Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If You Can't Fight 'Em, Join 'Em!

On an average day, I might have a total of 30 minutes during the day without the kids.. and this is when the girls' nap and Cobi's nap overlap in the afternoon so it's not necessarily a given. Needless to say, multitasking & planning are my best friend. These may or may not help you, but I thought I'd share some tricks & tips that have helped me maintain order in a life where there isn't enough time to do it all:

1. Bath Time + Cleaning the Bathroom- I'm not sure why it took me so long to do this one, but I started a few weeks ago and I'm lovin it! Obviously you can't clean the actual bath the kiddos are in, but you can do the counters, mirror & toilet all while keeping an eye on the little ones! This gives me several options during the week on when to clean their bathroom.

2. Let Them Help- I don't know about your kids, but my girls LOVE to help clean, do laundry, etc.. At first, I would try to keep them preoccupied with something else, but found myself just constantly checking on them & not getting much done. So, I just started giving them each a duster & letting them walk around the house with me as I clean. Keeps them busy while I'm busy! The same idea goes with doing the dishes and laundry. I give them one task (putting their kid dishes away or putting the pile of laundry into the washer) and not only do they feel cool, but it's keeping them out of trouble & away from a TV or iPad. I think this was the hardest one for me since I am very much a control freak & letting them do it their way instead of mine was something I needed to get over sooner rather than later. 

3. Play + Workout- This seems obvious, and is. This is the same idea as the cleaning. Instead of trying to find a time when you can do it without the kids (if you are working out at home), incorporate them:

1. Take a walk as a family

2. Do what they love to do: run, jump rope, skip, etc.

3. Invest in some items that will keep them active while you do your workout routine 
(soccer ball, trampoline, basketball hoop)

4. If you have a little baby, there are exercises all over the internet to do with your little one
(see below for a website to help you get started)

5. While they have a snack, do a quick routine

Again, pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do this, but then either complain that their kids are lazy and/or complain that they want to lose weight and don't have the time. If you can incorporate this into your everyday routine, you and your little ones will build a healthy lifestyle together.

4. Quiet Time- In the afternoon after the girls' nap and while Cobi has his, I like to have quiet time where the girls can read their books or color, just no toys or noise. I set them up with lap tables in the family room with a couple of Color Wonder coloring books & markers (the kind that you can't color anything, but the book) and then several books (which I rotate every couple of days). They have to keep themselves occupied with this for 30 minutes while I either do my daily devotions, pay bills, or something else that needs my full attention. After 30 minutes we turn on some music & they can get their toys out, even if I'm not done with what I need to do. I think a little quiet time does the body.. or sanity.. good! 

5. Any Room is a Playroom- I ADORE our house, but we don't have a playroom for the kids. I wish we did, but I have to work with what we got! So, when I absolutely need to get something done (put laundry away, shower, create worship set, etc), I have to bring the kids to "where the work is."  I have toys stashed away upstairs, downstairs & in the basement so wherever I need to be, there is something for them to do. This helps to keep toys "new & exciting," but also prevents me from having to lug around a basket full. Something that also comes in handy are our gates. They are light & mobile so if I need to gate off at the entrance of a room or section of the house so the kids don't go far, I can.

There ya go! Happy Multitasking!!!! 

Meet the Fam.

So now that I've talked about everything under the sun, I thought it'd be appropriate to finally "introduce" my family... I'm a visual person so for those of you who are like me, I thought I'd give you a face for the name dropping that I do in my other blogs! 

ADDISON MARIE : 3 years old
Crazy. Hilarious. Nurturing. Tender Spirit.
Loves monkeys, dancing, the color orange, clothes,  friends & chicken nuggets.

JAELYN LIV: 2 years old
Fearless. Adventurous. Hilarious. Loving.
Loves singing, laughing, the iPad, airplanes and sharks.

JACOBI KAI: 7 months old
Joyful. Ticklish. Loud.
Loves to smile, giggle, babble and cuddle.

Sweet. Romantic. Funny. Spontaneous. Hot. Loving. Amazing. Smart.
Basically, everything you think a man of God, husband, and father should be... 
he is.
I love this guy.. 

what's in a name.

So, you may or may not have noticed the name change on the blog. If you did and were curious what "the JAR" is... Well.. long story short.. a dream of mine is to open a boutique. My hubby is always encouraging me to do it sooner rather than later, so we decided to trademark a name. After a few ideas, we decided on "the JAR" because it is an all encompassing kind of name that can be used for anything, including a blog! But more importantly, all of our names (JoJo, Ali, Addison, Jaelyn, Jacobi) start with an "A" or "J" and have the same last name "R." Thus, "the JAR" was created. There ya go. Not sure if you are smarter for knowing this information, but if I'm famous one day it could be good Jeopardy knowledge... ?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Real Me

1. It only took me 4 years to realize that while my husband is incredibly romantic, I am lacking in that area. I love being romanced, but apparently doing the romancing does not come naturally to me.. Poor guy. I do try though!

2. While my incredibly adorable 3yr old loves singing "Ring Around the Rosie," I can't stand it. To my knowledge, that nursery rhyme was written about the Black Death in England and find it more suitable for a theme song of a scary movie than for playground fun.

