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A Quick and Easy Office Update

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine along. #CreateWithHP #CollectiveBias

Back-to-school has always been a strange season to me. Where I grew up in New York, school never started until the Wednesday after Labor Day each year. It always seemed so weird to me that stores were putting out back to school adds in June and July when summer vacation had literally just started. It never really occurred to me that other states started earlier until I went to college and friends would tell me that their schools started in July or August.

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Now that I'm a mother who has school aged kids that don't live in NY, I've experienced the early summer back-to-school rush first hand this year. School started here in Georgia on July 31st, and despite the fact that my kids didn't start school until this week, and my college classes don't start until September, if we wanted any shot of the local stores having school supplies still, we had to get all of that done weeks and weeks ago. 

Since this is going to be my last year of college I wanted to make myself a dedicated space where I could do my homework each day while the kids are in school. We've had this little office space in our basement ever since we moved into our house, but I wanted to spend a few minutes giving it a little love this week so that it was cute, and functional, and actually made me want to be in there. 

One thing that I hated about this space was that the old printer we had on our desk was so big that if I had my laptop on the desk, it would hit the printer. There was never a way to space everything out and get comfortable. 

When we were at Walmart getting some back to school supplies, we picked up the new HP Deskjet 3722 All-In-One Printer/Copier/Scanner and it has been the greatest upgrade ever. It's super affordable, comes in three different colors (ours is dragonfly blue!), and it's the world's smallest all-in-one printer, meaning it's not competing for space with the rest of the items on my desk. There are some in-store demos happening at local Walmart stores too, so be sure to see if your store is hosting one!

Another bonus about this printer is that it's wireless, meaning I can print something off in my bedroom, and then go down to the office, and it's there waiting for me. You can also print things off from your mobile device which is super thrilling! 

Once we had the new printer squared away, I wanted to put it to the test and make my office look a little cuter too. I bought some really inexpensive clipboards from Walmart, and then used my new HP printer to print out some fun printables. I then attached them to the clipboards and hung them on the wall with sticky clips to make this a super easy and fun DIY project that totally helped to take my office space to the next level! 

What are your office space must haves? Are you tired of your current printer taking up valuable real estate one your desk? Head on over to Walmart's website and see if your local store has one of these printers for you to pick up during this back to school season!

One Bag at A Time

Sponsored by Zappos. 

I'm not the girl with a thousand different shoes and purses. In fact, I pride myself on the fact the I only use one bag at a time. I usually buy myself a bag, wear it out for three years straight, throw it in a dumpster, and then start fresh with a new bag. I can't be bothered to switch things in and out of new purses to coordinate with every outfit in my closet on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Whenever I get a bag, I need it to be big enough to fit everything that I'll need for the kids, all the things that I need for myself, and starting next month, all the stuff I'll need for school too. 

For the last several months I've been exclusively using a diaper bag backpack, and I've loved being able to throw my wallet, keys, and things for the kids inside of it, and then strapping it to my back and being hands free to carry Em from one place to another, and just be a little bit more mobile without worrying about a bag slumping down my shoulder every three minutes. 

Since I'm starting my last year of college in a few weeks (insert all the party emojis and fist bumps here), I wanted to get a bag that would work with the kids, but also be able to protect my computer at the same time. I fell in love with the Baggallini collection at Zappos, and knew the second that I saw the Gold Brussels Laptop Backpack that it had to be mine. I love that it perfectly fits and protects everything I need, and that it's the perfect bag for the everyday traveler.

If the traditional backpack isn't for you, Baggallini has a massive variety of bags on Zappos.com There is something for everyone's preference of color, size, and function. I love Zappos because of their free two-day shipping and easy returns. That and they're partnered with Amazon which means I only need one account to shop at both places, which is one of the many ways that Baggallini and Zappos are are the perfect combo for life's journey.

Preschool Girl's Capsule Wardrobe 2017

Yesterday I shared with you what we were doing for Jay's capsule wardrobe for the fall, and today I'm sharing with you Em's! If you didn't see yesterday's post, my main purpose in doing a smaller, capsule wardrobe for the kids is to hopefully simplify the laundry in our house so it becomes less of a stressful chore that I hate doing. This could very well backfire on me, and just make me do the one chore I hate doing more and more, but I have a feeling having less pieces to keep track of is really going to help the problem in our house. I'll report back in a few months and let you know how it's going. 

