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Sidekick update

Well it’s been a week since I had my genius idea and I’d say it’s working out pretty good! Last week was easier than this current week simply because we didn’t have anywhere to be. I’m glad that I’m having to figure out how to get what I need done while it’s still summer though. Good practice! 

I highlight what I get accomplished from my list. Last week was bright yellow!

  
 This week….I have a few yellow dots. 

  
Again, I’m learning to be ok with that. I just try and move whatever I didn’t accomplish to the next day. Laundry is something that I’m trying to get done no matter what else is going on that day. I do 2 loads a day, 6 days a week, so laundry is definitely something that I cannot get behind on! Has long has its been washed and dried then I’m ok with that. My goal is to actually have it put away and then I mark it has being finished. 

Anyway, this post isn’t about laundry! 

I’m really liking that everything is all there. I don’t have a notebook for a shopping list, chores, phone calls, and whatever else. It’s all in one and makes toting it around much easier. I’ve already started writing down ideas for what my next sidekick will contain. I will start putting it together in December to get ready for the new year and so that it will coincide with my 2016 planner. 

Overall it’s working out great! I’m glad that the idea came to me and I didn’t push it aside. I go to bed feeling good about what was accomplished and, most, mornings I don’t wake up with all this weight on my shoulders filled with lists and to dos and all that jazz. 

I’m excited and looking forward to continuing this new habit and putting together one for 2016! Cannot wait to update and show you!

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Meal planning…long overdue update

Well, I think it’s been about a year (or close to) that I started posting about my meal planning routine. I don’t even remember what I talked about or what that routine was. 

Since starting my MP sidekick and seeing that we weren’t planning our meals very well (again), I knew it was time to start putting effort into this again. The only thing I forgot to do was keep track of the budget. I’ll be sure to do that for he next time. 

Since its summer time, I’m now having to include breakfasts and lunches into my planning. I like variety so I knew we couldn’t just have cereal or sandwiches all the time, boooooring! We do have these but it’s not on an every day basis. 

I have 9 breakfast items and 5 lunch items that I just in rotation. There’s no reason that I need to become a Pinterest mom for these meals. They are fed and that’s all that matters. 

Dinner is where I will try need recipes or something that we haven’t had in awhile. Dinner is where we are choosing to not do a rotation. Mister and I have decided that we don’t want to get burned out for these meals. For some reason breakfast and lunch doesn’t bother us, it’s just dinner where we don’t want the same thing over and over again. 

I plan out meals two weeks in advance. I shop a week at a time and buy any produce we may need the day before we will use it. We waste too much money buying the produce before we need it and it ends up going bad and is having to buy it again. That’s frustrating and is dipping into our budget that we, honestly, cannot afford to keep doing. Now I just have to remember to make a habit out of checking for the produce items the day before. 

Here is what my meal planning looks like:

   

First I feel the need to say that the meal doesn’t have to be on the date it’s written for. This used to be the way it had to be! I would get upset and start to panic a bit (sounds so silly when I say it out loud) when the meal wasn’t made on the date that it was written for. As much as it still drives me crazy, I don’t freak out about it if I have to move meals around. 

The highlighted meals are the ones we’ve eaten. That’s just so I can keep track of the food and meals. 

When I write out the shopping list, I just go meal by meal. If I need more than one of something, I try not to write it twice but instead do this: bread x4. That way when I go to the aisle this item is in, I don’t have to scan the whole list, I can just look to see how many I need. 

So far this is working for me. Keep in mind I’ve only been doing this for a week. I really want to keep it up and make this out normal instead of trying new technic and new technic……ain’t nobody got time for that!

I figured I would update after a week and I think I’ll do another update after I’ve been doing this for a month. Next time though I will include the budget, if I can remember 😜

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Summer funness!

Summer break just started for us and I don’t want to sit around the house for 3 months with 6 kiddos doing nothing and hearing ‘I’m bored!’ ‘What are we going to do?’

I saw someone else do the same thing but I cannot remember where I saw it or who posted it. I thought it was such a smart thing to do that I had to copy it!