3. My house is always in order. There is hardly a time when things aren't in their place... And for the most part, it is usually pretty clean.. However.. If inspected closely, you will find three things that are usually dirty because I can't stand cleaning them:
  • My bathroom sink: Always full of toothpaste, hair & makeup leftovers. Gross, I know. My husband can't stand it. Good thing we each have our own.
  • The inside of the microwave: I have TRIED and TRIED to keep this thing clean.. I even bought one of those plastic covers for when you heat up your food, but somehow it still manages to get dirty.
  • The coils on the stove: If I am being honest, I have cleaned those things ONCE since we got the house 4 years ago. I don't know what it is.. They are just really annoying to clean!
4. I laugh when people get hurt. I know. It is a HORRIBLE characteristic, but something in me can't help it. I have tried soooo hard to make sure the person is okay first before breaking into a deep manly belly laugh, but haven't quite tackled that one. I'm sorry if you are someone I have laughed at. It's not that I don't care, it's just things tickle me that shouldn't. 

5. Taking a nap on the couch sounds awful to me. It's not the sleeping that sounds bad, it's the waking up on the couch. I am literally a straight up mean person if I fall into a deep sleep on the couch and wake up realizing I'm not in my bed. Oh, and if this happens at night and I have to get up just so I can go upstairs to go back to sleep... Lord help any human being or inanimate object in my way. 

6. I am an awful laugher. What does that mean? Well, not only do I sound like a man, but my body goes crazy on me. I either have to stomp, hit or rock back-n-forth until I'm done. I may or may not look like I am having a seizure. And on top of all of that, all my chins come out and I just look like I gained 500 pounds. 

7. I was in Honors/Advanced English classes all through my education. I've always been a pretty good writer, reader, speller, etc.. But to this day I can't spell vacuum correctly (I totally just had to use spell check by the way). I want to spell it vaccum. It seems more natural to put in two "C's" rather than "U's." Oh, and "restaurant." That one kills me. Takes me 5 tries until spell check stops yelling at me.

8. I can't stand a messy house, but the car is a different story. I won't throw my trash on the floor, but will only clean it out when all the cubbies, cup holders and other nooks and crannies are full of trash that has accumulated because of me. 

9. I am the worst person to watch "Frozen Planet" or "Planet Earth" or any other nature series with. I not only have huge moral dilemmas in watching it, but I verbalize my every thought. If you were in our house, you might hear a conversation like this.. with myself:

"Oh no! Don't go after the baby! Ugh. I hate that. Jerks"
"Ugh. Well now it's injured! Just kill it. Stop letting it suffer!!!"

(if the predator doesn't get the prey...)

"Oh... poor guy.. Now he's hungry.."

Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration and it happens with every predator/prey encounter. Yes, my husband is a saint.

10. Along with being an ugly laugher, I'm an ugly sleeper. I snore, sleep with my mouth open and have to wear a retainer. Oh, and I do have the occasional talking in my sleep. Hot, right?! But the cool part is, the love of my life kisses me goodbye every morning, regardless of my unattractiveness when out cold.... 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party

5 birthday girls + 60 guests + mickey mouse themed everything= awesomeness. 

I love throwing parties, but this one probably takes the cake (no pun intended). Thanks to my sister-in-law, her sister (who happens to be our Pastor's wife), a ton of planning and creating, and of course the hubby... We pulled off a pretty cool party for our girls. I'd go into detail about how we created everything, but it might take a couple of years to write out.. So if you are interested in re-creating some of these fun things, shoot me a message and I'll help ya out! 

The Dessert Table: Cake Pops, White Chocolate Popcorn, Sugar Cookies

The cake pops may have been the hardest part... Shouldn't have been, but they were. In fact, while making them we were questioning why we decided to do that.. But apparently the hard work paid off. We even had a couple people claim they were the best they had ever eaten! 

Blocked Areas, Become Like Mickey or Minnie Station, Thank You Table

Instead of putting up signs to keep people out of bedrooms and such, we put up balloons to sort of block off where people didn't need to be. Thanks to my cousin and her creativity, we had these amazing ears to hand out to all the kiddos. The thank you table was pretty fun for the kids. They picked up their thank you bag (which had their family picture, a thank you note & a sugar cookie in it) and filled it with whatever candy they wanted. 

Present Drop Off & Photo Booth

When guests walked in, there were designated boxes to put their presents/cards in for each girl. This helped the awkwardness on so many levels since not all the guests knew all the birthday girls. Then the kids were given either Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears and had a nose drawn on them. We had the families sit on the couch where we took a polaroid to attach to their thank you bags at the end of the party. It was SO FUN and a huge hit. 

Outside Party Area

With over 20 kids under the age of 10, we wanted to make sure we could do the party outside. We had a couple of pool areas, a trampoline (Mickey Mousekersize), a painting station where they painted with spray bottles, a water/sand table, an inflatable jumpy castle type thing (not sure the technical name! ha!), tables and seating for the adults and a couple other activities. It kept the kids busy for 2-3 hours with no meltdowns or injuries! 

Again, this was a ton of work, but it all paid off. We were very happy with how smooth it went and how everything came together!!!! That being said... I don't think my kids will get another party until their wedding.

Another thanks to my cousin Cayla for the Mickey Mouse ears... For more of her craftiness, visit: 

Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future

I read this passage in a book* and thought it was too good not to share:

He was the child of a slave and the son of a queen.
He was born in a hut and lived in a palace.
He inherited poverty but lived in unlimited wealth.
He was the leader of armies and the keeper of flocks.
He was called the mightiest of warriors and the meekest of men.
He was educated in Pharaoh's court and lived in the desert.
He was a city boy who wandered in the wilderness.
He was backward in speech and he spoke for God.
He was the giver of the law and a picture of the grace to come.
His life illustrates huge failures of faith and unbelievable successes.

This man was Moses.

There isn't much more to say about this... It is powerful all on it's own. But what I can say is that no matter what you've gone through, who you think you are or what people have labeled you as, God has a bigger and better dream for your life and is just waiting for you to receive it. 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11

"Moses- Steps to a Life of Faith" Bob Saffrin*