Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sweet Summer Time

It's no secret that of the 4 seasons, Summer is not my favorite.  In fact, it's probably rated 4th for my last 29 years, but I have to confess that this special season is beginning to grow on me!

Maybe it's the extra time?

While I LOVE my women's Bible study and we adore our homeschool co-op, they both take breaks for the Summer so we have a lot of time and freedom since we aren't running around from place to place each week.  Just church on Sunday's and the rest of the week, we decide what we want to do.

Maybe it's less school?

Just reading, spelling and math.  That's what we've committed to for the Summer.  The boys really do enjoy school and I don't mind teaching them, but I have to confess that 1 hour of school with the rest of the day free is really spoiling me.  Sweet Summer time!

Maybe it's spontaneity? 

With less items on the calendar, we have the freedom to be spontaneous!  Some mornings, we wake up and just want to have a movie and popcorn lounge day.  Some days we head to the splash park to cool off.  Some days we just decide to drive an hour and a half to Ikea because Mommy loves Swedish meatballs and we're craving an adventure.  (In reality the purpose of the Ikea trip was getting the baby's 1st birthday present.)

OR maybe it's the surprise in a child's eyes?

Maybe it's just taking it all in and being able to see it all through my children.  Summer only comes around once a year, so there's a lot that the boys don't remember from last year, and then there's some new things that we are able to do now that they are getting older.  There's an element of surprise and Summer time is such a fun time to be a parent because I get to enjoy and watch the days unfold right before my eyes!  There's water fun, vacation Bible school, fireworks, lots of library trips, $1 Summer movies, an occasional ice cream cone for dinner, AND (gasp) we've even skipped nap/rest time and broken bed time quite a bit!  

Summer is spoiling us!  
Summer is growing on me.
Summer is freedom!
Summer is pretty sweet...

10 Month Shenanigans!

Joel is 10 months old today!

.... And we have our first TWO teeth...

.... And we are WALKING!  He's wobbling, and he's still much faster at crawling, but he really gets excited about taking steps too!

And Daddy Kroh taught him how to give hugs on command.  It's pretty sweet!

Last year at this time we were celebrating the third trimester, and this year, we are taking photos of the munchkin for first birthday invitations!  The third time around has definitely gone by the fastest.
33 weeks pregnant with baby Joel
Sneak peek of our shoot for party invitations
Joel had his 9 month check up on the 10th of June and was 22 pounds, 12 ounces and almost 30 inches tall.  Still holding strong in size 18 months clothes which I'm hoping we'll wear through the Summer because consignment season starts in August and we all know that I love a good deal! 

Happy 10 months baby boy!  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Plum Paper Review (and coupon code!)

It's that time of year folks!  Time to get your planner orders in!   Seriously though, this is my 3rd year ordering a Plum Paper family planner, and if you have used my coupon codes in the past to order a 12 month planner, then you are probably due for ordering next year's.  My current planner from last year goes through August, but we've already got dates for the Fall that I need to write down somewhere before I forget, so I thought I'd go ahead and get my order in.   PLUS, in my experience, everyone begins to order planners at the beginning of the school year, and processing time is a little longer because of the mass ordering so it's better to get in ahead of that.

I really only made one change from last year's family planner!  It seems that I have finally found our sweet spot to keep us organized and together, but if you're new to the paper planner world and want to know why the Plum Paper planner is so fantastic, here's a quick and dirty rundown of what the family planner entails...

The company has made some fantastic upgrades to the cover that I'm excited about for this year-- it's now made with a new synthetic material making the cover much sturdier and both water resistant and tear proof.  There are lots of cover designs to choose from, but I went with this beautiful floral that pulled at my heart strings.  With "The Kroh's Nest" personalization.
Once you open it up, you've got your standard "this planner belongs to" write in.  Our planner stays at home on the counter propped on a great stand so that we can all see what's going on and who has what so the info page is really not necessary for us, but great if you were traveling with your planner to school or work or wherever.
Flip passed that and you get to a generic year overview.... and passed that to the "special dates" page which is one of my favorites!  Seriously, as the family grows and there are lots of nieces and nephews and cousins running around, I love having a place to have everyone's birthdays written out and remembered.