I got my 4 oldest kiddos together and asked them what they wanted to do this summer and created their summer bucket list! It’s nothing fancy or glamorous but it works for us. I divided the poster into 4 parts, one for each kiddo, and then wrote down their lists. The color it’s written in matches the color that their chore charts are written in. Figured that was the easiest thing to do so there were no questions. 

  
I haven’t figured out a way for them to check off the things they’ve done. I guess I could let them each decide since it is their list. 

At the end of summer, I’ll come back here and update you on how it worked and if it’s something we’ll do next summer!

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I think I’m a geniusΒ 

*cough cough* Excuse me while I wipe away the dust that has settled on the blog! 😜

So it’s true, pretty sure I just became a genius this morning! 

A grabbed a notebook from the stash we have and began to meal plan (it’s been months since I did that!) yesterday. This morning I wrote out the grocery list for those meals.

This is where the genius happened!

I was texting with my friend about a the MOPS exercise group that we want to start. I grabbed my MOPS notebook and started writing down our ideas and plans. Then I grabbed my notebook stated above and began to write out my week. Then I thought I should go ahead and plan out 2 weeks. Then I thought, no I should do all of June. No, I’ll just do all summer! Then I went ahead and wrote out, in 2 week chunks, our meal plans for the whole summer. I haven’t filled in the meals yet but I’ll get to that part. 

I like cutesy, girly, glittery things. I was going to just use paper clips but that didn’t satisfy my want. I decided to use some duct tape that we have and use them as tabs. Again with the genius part! 

I’m glad that I have 3 months of summer to use this and put it in place. Hopefully by the time next school year starts, it’ll be second nature and working great!

My monthly planner I use is my life! If I lost it, I would be lost….we are very close! It’s color coded for everything going on and who it involves. My MP sidekick is not color coded. I don’t color for this. My MP sidekick is just for me to put my to do list, laundry schedule, and anything going on that day. MP sidekick is where I can write more details without over-crowding my planner. These two planners will become best friends and never leave my side! 

I hope and wish so badly that this new tool works. I’m planning everything two weeks out. So each week I’m planning but it’s far enough in advance that I’m not rushing or overwhelming myself. If it works then I plan on getting another notebook for next year that will go along with my planner again. I’ll have to write things out earlier any get my pages organized better at that time. But for now it’ll work and note the changes I need to make for next time. 

I’m overly excited about this and couldn’t wait to share it with you! I’ve been thinking and praying about something that would help me with my time management (cause I’m horrible with it) and I hope this is the answer! 

   
These are my meals planned out for two weeks. 

My grocery list is only for one week. This way I’m not throwing money away because food went bad before I could use it.   

  

This is my days planned out with more detail than my planner. 

 

The friendship begins 😍

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I’m a selfish best friend

Disclaimer: this is my pity party. I am writing this the same day that I received the news. This will be published days after the news was broke to me. I know this makes me sound incredibly selfish and not a very good best friend at all but this is how I honestly feel. This is me being real with my initial feelings about this. Will I always feel like this? No. Will it take time? Yes. (This was written on 11/24/14).Β 

 

My mind is all over the place, my heart is broken, there’s a constant lump in my throat, and tears ready to run down my face at any given moment.

^ This is how I’ve been feeling all day today since this morning when my best friend told me that she was moving. I feel like kicking and screaming and demanding that she isn’t allowed to do this to me.

I’ve always had friends. I don’t ever remember a time that I didn’t have friends. Friends come and go. Some stay for awhile and some are gone as fast as they developed. Some make us stronger, some make smarter, and some make us better. I’ve had all kinds of friends. I’ve had great friends and I’ve had friends that have stabbed me in the back. I have a few friends that I call real friends. A few that are best friends. And even fewer friends that I call family. This girl is family.

I’ve Β only met this friend a little over a year ago. I didn’t even know she existed until September (maybe) of 2013. We’ve grown close fast and I wouldn’tΒ trade any of what I’ve been through with her…..even if it meant she wouldn’t move. I feel like a little girl who’s friend is moving and they just cry and cry.

I was so shocked when I read the Facebook message from her. At first I wondered why she didn’t tell me in person but on the other hand I was glad she didn’t because I probably would have started crying. And not the pretty cry either, the dreaded ugly cry. As thrilled as I am for her & her family (and I truly am), I would like nothing better than if everything just fell apart & they ended up staying here. I know that is incredible selfish of me. I know that no best friend really wants this to happen. I know that this is part of Gods plan for them. I know that I want the best for the her (and her family), even if that means I can’t be apart of her daily life anymore.

