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Coming Up on the Blog….

Get ready for actual blog posts! Ha! 

I realized it’s been a bit too long since I published anything but the Monday planning posts. So as kids return to their school routines, I’ll be back to writing posts for this space.

Sometimes they might be shorter and sometimes they might be long and rambling (my true nature…). My goal is to have actual posts in this space. I’ll still be doing the Monday planning posts because I enjoy the blog community Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom cultivates so much.

What? Do I have a plan for this? Why, yes. Yes, I do.

Sort of.

It starts in September. Things I’ll be sharing in September:

My attempt to go sugar-free for the month.

And inspired a bit by my friend, Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home, my attempts to combine the sugar-free efforts with a low-spend month. Hopefully, my posts won’t be too cranky!

And of course, I’ll sprinkle in a fair amount of randomness along the way.

Moving into October:

I plan to once again participate in the 31 days challenge. And complete it!

My plan is to get back to the roots of this blog. More on that in October.

November and December: 

Most likely the focus will be all things home and holiday.

Believe it or not I had a little inspiration for a holiday craft I may share during one of these months.

And of course, sprinkled through all these posts….a dose of gratitude. It is my word of the year, after all.

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Guide To Almost All Things Graduation (For High School Parents)

Now that I’ve survived a high school graduation from the parent side, here’s what I’ve learned. And it was quite the learning, stressful, exciting, and wonderful experience!  

Senior Pictures

Our school took these through the same company that does all yearbook pictures during the summer before my son’s senior year. There was very limited information about it.

We had to pay extra if we wanted cap and gown photos (We opted not to do it).

The pictures did not turn out very well and were quite expensive. I found a wonderful local photographer to do a much better (and less expensive) job later in the school year.

The Graduation Announcements  

Turns out you don’t have to order all those fancy announcements through the school. Many of my been there done that friends, did not. However, I did because I was the excited first time parent. I’ll probably do it again as the excited second time parent but with more knowledge.

What I learned about the experience:

They make you order the stuff early (I can’t remember exactly how early but we had the invitations by the first of April, maybe earlier. So think of a spot to store them.)

It’s a guessing game who to invite. I mostly went by my Christmas card list with a few exceptions. Despite searching many times, I could not find a good “Emily Post” guide about who should/should not get an announcement. Sometimes, I simply reached out to friend/family member and inquired.

All the information about who to invite/preparing the invitations is annoyingly written for the students. Maybe this is because I have boys but more power to you if your students are sending out their own announcements during the end of the school year push with big projects and finals due.

Go through the entire box of graduation announcement materials and examine everything before you begin assembling. This goes along with the advice below but I found an entire box of name cards with the year engraved after I’d sent almost all the announcements out with the plain name cards.

If you order all the fancy bells and whistles with the invitations (tissues, seals, etc), order the same number of everything!  I did not.  Note: Seals aka stickers cost a lot less at Party City.

Finding Information: 

Challenging! Hopefully, your school does a better job than ours with sharing information with both parents and students. Students are busy and sometimes don’t pass that information along in a timely manner.

My lifesaver:

Friends who had been through it before and happily and gracefully answered every annoying question I could summon. And who kindly texted me a copy of the important paper with all the dates.

Reading the weekly announcements from the high school also helped a bit.

Baccalaureate:

This is optional in our school system. And happens in the middle of an extremely busy week. My son did not want to go. I insisted and was so glad I managed to get our family there.

Only the four of us went and I enjoyed having the special time during graduation season with just our immediate family present.

There were fewer people so it was a bit more relaxed and we could easily find our son.

The pictures we took with him and his best friend plus our family pictures are my favorites from all the graduation events.

Graduation Day:

Tickets:

It’s stressful doling out a limited number of tickets to family members.

Don’t assume everyone wants to go the actual ceremony (especially if it starts super early in the morning on a Saturday!). We actually ended up with extra tickets after requesting more due to this. Thankfully, I found someone in need the night before graduation.

The logistics of getting the attendees their tickets: We did not want to deal with trying to meet family on the morning of graduation. We opted to simply put the tickets in labeled envelopes and put them in our mailbox for family members to pick up on the way to the ceremony. That way, we only had to get ourselves into the ceremony. This worked really well especially since we had guests who overslept and did not make it to the ceremony (we had several bad storms go through parts of the city the night before graduation).

The Ceremony:

Ours was short and sweet but you still probably want a tissue in case of a few tears.

The school provided a photographer as each student walked across the stage so I opted to simply enjoy the event without my camera (or phone) in hand.

After The Ceremony:

Have a plan and a place to meet your graduate!  I can’t believe we didn’t think to do this. We missed a lot of photo opportunities with family because we could not find our graduate (and he could not find us either).

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Wait! What about a graduation party? We had one but I’ve opted to cover everything related to that in a separate post.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

Nineteen For 2019

Last year I made a list of 18 things I wanted to do, 18 for 2018.  While I didn’t accomplish all 18 things on the list, I did stay more on target than if I’d not made a list. It also served as a great reference point when I felt myself getting a bit stuck during the year.

I think I learned a bit from the list as well. Some of it was quite vague and needed tweaking to be a bit more specific. Some of the vague items worked well though.  Click here to see my 2018 list.

My favorite accomplishments from my 2018 list: 

  1. I read 58 books! A few more than 18 and I read 12 of the ones on my list of 18.
  2. Managed to do a fairly good job guarding my heart. The biggest change from this is I no longer start my day with Facebook. And limit my time as well as apply the “snooze for 30 days” button liberally.
  3. Adding a garden area to the front yard. Started a butterfly garden area at the edge of the driveway! And a wildflower area in the backyard as a bonus!
  4. We took a wonderful, fun summer vacation to Duluth, Minnesota. And I even met Carrie from Northwoods Scrapbook, she’s as kind and gracious in person as on-line.
  5. Joined in the Happy Homemaker Monday each week. Such a wonderful community of blogs that Sandra, the host, brings together each week.

