Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekly Top 5 | v.3

 Thumbs up for Friday! The days are already getting shorter and it seems as if the warm weather really is on its way out. I've been drinking my favorite chai every morning and started layering the boys' outfits each day. I love it! Caleb started preschool this week and its been so stinking fun. He is in such a different place developmentally this year and already loves school! He's happy when I drop him off (never even says goodbye!) and is bouncing off the walls with excitement when I pick him up. The in-between hours have been a fun chance for Tyler and I to hang out and I think we both love that one-on-one time that's been rare since he and Caleb are so close in age.

  We're spending the weekend sort of trading off time with the kids; I have a training for church and Justin has to work. But we're squeezing in some fun time with friends tonight and hopefully a fun family dinner/park date tomorrow!

Here's some weekend reading for you:

1. BBW wax melts. I'm super picky when it comes to fragrances and I don't branch out often. One of my all time favorites is Leaves from Bath & Body Works and I just discovered this week that it comes in inexpensive wax melts! Its perfect because I have a couple of wax warmers that I never use after not being able to find scents I actually like. With their 3/$12 sale, my house officially smells like Fall now!

2. Spotify playlists. I'm SO late to this, I know. But Justin just showed me how to use spotify on my phone (we share an account) and I downloaded this and this playlist and I LOVE THEM.

3. Emily's blog post on wellness vs science. If you're a human, you should read it!

4. Busy boxes. I know this is super toddler-mom specific, because that's my life right now. I made the boys a handful of simple learning and sensory boxes this week and I've been so surprised at how big of a hit they are! The current favorites are kinetic sand (of course), matchbox car 'parking garage', and the biggest hit has been the dry pinto bean box.

5. Jen Hatmaker and Brene Brown. If you only ever listen to one podcast in your life, make it this one.

Happy weekending!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Our summer in seconds.

  It seems as if Labor Day weekend and the first of September mark the unofficial end of summer. And man, was it a good summer for us. We were busy and not busy and did fun things and normal things. I set out to make it an intentional summer (we even made a bucket list!), and I can officially say that happened. Here are some fun clips of our summer!

1SE of Summer from katie rush on Vimeo.

Summer '17 highlights:

visiting friends
taking advantage of our neighborhood pool
a trip to the beach
ice cream (so much ice cream!)
date nights
celebrating birthdays 
visiting a fire station
exploring new parks
spending time with family
soaking up time outdoors
catching lightening bugs

ps. If you aren't using the 1SE app, you're missing out! 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back to school for toddlers.

  As a stay at home mom of two toddlers, it probably seems silly that I'm writing a back to school post. Neither of my kids are really in school! Caleb will be going to two half-days of preschool this Fall, and Tyler will be doing one half day at the Bible study I attend. Besides those combined 6 hours, both kids are home with me. And here is where I have to admit that being creative and naturally having structure to our days doesn't come naturally to me. Even still, I know its really important and we all have better days when we know what to expect!

  I tried a few things last Fall that I ended up loving. I'm not talking about a homeschool-like atmosphere. That isn't my strong suit and not something that fits for our family. I'm just talking about simply taking some time to pool ideas, organize them and create a gameplan for the next few months. It helped us a ton last fall and I'm excited to do it again this year- especially now that I have two toddlers who can join in!

 Over the last few weeks, I've come up with a few simple goals, a general routine to follow, and lots of resources to fill in and pull from. I'll list my favorite resources below! And honestly, you could just do a google/pinterest search and find A MILLION ideas of things to do with your kids. (my favorite things to search are "diy sensory bins" "toddler crafts" "toddler activities") The problems is that you have to actually do them! (No? Am I the only one who doesn't follow through??) To fool proof this for myself, I'm working on making bins and getting little kits together so that I can wake up and voila! I just need to look at my planner and see what activities we can do that I've already prepared. (I've even thought of making themed bins and trading with friends! Anyone in?) In fact, I'm heading out today to buy some bins and get started. My goal is to have three bins made each month- that is a realistic number for me!

  If you have little ones at home and want a bit more structure or just fun in your days, here are my back to school tips for you! Anyone who has an hour or two over the long holiday weekend can do them.

Set goals. What do you hope to teach your kiddos or what memories do you want to make? Do you simply want to establish a routine and start talking about Jesus and the ABC's everyday? Be specific!

Create a schedule. I am 100% about being flexible, but writing down a general guideline for how our days go helps me a ton! It shows where learning time would fit best and helps build intentionality. Decide simple things such as talking about the weekly Bible verse at every meal, doing ABC flash cards during lunch every day or making the mornings for independent play and craft time. Remember, it doesn't have to be fussy!

