Summer 2018: a recap

Goodness gracious, what a short summer! While our summer wasn’t super busy, we did do a lot and we made some pretty awesome memories to show for it.

Our summer got off to a late start, due to all the snow days and having to add teacher workdays to the end of our school year.

We went on vacation to the mountains…twice.

We visited my grandmother and rode the train at the park.

We enjoyed my aunt and uncle’s fire pit and roasted some marshmallows.

Both girls enrolled in a six week gymnastics class…Emorie began her fourth year of gymnastics, and Aubrey began her first.

Both girls went to Vacation Bible School at our church and loved it!!

Emorie celebrated her seventh birthday and went to cheer camp at our local high school.

We spent tons of time at the playground.

And even more time in the pool.

We spent time at the local YMCA splash pad, too

Emorie began to learn to play the piano, prompting us to add a piano to our home.

Our garden flourished for most of the summer, and we enjoyed many delicious veggies from it.

We traveled to WV for the day to celebrate my grandpa’s cousin’s 90th birthday AND 70th wedding anniversary.

Aubrey engaged in a lot of mischief…

We remodeled one of our bathrooms.

And lastly, we sent this newly minted second grader off to school, and I took some of my favorite pictures EVER of my girls.

I will be returning to school next week. Stay tuned: changes are on the horizon for Organized and Simplified.

Have a wonderful,blessed school year.

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Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

Back to school: 5 ways to be more organized this year

I blinked in June and suddenly, it was August. I’m not sure where summer went, but wherever it went, it left quickly. My oldest daughter starts school next week. The school supplies have been purchased and the school clothes have already been washed and put away. But what else can we busy Mamas do to ensure we are all better organized for the coming school year?

1. Plan ahead

Plan out outfits, meals, and even lunches. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Make lists of everything you need to do and buy in the coming week and review it often. The better prepared you are, the better you will handle those unforeseen circumstances that pop up and stress us out.

2. Write everything down

You can’t remember everything and you don’t have to try. The minute you hear about a meeting or event, write it down. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget it. The other step is to refer back to your calendar at least weekly to see what’s coming up.

3. Do a “back to school” dry run

Wake up early one morning before school starts and drive to the school at regular time. This will help you become familiar with the traffic patterns, the route, and will help you anticipate any hazards or obstacles that may make you late. Of course, there will still be unforeseen things from time to time, but having driven the route once before helps put your mind at ease.

4. Set up a logical routine and stick to it

Does homework come with tears and tantrums in your house? Having a set “after school routine” can take some of the fuss away. Set the expectation early in the school year that homework is done as soon as you walk in the door and stick to it. I always tell my daughter that it I better to get homework out of the way first thing and then you no longer have to worry about it. Having set morning routines can also eliminate some of the morning rush as well.

5. Wake up earlier than you think you need to

Who likes being in a hurry? Not I. When I’m hurried, I get stressed and I end up forgetting things. Which stresses me out even more. Waking up earlier allows you more time but also allows you time to eat breakfast. Studies have shown eating breakfast improves brain function and helps sharpen your focus. It’s hard to concentrate on anything when your stomach is growling!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a fabulous first day of school.

Make it Monday: an easy summer wreath

Make it Monday: an easy summer wreath

I found these beautiful hydrangea blooms at Hobby Lobby. I wasn’t going to buy them, but they were so pretty I had to have them.

Hobby Lobby

I knew I needed a new wreath for my back door, so I decided to buy an oval grapevine wreath.

I also grabbed some ribbon from my craft cabinet and got to work. I simply cut the stems from the flowers, put the flowers into the wreath and arranged them as I liked. I then added a little hot glue to the backs of the blooms and tied a bow from my ribbon. I attached this to the top.

I was satisfied with the wreath when I finished it. And if you’re wondering how realistic the flowers are?

This sweet butterfly was surprised, too!

This wreath was easy and fun to make. Have you made any wreaths lately?

Simplify Saturday: keeping your pet safe in summer heat

Simplify Saturday: keeping your pet safe in summer heat

The dog days of summer aren’t here yet, but they are near. If you live in the American South, you’ve been dealing with soaring temperatures for awhile now. Hot temperatures can be hard on the elderly, small children, but also on your pet. Today, I am going to share tips for keeping your furry friends safe in searing summer heat.

