As I mentioned before, I want to start sharing some of the things we're doing in this house that are working.
Not because I'm doing it all right (Truth be told, I'm doing a lot wrong.) or because I'm chock-full of good ideas (I can't take credit for most of these ideas because the bulk of them came from books or magazines or other mothers much wiser than myself.) but simply because I want to share what's working for us and because I want to gleam ideas from what's working around your house as well.
So periodically, I'm hoping to share one new thing that is working around here. I'll share why we're doing it, how we're doing it, and any other tips that I can think of that have helped us along the way.
And in return, I'm hoping you'll share with me what you're doing, why you're doing it, how you're doing it and any other tips you can think of that have helped in your success.
Packing for Trips
With three little kiddos, packing for trips is pretty time-consuming, but I think all the prep-work makes our vacations run smoother.
Packing clothes, without forgetting anything is my goal (Nobody likes it when I forget to pack their pants.) so over the years, I've developed a pretty good system.
Basically, if we're going on a four day trip for example, I'll grab four pairs of pants, four shirts, four sets of socks and four pairs of underoos from each kid's closet.
Then I start putting them into piles; one outfit for Annie, one for Courtney and one for Cole along with one set of underwear and socks for each kid (as seen in the photo above) and then I shove them into a plastic grocery sack (as seen in the photo below.)
Then, each morning of the trip, I only have to grab ONE bag to get THREE kids dressed in record time.
Normally, I don't label the bags. However, if we're doing a specific thing on a specific day that requires specific clothing, I'll label that bag with a Sharpie pen. For example, if we were planning to go hiking on Monday and my kids needed warmer clothing that day, I'd write "Monday" on the bag.
Then, I tie off bags that are complete (as shown in the photo below) and leave bags open that are still missing items (as shown in the photo above) until I find/wash the missing items and finish filling the bag.
And I try to use different colored bags to indicate different types of items so I can find what I need in a hurry.
For example, on this trip I used nothing but tan colored bags from Fred Meyers to pack the kids clothes, white bags from Target to pack their pajamas, and a bag from Justice for all their swimsuits.
And then I grab a couple of jackets/sweatshirts for each of them and shove them into a trash sack.
And year-round, I always keep a bag (shown below) packed with three toothbrushes (with their names written in Sharpie), toothpaste, a brush and hair ties to making packing quicker.
And then I make a grocery-run so I can pack daily snack bags in Ziplock bags for each of the kids (contents shown above) that they can ration throughout the day as they see fit. (This saves me from griping, hungry kids in between meals.)
And then I have each one of them pack an 'entertainment' bag for the car.
I always throw in a few packs of gum, a new notebook and some new colored pencils or pens to keep them busy and Josh usually takes them to the book store to buy a new chapter book to take on the trip too.
That's the contents of Courtney Lee's bag above. (Three reading books, two coloring books, one notepad, two Mad Libs pads, a few Polly Pocket dolls, a bag full of colored pencils and three packs of gum. Oh, and a teddy bear, that didn't make it into the photo.)
Coley's. (Three reading books, one notepad, one stuffed pig, two Bionicles, a bag full of markers and three packs of gum.)
And Annie's. (A book on dog breeds, one notepad, a dry erase board, a dry erase pen, a dry eraser, a horse wearing a baseball uniform that she got from her Grandpa Tom, a bag full of colored pencils and three packs of gum.)
And two rolls of quarters for each of them (An idea my friend Tanya gave me.) which serves a dual purpose:
1. They get to spend the money on whatever they want during the trip, but its the only money they get.
2. Each time someone is misbehaving, they lose a quarter.
Makes for a much more pleasant trip.
And I had really hoped to get some more blog posts ready for Thursday and Friday of this week, but as you may have already guessed, we're heading out of town for Spring Break, and I've got to be up in five hours.
Blogging or sleep???
Sleep for sure - so I'll see you next week.
Ok, you're turn. (What tricks do you have up your sleeve for packing/preparing for trips?)
Just a quick reminder that the next Photographers' Workshop starts this coming up Monday, March 25th.
If you're thinking of joining in, I am still holding a few auditing seats open. Auditors can ask questions, post photos for Peer Review and have access to everything that regular students have access to. The ONLY difference between regular students and auditing students is that I do not provide written evaluations for auditing students (however, audititors can purchase a telephone/skype consult where I can verbablly evaluate their images.) So auditing is ideal for those who want to work at their own pace and/or those who want to save a bit of money.
This was the view from The Pregnancy Center when I got there on Wednesday morning and within seconds of taking this picture with my iPhone, it was gone...
It's funny though because I had one of those days on Wednesday where I felt ill-equipped to make a difference for anyone or anything, but then I woke up Thursday morning and listened to this, and that was all I needed to remember that while I may not be perfectly equipped, I am uniquely equipped and that's enough. (The entire thing is worth watching, but if you want to skip ahead to the main point of the message, fast-forward to 7:45 and watch from there. Oh, and message #1 is really great for kids/teens - our kids watched it a few weeks ago. Message #2 is ideal for those who are out in the dating world. And #3 is great for married couples.)
My favorite part of the whole thing was this:
"The value of a life is always determined by how much of it was given away."
And thank you guys for being willing to 'give it away' these last few days to The Pregnancy Center.
Thanks for sending in your lunch money and chunks of your savings and spending money too.
Thanks for being willing to give up something you may have wanted, in order to give these young, pregnant girls something that they need.
