that I am a very schedule oriented Mommy!

A one of the things that I think helps get the twins back into the groove of our schedule is making sure they are given the opportunity to help me get the house back in order after our weekend. I think every member of a household should be responsible for keeping the home in order, whether mom stays home or works outside the home. It not only makes them understand what it takes to run a house but also teaches them responsibility and gives them self-confidence. Plus, we have a lot of fun while working together. We talk and sings and sometimes just act silly together. It is finding the fun in the mundane that makes everyday good.


I haven't always felt as strongly about children having chores. Several years ago I realized I was not doing my job as mom if I wasn't teaching them how to survive in the real world. Here's what that looks like in our home.


The kids are all expected to clean and take care of their rooms. I don't touch them! They are expected to dust, change the sheets, and vacuum. We don't allow food or drinks in the bedrooms so it does make that job a little easier for them. They are given this responsibility when they enter jr high school. Upon entering high school, they are expected to do all of their own laundry, from sorting it, washing it, and putting it away. They are also given chores they are expected to complete daily & weekly. We don't pay them for these chores, it is part of living in this house. We do however, give them the opportunity to additional chores to earn money for things they want.


A few challenges I faced in the past included making sure each person felt they were treated fairly and someone wasn't getting the most undesirable chore frequently. We have tested several systems of assigning chores in the past eleven years. Our blended family made assigning chores a little more complicated. I had to take into considerations the time they would be spending at the other parent's home. My step-daughters were not here on Monday and Thursday's and on those nights I would need to assign their chores to someone else. When the girls were younger we would wait to do the main chores on Saturday. At first, I would assign each child three chores to be completed and would change that chore each Saturday. They were usually at our house every first and third weekend. Later, I would write the chores on strips of paper and each child would draw three slips and responsible for that chore for the entire week.

Lately, the three girls still living in our home decided they would like to have certain chores they would be responsible for at all times. So far, that has been working well for us. It does cause a problem when there are numerous ball games but we make it work. Larry and I often pitch in and do their chore during that time just as we would want them to do for us if our schedules became extremely hectic.


Age appropriate chores are also one of the biggest things to consider. You can't expect a child to do a chore they cant physically accomplish. Also, keep in mind you will have to teach them how to do the chore as well as look over their work when they are done. I feel it is my job to make sure they do the job well and if that means we have to go back and do it over again, we will. It is equally important to let them know how proud you are of the work they have done. Praise is always a must!
Below I am sharing a few pictures I took of the twins helping me out this morning!

An example of things the children do:

Twins (toddler)
*Pick up their toys
*Carry their plates from the table to the counter.
*Wash off their dishes and put them in the dishwasher.
*Wash off the kitchen table.
*Put their clothes in the hamper.
*I give them a dusting cloth and have them help me dust.
*Help with the cooking (not heat related, we are talking pouring, mixing and stirring)

Grade School Age
all of the above plus:
*Set the table
*Clear the table
*Dust
*Make their bed
*Help make dinner
*Load and Empty dishwasher
*Feed the pet
*Bring clothes to hamper
*Take out trash

Junior High
all the above plus:
*Vacuum
*Sweep
*Mop
*Clean their room

High School
all of the above plus:
*Laundry
*Clean toilets and showers
*Help keep car clean
*Drive siblings to and from school and events




Friday, January 23, 2015

A little bit of me and why I am back at this blog.....

Hello, it's been awhile. I want to get this blog going for real!! Let me re-introduce myself. I am a 48 year old, born in 1966, wife and mother of six and step-mom to four. My husband and I were married in 2003 and began this crazy journey of blending two families together and adding two more to the crew. The children range in age from twenty-six to three. Many of them no longer live at home, but there was a time when our house was full of the craziness that comes from a large family. I never set out to have a large family but life has a way of taking a course that we never expected and I think true character comes from how you handle that path. I am currently a stay-at-home mom of three year old twins, and 15, 17,and 18 year old girls. I spend one day a week working at my husband's office. I have seventeen years of teaching experience, which help me daily with my twins, and a whole lot of life experience. I love to run and enjoy cooking and creating healthy meals and some not healthy recipes as well. In a nutshell, I am married to a wonderful man who I am thankful to have by my side on this journey. I make my way through each and every day loving the Lord and depending on him in every circumstance. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 I have made too many mistakes in life but have learned lessons along the way. I hope to share some of the things I have learned and maybe some of the things we can learn together along the way. Hope you join me!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Enjoy today!

What a great day this was! I decided I wanted to make a conscious effort to do at least one fun thing each day this summer. Today we enjoyed the soft grass that grows under our trees and even found two four leaf clovers!! That ought to mean something!! It was nice to be able to splash in the pool for a bit today before nap time and you can see Roman had a blast

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A little bit of everything.

A little bit of life, love, and fashion......yep that is what my life is! 
I have a pretty full life that I love.  My husband and I share this crazy life with ten children.  When we were married in 2003 we joined his four girls and my three girls and one son together in this blended family and in 2011 we added our boy and girl twins!  And life is good!  Here are a few of my favorite pictures.
Christmas 2013 - As you can tell our crazy life rarely gets everyone smiling in a picture!

Without this man right here my world would be so empty!

These two make me smile every day!

My son's law school graduation from UMC! 

I just love this picture and this girl!!