Areas on the list where I fell a little short:

  1. The 18 pounds wasn’t ready to leave and I think invited company over the holidays!
  2. Our house looks like mostly the same mess as last year.
  3. I missed one month on the fresh flowers for the kitchen table. 11 out 12 though.
  4. No walking in a 5K last year and not nearly enough nature walks (though I did go on a big one, traveling down to Prairie State Park where I met Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home, also as kind and gracious in person as on-line)
  5. The weekly photograph challenge was too much for me.

I decided to make a new list for 2019. Hopefully, I’ll have more success with my list this year. 

The list of 19 Things I’d like to do in 2019:

  1. Treat myself on the 9th of each month
  2. Prepare for Christmas by buying 2 gifts (one for each kid) each month
  3. Keep a Kindness journal
  4. Make a list of 19 books to read (and of course, read them!)
  5. Take a trip
  6. Eat a salad at least 3 times a week
  7. Join in for each Happy Homemaker Monday
  8. Continue to protect my heart from drama and negativity
  9. Read the bible, maybe just the old or new testament? Suggestions?
  10. Un-subscribe from 3 junk emails a week
  11. Learn to use Photoshop or other photo editing software beyond the stuff on Windows
  12. Have one family outing/activity a month
  13. Go on one date day/night a month with my husband
  14. Send real birthday cards to family and friends each month
  15. Complete at least one minor organizing/clutter clearing project a month
  16. Put some pictures up in the living room
  17. Send a card/call a friend family member once a month (keep in touch OFF-line)
  18. Learn a new craft
  19. Spend time outside every day

Have you thought about what you’d like to spend 2019 doing?

 

Happy Homemaker Monday, Working On A Crazy Week

Please sing the words at the end of my title to the tune of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne.  I can think of no other or better way to describe substitute teaching the last week before Christmas break. Four days to go.

Am I feeling overwhelmed in addition to the crazy week (yes, I know it’s only Monday)? Yes, very much. Hoping taking a minute or two to plan my week with Happy Homemaker Monday helps. Glad Sandra from Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom does this link up each week as it’s so helpful!

The Weather This Week

Beautiful! Sunny and hitting the 50’s the first part of the week. Maybe a chance of rain on Wednesday. Cooler for Thursday into the weekend.

On The Breakfast Plate

A Chobani Flip yogurt and coffee, my working all day go-to breakfast.

Right Now I Am

Trying to find a bit of center and peace (I was stress eating but that wasn’t helping) and figure out the week.

On My To-Do List

  1. Laundry!
  2. Pay Bills!
  3. Clean off my desktop (it’s bad)
  4. Make cookies (for Bunco tomorrow night)
  5. Make Christmas list: figure out who is left for gifts, wrap presents, Christmas cards
  6. Return library books
  7. Probably a billion other little things I’m forgetting

Currently Reading

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston. It’s another book by the author of The Lost City of the Monkey God but this one IS fiction.  Not sure how often I’ll pick it up this week.

On The TV This Week

No idea. Hoping to finish up watching season 4 of Fuller House on Netflix. And start the new season of The Travelers. However, so much to do that I doubt I’ll watch much TV.

On The Menu This Week

MONDAY: French Toast and Bacon, Pineapple *Work 7:45-4:15*

TUESDAY: Heat & Eat chicken fried steak or corn dogs and French Fries *I have Bunco* *Work 7:45-4:15*

WEDNESDAY: Chicken strips, salad *Work 7:45-4:15*

THURSDAY: Ham steaks, sweet potatoes or maybe whatever we don’t have Tuesday *Work 7:45-4:15* *J has baritone lesson*

FRIDAY: OUT! *Work 7:45-4:15*

New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try This Week

I finally got around to trying the almond bars my friend, Carrie over at Northwoods Scrapbook (she’s currently on a blogging break) posted. They were a hit!

From The Camera

Our Elf on The Shelf knows all the Wise Men (and women) are Chiefs fans!

Quote For The Week

In your calm is your strength. (German proverb)

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What kind of week is on your agenda?

 

 

Blogmas Day 15: Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I’ve already written a post on Christmas stocking stuffer ideas here. The post details my process and the standards they find in their stockings on Christmas morning.

I did, however, start a post on organizing my Christmas stocking stuffer drawer back in October. And then, life happened. Here’s a peek at the photos I took for it.

Organizing the Christmas drawer:

First I took everything out of it! I hadn’t done that in quite a while. And should note, it also becomes the “important” Christmas receipt space during my holiday shopping. 

Here’s the mess I had contained in the small space spread out on the bed: 

And yes, I also stored my swimsuit in the same drawer. Limited space means lots of spaces do triple duty sometimes. I did find a new home for my swimsuit. And some of those receipts? Um, 2012! Cleared away quite a bit of trash.

Decided a Christmas stocking stuffer space should be a bit more festive. So I lined it with my Santa Claus paper: 

And returned all the items to the drawer, giving each of my sons a side for their items: 

It doesn’t look quite as organized now as I’ve taken a few items (Went ahead and gave J the wallet for his November birthday) and of course, added a few items as well. Still I’m (as usual) a bit behind on filling the drawer. I know it’ll come together as it always does.

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Linking up with Tamy over at Chasing My Life for Blogmas! Rebecca at Rebecca’s Hearth and Home is playing along as well!

 

 

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