Em's wardrobe varies slightly from Jay's in that she has two dresses instead of dress shirts, and she has two cardigan's to pair with those dresses as well. Other than that she is right at the 6 shirts, 5 pants, 1 lightweight jacket, 1 pair of sneakers, and 1 pair of dress shoes mark, just like her brother. You can see everything we snagged in the image below, and links for everything are below the image as well. The only thing that we didn't actually purchase is the blue gingham dress. I actually had a friend sew us a blue gingham dress a couple weeks ago for Em, but the one shown below is a great alternative at an awesome price! 

Preschool Boys Capsule Wardrobe Fall 2017

I've been on this journey of being a self-proclaimed minimalist for a couple of years now. I try to be really intentional with the things that I bring into my home, and when we get new things, I'm usually really good about putting old things to the side to either donate, give to friends, or toss to the landfill when broken. 

One area that I've really struggled with for a while are the kid's clothes. They just have so many clothes. When I do laundry, Derek and I have our modest, normal sized piles, and then the kid's clothes seem to turn into large towers of clothes that topple over everywhere if I'm not careful. I also feel like I don't have enough room to store all the clothes, and considered getting them new dressers for a while. 

At the beginning of the summer when I felt like I wanted to tackle this problem, I surveyed moms on Facebook who all seemed to say that they like to have 7-10 outfits for their kids, and then a couple outfits for church. I'm generalizing here, but that seemed to be the overall consensus. And admittedly, that's how we've done the kids clothes for a long time too.

This year though with the start of a new school year, and sending my kids to school, I really wanted to shake things up and see if I could handle my kids having smaller wardrobes. Laundry really stresses me out, and I feel like I'm never on top of it. But my hopes are that with less clothes, maybe there will be less stress. My plans for each child were essentially the same (I'll share Em's clothes tomorrow!), they will each get 6 tops, 5 bottoms, 2 dress shirts or dresses, 1 lightweight jacket, a pair of sneakers, and a pair of dress shoes. This is what we picked for Jay, links for all the items are underneath the picture! 

What We Bought Jay For His Fifth Birthday

Jay turns five a week from today! It honestly doesn't feel like it's been five years since I gave birth to him. In some ways it feels like time has flown by so fast, and in other ways it feels like I can't even remember life without him. He is our sweet, gentle, meek, friendly, and shy boy. He has so much goodness about him, and deeply cares about his friends feelings. All of his friend's moms are always commenting on how good he is, and its true, he is just a very good boy, and I'll never know what I did to deserve him. 

Shopping for his birthday this year has felt so stressful. Last year for Christmas he gave me a very confident list of the things that he wanted, and so when it came time to shop, I already knew exactly what he was going to be getting. This year for his birthday he said he wanted new toys, but then didn't really know what he exactly wanted, and asked me to surprise him. Way to lay on the pressure Jay. 

I originally only bought him some bulk legos, and a lego board for him to build on, because part of his birthday present was going to be going to the Children's Museum here in Atlanta as a family, but Derek has been having some health problems the last few weeks, and I don't know if that's going to be happening anymore. Last night I hopped onto the computer and snagged a few more gifts for him to even out the score with his sister who will be getting a new car in a couple weeks for her birthday.

1. Map of the USA Puzzle: Jay loves sitting at the fire place and putting puzzles together. I'd been wanting to do more work with him on maps and getting him more familiar with our country, and I thought this puzzle would be a lot of fun for him!

2. Lego Building Board: Jay has only ever had mega blocks that he got for his birthday when he turned two, and I thought it was time for a little upgrade. I was torn between legos and duplos, but ultimately went with legos since he can grow into them. That and I can always get Em duplos for her birthday next month if I think I still want them. Anyways, I got him a board to build his lego creations on.

3. Magnetic Tiles: I've been wanting to get some of these magnet tiles in our house for ages, but they've always seemed so pricey to me. This off brand version had great reviews on Amazon, and had 40 pieces for only $20! 

4. Magic Tracks Cars: We got Jay some magic tracks this summer as a reward for learning how to swim. The car that his tracks came with has a broken on/off button, so we snagged him a couple new replacement cars, and that way Em can play too!