Get through those pages and you get into your first month of your planner.  One of the beautiful things about the Plum Paper planner is that YOU get to pick your start date!  So with my current one ending in August, this new one begins in September.  There is a thick card stock divider and each month has a different color theme.  And a NEW addition since I last ordered, they now include a "monthly highlights" page on the back of the monthly tab which is super cool!  Then opposite of that is a "note" page.
Flip over and then each month has a 2 page month layout that includes US holidays and a margin on the left side to write out reminders or birthdays.
And once you flip over from the monthly layout, you get into the weekly layout which is where all the magic happens.  THIS is why I love the plum paper family planner.... customization!  The dates run horizontally across the top of the two pages, and then you can customize the names of your rows vertically down the left side.  So the names of my sections from top to bottom are.... EVENTS, DANIEL, DANA, KIDS, HOMESCHOOL, CLEANING, DINNER.  Seven sections total.  If you didn't have names for all 7, you could leave them (or some) blank.  I LOVE this because standard calendars  often aren't large enough for me to write in what everyone in the family has for the day.  AND with Daniel's unique rotating schedule, I found that I was marking lines all through the standard calendar to mark his days on-shift and then I wouldn't have space to write when myself or the kids had something.  With this current set-up, I can use washi tape to mark his on-shift days and then there are sections still left for everyone else.  (Pro tip:  If anyone else has a crazy rotating schedule subject to changing at the drop of a hat, washi tape is wonderful to mark it because it's removable without damaging the calendar AND it looks a lot neater then pen marks all over the place!)

So if you're curious what my one change was for this year, it came down to my sections.  Last year I had 2 sections labeled for "kids" on the off chance that I had separate things for all 3 and needed the extra space.  This year I decided to do only 1 section for the kids appointments and add in a "cleaning" section in hopes that I can organize a cleaning schedule for us to follow.  (Wish me luck on that one! Haha!)

So once you get to the end of the month, you get to another "notes" page and then I also added in a "bill tracker."  I had the bill tracker added in this past year as well and it was really wonderful!  Excellent tool for married folks who have just one person in charge of the budgeting... I use both the tracker and the note page on the opposite side to write in all of our finances so that Daniel can look at it at any time and see what our accounts look like and what's coming up.  It's incredibly helpful to keep us on the same page!

Plum Paper makes lots of other wonderful add ons too though, so be sure to check them out.  The only one I add is the bill tracker.

After the bill tracker, you get to the next month, which looks just the same.  You can order a planner ranging from 12-18 months (pending add ons because a planner can only hold a certain number of pages), I always get a 12 month for whatever reason, so mine will run from September 2016- August 2017 this time around.

The other standard pages in the family planner are a "contacts" page, a page of the US Holidays, a NEW "passwords" page is included, along with a NEW two page layout of "ideas, plans and goals."  You can take a peek at photos of those on their website.

Then once you're in the back, there's a little 2 pocket folder that is great for storing planner accessories like post-its and stickers and what not.  And then I added in the "stickers" option.  I used them last year as well.  The stickers come in an array of colors and are the width of the square in the planner and about 2 rows high, and they're great for writing standard appointments on and making it look a little neater in the planner.  There are some folks that go ALL out on the crazy cool decorations and what not on their planners, but I'm a practical gal.  Just give me some cute sticky notes, some  fun washi tape, and a good pen and I'm good to go!

Without further ado, if you are due for ordering a new planner, OR if I've totally sold you on the purchase of your very first Plump Paper Planner, then head on over to their website, http://www.plumpaper.com and use the coupon code NESTOFKROHS10 for 10% off of your purchase!   Happy planning and organizing friends! (Coupon code expires July 15, 2016)