Find resources. Talk to friends (the best resource!), google, or head to the library. Don't make this a bigger deal than it should be! Just find a few fun things to try- an art cart, some sensory bins, a DIY alphabet book, etc.

Do it! Maybe that's stating the obvious, but put all of those Pinterest boards to use. You could even make a date of it and invite some mama friends over! Or just start a text chain asking if any mama friends want to swap/share resources. Then pick a day, and start implementing little routines!

Here are some of my favorite resources (lots that I actually use!):

ABC Jesus Love Me: This is great because its free to download and comes in lots of age groups! We bought the hard version last year (lesson plans and worksheets) and I LOVE it! It's just a great guide and resource to have on hand. It includes short lessons, focus for each week, activity ideas and books to read, etc. I want to be more consistent with it this year! My favorite part is the Verse of the Week. We tried this last year, but I wasn't the most consistent with it. I'm doing it again and I really think Caleb will love it this time around!

Fruit of The Spirit Curriculum: I really like this! I'm thinking of buying it (only $14!) and has really good reviews for being a great (toddler-friendly) way to talk about the Gospel more at home. You can even download one free lesson plan to check it out. I did and it's so simple that it seems silly to not try it out!

DIY home art center: I'm doing a version of this in our basement right now! It's been in the process for months and I'm finally on the home stretch. It will have baskets/bins with games/puzzles/specific activities/art supplies- all loosely sorted and easy to pull from!

Printable Routine Cards: I haven't tried these, but I am positive my kiddos could benefit from them

Printable ABC book: I just printed this and can't wait to try it with C. He thrives with tangible, building lessons so I think it'll be great for him.

Busy Toddler: My all time favorite instagram account to follow for toddler ideas! She's really creative and ALL of her idea's are simple. Great for inspiration!

Teach Preschool: This is basically my dream preschool! She has indoor and outdoor classrooms, is an expert in all things preschool (literally!), and just does the coolest things with her students. Its actually down the road from us and Caleb was on the waitlist- but I simply couldn't justify the cost for our family (and we have a preschool across the road from us!). I still love to follow her account and get lots of fun ideas! If you are local to the northside of Indy and have toddlers, this is an amazing preschool for your kiddos!

My pinterest round up. I'm (slowly) growing my list of activities and ideas to help my kiddos grow and for us to try. Share your favs with me!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Running for good.

We've talked about this right? I'm running a 1/2 marathon in a few weeks (9.5 to be exact!) and, while I know it's not a big deal for lots of people, it seems like a big deal to me. 

  In late high school and college, I loved running and did it often. Then I had babies and a pocketful of excuses and just, well, stopped running as much. So because of that, running 13.1 miles seems like a big deal.

  But even more, it's a big deal because I'm not doing it in vain or just to prove something to myself. I'm running so that kiddos in Africa can have clean water, walk to school instead of to get clean water, have better health, and have HOPE. No small things, right?

I'm running the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon with Team World Vision on November 4th and raising money along the way. For every $50 collected, we can help get clean water to one person. Let's do this! Even the smallest donations add up quickly and every one give me extra motivation to rise before the sun and log my training miles.

  So here I am, asking YOU to donate! It takes such little sacrifice from us to create lasting around the globe. Isn't that amazing??

Want to have an even BIGGER impact? Tell a friend! Run with me! Host a Noonday Collection trunk show or simply shop online- because I'm donating my commission from all sales made September-November to World Vision. Guys, that's a LOT of potential donations from gathering your friends and shopping (early Christmas gifts!).

Email me or head to my World Vision page to make a donation!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Best loved. (kid stuff)

With a 3 and 1.5 year old, I'm by no means an expert at kid gear. But we've found a handful of things lately that we just really love, so I thought I'd share them. Plus, I got lots of questions when I posted my new diaper bag on instagram last weekend- so I'm linking that below :)

Diaper backpack (in Grey-2 option). I've been wanting a backpack for several months and a few weeks ago I finally found one I love/could afford. After lots (too much, probably!) of research and reading reviews on Amazon, I bought this baby AND. I. LOVE. IT. Justin's been laughing at me since it arrived because I talk about it a lot. I ordered the 'Grey-2' option, which is different than the others because while it is a backpack, the main compartment has a smaller zipper flap that doesn't zip from side to side (which would make stuff fall out!). It stands on its own no matter how full it is, has a fun pocket just for wipes, and also has an accessible pocket on the back for convenience. Bonus: Justin doesn't feel silly carrying it around, and it was inexpensive! Only $36.99. I found a small stitching defect a few days into using it and (even though it doesn't impact the function or anything) I contacted the Amazon seller and they're sending me a brand new one! If you're in the market for a good diaper backpack that doesn't break the bank, I totally recommend this one. (It's made by a brand I've never heard of, but I read TONS of reviews and it is highly rated and compares well to others in higher price points.)