And thank you for taking the time to care about something that I care so much about.
And congrats Sunny...
I used a random number generator and you won an auditing seat in my upcoming Photographers' Workshop, Erin Cobb's Clean Color and a one our consult with me in addition to a one hour consult with Erin as well! (Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work out all the details.)
So remember how I told you guys that I am volunteering at a local Pregnancy Center?
Well, I love this place.
I love the young girls I get to meet with and mentor each week, I love the hearts of the women who are running this program on a shoe-string budget, and I love what this kind of work is doing inside of me.
We offer free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds, but the core of what we do is a program called Earn While you Learn, where young girls and women work one-on-one with a mentor each week, learning what to expect and how to care for themselves while they're pregnant, learning how to care for a newborn, how to properly discipline a toddler, how to balance a checkbook, how to prepare for job interviews, etc. The goal being to help young girls and women become amazing moms with promising futures.
And (most importantly to me) we're there to talk to them about Jesus if they're interested.
The upside of being able to talk about Jesus is that...well...we get to talk about Jesus.
The downside of being able to talk about Jesus is that organizations who talk about Jesus are not eligible for government funding and because of that, they've been keeping this place running for years now on nothing but donations and faith.
So I had this idea to do a give-away, and (lucky me) my good friend, Erin wanted to join in to help, because she's good like that...
So one person is going to win everything listed below:
- A 1-hour telephone or Skye photography/editing consult with Erin.
- A 1-hour telephone or Skype photography consult with me.
And here's what you have to do to enter:
1. Send a $5.00 or a $50.00 or a $500.00 check (or whatever amount you can give) to The Pregnancy Center at 2019 Aero Way #103, Medford OR, 97504 - or you can make a donation via Paypal by using the link at the bottom of this page.
2. Leave a comment here in the comments section, stating that the check is in the mail. (You do not need to tell me how much money you sent in and I am not requiring proof that you sent in anything either - we're just going to do it the old-fashioned way, where I just trust your word.)
* Note that no one at The Pregnancy Center knows anything about my blog and therefore, they know NOTHING about this drawing and I'd like to keep it that way, so please, please (please) do not make mention of my name or this drawing when you send in your checks.
It'll just be a nice, happy, surprise for them.
And I must admit that the thought of them opening up a bunch of unexpected checks puts a huge smile on my face.
Will draw the winner on Friday morning.
And a post without a photo?!?...I'd never do that to you.
Thanks guys, this means a lot to me.
ETA: A few people have emailed me to inquire whether or not its too late to sign up for the next Photographers' Workshop, and no, it is NOT too late to sign up. All of the regular seats in the workshop are full, but I will still be allowing auditors to sign up through the rest of this week.
Auditors can ask questions, post photos and otherwise participate in class like a regular students - the ONLY difference between regular students and auditors is that I do not provide written evaluations for auditing students. However, auditing students can purchase and schedule a telephone/Skype consult with me where I can verbally evaluate their images if they decide to (and the cost of auditing/$245 + the cost of a consult/$95 = $340, which is actually $55 cheaper than taking the class as a regular student.)
So auditing is the perfect option for anyone who wants to save a bit of money and/or anyone who wants to work at their own pace during the workshop.
If you'd like to register as an auditor, click here.
1. Today was the first run I've gone on that felt 'good' since I started back to running seven weeks ago. I've only been running 1.5 to 3 miles two or three times a week, but I've pretty much hated every single, solitary mile. And it may sound funny, but there's this feeling I used to get when I enjoyed running that is unlike any feeling I've ever had and for the last seven weeks, I've felt kind of sad, thinking that I might never have that feeling again. But I had it today.
2. My husband just came home from the store with orange Tic-Tacs for me and I plan on eating every last one of them while I blog. (Orange Tic-Tacs were my favorite when I was a kid.)
3. Ross recently turned me onto Spotify and though I might just be the most technologically inept person in the universe, I'm kind of catching onto (and liking) the whole Spotify thing. Good-bye (overpriced) iTunes.
4. Josh Downs watched part of The Bachelor Season Finale with me last night and just when I thought hearing the words, "What do you expect lady, you're looking for a husband on a game show?" every five minutes was annoying, he snuggled up next to me and snored (loudly) for the duration of the finale.
5. We just found out today that Cole gets to go up to Portland on Friday for the Believe conference. (He's been on the waiting list.) Its his first time going and I'm really excited/nervous for him.
6. Now that editing in Lighroom is (finally) becoming quicker and easier for me, I'm feeling motivated to edit lots of old photos that I never thought I'd get to. Right now, I'm working on about 150 beach shots from last summer. This one is my favorite so far...
7. 'Calm' has never been a word that anyone would use to describe me, but I've been taking this and I think it might be working.
8. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I'm going to attempt another Olympic Triathlon this summer. (A student of mine recently shared a photo of her cousin who had just completed a Double-Ironman Triathlon. That's a 4.8-mile swim, a 224-mile bike and a 52.4-mile run. Craaaazy.)
9. I try not to watch too much TV, but lately, I just keep getting hooked on one show after another. Right now, it's The Biggest Loser. I have seriously squealed out loud during some of the weigh-ins.
10. My current Photographers' Workshop is ending this week, which means I'm swamped with evaluations, but also feeling a bit melancholy about saying good-bye to a bunch of students that I just spent the last 10 weeks getting to know. (Will miss you guys.)