There was so much that I was looking forward to doing with her and her new born daughter. Our girls are only 4 months apart. I thought we were going to raise them together. I thought they’d grow up together and be bffs. I am now having to put my wants aside and plan new things.

(I know all this may sound pathetic to some that I am this upset about my friend moving but there are those few friends who mean so much more than just another friend.)

She’s only moving two hours away, so day visits aren’t out of the question. I would get to visit a city that I’ve never been to. Those are the only positives that I can find right now. Plus, I’m the only one here that knows she’s moving. I can’t even have a pity party with our other friends about this! It’s going to happen so quickly too. They are planning on being moved and settled into their new lives by the first of the year. I won’t have time to process much of this by the time she gone.

And my 2 year old. My 2 year old daughter absolutely loves her. Tells me she wants her all the time. The smile and happiness that spreads all over her face when she sees her Gigi is irreplaceable. I hope she takes this news better than I am. Plus side is, again, she’s only two hours away.

Im still trying to process what I was told, the time in which it’s happening, and the fact that she won’t be here anymore. Why now? Why this fast?

I have other friends and best friends here in this town & I don’t want any of them moving and would be just has upset if they told me this news. I thought our circle would be here forever and we’d raise our kiddos together and be old before our circle was broken up. I am just so sad. But I know these plans aren’t mine and they aren’t even hers, they are His and they are perfect.

I will miss you so much friend.

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41 weeks, Baby #6

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Thanks again to my 8 year old professional photographer πŸ˜‰

I am a day early in posting my weekly update but I figured since I had my appointment this morning & there really is no reason to wait one day.
So here is the recap from week 40 & my appointment!

I have still had a lot of pressure going on. One morning this week (I cannot remember the exact date right now) I woke up at 5am to contractions and they were anywhere from 10-20 minutes apart. They kept going for 2 hours and then completely stopped. I thought maybe if I walked then things would get moving again. I got the girls ready (2 boys were still sleeping & 1 boy was at summer school) and I figured I would just walk around our house for a bit. I ended up walking for 30 minutes. Nothing. Been eating jalapenos with at least one meal a day. Nothing. I have been doing pressure points in my feet. Nothing. Eating pineapple also. Nothing. I know that a lot of people have been suggesting sex but because of a work related accident, as a precaution, we have been using protection when we have sex. So the theory that his sperm will do anything to start labor, just won’t work this time around. Not saying we haven’t tried this time around but not sure how well it will work. I have also had my bloody show for days now….nothing is coming from this sign either!
This child must be too cozy to even think about coming.
I had two days worth of a headache plus swelling in my feet that went along with it. I called my dr to make sure there wasn’t any cause for concern. The temps have been higher this week & I wasn’t sure if that was causing the swelling or it was connected to the headaches somehow. She told me what my blood pressure should be. Told me that when I took whatever medicine I was taking for the headache to have a soda with it. I did what she said & my headache went away within 30-60 minutes. I will have to remember this & do it every time I have a headache!

Everything checked out for me and Baby W this morning. Nothing to be concerned about.
Only gained a pound or 2 since last week. Blood pressure was fine. Baby’s heartbeat was 147.
Last week I was dilated 2cm, this week I am 3cm. I am 50% effaced and at a -2. She didn’t strip my membranes this time because she said there wasn’t much to strip. I’m taking that as a good thing?!
We talked about scheduling an induction & what she wanted to do for that. She wants to start me out using a bulb that they fill up with saline water. After checking me she said she wasn’t sure how much it would help since I am dilating on my own & contracting on my own. She wants to do this before using Pitocin. If she needs to use Pitocin with me, then she will use a slower drip compared to her patients that aren’t having a vbac.

My induction is scheduled for 5:30am on Sunday morning. I have to call the hospital at 4:45am to make sure that there is a bed available for me. That is going to be an early morning!!

I am hoping & praying that I can get things going on my own between now and then. I would much rather not be induced! Will try everything I can over these next few days to get contractions going on my own. Prayers about/for this would be much appreciated!

