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My Back to School Organization Tricks

11 Sep

I’m one of those ‘everything has its place’ people… but I’m also a mom to a 6-year-old boy. Our house isn’t SUPER organized like the ones you see pinned all over Pinterest (do people even live there??), but it also typically doesn’t get super messy. With the start of school, I thought it would be a good time to share my little tricks for keeping school work and backpacks from exploding all over my house.

First tip, check out Jack’s area in our front entrance way:

This is right when you walk in our front door and it’s pretty much been like this for the past 4 years or so. I just added the backpack hook recently though and it’s been working great! The umbrella hook holds Jack’s jackets and/or sweatshirts and all his shoes go into the basket. I also have a spare pair of socks in there in case we realize we need some right when we are walking out the door.

Jack knows that the moment he walks in the door, his shoes go in the basket and his backpack goes on the hook. Sure, sometimes the shoes end up next to the basket. However, this little system makes our lives SO MUCH easier to have it all right there, rather than doing the ‘WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES?!’ dance while running around the house.

Second (and final) tip, the schoolwork station:

Every single day there is SOMETHING coming home from school. It may be artwork, homework, papers for me to review and sign, a calendar of upcoming crap, etc. I keep this little basket on our kitchen island and each evening when I empty Jack’s backpack I glance at each item and throw it into the basket. In the bottom of the basket, I have a few sharpened pencils, a glue-stick and some erasers.

Homework gets done each night and returned to the backpack. Everything else sits there until I have a few minutes to go through it all.

Conveniently the basket is located right on top of the trash can…

Like I said, I’m no Pinterest Queen but these little areas work for us. So now I want to know, what do you do to keep organized?

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Jack’s First Day of 1st Grade

4 Sep

It’s that time of year again… back to school photos!

I have a first grader! We visited the school on Friday and met Jack’s new teacher, so he was ready for his first day of school. She had a cute photo booth set up, so of course Jack wanted to take a few silly photos.


He also visited his new locker…

This morning’s drop off to before-care went super smoothly. No tears. From either of us. In fact, Jack walked in with a friend and basically left me in the dust so that he could go play.

I did get a kiss though. So that’s a win!

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I Got Over My Mom Guilt and We Joined a Gym

31 Jul

So yeah. Our family totally joined a gym. Here we are on our first day…

{Look close and you can see Jack in the reflection taking the photo!}

Day 1 at our new gym! #fitmom #joulesgetsfit

A post shared by pocketfulofjoules (@pocketfulofjoules) on

My husband and I haven’t been members of a gym since before we had Jack. We had lots of excuses. A gym is too expensive. We don’t have time. I can workout at home. We like being lazy.

You know. All the normal stuff.

But my #1 reason for not joining a gym was Mom Guilt.

After having someone else care for my kid all day while I work (preschool, school, before/aftercare, etc), I didn’t want to dump my kid for someone else to care for him at night while I work out.

It sounded awfully selfish to me.

So… for 7+ years, we didn’t belong to a gym.

And then about a month ago I realized that now is the perfect time to give it a try.

Reason 1: Jack is old enough that he actually LOVES the chance to play with other kids. Especially on weekends, when we typically just do family stuff. For him to have an hour of kid play time in the Kid’s Zone at the gym is FUN and not a bummer.

Reason 2: Travis needed a change of pace. He has been doing a ‘100 pushup a day’ challenge for a couple months and enjoying it (as much as you can enjoy doing 100 pushups).  He’s also been eating healthier and was ready to take it up a notch.

Reason 3: I needed a change of pace too. I have my elliptical at home, some DVDs and I occasionally run. But it gets rather boring and repetitive.

Reason 4: It’s kind of a date night/togetherness thing for us both to go and support each other in our workouts.

Reason 5: The gym has a pool.

Reason 6: We want to show Jack that we put an importance on exercise and health.

We decided that we would join the gym and commit to going 3 – 4 days a week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays will basically never work for me because my commute to work is about 1 ½ hours each way. But, on Mondays and Friday’s I work from home. So we decided that we would go to the gym as a family on Monday’s, Friday’s and at least one weekend day.

And we have!

And it’s been pretty great!

Jack’s been enjoying the Kid’s Zone. Travis and I have been breaking a sweat. And we ALL love hanging out at the pool afterwards. It’s kind of become our ‘family thing’ that we do and going to the pool on a weeknight feels like a total vacation.

So yeah, we joined a gym. Yay us.

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Date Night Fun: Def Leppard, Journey and Gambling

20 Jun

Oh my gosh you guys, we had such a fantastically fun weekend! Def Leppard and Journey are currently on tour, so on a whim I decided to buy tickets for when they came to Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD. When I told my husband about our Rocking date, we joked that he’d totally have to wear some acid-washed jeans and a bandana…

As it was, the crowd watching was FANTASTIC!

Def Leppard and Journey are co-headlining the tour… so they are taking turns going first or second on each tour night. On Saturday, Journey went first:

They were pretty awesome for their 90-minute set and then there was a 30-minute break (complete with timed countdown) until Def Leppard took the stage. I have to say, I love the ‘old people’ concerts and their attention to promptness!

Def Leppard was also incredibly awesome and both my husband and I were singing along with smiles on our faces most of the night! I had checked out their song list online before we went, so as soon as they finished Pour Some Sugar on Me, I knew they only had two songs left… so we ran out before the crowd to get to our car.

When we went to a nearby casino a month or so ago, I signed up for a new member card that had a special deal where they would give you back the money you lost on that first day (up to something like $200). So, the day after, I received an email saying I had a $75 promotion waiting for me! Since my parents were watching Jack for the concert, we figured it would be the perfect time to add on the gambling promotion to our night.

I have one particular group of machines that I like, so Travis and I sat down and had soooo much fun playing the slots. I would put $10 in from my promo card and then as soon as it grew to $30 I would cash out. Then, I did it again! The third $10 didn’t go so well, but then I came back. All in all, we left with winnings of $83, which wasn’t too shabby.

We didn’t go to bed until 3am (I know… insane for us!) and we slept in. From there, we basically had just enough time to have coffee and showers, before leaving to do Travis’ final suit fitting appointment at Indochino (full blog post coming soon).

We stopped by Duck Donuts for a little Father’s Day morning treat too:

Later that night, we took my parent’s to dinner for a little more Father’s Day celebrating. All in all, it was a super fantastic ROCKING weekend and I kind of wish I could go back and do it all over again!

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