Love Your Pet Day is this Saturday!

Saturday, February 18 is National Love Your Pet Day and Gordmans wants to help you celebrate!

The first 50 guests at each Gordmans store when the doors open at 9 a.m. will receive a free bag of dog treats. Guests also can register in-store to win a free pet bed or cat condo. Shoppers also have the chance to win a $150 Gordmans gift card by snapping a photo with their pets at Gordmans and posting the photo on social media with the hashtag #GordmansLovesPets.

Additionally, Gordmans is inviting guests to support nonprofit organizations that help animals in need. Shoppers may donate at checkout to Paws With A Cause, an organization that enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs, and Gordmans will match up to $10,000 in donations. Gordmans also carries a collection of pet merchandise from the ASPCA, Dog for Dog, Humane Society of the United States and MuttNation, and a portion of the proceeds from the sales of this merchandise will be donated to these organizations.

Pets are an important part of our families! We celebrate them every day, but it is fun to have an event like this as well! Love your pet day graphic

 

#MomWinWednesday– The One in Which I Refrain from Yelling–Plus FREE Bedtime Checklist!

It is no secret that I am a mom who yells too much. I’ve talked about it before here. I come from a long line of yellers. My grandma even managed to yell in two languages.

I also am really, really, working on this. I’ve been working on this for almost 21 years.

It is NOT getting any easier.

However, my empathetic side tells me that I would be CRUSHED if someone yelled at me every single morning.

And so, I really work to tame my tongue.

I also remind myself that good mornings begin at night. Meaning, the more that I prepare for our mornings the night before, the smoother things will go. Sadly, at night, what I would prefer to do is knit or crochet and binge watch shows. Being a grown up is hard sometimes.

You can download this free printable bedtime checklist!

I’m working on implementing a checklist for the kids (and for me too!) so that we can help our mornings go a little smoother. I’ll share it with you here. I’ve left space for you to add some tasks that might be unique to your family as well! My girls love clipboards, so I have laminated this checklist and given them each a clipboard and a dry erase marker to check off each task.

Hopefully, as we get used to checking off our items each night, mornings will become easier and easier!

Chime in! How do you tame the morning crazies? Share your tips with other moms in the comments, or pop over to the Facebook page and join the conversation there!

 

Crochet Style: Review

 

Every Christmas I receive a generous Amazon gift card from work. I am an admitted autodidact, so I spend a good amount of the gift card on “continuing education” for myself. This year I purchased some books on writing, and specifically, copy writing. I also picked up an updated version of a book on non-profit fundraising. With a bit of money left over at the end, I decided to focus on my new favorite hobby–crocheting.

If you have read here, or  have been hanging around my Facebook or Instagram–or even following me on Pinterest, you can’t help but noticed that I fell down a crochet rabbit hole.

Crocheting was a great diversion when my oldest went off to Basic Training last spring, and I found, over the course of the year that it has had a fabulous effect on my stress levels.

I made several blankets–all multicolored stripes, with mixed stitches, which was a great way to learn to crochet. Crochet is an incredibly forgiving craft. And the community of crocheters is always willing to help.

Here in North Dakota we have notoriously long winters. I have made some cold weather gear with patterns that I have found online–which is hit or miss in regards to pattern quality. As a relative beginner, I like a well-written pattern, and as someone with a few miles of yarn in my stitch history, I appreciate a more complicated design.

I hit the jackpot when I ordered Crochet Style, Over 30 Trendy, Classic and Sporty Accessories for All Ages, by Jennifer Dougherty. Jennifer has several crochet patterns for sale at both Ravelry and Etsy, and this collection of more than 30 patterns is a great bargain–and will keep me busy for many more weeks!

Dougherty  is a very skilled artist and writes crystal clear patterns. This book is chock full of cold weather gear for the family–and each pattern has sizing for several different sizes–all written as a separate pattern.

I’ve made several hats from the book so far, including this cute cabled beanie that I made for myself (I never get a chance to make things for myself!)–Never mind the awkward office selfie–a working mom has to do what she has to do! Cabled beanie

I’ve made several hats for the girls using this book. These are not necessarily quick projects, as they are almost all highly textured (which does add warmth for these North Dakota winters).

Most designs call for worsted weight or bulky yarn, and a very few call for super bulky yarn.

The photos in the book are gorgeous. Each design has a really good summary page at the beginning with suggested weights of yarn, hooks and special supplies needed.