The next update will have a picture of Baby W in it!!!! πŸ™‚

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Meal planning – how’s it going?

Our family is into the second week of meal planning with a budget. Here is what I planned for our first week of meals.

I wanted to take the time to talk about how it went and if there was anything that I needed/wanted to change for the 2nd week.

Looking at two different ads and trying to figure out what meals, mostly dinner, I could make from the sale items wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. It took much more time that I wanted it to and what I thought it would. That could also be because it was my first time doing it. Once we were all finished shopping at both stores & I added up how much was spent, I have to say that it was an adrenaline rush to find out if we were over or under. (Click the above link to find out!)

So did we stick the the plan!?
Yes, we did! There were a few days where what was on the menu was pushed back to the next day (a friend cooked us dinner one night. Such a blessing πŸ™‚ ) I think there are 3 days that ended up flowing into this week. That made week 2 much easier! (More to come on the 2nd week later)

I posted the menu on the fridge so that I could see it. If I didn’t see it in plain sight daily, I knew that I wouldn’t stick to the plan at all. What I wasn’t expecting is that my kiddos would ask what we were having for {insert breakfast, lunch, or dinner} and I would say something like “Let me look at the menu”. They then began to look themselves & tell me what we were having for that meal. It was mostly my 8 year old only because he was the only kiddo that was home that could read the words. They actually started to look forward to looking at the menu and telling me what was next.

The one thing that I know that I need to change is when I take out the meat. I was taking it out in the morning and letting it thaw all day in the fridge & then when time was closer to dinner I would take it out to thaw in cold water. That didn’t work so well. The meat wouldn’t thaw all the way and would mess up my timing and some nights, it messed up dinner completely. What I started doing over the weekend was to take the meat out the night before & put it in the fridge. That seemed to help more. Hopefully that’ll work out better and not mess up anymore dinner meals!

Another thing that I would like to change is the paper that I am using. There is nothing wrong with just using a piece of notebook paper to display meals. I just want to use pretty paper! It makes it more exciting for me & makes something so boring, something that I will look forward to doing. Which in the end, will make me keep wanting to do this instead of making it a have to. I went on my Pinterest board (Pretty Paper) to see if I had pinned anything pretty that I wanted to use. I didn’t. So I spent some time looking for something that caught my eye. I found a few that I want to use and probably just rotate out so that I don’t get bored.
Picture 261 weekly Capture

I found tons but I think that I am going to stick to these 3 unless I find more that I want to add to the mix. I am going to put the paper in a sheet cover so that I can write & wipe each week. Plus I don’t want to keep printing paper off….just one less thing that I want to remember to do.

Overall, it worked much better than I thought & I will keep doing this as long as I have so many mouths to feed πŸ˜‰

Oh! I also found this while looking for printables & think that I will try this too. Will just have to see how it would work for us & where to put it in our kitchen.
menu planner finished

Do you meal plan? How do you display it? What is your process for something that can become so boring?
See ya around for meal planning week 2 πŸ™‚

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Week long camp

Our oldest son has been gone since Monday morning.
This is the first time that he has been gone for this long this far away from home.

When we signed him up for this camp months ago he was very excited about going! We’ve heard nothing but great things about kids going to this camp and wanted him to experience it as well.
Feelings changed over this past weekend when it came time to actually pack his bag. He did not want anything to do with packing or going to this camp. He felt like he would get too homesick and miss us too much. Completely understandable, I mean he is only 10 year old. We reassured him that he would probably miss us but that was ok & he would be having too much fun anyway! He didn’t like that answer and just knew that we were wrong.
We were packing his suitcase Sunday evening & checking items off the list that was provided for us. As he was packing more and more, he slowly started to become more excited about camp. Towards the end of him packing up, he tried one more time to get us to let him stay home. He promised that he would pay all the money back that we spent signing him up for camp. I had to explain to him a few times that it wasn’t about the money, even if it was free to attend. This was about him going somewhere that would impact his life & he would, hopefully & prayerfully, come back with a different heart than when he left.