Aldi snacks. Ok, so these aren't kid specific and you can find snacks anywhere. But I find that most products are the same quality at Aldi as bigger grocery chains, but for a fraction of the price. I'm loving the applesauce/fruit blend pouches and freeze dried fruits righter now. My kids are snackers and we try to have healthier options- especially when we're on the go. I like that these are organic, inexpensive, and tasty! My boys LOVE freeze dried apples and since they're so inexpensive, we usually go through a bag or two each day. Add to that the cinnamon apple straws and veggie chips, and our pantry is stocked for the week!

Beach/bath towels. I have mentioned these a dozen times before, but I honestly love them. Just added a couple more to my cart to stock up on for the boys! We use them at the pool, but also daily for baths at home. They hold up incredibly well, are thick, and the boys love the cozy hood!

Divided plates. I fully embrace kid-friendly, colorful dishes and these are hands down my favorite. They seem to hold up better than our other Ikea and Target kid plates. They're made from recycled milk jugs and you can find them at Wal-mart. Bonus- they're microwaveable! I like that they are small enough to fit on our highchair trays and big enough to have three separate compartments. The same company makes flatware and cups, too!

Laurie Bernker Band. Ok, let me preface by saying these music videos are cheesy. Aren't all kid songs? But my boys love love love them, especially the Dinosaur and Goldfish songs. We dance to them daily!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Weekly Top 5 | v.2

  Happy Friday! All of the schools around us have started back up again and this week seemed like a treat with all of our favorite parks and museums less crowded. A perk of not having school-aged kiddos! We went to the zoo, splash pad, and children's museum and each was crowd-free and perfect for letting Tyler out of the stroller to explore (read:be wild) more than usual.

  I have been saying this for the last month, it seems, but I really want to get some smaller house projects tackled this weekend. Tiny things that have been on my list for month like staining some wood for our chalkboard frame, painting some thrifted chairs, etc. Crossing my fingers I actually make it happen! Other than that, we're also going on a date night and heading to a new church with some friends for fun.

Here's some weekend reading for you:

1. Slow cooker pulled pork. Some changes at work mean that Justin is home for supper more often, so we buckled down on meal planning this week. This is a new family favorite!

2. Perpetual meal list. Speaking of buckling down on meal planning, this worksheet is my new bff. I'm forever drawing blanks when thinking of meals to make so this is helping me have a cheat sheet to use. (I'm keeping it in my Home Base Binder)

3. Young house love. My new favorite podcast! This one is short and lighthearted and always leaves me motivated to tackle something big or small around our house. I especially like that it feels as if you're just sitting down for a quick, funny chat with friends.

4. Half marathon training/fitness blender. I'm a few weeks into my half marathon training and these are the two things keeping me on track. This was the best/most realistic training schedule I found. It has a great mix of short/easy runs and cross training. I actually don't love doing living room workout videos, but in a pinch these short (FREE!) workout videos are great. There are a ton to choose from and they are super straightforward and I can play my own background music. 

5. Back to school photo. I don't have any kids heading back to school, but this is HILARIOUS.

Happy weekending!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Caleb-isms. v.|1

  I'm kicking myself for only just now doing this, but I created a note on my phone that I update with the hilarious things Caleb says. It. Is. The. Best. I've only being doing it for a few weeks, but I love all the things I've already recorded. If you have a toddler, you need to do this! I like the idea of writing things down in a cute baby book or whatever, but having them on my phone is so much more practical. Then, if I want to transfer them over into a real memory book one day, I still can. In the meantime, I'm not missing them when they happen. Yay for iPhones!  (Actually, I use the 'notes' on my phone for organizing lots of things!)

  This stage is lots of fun (I say that about every stage, right?). I love being able to have full conversations with Caleb and being surprised by the hilarious things he picks up on and repeats back to us! Here are some of my favorites from the last week-

one night after being put to bed and drinking some water, he called me back into his room. Mommy! There's water in there? (pointing to his belly) Jesus in there? He's swimming! Jesus is swimming in my belly! (we can't quite get him to understand the difference between his heart and stomach)

while riding in the car and Tyler has been screaming 'MAMA' for no real reason. Ty-wer! Don't cry! Mommy's right there. She's right there. Don't cry! Mom, tell Ty-wer to stop crying.

waking up the morning after we had a fire and roasted marshmallows the night before. Oh no! Sun, you go down! Time for a fire and roast marshmallows! Go away sun!

driving to church on an overcast morning. We don't have much time! The storm is coming! Daddy, drive so much faster!

after taking a potty break and not needing to poop. My booty doesn't work today. We try again tomorrow, right mommy?