Another great feature is the lay flat binding. This softcover book is stitched such that I can have it open on my lap while working and not lose my place.

While there are a few projects that would suit a beginner, I think this book would be best enjoyed by an intermediate crocheter.

I’ve really enjoyed working on projects from this book during my daily Morning Make time after dropping a kid off at swim practice and before the other kids wake up.

 

Working Mom Challenge: Margin

Working mom challenge Remember when you had your first baby? Do you remember the most ANNOYING bit of advice that the church ladies gave you? I’m going to guess that it was this: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” I’m certain that they meant well, but my first baby did not sleep. Ever. Like, not even in the hospital. I spent much of his first year trying to find him interesting things to look at. He did eventually learn to sleep–sometime between his 18th and 20th birthdays, and he now can successfully sleep through any home project that is going on, such as vacuuming, laundry, or lawn mowing.

This advice was well-meaning. And perhaps, if that kid had slept, I MIGHT have taken it. But probably not. I was young, and I had a lot less need of what I need so much now in my 40s. Margin.

Margin and balance are the self-care elements that I crave so much more now that I work full-time. While I still want to do all the things, I know that if I try, I will end up burnt out and resentful.

So, as I get busier at work, I learn to at least try to say no more outside of work. My busiest time at work is in the fall, when the kids also seem to be busiest with school and sports. There are class parties, and cross country team trips, and PTO fundraisers. Meanwhile I am super nose-down all day at work trying to make three major events to run smoothly. In the fall, I am the mom who sends napkins for the class party. And I no longer feel guilty about it. To me, it is the working mom equivalent of sleeping when the baby sleeps.

This time of year is much more routine and “regular” at work. This is when I can say yes to more things. This is when I can  send a cute snack to school for the Twins’ birthday (they are going to be SEVEN on Saturday!!!!!) Tune in later this week for my working Mom cute Snack Tutorial!  This time of year I can consider helping out with sporting events.

Saturday I had a rare, unscheduled weekend day. IT WAS FABULOUS! I did really sexy, exciting things–like do all of the laundry, vacuum the living room, and clean the kitchen. But I also had the joy of reading for hours with the girls, binge watching Little House on the Prairie, and crocheting (another) hat.

I encourage you to leave an unscheduled weekend day for yourself every few months–resist the temptation to add something in. You might have to (gasp) say no to someone to get such a day, but I assure you, it will leave you refreshed and renewed!

I’m doing a few other things to insure some margin in my day to day life. My freshman is on the swim team this year (which makes me indescribably happy!) and has 6 am practices 4 or 5 days a week. I am NOT a morning person, but I crave alone time. So, I have begun spending an hour each morning after dropping him off in a “morning make”. I brew my pot of coffee, turn on the news, and crochet for a solid, quiet, blessed hour!!!By the time I have to wake the other kids, I am caffeinated, un-stressed (crochet is SO zen for me), and ready to face the day. As a side benefit, I am then tired enough to get to bed at a decent hour at night! I do NOT check texts or social media during this time. As a matter of fact, I don’t log in to anything until I am at work and even then, not until after I do my daily reading.

Adopting one laundry day a week has given me some space in my week as well. Laundry day may be busy–but I only have to fold and put away clothes one day a week! Somehow that reduces my stress the rest of the week. I no longer feel like I have laundry looming over me. Now, this did take getting all of my laundry caught up at once–blizzard to the rescue!!!

I’m also sticking to my plan of meeting up with girlfriends for lunch regularly. As much as I crave alone-time, I also crave time with friends!

Chime in! How do you create margin in your working mom life?

#MomWinWednesday: Frazzled Mom Edition

#MomWinWednesday

 

 

On Wednesdays we share our prayer requests over on the Facebook page, and we share our #MomWins big and small here on the blog.

On Tuesday I had to be a grown up and go back to work after 11 glorious days at home with the family. I did not fuss or cry. #MomWin.

Today I forgot to put food in the slow cooker for dinner tonight AND we had a rehearsal at church. I resisted the urge to hit the drive through and made bacon and eggs instead. #MomWin.

And that, friends, is really all I have on this busy week. I’m in survival mode, y’all! (Also, my husband bought a new humidifier for our duty winter air house. It works, but it is so much white noise! I hate white noise. #MomWhine (or wine?)

 

please share your #MomWins in the comments!

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