{Disclaimer: He doesn’t have a bad heart to begin with. What I mean is him beginning changed by this experience and coming out with more knowledge about God and himself.}

Monday morning rolled around and, again, he was excited as we were putting his things in the truck and on the drive to our church. We had to be there before the bus arrived so that we could get him all signed in & all that good stuff. I think the wait & the fact that he had time to think started to upset him again. He was fine loading his items on the bus but when it came time to get a group picture & actually get on the bus is when he started to cry. We let him know that he was going with kids & adults that he knew, he would have so much fun (they were able to pick the activities they wanted to do when we signed him up), and that there would be so much going on that he wouldn’t have time to miss us. Again, that didn’t work.
Markcampcopass4
As much as we love our son and don’t want him to be scared or anything, we knew that we had to push him into this. We knew that he would have fun. We knew that he would get so much out of attending this camp. We knew that he had to go. We kissed & hugged him, said we loved him, and let him know that he’d be back before he knew it, & sent him on his way. We stayed until the bus pulled away in case he was watching out the window….we couldn’t figure out where he was sitting.

A friend of ours had to end up driving her son down to the camp & her daughter texted me to let me know that they saw him and he was having fun…..shocker!!! Plus one of the leaders have been tagging me in pictures on Facebook of him. Here are some πŸ™‚
MarkcampcopassMarkcampcopass2Markcampcopass3

Looks like he’s having a great time to me πŸ™‚

He comes back this Friday & I can’t wait to see him and hear all about his week πŸ™‚

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Meal planning with a budget – how did I do?

Like I said previouslyΒ I have meal planned before but never stuck to or made any sort of budget to go along with it.
Things had to change since we were running out of our allotted food budget before the month was over. Not every month but I would say close to.
This month I decided to change that. I didn’t know how the first time would go since we have 7 mouths to feed on a small food budget. I had posted on Facebook asking friends what they did & if they had any tips/tricks. Very helpful tips from friends! I also went to my Pinterest boards to use what I pinned.

Were we live, stores don’t double coupons nor do they have deal days, or anything else along those lines. We don’t have every many grocery stores to choose from either. I knew coupons wouldn’t help nor would really be an option. So I needed to find different ways of saving money while feeding my family the best that I could.

I found this pin when I started looking through my budget board. With a heading like that, there was no way that I could pass up clicking on it & seeing if this would be helpful for me!
food budget
Some of her tips that she gave I was already going to do. One tip she said that once you do your weekly (or bi-weekly) grocery shopping, do NOT go back into the grocery store for anything until your next meal planning shopping trip. How does one do that!? What if you run out of eggs or sugar or milk or……
We are going to try & do this. We will see how well that goes. Since this is our first time doing this, I won’t beat ourselves up too much if we do go back before our next weekly shopping trip.

My mission was to plan 3 meals a day for 7 people with $225 per week. This seemed overwhelming and not possible.
When the new weekly ads came out for the 2 stores that we would be shopping at (United & Aldi), I sat down at the computer with a notebook & pen and started to make meals around what was on sale. I went back & forth on my browser windows looking for what I could get from both stores to make meals. My attention span was starting to loose it! I finished writing down our meals and then needed to take a break.

This is our week of meals:
Breakfast:
Monday- Oatmeal with chocolate chips/canned fruit/cinnamon & sugar/peanut butter/chocolate spread. Any of those they could use.
Tuesday- Cereal & toast/bagel
Wednesday- Pancakes & fruit (watermelon)
Thursday- Yogurt, fruit, & granola
Friday- Cereal & toast/bagel
Saturday- Biscuits & sausage gravy casserole
Sunday- Egg boats

Lunch:
Monday- Sandwiches (pb&j or lunch meat) & chips
Tuesday- Tuna & canned fruit
Wednesday- Mummy dogs & fries
Thursday- Grilled sandwiches & chips
Friday- Mac & cheese and peaches
Saturday- BLT
Sunday- Leftovers

Dinner:
Monday- Chicken drumsticks & fries
Tuesday- Ribs & fresh corn
Wednesday- Half pork loin & fresh asparagus
Thursday- Hamburgers & chips
Friday- Salmon, rice, & frozen veggies
Saturday- Leftovers
Sunday- There was no name for this meal, here is a picture
Dinner

As I was writing down the items from the ads, I also was writing down what the price was. Whether it was BOGO or 3/$5. Whatever the price was, I wanted to make sure to write it down so that when I got to the store, I knew exactly which sale price I was going off of. I also went to grab an ad at both stores but they were gone.