5. Bulk Legos: When looking at legos, I was really overwhelmed with all the sets and didn't know what Jay would like, so I just got a bulk bin and figured I could print off some blue prints for him to make things off the internet if he wanted a more "guided" experience. 

6. Connect 4: Because board games are life. And because I never had this game growing up and half the fun of adulthood is reliving the experiences you never got with your kids. 

#KidGoals with Gymboree

This post was created in partnership with Gymboree, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I'm officially two weeks away from sending my two kids off to preschool for the very first time. It seems so weird to me that through the course of life's events, they're both leaving the nest for the first time in the same year, and it has me feeling both excited, and uneasy. Those mommy emotions with back-to-school are real. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about how vastly different Jay and Em are from one another in every sense of the imagination, but my goals for them in preschool are somehow the same. I'm really hoping that my kids will both learn to feel safe and comfortable with other people outside our home, and that they will each have a sense of community filled with teachers and friends that they really love. For Jay I also hope that he'll be very close to reading by the end of preschool and that Em of course will be caught up on milestones and even closer to walking. 

With school starting in two weeks I've really been working hard to make sure the kids have everything they need for the new year ahead of them. We got their supplies and backpacks all sorted out, and lunch boxes and food containers are cleaned and organized in the cupboards. The last thing we finally did was get all their cold weather clothes in order. 

We did a lot of our shopping at Gymboree this year, a brand that I've really come to love over the years for my kids, especially for Em. They're one of the few brands that fit her tall and skinny frame, and I love that their leggings are the only ones that don't require extra sewing on my part to make them even smaller for her. 

I love the idea of getting my kids a fun and special outfit for the first day of school, and this year I tried to pull together pieces that really fit both of the kid's personalities. I got Jay these olive green cargo pants, and the monster printed shirt because I thought they were really fun. I also love that the pants can easily be paired with all the other shirts in his closet, and that the shoes can double as church shoes too! 

For Em I wanted to get her something that was bright and fun, just like her! I picked out this cute and adorable super bunny tee, and then paired it with these leggings! I also really love the little glitter shape designs on these leggings which I think makes a simple pair of leggings way more fun than they normally would be. My favorite part of her outfit though might be the navy blue glitter hi-top shoes! I love the style, but also love that they work REALLY WELL with her leg braces, and that she'll have another option for shoes throughout the school year. 

What are your goals for your kids this upcoming school year? Have you done all your back to school shopping already? I'd love to hear about all your fun plans in the comments below!

Jay's Outfit Details:

Em's Outfit Details:

One Way I'm Simplifying Back To School

I'm at the point in the summer where I'm starting to have heart palpitations over the fact that my kids start school in two weeks. Typing that last sentenced just heightened the anxiety. I already know that I'm not going to be that mom who easily falls into the swing of having two kids in school. Heck, I'm going from having two kids at home full time to having both of my kids starting preschool the same year. It's so weird to me that my three and five year old are both leaving the nest for the first time the same year. 

Since my kids are going to separate schools at different times, I know it's going to take me a month or two to settle into our new normal. I'm planning on giving myself a little grace and doing small things now towards the end of the summer to prepare, so that when school does start, I have things in place to help make it a little easier for me. 

One thing that I did yesterday morning was make a ton of breakfast burritos to store in the freezer for the next couple of months. I was already making them for breakfast anyways and thought, "Why not make 20 more, and then have extra breakfast/dinners for the fall when I don't feel like cooking?" I made them all up, and then stored them in some Reynolds Kitchens Bakeware, and then took the #LazyGirl status up another level by serving them yesterday morning on some Hefty Foam Plates, which I will have zero guilt about using when school is in full swing and the bedtime is fast approaching. 

I love using Reynolds and Hefty products in our home since we can clip the boxtops to send off to our kid's schools. I remember my grandma buying tons and tons of "Box Tops" items when my brother and I were younger, and sending us off to school with huge piles of them to turn into our school principal. It's a fun and easy way to give back to schools, and a program that's really held the test of time since it's founding in 1996. 

Right now Reynolds and Hefty are having a sweepstakes with Box Tops for Education where you can enter each day from August 21st-29th, where 50 instant winners, and 5 grand prize winners will be drawn each day. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 to a school of their choice, and you can enter daily! Be sure to enter to give your child's school a little funding boost this fall!