1. Outfit your outdoor pet with a fan and some shade.

Make sure your outdoor pet has some sort of shade. Sun sails work great and are easily installed. Shade trees have many benefits, aside from providing shades. They provide oxygen and add beauty to your yard.

2. Have plenty of water available

One of the best ideas I’ve seen is to get your pup a kiddie pool. You can even bury it to make it an “inground” pool. Think of it as a water bowl big enough to swim in. You can drink it, or cool off in it.

3. Proper hair and grooming

If your dog has a long coat,keeping him or her trimmed and groomed up will make a huge difference in the heat. A short haired dog? Keep him combed and brushed to help eliminate extra hair.

4. Get your pup a snowball

Did you know Pelicans Snowball sells a “pup cup?” Pup cups are just shaved ice in a bowl with chicken broth poured over it. It doesn’t sound too tasty to me, but doggies love it.

What are some of your favorite ways to keep your pets cool during the dog days of summer?

Late summer home tour 2018

Late summer home tour 2018

I realized recently that I typically show you all my summer home tour in early June, and here it is mid-July and I’ve yet to share it. What? How did that happen?

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Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pexels.com

It’s either because of our super busy schedule this summer, or the searing heat we’ve had to endure lately. In all honesty, it’s just because I got busy and it wasn’t on my mind.

Late summer home tour

So, without further adieu, here is our 2018 summer home tour. It’s a much less scaled down summer home tour, but our home is able to breathe and I’m loving it.

summer home tour 1

This cute little vignette rests in the middle of our dining table. I love the green apples, and how they match perfectly with the green hydrangeas.

summer home tour 2

Also in our dining room: The fake “mantle” I decorate each year. Stay tuned…we are getting a real mantle soon.

summer home tour 4

But I love how simple and pretty the purple blooms are with the milk glass and candles. And you know I had to put some lanterns up there, too.

Here is the other side of our dining room. Just a little summer greenery here.

summer home tour 5

And in the living room, this lovely vignette greets you from our sofa table.

summer home tour 3

Our summer decor is pretty simple- a few floral blooms for color, some natural elements like moss balls, twigs, or grass, and plenty of lanterns and candles. Tune in next week for a look at our summer porch.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Happy Birthday, America!

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Here at Organized and Simplified, we’re wishing you a happy, safe, and fun July 4th. Happy birthday, America. You’re looking pretty good for 242 years old.

We will see you back on Friday. Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday.

 

 

 

5 Instagram-worthy Outdoor Kitchens: a Pinterest round-up

5 Instagram-worthy Outdoor Kitchens: a Pinterest round-up

outdoor kitchens

 

Looking to spoil your husband or father this Father’s Day? One easy way to do that is with an outdoor kitchen. While some outdoor kitchens are hugely expensive, there are several low-cost ways to build an attractive outdoor kitchen your whole family will love.

This Pinterest round up will include five beautiful outdoor kitchens you can build yourself without breaking the bank.

  1. Cinder block outdoor kitchen via Cool Creativity 

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Cinder blocks are inexpensive and easy to work with. This outdoor kitchen looks like it cost¬† a pretty penny, but didn’t.

 

2. Small cinder block cook space

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Maybe you don’t want a full on galley kitchen outdoors, but you want just a little more counterspace. This small footprint outdoor kitchen, also made from cinderblocks, fits the bill. Besides, isn’t it cute?

3. Modern wooden outdoor kitchen

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Have a stack of scrap wood or pallets you’d like to repurpose? Use some of that wood to build a counter and outdoor kitchen space. You may want to make sure the area around your grill is cinderblock, though.

4. Rolling outdoor kitchen cart

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Maybe you love the idea of an outdoor kitchen, but you want some flexibility in its location. If so, then this easy to build rolling barbecue cart might be for you!

Lastly, you guys know how much I love anything rustic. I fell in love with this rustic farmhouse outdoor kitchen. The blogger wrote very specific, easy to follow building plans, too. I just might have to try this one.

5. Rustic industrial outdoor kitchen

 

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I love this so much- that galvanized metal and the wooden counter top. It also would be easy and cheap to build.

I hope you have enjoyed this Pinterest roundup. Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. Regular posting schedule will resume next week.