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I then made a list of what was going to be purchased from each store with the price that was in the ad. I figured since this was my first time, I needed to be safe rather than sorry.
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Along with these lists (I am most definitely a list person!) I made a list that were staple items or items that we needed but weren’t for our meals. For example, our oldest son is going away to a camp for a week & he needed some food items to take with him. I didn’t want to include the price of that with out meal planning budget. I am hoping that we with this budget, that we will have money leftover for extras……ice cream, cupcakes for school, or making a meal if someone needs it….things like that. In order to keep track of of what was the total of meal planning & then the extras, I did 2 separate transactions at both stores. I figured that would be a lot easier than trying to go through the receipt & figuring out that myself. Less headache = happier Mommie πŸ™‚

Our first stop was United. We stuck to the list pretty well. We let the kiddos know ahead of time that we were going by a list & we didn’t hear any “Can I haves?” They all agreed. But who wants to start taking bets on who actually listened!?
As the guy was ringing up our items, I started to get nervous. Were we actually going to be able to stay within budget? If we went over, how much? Would it affect the rest of the month or could I make it work? I should also mention that I had to swap out 2 meats that were on sale. It would have cost much more to buy the amount needed for these meats than it was worth the savings.
Instead of getting ribs for $2.49/pound, we ended up going with a brisket at $3.08/pound.
We couldn’t find the salmon that was in the ad. It was $12.99/pound and we ended up going with Swai fillets (frozen, in a bag) for $7.99.

When he told us our total, I was shocked!
$141.10
I thought I did so well! How could I not?! I thought, “Wow, we are really under budget! I did way better than I thought I would.” Once I got back home that night, I realized that we still had to go to Aldi the next day. So my high was temporary…..bummer.

The next evening we went to Aldi. I knew we would spend less here but I wasn’t sure how it would come out for our budget. I didn’t do any math going into Aldi. Meaning I didn’t figure out how much we had left over in our budget to spend here. I wanted to just do it and do the math when we got home. Our damage at Aldi was $78.41.

Here is the math:
$141.10 – United, 44 items
$78.41 – Aldi, 49 items
$219.51 – Total, 93 items (budget was $225 per week)
Divided this by 21 (number of meals)
$10.45 per meal
Divided by 7 (number of people)
$1.49 per person, per meal

For the first time, I think that I did pretty well!
Some weeks will be better and some won’t be as great. That’s ok, it’s all a learning process.
What do you think? Can you give me tips for a better savings next time? Can you beat my savings? Tell me! I would love to hear how you do this with your family!

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38 Weeks, Baby #6

 

Only a couple of weeks left!
Let’s recap week 37!

Nothing much as changed over this last week. Lots of pressure going on. Mucus plug is still coming out but no bloody show. No contractions. Baby is always moving. It feels like there is never a time that the baby isn’t moving! Some nights I can feel & see that my feet are swelling. Nothing concerning about it, just think that it’s that point in the pregnancy. When I stand up/walk, usually at night, I feel like if my belly were to push out anymore, it would pop! I am trying to stand up straight when I walk but man, there is a lot of weight going on in the front!

I was supposed to have a dr appointment this morning but some scheduling issues came up & it had to get rescheduled for Monday morning. I will do a little update after my appointment. I am anxious to see if I am dilated anymore!

I finally have my bag packed! Two gold stars for that one….took me long enough! There are just some last minute items that will be added when it’s actually time to go. I am getting excited to see when my body will start contractions & when this little ones birthday will be. I have had so much fun seeing when people think I will go into labor with this fun game! I’m excited to see who will get the date right or at least close!
I almost have the house to where I would be ok if I went into labor right now. I want it to look a certain way so that when I come back from the hospital, I don’t walk in & get stressed just by looking at the mess that was left or see something that I wanted to put away before it was go time. I know that it won’t be exactly the way that I want but close enough is good enough at this point.

I forgot a picture this time but I will get one taken on Monday for my update πŸ™‚